Narach Philosophy

SAIVISM AND OTHER SYSTEMS OF RELIGION


The connection between Siva and Vishnu has already been explained, and we have shown that they have two points of contact, in relation to the character of Buddhi and the Mind; and so they are sometimes identified, and sometimes one is regarded as greater than the other.

We have pointed out that, the connection between Siva and Brahma is as follows:

Creative Energies Soul Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge Senses of Action
Saivism   Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge  
Brahmism     Mind Senses of Knowledge Senses of Action

We notice that Saivism excludes the religion of Brahma when it refers to the character of Buddhi, while the latter excludes Saivism when it refers to the senses of action. But they meet in the region of the Mind and the senses of knowledge. Hence we get the following relations between Siva and Brahma:

1. When Siva refers to Buddhi, and Brahma. To the Mind, the senses of knowledge, or senses of action Siva is greater than Brahma.

2. When Siva and Brahma both refer to the Mind or the senses of knowledge, they are equal.

3. When Siva refers to the senses of knowledge and Brahma to the Mind, Brahma is greater than Siva.

4. When Siva refers to the senses of knowledge and Brahma to the sense of action, Siva is greater than Brahma.

This, as in the case of Vishnu and Siva, will explain why sometimes Siva and Brahma are identified, and why sometimes one is regarded as greater than the other. Thus we are told in the Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata that Mahadeva (Siva) creates Brahman, and the latter worships him. Then the two are identified, and Siva is described as Brahman of the gods, and referred to as the eternal and supreme Brahma. Again Brahma is spoken of as superior to Siva, and as the essence of Rudra (Siva) himself.

Saiva Tantra: We have observed that the Tantra corresponds to the religion of Brahma, with its range of thought extending from the character of the Mind to that of the senses of knowledge and action. The first two of these are included in the range of Saivism, and so we should find corresponding forms of worship in the Saiva Tantra; and we have explained how all the main forms of Siva worship are re-expressed in their Tantric form.

Siva and Buddha: We have observed that the connection between the religions of Siva and Buddha is as follows:

Creative Energies Soul Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge Senses of Action
Saivism   Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge  
Buddhism     Mind (Mahayana) Senses of Knowledge (Hinayana)  

We notice that the whole idea of Buddhism is included in Saivism, and the two meet in the region of the Mind and the senses of knowledge. Hence the doctrines and forms of worship of both the Mahayana and Hinayana schools should be common to Saivism. That would explain why Buddhism was finally absorbed, and not expelled out of India, by Hinduism, as is commonly believed.

As Saivism and Buddhism meet in the region of the Mind, the Linga or the phallic emblem, associated with Siva in this form, is also worshipped in certain types of Buddhism. Again Mahadeva is conceived of as a form of Buddha, and Buddha himself is associated with women (Prakrti) and wine, the energy of the Mind. In this connection we have observed that Ganesa, the son of Mahadeva, refers to the senses of knowledge; and so we find that he is regarded as an object of worship also by the Buddhists.

Then we find that the goddess Kali, the great Sakti or female counterpart of Siva, is worshipped also by the Buddhists. Buddha-kapala is but another form of Heruka, and may be identified with Mahadeva, and he is associated with his Sakti, Citrasena, in close embrace. The Buddhist goddess Nairatma, like Kali, is described as standing on the chest of a dead body (of Buddha), and she too wears a garland of severed heads like the Hindu deity.

Thus we see that the Buddhist Tantra, containing all this, corresponds exactly to the Saiva Tantra in all essential character and form, for both the systems are based on the same energy of the Mind and the senses of knowledge.

Saivism and Jainism: We have observed that the connection between Saivism and Jainism is as follows:

Creative Energies Soul Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge Senses of Action
Saivism   Buddhi Mind Senses of Knowledge  
Jainism       Senses of Knowledge (Svetambara) Senses of Action (Digambara)

We notice that the two meet in the region of the senses of knowledge, while the senses of action are outside the range of the system of Mahadeva. Again, we have observed that there are two schools of Jainism, corresponding to the character of the senses of knowledge and action, Svetambara and Digambara the one being agnostic and the other atheistic. Hence, while we should find common ideas and forms of worship between certain types of Saivism and the Svetambara school, there should be nothing in common between the Digambara school of atheism and any other form of Hindu religion. That would perhaps explain why, while there is little trace of Buddhism in India, Jainism survives as a separate religion to this day.

Like all systems of Hindu religion, Jainism has its own Tantric forms. We have observed that in connection with the creative character of the senses of knowledge, to which both Saivism and Svetambara school of Jainism refer Prakrti is conceived of as the chief creator of life, and God exists, but only as a minor creator or else as a spectator of Prakrti. Hence the Jainas are enjoined to maintain that, gods and goddesses exist, but the true Jaina is required to abstain from all sexual association with women, for the union of man and woman (Purusha and Prakti) would take us to the region of the Mind which is outside the scope of Jainism.

We have observed that we should expect to find certain forms of worship common to Saiva and Svetambara school of Jaina religion. We have already pointed out that the warship of goddesses is common to both. Padma is the name of the mother of a Jaina Arhat (highest Jaina divinity) as well as a Matri or divine Mother of the Hindus. Devi is identified with Durga, the consort of Siva, and she is also the mother of a Jaina Arhat. Similarly Kalika is a form of Durga or Kali, and she is said to be an attendant of a Jaina Arhat. Gomukhi is an attendant of the fourth Arhat of the Jainas as well as a Sakti of (Siva and Ambika, one of the chief goddesses of the Jainas, is identified with Parvati, the consort of Mahadeva).

Thus we see that the character and scope of the religion of Mahadeva corresponds, in theory and practice, to the range of the three creative energies of life Buddhi, Mind, and the senses of knowledge, and the systems of Philosophy based on them. It now remains for us only to examine the idea of Knowledge and Action as the final goals of life in this system.

Knowledge and Action: The range of the religion of Mahadeva extends from Buddhi to the Mind and the senses of knowledge. Where Buddhi's for practical purposes identified with the Soul, we get the nearest approach to Vedanta, and knowledge and action are regarded as twin goals of life. In this character of Saivism, therefore, we should find the supreme Deity as characterised by action as well as knowledge. But where Buddhi is taken in itself, as characterised by certainty of knowledge, knowledge must be regarded as the final goal. In connection with the Mind and the senses of knowledge too, we should have knowledge rather than action as the final goal. Thus we see that knowledge is usually regarded as the ultimate end of life in the religion of Mahadeva, and it is only in some cases of qualified monistic thought that an equal importance is attached to action too.

Corresponding to this we are told in the Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata that Mahadeva is of the form of all actions in the universe, and he is the fruit of all actions that are performed; but more often he is described as a Yogi, the soul of Yoga, and lost in Yoga meditation.