Frequently Asked Questions - English
[The readers are welcome to raise questions either in English or Tamil. Dr.K.Loganathan will answer them.]
What is Saivism?
Saivism stands for a life based upon Metaphysica Universalis which emphasises universality in understanding that transcends all barriers of caste, religion, nation, and culture. In order to attain this, forms of worship that are in fact explorations into the unconscious of ones own self are recommended. It is through this exploration that narrow prejudices are overcome and genuine universality attained.
What are worshipped in Saivism?
While the archetypes or Gods are numerous and are hierarchically organized, the highest archetypes are Sivalingam and Siva Nadarajah. While Saivism is not against the lower deities, it extols the worship of Sivalingam and Siva Nadarajh so that individuals are maintained psychologically in the path towards the attainment of Siva Jnanam, the Absolute understanding.
Why the worship of Sivalingam is so important?
It is a truth as discovered by the Sivajnanees and the Siddhas that Siva the supreme deity discloses himself as Arthanareeswara, i.e an androgynous reality having the male and female parts in equal portions. The Supreme God is both male and female and unless HE is so there will not be male and female creatures in the world. The Sivalingam represents the inseparable union of Siva and Sakti, the universal masculinity and femininity. It is also known that unless Sivalingam which is another form of Arthanareeswara is established in the soul of the creatures, both mental and physical well being is impossible. The joint presence of Siva and Sakti within the body of the creatures ensures the flow of Kundalini, the Power that ensures virility and through that longevity.
Why the worship of Siva Nadarajah is so important?
Siva Nadarajah is a metaphorical representation of the notion of Universal Dance Of Bliss. It also represents the reality of the Panchakritiyas- the five fold processes of creation, retention, destruction and through that concealment and disclosure. Nothing is there in the world without the five fold processes, the workings of which are related to the mantra SI-VA-YA-NA-MA. It is only when everything in the world is seen and understood in terms of these Panchakritiyas that genuine universality of understanding is possible. The worship of Siva Nadarahah is given an importance in order to ensure that the human understanding reaches this level of higher consciousness.
Question 5 (Mr.Soma Sundaram, Penang, Malaysia.)
In Saivism the worship of Sivalingam is universally emphasized. What about the worship of Arthanareesvara, Siva Nadarajah and so forth? Don't they too depict the Siva Tatvas Natham and Bindhu?
It is true that while the worship of Sivalingam and Siva Nadarajah are very popular among the enlightened Saivites, it is not so with the Arthanaree form. Natham and Bindhu are the Siva Tatvas in terms of which Lord Siva enacts the cosmic dance. He stands as FATHER when one with Natham, and MOTHER when one with Bindhu. When Bindhu and Natham alone are depicted in union we get Sivalingam. But as tatvas they are non-intelligent. As the ordaining principle of SIVALINGAM, ParaSiva discloses Himself as Arthanaresvara and Siva Nadarajah. The Arthanaree form is just as important as Siva Nadarajah. All Saivites should worship it to understand SIVA better.
Question 6 (Mr.Rudrusamy, Penang, Malaysia.)
If the panca kritiyam is the truth and the performer is Siva, and this goes on without end, why should the anma make an effort to attain mukti? Why should an anma strive at all?
Every anma is dualistic - man posses a potentiality to rise above and be one with SIVA
or fall below and get enveloped by anavam, the 'black mass'. This aspect of the psychic
nature of the human soul was noticed first by Thirumular and because of which he calls the
anma a chat- achat. The five fold activities of SIVA enable the creatures to distance
themselves away from Anavam and move closer to SIVA. SIVA can only do the pulling through
his activities. But whether the anma responds to the pull of SIVA or fall towards the pull
of anavam depends upon the individual will of the anma. Now in case the anma chooses to
fall, God does not abandon it at all. HE keeps on informing tirelessly in fact - that the
anma has fallen and that he should wake up and try to extricate himself from the hold of
Anava. The miseries in life, the pains of moral dilemma, the perplexities that we face in
our existence, the disease that we suffer and such other miseries are indicators that we
have fallen. They show the presence of Anavam, and the truth of this is communicated to us
by SIVA through his pancakritiyas. The anma can choose not to choose and improve its
being. But then it would slide more and more into the clutches of Anavam and through that
experience more and more pains and personal disasters. We can choose not to strive to
improve ourselves only at a tremendous cost to our happiness and equanimity.
Question 7 (Ms.Punitha, Penang, Malaysia.)
Why must we go to the temple when we already know that God is within ourselves?
It is one thing to know that God is everywhere including within our own souls and
another to have a clear understanding of it. For the understanding of the presence of God
within us cannot be equated with understanding God Himself who remains for the most part
as a concealed presence, a MaRaiporuL. In visiting a Temple and participating in various
rituals, we pierce through this concealment of God, the Throbavam and thereby come to know
and understand God in greater depth. Such a process of learning about God will continue
till we attain moksa.
Is it possible for somebody to attain self illumination without the help of a guru?
It is possible for the ways in which God as Guru instructs the creatures are numerous. While Appar and Thirujnana Sambandhar were taught by God Himself, Manika Vasagar was taught by a specific Mouna Guru. Meykandhaar classifies the human beings into cakalar, prayalakalar and Vinjanakalar. Of these the last named type of individuals do not need a human Guru for SIVA Himself teaches them from within on account of which illuminations arise within as if spontaneous. Others may need a Guru. But be careful- there are many so-called Gurus but who want to be God Himself.
Question 9(Swami Sathananda, Durban, S.Africa)
In the icons of SivaNadarajah, SIVA is known to trample over the baby-like dwarf,
called muyalakan. What is the real meaning of this act?
What SIVA tramples over by his firm right foot is not a baby but muyalakan, the dwarf shaped demon. The Dance of SIVA is a dance of bliss, a dance of victory over the evils. The muyalakan is the presence of anava malam in our psychic interiority that has been there from beginningless times. It is to liberate the psyches from the hold of ANAVAM that SIVA dances the dance of pancakritiyas on account of which there is this universe and we have an existence. Though they are universal and powerful activities, they are in the nature of PLAY for SIVA for they are done effortlessly by Him and also done out of Supreme Grace. It also symbolizes the fact that should we conquer the dwarf, the Saytan in us, we too can dance the DANCE of BLISS.
Question 10(Swami Sathananda, Durban, S.Africa)
Can a Saivite be regarded as an iconoclast?
An iconoclast is a person who is against image worship in religious practices. In this sense certainly a Saivite is NOT an iconoclast. On the contrary he insists on the relevance and utility of image worship. However Saivism also recommends the raising of one self to higher levels where images are not necessary and the worship itself becomes jnanapoojai - deep meditative reflections that are supremely illuminating.
FAQ English - Part 2
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