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Siva Jnana Bodham

Saivasiddhanta has been a source of inspiration and solace for many souls even in the present age where people are confused by various atheistic and unorthodox doctrines. But Saivasiddhanta has survived to this day for it is appreciated for its logical analysis of the purpose of life and its solution to man's trials and tribulations. At this juncture, it will be worthwhile to examine briefly the foundational texts of Saivasiddhanta philosophy. In every philosophical school, including non-theistic philosophies, there is a study of pramanam or 'means of knowledge'. pramanam or 'means of knowledge' IS any instrument that reveals knowledge. For example, to reveal light we need eyes. Therefore, eyes serve as a pramanam for light. In Saivasiddhanta, Siva is said to be One who is both immanent and transcendent. Therefore, to know Siva, pramanam-s such as perception and inference alone are insufficient. Hence it calls for the need of a valid pramana through which we can know Siva and his nature. To our rescue come the Veda and Saivagama-s as the pramana to remove this spiritual ignorance. One unique characteristic of a valid pramana is that it should not have a human author for the reason that it may contain the defects due to the limitations of the human mind. But the Vedas and Saivagama-s are different in that the omniscient Siva reveals them out of compassion, to save us from this life of samsara. Therefore, the Vedas and the Saivagama-s together form the principal pramana and authority for Saivasiddhanta. They are the bedrock of the whole Saivasiddhanta philosophy and are seen as the pramana for studying the nature of pati, pasu and pasa. We can find the importance given to the Saivagama-s and Veda-s even in the Thirumurai-s where we find many verses in praise of the Veda & Saivagamas, the principal scriptures of Saiva-siddhanta.

However, we should also not understate the value of the body of secondary scriptures that have a human origin but also accepted as authoritative scriptures in the Saivasiddhanta tradition. The Thirumurai-s and other canonical texts such as Sankarpa Nirakaranam, Siva Jnana Siddhiyar, etc. fall under this category of scriptures. They reveal the vision of the principal scriptures and further compliment it by providing many means to understand the core philosophy of Saivasiddhanta. Hence they should not be relegated to the status of less important scriptures but rather we should look at both the principal and secondary scriptures with reverence. If the Veda & Saivagama-s are milk, then the secondary scriptures are ghee. Without milk there can be no ghee but at the same time milk cannot replace ghee in tending a fire. Similarly, although the secondary scriptures are a repository of the essential vision of the Veda & Saivagama-s, in no way should they be seen as inferior as their purpose is to convey the vision of the Veda & Saivagama-s in simpler and understandable manner. Only with such a perspective will we be able to appreciate both the principal and the secondary scriptures without biases and appreciate them for what they are valued for.

According to Saivasiddhanta scholars, the Siva Jnana Bodham is a translation of an extract from the Raurava Agama, thus making it part of the corpus of authoritative scriptures. This English translation of the Siva Jnana Bodham with commentaries of Sivagra Yogi, the 2nd pontiff of Suryanaar Koil Adheenam written in the 16th century is a priceless gem for all Saiva-siddhantins. .

With the blessings of Lord Siva, we are very pleased to release the Siva Jnana Bodham with the commentary of Sri Sivagrayogin, on the Grha Pravesham of our "Sri Aghora Sivachariya Turst" president Sivasri R. Gangadharan Bhattar and Smt. Gowri. .

My Namaskaram to my parents Sivasri R.Gangadhara Bhattar and Smt. Gowri for the generous donation for releasing this book. On behalf of the trust, I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to Sri T Ganesan for translating this work into English and to the Bala Offset printers for doing a great piece of work. .

 

Preface

The Sanskrit text of Sivajnanabodha considered to be the quintessence of Saivasiddhdnta is not so much well-known while the Tamil text, namely, Civananapotam of Meykantar is being studied along with its commentaries. Though there are nearly seven commentaries (both brief and elaborate) on Sivajnanabodha except one or two others have not been published. The Laghutika - brief and simple commentary - is by Sivagra- yogin. In the domain of Saivasiddhdnta he is relatively well-known through his commentaries on the Sivajnanabodha and a manual on the saiva monastic rites (Saivasamnyasapaddhati).

The tradition of Sivagra As is well known to scholars of Saivasiddhanta, the author, Sivagrayogin (Sivagra in short), who lived in the middle of the 16th centurey, comes in a tradition of a distinct and illustrious school of Saivasiddhanta. His paramaguru, Sadasivasiva- carya, is the first commentator on the Sanskrit text of the Sivajnanabodhasutra which has come down to us (This text has been first published in the journal of GOML, vol.20. There is subsequent edition in Grantha characters with Tamil meaning published by the Tamilnadu Arcaka Asoociation). It is also well-known that Saivasannyasapaddhati composed by Sivagra deals elaborately with the ritual of initiation into monasticism according to Saivasiddhanta system. But in fact he is not the first to compose such a text. For, befiore him, Isvarasiva who, again, is the great-grand teacher of Sadasivasivacharya had already composed a Sannyasakdrika (referred in the commentary mentioned above). This is one of the important contributions of Sivagra in the domain of saiva ritual system.

The second one is his elaboration and subsequent establishment of an independent Saivasiddhanta system in Tamilnadu as a parallel to that of the Meykantar which is based on the Civananapotam in Tamil. Sivagra comes in the tradition of Vamadeva (who is the "seer" of the Pancaksaramantra which occurs in the 8th anuvaka of the Satarudriya for which section also Vamadeva is the "sage" -Rsi. This fact is referred to by Sivagra in his Sivaneriprakasam, verse, 6) whereas Meykantar belongs to that of Nandi (Nandiparamparai). In fact Sivagra belongs to the tradition of Saivasiddhanta system that was prevalent in Varanasi with a monastery on the Manikarnika Ghat m Circa 15th century as mentioned in the introductory portion of the commentary of Sadasivasivacarya referred earlier.

The Laghutika which is now critically edited has been once published in the Pandit Series Vol. XXIX, from Banares Sanskrit College, in 1907. This edition contains a lot of errors and wrong readings as it was, probably, based on single manuscript source.

I believe that the present publication of Laghu- tika will definitely be a great service to the field of Saivasiddhdnta literature and particularly to the scholarly world.

I express my thanks to the authorities of the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Chennai and that of the French Institute, Pondi- cherry for permitting me to use their manuscripts for this critical edition. It is a great pleasure for me to thank, congratulate and encourage Sivasrt. G. Kartik for his initiative and sincere efforts in undertaking to publish this valuable Saiva- siddhdnta text. I fervently pray to God Siva for his prosperity and unflinching devotion and constant endeavour to the promotion and publication of such valuable and rare texts of Saivasiddhanta.

The present edition is based on four manuscripts (3 in palm-leaf and one in paper) and the above mentioned printed tesxt.

 

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Sivajnanabodha with the Laghutika of Sivagrayogi

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Siva Jnana Bodham

Saivasiddhanta has been a source of inspiration and solace for many souls even in the present age where people are confused by various atheistic and unorthodox doctrines. But Saivasiddhanta has survived to this day for it is appreciated for its logical analysis of the purpose of life and its solution to man's trials and tribulations. At this juncture, it will be worthwhile to examine briefly the foundational texts of Saivasiddhanta philosophy. In every philosophical school, including non-theistic philosophies, there is a study of pramanam or 'means of knowledge'. pramanam or 'means of knowledge' IS any instrument that reveals knowledge. For example, to reveal light we need eyes. Therefore, eyes serve as a pramanam for light. In Saivasiddhanta, Siva is said to be One who is both immanent and transcendent. Therefore, to know Siva, pramanam-s such as perception and inference alone are insufficient. Hence it calls for the need of a valid pramana through which we can know Siva and his nature. To our rescue come the Veda and Saivagama-s as the pramana to remove this spiritual ignorance. One unique characteristic of a valid pramana is that it should not have a human author for the reason that it may contain the defects due to the limitations of the human mind. But the Vedas and Saivagama-s are different in that the omniscient Siva reveals them out of compassion, to save us from this life of samsara. Therefore, the Vedas and the Saivagama-s together form the principal pramana and authority for Saivasiddhanta. They are the bedrock of the whole Saivasiddhanta philosophy and are seen as the pramana for studying the nature of pati, pasu and pasa. We can find the importance given to the Saivagama-s and Veda-s even in the Thirumurai-s where we find many verses in praise of the Veda & Saivagamas, the principal scriptures of Saiva-siddhanta.

However, we should also not understate the value of the body of secondary scriptures that have a human origin but also accepted as authoritative scriptures in the Saivasiddhanta tradition. The Thirumurai-s and other canonical texts such as Sankarpa Nirakaranam, Siva Jnana Siddhiyar, etc. fall under this category of scriptures. They reveal the vision of the principal scriptures and further compliment it by providing many means to understand the core philosophy of Saivasiddhanta. Hence they should not be relegated to the status of less important scriptures but rather we should look at both the principal and secondary scriptures with reverence. If the Veda & Saivagama-s are milk, then the secondary scriptures are ghee. Without milk there can be no ghee but at the same time milk cannot replace ghee in tending a fire. Similarly, although the secondary scriptures are a repository of the essential vision of the Veda & Saivagama-s, in no way should they be seen as inferior as their purpose is to convey the vision of the Veda & Saivagama-s in simpler and understandable manner. Only with such a perspective will we be able to appreciate both the principal and the secondary scriptures without biases and appreciate them for what they are valued for.

According to Saivasiddhanta scholars, the Siva Jnana Bodham is a translation of an extract from the Raurava Agama, thus making it part of the corpus of authoritative scriptures. This English translation of the Siva Jnana Bodham with commentaries of Sivagra Yogi, the 2nd pontiff of Suryanaar Koil Adheenam written in the 16th century is a priceless gem for all Saiva-siddhantins. .

With the blessings of Lord Siva, we are very pleased to release the Siva Jnana Bodham with the commentary of Sri Sivagrayogin, on the Grha Pravesham of our "Sri Aghora Sivachariya Turst" president Sivasri R. Gangadharan Bhattar and Smt. Gowri. .

My Namaskaram to my parents Sivasri R.Gangadhara Bhattar and Smt. Gowri for the generous donation for releasing this book. On behalf of the trust, I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to Sri T Ganesan for translating this work into English and to the Bala Offset printers for doing a great piece of work. .

 

Preface

The Sanskrit text of Sivajnanabodha considered to be the quintessence of Saivasiddhdnta is not so much well-known while the Tamil text, namely, Civananapotam of Meykantar is being studied along with its commentaries. Though there are nearly seven commentaries (both brief and elaborate) on Sivajnanabodha except one or two others have not been published. The Laghutika - brief and simple commentary - is by Sivagra- yogin. In the domain of Saivasiddhdnta he is relatively well-known through his commentaries on the Sivajnanabodha and a manual on the saiva monastic rites (Saivasamnyasapaddhati).

The tradition of Sivagra As is well known to scholars of Saivasiddhanta, the author, Sivagrayogin (Sivagra in short), who lived in the middle of the 16th centurey, comes in a tradition of a distinct and illustrious school of Saivasiddhanta. His paramaguru, Sadasivasiva- carya, is the first commentator on the Sanskrit text of the Sivajnanabodhasutra which has come down to us (This text has been first published in the journal of GOML, vol.20. There is subsequent edition in Grantha characters with Tamil meaning published by the Tamilnadu Arcaka Asoociation). It is also well-known that Saivasannyasapaddhati composed by Sivagra deals elaborately with the ritual of initiation into monasticism according to Saivasiddhanta system. But in fact he is not the first to compose such a text. For, befiore him, Isvarasiva who, again, is the great-grand teacher of Sadasivasivacharya had already composed a Sannyasakdrika (referred in the commentary mentioned above). This is one of the important contributions of Sivagra in the domain of saiva ritual system.

The second one is his elaboration and subsequent establishment of an independent Saivasiddhanta system in Tamilnadu as a parallel to that of the Meykantar which is based on the Civananapotam in Tamil. Sivagra comes in the tradition of Vamadeva (who is the "seer" of the Pancaksaramantra which occurs in the 8th anuvaka of the Satarudriya for which section also Vamadeva is the "sage" -Rsi. This fact is referred to by Sivagra in his Sivaneriprakasam, verse, 6) whereas Meykantar belongs to that of Nandi (Nandiparamparai). In fact Sivagra belongs to the tradition of Saivasiddhanta system that was prevalent in Varanasi with a monastery on the Manikarnika Ghat m Circa 15th century as mentioned in the introductory portion of the commentary of Sadasivasivacarya referred earlier.

The Laghutika which is now critically edited has been once published in the Pandit Series Vol. XXIX, from Banares Sanskrit College, in 1907. This edition contains a lot of errors and wrong readings as it was, probably, based on single manuscript source.

I believe that the present publication of Laghu- tika will definitely be a great service to the field of Saivasiddhdnta literature and particularly to the scholarly world.

I express my thanks to the authorities of the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Chennai and that of the French Institute, Pondi- cherry for permitting me to use their manuscripts for this critical edition. It is a great pleasure for me to thank, congratulate and encourage Sivasrt. G. Kartik for his initiative and sincere efforts in undertaking to publish this valuable Saiva- siddhdnta text. I fervently pray to God Siva for his prosperity and unflinching devotion and constant endeavour to the promotion and publication of such valuable and rare texts of Saivasiddhanta.

The present edition is based on four manuscripts (3 in palm-leaf and one in paper) and the above mentioned printed tesxt.

 

Sample Pages


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