Śaiva Siddhāṅta Philosophy


Śaiva Siddhāṅta

1. Relation to Other Schools

Śaiva Siddhāṅta is the name by which Tamil Śaivism is known. The expression literally means “the settled conclusion or final position of Śaivism”; and it serves to distinguish the system from non-Śaiva Schools as well as from other types of Śaivism.

The systems of thought other than the Siddhāṅta are classed under four heads:

1. purap-purac-camayam (outermost); 2. purac-camayan (outer); 3. ahap-purac-camayam (inner); and 4. ahac-camayam (innermost).

The heterodox Schools like the Lokāyata, Jaina and Buddhism are outermost in the sense that they are farthest removed from the Siddhāṅta. They had no belief in the Veda or in God.

The next grade of Schools which are called outer are: Nyāya, Mimāṅsā, Ekātma-vāda, Sāṁkhya, Yoga and Pañcarātra. Though they recognize the authority of the Veda, they do not accept the Śivāgamas as authoritative.

The inner Schools are some types of Śaivism, like Pāśupata, Mahāvrata, Kāla, Vāma, Bhairava and Aikya-vāda which, while regarding Śiva as the supreme God, do not agree to the scheme of categories set forth in the Siddhāṅta.

The last group of Schools which is called innermost also consists of varieties of Śaivism, such as Pāṣaa-vāda-Śaiva, Bheda-vāda-Śaiva, Śiva-sama-vāda, Śiva-sakrānta-vāda, Īśvara-avikāra- vāda and Śivādvaita. These accept all the categories detailed in the Siddhāṅta; but they differ from it in defining some of the categories.

Thus through a criticism of the rival systems from the most remote to the most proximate, the Siddhāntin, following the usual philosophic procedure, seeks to establish his view.

Here we shall content ourselves with merely expounding the principal tenets of the Siddhāṅta. But before we proceed to that task we will briefly mention the important authorities on the Siddhāṅta School of Śaivism.