5.1 Suddha Saivam
If we are to express the greatness of Siva, who wields the power of omniscience and omnipotence and who simultaneously created relevant bodies and worlds, we can think of Mount Meru whose real nature remains unfathomed. The four perfect denominations of Saivism which evolved from him establish the spontaneous grace of Siva, the absolute ruler of the three worlds.
To clearly realize the exact nature of existence, non-existence and existence cum non-existence, to be dissociated from the dichotomy of intelligence and non-intelligence and to be established constantly in a transcendental state beyond pure and impure — these are the codified disciplines for the followers of Pure Saivism, which is eternal and supreme.
The followers of Saiva Siddhanta are those who have completely disentangled from the triple bonds and attained perfect realization of “THAT,” the indescribable, by systematically studying the scriptures which are to be essentially studied, practicing the disciplines of Sivayoga centered on the five kalas and gradually attaining the deep wisdom which leads to the realization of THAT, the first word of the Veda Mahavakya (TAT TVAM ASI). By these disciplines they have elevated themselves to the higher plane of pure sound (nada tattva).
Those who have raised themselves to a transcendental state beyond which sound cannot proceed further, a state made known by the Siddhanta in which the state of absolute purity as validated in the Vedanta prevails predominantly, become endowed with supreme knowledge firmly grounded in the Reality. The tattvas from nada to prithvi (bhutanta) help them to perfect themselves to reach a higher state beyond which the knowledge earned by the souls cannot go further (bodanta). They are with fullness of consciousness which unfolds itself in a state beyond the sound (nadanta). They are always intent on pursuing the exalted path of knowledge.
5.2 Asuddha Saivam
The physical body of those who follow charya and kriya paths becomes praiseworthy when it is trained to worship and adore the two feet of the Lord. They adorn their ears with two earrings (in each ear). They mark their shoulders with trident and bull, the emblems of Lord Siva. They adorn their neck with two kinds of rudraksha beads. Such ornaments and insignia are essential for them.
There are one type of Saivites who adorn their ears with ear-rings designed with gold in a specific way, who purify their well-formed gross body and subtle body, who establish themselves in a fitting yoga path capable of leading to the plane of dvadasanta and who are chanting the five syllabled mantra without interruption.
Those who have realized the workings of nine tattvas on which a specific diksha is based, are claimed to be knowers of the Reality. Siva is the One who could be realized through the systematic analysis of these nine tattvas. Those who have known Siva’s nine forms in these tattvas are able to see innumerable worlds within their own form. Such persons belong to Pure Saivism which lays emphasis on strict adherence to the advanced disciplines.
A perfect knower (jnani) is the one who has studied all those scriptures which have emerged in the world over, who has realized the significance of South (the transcendental direction which denotes the state of ultimate substratum), who has acquired the fruits of 64 accomplishments (siddhis), who is able to see the worlds of other tattvas, who has understood the core meaning of the last section of the Vedas (Upanishads) and who is able to see the Lord as well as his own inner self in which the Lord is present.
5.3 Marga Saivam
There is a perfect means of accomplishment known as the Eternal Path (sanmarga). It is a means associated with the discipline of wearing the five ornaments made of gold; a means associated with vibhuti and rudraksha, a means which is ever-auspicious, a means laying emphasis on knowledge and a means in which there is no place for the occurrence of evil thoughts. Such a great and pure path is suited for those who follow the Pure Saivism.
An adherent of Pure Saivism becomes eternal. He evolves himself into a perfect knower, firmly established in the pure state. He becomes the Ruler of the higher planes which could be reached through perfect knowledge. In him dawns the supreme knowledge which is expounded in the last section (jnana bhaga) of the Vedas and the Agamas and which is free from contradictions. He is the one who has attained the true and final liberation.
The Great Agamic Corpus consists of 9 divisions. Siddhanta is one of these 9 divisions. 28 Agamas (from Kamika to Vatula) belong to the Siddhanta division. All these 28 Agamas are free from contradictions and misconceptions and they are grouped under three categories. The ultimate truth expounded in the Vedantic texts which are free from disputes and irrelevancy, has been established in these Siddhanta Agamas. The Pure Saivism is based on these 28 Agamas.
Sivasakti, the grace-bestowing power of Siva is all pervasive. She is both transcendent and immanent (Para and Apara). She is beyond the dichotomy of pure and impure. She transcends the seven states lying one above the other beyond the fourth state denoted by bindu (a, u, ma and bindu of pranava). She uplifts the souls by imparting maturity and perfection. She becomes the heart and mind of the devotees.
The followers of Pure Saivism transcend the dichotomy between existence and non-existence. They remain in their own essential state being disentangled from the network of the tattvas. They establish themselves in the pure contemplation as to “I am Siva,” in which state one cannot know intelligent or non-intelligent existents. Through constant practice of such contemplation, they get immersed in the ocean of bliss available in the final liberation. All the powers of all Siddhis favorably present before them spontaneously, without being asked for.
The fitting disciplines for the followers of Pure Saivism are: to contemplate the exact nature of the liberated soul, Siva and Sadasiva; the nature of the Lord, bound soul and the bonds (Pati, pasu and pasa); the beginningless primordial bond under which the soul remains constricted; and the immaculate state of ultimate liberation.
To fix the mind at the pure state of perfection and wholeness, to be dissociated from the host of tattvas, to contemplate the final truth expounded in the Vedas being in the same dissociated state, to directly experience the everlasting bliss available at the plane of dvadasanta, to be in identical existence with Siva — these are the commendable disciplines of the followers of Pure Saivism.
(Mundane knowledge is of altering nature. But Supreme Knowledge bestowed by the Lord is constant and unchanging). To set forth the disciplines of Sivajnani: Not to undervalue the efficacy and greatness of unfaltering Supreme Knowledge, not to hold the view that great yoga is superior to such supreme knowledge, to impart certainty and confidence in the mind with regard to the Supreme Knowledge, to transform the mind so as to be filled up with the auspicious qualities of Siva, to install himself in the exalted contemplation as to “I am Siva”, which contemplation is to be acquired as a great boon and to stick on to the path of knowledge with firmness of mind.
Those who have clearly understood the core message of Vedanta are considered to be the possessors of commendable knowledge which holds in its grasp the exact nature of the transcendent Reality. Those who have raised themselves up to a higher state beyond nada are considered to be the supreme yogis who are with unassailable firmness in their conception. Those who have conceived the Siddhanta in such a way as to be bereft of the truth of Vedanta are considered to be common Saivites. Their disciplines also are insignificant.
The floating and expansive clouds cannot reach the distant sky. So also, the knowledge earned by the bound self and the knowledge about the bonds, even though extensive, cannot reach the Lord who is beyond the Time measurable by numerical standards and who is meditated upon by the mature souls. Visible appearances and scenes do not themselves reach the eyes. It is the eyes which reach the visible appearances and objects. Likewise, Siva himself will not come to the heart of the souls. It is the responsibility of the souls to reach Siva (through contemplation).
Pure non-dual contemplation is neither one (monism), nor two (dvaita), nor void. Being installed in this non-dual contemplation, the sadhaka should desist from refutations and disputations with regard to various systems. Holding one-pointed concentration, he should worship the feet of the Lord and thereby realize that Sakti (Paraparai) herself constitutes the cognizable form of the Lord. Subsequently he should assume the form of Siva and then become Siva himself. This is the state of liberation according to the Siddhanta.
5.4 Rigorous Suddha Saivam
Sivajnana is powerful enough to cut asunder the limiting bonds which result in endless transmigration and to annihilate the state of being under the hold of mala. Those who follow Pure Saivism and who have been blessed with such Sivajnana should avoid the showy act of applying vibhuti and wearing the rudraksha beads to impress others; should contemplatively approach the Lord who is capable of doing, not doing and differently doing; should avoid ostentatious and pompous activities; and should be free from desires and worldly attachments.
To be dissociated from the 5 groups of tattvas (from the pruthivi to prakruti) which constitute the body, from the 6 tattvas (which, along with others make the subtle body), from the 5 tattvas belonging to the pure realm and from the inexhaustible maya which serves as the container and source of those tattvas; to be free from the other bonds such as the karmic fruits and to annihilate completely the darkening power of mala which, like a cataract, has been shrouding the soul right from its unembodied state (kevala avastha) and to firmly establish himself in his own pure state — these are the essential disciplines belonging to Siddhanta Saivism.
Agamas and the Vedas are the revelations of Siva who is eternally pure. Once the sadhaka is able to reach transcendental planes, he should desist from the involved study of these Scriptures. He should get into the final state which serves like a seed for the sprouting of liberation, the true state indicated by the term “Liberated.” Then he should assume the form of the Lord and finally get himself merged with formless Siva. These are the characteristics of the followers of Pure Saivism.
In the beginning, I approached Him with a notion of duality as to “I, the knower” and “He, the knowable.” In the next stage, Siva who is denoted by the term “TAT” (the first word of “tat tvam asi”) and who is beyond the dual state of the knower and knowable, graciously instructed the mahavakya “That, you are.” Contemplating this instruction, now I am unable to differentiate between Himself (the knowable) and Myself (the knower).
If the final state, which is indescribable, is duly contemplated continuously, the five senses, which are very difficult to set under control, will become inactive and quiet, of their own accord. Thereupon, Sivajnana which stands above all other categories, will present itself like a constant lamp shedding light all around. Consequently, the sadhaka will become one with Siva. This is the supreme liberation known as sayujya.
“O, Kalangi, Kanja, Malayaman, Kanduru! You are inquiring into the aspects of charya path which has emerged as the basic discipline. Now, listen to my words. That charya path is the main stream for the Pure Saivism which is being investigated in this world.”
The knowledge-based worship is meditating on the Lord with a conviction that Siva is the inner soul of each and every soul. The yoga-based worship is to be in one-pointed concentration on the chosen form of Siva or formless Siva who is the inner light of the souls. The external worship belonging to the kriya path is to perform the rituals such as installation of the image of Siva, invoking the Lord and so on. The worship of Siva pertaining to the charya path is to be with pure and spontaneous love which wards off anger, lust and other such vices and which renders fitness to the devotees to do services without expecting any benefit or reward.
O, the Devotees who are in the charya path, earnestly wishing for the grace of Siva, be wandering through the cities, towns and the sacred and sanctified temples; holding the view that Siva is your supreme Lord, sing his glory; having extolled his greatness, prostrate before him and surrender yourself to him. Upon such surrender, Siva will occupy your heart which is filled up with devotion and love and make it as his own temple.
Those who follow the charya path are considered as devotees (bhaktas). Those who follow the kriya path are considered as devoted worshippers who assume a gracious form by adorning their body with vibhuti and rudraksha. Those who follow the yoga path are considered as the practitioners of eight impeccable steps of yoga such as yama, niyama and others. Those who follow the jnana path are considered as the siddhas who are blessed with Sivajnana and who are sure to attain oneness with Siva.
Those who follow the jnana path and who have been blessed with Sivajnana will ultimately attain oneness with Siva. Those who follow the yoga path and who are practicing the eight disciplines of yoga will evolve into siddhas in due course and install themselves in a state of total absorption (Samadhi). Those who follow the kriya path in accordance with their maturity and choice of Deity will perform the relevant ritualistic worship daily without fail. Those who have set themselves in the charya path are intent on rendering services to the devotees and to the temples spread over this large world.
In the kriya path, worship is concerned with a chosen form of Siva whose real nature is incomprehensible. In the yoga path, worship is concerned with the chosen form of Siva or the formless Siva. In the jnana path, worship is concerned with the formless Siva. The method of worship chosen by one according to his own maturity and involvement is readily acceptable to the Lord, the ultimate Knowable. Such chosen worship is of supreme kind, whatever may be the path.
The refined knowledge which is four grades, derived through the four paths, charya and others (that is jnana stage of charya, jnana stage of kriya, jnana stage of yoga and jnana stage of jnana) and six kinds of the final stage belonging respectively to Veda, Siddhanta, Nada, Bodha, Yoga and Kala constitute the quintessential message to be kept in mind. Having revealed such message, Lord Siva has descended down to Chidambaram from his transcendental abode and direct the bewildered people to worship Him through the path chosen by them.
In respect of charya, samaya diksha renders purity in many respects and it enables the sadhaka to realize his insignificance and inability and to surrender himself totally to the Lord. In respect of kriya, visesha diksha enables him to chant the mantra of Siva in a purified pattern. In respect of yoga, nirvana diksha renders purification to all the five kalas (nivrutti and others). In respect of jnana path, in which purity is maintained at all levels, acharya abhisheka crowns the sadhaka empowering him to be the guiding Guru (Acharya).
There is Siva, the only one Supreme Lord, pervading all the ten directions. Which direction is there in which He is not present? There is no such direction. Therefore, holding a deep sense of identity with such Lord, the Eternally Pure One, if you remain firm in your conviction that the shadow of His feet is the only refuge for you, then the karmic ocean which is with upsurging waves of karmic fruits will recede back from you. Realize this.
You can worship Him with the paste of high quality sandal whose fragrance reaches even the boundaries of the forest and you can worship Him even with heavenly flowers. Even though the worship is performed in such a grand scale, it is very difficult to reach His feet. Only those who shed off their bodily consciousness (who remain free from the grip of senses) and actually realize His presence within their own frame could reach His lotus feet which are moistened with nectarine drops. Others cannot reach.
Being in a humbled and innocent state like the calf of a cow, eulogize the greatness of His feet which are emitting the rhythmic transcendental sounds. If you do this, He will become like a tender shoot of uplifting knowledge and be moving up and down through your sushumna, the central channel. Upon this, you will be transformed to be like a container to collect the streams of grace coming from the Lord who is like the mother-cow of that calf and who is worshipped by the celestial beings — the celestial calves roaming in the heaven.
Having humbly listened to the directions of the Lord, Sivasakti created the worlds spread over all the eight directions. Siva who has shared his left half with such Sakti is actually doing these cosmic activities through his Sakti. The incumbent duty of the human beings is to render services to this protecting Lord. These services should be done with devotion and diligence.
In the beginning, the devotee should train himself in the charya path and kriya path. Then as directed by the spontaneous grace of the Lord he should set himself in the path of Sivayoga which is devoid of blemishes (such as misconceptions, misdirection and others). While he is progressing in this discipline of yoga, he will be blessed with Sivajnana through which he could realize the exact nature of Siva. Consequently, he will attain oneness with Siva through the grace of Guru.
Being wholly under the possession of love, I would stand before the Lord with a melting heart. Everyday I would offer the services needed for the Lord and the devotees. Standing before the lotus feet of the Lord whose form appears to have been made of pure and high quality gold, I would supplicate, “Kindly bestow your grace on me.” At this stage, Siva entered my body filling it up with light up to the pores of my bones.
Transcending all the senses step by step and progressing on the right direction, the sadhakas meticulously practice the disciplines of yoga and install themselves in a motionless state like the strongly fixed wooden post. By this, they are enabled to experience a higher state of absorption in which one cannot feel pleasure or pain while being rubbed or brandished. For such yogis, there is the possibility of merging with Siva.
Except for those who are able to realize the phenomenon of subtle time (yogic time) which spans from a fraction of second to multiples of aeon, Siva will not subject Himself to be realized by those who are seeking Him outwardly for aeons and aeons. Even though Vishnu who is reposing on the ocean of milk and Brahma tried their best to know Him for a very long duration spanning an aeon, He is not known by them. He is at the point of apex inaccessible to exterior efforts.
Just like the pleasant fragrance gets associated with flower when it begins to unfold, even so the fragrance of Siva (eight specific qualities of Siva) descends and get stored within the mature soul. Being in a settled and subdued state like a painted picture, those who are able to realize His real nature by experiencing his inner developments occurring through yoga are comparable to the wooden post which exudes the fragrance of civet after it has been rubbed by the civet cat. Such yogis breath out the fragrant qualities of Siva.
You proclaim that you have become the liberated souls. But actually you are not liberated, since you have not realized what is to be essentially realized. Just like the fragrance gets mingled with flower, even so Lord Nandi is mingling with each and every soul. Fixing your mind on such Lord, meditate deeply and make your mind to be in a settled and quiet state. Through such disciplines, your inner darkness (mala) which is the primal seed for the repeated past births will be dispelled completely. (Such removal of mala ensures liberation. Then only you can claim that you have attained liberation).
Through the study of grammatical works, literature and the works dealing with 64 sciences, the repeating births which take place because of the abhorable bonds would not stop to occur. (Through the grace of Guru) I have known the exact technique of putting an end to the repeating births. It is the yoga technique of piercing through the spheres of moon, fire and sun and transcending them one by one.
If it is done with true involvement and diligence, then the doer will become the rich experiencer of inner developments. If it is done ardently, then the doer will be blessed with the fitting instruction of the maha vakya (tat tvam asi). If it is done arduously, then that practice itself will be ranked with true penance. If it is done with sincerity and devotion, the doer will become the one, competent to live in the abode of Siva.
Just as there is fire heating the body of flesh, even so there is Siva, the Supreme Lord pervading the worlds and keeping them in order. If the sadhakas meticulously worship Siva who showers his grace upon the entire world, they cannot be born again. If they perceive Him through yoga, He would merge with them effecting a total oneness. If they neglect such disciplines, such negligence would set a way for falling into the hells.
How many thousands of righteous rulers and ascetics who had the powers to get themselves immortalized have died in this world (without knowing the exact path of yoga)? Siddhas, Devas and the three Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra) — all of them keep themselves devoted to Siva, holding the view that Siva is the only Lord worthy of great adoration.
For a common type of yogi, there are three sub-divisions in the path of yoga — yoga in yoga, yoga with kriya and yoga with charya. Yoga with charya in which there is no place for self-centered and worldly ambitions will lead to yoga-kriya. This kriya will lead to yoga in yoga. For a foremost type of yogi, there is one more division known as yoga with jnana. Having known this, I remain devoted to exact path leading to the direct vision of the sun of pure consciousness.
With regard to the initiation pertaining to yoga, there is samaya-diksha meant for diverse practices motivated to diverse fruits. Visesha diksha is related to eight steps of yoga. Nirvana diksha is meant for the unfolding of supreme consciousness and for the vision of Para. Abhisheka diksha is for the attainment of eight resplendent siddhis.
There is no righteous path in the world to excel the path of jnana. The system which gets distanced from jnana is not good. The systems other than the path of jnana will not yield the foremost and final liberation. Those who are having a strong hold in the path of jnana are considered to be supreme among the human beings.
The Eternal Path (Sanmarga) is the one which is followed by those who have transcended the plane from where the sound originates (nada). This Sanmarga is centered on the transcendental sound, mind associated with such sound, intellect activated by such mind, the principle of I-ness (ahankara tattva) stabilized by the intellect, the resultant state of mind (chitta tattva) and contemplating the functional process of these three (manas, buddhi and ahankara).
Those who follow the path of jnana would declare: “The worlds seen within, the imminent blissful state which is very close to achieve and the grace gained by us — all such experiences have been brought into effect by knowledge and a significant contemplation as to “I am Siva” (Sivoham bhavana). Such jnanins would surely attain oneness with Siva, the Knowable, at a later stage.
For those who have chosen the path of jnana which is free from pretentious and groundless declarations and have realized the exact nature of the Reality, the place where they reside will appear as the expression of Siva. And the world comprising the hosts of mobiles and immobiles would appear to them as the diverse expressions of Siva Himself. The specific and exalted disciplines ordained for them would yield all such blissful experiences.
Siva, who bestows abounding grace is always residing within the city of heart in which auspicious qualities such as knowledge, humility, universal love and others are collectively present without any disruption. For the jnanins who are able to know the unfailing efficacy of the way which does not get distanced from the Siva’s feet adorned with the twinkling anklets, external rituals are not necessary. Just the sounds raised under the deep water do not reach the surface, even so the external rituals involving emblems and paraphernalia do not reach the higher planes with which the path of jnana is concerned.
Within the mind of jnani where jnana sprouts and grows up to the highest level, other fruits appear like the yields of millet, without being expected for when he is progressing through each adhara chakra. Advancing in the same path, he should reach the sahasrara and taste the nectarine drops trickling from the sphere of moon denoted by the crescent (worn by Siva). This experience enables him cut asunder the knots (which block the way for further progress).
All the four stages of the path of jnana (jnana with charya, jnana with kriya, jnana with yoga and jnana with jnana) are applicable to the jnani. For a well advanced jnani who keeps himself in absolute silence, these are not applicable. The previous stage concerned with sahasrara in which he remains yearning for further upliftment would empower him to advance further. Charya and kriya are applicable only to those who limit themselves to the adharas of lower level.
In the path of jnana there are four stages applicable to a jnani. Jnana with jnana is the discipline of being detached from the notions of I-ness and mine-ness. Jnana with yoga is the discipline capable of leading the sadhaka to a higher state of nadanta where he could see the transcendental light. Jnana with kriya is the discipline which creates an ardent desire in the mind of the sadhaka to attain the final liberation from the entangled state.
[Sabharathanam note: The term nadanta here denotes the brahma-randhra where the eighth stage of the seed letter of prasada-mantra (Om haam haum sivayanamah) is reached. There 16 stages or states related to the chanting of ‘haum’. From the navel to brahma-randhra, eight levels from ‘akara’ to ‘nadanta are present. Above the brahma-randhra, there are eight levels from sakti to unmana.]
The sadhaka who has experienced all the four stages of jnana path is beyond the conflicting systems and beyond the fruits of good and bad deeds. He has reached the other shore of the ocean of scriptures dealing with the process of acquiring knowledge and with the science of yoga. He has attained purity which could not be spoiled by the other means. He has attained the supreme state of being in identical existence with Siva. He has evolved into a Siddha, not to be conditioned by Time.
The diksha known as jnana samaya enables the sadhaka to realize the nature of his own self. Jnana visesha diksha enables him to seek for the unfolding of para state within himself. Jnana nirvana diksha enables him to derive the full measure of grace of Siva who knows well what is good for each soul. Jnana Abhisheka enables him to crown himself with the feet of Guru.
5.9 San Marga
The followers of Sanmarga should see the transcendental and self-manifesting light whose nature has been described in the scriptures revealed by Siva manifesting in Sivatattva. They should be bereft of vices such as anger, lust and others (born of ignorance effected by mala). They should evolve into accomplished siddhas affiliated to the system of Sivayoga. Such sadhakas are considered to have conquered the God of death and to have known well the fundamental truth, not explicitly told in the scriptures.
There is a significant and unique path known as the Path of Guru, expounded by Nandi (Siva) who is the unparalleled Lord. That path reflects the greatness of Saivism. Nandi expounded that path for the sake of attainment of final liberation. That path is of divine nature; being the path of Siva it is specifically called Sanmarga. Lord Siva has systematically designed it and revealed to the people of this world so that they could set themselves on this path and get uplifted.
The Sanmarga would yield the greatest fruits related to the final liberation as well as the final liberation to those people who approach the Guru with reverence, worship him, meditate on him, touch his feet, extol his greatness, bear his feet on their head and evince deep rooted devotion to him.
Those who have not clearly realized the quintessence of Siddhanta through Sanmarga cannot know the real nature of Siva; they cannot be considered as ensouled persons; they cannot attain oneness with Siva; and they cannot be relieved from the cycle of future births.
The Sanmarga has emerged to enable the sadhakas to become Siva Himself. The sadhakas who follow this path should first assume His form through the process of nyasa. Then he should sever the five bonds (anava, karma, impure maya, pure maya and tirodhayi). Next, he should attain a liberated state (even while in his embodied state) attainable by being in absolute silence. Raising himself to a higher plane he should attain the intuitive experience of pure consciousness and then the experience of ineffable bliss.
For those who follow the Sanmarga, there are certain associated things such as: the face of Siva to which a particular lineage is related, monastery (pitham, adheenam), competent sanctified place, presiding Deity of that particular place, lineage, mode of appearing before the assembled disciples and so on. I will tell all such details to the followers of all religions. Now, listen to these details.
The exact means (sadhana) applicable to the followers of Sanmarga are concerned with the knowing self, knowledge and the knowable. Common disciplines belonging to the systems of lower grade are applicable only to the beginners and novices. The Sanmarga followed by those who have abandoned the misguiding systems and who have become free from the obstacle of the fourth state (a state from which one cannot be awakened) is the real Sanmarga capable of enabling the sadhaka to become Siva Himself.
It is said that under certain circumstances, the disciples who approach the Guru in order to be initiated into the Sanmarga may be instructed to be trained in the previous paths — charya, kriya and yoga. To adopt these paths is quite natural. If it is said so, is it not the right way of guiding the disciples? The motive is to direct them to be in constant search of Siva’s grace. Accept this, since this is the right path declared in the revealed scriptures.
Bonds which are different from the soul, karma which gets adjoined (to remove the bonds), occurrence of three states (kevala, asuddha and suddha), knowledge about the nature of the bonds and the bound self, various states such as difference, non-difference and others — only those who have realized all these along with the nature of the individual self are claimed to be the followers of Sanmarga.
Making oneself to be dissociated from the bonds, to be in oneness with the Lord, shaping the unyielding and stony heart to become tender and soft, reaching a higher plane where the eternal and essential nature of the soul gets unfolded and getting himself installed in a motionless state at that stage — these are the refined disciplines of the Sanmarga.
The Sanmarga has been systematised so as to enable the followers to be in the presence of Siva. If at all there is an auspicious path, it is Sanmarga; nothing else. The path followed by the good seekers who do not set themselves in the Sanmarga is also generally called sanmarga. But such sanmarga is to be actually known as a type of siddha yoga.
5.10 Sakha Marga
It is the Sanmarga which appears in a different form known as Sahamarga. This Sahamarga, which is eternal, is capable of leading the sadhaka to attain the great siddhi of liberation. The path which is of lower grade will keep him under the repeating phenomenon of birth and death. Will it yield a certainty of knowledge which could be attained through your path of Sahamarga? Never it will give.
Those who are not following the Sahamarga, which is also known as dvadasa marga (being concerned with the raising of sushumna through 12 states) cannot have the good opportunity to be associated with Guru, Siva and an unfailing good system. The Goddess of wealth will be frightened at their mere appearance and She will go out of their homes. In due course of time, they will simultaneously lose the features of their physical body and their close relatives.
Being in the state of Samadhi attained through yoga, the sadhaka can find a vast space within himself. In that space, he can have a beatific vision of shimmering light. He can see innumerable mystic powers assuming the form of Saktis and roaming around the vast space. Those who aspire for the attainment of such exalted state through yoga-samadhi will certainly evolve into Siddhas.
The fruits of yoga practice and the worldly enjoyments could be well experienced by the yogis in the same birth. Those who have fashioned their form to be in the likeness of Siva’s form through yoga, experience worldly enjoyments and all such enjoyments are meant for the attainment of the four goals of human life. But both yoga and bhoga could be simultaneously experienced by those yogis only who have immortalized their body.
Purification of adhara chakras and thereby the purification of 14 channels (nadis), specific discipline associated with 16 kalas, medha and others, vision of transcendental light within the heart’s space, shaping the five senses and the four internal instruments including the intellect (buddhi tattva) in such a way that they remain bereft of their common nature and induced with the nature of Siva, shaping the body to appear as the temple of knowledge — these are the disciplines of Sahamarga.
In the next stage, he would cut asunder the five bonds which are of conflicting nature with the subtle and strong sword of the refined mind. At this stage, Lord Siva who is reverentially thought of by 18 groups of celestial beings and worshipped by the three Gods, would, of His own accord, enter his heart and stay there for ever.
To the followers of Sahamarga who have fashioned their physical body so as to be glowing like a well ripened fleshy fruit, Siva would remain favorably disposed and present Himself within their heart delighting them like a fleshy ripe fruit. Within those who have refined their heart to be tender, soft and well matured, Lord Siva will present Himself and stay there, being in the likeness of a well-ripe fruit and mete out to them various delighted states.
5.11 Satputra Marga
Satputra Marga is the unfailing path of kriya mentioned earlier. It gives perfection to the sadhaka to uplift himself to the Saha Marga. The sadhaka, having gained perfection through Saha Marga and Satputra Marga, leaves these two behind himself and attains enlightenment personified as the Sakthi of Saha Marga. Such state induces clarity in his mind. With such clearness of mind he uplifts himself to the Sanmarga.
Performing the worship, systematic study of the scriptures, praising the Lord, repeating the mantras, observing pure and good austerities, to be truthful, to be free from impurities, preparing the rice offering — these and the purification of oneself are the disciplines of faultless Satputra Marga.
The six-legged bees would buzz around innumerable flowers. Without being bewildered, the white swans would always move towards the lotus flowers avoiding the blue lily flowers. Even after having seen the followers of Satputra Marga who are collecting the relevant flowers to worship the Lord, the worldly minded people do not adopt this virtuous path, not even for a short duration.
The shadow of the indescribable feet of the Lord is the shore which is difficult to reach. Sivasakthi, the consort of Siva is the vast and extensive shore. Not noticing these shores, the embodied souls are moving towards different points of unstable shore. Lord Siva guides them to reach either the shore of feet or the shore of Sakthi. He is the only King of all the seven worlds which He pervades simultaneously.
Mentally being elevated to the realm of Sivatattva, prostrating before Him, smelling the fragrance of His feet, adhering to the strict rules of incantation, praising His greatness with wonder, performing the systematic worship to the feet of the Lord — these are the disciplines of Satputra Marga. Even if you are frightened in view of the strict disciplines, realize that the exact purpose of your present birth is the worship of His feet. Having dedicated your heart and soul to Him, follow this path. He will appear before you through the same path.
Standing in His presence, I will worship Him. Prostrating before Him, I will always worship the Lord of my own heart. O the followers of Satputra Marga, showering the heaps of flowers on Him, you also worship the Lord who appears in the form of charming and transcendental Light. At each time you worship, Siva, the Lord of the Devas, will manifest within you entering your heart.
O, my fellow beings who have assumed a physical body and are living in this world! Listen to my words. The path which serves as a fitting step to enter into the path of Satputra Marga is the one related to charya. By worshiping Him constantly in such a way that the bonds which cause your repeating births get loosened and get away from you, always be delighted here. Be involving yourself in the worship of the Lord, get yourself immortalized.
5.12 Dasa Marga
To do the simple service of placing the lighted lamps, to collect the flowers from the trees and plants, to coat the ground with cow-dung, being with softened heart, to sweep the floor gently, to praise the Lord, to ring the bells fixed in the temple, to arrange for various kinds of ceremonial bath for the Lord — performance of such deeds related to the temple is the characteristic of Dasa Marga.
There are many persons who are not able to realize the truth, being enmeshed in the disputes as to “That one is the Supreme” and “This one is the Supreme.” There are no such persons who have worshipped, having taken a definite stand as to “This one is the Supreme” and “This one is the right path.” Follow the directions set forth in the Vedas and the Agamas and search for the grace of Siva, the King of Gods and devas. This is the correct way of dissipating the doubt harbored in your mind shuttling between “this” and “that.”
I breathe out (moon) and then I breathe in (sun) and hold the breath (kumbhaka, which is neither moon nor sun). Being in kumbhaka, I am always contemplating the feet of Siva, the unparalleled Lord. I am extolling the greatness of the Supreme Lord of the celestial beings. All such practices finally resulted in choosing the right path, Dasa Marga.
With delighted heart, the heavenly Devas recite thousand names of the Supreme Lord and keep themselves contemplating His greatness and grace. To those who are willing to worship Him, holding the view that Siva is as important as the eyes in respect of guiding the souls, Lord Siva, the revealer of the rhythmic hymns of the Vedas will remain favorably disposed evincing love in abundance.
Without involvement, diligence and love, the worldly minded persons praise, pluck and collect the flowers and worship the Lord. If you observe closely, you could understand that the mind of those persons who remain confined to the external worship only is like a diamond stone dropped into the pond thickly covered with moss. (Just as the diamond stone is in the depth of the pond, unnoticed and unretrieved because of the moss-covered surface of the pond, even so the mind of such persons which is enmeshed in the worldly affairs cannot be enlightened.) They do not know how to worship Siva who manifests Himself in the form of blemishless light and whose neck is blue and who endearingly remains in the mind filled up with unabating love.
There are four categories of liberation (in the gradation from the lower to the highest) — saloka, samipa, sarupa and sayujya — attainable respectively through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana. Among these four, saloka is attainable through charya in which the kriya path leading to samipa takes its roots. Once the sadhaka attains a state in which he could see all the 224 worlds within his own frame through the practice of yoga, he is blessed with sarupa mukti in which he appears endowed with the form of Siva. That form of Siva is the one which is not designed with the evolutes of impure maya (palokam). (It is composed of pure maya).
In the kriya path, samaya diksha enables the sadhaka fashion his mind to be the temple of Siva. Visesha Diksha enables him repeat the mula-mantra for a particular duration, adhering to the rules of incantation. Nirvana Diksha, the third one, enables him understand clearly the significant meaning of the mula-prasada-mantra (by means of purification of kalas). Abhsheka (the fourth one) enables him to be in the state of total absorption (samadhi) in which he remains in identical existence with Siva.
Saloka is that state in which the pasa modifies itself to be the fitting body of the sadhaka, compatible to the world of Siva into which he has entered. Samipa is that state in which the tirodhana sakti (obscuring power) has totally changed into grace sakti (guiding and uplifting power). Sarupa is the state in which the evolutes of pure maya get modified to be with the nature of Siva. Sayujya is the state in which the pasa becomes powerless and turns into the reflections of Siva.
The long-lasting sarupa is possible through the eight steps of yoga. Competency to follow the eternal Sanmarga could be gained only through such yoga; not possible through other means. Those who have trained themselves perfectly in this yoga gain ability to immortalize their physical body associated with all the limbs. The unfailing and faultless yoga is meant for enabling the sadhaka achieve such accomplishment related to his body.
Just as the mobiles and immobiles appear to have been designed with gold as soon as they approach the golden mountain, Meru, even so the body of the sadhaka gets converted into a lustrous body designed with the brilliant rays of Siva, the Lord of Mt. Kailasa, as soon as he enters into the shrine of Siva Guru who is experiencing the blissful state within his own self.
Saivam means to be in association with Siva. Saivam is that system which enables the sadhaka realize the essential nature of his own self and attain oneness with Siva. Saivam and Siva become unified at a stage when the sadhaka individualizes himself by disassociating himself from the tattvas step by step (Saivam, the means, gets merged with Siva as far as that sadhaka is concerned). The blissful state experienced by the sadhaka in sayujya is also notified as Saivam.
(Sayujya experienced by the sadhaka, being in this mundane world is) to elevate himself to a stage known as jagra-atita (through the upward occurrence of waking and other states); to install himself in the state of upasanta (a state of neutrality, without affected by liking or disliking, pain or pleasure); to fashion his body to be in the likeness of Siva’s form through nyasa; and to be within his own heart filled up with the power and force of ineffable and endless bliss.