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Ementus Principals Victoria Colleges 
Chulipuram a Ceylon 


mJEj JL ^ 

Emeritus Professor in University Colleges 






All nghts reserved 


meeting some years ago when I was staying at the 
Ramanathan College in Ceylon, has asked me to write 
some prefatory words by way of introduction to English 
readers. It does not seem to me to call for much in 

that way. “Good wine needs no bush”; but even the 
best of wines are apt to differ a little in their flavour, i- 
Good philosophy, in like manner, is apt to carry a 
certain flavour belonging to the country of its origin 

and even to the particular school of thought to which 
its author belongs. The present work professes to 
be an exposition of the Saiva School of Hinduism; 

and it seems to be an eminently clear 

is mainly ethical ; and, though the ideas on which special 
emphasis is laid may sometimes seem a little unfamiliar 

lack of familiarity is an advantage rather than otherwise ; 
just as most of us have found it an advantage to have 
ethical ideas presented to us in ways that are specially 

^ 1^4 Hr 

ebrew, Greek, Latin, French, or 
other foreign nationalities. I think it will be found that 
this is eminently true with regard to the present book; 

of course, it is specially desirable that English 
readers should endeavour to gain some familiarity 
with the modes of thought and expression that are 
characteristic of those Eastern countries with which 
our own has long been wound by very special ties. 
I am certainly not acquainted with any book that seems 

The Saiva School of Hinduism 

to me to be better adapted to contribute to this desirable 
end than the present one; and I beg to recommend 
it very heartily to all who are interested in ethical 
thought,, and especially in the ethical thought of India. 


72 Downs Park East 

July 1933 



Tools of knowing — tools of desiring — tools of doing — 
tools of regulation — the constituents of the physical 
body — varying tools of living beings — other worlds and 
beings — classification of the products of Maya 






The conception of the soul — the attributes of the soul — 
difference in souls — the activities of the soul — the 
purpose of activity — the succession of births 



Genesis of action — factors of action' — responsibility 
and punishment — classification of action 



The law — the method of operation — the time of opera- 
tion— channels of operation- — the effects of the law on 



Liberation from Anava — liberation from Maya 
liberation from Action — merging in Love of God 



The first section of the path — the second section — the 
third section — exercises for the three sections 



The basis of right action— studies helpful to right action 
—formation of right tastes and habits— extension of 
principles -conquest of long-standing habits— control 
of emotions — the company of the good and contempla- 
tion of God-science and philosophy-self-sacrifice 



The need for a definite programme of life— the infant 
life— the student life— the householder’s life— the 
forest-dweller’s life— the philanthropist’s life 




The value of the thought of God — forms for the con- 
templation of God — method of contemplation — time of 
contemplation — minor exercises 

chapter xv 


The needs of the third section — the aid of the spiritual 
teacher — the exercises of the first stage (Charya) — the 
exercises of the second stage (Kriya) — the exercises of 
the third stage (Yoga) — the exercises of the fourth 
stage (Gnana) 





Observances of the first stage (Charya) 







is a g 



accept the 


m me 

The most important members 
Saivaism, Vaishnavaism, and Shaktaism, whose addi 




PMl#* 11 ****"* ■» MMb 

derive their names from Siva, Vishnu, and Shakti. 

their akinness, they differ widely in their 

largest number of followers both in 
India and in Ceylon. In its orthodox form it is found in 
South India, Ceylon, Kashmeer, and Nepal. Shaktaism 
is concentrated in Beng al, the capital of which, Cal- 
cutta, is named after Kali, a name of Shakti. 

As regards the age of Saivaism, it is as difficult 
discovery as the age of the multiplication table. 
The Saiva religion as well as other philosophical 
religions contains truths which are discovered from 
time to time by men capable of finding them out* 
The truths of Saivaism are discovered by SjyajGnanis, 
who may appear xn this world at any time. But it 
may be mentioned that reference is made to Saivaism 

jp ********* # «» ‘WfW***^***^ 

and to the Sivagamas in the Mahabharata, which is 

^ , r , ^ #•"» w* ^ 

believed to have been written in the sixth century B.C.I 
There seems to be archaeological evidence to show 

was Siva worship in the Indus v 

. A* 


thousand years ago* though there is nothing to show 
that it was Agamic. Sir John Marshall, from the 
examination of the statuettes* found in the ruins 
of Mahenio-daro* and his colleague* Dr. Pran . Nath* 
from the inscriptions.^ have, independent of each 
other* arrived at the conclusion that Siva worship had 
been prevalent there. 

The chief characteristic of the religions of India is 

the scientific basis of their philosophy and observances. 

* -Hr Jb, 

Each religion starts with facts obtained from experi- 
ence* and proceeds to build up its philosophy. Of these* 
Saivaism* or Saiva Siddhanta* as it is technically called* 
is pre-eminently scientific* and the most modem 
scientific theories of the West find their counterparts 
in it. The postulate of the Saiva religion is the law of 

universal causation, which is the very foundation of 
Western science. Saivaism is able to accept biological 
evolution, as it posits the evolution of the whole material 

.... m, -i *** 

universe and of the souls themselves. The Agamic 

■ftjl) it) ■». K| . , KS 


meaning of the word Maya.” is that which involves 
and evolves* and that of a Linga*” the Saiva symbol of 

'ft* m- ft 

God* is that which causes involution and evolution. 

* “Among the many revelations that Mahenjo-daro 
and Harappa have had in store for us* none perhaps is more 
remarkable than this discovery that Saivaism has a history 
going back to the Chalcolithic age or perhaps even further 
still* and that it takes its place as the most ancient living 
faith in the world” {Mahenjo-daro and the Indus Civilization* 
Preface* p. vii). 

t “The cults of Siva and the mother-Goddess had 
already been shown to be very old. It is interesting to find 
them current as far back as 3000 B.c.” {The Scripts of the 

IP* ' 1 yy f v *** ** 

Indus Valley Seals* p. 25). 


n the region 




g as mere 

*4, iw **“ 

• *1 * *$ "8 if*"! ^ . 'll . H 

as something which deserves kmd^and sympathetic 
treatment instead of abhorrence or hatred. In psy- 
dToIogy, Saivaism has no place for faculties, but 

0«/ ^ ^ * lisKAft** *** i, ®m*s£s» * 

divides mental activities into cognition 

volition (Ahankara), and apprehension (Manas). Com- 

# # * ** -* ® 
ing to physics, it regards substances only as aggregates 

of qualities, and derives all mental and material 

JL vnip mm ^ *♦ 

products alike from the same three qualities, sentience, 

*®* *** ^*'**#^*^ 

motion, and inertness, thus making mind and matter 
at bottom the same. Its conception of God is that of 
a Supreme Being which, far from being anthropo- 
morphic or meddling with the universe from time to 
time, causes the evolution and the involution of the 
universe by means of agencies* in the universe itself, 
resembling in this respect the motion of the wheels and 
hands of a watch that had been wound. Religion is 
not regarded as an external authority based on revela- 

** S»w»lw Mfe** '#**%* 

tions, but as an urge in living beings which leads them 
to their ultimate goal of perfection. 

The word “religion” is used in this book as the 
equivalent of the word “Samaya,” which literally means 

Wl" 'TFpt 

that which leads to union. In feet, almost all theistic 

religions profess to take their followers to God. Religion 
must therefore be a power, and not a lifeless bundle 

j* m » - * * 

of doctrines and practices to be accepted or rejected 


according to the tastes of the follower, Saivaism 

* Like K&la and Niyati (see p. 8 i)j wherever mention is 
made in this book of God’s Love doing anything, it is as 
the ultimate agent and not as the immediate cause. 



regards the Love of God as religion itself, because it 
alone has the power to take a soul to God. The word 


“religion/’ however, is commonly used in the sense 
of “Mata,” i.e. doctrines. But mere doctrines are 


consequence to the evolution of the soul 

•tf <1 -a *«#* ««• tatw ' w 

the ultimate goal is as untenable as the belie f of the 
bigot that his religion alone can take a soul to God, 
since it is the capacity of the soul that counts and not 

The authoritative works on Saivaism are the twenty- 
eight Sivagamas. which are all in Sanskrit. The truths 

contained in these books are believed to have come 

by spiritual illumination, 
meaning so abstruse that 

The style 

******** «** ** ** *■* 

is so terse and the meaning so abstruse that the philo- 
sophical portions of these works could not be under- 
stood without extensive commentaries. A chapter* 
of the Raurava Agama called Siva Gnana Bodham* 

J!U tu^c «t» *4 m i .. , 

and consisting of twelve couplets^ saicTto have” beSn 
revealed to the great Saiva saint. Nandi as the essence 
of the Agamas, was translated into Tamil in the twelfth 

.AiHL. < k» foM^'**** 4 j i I .iM. 

-g nSr^sf *11 *1 tI “9 * * 

century by Meikandar, who also added to it a com- 

V-*. , , , „ . , * 

mentary. This was expanded by his disciple Arulnandi 

* jgf t JF $ !*Vk,( U j* I 

in his Siva Gnana Siddhiar. Siva Gnana Munivar* 
a great scholar who lived in the latter part of the 
seventeenth, century, wrote an extensive commentary 

r jr* * 

on Siva Gnana Bodham* which covers ji*CjXiX3» 
pages of folio in print. He and four others have written 
commentaries on Siva Gnana Sidd h iar. 


in me 

Siva Gnana 

— «h» ■** 

Bodham and Siva Gnana Siddhiar. The Agamic 
method of proceeding from facts of experience* to 
general principles has been followed here as much as 
possible. The philosophical part of Saivaism has found 
very little place in this book 3 as the purpose of this 
is to present 

has a direct bearing on daily life. An important 
omission is the exposition of the various theories 
regarding the relationship between God and soul, 
as to whether they are one or two or neither. 

The first chapter of this book deals with Mata, 

Ac * ^ 

and the second with Samaya. The third gives an outline 
of Saivaisnx and is followed by seven chapters which 
give a more detailed account of it. The Law of Karma 
is often grossly, misinterpreted, and ah attempt is, 
therefore, made in the nipth_£hapter to do justice to 
it. Chapters eleven to fifteen are devoted to the practical 
side of religion. Of these 3 the eleventh chapter divides 
people mto. three dasses according to their tendencies 
to do wrong, to do right, and to transcend the distinc- 
tion of right and wrong. Chapters twelve to fourteen 

* ?w '*'**W ►*•“**** *’ ^ 

deal with„aids, to those of the second class. Those who 
belong to the third class are the real Saivites, whose 

* In Saiva philosophy* experience includes yoglc vision 
obtained by spiritual illumination^ which may be regarded 
as a high type of intuition. 

j Jfc# 

The Saiva School of Hinduism 

vances are given in the last chapter. Certain 
details., relating to worship* which ought to appear in 
the last two chapters* are taken away from them and 
given as appendices* since they are not likely to interest 
non-Saivite readers. 

The conventional nature of religions — the claim 
of religions — the falsity of the claim — the failure 
of religions — the value of religions- — the reform of 


The Conventional Nature of Religions 

There was a time when religion* in the sense of a 
creed, held undisputed sway over its followers* 
permeated their whole lives* and was all in all to 


It was the mother of all institutions. The powers 


of the king, the laws of the land, marital and family 
ties, and social organization derived their sanction 
from religion. The head of the State bowed to the 
will of the head of the Church; emperors stood on 
bended knees before the Pope; and Vishnu, the 


protector of the Devas, is said to have stood trembling: 
before the half-naked beggar sage, Dadeechi. Men 
braved death with ecstatic joy for the sake of religion. 
No thing was prized so highly as religion. This was 

because the body was regarded merely as the abode 
of the soul, as something of no intrinsic value, and 


The soul was considered to be 


as valuable to the soul 
as air and food are to the body. Religion gave sustenance 
and strength to the soul, and illumined it. This was 
when there was a single religion in a country 
a rival. But when other religions came with a sim 
claim to divine origin, but with more acceptable views 


and impinged on it, it ceased to be supreme a 
glory became a thing of the past 

g 1X71 ncr lifp clrpnir 

to receive them from him. Human irauty worKeo. on 
it and gave it a tragic expression. It often assumed a 
militant spirit and brought in its train all the ignoble 


instead of love and peace, contempt and distrust 

tion instead of sincerity and honesty. The awakening 
of this spirit had had its repercussions on its internal 
working. Its benign influence was smothered and its 
power for good became negligibly small. Several other 
circumstances* both internal and external* such as 
formalism and commercialism* scientific scepticism 
and materialistic tendencies have also been at work 
sapping its vitality. Now it serves only as a label to 
mark out people* and that for no very good purpose. 
It has lost its claim to the name and retains it only by 
common consent. It has therefore become almost 
conventional. It is useful to find out how it met this 

* The advent of Christianity* for instance* was a death- 
blow to Druidism in Britain. 


***«« •* wiWMs*. «MMt 

observances^ and make extravagant claims regarding 

-u «•*» 

them. The authorship is attributed either to God or 
to a godly being. The doctrines relate to the self, 
the universe in which it is placed, its goal, and its 
master if any. The observances include forms of 
worship and rules of conduct. It is claimed by alm ost 
all religions that the doctrines are final and infallible 
truths, and that the observances lead to the highest 
conceivable happiness. The infallibility of the teachings 
and the effects of the observances are guaranteed by 
their divine origin. Few followers of a religion en- 
deavour to examine the validity of these claims. The 
belief in them is instilled in childhood along with 
unquestioning love for it. This is strengthened by the 
faith displayed by other members of the community 
and is fed by the love implanted along with it. It 
becomes crystallized and its validity seems to be no 
more doubted than that of mathematical truths. 

The Falsity of the Claim 

The belief in these claims has thus no substantial 
foundation, and the whole superstructure crumbles 

* A 

down under the impact of demonstrable truths. Those 
who do not by birth belong to a particular religion 
and have therefore not been inoculated with a belief 

in it are unable to accept its claims. In order to silence 

the doubts felt by such strangers 

inquirers, an 

attempt is made to raise religion to the level of a mystic 

philosophy, which is supposed to transcend not 
science but also the method of scientific approach. 


A comparative study of any two religions is enough 
to make us see more clearly the intolerable nature 
the claim for infallibility. Religions contradict one 
another on vital points. One religion says there is only 
one God, another says there are many, 

✓ nj ft/ 

says there is none. Again, one religion says that souls 
exist but have only one birth each, another says that 
souls undergo several births. These inconsistent 

cannot all be truths, at least final truths 
Similarly, observances prescribed by different religions 
are diametrically opposed to one another 

religions enjoin worship of idols; and some, of images; 
and others condemn the worship of both. Some insist 
on feasts on sacred days, others prohibit them 
insist on fasts. Some divorce life from religion, others 
make it part of it. We know that of a number 
inconsistent statements for any given purpose, all 
are false except one, and in some cases all are false 
without exception. 

The priests and preachers of religions have admitted 
the fallibility of their religions in practice if not in 
theory. In this, like their religions, they occupy a 

* The following are truths but not final truths: (i) the 
body is real, (2) the soul is real and has one birth, (3) the 
soul is real and has many births. These become false only 
when the reality of other things is denied. 


fundamental doctrines of their religions., and have 
adopted fresh ones. There are Christian divines who, 
on account of the assaults of science., have given up 
long-cherished articles of the original creed, such as 
the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Atonement. 
They no longer regard the Gospels as trustworthy 
documents and have attempted to reconstruct the 
life of Jesus. Even the Roman Catholic Church, in 
spite of its greater orthodoxy, has entertained the idea 
of dethroning the Old Testament. The Vedic religion 
had flesh-eating thrust on it by the Shakta commen- 
tators of the Vedas, as has been shown conclusive!) 
by Swamy Dayanand. It accepted Buddha as an 
avathar of Vishnu in order to swallow Buddhism. 
Buddhism, in turn, took over the gods of the Vedic 
religion to catch the imagination of its followers. 
Such conduct on the part of the apostles of the various 
religions shows that their claim to infallibility is merely 
a pretence maintained for the sake of the effect that 
the theory of a divine origin undoubtedly has on the 
unreasoning crowd. The relinquishing of this claim 
would be followed by the relinquishing of the claim 
of divine origin. 

If this is the true nature of their doctrines, their 
rituals and observances stand on still more insecure 
foundations. Of the observances, only some are re- 
ligious; the others are really social. Regarding the 
social observances, opinion is divided as to whether 
they are an integral part of religion or only an 8L(lji 
of it. Those who regard them as part of religion 



The Saiva School of Hinduism 

endeavour to follow them with varying degrees of 
success, while others set no special value on them 
and make no effort to adhere to them. But there was 
a time when religious ceremonies were carefully 
performed. The belief in their divine origin, coupled 
with the hope of reward or the fear of punishment, 
compelled adherence. Besides, the priest as the 
most learned man in the locality and as the intermediary 
between God and man commanded the highest 
respect. His influence also made itself felt in the 
observance of religious exercises. So these exercises 
became almost part of the custom of the community 
that professed them, and the thought of giving them 
up would not ordinarily occur to any one. But the 
earnestness and zeal with which these were observed 
depended upon the capacity and the character of indi- 
viduals. Most people began with earnestness and 
devotion, but when the charm of novelty passed away 
the concomitant mental activity subsided and the 
exercise became automatic and almost meaningless. 
A few exceptional souls were earnest to the very end, 
led saintly lives, and enriched their religion by their 
precepts and practices. But, on the whole, religious 
exercises have always tended to be rather nominal and 
unreal. Just now, even this nominal observance is 
fast disappearing. Home life is different from what it 
was at one time. Parents seldom exercise any influence 
over their children. They are themselves not devoted 
to religious exercises. Life has become complex. 
Man has harder work to do and more problems to 
solve, and therefore has not sufficient leisure to think 



have diminished their claims to sanctity and the zeal 
of their adherents. Besides* these practices give no 
tangible results and do not therefore obtain precedence 
in daily life over the task of earning a livelihood or 
over pursuits which are more pleasant. The ordinary 
man selects a few, exercises for observance* and 
fancies that he follows the religion. These exercises 
are generally of little value* and serve more as the 
outward distinguishing marks of his religion than as 
spiritual discipline and aids to devotion. 

Thus the inner life which is the essence of religion 
has ceased to-day to have any value* if it has not* in 
fact* been completely forgotten by its nominal followers. 


i lur e 

e ngtons 

religions may be attributed to three 
causes : {a) faulty doctrine as to origin* (b) structural 
defects* and (c) wrong methods of initiation. 

Several religions have grown out of the childish 
speculations of primitive peoples* their unsound 
inferences* and their natural yearning for the discovery 
of some superior being who can help and protect 
them in their troubles and sorrows. The human mind\ 
seeks the cause of every unusual phenomenon that ' 
comes under its observation. In the absence of sufficient 

;e, supernatural powers were in the early 
days attributed to natural phenomena. Thunder and 
hghtning, rain and storm, were regarded as superior 
powers on account of their mightiness, andT became the 

2 < 

e Saiva School 

^ •***>«„ +** ^ ^ V 

and Venus, were regarded as gods on account of their 

** «*f iff q imay> 

and cholera 

were frightful and were believed to spare the people 
only if they were worshipped. Certain trees and rocks 

*** 44*** 

associated with some arresting incident came to be 
regarded as the abodes of divine beings. Ancestor- 
worship and hero-worship grew but 6F reverence and 
esteem. Religions of this type are not worth con- 
sidering. The origin of religions like Saivaism and 

Y * % * *d -t «#f « <*, * ^f^wsa. «* t ** , * < *® w * w *' m ^ 

Judaism is shrouded m mystery, and it is impossible 
now to trace the failure of these religions back to their 
source. The younger religions seem to owe their 

power. Snakes and crocodiles, small-pox 

.... AUk ... -i* ■ --J P* M4^ar>A L » . i ■ ■ 

«» w u Uf #“** 

««. **««**<? 

<« • » A 

were invested with divinity because they 

origin to certain men who received higher knowledge. 
\Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad are supposed to have 
'received such knowledge. 

But it may be assumed that they could not have 
communicated to their disciples all the knowledge 
they had received. For certain forms of knowledge 
based on direct experience are not communicable, 
such as the taste of sugar, the sweetness of divine 
contemplation, and the capacity to see God in all 
things. Even of those that could have been communi- 
cated, their disciples could have received only what was 
within the capacity of their intellect to understand 
or their nature to appreciate. Knowledge useful only 
to a few cannot be good enough for a large number, 
and may not therefore serve the purpose of a national 
or a universal religion. Even if all the knowledge 
gained had been transmitted, it would not by itself 

have been enough for the needs of the religion. Religion 
is not a matter of mere knowledge. It relates to life as 
a whole and must be able to influence every department 

comprehensive scheme and definite means of leadin 


said to 

practical life* no religion can be satisfactory or really 

The second cause of failure is the defect in the 

structure of religions. Every religion must have a 
more or less philosophical basis. It must give an answer 
to questions such as the following: Is the world real 
or unreal? Is a man the mere body or something 
higher than that? Is there a purpose in his life* has 
he a goal to reach* or is life left to chance? If there is 

a goal* what is it? Is man the sole factor in the attain- 
ment of the goal or is he guided and controlled by a 
superior being? Answers to these and similar questions 
will form the foundation of a religion and may 
called its philosophy. If the religion holds out a goal, 
it must give an account of the path to the goal and the 
means of reaching it. 

The elements of a religion are thus fourfold, and 
if they are fully worked out and co-ordinated, its 
structure may be said to be satisfactory. But few 
religions possess such a scientific structure. 

Lr Jw 

religion may have an unsatisfactory theory but a lofty 
goal. Another may present a clear-cut path but prescribe 
inadequate means. Such religions are not workable and 
fail to be of use to their followers. 


The third cause of the failure of religions is the wrong 
method of initiation. The general rule is that children 
automatically become followers of the religion to which 
their parents belonged. Here the question of suitability 
or of utility never enters. A saintly father may have a 
vicious son who follows his father’s religion. If it 
suits one, it cannot suit the other. A religion which 
demands great self-sacrifice cannot be followed by one 
whose intellectual equipment is poor and power 
of self-control weak. It cannot be said that the father 
and son were bom with the same degree of intelligence 
and the same amount of self-control. The inequality 
of men even at birth cannot be questioned. Therefore 
the religion of the father adopted by the son must 
end in failure. 

Besides, each stage of civilization demands an 
appropriate development in the religions of the 
people. A religion which rules by threats and punish- 
ments cannot remain long in a country where know- 
ledge and freedom have their sway. Then the religion 
becomes as useless to parents as to their children and 
proves to be practically lifeless. 

The second method of adoption is that of being 
converted to a religion. Few people, however, are 
converted to a new religion by conviction. Before a 

man oritrAQ 1111 T110 i*a 1 i cyi rvn nti OTAiitirl 1 h a 


is convinced of its errors, he must have had a thorough 
and accurate knowledge of it. But even the humblest 
religion has a field of knowledge, too wide for the 
average man to master. Besides, he requires extensive 
knowledge of the physical, mental, moral, and social 


accept the new one instead. Such extensive knowledge 
of the two religions and of the sciences can be acquired 
by very few persons. Therefore* conversion by convic- 
tion* which is the only right course* is next to impossible. 
Conversion can therefore be made mainly by wrong 
methods such as trading on ignorance* appealing to 
human weakness* and the offer of temporal advantages. 
Men converted in this way cannot be said to have 
accepted the new religion on the ground of accept- 
ability or of the spiritual value in it. 

The Value of Religions 

There are religions in an undeveloped state like Loka- 
yata (sensualism) which have been serving the evil 
propensities of their followers by upholding loose 
morals. But the religions of the more advanced peoples 
have, as a rule, been able to do good. They present the 
ideal of an all-loving God or of men on the threshold 
of godliness. The contemplation of these ideals is 
open to most of the followers of a religion and tends 
to counteract evil tendencies and to strengthen the 
good. The practices enjoined by such religions also 
serve to exalt the mind, and their rules of conduct 
give knowledge of right and wrong. But we know 
there is a vast gulf between mere knowing and realizing, 
and between realizing and doing. Knowledge is only a 


realization* of truth, and action are ends* and if these 
are not attained little progress is made. 

Another advantage of a religion is that it produces 
uniformity in the habits and customs of its followers 
and brings about unity among them. It serves to 

social aspect of life. 

But the unity in a particular religion has often 
caused disunion in the larger unit of the nation itself. 
The followers of some religions have taken up the 
position of distinct political units and created jealousies 
and factions in the State. Men have been led to think 

of their religion as they thought of their country* 


and have endeavoured to increase the number of its 
adherents as they would extend the territorial limits 
of their country. Some men have been even more 
loyal to their religion and ready to sacrifice their 
country’s interests for the sake of their religion. Wars 
have been fought in Europe on the basis of religion. 
Under the impulse of fanaticism* people have gone so 
far as to think that men of other religions had no 
right to live in the world created by their own God* 
and inhumanly to massacre the so-called infidels ; 
or to think that those who belonged to other religions 
were doomed to eternal damnation* and to use all 
means* fair and foul* to save them from hell-fire by 

* The realization of a truth compels action. Mere know- 
ledge does not. Several people know that all men are essen- 
tially divine, but do not translate the knowledge into action 
in their dealings with others. But those who have realized 
the truth act up to it. 


* « 

We have seen that very few follow a religion on 
grounds of suitability; many of those who appear to 
follow a religion do not really belong to 
For the sake of a mere name, atrocities are committed, 
and persecutions are carried out without a moment* s 
thought. Those who run amok in the name of religion 
are usually those who are most indifferent to 

social and religious obligations enjoined on them. 
Their conduct is due partly to ignorance and blind 
zeal; but it is also due in part to the decay that has 
set in in most religions to-day. 

The Reform of Religions 

If religious institutions are to last long and be really 
useful, they ought to strengthen their weak points 
and undergo such modifications as will create inter- 
religious harmony and good will. Each religion must 
clearly define its scope and purpose and pe rfect its - 
fourfold elanents-JProselytizing must cease. The public 

must regard it as a crime against humanity and the 

State and society must penalize it. 

religious institutions may 
undergo, they can never become the real religion. 

The real religion i s dynamic. It must be able to uplift 

, . ... . 1 . . ” 
a soul and ultimately unite it with God. The religions 

that we know of have nolifeTno driving force. They are 



and decay* One emperor comes 

and wipes it out. The very lives of 

The real religion instead 
Be _ a,, creator. It must susi 

of being 
dn the i 

a creature must 

*** rXW^Iw 4^. Viitu to 

being sustained by them. It must be 

control us 3 and give us 
will deal with it. 

next chapter 


The existence of Real Religion — its characteristics — 
its functions — its relation to conventional religions 
— its fourfold knowledge — the agents of religion — 

the Saiva view of religion 

xistence v 



Real religion is 




* * 

which lies behind such phrases 


«*&****»/ JiMrt, «,r 

iousTexperiences are not understood to have reference 

are experi 

ences containing an invariable factor, religion, 
account of which they are so named. Most of us have 
religious experiences. There have been 
in our lives when we thought more o 
others than of our own, when we had real sympathy 
for others, an 
serene joy, “a joyless joy.”* This is religious experi- 
ence of the ordinary type. Of a higher order is the 

thoughts, quite unconscious, for the time being, of 
his very existence in this world. This man has no 
thought of his body or his worldly possessions. Sacri- 
ficing any of these for the sake of others is therefore 
a matter of no consequence to him. So he is all good- 
and has almost transcended even the ordinary 

Joy without excitement, 




* * 


e occasional desire even in a hardened criminal to 
help one in distress. The outstanding common factor 
of all these experiences is goodness. A religious man, 
again, is not a partisan of any one religion, but one who 
views life as an occasion to extend his love for others 
and to efface himself as much as possible; in short, 
he is one who is good. 

Thus religion manifests its presence in goodness, 
whether it be in “religious experience 35 or in “religious 
men . 55 It must therefore be a cause of goodness. An 
invariable concomitant of goodness is truth. It is 
only the person who is in possession of truth that can 
really be good. The man who knows the truth knows 
that he is not a mere individual, that he is not even a 
mere member of society, that the soul of souls 
is_jGod, and he is therefore essentially divine. He 

*•*»* s&wtmjxvf ww ^ m ™ *** 

will not therefore do what he would if he had thought 
of himself as an individual pitted against ot herindi- 
viduals. He will not set any value on pleasure or 

iFWtwfirtWr t*? <t wm# *»* 

possessions. He is 
in tune with the infinite, and is therefore good. 
Possession of basic truths is thus essential to absolute 
goodness. Again, wherever there are goodness and 
truth there are peace and harmony, which form 


bliss. So wherever there is goodness, there are truth 
and bliss. Religion thus manifests itself in three 

forms, goodness, truth, and bliss, which are really 
its effects. Saivaism calls these Sat*-chit~ananda. 

% fSMw **> w til tow**® qum. * *■ 


* Literally Sat means that which lasts for ever; and 
goodness is everlasting. 


in various countries 

# m 

H V 



human race. Again, as 
and the subhuman 
is universal in man 
also. As even the most saintly man has the urge to go 
higher, there is no limit at which the urge stops. 

The objective of 

e may therefore define religion as the inward power 
which urges all living beings to strive to reach higher 

l perfection. As 

it produces perfect goodness, it 
greater than that. Acting on different kinds of people 
the urge produces different degrees of goodness. 
These degrees are the goals of different religions in 
the conventional sense. Of these we shall 

We have posited that the religious urge is universal, 
question arises. Why is it so conspicuous by its 
absence in our ordinary lives ? In some persons it makes 
its appearance after long intervals. It has to be found 
out whether it leaves a person when it ceases to 
manifest itself, or stays permanently in him but without 
being recognized by any one. If it is a force that comes 
and goes, it will not go of itself, as its purpose is to do 


The Saiva Schoo, 

good ; and it has to be assumed 
power to put it in and take it out in special circum- 
stances. A power greater than religion would not 
play with it in an aimless and inconstant manner, 

JL J * 

as even humble beings like ourselves work 

, . - -sr — - * r ... t 

definite aims. Besides, it must be more beneficent and 

” *****?* quuMMsW »• 

would not therefore take away from us an influence 
that does us endless good. The urge must therefore 

v* 1 ** ^ * amnia ^ i» ft **' ^ ♦ A| *9 

exist m all hvmg beings, work incessantly on them, 
and lead them along the path towards-perfection 

e Functions of Religion 

The chief functions of this urge which induces evolu- 
non are twofold, the pursuit of ideals and the pr&Ter- 

****** t * rnrtlLt W£5 

former is the ultimate aim and the 
to it, as without life no kind of 


Mui******^ H , ^ ***** 

activity would be possible. Therefore every effort 

AW MMUHA A WtM fcAAUUf *>«W ’** SNto+frWHu 

made by a living being to procure 

to se 

easure is 


It may be asked whether what are called wrong acts 
also are caused by this urge. The answer is, yes. 
Wrong acts are those that do not reach the fixed 
standard. Wrong acts differ from right acts only as 
failure in an examination differs from passing it. A 
pass is obtained if a certain standard is reached. 
Failure results in not reaching the standard. A right 

certain standard of knowledge. 
If the standard is not reached 

act requires reaching a 
desire, and self-control, 
the act is wrong. The 
reached all of a sudden. 

required standard cannot be 
It has to be reached gradually. 

right ones. No child can learn to walk without a. 
number of falls. Falling is a necessary evil. As falling 

is faikng to walk, every 
of the cnild losing the 

to be a case * 
it has attained to wa 


adjustment of some set of muscles 
proves to be an occasion for gaining 
Similarly every wrong act of ours 
us realize its evil consequences, 


joints and 
in walking. 

us* makes 
tendency to 


Wrongdoing is therefore a step towards the goal. 
Just as if the child were able to walk without a 
fall it would be all the better* so if a man could 
avoid wrongdoing it would be desirable; but it is 

Not only the microcosm but the macrocosm also 
would appear to come under its sway. After the world 
had been formed and living beings sprang up* evolution 
seems to have been working for a purpose. One side 
of the purpose is the attainment of knowledge. The 
senses came one after another as means of giving 
knowledge by direct observation. Finally came the 
higher intellect of an Einstein and of those men whose 
vision was probably even keener than Einstein’s* 
and produced* perhaps* far subtler theories* which 
have not reached the scientific world. If evolution! 


had been directed only towards physical efficiencyj 
no special purpose could be attributed. But its pursuit 
of the means of attaining knowledge shows that it is 

^^MM*#***^ ^ M ^ V4 u3 (pfM irtPW 


% | u i_ Huta^ 

"^Jlu V**-** 1 **■ 

Evolution has been wot 

WW*»«W* to. 

**“*'!!< *»**»« «nt » t , , , f , u „ *¥ ’* 

ik> **" in imbuing 

ftUtWMntflMM ■<*** Wt*ttlliW«t*l mlum*M,titf jpt ta4 '•“!«*« *» Wu« m **»* MM)#* 

too. it IS 


m * # — ’ — ’""' — . - 

man who is good rejoices even when he undergoes 

physical suffering. The thief's mind is not altogether 
happy even when he derives comforts and pleasure 
out of the wealth acquired by theft. The joy of the bad 

V J 

man causes bodily excitement and consequent depres- 
sion., and is hardly ever steady or lasting. His joy is 
really pain compared to the joy of the saint. Besides* 
might is giving place to right. The enslaving of 
individuals is disappearing. The practice of enslaving 
nations is on the decline. Even animals are receiving 
fair treatment. There are recent phases in the evolution 
of man which tend to make the world good* pointing 

****'''"*'•** ^■».mw n« <w*W 

to the goal of goodness* truth* and bliss. 

0*1 t • 1 • t-Tu « « « 

hocial, evolution also marches m the same direction. 

The individual sacrifices his interests for the welfare 
of the group* which* in turn* sacrifices itself for the 
whole society. Selfless co-operation is gaining ground 

^ _A „ ~~ ,*,»«»* V< KkA-+- m ^ 

and will eventually dominate the world. This will 

be the .basis of universal goodness* which appears to 

*•*“ — «*-** ^ 

be the very goal of evolution. If we admit this* we must 
postulate some factor or power that causes this purpose- 
ful evolution of the universe towards goodness. This 
power must be an all-pervading one and can be 
identified with the power which we call religion. 
The third function of the power is thus the evolution 
of the universe as a whole. 

We referred to 

raises different souls and stated that these heights 

« ^ ^ 

might be^caired religions in the conventional sense. 

^pi ' +<» ». V, ■** pK »** l *^*’* s **• 

These heights are really the heights of truth, goodness* 

***%» <XB Klf 

and bliss attained by souls* and will have to be measured 
in terms of one of these. Smce we have no means 
of accurately measuring goodness or bliss* we have to 
make the division on the basis of the amount 

JK *»* W <i l mv Hr 

truths that "come within the purview of a ^w« & , 

may be singled out as a convenient 
basis of division. Certain living beings are incapable 
of cognizing themselves and have no knowledge of 
themselves. Some animals and human beings identify 
themselves with their ~ individuality. The religion of 
these may be called Egoism. There are some men who 

f ,^>T „ »t ***, ihHUMw, 

identify themselves with other men, and who may be 
called Altruists. Some transcend all these and find a 
unity in the whole universe. These may be called 
Universalists. These divisions may be further sub- 
divided. An Egoist, for example, may identify himself 
with the body and the senses, or with the intellect, 
or with the empirical ego, and so on. Thus, though 
religion itself cannot be divided into segments, its 
effects on living beings may be classified and shown to 
correspond to some of the prevailing religions. Since 
these effects depend upon the state of the individuals, 


The Saiva School of Hinduism 

they are the measure of the state of these individuals* 
and a gradation of these effects becomes a means of 
classifying individuals into sections., each of which may 
be called a religion in the conventional sense.* 

ts Fourfold Knowledge 

We must now see how religion takes the souls through 

mm t m wnW 

various sections of the path one after another, 


^ L wai-aB. •u# m «« ***jj|“ ^ *t ^ ^ J~„h w mmx&i * ** W!6| l£s» 

The evolution of the individual requires first of all 

e preservation of life* and secondly the pursuit of 

w ,« rtt itmtuuro, mm at** M WlWW t W *' •** ‘^ttn-awtSssam 

ideals /These ideals are milestones in the path of 

* * W. xm****» ** 

evolution. Every individual stands somewhere among 
these milestones and strives to reach the next which* 
the time being* is his goal. Religion is directly 

individual to his chosen 
goal. For this* it must provide him with the knowledge 
of himself and of his condition* of the goal to be reached* 
of the path to the goal* and of the means of reaching 
the goal. 

As regards himself* a man must know what 
essentially is* whether he is the body* the senses* or 
the intellect* or a compound of these* of - something 

^ i rr « .Mi*i> stum* ** G? 

different from these. If he is different from them, he 
has to know the essential nature of all these* of his 
desires and actions* and of the material universe* 
and whether this universe is a fortuitous concourse 

* As the sections are successive* the conventional religions 
corresponding to them must be successive. One of them 
leads to another. Therefore it is wrong to suppose that they 
are different paths to the ultimate goal. 

of the self, the actions of the self, the material 
universe’in which the self is placed, and the Supreme 

“ His goal win depend largely on his view of the self. 
If he thinks that he is the body* he is a Lokayata 
(sensualist), and his goal is sense-pleasure. If he 

to m ^WnaiUBkBBSVt, Wf ^astatWfcrttwHMU'^ *rawrw*JH4M|*p 

identifies himself with the intellect, he is an intellec- 
tualist, and his goal is intellectual enlightenment. If 

^ ^ W - ^ **" <W» rt «wc tow 

he goes higher he finds himself to be a bundle of Gunau 
(character), and his goal is the perfection of character. 

The path to the goal consists of the various steps 
that lead to it, and the means are the vehicles that take 
one through the steps. The path of the Lokayg 

° X XT 

(sensualist) is luxurious food, drink, etc., and the means 
^ * 

any method of getting them whether just or unjust. 
The intellectualist pays no regard to sense-pleasures 
becauseTie has passed that stage. His path begins with 

^^a.**^**^ *■ » *> **- * ***'** <** 

the acquisition of gross or superficial knowledge. 
Then he attains deeper and deeper knowledge, and 
finally that of the true nature of the things that concern 
him; and the means of attaining this are purity of 

life, study, introspection, contemplation, and the 

**“*--* •**»-*£ 

application of knowledge to real life. The path of the 
Gunaist or ascetic consists of the successive subjuga- 
tion of wrongness and dullness, futile activity, and 
calm serene activity. It may be asked why the last 

m m iJ 

one should be subjugated. Though it is calm and 

MW1E *tow3»w«siat 

which have no lasting value. Thus ereryman. requires 

r*-*". on j* 

a fourfold knowledge for ms 


is either by intuition or by external know 

( ’***&)lt* 

.Mb******** W “ 6 ^* 

**«*+*!W ■><*■**,*„ M«l%nU<WfM«fc' W *K MM*TO 

Tedge. All the conventional religions owe their existence 

«S«# <* * Mf « * 1** * 

to knowledge supplied by the genuine religious expert- 
ence of their founders, and if people follow or profess 
these religions, it is part of the scheme of the evolution 
of human beings. 

Agents of Religio 

There is no fear of religion failing to give a person the 
knowledge he needs for his onward march to the goal. 
Religion is ever vigilant, knows the real knowledge 

** '**”• ***** hmm <***•*' 

with which to feed one at a given time, and does its 
work thoroughly. It is an omniscient, almighty, and 
all-loving power, and can do its work infinitely better 
than any of our so-called religious teachers. The latter 
need not therefore rack their brains over the salvation 
of other human beings. If they will follow the lead of 
religion for their own salvation, that is the best they 
can do in this world. On the other hand, it is very 
foolish for a person to imagine that he is the agent 
for the salvation of men and that but for him whole 
nations would be ^oomedjo hell. These men set an 
unreasonably high value on the conventional religion 
that has, by the accident of birth or through other 
circumstances, claimed them as its own. But there 
is nothing wholly wrong even in them, as this way 
of thinking is inevitable at their stage of evolution. 


guides the universe* of which this earth is only a 

^ m l»k ib Mk ft* 

particle of dust and we human beings the same fraction 
of the earth as it is of the universe. If they can serve 
religion with humility and help their brethren without 

arrogating to themselves the function of that supreme 
Power* they will do themselves and others positive 

#Tpf 7 

1 n e 

tv a View of Religio 

.eal Religion is called by Saivites the power of 

God (oiva Shakti). This idea is set forth in the second 

***** *»*+>*• ^ ^ 

couplet of Thiruvarulpayan of Umapatishivam : “The 
Shakti of God works for the upliftment of all souls 
to the condition of God Himself.” She, our mother,' 
knows what we need more than our~ earthly mother. 
All the conventional religions may perish, but She never 
perishes. Manickavachakar addresses God thus: “Only 
when the thought comes to the mother does she feed 
her child. But you feed us spontaneously, feel for us 
much more. You melt our hearts and give us goodness. 
You illumine the spirit and reveal the truths; you 
pour into us the sweet honey of bliss which knows 
no end. You envelop us all round. You are our real 
wealth. You are Siva and Lord. I pursued you and have 
caught you unawares. How can you now get out of 
my grasp?” He praises here the Love of God, which is 
the Real Religion. 

Having shown what Real Religion is, I propose to 


“ V 



a del 

Postulates of Religion — God — the soul — Maya — 
Anav a— action — path — exercises — -goal 

Postulates of Re 

Every science is based on some postulate or postulates 


The postulate of Saiva philosophy is “Somethin) 

become nothing.” 

something and nothing are incompatibles, the truth 

a postulate. The reason is that there are philosophies 
which make the universe itself an illusion and which 
do not admit the reality of anything physical or mental; 
and there are others which admit the reality of the 
material universe, but maintain creation ex nihilo. 
The existence of such philosophies necessitates the 
enunciation of the postulate and the explanation of 

disappearance of water by evaporation 
electrolysis and the appearance of dew-drops on leaves 
lead an ignorant man to the belief that something 
can become nothing and something can 
nothing. Similarly, the involution and evolution of 
the universe may be taken even by better informed 
people to be an instance of something becoming nothing 
and coming from nothing. To understand the involu- 

tion and evolution of the universe, it is enough to 
understand the processes of the evaporation and 
electrolysis of water. We know that, in neither case, 
has water become nothing, but that it has turned into 
vapour in the one case, and into hydrogen and oxygen 
in the other. In both cases, what really happens is 
only a change of relationship between the particles that 

go to make up the water. When it becomes vapour, 
the distance between the particles increases ; and when 
it splits into gases, the atoms that form the water 
molecules form molecules of their own. This is true 
of every kind of change in the universe. When the 
universe undergoes involution and evolution, the 
relationship between the particles in it undergoes 
change, but things neither disappear altogether nor 


Since change takes place only in the relationship 
of the components of a substance, it follows that 
whatever has no components cannot undergo change. 
According to the old view of chemistry, an atom was 
indivisible and would not therefore 
undergo change. But recent discoveries have shown 
that an atom has components. In the years to come, 
even these may be resolved into more minute compo- 
nents. It is safe to assume that a point can be reached 
beyond which there can be no further analysis. The 
component or components obtained by such ultimate 
analysis cannot have any further components and will 
not therefore be subject to any change. This leads us 
to the principle “that whatever is further unanalysable 

in them* they have always been and will always be 
what they are. That is* they are eternal. This gives us 
the second corollary of the postulate. 

When a thing changes or becomes another, it does 
so under the action of a force that produces the change 
in the relationship of its components. These forces 
also are governed by the postulate and cannot become 
nothing or come from nothing. Saiva philosophy 
postulates the existence of the material cause and of 


the efficient cause of every phenomenon and is there- 
fore essentially deterministic. The fundamental prin- 
ciples of this philosophy are derived from its postulate 
and the corollaries. We shall now consider what it 
has posited as the ultimate realities and the relation- 
ships between them. 

We may start with the assumption that the universe 
has been undergoing evolution. In the course of this 
evolution, living beings have been variously adapting 
themselves to varying environments. There must be 
a power in them which makes this variation possible. 
Again, the varying nature of the adaptation shows 
that the power is not mechanical, but intelligent. 
This power we have called “Religion” in the last 
chapter. It must be possessed by some intelligent 
being. This Being is usually called God. Since He leads 
all souls to perfection He must be an all-loving Being. 


‘ t/ 

the soul with certain adjuncts and another man with 
other adjuncts, the two men use the same word to 
denote two different things and cannot find means of 
agreement. The right course is to use the word to 
denote the essence of a living being, divested of all its 
adjuncts. It then becomes a simple thing that cannot 
be analysed any further. 

Since living beings are numberless, souls also are 
numberless. We see that a living being knows, desires, 
and does. Therefore the soul must have the ability to 

know, to desire, and to do. But we see that the know- 
ledge of a living being, say a man, changes. This 
change must be due to the change in the quantity of 


being, it cannot undergo change (corollary i). There- 
fore the energy of knowing is not a characteristic of 
the soul. Besides, if it belonged to the soul, it would be 
definite in quality and strength or degree and could 
never change. But we see that it does change. Therefore 
the power or the energy is not the soul’s and must be 
supplied to it by something else. Just as an engine 


living being also changes both in degree and in kind. 

Therefore the power of desiring cannot be the soul’s. 
It can similarly be shown that the power of doing also 
is not the soul’s. So, we see that the soul has the ability 

to know, to desire 


, but 

activities. The energy must 

• * * 

power necessary 
therefore be supplied to it by something else 






which supplies the energy to the soul is called 
. It supplies not only the 

energrv nut also 
necessary for using the energy, namely, the physical 
and the mental powers. It also gives the embodied 
soul a world to live in and things in the world to enjoy. 
All the worlds are products of Maya. These worlds 
are constantly undergoing change and are either in 
process of formation or in process of disintegration. 
In other words, they are evolving or involving. The 
word Maya itself means that which (Ma =) involves 
and (Ya ==) evolves. The body, the mind, and t 
energy have alFoorhe from Maya and are therefore 

*. if? — -m-r- -“**»•*>«.- w. 

not d iffere nt from one another. As Maya 
cannot be further resolved it must be 

* **** 

(corollary 2). 

But the knowledge that the soul receives through the 

products of Maya is limited and often leads either to 

49 D 

iva School of 


doubt or to error. Just as, in dim light, a snake 

in suspense as 

mistaken for a piece of rope or is 
being either a snake or a rope* so* with the httle know- 
ledge that we derive through Maya* we often mistake 
wrong for right or are in suspense regarding 
nature of a thing. This limitation of knowle< 
be due to some other cause or factor. 

This cause or factor is called Anava. The word literally 
means that which makes the soul (Anu ==) an atom* 

^ * -rnmmiuwimu**. m*#*#***/**^ 

that is* makes it indefinitely small and powerless. 
Anava constricts the soul’s abilities to know* to desire* 

.{tract. «*w M. M mwImUMIC *™ 1 **> 

^ W 

to do* and does not allow energy to have its full 

j _d.**e.t *mnwWMtf UW**i*** 

«*t k "» 

scope. But certain products of Maya exert a force in 

4*^ A. ^ ■' 

opposition to it and allow a gradually increasing flow 

iti *™ S WWJrtllb- # ^ 

of energy according to certam principles, when tne 

«*» * J» a ' *— <rf *df -A * * /*% 

soul gets a little knowledge* it becomes conscious of 
itself* identifies itself with the body* and commits 
endless blunders. 

The most pathetic feature of its blunders is that it 
is hardly ever aware of them. False pride is one of the 
first products of little knowledge* but when a person 
is actuated by it he feels he is quite in the right. 
The consequence is that the person does not realize 
for a long time that pride is his bitterest foe. Anava 
is thus the root causeoFtSesoul’s blunders and con- 

“sgffuStmisery. Maya gives limited knowledge through 

*•* ^S^it****** *,***<*.>» < » ^ * *• *“ 1 "* * j*y itotfKmm* 

the senses and the intellect, and assists the soul m its 

mmmlWA I***"* ^sc^KWw^ « 

struggle with Anava. 


as circumstances permit* sometimes 


arrested several years after the murder and then 


punished. The effects of these actions* manifested 


pain and pleasure* produce a tendency in the souls 

***** H«»*«** 

to prefer the right and avoid the wrong. This tendency 
coupled with the knowledge received during 
experience has the power of counteracting the evil 

JL 4* C/ 

effects of Anava. When Anava is completely overcome* 
the soul becomes free and reaches the final goal. 

T* ^ 

»» t# up If 

The Path 

The path to the ultimate goal may be conveniently 
divided into three sections. At the beginning of the 
first section the soul’s knowledge 

* Self — the ego. 


tMnks of itself as an important being in the universe 
and is filled with the thought of itself and of its great- 
ness. It is then individualistic and anti-social. While 
passing through this section, it realizes that its own 
welfare is to some extent linked with the welfare of 
others, and feels the necessity to love and help others 
and to be loved and helped by others. In the second 
section it puts into practice the lesson it learned 
while in the first section, fancies itself to be only a 
member of society and not an individual, and endea- 
vours to conserve the good of society as a whole. 
The love for the society of which it is a member 
gradually extends to other societies and ultimately 
embraces the whole human race. It no longer considers 
service as a duty but feels that it is a natural function 
of man and finds satisfaction in its performance. 
In this section, the self loses its individuality and 
begins to think in terms of humanity at large. This 
brings further light to the soul and reveals to it its 
identity with that on which the whole universe depends, 
namely God. The third section begins here, and the 
activities of the soul are directed by this new concep- 
tion of oneness with God and take the form of service 
to God and through Him to other living beings. 
Attachment to God becomes strengthened in this 
section and ends in identification with God, which is 
the ultimate goal. 


Each section of the path has exercises specially suited 

X X «/ 

to it. Their purpose is to facilitate the journey through 


But these exercises have that special object in view. 
Some of these are reminders of the ideals. To this 
class belong the sacred ashes of the Saivite, the cross 
of the Roman Catholics, and the rituals of various 
religions. The cross reminds the Christian of the 
sacrifice of the Christ; the sacred ashes remind the 
Saivite of the love of God and spiritual illumination, 
and rituals generally serve to concentrate attention 
on the relationship of the soul to other ultimate 
realities. Reading the lives of saints and learning 
to love them tend to raise one to their level. The con- 
templation of God and of His perfection brings home 
to one’s mind one’s own insignificance, lifts one’s 
thoughts to high ideals, and directs one’s love to the 
ultimate reality. Besides these, there is a whole series 
of graded exercises particularly suited to each section 
of the path, which make themselves felt in the lives 
of men, influence their character, and uplift them. 

The Goal 

The ultimate goal is becoming one with God. The soul 
has no power of its own, but has the ability to use any 
power it receives. Its activities depend upon the amount 
of power that it receives. This power gradually increases 
and illumines the soul. At the goal, the soul is once for 
all free from the hold of Anava and is filled with and 
enveloped in the love of God. It is then indistinguish- 
able from God, just as a crystal pillar in the rays of the 


noon-day sun cannot be distinguished from the light. 
It has then none of the activities of knowing., desiring., 
or doing. It enjoys the inexpressible bliss which 
knows no change, and in which all thought of lover, 
love, and the beloved is absent. 



The conception of God — the attributes of God — the 
love of God — the five acts of God — the contemplation 

of God 

The Conception of God 



views regarding ms 
there are religions which 

have very primitive views of God, regarding Him 
only as a superman and attributing human frailties and 

weaknesses to Him, or picturing Him as a tyrant who 
is a slave to hatred and anger, pride and revenge. 
Such notions demoralize the life of the worshipper 

even advanced religions have a popular side, which 
depicts God in a human form so as to appeal to the 
imagination of the masses. As a corrective of such 
notions, a list of God’s attributes must find a place 

* A 

in religious philosophy, even if it does not help us in 
knowing His true nature. 

The Attributes of God 

The attributes of God may be deduced from the 
conception of God given in the last chapter. We had 
to postulate the existence of God to explain the evo- 

lution of the universe, and presented Him as the 
director of the universe. Since He causes the evolution 
of the universe, He must be different from Maya, 
soul, and Anava, which together form the universe. 
Maya, we all know, possesses unlimited energy, and, 
as God directs all this energy, several religious philo- 
sophies hold that He has unlimited energy. But energy 
can be used only to overcome resistance. He has no 
occasion to use energy, and it would therefore be 
inconsistent with His Lordship of the universe to 
attribute power to Him. What is ordinarily understood 
by the possession of unlimited power is really the 
directing of the unlimited energy existing in the uni- 

omnipotence is 


Some theologians attribute to Him omnipotence 

of view, 

same as unlimited power. But the 
word is sometimes used to mean the power to do what 
is, humanly speaking, impossible. The incarnation 
of God is an example of this. Birth and sufferings 
after birth are limitations, and it is therefore as im- 
possible for God to be bom as man as it is for a circle 
to become a square. It would be trifling with God to 
attribute to Him an omnipotence which includes the 
performance of acts involving inconsistency, God is 
also believed to help His devotees in the performance 
of miracles by interfering with the natural course of 
events. This is attributing to God the human frailty 
of favouritism. Miracles are only acts that cannot be 
explained by the knowledge available at present to 
the scientist They really obey laws, and when these 


Since God causes the evolution of the universe* 
it is inferred that there can be nothing m it of which 
He is not aware. Therefore He is said to be omniscient. 
But He does not derive His awareness as we do by obser- 
vation or inference. He transcends time ; and the past* 
the present* and the future are equally present to Him. 
But omniscience really falls short of a correct notion 
of God; for knowing is an action* and all actions 
imply change; whereas the idea of God implies that 
He is changeless. It is more correct to say that He is 



of all knowledge. 

God is not a Being of whom any need can be predi 
cated. There is nothing that has to be achieved 
Him. He is therefore said to be a perfect Being. 

If a thing undergoes change, it must be subject 
to some power or circumstance outside it, which com- 
pels the change. Even when a man changes his plans 
himself, the occasion for the change is a circumstance 

outside himself. Since all the circumstances in the 
universe owe their origin to God, there can be nothing 
in the universe which can control Him or compel Him 
to change. He is therefore said to be unchangeable. 
He neither thinks nor desires nor acts, as each of these 
activities implies change. Neither has He likes and 
dislikes. A person is said to like or dislike a thing 
according as it gives him satisfaction or the opposite. 

is nothing capable of affecting God in either 
of these ways. It is therefore wrong to say that God 

likes certain of our acts and dislikes certain others. 
It is just as immaterial to Him whether we worship 
Him or despise Him* as it is to the fire whether a man 
shivering with cold goes up to it and warms himself 
or fails to avail himself of it and continues to suffer. 
The Love of God goes as much to the despiser as to 
the lover., and in due course draws* him towards God* 
just as the fire ultimately attracts towards itself the 
man who has been standing aloof and has found the 
cold unbearable. 

Since God does not occupy space and is in no way 
limited by it, He is said to be omnipresent. But the 
word is taken to mean being present everywhere* and 
the question is sometimes asked how God can be 
everywhere* seeing that space is occupied by other 
things. The principle* “that two things cannot occupy 


substances which alone occupy space. The same error 
underlies the idea that there can be no reality besides 
God. It is argued that if souls or the worlds should be 
realities* God would be limited by the fact of their 
mere existence and become imperfect. But* strictly 

JL ** ij 

speaking* it is wrong even to say that God is every- 
where. For* God being everywhere* implies that He 
occupies space. To avoid the error* some say that He 

* These so-called acts of God may create the impression 
that God works just as we do* and drive one to the conclusion 
that He undergoes change by these acts as we do by ours. 
Since our acts are processes in which energy is spent* they 
cause change in us. But God does not act as we do* and there- 
fore His acts do not cause any change in Him. 



■ RZi 


|B mb ‘HI 





M i 

H X | 




. we can comprenena 
the only quality the 
e to us. We have seen 
this precious body* 

. energy we require* 
es us in our march 
1 the crudest form of 
ade it live. This is 
ave the soul more and 
■ the human form was 
e the protoplasm to 

X X 

the human form for the sake of the soul must be 
unlimited. Since this is the only quality of God 
that we can comprehend* our conception of God must 

A, ** X, 

be in terms of His love. Just as He is infinite* His 
love is infinite. Occasions may arise when even the 
mother hates the child. But God hates no one and 
has the same infinite love even for the most unrighteous 
as for the righteous, the object of the love being to 
make all perfect. 



* “They are ignorant who say that Siva and Love are 
different.” — Tirumantram* 270. 

In some philosophies God is called Absolute* and Love of 
God is called Siva. 


The benefits conferred on the soul by God’s Love 
are fivefold, and are intended to free it from the grip 
of Anava and to give it the means to make the fullest 
use of its abilities to know, to desire, and to do. The 

first of these is the gift of the body and the mind, of 
a place to live in, and of things to be known, desired, 
and attained. The body and the mind belong to each 
individual. The granting of these gifts is usually 
called creation. If it were not for the Love of God, 
there would have been no creation or evolution. 
The particles that form our very body would not have 
come together and the particles themselves would not 
have been formed. It is the possession of the body >and 
the mind that makes it possible for us even to think 
of ourselves. 

The body that a soul received is believed to be 
determined by two circumstances. One of these is 
the condition of the soul in its relation to Anava. 
Anava constricts the capacities of the soul, and during 
evolution the constriction is lessened. So 

the soul’s relation to Anava is given by the powers of 
knowing, desiring, and doing it has already obtained. 
At a certain birth a soul possesses a certain amount 
of these powers. It will have to start with these and 

increase them further after the birth. The body that 
soul receives must therefore suit the powers that 
it already possesses. The organs that control the body 
and those that are subject to them must be such as 
can give scope to the soul’s powers. The nature of the 



iut, as 

s experience 

* * 


two circumstances become identical and reduce to one . 

e power to sustain the 

e soul 

performs fresh acts and experiences pain and pleasure, 
these it is associated with a great many other 
s 5 which also perform fresh deeds and undergo 

erefore a highly complex and involved function 


fish in a single draw of net. Several men 
them. The fish and the men deserve their experiences 
brought about by the act of the particular fisherman. 
The sustenance of the life of Napoleon meant the 
death of hundreds of thousands of human beings, 
the upsetting of empires, and the misery or happiness 
of millions who were indirectly affected by his acts. 
A Thiruvalluvar or a Tolstoy has saved and will save 
many lives by their gospel of Ahimsa. Not only a 
single man, but a single act of a single man like that 
of the Sarajevo assassin has often affected millions. 
In all these instances the acts and experiences of those 
who were affected by the acts of the particular indi- 
vidual could not have been otherwise, and were inter- 
related in the large unerring scheme of things called 
the sustenance of the universe. 

When a person experiences pain as a result of his 


to deter the man from repeating the offence, though 
the tendency is often counteracted by the inclination 
to wrongdoing due to Anavic influence. Experiencing 
pain is thus a twofold boon. It gives intellectual en- 
lightenment and creates a tendency to avoid wrong- 
doing. Similarly, the experience of pleasure which 
conies of doing right gives a tangible proof of the good- 
ness of certain acts and strengthens the resolve to 
act similarly thereafter. The latter of the two boons 
is really a power to counteract the influence of Anava. 
These are very valuable indirect gifts of God’s Love 
received during life, and may be called enlightenment 
and suppression (of Anava) respectively. These are 
the third and the fourth gifts of God’s Love. 

The fifth gift of God’s Love is disembodiment or 
the removal of the physical body. This happens when 
the body that a soul has received is no longer of any 
value to it. When the body has been removed, the 
soul gets a fresh and more suitable body. Disembodi- 
ment is thus a change that ought to be agreeable to 
the soul, in spite of the dread of death, which is an 
expression of the instincts of self-preservation and 

These five gifts of God’s Love* are usually given in 

* The evolution of the soul which results from these 
five gifts as well as the evolution and involution of the 
external universe goes on without any act or effort of God, 
though it is due to Him. The evolution of the universe and 
its involution go on like the swing of the pendulum. 


Receiving these five invaluable gifts from God., our 
sense of gratitude would ordinarily fill our minds with 
thoughts of Him. But we hardly ever think of Him. 
This is due to an error in our way of living. We have 

been used to regard the world and the body as ultimate 
realities and have fixed our thoughts on these. We find 
it hard to extricate our thoughts and use them for the 
attainment of real bliss. But there have been men who 
have realized the evanescence of the world and the 

eternal bond of God’s Love and found real joy in it. 
A Saiva Saint, addressing God., says., C€ 0 giver of 

1 ■^*^* **' Z mrtm *^«J£**^ * 

peace, you gave me yourself and got me in return. 

^rtsnu 1 #r- H^rf****** 4 

ho is the cleverer of the two? I got endless bliss 
from you. What did you get in return? O master, 
who has made a temple of my heart, O Siva abiding 
at Thiruperunthurai, O Father, O Lord, who has 
taken possession of my body, to you I am no equal 
as an article of barter.” T hing s of the world do not 
give us joy unmixed with grief. Our dearest friend 
raises sorrow by his inevitable absence from our 
company or by becoming a prey to misfortunes. But 
God’s Love is ever with us and undergoes no change 
to grieve usTThe highest earthly love known to us 


The Saiva School 

^ fyi 

is that of a mother., and 

atom)*** ”**** 

appealing to us to conceive 

A i C*» 

mother. The thought of an unceasing endless store 

***** « rff •£ «W 4, <d « ® -I -( " 

love, ever with us, helping us, cheering us, and illunain 
ing us* should fill us with ecstaticjov. Another Saiva 

•f ijtHwtfiS- #** ,wk*^Kvt'*4ia^ .*** |UA ^ ^ in M ^ w,, ^rwn, ** w*# «• n» lW * u, * #4, ' kW *“ ^T^T* *» - r i 

g~*\ # 1 1 . & *W # -B .* M ^ ^T****®^^ 

Saint says* As I quietly and calmly contemplated 
God s Love with real devotion* there issued forth 

a higher torm of joy. On the day 

W . ., * J^e***t/ V? 

*%IWrttat- <0(41 «WK*W t^Wt* 4» ta*J*nti» 1*1 ¥***&> 

seemed bitter and fresh honey 

it* sugar 

** o 



The Love of God being with us* the loss of worldly 
possessions would be nothing to us. Despair in this 
world would be impossible. Sorrow or grief would 

HUM** •* an ww> ^ _ 

.find no room. Fearlessness and joy would reign 

• “T r~ . ^ CCTT77 T ~i ~ "5**. 

m our hearts. A saint says: We are not the slaves of 

MiwuwuwBtuM *«<*»*' 

any one . We are not afraid of death. We are free from' 
woes and sorrows. We have no guile. We are above 
all things. We know no diseases. We shall not bow 
to anything. It is all joy with us, never sorrow. We are 
slaves of one who is no slave of any one. We are 
eternally bound to Him.”* 

The contemplation of God is far more precious 

than even the five invaluable gifts of God’s Love. 

Making worldly possessions ^ugk^contSnoliSOTl 


fees us TxonT^ giving bhsVlTShes 

off ange r, hatred, and lealousy ; taking us to God, it 
gives us a mother, father, brother, and friend, insepar- 

* He further says* “Seeing that He who made the universe 
and found joy in it resides in my heart as mother* father, 
and brother* what cares can I have? He is the friend of His 
devotees. He of Tirupatiripulyur has always been the 
invisible companion of those who contemplate Him ” 


The nature of Anava — the effect of Anava on action 
— the effect of wrong action on Anava — the place 
of Anava in right action — the effect of right action 

on Anava 

The Nature of 


av a 

The cause of evil is one of the sreat 

V * i ***mu> 

nd the 

parent are engaged in finding out and removing the 

XwS""** «tw *' M *«* "*«*<» *.„„,** ** ^ 

cause of evil. Different evils are known to have different 
causes. But it is the ultimate cause of evil that 
sophy tries to discover so as to get 
can counteract it and serve as the 

evils. One philosophy attributes evil to desire, another 
to selfishness, another to ignorance, a fourth to Satan, 
and so on. Some desires arc good and others are bad. 

'tt'fe****** * ^ ^ ^ « *” * 4 *. 

is bad desires that usually cause evil. Besides, 

^ MW im * v * +1 rn \ w 

are not ultimate causes. For example, a man 
de sires to steal another man’s money. This desire 
is the effect of the desire to obtain something he needs, 
say .foo d, which in turn is caused by the desire to 
avoid hunger. The ultimate desire is the desire to 

iin is a relative term. One man’s pain is 
another., man $ pleasure. There are some who 

Atfrft At^H' 

g sure m starving if they can give their food to others 
in need. Pain being thus indefinite, the desire to avoid 




is also 

say that 


esides, desirin 

An effect .cannot 
desire cannot be an 

as s 

* 0 

«**»»«*»*(*•- F^MlWfiw*™** m************* «*»»«*< *►>»<*» »•* 



*V *+MtMh± 

W m. M ittW** WVwwp y* M WW »*» * w * i, *'* tt 


0 » 

to make 

mself happy even at the expense of others. Being 
a desire, it too cannot be an ultimate cause. 

f* * 


are the result of loose 


it would bum. The fact is 

cause, we 

ut these statements 

The real cause is its desire to reach beautiful things 

rong knowledge may be a cause but not ignorance, 
aiva philosophy cuts the Gordian knot by denyin; 

murders B, it is good 
for A and B. God is the director of the universe, and 


under His rule nothing untoward can happen. When A 
murders B, the latter gives up the body and gets a 
more suitable body. A suffers for the murder and gains 
wisdom, foresight, and mental balance, or will throw 
off the present body for a fresh one. The dependents 
of A and B also will become wiser and more self-reliant. 

ut, though 5 aiva philosophy denies the existence 
evil, society not only affirms its existence but works 
for its eradication. This amazing difference between 
religious philosophy and social philosophy is due to 




. Cdu 


If the murder of B 1 
must have thought that 
world because he had v 

A is a premeditated act, A 
had no right to live in this 
nged either him or some of 

neither A nor anyone else has the ability to form a 
correct judgment regarding B’s right to live in this 
world. If the murder followed an exchange of words 
or blows, it was committed in a rage when the mind 
was incapable of forming correct judgments. Here the 
cause of murder is insufficient thinking. If the mind was 
not clouded by anger, the murder might have been 
due to a weak will which could not prevent him from 
the act. The murder might also have been avoided. 

A X J 

some method short of murder. He was not able to 
take such action owing to lack of sufficient energy. 
So the murder is traced to insufficiency either of 
knowing, willing, or doing. We have attributed to the 
soul the ability for these three activities. The soul 
then would function correctly if it received sufficient 
energy. The supply of energy comes from Maya, 

^****^ iw ** M ' W ^ . * J 

which freely offers al l that the soul wants. H &0c© 'fiiiii x c* 
must be a slip jxtween the cup and the lip. The 

the full flow of the energy that is offered. This some- 

IM. «, ^ 

1 _ 

is a sig 

ing requires a name, and Saiva philosophy 

^ ** M *T MK ortlM ,«.** «^"Tl W» uT 

t name derived from the word 

“Anu,” which means an atom. Anava therefore means 

that which tends to make the soul’s powers indefinitely 

hat Anava is, is a matter of great dispute. Some 
attribute the limitation or the imperfection of man to 
the soul’s tools, the mind and the body. These tools 



•* w m aw M * tl iiiK.miiii in; 

not offer 

us such imperfect gifts unless they were good for us. 
These could not be good for us if the soul had no 
limitation, if the soul had been unconditioned and 

r* . i • 


? ***** 

not give an impotent 


intellect to a soul whose capacity for knowledge is 

or none 

hmwii #»«* 

«Mhm i^iun# m *. toftpNgi 

perfect. Therefore some direct limitation of the soul’s 
powers must be postulated to j 
body and mind with limitations. 

Others attribute the limitation to the soul itself 
and regard it as an essential quality of it. But we know 
that when an essential quality of a thing disappears, 
the identity of the thing itself disappears. Suppose a 
loosely jointed framework of four equal rods is placed 
so that one of its angles is a right angle. The rods then 
form a square. But a slight push or pull at a comer 
robs the framework of the right angle and hence of 
its square form. Along with the disappearance of this 


the square which possesses the quality. So* if the limi- 
tation should be an essential quality of the soul, when 
it disappears the soul also must disappear. In reply 
to this objection., it may be said that the soul as soul 
does disappear and becomes God. But if one substance 

entity formed of the other by the addition of a third 
substance. For example* iron becomes rust by com- 
bining with the third substance* oxygen. But* as 
both God and Soul are eternal* neither of them can 
be complex (corollary i). Besides* if souls should 
become Gods* there would be many Gods* each of 
them directing the universe. Such a conclusion is 
prima facie an absurdity. Again* since the soul is 
eternal* its essential attributes also must be eternal. 
It would follow* therefore* that its limitation must 
also be eternal and the soul could never be free from 
them* and that evolution would be futile. 

The Effect of Anava on Action 

We have given the name Anava to that entity which 
blocks the passage of the energies to know* to desire* 
and to do. Let us consider the condition of the soul's 
ability to know. Anava prevents the soul from knowing 
the whole truth and thereby causes misunderstanding. 
Just as in the dark* for want of sufficient light* a man 
mistakes a rope for a serpent* so the soul* in the insuffi- 
cient knowledge received by it* conceives things to be 

7 ° 


different from what they are and blunders at every turn. 

Its first and foremost blunder is the identification 
of itself with the body or mind. It does not see its own 
vast potentiality* the eternal brotherhood of souls* and 

its absolute dependence on u-od. It is aware only of 

Jim J 

things it can perceive with the senses, seeks pleasure 
as the summum bonum of life, and makes the search 
after it its all-absorbing occupation. Each ego, while 
engaged in this work, sees other egos interfering 

with its desires, and carries on a perpetual warfare 
against them. This fosters the feelings of I-ness and 
My-ness. I-ness consists in setting a special value on 
oneself and in applying one law for one’s own self 
and a different law for others. My-ness similarly 

sets a special value on one’s own possessions, sentient 
or insentient, such as relations, friends, and property. 
The feelings of I-ness and My-ness are the cause 
of the majority of our wrong deeds. There are also 
other channels of wrongdoing which, as we have 
already seen, proceed from the insufficiency of energy 
caused by the constriction of the soul’s capacity by 

The Effect of Wrong Action on Anava 

A n ava leads a soul to wrongdoing, uverv wrong is 
ultimately followed by the experience of pain. The 

^ mu rfr ,, 1 1 1 m u i M jw m r 

experience of the suffering that follows it forces itself 
into the soul’s stock of knowledge. The painfu l 
consequences of an act are eithe r immediat e or remote. 
If a thief is caught, he receives immediate punishment. 



wrongdoing. The person realizes that the wrong 

***** * o 

act ought to be avoided, and a strong desire arises to 
avoid such wrongdoing. This becomes stronger with 
each repetition of it. The act is then alto 
up. The constriction of the three capacities is then 
overcome though only to a small extent. In some cases, 
if a particular form of wrongdoing is overcome, some 
allied forms also are given up. A person who has 
obtained so much real knowledge and er — • 

as to avoid theft mav srive un cheating and! 


* B 






gotten^ or 3 even it it is remem t 
ation between it and the suffering m 
t remembering and forgetting are 
the conscious mind. In the subco 
$t impressions are retained nev 

ft * 

onect the wrong with its painfi 
sides 5 the pain by itself might be a 
s soul act more righteously thereafh 


righteous acts. Almost all human beings are under 
the gri n o f Anava. Therefore Anava exercises its 
influence even over those who do righteous acts. The 
problem is whether it influences the performance of 
such acts. 

Right action proceeds from fear of suffering, love 
of^gain, or the convieti on that i t is right. A person is 
dissuaded from a wrong act through fear of direct 








is due to a misapprehension, which is the result of 
Anava. Therefore fear of suffering is occasioned by j 
Anava, and its share in right acts induced by fear has I 
to be admitted. As regards love of gain, gains are 
really the opposite of suffering and belong to the same 
class. What is true of suffering must be true of gain, 
and the influence of Anava on right action proceeding 
from love of gain is easily seen. Coming to the third 
cause of right action, we find that the influence of 

is at its lowest ebb. The 

act is able to do what is right, because he 

doer of a right 

^ *. ***** 

he sees that a 

particular act is right, feels that he ought to do it, and 
does it. But there is in him the feeling of I-ness. He 

ought to do it, and 

says, “I ought to do it” and this “I” is the first offspring 
of Anava. Not only in ordinary right actions, but even 
in religious worship, when a man adores God as “you” 
and refers to himself as “I,” Anava is there and exercises 
its influence. 

But the domination of I-ness in right acts is more 
likely to hurt Anava than benefit it. The moment the 
person realizes that right action is beneficial to him, 
he will follow it with all his might. It increases his 
power to desire and to do the right, and thus works 
against Anava. As right acts are followed by pleasure, 
there is an additional flow of the power to desire and to 
do right. Right action thus causes a steady increase 
of the powers of knowing, desiring, ana doing. The 
result is that the man mo began to do right to 
gain some ends learns to do it in the absence of such 

motives. He will do right for its own sake and later 
lose even the feeling of I-ness. 

■ness disappear all 

sees not himself. The so 
oody of God. Just as the 
and never says that 
not that it acts. Anava is gone. All tl 

not even joy; for without sorrow there can 
What it experiences can only be described i 


activities, as we shall now see. 

from the book passes into the eye and falls on the 
retina. It is carried in some other form by the optic 

act the constriction and to allow the energy to reach 

This tool 


philosophy has nam 


*>< #M 

to the soul, it sees it but cannot cognize it. It can 



w M M 

*JjM «w *k 

existence of the thing, f and 

requires a tool to relate^ it to things already known. 

****** 13 mr * 

■(intellect). In the act of cognizing the book, the soul 
thus makes use of the power of knowing and the three 
tools, the organ of sight, Vidya, and the intellect. 

organ of sight, there are the organs of 

* The physical eye is by mistake called the sense organ. 

and smell, making five organs 

E4K %i **“ U, ’ u « Wf 

*3 ^ <r*ff 

through the senses thus involves 

Tools of Desiring 

When the soul is aware of the existence of a t hin g, 
it desires to have it if it is useful to it. To desire a 
thing, the soul must get the energy to desire. Desiring 
consists of two elements, the knowledge that a particu- 
lar thing is desirable and the act of forming an attach- 
ment to the object. The energy necessary for this 

* /“Hr ft m. ^ • ***•*•»>*"■' *■* <**■ •" ®*ww m •»-. igm 

is that of knowing and doing. This dual energy must 

W>W6t<<W» “ 1 ~ u, fl(iu .Illy SmO tqf 

readLlhejpul. The ability for desiring being con- 
stricted bv Anava, a tool is necessary to relax the 
constriction. This tool is called Raga. When the soul 
- has got the power of desiring, it requires a tool with 
which to desire. This tool is called M an as (an aspect 
of the mind). Thus desiring requires the tools Raga 
and Manas, besides the energy to desire. The Manas 

i Vtf 

is ever active, attaching itself to something or other. 
This unceasing activity of the Manas makes life much 
fuller than it would otherwise be. Once it has got 
into the habit of attaching itself to a particular thing, 
it goes up to it even if, later, it is of no value or is 
even harmful. 

7 /* Tr\ * 

oo Is of Doing 

When the soul conceives a desire, it may follow it up 
with action. If the desire is to think, the work is done 



means of impulses 

sent along certain motor nerves. These., in turn, must 
be controlled by some organ. Such an organ has not 

been found in the body and must be a superphysical 

*/ x x */ 

tool like the organ of sense. Saiva philosophy calls 
it the hand-organ.* This organ is controlled by what 
Saiva philosophy calls Ahankara (will). This, in turn, 
works at the instance of the soul. For this, the soul 
must be supplied with energy, and the Anavic constric- 

t i 

counteracting tool is called 
between the stimuli of the organ of sight 


hand-organ is that the stimulus of the former 

comes from the Ahankara (will). To the class of hand- 
organ belong the organs that control the work of the 
mouth, the legs, the excretory organs, and the secretory 
organs, making five tools in all. 

. The Mowing stxteejjt tools ate txttis fo und to l3e 
/ necessary for the three activities of the soul to know^ 
, to desire, and to do: 

1. Five organs of sense. 

2. Five organs of action. 

3. Three tools for {a) thinking, (b) desiring, and 

* The hand-organ controls not only the motor nerves 
that move the hands, but also those that cause similar 
motions, as that of the eyelids, 


(c) doing, viz. the Buddhi (intellect), the Manas 
(an aspect of the mind), and the Ahankara 

4. Three tools respectively to counteract Anavic 
constriction, viz. Vidya, Raga, and Kala. 

These are tabulated below. 


Bodily loots 



Internal Tools 




The eye, 
the ear* 

Five or- 
gans of 











legs* etc. 

leg* etc. 





There are two powers which we have passed over. 

e have seen that when we walk along the road many 
objects catch the eye but only a few are perceived. 
There must be some power to determine what must be 
observed or known, what must be desired, and what 

done. This power is Kala of Saivaism. 
the tools that counteract Anavic constriction according 

to a certain law. The law is that the soul must know, 
desire, and do what is best for its evolution. This 
power obeys God’s Love, which, is the ultimate agent 

81 F 


follows the 


philosophy calls this Niyati, 

The Constituents of the Physic a 

We have so far analysed the tools of the soul that are 
not found in the physical body, which is itself a product 
of Maya. Saiva philosophy holds that it is composed 
of five elements, called Bhutas, which also form the 
physical universe. These elements are made of still 
simpler ones, called Tanmatras, also five in number. 
They are supposed to assist the sense organs in differ™ 
entiating sensations. The Tanmatras, along with the 
mental organs, form a subtle body in the same way as 


the five elements form the physical body. 

It is now possible to give an account of the evolution 


of the t mental organs, the sense organs, and the two 


kinds of elements, the Bhutas and Tanmatras. All 

$ I £ | ^ ii 

these come ultimately from a substance called Mula- 
prakriti (lit. ultimate origin), which evolves into a 
product called Guna (lit. quality). This is a neutral 
synthesis of three qualities, which may roughly be 
called sentience (Satva), motion (%jas), and insen- 
tience (Tamas). All mental and physical products are 
varying compounds of these three qualities. It has to 
be remembered in this connection that !§aiva philo- 
sophy considers an object to be nothing more than 
an aggregate of qualities, and that therefore all things, 


The first evolute of Guna is the intellect (Buddhi), 
which comes with a large proportion of sentience 
(Satva). From this evolves the will (Ahankara) which 
is predominantly rajasic (motion), and causes action. 
It has to come from the intellect, perhaps because 
conation can come only after the decision of the 
intellect.* From the will comes the Manas (apprehen- 


sion) and the sense organs, possessing a large propor- 

to attach itself to things that interest it. Its main activity 
is thus one of motion, and it must therefore be derived 
from the will. But as it is concerned with thinking, 
there is a large proportion of sentience in it. The 
tools of action are derived also from Ahankara (will), 
with a very large proportion of Rajas (motion), while 
the Tanmatras (the subtle elements) come from it 
with a large proportion of insentience. As they 
are derived from Ahankara, they are in continual 



We have thus been introduced to twelve new pro- 
ducts, the five Bhutas, the five Tanmatras, the Guna, 
and the Mulaprakriti. Saiva philosophy makes a total 
of thirty-six by adding six others. One of these is the 
empirical ego, which is the soul’s self-consciousness 
gained by it when it is able to know, to desire, and to 
do. The remaining five consist of the different forms 

* The conative decision “I will do this” has to follow the 
intellectual decision “It is desirable to do this.” 


arytng T o i 

se thirty-six products of Maya may be divided into 
e sections. The first of these supplies energy to 
soul for its activities of knowing, desiring, and 
e. The second consists of two parts, one of which 

id the other counteracts 
the constriction of Anava. The third section consists 
of mental and superphysical tools and the constituents 

A w 

of the body. All living beings are supposed to be 
endowed with the same thirty-six products, but differ 

largely in the sensory and motor mechanisms of the 
physical body. Some animals as well as some men have 
fewer mechanisms of sense than five.* Plants are 
supposed to possess only the sense of touch. 

When a man is said to die it is only his body that 
perishes. There is nothing to show that the mental 
tools also disappear. They are intimately connected 
with the soul and are in no way dependent on the body. 
Therefore we have to infer that they remain with the 

* We are taught that the evolution of the human body 
from the protoplasm has been continuous. If, therefore, 
man has a soul, there is no reason why an animal or a plant 
should not have one. 

t h er 

d Beings 

not omy 


states* in the process c 
possible that the stars 

of evolution. It may seem im 

are inhabited. But there an 

to below 
such a w 

res varying from near 
freezing point. The pi 

the boiling poin 

* /% * 

wide range of temperature permits us to infe 

the existence or living beings m much higher and lowe 
temperatures. Besides, living beings should not b 
necessarily restricted to the types we are familiar wit! 
in this world, and bodies formed of substances differen 
from those of our own may exist in other worlds. Then 
is nothing to prove or indicate t ha t the existence o 
such living beings is impossible. 

Saiva philosophy posits the existence in this wona 

JL Ju mf JL, 

itself of beings called ghosts and spirits having light 



f the substance of the mind and of 
ots of Maya inhabited by beings 
similar bodies. 



New worlds are ever in 
are in the process of disi: 
time will come when the 


assification of the Products 

It may be useful here to give in a 
compact form the thirty-six products that 

have come 

aya. Maya consists of two 
which supplies y and the second 
part evolves in succession into 

of* rv ’ 

J Jk UJ.A V Ui 

evolution is the Love of God. The second 
of two sections, the regulators and the tools. The 
regulators are Kala, Niyati, Kala, Vidya 
these are added the Empirical ego 
prakriti. The tools evolved from 

and Raga. 
and Mula- 

(a) Guna, Buddhi (intellect)^ Ahankara (will) 3 and 
Manas (aspect of the mind). 

(i) The five organs of sense. 

(c) The five organs of action. 

(d) The five elements (Tanmatras). 

(e) The five Bhutas. 

The evolution of the products is shown in the next 
page in the form of a table. 


Nada (i) 
Bindu (2) 
Sadakya (3) 
Ishvara (4) 

Kala (6) Niyati (7) f Kala (8) 

Purusha (11) 

j , j 

Vidya (9) 

Raga (10) 

Mulaprakriti (1 

Guna (13) 
(Satva, Rajas 3 
and Tamas) 

Shuddhavidya (5) 

The conception of the soul — the attributes of the soul — 
difference in souls — the activities of the soul — the 
purpose of activity — the succession of births 

The Conception of the Soul 

On no other postulate of religion is there so much 
diversity of views as on the soul. This is because the 
soul eludes all attempts to discover it, showing itself 
everywhere and nowhere. It is in conjunction with 
various things, each of which manifests itself but 
eclipses this important entity. While in conjunction 
with the body, the soul gives it life and makes it move. 
The body and its motion are seen, but the soul is not 
seen. In conjunction with the mind, it desires and 
thinks. The acts are attributed to the mind, and the 
soul is lost in it. As a result of Anavic constriction, it 
gets such feelings as pride, anger, and lust, which are 
attributed to the empirical ego. Thus the soul has been 
identified with the body, the mind, and the empirical 
ego, and been regarded as a physical or superphysical 

and on account of the gifts of God, it has love, light, 
and lordship. The soul is like the captain of a ship 
who is not seen by those outside it, though the ship 
itself is seen and also the sailors. This elusiveness of 


ficent beings if it had no choice. Secondly, there is 
nothing inherent in the tools to confound such a 
perfect being. This theory does not also explain the 

JL w JL 

possibility of a soul sometimes doing right deeds, 
and at other times doing wrong deeds. Besides, the 
body, instead of assisting the soul, is presumed to 
be a means of doing harm to the soul. There is nothing 
in the body or in the mind to lead a perfect being to 

Another class of philosophers attributes every kind 

Ai JL 

of perfection to the soul but tacks on to it a free will. 


They credit the soul with full power to do what is 
right, but attribute wrongdoing to free-will, which may 
direct it to do right or wrong. Why, at one time it 
directs the soul to right and at another to wrong, is 
not explained. This view also is untenable. A whim- 
sical power is not amenable to any kind of control or 

The Saiva School of Hinduism 

improvement, and gives no scope for evolution. There 
would then be no goal, no progress, no system. A theory 
that would lead to such ends can find no place in scien- 


tific investigation. On the other hand, the theory of 
free-will is the foundation and justification for punish- 
ments in the sense of penalties. According to this view, 
it is quite possible for the murderer, the robber., 
and the incendiarist to have avoided the respective 

These and similar conceptions would make the soul 
a composite entity. As most of the components such 
as the intellect and the will are subject to changes., the 
qualities that would be attributed to the soul would 
also be of a changing character. This would make the 
soul an indefinite entity, and deprive us of a scientific 
conception, which is necessary for the formulation of 
a theory of life. Compositeness is always a bar to the 

various accelerated velocities, very little can be known 
of it if only its resultant velocity at an instant is known. 
On the other hand, if each velocity is separately 
known, it will be possible to give a full history of the 
body’s motion. Laws get more accurate as analysis 
becomes more and JQ3.0 jrC/ exhaustive. Therefore, if it 
is possible to isolate the soul from the intellect and 
other tools, it would be unscientific to consider the 
soul and its tools as forming a single entity. The soul 
is therefore conceived in Saiva philosophy as an entity 
which has the abilities to know, to desire, and to do. 
Then it cannot be further analysed or be subject to 
any change (corollary i). 

9 ° 

and power till they become perfect. The soul may be 
compared to an engineer and the abilities to the steam 
engine. We know that the speed, the direction, and 


engine are c 


:° any 

e engineer nor me er 

The changes 

are caused by the quantity of steam that is supplied, 
the direction of the rails, and the distance gone 
through. So, while the soul a 


unchanged, its activities change as a result of the 
change in the quantity of the energy supplied and 
the quality of the tools. 


% n 


We seldom find two men or two other living beings 
occupying identical situations. There is great difference 
in the righteousness of men. Some arc saintly and. 
some others utterly destitute of the moral sense. 
The cause of this difference cannot be found in the 

souls themselves. We have seen that two things can 

^ * The engine, no doubt, gets worn and the engineer 
tired. But this change has no parallel in the abilities and in 
the soul, which undergo no change. 

own experience may be either of events or of pain and 
pleasure. The experience of events is ordinarily 
obtained through the senses. But it is claimed that 
the mind is not limited by space and can see things 
beyond the reach of the senses. It is also believed 
that, in its last stages of evolution, the soul more or 
less gets out of its restrictions and can see things in 
their absolute form with the help of the divine light 
given by God. Every kind of knowledge except the 
one obtained by the last means is liable to error, as a 
result of various imperfections such as those in the 
senses, in memory, and in the method of reasoning. 

The next activity of the soul is desiring. To desire 
is to form a judgment that a certain thing is useful 
and to attach oneself to it. Before I first desire to have 
a mango, I form the judgment that it is useful to me, 
and then attach my Manas to it. If the desire for the 
mango has got strengthened by repetition, it arises 
even when it is known to be injurious. The expectation 
of the well-known pleasure blinds the intellect for the 


time being and goads the Manas on to it. The Manas 
is ever active, and this is often a source of great 
inconvenience, as when we have to check it from its 
usual wanderings and attach it to something new. 


A drinker decides not to drink but does drink. This 

, *»**•«< 

happens because his decision to give up drinking is 
ordinarily not quite sincere or final. Where it is sincere* 
the pleasure associated with drink draws most of the 
available energy* and the intellect is clouded and gives 
a wrong decision. 

The energy necessary for the activities of the soul* 
as we have already seen* conies freely from Maya. 
Anava constricts the abilities* but its efforts are 
counteracted by Vidya* Raga* and Kala* which force 
these energies in* according to the needs of the soul. 
The energy of knowing passes on to the intellect. It 
forms judgments and decisions* the correctness and 
righteousness of which depend upon the available 
part of its knowledge. Similarly* the energies to desire 
and to do reach respectively the Manas and the Will* 
and cause desire and the initiation of action. The 
organs of senses and actions are ordinarily put in 
motion by the will. The tools in the physical body 
obey the behests of the inner organ according to the 
amount of physical energy available to the tools. A 
man may like to read for five hours at a stretch* but 
if the brain is not prepared to spare the necessary 
energy* he will not be able to read as long as he likes. 
If when a man wishes to run three miles the body 

* These do not include reflex actions. 



does not possess 

tecessary energy* lie will have to 

jartly on the energy supplied to 

So far as the quantity of physical 

The mental organs 


seem to depend for energy on the Shuddhamaya* and 
the supply determines the quality of the work that is 
done. The greater the energy to know* the more 

extensive is the knowledge and more accurate is the 

The Economy of Energy 

Repetition effects great saving of energy. We require 
great effort to write a difficult letter of the alphabet 
for the first time. After a number of repetitions we 
are able to write it with almost no effort. The sum of 
two numbers, say 8 and 9* is at first not easily got* 
but after practice much longer additions are done 
with very little exertion of the brain. We sometimes 
read page after page with the mind busy with some- 
thing else. We are able to get through a chain of 
actions without our being quite aware of them. These 
are means of saving mental energy. If it were not for 
such economy* life would be almost intolerable. 
But this economy is often as mischievous as it is bene- 
ficial. Unkind words are sometimes said and evil 
deeds are done as the result of this economy* leading 
to very painful consequences. A large percentage of 





brain* interferes with clear thinkings and starts the 
person on to fight. Similarly* the parental instinct is 
accompanied by tenderness and drives a man to help 
some one else in danger. The man* in doing so* is 
not guided by considerations of righteousness or 
reward* and makes use of the intellect only for de- 
vising means of assistance. There are occasions when 
ratiocination would defeat its own purpose and imme- 

A* J* 

diate instinctive action alone would save the situation. 
Both habits and instincts* while saving the labour 
of the intellect and the will* also disregard them 
and even subjugate them. 

On the other hand* the will and the intellect can* in 
certain circumstances* gain mastery over instincts and 
habits. The problem is entirely a matter of relative 


powerful;, and may not be overruled by instinct or 
habit. This requires a habit of considerate action and 
frequent application of the brake on the organs of 
action when they are under the stimulus of habit 
or instinct. Then man is said to acquire self-control. 
When the will is further strengthened* it is able to 
exercise control even over involuntary organic activi- 
ties* including the beating of the heart. It is further 
believed that the will can control other beings* as man 
and beast and even inanimate objects. If a soul has 
gained self-control* the intellect assumes sovereign 

senses for acquiring information. The senses can only 
transmit knowledge of objects that are within their 
reach at a given time. But the sovereign intellect sees 
the events of all times and of all places. 

The Purpose of Activity 

The immediate purpose of one’s activity is the supply 
of one’s needs. But the ultimate purpose is the attain- 
ment of perfection or freedom from Anava. Perfection 
can be attained only by practice. Every act of practice, 
till perfection is reached* must necessarily be imperfect, 

Tt* iq itrmprfprt jspfQ iHhflif* Ipssrl Tn a 

11 JLo MX! JJ t X Ivt L dvlOj LLlWl CXUX Cj LXXdLi* AwdUl XU d pClACvl 

97 G 

act. If a perfect act is called a right act, an imperfect 
act can be called a wrong act. Thus wrong acts lead to 
right acts and are therefore as useful as right acts. 
Every activity of a living being, whether right or wrong, 
leads it to perfection and freedom from Anava. When 
it has reached perfection, it no longer worries itself 
with things of the world, but attaches itself to God 
and becomes divine. 

Succession of Births 

The progress that the average man makes in his 
upward march during his lifetime seems to be in- 
finitesimally small. His life is an alternation of right 
acts and wrong acts. His real character, his power of 
avoiding wrong deeds, does not undergo much change 
during a lifetime. If the gain in a single birth is so 
insignificant, and a soul is so far away from perfection, 
it follows that a soul must pass through an indefinitely 
large number of births before it can attain the goal. 

self-expression and for the experience of the fruits of 

JL *&• 

certain past actions. 

Just as a prince who was living in a palace may have 

soul which has been using a human body may r eceiv c 
a sub-human body. The body of an animal may be 
particularly suited to do certain kinds of actions and 
for experiencing the fruits of certain kinds of past 
actions. There are authentic stories of animals which 
have shown greater gentleness and goodness than 
such human beings as butchers and murderers. These 
animals are probably more advanced souls than these 
men* and might have been human beings in previous 
births. Says Manikavachakar : 

Grass was I* shrub was I* worm* tree* 

Full many a kind of beast* bird* snake* 

Stone* man* and demon. ’Midst thy hosts I served. 

The form of mighty asuras* ascetics* gods I bore. 

Within these immobile and mobile forms of life* 

In every species born* weary I’ve grown* great Lord If 

The soul has thus to pass through an indefinitely 

* This is what is called heredity. 

f Thiruvasakam*-Shivapuranam (Pope’s Translation). 


c constriction 
1 knowledges 
hence birth 
n and merges 

Genesis of action — factors of action — responsibility 
and punishment — classification of action 

Genesis of Action 

except during 
tool* must be 



as occasion requires 

are the 


needs. It is to supply those needs that the body and 
mind are so active. But there are some who hold that 

living beings work because they possess energy, that 
when they have a superfluous supply they work even 
in the absence of special needs, and that when the 

supply is deficient their work is not sufficient even to 
supply their needs. This view is doubly wrong. Energy 
is a means for work and is not its cause. Secondly, 
from what has been shown, the supply of energy does 
not come by chance but is regulated so as to ensure 
the maximum evolution of the soul. It can therefore 
be neither too much nor too little, but must be exactly 
what the soul requires. 

The ordinary needs of a living being are threefold;, 

* There is a school of philosophy which posits an eternal 
entity called Karma (lit. action) which makes the soul active. 


being as a member of 
are food, sleep, escape 



enjoyment.* Of these four, the first three are necessary 
for the protection of the body, and the last for that of 

the former for 
relief from strenuous 
and receiving help, 
submitting. Some 
of God and have 

are knowledge and recreation, 
e mind, and the latter for 

de giving 

and hating, dominating and 

pvi ctpri r*p 


This relationship causes another set of needs called 
religious needs which also cause action for their supply. 

actors of Actio 

The direction of action, as we all know, is given largely 
by imitation. Even intelligent men are not altogether 
free from its influence. An extended form of imitation 
is the adoption of local, social, or religious customs. 
In both these cases the doer gives no thought to the 
desirability or otherwise of the acts concerned. Few 
of the butchers of Chicago would ever have thought 
of the unrighteousness of slaughtering hundreds of 
innocent animals every day. Professional thieves do 
not feel the iniquitousness of their means of livelihood. 
It is when the average man has to go out of the beaten 

* St. Appar says, “The worm has four instincts, the same 
have I.” 



have the criterion of right and wrong, and the skill 
to apply it to individual cases. The criterion may be 
either a single rale which defines right action or a 
list of such actions. The knowledge and the skill 
depend partly on the tools of knowledge and partly on 
the amount of energy supplied to the soul. Of these, 
the tools and the energy are products of Maya, but the 
quantity of energy is determined by Anava. 

Even if a correct judgment has been formed regard- 
ing the righteousness of an act, it is not invariably 
translated into action. Some judgments are only of 
academic interest and do not enter into problems relat- 
ing to life. The teachings of great men are studied 
rather for the acquisition of knowledge than for 
influencing conduct. “Love thy neighbour as thyself , 55 
“Love them that hate you , 55 are maxims which cannot 
be practised by all. Judgments based on such teachings 
cannot compel action. But judgments based on past 
experience are dynamic. The experience may be one of 
pleasure or pain, which forms an important factor in 
life and hence in determining action. The form of 
pleasure that influences action varies with different 
individuals. With one man, sense-pleasure may be 
paramount. With another, sense-pleasure is of no con- 
sequence ; the pleasure of self-sacrifice sways him. 
To another, even the thought of self-sacrifice is repul- 


* There are many who are strangers to considerations 
of right and wrong, and are guided solely by expediency. 


sive ; he finds pleasure in doing good for its own sake, 
without the consciousness of having made any sacrifice 

for the good of others. Judgments resulting from 

such experiences do influence action. But the amount 
of experience necessary for determining an act varies 

pleasure. A single experience is enough to convince a 
child of the harmful nature of fire* because its attractive 
power is immediately counteracted by the effect of a 
burn. But the moth is not convinced of it even after 
several experiences. Every time it gets singed, it flies 

such closely repeated experiences are not enough to 
convince it of the danger.* We shall consider a few 
typical errors and attempt to diagnose them. 

fountain pen sees his classmate’s pen on his desk and 
finds that he can take it without being seen by anyone. 
He has never entertained any thought of stealing a 
fountain pen, but the favourable circumstances tempt 
him to misappropriate the pen. In this case, the pleasure 

A* JE* JL JL A* 

of using the pen, which comes from Anava,f is the 
ultimate cause of the act. The provoking cause is the 
presence of the pen and the absence of other people, 
both of which may be traced to Maya. He is one who 
does not very much trouble himself with the problem 
of right and wrong. 

* St. Manickavachakar has compared man’s pursuit of 
unwholesome pleasure to the moth’s attraction for light. 

f Insufficiency of knowledge caused by Anava leads a 
person to regard such possession as an end in itself, and to 
find pleasure in getting it. 



lortunateiy, i am not m ms position, ineretorc 

will not help him. 5 ’ Here is a man who has learnt t 

a hungry beggar should be helped. But his knowlec 

does not Influence conduct, as it was not gained 

experience. The primitive element of egoism ho 

complete sway over the man. This, we have alre 

seen, Is a product of Anava. But suppose his w 


persuades him to offer some help and he gives h 
some food. The beggar takes the food and expres 
his gratitude to him. The man sees that the loaf 
bread he gave the beggar has caused great relief 
him and makes him happy. The sight of his re] 
and the show of gratitude, which is flattering to hi 
are new experiences which confirm the soundness 
Ms wife’s advice and the rightness of his act. Th< 
form a new factor which, on future occasions, v 
plead for the relief of the poor. Experience th 
succeeds where mere knowledge has failed. 


reason, than that the latter has insulted him or some 

one dear to him* or has thwarted some pet project of 
his. Taking away a man’s life for such trivial offences 
means setting an unlimited value on one’s self and 
no value on one’s equal. This is egoism* pure and 
simple* the first fruit of Anava. 

Besides egoism and immediate pleasure which pre- 
vent right action by forming an incorrect judgment* 
there are forces that prevent the very formation of a 
considered judgment. Narcotics and alcoholic drinks 
derange the cerebrum and suspend the normal activity 
of the intellect and lead to wrong action. Hunger 
and certain states of ill-health impair the functions 


of the brain, which 

false to its lord, the 

intellect. Certain emotions also produce similar effects. 
Lust and anger, sorrow and fear, often disorganize 
the brain and lead to acts which one would not do in 
the normal state. These proceed from the body and 

owe their origin to Maya. 

If, after due deliberation, a decision has been 
arrived at regarding a course of action, such delibera- 
tion is dispensed with for the repetition of the act. 

sideration. During repetition, the effort necessary for 
the action gradually diminishes, and after several 
repetitions the act becomes what is called a habit. 
If the habit crystallizes, action becomes mechanical 
and can be performed almost unconsciously. Later, 
the habit becomes the master and compels action, 
even against pious resolves to give it up. 

A drinker, for example, has found great pleasure 
in drink, but has seen that its evil effects far outweigh 
the pleasurable experiences. He resolves to give up 
drink. But when his hour of drink comes, he goes out 
ostensibly for a walk, but really towards a liquor shop. 
The sight of it starts the desire to drink and leads him 
on to the shop. Just before he enters the shop, the 
thought of the resolve may come to him. The thought 
is of no consequence to him. He goes up to the bottle, 
even if someone reminds him of his resolve. The 
pleasure that drink has given stands before him in full 
force and fills Ms mind. His previous resolve cannot 
therefore be considered, and is thrown in the back- 
ground. He goes and drinks. When the drink and its 


maxes rules tor ms 11 
for saints* and pimisl 
The child should nev 
ad libitum. These s 
guilty than those wli 
broken the laws of tl 
school* and the chile 
sick man has broken i 
should be as irratioj 
the parent* he woulc 

x ^ 

similar blow. Exemplai 
of punishment* a man 
frightened by it and be 
or similar crime. In ot 
benefit of others. Dete 
tion* as it is intended ti 
offence and to make hi 
ment in the sense of m 

the physician is a rational man. He carefu 
the disease and assaults the disease instead 
the patient. The infliction of pain is no < 
as a preventive of its recurrence. But ' 
more important is that the cause of the cr 
diagnosed and removed by suitable tres 

crime is as oxten pj 
and can be eradicated 

often physiological* as psychological 

only by carefully thought 


im i 

ot e 

* T 

oh ; 

e u 

g c 

We have seen that no man is to blame and that all are 
good. It is equally true that all the acts also are good. 
All living beings are by nature good. It is only when 
they are crossed that they fail to be good in the popular 
sense. But even when they are not good in the ordinary 
sense, they are really and truly good. What is good- 
ness? It is not the possession or the acquisition of 
wealth or learning, which come and go and are im- 
material to the soul. It is not keeping the body safe 
and unhurt, as bodies also are material possessions. 
Goodness comes of the acquisition of real truths, 
truths which are capable of saving the soul from 
error. Badness would then mean the loss of such 
truths. Such truths are never lost. Therefore badness 
is impossible. If badness is impossible, there must 
be stagnation or goodness. Stagnation is equally 
impossible as activity is the characteristic of life. 
Therefore the soul can acquire only goodness, and 
whatever it does must be good. If A robs B, the latter 
loses a part of his wealth, which is of no consequence 
to the soul, and therefore practically loses nothing. 
Therefore A is not bad. On the other hand, the 
robbery is a means of A’s acquiring real knowledge. 
He experiences the painful consequences of robbery 
and arrives at the eternal truth that robbery is a wrong 
act. B also gets some real knowledge by his loss. He 
sees that he deserves the loss, that he has done some 
wrong to deserve it, and that wrong acts are undesirable. 

But, though all men are good and all their acts are 


is good 
that the 

and the act is good, and there is no 
answer is wrong. The child is good l 

Am? W 

is right. So, actions can be wrong or right, and the 
classification of actions on this basis is quite sound. 


The question therefore arises. What is right? A living 

violating them is wrong. A man has a right for the 
safety of his body and for the use of his possessions. 
To hurt his body or deprive him of his possessions 
would be wrong. This is the popular conception of 

right and wrong. 

Saiva philosophy 
lasting good to the 
are the first fruits 

es ngnt as t 

I-ncss and My-ness, which 
Anavic constriction, are the 

greatest evils of the soul, and any act that results from 

the counteraction of either of these is good to the soul, 
and is therefore right. What are ordinarily called selfish 
acts are wrong, and others including acts of self-sacrifice 
are right. It is such acts that find a place in ethical 
codes. But these acts are only relatively right, as they 
proceed on the assumption that the soul is the ultimate 
reality. The right deed according to this view is called 
Pashu Karma (lit. soul action) and belongs to the 
intermediate stage. But the soul is not the ultimate 
reality, and the definition of right and wrong based 

* An act is right if it conforms to an accepted standard. 

Y T 
**L JL 

s re 
’s r 



as rneirs* 
and think 
may be calk 
thus be clas 


ee are periorm* 
ody, the sou 
t by those wl 
ities and wh 

:thics classify 
ion and of c 
and are the five 
Chapter XIII. Other right acts of commission are loving* 
forbearing* being just* speaking kind words* helping those 
in distress* and so on. The acts of omission include not 
coveting other’s belongings* not forgetting other’s kindness* 

flesh or fish* not taking intoxicants* not com- 
itery* and so on. 
f Right acts are those included in Charya* Kriya* and 
Yoga* a full account of which is given in Chapter XV. 

sse may also be called unethical* ethical* super- 
ethical* and spiritual acts respectively. 

3 H 


The law — the method of operation — the time of opera- 
tion — channels of operation — the effects of the law on 


a w 

The law of action may be stated as follows: “Right 
action leads to pleasure and wrong action to pain. 35 
The truth of the law finds ample testimony in experi- 
ence. Those who do right derive the happiness that 

comes from the consciousness of doing right, besides 
being honoured by society and often receiving the 
direct return for their righteous deeds. On the other 

to ms own 

the commission of the offence, is despised by society 
and is often punished by other men or the 5 

unaffected by the law of action. 

Closer and longer observation shows, however, 
that most of those who throve on wrong acts have 
ultimately suffered enough, and that those who 
endured untold hardships as the result of a right 
course of life have been more than rewarded for their 

and Ithihasas, tragedies and comedies, demonstrate 
the belief in the infallibility of the law of action. 

from r uin, it is hard to think of any other human being 
who can withstand the painful consequences of 


gs m 








engineer is 

The world is bent on teaching a lesson to the wrong- 
doer. The man who does wrong once in a way may 


conceal his identity for long. When he is found out 

a wrongdoer is not found out in 
the first instance, the success is an incentive to the 
repetition of the offence. This leads to the continuance 
of the wrong act, which makes the wrongdoer a habi- 
tual criminal. A bully first ill-treats weaklings and then 


learns to offend others. Among the latter comes a more 
powerful man than he who brings him to his senses. 

Wrongdoing is thus usually followed by suffering, 
but right action gives pleasure at all times. The 
satisfaction of doing what is right is itself a source 
of great pleasure. This pleasure leads to the intense 
pursuit of right action, which gives a rich harvest of 
joy and pleasure. The nature of living beings is such 
that they like the righteous and dislike the evil-minded, 
with the result that society itself endeavours to ad- 
minister the law of action. But it cannot be said that 
every act gets its f u ll return in this birth itself. 

T T-C 
I Xji 


also by the course of evolution. If a 
were not to experience pain as the result of 

not desist from it and would 
path of evolution. Similarly 
righteous act is followed by pleasure, righteousness 
would not receive acceleration, and the tendency 

Besides, we have seen that all souls are in the hands 
of God. As God’s Love is perfect, it must be able to 
give them maximum evolution in a given time. 
Therefore, the utmost use will be made of every action 
of each soul and none will be left to chance. The law 
of action must therefore be infallible. 

It is often asked whether the law applies also to 

x x 

those who cannot discriminate between right and 
wrong. The butcher does not realize that it is wrong to 
kill animals. The hardened criminal has no respect for 
others’ rights. The old-fashioned teacher does not 

egging Doys is wrong, jjo tnese men 
suffer for their acts? This question is asked on the 
assumption that sufferings punishments. Our 

X w*? X 

philosophy rejects the idea of punishments, and holds 
that misapprehension is the chief cause of wrong- 
doing. The question has, therefore, already been 
answered. The purpose of suffering is the removal 
of mistaken notions. Suffering must, therefore, follow 
acts caused by wrong notions. It is true that society 
views with leniency acts due to wrong judgments. 
But as we have to live with other beings, it is our first 
duty to study the rights of others, and failing in our 


right action. The man who is mistaken does wrong 
every time he finds an occasion to do it, and becomes a 
habitual offender. But the knowing man does wrong 
only when he is compelled by circumstances, and is 
therefore comparatively free from it. Ignorance, 
instead of being an excuse for wrongdoing, is an 
offence of the first magnitude. 

The Method of Operation 

An act by itself is incapable of producing the pleasure 
or pain mentioned by the law. It has the usual physical 
and mental effects which are different from the pleasure 
or pain experienced on account of it. For example, 
if "gave a hungry man what I had for my breahfL, 
the effect of it to me is starvation. If I keep awake the 


whole night to attend on a sick person, the effect is 
discomfort to the body. On the other hand, when I 
wish the downfall of my enemy I derive joy from it. 
If I have stolen a money bag, I derive pleasure by 
spending the money as I please. In these circumstances, 

JL A * 

pain comes from right action and pleasure from 
wrong action. These effects do not accord with the 
law of action. Therefore the acts themselves cannot 
produce the consequences required by the law. It 
is worked, as everything else, by the direction of 
God’s Love. It has so planned the evolution of the 
Universe that every one experiences the fruit of his 
act in circumstances that will give him true knowledge. 

1 17 
* ** f 

the mind caused by the subconscious feeling of 
meanness engendered by it. These marks are believed 
to form the seeds of pleasure or pain which the law of 
action gives. Just as moisture is necessary to make a 
seed sprout up, so some agent is necessary to work 
on the impressions in the intellect to cause pain and 
pleasure. Saiva philosophy says that Kala and Niyati 
are the agents which lead the intellect to a set of 
circumstances where the soul can get the fruits of a 
particular past action. 

The Time of Operation 
The fruits of action must be experienced at such 


time and in such circumstances as will give the soul 
maximum advantage for evolution. We ourselves 
take this precaution when we try to mend our subor- 
dinates. When they have done some wrong, we take 
care to see that the circumstances in which they are 
placed are favourable to their correction. In an un- 
favourable set of circumstances, the subordinates may 
be driven to desperation and pay no heed to our 
correction, or may be in a position of advantage 
which enables them to disregard the admonition. 
There must be analogous circumstances when the soul 




give the soul the fruits of its acts at the most oppor- 
tune moment, after the lapse of varying periods of 
time. Some acts may fructify almost immediately, 
and some others after several years or even births. 

Acts may therefore be classified into three groups., 

bring their fruits in this birth itself, and some others 
in subsequent births. There must also be acts whose 
fruits are experienced partly in this birth and partly 
hereafter.f Therefore the acts whose effects are 
experienced in a birth are partly of those of previous 
births and partly of those of the particular birth. 

Channels of Operation 

The law of action operates in three distinct channels 
in the course of a single life. The first of these consists 
of the circumstances of birth. These are the effects of 
action performed in the previous birth or births. 
Herein is concentrated a very large volume of effects. 
The body, the brain, the parents, and the time and 
place of birth determine the life of a person more 
than any other set of circumstances. A strong and 
healthy body would give a soul a widely different 

* See page 81. 

f These are respectively called drishtam, adrishtam, and 
drishtadrishtam, which respectively mean (those whose 
effects are) visible, not visible, and partly visible and partly 
not visible. 



Everything that a soul gets at birth influences the 
whole life, and contributes largely to the happiness 
and unhappiness experienced during the whole life- 
time. But once we are born, we are no longer concerned 

We can then afford to ignore the contribution of our 
past actions and the circumstances in which we are 
born, and view life like a rationalist or any other 
non-believer in past births. 

This leads us to the second channel of the effects 
of our actions. In this, we experience the effects of 
actions performed in this birth itself. A portion of the 

At tJL 

acts done in a birth produce effects in that birth. 
While the possessions of a soul at birth form its capital, 

T 7A 

r f\, 

strong and healthy body may so behave as to make the 
body weak and sickly, and vice versa. A man born in 
a rich family may become a beggar., and one born 
poor may become a millionaire. These are caused by 
long chains of actions done in the present birth. 
Apart from such accumulated effects caused by a long 
series of acts., we find the law operating in individual 
acts. The man who helps a beggar out of sheer pity 
gets joy of a high type from his act of self-sacrifice. 
This joy is a portion of the fruits of the act and is 

experienced immediately after the act. When a man 
undergoes hardships to maintain a high standard of 
morality, the hardships themselves are a source of 
joy. Besides, he enjoys an exalted form of freedom to 
do right in the face of difficulties. He fears no one, 
feels as if he were “the monarch of all he surveys” 
Just as virtue is its own reward, so vice has its own 
punishment. Observe the state of a man in rage. His 
mind undergoes temporary derangement. He loses 
control over himself. He behaves like a beast. He makes 
a poor show. He loses respect. He loses enormous 
nervous energy. At the end of his rage, he finds him- 
self much poorer in many respects. The law of action 
has operated immediately. “Pride goes before a fall” 
is a well-known proverb. The avaricious man is not 

are known to have lost not only their 

T T 

Jl jLt JL 

by legacies and discovery of treasure troves can also 
be explained only as results of acts of past births. 
These are instances of past actions producing their 
results occasionally in this birth. 

The Effects of the Law on Life 


The law of action gives a definite relationship between 
an action and its effects. It says that no labour is lost* 
and nothing can be gained without labour. Since no 
labour is lost* a man is induced to do as much work 
as he can. Some men have few needs and when they 
are satisfied they may not exert themselves any more. 
They may have plenty of energy but find no induce- 
ment for further work. But the knowledge of the law 
of action can make them do more work. The law says 
that if they help others they will be rewarded later 
for that help. They may get it in this birth itself. 
This is an incentive to further exertion and to helping 

T 0*1 





at any time. If people wish to make sure of a comfortable 
life in the future, they must have a large margin of 
wealth. This they can have only by hard work. So, those 
who are keen on leading a comfortable life are compelled 

Most people can increase their output of work. If 
they do so, the effects of past actions can be minimized 
and they can be much more comfortable than otherwise. 
The amount of happiness experienced in this birth 
can be put in the form of an equation. If the total 
happiness experienced in a birth is called Y, the 
happiness due to acts of past births C, and that due to 

JL * X 

acts of the present birth X, we have the equation 

In this equation C is a constant quantity and X 
is a variable depending on the will of a person to do 
right and useful work. Therefore Y, which is their sum, 
is also a variable. Y depends on X, and increases as 
X increases. From this equation we see at a glance the 
necessity for malting X as great as possible. 

Hard work often leads to righteousness. We have 
seen that unrighteous acts are sometimes caused 
by the insufficient output of energy. If a person is 


lie will be free from that kind of unrighteousness which 
is caused by its insufficiency. A hard-working man has 
no need to rob or cheat. If he puts forth sufficient 
energy* he can keep his temper under control and make 
himself more agreeable to others than otherwise. He 

In other words* he can be a righteous man. Thus the 
knowledge of the law of action makes a man not only 
energetic and hard-working* but also righteous. 



our possessions at 
mined by our past actions. These 

are deter 

of a man’s life and are an important factor in bringing 

During birth, some acquire a predisposition for certain 
dangerous diseases, some others are deprived of the 
sense of sight or the power of speaking. Some are 
placed in miserable and poverty-stricken homes with 
hardly any provision for food or protection from the 
rigours of the weather. On the other hand, some are 
bom free from congenital taint, with all the sense 
organs in perfect condition, rolling in wealth, comfort, 
and happiness. Observing such differences from day to 
day and knowing that these inequalities are due to 
past acts, one would ordinarily strive to do desirable 
acts and avoid undesirable ones. Every misfortune 
that befalls us can be a power for putting us in the right 
path so as to make our future at least tolerably happy. 


i c 

JL dmf 

Every stroke 
good and 

encouragement to 


According to the law of action, every suffering to which 
we are subject has been caused by our own acts. 
Therefore we need not feel sorry for these sufferings. 
We can bravely meet them and try to remove them by 
our exertion. Some people waste much time over the 

and foolishly add unavailing sorrow to the suffering. 
The believer in the law of action sees that he richly 
deserves it and maintains peace of mind. He has no 
fear. He does not die a thousand times before his 
death. He knows he will get only what he deserves. 

calamity. No one can be harmed except by himself. 
If he has been wronged by another person, he thinks 
that the wrong was the effect of his own action, regards 
the wrongdoer only as the channel of the suffering 
due to him, throws no blame on him, and seeks no 
revenge. He is free from anger. More than ninety- 
nine per cent, of the social and political troubles in our 
countries are caused by not realizing the law of action. 
If a person unjustly wrongs me, I must certainly 
endeavour to prevent the recurrence of the wrong; 
but I need not retaliate. For retaliation is wrongdoing, 
and according to the law of action, if one retaliates one 
will have to suffer for the retaliation itself. This will 
mean increase of suffering in the endeavour to prevent 

ft*#/ MKW 


circumstances can 
action in the past 
good use of his 
being intoxicated by 


• « 


birth* and may be induced 
wealth and position instead 


doing injury to them. 

Again* some do good to others expecting good 
from them. When they find that these are not grateful* 
they give up doing good and sometimes make enemies 
of these people. The law of action does not encourage 
commercial charity of this kind. It says* “Do good 
and you will get good* but not necessarily from the 
same person. The coconut-tree which takes water 
through its roots gives milk in return through its 
top* but not through the roots. If* therefore* one 
member of society receives help from you* some other 
member may give you the reward. Therefore* do not 
expect gratitude but continue your acts of charity 
even to the most ungrateful man.” Some render 
service and do not get adequate return and therefore 
slacken their work. A hard-working teacher does not 
sometimes get the salary he deserves* and being 
ignorant of the law of action* gets discontented* tells 
himself that much less work will do for his pay* and 
does injustice to his boys and to the school. The law 
of action will give him in a few months the fruit of 
his changed course of action. It will take away his good 
name, bring discredit on him, and may even deprive 
him of his means of livelihood. On the other hand, the 
believer in the law of action does not limit the source 




later and may be rewarded for the past as well as 
the present. He is 
harmony with all 
The knowledge of 

man from the unedifyin cr inmnW- “Will it 

to identify. The best course, therefore., is not to try to 
find out the fruits, but to be sure of having them and 
to continue to work with undiminished ardour. The 
law of action leads to the higher law, “Do your duty 
without caring for the fruit.” Great saints and martyrs 
who have undergone endless hardships in the pursuit 
of their ideals are the products of this law. The world 
would not have had them if they had not been guided 

H / W 

by this principle. The law of action thus makes men 
industrious, righteous, forbearing, noble, and saintly. 

Liberation from Anava — liberation from Maya— 
liberation from Action — merging m Love of God 

iberation from Anava 

of the soul has been shown 
Anava. In dealing with the goal* we have 


.ava are 


not refer to himself as 
nor anger 

Jtie nas neitner pride nor anger, neither sorrow nor 
fear. He has no thought of his body, his famil y, his 
property, and other things that are ordinarily supposed 
to belong to him. The direct effect of freedom is the 
free flow of energies to know, to desire, and to do. 
The liberated soul therefore possesses unlimited 
knowledge. It can transcend time and see the past, 
the present, and the future events in the universe, 
though it does not, as it has no concern with them. 
It is also able to know the true nature of itself, of Maya, 
and of Anava. As its I-ness hoc ,v «,■ 

UK li LU. ju 

uwauw xvi xxo \jv vxjl oaivu# xxo xl %*axx get xmlimited 

**** I**? 

to do, it can do everything that can possibly be done, 
But, as it desires nothing for itself, it does not do 
anything for its own sake. 


The Saiva School 

eration from Maya 


The products of Maya serve only as means for the 

soul's activities of 
the liberated soul has nothing in this world to know, 
to desire., or to do, these tools are no more of any use 
to it. So the soul may give them up as soon as it attains 
liberation, that Is, it may leave the physical body 
the mind;, etc. It therefore needs no place to 
or things to enjoy, and gets completely out of the 
domain of Maya. But some souls do not give them up 
immediately. These are called Jivanmuktas, that is 
those who are liberated and still live in bodies. These 



are the souls that reveal the ultimate truths of religion 
to those who need them. We know of ordinary men 
called priests who profess to lead others to liberation. 
They are but blind leaders of the blind. They are 
themselves not liberated, are therefore ignorant of 
ultimate truths, and can give little help to others. 
The liberated man alone possesses the necessary know- 
ledge and is able to assist others in their endeavours 
to attain liberation. He is therefore indispensable to 
them. The Love of God, in directing the universe, 
so arranges evolution that some become Jivanmuktas 
and supply this great need of other souls. But these 
souls are in no way influenced by their mind or body. 
Having seen the true nature of Maya, they cannot be 
affected by such an insignificant product of it as their 
body or mind. 



the body 
/ith the 
e Jivanm 

e rgi ng 

soul is li 
it can re< 
acquire o; 


ated fron 

S it t<s /Y 
m JLL Jo v£ 

acts must 
it and wro: 
s acts who? 



course of life 
they remain u: 

lut, in the midst of these activities 

unaffected, all the acts being automatic anc 

Their chief value to unliberated 
position they occupy. They are mai 
and are useful to men in both canac 

souls is the dua 
and God in one 
ties. As they hav< 


arouse in us love for God* and their gracious acts 
strengthen us and make us masters of Anavic influences. 
They are also the best objects of our worship. Of God 
we know very little. He is beyond our comprehension. 
He is to us merely a name and is pictured as something 

objects of our 
mortals., but are 
If the figure of 

spiritual power, 

our whole attention when we talk to him* how much 
more can these divine beings influence our minds? 

out of our minds petty objects of the world that catch 
our fancy. When our minds have grasped profound 
truths and our hearts have tasted endless love* we 
desire nothing except their gentle presence. If we 
worship them* it will be the best form of worshipping 

Their teachings are sometimes written out and 
passed on to posterity in the form of books. But 
these books, though invaluable in themselves, cannot 
take the place of their authors. There is a great differ- 
ence between studying the geography of a place with 
the help of a book and studying it from a person who 
has seen the place and gained first-hand knowledge 
of it. These liberated souls embody truths not only in 
their teachings but also in the songs sung by them in 
praise of God. When their mission is over they give 
up the body altogether and attain perfect freedom. 

But it must be remembered that this state of freedom 
and bliss is not experienced* as is sometimes supposed* 


*t*r mr 

The first section of the path — the second section 
the third section — exercises for the three sections 

The path to the ultimate goal has three distinct 
sections. In the first section, the soul’s ignorance is 
so intense that it is concerned only with the conserva- 
tion of its own interests in utter disregard of those of 
others. It takes special care of its own comforts and of 
the safety and well-being of the property, relations, 
and friends that it regards as its own. To attain this 
end, it is prepared to injure others as much as is neces- 
sary and possible. It has one law for itself and a dif- 
ferent law for others. Nature’s wealth, which it chanced 
to get possession of, is freely spent on injurious 
luxuries, while hundreds of its fellow souls which are 
as much entitled to Nature’s gifts, stand at its door 
on the verge of starvation, covering their nakedness 
with rags. A man in this stage of life is not prepared 
to put up with any insult offered by another, but is 
ready to wound others’ feelings. He is not prepared 
to make any sacrifice for the benefit of others, but is 
anxious to utilize others for his purposes. Such prefer- 
ential treatment of the self is the characteristic of the 
souls within the limits of this section. This is what is 
ordinarily called egotism. But even those who belong 


truths than lies. The hardened criminal helps his wife 
and children and even others who do not cross his 
purposes. He is said to be a bad man, because he does 
relatively more harm to society than those in the other 
sections. This section is a very long one and can be 
divided into several subsections, each of which may 
be called a religion in the conventional sense. There 
are conventional religions such as demonolatry and 
Lokayata (sensualism), corresponding to many of 
cue subsections. 'We have seen that the journey to 
the goal takes countless births. Therefore a soul 
takes a large number of births to pass through a single 

The Second Section 

Man learns by experience that self-aggrandisement 
and indifference to others’ well-being are not unmixed 
advantages, but bring on positive suffering and misery, 
which sometimes far outweigh the immediate benefits 
that come from them. Man, as a social animal, has 
endless dealings with others. Of these, some are just 
and others unjust. These often lead in the end to 
pleasure and pain respectively. The frequent experi- 
ence of such diametrically opposed feelings as pleasure 

«/ X JL JL 

and pain coming from justice and injustice compels 
him to know and to realize that what he does recoils 
on himself, that he reaps what he sows. He sees that 
he ought to be just in his dealings with others. He 


society, a limb, or an organ of the body called humanity. 
Just as each part of the human body works for the 
well-being of the whole even at great sacrifice to itself, 
so he, as a member of the society, feels that he has to 
work for the welfare of the whole corporation and that 
by that means alone can he himself attain well-being. 
Besides, he feels pain when others treat him as unjustly 
as he has been treating some others. His experience 
shows that he cannot afford to be indifferent to the 
consequences of his deeds on others, and creates in 
him a desire to be fair towards them. This desire 
raised by the consideration of his own interests is 
strengthened by other circumstances. Society has made 
certain rules for the observance of its members and 
endeavours to enforce them. Secondly, the example of 
the better class of the members of the society has an 
unconscious influence on him. Thirdly, in helping 
others he finds joy, to which is often added a reflection 
of the joy in the person whom he helps. This forms a 
strong inducement to help others, and leads even to 

w X 

great self-sacrifice. Thus, to his love of himself and his 
belongings is added the love of other souls. The 
keynote of this section is altruism. This section 
also may be divided into a large number of sub- 
sections. Most of the better class of conventional 
religions are akin to some of these subsections. Saiva 
philosophy divides this section into several parts, 
and has given each a name such as Buddhism, Jainism, 


Vaishnavaism, and Mayavadam, which, however, is 
not identical with, but only corresponds to, the conven- 
tional religion that bears the name. These religions 
are defined by the limit of vision of the soul.* Adher- 
ents of the above-mentioned religions know no 
further than Buddhi, Guna, Prakriti, and Purusha 
respectively (the 14th, 13th, 12th, and nth products). 

The Third Section 

Self-sacrifice implies not only a considerable weakening 
of Anava, but also the accession of a large amount of 
true knowledge. This great influx of true knowledge 
creates dissatisfaction with mere devotion to the 
serving of other souls, because it brings on the reali- 
zation that other souls are not the ultimate realities 
to which one should like to be attached. The feeling 
of union with other souls gives way to the desire for 
union with God. Love of God is now greater than 
love of other souls. The man in this section journeys 
towards God and gets closer and closer to him. 
Finally he reaches Him, gets absorbed in Him, and 
becomes one with Him. While in this section, his love 
for other souls starts from a different source. In the 
second section he loved other souls as brother souls 
and loved them as much as or even more than himself. 

* The Buddhist, for example, admits all the tatvas as 
far as Buddhi. He does not admit the existence of anything 
higher than that. The Jain goes further and considers 
Guna as the highest physical existence, and God to be just 
above Guna. 


v he loves them as abodes 
1. He lias little thought evei 
yy and Mine slowly disaj 
lly 5 and all instincts and 
amorphosed into love. His 
line love., love asserts itself 
loves others not because others are souls like himself, 
but because love flows of itself and he cannot but love. 
He has now found out the truth that his body and 
mind are mere tools and not part of his real self, and 
s not moved by circumstanc 

mind as pain or pleasure. He goes along this path, 
and reaches the ultimate goal of God-head. This 
section is the conventional religion called Saivaism, 

which begins where love of souls develops into the 
love of God. 

Exercises for the Three Sections 

followers. The wearing of a cross by a Roman Catholic 
is a special exercise intended to remind him of the 
great solicitude Jesus had for the salvation of the 

world. This induces him to accept, and to co-operate 


The basis of right action — studies helpful to right action 
— formation of right tastes and habits — extension of 
principles — conquest of long-standing habits — control 
of emotions — the company of the good and contempla- 
tion of God — science and philosophy — self-sacrifice 

The Basis of Right Action 

Right action has for its basis either the doctrine of 
universal brotherhood or the doctrine of the unity of 
society. There are some who limit brotherhood and 
society to human beings, while others extend them to 
animals also. Universal brotherhood is derived by 
theists from the fatherhood of God and by agnostics 
from the motherhood of Nature. Believers in God 
hold that all living beings owe their bodily existence to 
Him and personify Him as the Father, while agnostics 

personify as the Mother. Brotherhood implies love, 
regard, and respect for each other’s rights, which are 

last chapter, those who regard society as a unit or a 
body are bound to serve one another and work for 
the good of society, even at great self-sacrifice, as do 
the various organs and limbs of the human body. 
This is a better but a more difficult conception than 


brotherhood, and forms the basis of Vedic Dharma. 
Right action has two sections, the negative portion 




t o 


c ti on 

The doctrine of brotherhood compels the recognition 


of the principle that every living being has a right to 
the safety of its person and property. Once this 
principle is admitted* the injustice of violating the rights 
of another must be accepted. But difficulty arises in 
the application of the principle* largely as a result of 

jr Jl jl Jr J c? 

clash of interests. A man may tell himself* “I have 
a right to the safety of my body. For this I must eat ; 
but having no food I can rob my neighbour.” He for- 
gets that he has a robust body which can help him to 
earn his bread. To avoid such blunders it is useful to 
study some moral code* whether from books or from 
the instructions of parents* teachers* and other elders. 
The laws in these codes may be extended by analogy. 
But the study of these rules is only the first step* as 
cases often arise of a complicated nature to which 
neither the rales nor their extensions can be readily 
applied. To meet such cases* a training in sound 

* The present century sees the breakdown of all time- 
honoured ethical codes and the replacement of those by the 
application of first principles. The questions are asked* 
Why should a boy honour his father ? Why should a man 
not commit adultery ? and so on. A cultured man may ask 
these questions and arrive at safe answers. But* if others 
also should attempt to answer these themselves, they are 
likely to blunder. This movement unhinges conduct and 
causes confusion in society. 

act of his on realizing the mistake in reasoning 
committed. “Evil is wrought as much through 
head as through want of heart.” The study 
both deductive and inductive, is necessary 

of log 

sufficient. It ought to be studied with the express 

w 1 X 

purpose of being used in practical life and must be 
followed by such use. Deep scholarship need not be 
aimed at. The mastery of the elementary principles 
will do. 

Logic and ethics can only supply canons and 
standards but cannot discriminate between the objects 
that have to be measured and judged. We often 
misjudge the workings of other minds, and logic or 
ethics applied to such wrong judgments can lead only 
to wrong acts. Man judges others by his own standard, 
and often goes wrong, as the minds of people do not 
always work in the same manner in the same set of 
circumstances. Acts of injustice are often committed 
through misapprehension of their effects. The teacher 
who canes a boy with the intention of improving him 
may harden him and make him worse. Such errors may 
be avoided by the study of the sister science of psycho- 
logy. But just as good students of logic often reason 
wrongly, so scholars of psychology blunder in their 
dealings with others. The study of these subjects 
ought to be pursued with the express purpose of using 
them in daily life. Not only for avoiding such errors, 
but also for gaining success in life, knowledge of the 
mental working of man has been found to be of 
inestimable value. 


Formation of Right Tastes 

d Habits 



second section is anxious to do right 

, action 
as the man in 
ut if his 



traced to the folly on which it is based.* and an attempt 
must be made either to remove it or replace it by right 
ones. The excessive use of liquor deranges the brain 
and leads to wrong deeds. The taste for liquor is thus 
an unwise one 3 and must be replaced by a distaste 
for it. The taste for luxurious life leads to pecuniary 
ruin 5 which in turn compels one to unfair means of 
making money. Habits due to an inflated ego such as 
revengefulness, easily taking offence and harsh treat- 
meat of inferiors, require close introspection and 
re-examination of the points of view. Habits of loose 


thinking in which sufficient regard is not paid either 
to principles or to their application also lead to wrong 


acts. These can be avoided by adopting a well-regulated 
life based on definite principles. One must find pleasure 
in undergoing inconveniences and hardships for the 
sake of rigid adherence to principles. Life is not worth 
living without principles and without experiencing 
privations and sufferings for the sake of principles. 
In the initial stage, there is often a great struggle as 
there is in learning anything of real value. We had 
many a fall followed by tears when, as infants, we 


are as 

walking and fi 
So also, the 



value of such a life and the intense pleasure that comes 
of that life. 

Extension of Principles 

There are some who have profound respect for certain 
principles and religiously follow them but break other 
equally important principles. Some men have a great 
regard for honesty and condemn those who lack that 
virtue. But they are cruel, hard-hearted, and loose in 
many other ways. This is due to a one-sided training 
which can, however, be improved. They realize that 
principles ought to be respected and strictly followed 
at any cost. That is why they lay so much stress on 
honesty. They will, therefore, endeavour to follow 
other principles also if they give due thought to them 
and direct some energy of will in order to follow them. 
As already stated, the adoption of a new principle 
entails a great strain at the beginning, and when 
this stage has passed, loyalty to principle causes great 
joy. When it has become crystallized, the conquest of 
another principle may be attempted. Thus a person 
who respects one principle can gradually extend his 
loyalty to other principles and become a thoroughly 
righteous man.* 

* The gradual conquest of wrong habits is not an invariable 
method. A person sometimes loves righteousness and gives 
up a number of wrong habits simultaneously. 




it is a 

action. No pious resolution 
determined effort of will 
tendency to do it. To 

avoid it* not the most 
Iways withstand the 
this habit, the reflex 

mechanism must be rusted by disuse. The circum 



long period of time and some innocent pleasure must 
replace the one caused by it. The drinker must alto- 
gether avoid the company of drinkers and places where 
drink is available. When the thirst for drink comes and 
endeavours to occupy the mind., it must be diverted 
immediately by plunging into some other occupation. 
One may go to a teetotaller friend and discuss with him 
questions of great moment or take to some favourite 
sport or game. The habit may also be amenable to 
medical treatment. 

Control of Emotions 

Violent emotions often cause wrong actions. Emotions 
were meant by Nature for self-protection. Animals 
have neither law courts nor means of oral defence* and 
must either flee from an enemy or use all energy at 
their command to disable it or kill it. The emotions 
that make these possible are respectively fear and 
anger. When these emotions arise* reserve sugar in 


The Saiva School of Hinduism 

the liver is liberated for the creation of additional 
energy, and the animal exhibits extraordinary energy. 
This is necessary for the safety of wild animals. But 
we have passed that stage and we have several other 
means of safely dealing with our enemy. These emo- 
tions are therefore not necessary for our ordinary 
purposes and should not be allowed to assert them- 
selves. Besides leading us to other dangers, they waste 
our reserve energy which took us several months to 
store up. 

Similarly, sorrow is an incentive to additional exer- 
tion to make good the loss that has been sustained. 
If a man’s house has been burnt, he feels sorry, works 
harder to earn more, and builds a new house. But our 
sorrow, not unlike fear and anger, often defeats its 
original purpose by disorganizing the body and reduc- 
ing even the usual output of energy. Sorrow for the 
loss of relations or friends is mere folly, as they cannot 
be made good. Sorrow sometimes leads to despair. 
When a man is desperate, he sets little value on his 
own life and consequently on those of others. Such 
men sometimes murder others and themselves. 

Instances are not wanting of men who admit that 
their acts are unreasonable but justify them on the 
ground that their feelings were irresistible. Emotional 
life is injurious to the individual and to society, and 
emotions should not be allowed to get the better of 
discretion. The control of emotions is an education 
by itself, and can be acquired by careful and diligent 
practice. The realization of the evils they cause can 
do much to keep them under subjection. The man who 

A great aid to right action is the company of the 
righteous. The imitative instinct is powerful in man 
and influences his thoughts, words, and deeds. People 

the writing of those whom they admire. The unique 
advantage of imitation is the saving of strain that is 
ordinarily needed for change of habits. It works almost 
unconsciously and replaces the old habit stealthily 
and without any kind of straggle. The man who wishes 
to be in the right must seek the company of the 
righteous, who will readily take him if he makes known 
his purpose. If their company is not available, their 
writings and their lives can take their place. A man 
is what his thoughts are. If his thoughts are fed 
with the words of righteous men and with the 
accounts of their deeds, he slowly and steadily 
becomes one of them, if opposing forces are reduced 
to a minimum. 

Similar to the company or the thoughts of the 
righteous is the thought of God. Our conception of 
God is that of a perfect Being, and the contemplation 
of a perfect Being is a great aid to the righteous life. 
Divine contemplation overcomes wrongdoing in three 
ways. It brings home to us God’s greatness and 


consequently our insignificance. This deals a fatal 
blow to I-ness which is the most prolific cause of 
wrongdoing. Secondly, it reminds us of the fact that 
all living beings are essentially divine and requires 
us to be considerate and kind to them. Thirdly, it 
shows that things of this world are of no real value and 
crushes the desire to possess and enjoy certain things 
for which we have no justification. Besides being an 
infallible cure for wrongdoing of every kind, it is a 
powerful stimulus to acts of positive righteousness. 
The disadvantage of divine contemplation is that it 
is one-sided. What gives zest to company is conver- 
sation, which is impossible in communion with God. 
But the disadvantage is felt only at the commencement. 
As the attachment to God increases, contemplation of 
God becomes sweeter than the company of friends 
and finally than anything else in this world. 

Almost as valuable as the contemplation of God is 
the contemplation of saints, who are human as well 
as divine, and easily bridge the gulf between man and 
God. But they do not appear in this world at all times 

«/ X JL 

and in all places. We have their lives, however, and 
the songs they have composed, which often melt 
our hearts and make them readily respond to whatever 
is righteous and detest everything that is wrong. 

Science and Philosophy 

The last, but not the least, aids to right action are 
science and philosophy. Man often does wrong in 

X JL v 

his pursuit of sense-pleasures. But science says that 


Castor oil is unpalatable because it is not a food; 
toddy gives an unpleasant smell because it is not 
wholesome; treading on thorns gives pain because it 
injures the tissues. Feelings of pain and pleasure 
arose in the course of evolution,* to point out where 
the safety of the body lies. They had no intrinsic value. 
Those things that cause pleasant sensations are 
ordinarily good for the body. Sensations are thus 
only indices of the values of things. But we set a real 
value on them, hanker after pleasant sensations, and 
get beyond proper limits. Philosophy says that this 
is folly. A great many of our wrong acts are the results 
of seeking pleasure for its own sake, and if we listen 
to philosophy we can make up our minds to minimize 

Philosophy goes further and says that the body and 
other possessions of the soul are intended for the 
suppression of Anava and must be used for that 
purpose. Anava leads to the pursuit of those sense- 
pleasures which are injurious to us and to others. 
It also intensifies the sense of I-ness and My-ness. 
Therefore when we propose to perform an act, it is 
our duty to see whether it subserves Anava in any form 
or on the other hand suppresses it by following truth 
and justice and by sacrificing the self’s worldly interests 
for the benefit of other souls. The question must be 

* If an animal had felt pleasure while experiencing some- 
thing injurious lo its well-being, that species would have 


Philosophy also says that the soul of souls is God 
and that the soul is* therefore., essentially divine. It 
must avoid wrong acts not only because they are 
unworthy of its divinity but also because its goal of 
self-realization can be reached only by basing its acts 
on the truth of its essentially divine nature.* 

S e If- s acrifi c e 

We have hitherto been considering only the negative 
side of right action, the avoidance of wrong. But the 
fostering of the positive side is of greater importance, 

self is the basis of wrongdoing, so the effacement 
of the self is the foundation of righteousness. The 
self here stands really for the body and other products 
of Maya, with which the soul usually identifies itself 
through Anavic influence. When a man gives his 
food to another and starves himself, it is the satisfaction 
gained through the body that he sacrifices. If he helps 
a person suffering from a dangerous infectious disease, 
he is prepared to sacrifice his life. If he spends for 
the benefit of others the time and energy which he can 
devote to his personal advancement, he sacrifices 

* The soul is compared to a prince brought up by a 
savage and fancying himself also to be a savage. When God, 
his Father* comes up to him and convinces him of his 
ancestry* he gives up his foster-father* goes up to Him* 
and enjoys endless bliss. 



others is not 

ctrlA A;T Ttcrfit* 




reason is that mere possession is of no value to the 
soul. None of the products of Maya that the soul 
possesses belong to it for ever. They come and go. 
Their value to it depends on the use to which they can 
be put. If they serve I-ness or My-ness they are 
injurious to it, and if they serve selflessness they are 
beneficial. Hence the justification for deeds of self- 
sacrifice. The man in the second section knows that 
other living beings are also souls like himself, that 
they experience sufferings like himself and would 
like to be free from them. He therefore helps them 


when they are in distress. We have seen that of all the 
emotions of man, love alone is divine and must be 
fostered. It leads to self-sacrifice and is measured by 
it. It makes a person identify himself with another 
and leads him to share his woes and 0 

oxid its fruit of self-sacrifice multiply each other, in 
the same way as a tree brings forth fruits and fruits 
bring forth trees. In the course of the rapid growth 
of love, self-sacrifice becomes as pleasant as self-serving 
is to the man in the first section. He merges himself 
in the selves of others. 

In the initial stage of self-sacrifice, love for others is 
not sufficiently intense to induce one to make appre- 
ciably great sacrifices. The intellect must compel the 

I <3 

man to help others. The gratitude that is often returned 
causes \ 

besides, the act itself reacts on the emotion and 

followed., love 
issues forth accompanied by sympathy and tenderness. 

to assert itself, it grows steadily 
and very rapidly if it is assisted by 

The need for a definite programme of life — the infant 
life — the student life — the householder's life — the 
forest-dweller’s life — the philanthropist’ s life. 

The Need for a Definite 




so numerous 


line of least resistance, which not infrequently leads 
to wrongdoing. At times the mind from one point of 
view prefers one course of action, and from another 
the opposite course. It has also to decide between the 
two, accept one and reject the other. It is thus plaintiff, 
defendant, and judge, and occupies an exceedingly 
difficult position. It must therefore be placed in a 
definite groove so that it may conform to right 
standards of life. There ought to be different stages 
in this groove so that it may be possible for every 
person to make the fullest use of his stay in this world. 
Each stage must be progressive, enforcing a discipline 
and a set of duties which fit a man for those of 
the next. 

It is proposed to consider here the Vedic life, which 
consists of the following five stages: the infant, the 


student* the householder, the forest-dweller, and the 
philanthropist. In the householder’s life., one’s love 
extends to relations, friends., and acquaintances . In the 
next stage, the love goes up to all those who live in a 
village, province, or country. This is disinterested love 
confined to an area. In the last, the love extends to 
humanity as a whole, in full recognition of the principle 
of univ ersal brotherhood. If a man places himself in these 

three stages, his love for others is bound to expand. 
As a rule, it is good to reach these stages in succession 
so that the duties pertaining to each may be 
performed. We see how householder politicians often 
fail in their domestic duties as well as in their duties 

to the country. But there is nothing to prevent a 
householder from doing social and political work if 
he can attend to both satisfactorily and if he has 
genuine love for the country. It is also permissible for 
one to pass from student life directly to philanthropic 
work, if one is qualified to do so. 

The Infant Life 

In the earliest years a child lives under the guiding 
authority of its parents. Wise parents treat their chil- 
dren with strictness, kindness, and consideration. 
Nothing else in this world requires so much earnest 
thought as the dealings of parents with their children. 
It is easy to spoil them by indulgence or cruelty. 
The character of a child begins to be formed at about 
the first year. A Tamil proverb says, “The habit 
formed in the cradle remains to the end of life.” The 


logy is more important to parents 
gnorance of this science has caused 

the ruin of countless lives. 

S indent 

When the child has reached a certain stage., the parents 
hand over the child to the teacher and delegate to 

possess. This age varies 
according to the aptitudes and future careers of the 
children. An intelligent child destined to intellectual 
life begins its studies at the age of five. A child intended 
for State service begins studies later, to ensure a strong 
physique. Those who are less intelligent begin st 
later and have a 
classes had both cultural and vocational training. In 
early Hindu society, those who were found fit for 
original work spent thirty-six years on their studies, 
the second class eighteen years, and the others nine 
years. These periods can now be cut short by about a 

W W 0 

The student life is erroneously held by some to be 
the preparation for the householder’s life. The Saiva 
religion considers the student life to be the most 
important part of life and the others only as appendices 
to it. The early part of life is surer than the others. 
The student has, therefore, to make the best use of 
his life, and devote it to attain the object of his birth. 
He is expected to lead a purely religious life and is 
hence called a Brahmachari, which means, “one who 
walks in the way of God.” 



stance is 
:e must 

* 0 

ial schools must 
:n of high charai 
with whom is in< 

Hindu society, great te 
>assed the householder’s 
ir lives to service of this 
its as their new or a< 



man, had his passions well under control, was of a 
serene, calm, and cheerful disposition, and had gained 
first-hand knowledge of the world by experience. His 
affection and tenderness, his saintly life, and his vast 



was on morning and evening worship, which gave 
concentration of mind, development of the will, and 
Love of God. Thirdly, came Intellectual education. 
The teacher allowed the pupil to proceed with his 

& X X 

studies in his own way and at his own pace, and 
only gave assistance when it was needed. The pupils 
grew accustomed to deep and sustained thinking, and 
the intellect became strong enough to gain mastery 
over emotions and impulses. The amount of discipline 
gained during the period was enormous. The animal 
instincts were sublimated by the good influence of 
the teacher. Self-conceit was transformed Into self- 
respect. Indignation for personal affront issued through 
the channel of what is called righteous indignation. 
The love for pleasures of the world was transmuted 
into love for the welfare of other living beings. The 
veneration for the teacher (Guru) extended to venera- 
tion for God, the great Teacher (Parama Guru). 

rvy W T T If 7 w • 

the Householder s Life 

With such Invaluable equipment, the young man 
entered the life of a householder, which was the touch- 
stone of his student life ; for, this stage of life has always 
been one of great trial. Bringing up children in the 
right way has always been one of the severest of tasks. 

* The use of certain foods such as flesh, fish, and alco- 
holic drinks, was prohibited as exciting causes of unwhole- 
some passions. 





patience, self-e: 


“he who saves one from hell. 35 

form their duty in the proper manner. One unkind 
word> look* or deed has sometimes been the cause of 

changing the attitude of the child and of ruining one 
who would have become a gem but for the father’s 
blunder. A man has no right to marry who has not 
studied the method of bringing up children, or who 
does not possess the necessary patience and earnestness 
to look after these tender beings and their infinite 
potentialities for good * 

Besides this sacrifice to his children, the householder 
had five others to make. The first was the Deva 
Yagna, which was his sacrifice to God. He offered his 
love to God and rendered service in and to places of 
worship. Every act of his must satisfy the condition 
that it was a means of honouring God. The second was 
the Rishi Yagna, which was a sacrifice to the Rishis, 
who were the givers of knowledge. The householder’s 

to the existing stock of knowledge by original contri- 
bution or by the dissemination of existing knowledge 
by teaching or by helping teachers and authors. Next 
came the Pitr Yagna, which was sacrifice to one’s 
parents. Parents are gods on earth. Personal service 

* No man begins agriculture without studying the art 
of agriculture. But few learn the art of bringing up children 
before they marry. It is thought that a human child is a 
thing of much less importance than a tobacco seedling, 


need of protection or support. The fourth is the 
Athithi Yagna. This is helping strangers who are in 
need of help., such as the side, the poor* and the de- 
formed. The last is the Bhuta Yagna, which consists 
in helping the subhuman species* such as the cattle* 
the horse* the crow* and the dog. 

The householder has also social obligations and has 
to obey social laws. These sometimes put him to very 
trying discipline. A healthy public opinion is an impor- 
tant determining factor of his acts. He is bound by the 
laws of the land and by his duties to the country. All 
these tend to put him in the right path and to make his 
life good and useful. 

The Forest-Dweller’ s Life 

The next stage was that of the forest-dweller.^ When 
the son was able to take charge of the household*! 
the man transferred to his son the burden of household 
management and devoted his time to spiritual con- 
templation and to the service of others, i Some rendered 

JL « 

* He is called Vanaprastha, He lives in the forest dose to 
the village, having reduced his needs to the barest minimum. 

f “When he observes wrinkles and white hairs upon his 
person* and beholds the face of the child of his child* then 
let him retire to the forest” (Mann VI. 2 ). 

$ “Let him befriend all creatures and think tenderly 
of all beings. Let him give ever and take never 5 ’ (Manu VI. 8). 

T&T T 

«*>* V* 

social service to their neighbours, and others to the 

village or the city, 
activity and served a whole district or a country. Some 
became great teachers and rendered invaluable service to 
the rising generation. They led a simple life, and served 


reward. This was the first step in selfless work. For, 
the tinge of My-ness that appeared in serving one's 
own country was unintentional, and hence unreal. 
Service was done in ons s country, but not because 
it was one’s own. On the other hand, service to one’s 
country on the ground of patriotism is rank selfishness, 
and has no place in this stage. A large part of the time 
of those in this stage was spent in religious exercises 
which had an elevating effect and formed the lever 
for selfless acts. 

The Philanthropist' s Life 

The fifth stage was that of the philanthropist. His 
characteristic was intense love for God and for 
humanity. He abandoned his home and found no 
difference between his son and an utter stranger in 
a remote comer of the world. He did not know where 
he would get his next meal or where he would rest for 
the night. He had no thought of his own village or 
country, and loved the world as he once loved his own 
country. He went from house to house, from village 
to village, from country to country with his first- 
hand knowledge of spiritual truths, imparting joy and 

happiness to those who met him and rendering them 

_ . 


and the erring. The rules of this stage of life did not 
allow him to stay in a place for more than three day$ 5 
as a longer stay might create in him an attachment to 
the spot. He would not be hurt by insults or provoked 
by any unpleasant acts of others. He regarded everyone 
as his alter ego. As his business was to serve others 
and not himself, he had no thought of himself and 
viewed respect and disregard,, praise and abuse., benefit 
and injury with the same serene indifference. 

These five stages in a man’s life give five different 
kinds of discipline to a person. The parents in the 
first stage, teachers in the second, and the duties 
prescribed for the other stages form the external 
authorities for the enforcement of right living. 

The value of the thought of God — forms for the 
contemplation of God — method of contemplation — 
time of contemplation — minor exercises 

The Value of the Thought of God 

The essence of all religious exercises is the thought of 
God. It is of value to us in three ways. It presents to 
us the highest conceivable ideal. The knowledge of 
ideals leads to the desire to realize them and then 
to the effort to attain them. Biographies of good men 
are useful to us chiefly on this account. Secondly, the 
contemplation of lofty ideals is a source of serene 
joy and chastening of the mind.* Thirdly, God is 
the only reality with which we are concerned and which 
must be the ultimate object of all our endeavours 
and activities. 

Forms for the Contemplation of God 

The contemplation of anything must be centred on 
something the mind can grasp. Most people have 
mental pictures of the objects they think about. Some 
do not form mental pictures but use qualities! of those 

* Even, atheists cannot deny these two values of the thought 
of such an ideal of goodness. 

f The word quality is used here to denote essential 
characteristics, and attributes to denote non-essential ones 
like relationship. 


objects to raise the thought, which is thus image-less. 
But, when the object of thought has neither a form nor 
definite qualities, the name itself forms the peg of 
thought. In the formation of any valid conception of 
God, the first method is of no assistance, because 
God has no form. Nor is the second method any 
better; for His qualities are beyond our comprehension. 
We can think of Him only with the help of the name. 
But this thinking does not serve the purpose of con- 
templation. It serves only as an index of what we mean. 
Contemplation requires something more substantial 
than a name and more intimately connected with the 
object. We have therefore to resort to some incorrect 
forms of contemplation. We must create some picture 
of God, possessing or depicting attributes that describe 
Him. Any picture of God that we create can only be 
anthropomorphic. But we can supplement it by assign- 
ing attributes of God to the various parts of the picture. 
In addition to the mental picture, we can also create 
material forms to serve in place of mental pictures. 
Mental pictures are a strain on the mind and are not 
likely to be steady. Material forms appeal to the eye 
as well as to the mind, and have therefore a distinct 
advantage over mental images. Most conventional 
religions use material images, 
those who use mental images fancy that their images 
are the real forms of God and despise those who use 


material forms. Everyone who has not become God is 
incapable of knowing Him, and must therefore use 
some image or other; and it is unfair for the worshipper 
of one kind of image to look down upon a worshipper 



purposes and different classes of people. First of all, 
there must be an image which symbolizes all the 

so that they may all be present before us. There must 
also be images, each of which symbolizes only a 
particular aspect, so that the mind may dwell on it and 
form a deep impression of it with its assistance. These 
two kinds of images are like a map of the whole world 
and maps of different continents’ Advanced worship- 
pers do not require an analysis of the attributes of 
God. They are satisfied with a single all-inclusive 
attribute which can be represented by an amorphous 

Method of Contemplation 

With the help of these images the worshipper fixes 
his mind on God. The first requisite of contemplation 
is the attitude of devotion or love for God. We love 
those things that are desirable to us. The drunkard 
loves toddy, the miser his money, the child its mother, 
the scientist the discovery of truth, and the saint the 
Reality. If the worshipper is a saintly man, his mind 
goes of itself to God. His love goes exclusively to Him. 
He finds no difficulty in spiritual contemplation. 
But the ordinary man must take pains to withdraw 

* An account of images used by Saivites is given in 
Appendix A. 


it has given him this body* and more than his mother 
it gives all the other countless bodies that the soul gets 
by turns. God’s Love is our eternal mother. We 
therefore feel bound to direct our love to God. We 
thank our earthly physician who cures us of a dangerous 

Physician who cures us of the eternal disease of the 
soul. Thoughts of this kind should precede or form the 
preliminary to contemplation of God. In contempla- 
tion proper, the images themselves are such as can tell 
us what we should think.* 

Time of Contemplation 

The times of worship must be either those which are 
favourable to it or those that particularly need it. 00 
The time that satisfies both conditions is early morning. 
The mind is then fresh and vigorous after sleep, and 

JL, 0 ? 

has had no preoccupations which usually distract 
worship. It is therefore a favourable time. It is a 
psychological fact that the first object in the morning 
that powerfully impressed itself on it is likely to persist 
in it for a long time during the day. This persistence 
is highly desirable, and worship is therefore particularly 

* The suggestive nature of an image is given as a sample 
in Appendix A. 

1 67 


as worries aismrD sleep 


rk that takes place during sleep, 
isions, the worship with sacred 
ite as it is simple, 
tendency to become mechanical 
:s value. Care must be taken to 
s earnest and real. If this is not 

e done once a week 5 a fortnight^ 
rval longer than a month will 
is the effects of the special wor- 


is is 


depends upon the effects of the circumstances that 


xer cts e s 

e is likely to 

n: The worldly man cannot have at 
ought of God or the sense of justice* 
go amiss. must be 

;-stone for right doing. This is possible 
;on examines himself periodically and 

difficult circumstances, he has been in the right, 
and how often he has missed the right path. He must 

attention to the circumstances that were respectively 
favourable to right and to wrong. He must devise 
means thereafter to create the circumstances that 
favoured the right deed and to overcome the circum- 
stance that turned him aside from rectitude. People 
are sometimes taught to be sorrowful for a wrong 
done, and even to punish themselves. But sorrow 
causes mental and physical depression which would 
rather lead to wrongdoing than to abstinence from it. 
What is required is finding out the means of avoiding 
circumstances that lead to wrongdoing. This can be 
done in quite a manly way. 

(2) Religious study: The determination to avoid the 
circumstance that caused wrongdoing is necessary but 
not sufficient. The repetition of the desire to avoid 
a particular act may possess the mind and weaken its 

A, ** X 

power to avoid it. The m ind cannot catch negatives. 
It abhors them more than Nature abhors vacuum. 
It must be given something positive to prevent it 
from wrongdoing. “Lives of great men all remi n d us, 
We can make our lives sublime.” One must read the 
lives of great men. If the company of good men is 
available it is all the better. Seeing has much greater 
influence than reading. Besides, their kindness and love 
are highly infectious. 

Devotional songs composed by one’s self or by saintly 
men are useful to the growth of love for God and to 


The needs of the third section — the aid of the spiritual 
teacher — the exercises of the first stage ( Gharya ) — 
the exercises of the second stage ( Kriya ) — the exercises 
of the third stage (Yoga) — the exercises of the fourth 

stage (Gnana) 

The Needs of the Third Section 

The aspirant to the third section has outgrown social 
life and thirsts for communion with God. Hitherto 
his primary occupation has been the serving of souls, 
and the worship of God has only been secondary. 

that union with God is the ultimate goal. As, in an 
elephant made of wood, the ordinary man ignores 
the wood of which it is made and thinks only of the 

the first section regarded himself as a body rather than 
as a soul. In the second section he views all sentient 
beings as souls. It is in the third section that he sees 
that the essence of the soul is God. Hence in the third 
section, serving souls is only serving God. Wrong- 
doing in the ethical sense is impossible for a man in 
this section, and he requires no aids to right action. 
His main occupation will be the service of God, and 
it is for this that he requires aid. 

A j & 

gets from a more advanced soul whom he 
Gum and who gives him the necessary 
and training to enable him to get through 
course., This equipment is called Deeksha 
, on three occasions: the first on entering 

this section, the second on reaching the second stage, 
and the third on reaching the fourth stage. Each 
Deeksha consists of six elements. The first element is 
the winning a man over by means of his gracious 
look.* We all know the part played by the eye in 
expressing feelings. We have experienced the relief 
that the mother’s look gave us when we were in 
distress. Her gracious look instantaneously stopped 
our crying and gave us joy and peace of mind. The 
Guru is the spiritual mother. His look literally 
captivates the disciple and makes him almost one 


with him. 

The second element is the spiritual toucfa.f The value 
of this we have had many occasions to realize. When 
convincing arguments fail to change a young man’s 

course of action., a pat on his back has often succeeded 
in converting him. The spiritual touch makes a captive 
of the impulses and instincts in the body, which 
becomes the willing slave of the Guru and places 
itself at his disposal for the exclusive service of God, 
The Guru next obtains control over the mind! 

* Called Nayana (lit. sight), intended to weaken Anava. 
t Called sparsa (lit. touch), intended to weaken Maya, 

! Called Manasa (lit. mind), intended to weaken Karmic 
effects in the mind. 


T 74 
*** / 3 

mind gets into contact with the disciple’s* wipes out 
the impressions of worldly things* and takes it to its 
own way of thinking. 

Fourthly* he teaches his pupil the eternal truths.* 
He tells him that God is the ultimate reality; that the 
things of this world* including the body* are Maya 
in its process of evolution* that the soul attaches itself 
to these things as a result of the limitation of knowledge 
caused by Anava; that duties must be performed in 
utter disregard of their fruits ; that the ultimate goal 
is perfection and union with God. These truths are 
taught to the disciple in a manner which carries 
conviction and realization. 

Then he is given spiritual formulasf which embody 
these eternal truths and which can guide and con- 
trol him in his activities. The teacher has thus 
supplied the disciple with true knowledge and the 
means of making use of it. He now makes the 
soul realize God’s Love.i The soul then gets 
a faint vision of God and is inspired with love for 

The ceremony of Deeksha is a very long process 
attended by the worship of God in the image of fire. 
It equips the disciple for the exercises in the first 
stage of this section. A course of exercises is prescribed 
to him for increasing purity of mind and attachment 

* Called Vachaka (lit. words)* intended to rectify know- 

f Called Mantra (lit. protecting)* intended to rectify 

4 Yoga (lit. union)* intended for union with God. 


ter. They 
1 act, an 
iya* Manta 
>1 is also p 

of controlling and concentrating the mind. 

Besides the special religions observances of this 
stage* every other act of his life is made religious. 
When he bathes* he considers the water in which he 
bathes to be the Love of God* and the bath itself as 
a symbol of union with God. Since he regards the body 
as the abode of God* he considers the food that he takes 
to be an offering to Him. When he meets others he 
regards them as God and raises his hands in token 
of worship. He regards every work that he does as 
service to God who is enthroned in his heart. In his 

leisure hours, his tongue repeats mystic letters with 
his mind directed to God. He also spends some time 
every day in temple worship and temple service. 

His love for God in this stage is compared to that of 
a servant for a master* and this stage is hence called 
Dasa Marga (the path of a servant). When he has 

caned Jxriya iviarg 

Lire in this stage therefore requires a tr 
supply of spiritual energy, which, as b( 
supplied by the Guru in the course of a i 
The most important exercise in this sts 
ship of God in the amorphous image, 
It is pillar-like and represents the strait 

w ft* 

is the graphic representation of pure 
(Nada). It is sometimes called the pillar 
it burns evil and gives the soul the light c 
which serves to remove its ignorance. T 
stage has such deep attachment to God t 
only a broad hint to give its heart to Gc 

The soul in this 

od. It does not 








subsidiary and supplementary. It is intended to 



of the 

eyes, the hands, t 
to serve God and 

the tongue, and the 



body is the temple, the mind is the servant, truth is 
purification, the heart is the Lingam, love is the liquid 
with which the Lingam is bathed.” St. Vallalar says, 
“Worship is not merely the offering of water and flower. 

presence there at all times.” 

External worship consists of sixteen elements 
of which saturate the mind with the thought and 

__ „ :s of 

worship to God. According to Saivaism, every action 
has a corresponding reaction or effect, which must be 
experienced by the doer. But worship of God is not 
intended for any gain. It is the overflow of the love 

: as the love 

for a child manifests itself in a kiss and a caress 
without a definite purpose or object in view. Thi 
worshipper therefore renounces the fruits or result; 
of worship and offers them to God Himself. The las 


to <joa, to be g 


orsnipper may t 
igaged, his heart 
;xt staae called 1: 


and denotes the stage at which the soul attains com- 
munion with God, This stage is also called the Sakha 
Marga (the path of the friend) and marks the highest 
intimacy of the soul with God. It is a natural conse- 
quence of the exercises of the second stage, and comes 
of itself. Yoga consists of the following eight elements : 
Good qualities (yama), good acts (nyama), right 
posture, breath control, removal of mental distraction, 
concentration of the mind on God, spiritual contact 
(yoga), and spiritual experience. 

Good qualities (yama) are ten in number: Non- 
injury, truthfulness, honesty, chastity, kindliness, 
purity of heart, forbearance, courage, devotion to the 
performance of daily duties, and bodily purity. Good 

i) are also ten : Se 
God, worship of ( 
study of philosop 
gs, and penance. 

-control comes b 
breath-control be 

PJireil ¥ * 



|| M I t Ik W ^ 1 

14 jf 1 1 1 B 



g the highest love. This intense love 

to a 

characteristic of the next and the last stage called Gnana 

xercises of the 


r th Stage 

Entry into this stage requires the third and the last 
Deeksha. This can be given only by a liberated soul* 
The Anava of a soul at this stage is almost exhausted. 
It is time for liberation. Therefore all the past acts in 
arrears have to be experienced rapidly before liberation. 
This is made possible by the Love of God during the 
Deeksha ceremony. When the Deeksha is over, the 
Guru presents the ultimate truths and takes him 
through four sub-stages. In the first of these, called 
Shravanam, his disciple learns truths taught by the 
Guru. The second step is called Mananam, in which 
he ponders over what he has heard. In the third, 
called Nithidyasanam, he realizes the truths, which he 
experiences in the fourth called Samadhi. He realizes 
the universe as a product of Maya and his own body 
as distinct from his real self. He understands the true 
nature of the soul and of the Love of God in which it 
is bathed. He sees the Love of God everywhere and 
forgets his own individuality. He has therefore no 


action of his own. He gives himself up to the Love 
of God and is entirely worked by it. He sees that he 
has ah this time failed to realize his complete depen- 
dence on the Love of God, just as the ordinary man 
fails to note the importance of the heart that keeps 
him alive, of the ground that supports him, and of 
the space in which he moves about. If he helps others, 
he does not feel that he helps but finds himself to 
be merely a tool of God’s Love. Later, he merges in 
the Love of God which takes him to God, like the 
boat that takes the passenger to port. When this 
union with God has taken place, the body either 
perishes at once or persists for some years so that the 
soul may serve as a 

The Peria Puranam speaks of sixty-three persons 
who have attained liberation. Some of these were 
kings, ministers, cultivators, potters, washermen, and 
so on. The Saiva religion offers the final goal to 
all fit souls irrespective of the ordinary differences of 
sex, birth, or position, and assures divine bliss in due 
course to all souls. 



(a) Images symbolizing all aspects . — One of the most 
comprehensive images is Nataraja. It has four hands 
and two legs. The hand that bears the dru m repre- 
sents God’s act of evolving the universe and giving 
us our bodies. Just as a drum produces vibrations 
in the air and causes sound, so God produces motion 
in Maya and causes the evolution of the universe. 
This is how the drum symbolizes creation. Another 
hand, with the palm turned towards the worshipper 
telling him not to be afraid of anything, represents 
the sustenance of the universe. A third, having fire, 
indicates the involution of the universe. As fire burns 
things and makes them disappear, so God makes the 
universe return to its original form of Maya. The 
two feet represent the double aspect of the goal. The 
foot that crushes the dwarf symbolizes the Love of 

the soul from its hold. The uplifted foot stands for 
eternal bliss which is the second aspect of the goal, and 
the fourth hand points to it. The smile of love also 
has a double significance. It silences the gospel of 
hatred and suspicion preached by Anavic influences, 
and offers a cordial welcome to the worshipper. The eye 



God and 

representing single attributes of God* five are essential. 
God’s first and foremost attribute is love. There should 
be a separate image to represent love and nothing but 
love. The highest form of love that is known to us is 

sented as the mother. To signify God s Love* the 
image must possess something super-anthropomorphic. 
The Saiva image of God’s love is called XJma.* It 
represents a mother* but has four hands instead of 
two. Almost all images of Saiva worship have at least 
four hands* two of which are the same in all. One 
of these two is the uplifted hand corresponding to the 


second hand of Nataraja* which exhorts the worshipper 
not to be afraid of anything and offers to protect him. 


The other hand* like the fourth hand of Nataraja* 
points to the feet which symbolize the ultimate goal 

JL «/ w 

of true knowledge and infinite bliss. In pointing to the 
feet* it tells him by implication that it is wrong for 

lly wants and cares* and 




wOO i 




s the 



The Saiva doctrine calls such an image Vinayaka 
(lit. He who has no lord above himself). This image 
has something like the proboscis of the elephant., 
of which the straight portion represents the universe 
of knowledge and the bent portion the universe of 

These two images remind the worshipper of God’s 
infinite love and His Lordship of the universe. In 
spite of the knowledge of these two great attributes, 
man forgets God and gives the first place to himself, 
i.e. to his bodily self. If he has a business that concerns 

prefers to attend to his worldly business. Thoughts of 
his worldly affairs drive out thoughts of God. It is 
important to root out this tendency of giving first 
place to oneself and second place to God. An image 
that can show this idea then becomes necessary. A 
great Saiva saint said: “Is there any one in this uni- 
verse so insignificant as myself or so great as You?” 
The Saiva image that instils this thought is called 

Another tendency in man is to give second place 
to God and first place to a My-ness/ 5 i.e. to something 

* Maya in the unevolved form has no specific properties 
and is therefore represented geometrically by a point, which 
has only position but no dimensions. The first evolute of 
Maya, which is the universe of knowledge, is represented 
by a straight line, as it is the first element of geometrical 
figures. The second evolute is the universe of motion and is 
represented by a curved line which is the second geometrical 


important to him from a worldly point of view. A story 
is related of a person who was at worship when his 
official superior called at his house. The man broke 
his worship and rushed to see him. This is giving first 
place to his superior and second place to God. This is 
the second obstacle to religious life. An image is 
necessary to impress this thought, ^aivaism has pre- 
scribed such an image and has called it Veerabhadra. 

Having overcome the assertion of I-ness and My- 
nessj man is able to devote himself to the uninterrupted 
and single-minded worship of God, and now wants 
to submit to God for His guidance and control. He 
stands pledged to implicit obedience and discipline as 
before a Guru. The fifth partial image that he requires 
is therefore that of a Guru. This image is named 
Subrahmanya. It is more comprehensive than even 
Nataraja, because it represents the Guru as well as 

4 ( 

God. It has six faces, which represent respectively the 
Lordship of the universe and the five great acts of 
God, creation of bodies, sustenance, destruction, 
counteraction of worldliness, and the illumination of 
the soul. It has twelve hands symbolizing various 
attributes. One of these holds a javelin, which is the 
symbol of pure knowledge. 

( c ) Amorphous image . — The Siva Linga is an 
amorphous image. It resembles a pillar and repre- 
sents the spiritual flame that destroys all ignorance 
and enlightens the soul. Being synthetic in form, it is 
suited to the worship of more advanced souls. 

(d) Simpler images . — The images mentioned above 
are so complex that people of inferior mental powers 

cannot g 

mens used 
One of these is 
sent the five gifts of God, two branches 

trident. Its three 

two each and the third representing one. The main 
part of it symbolizes God Himself. This is a very simple 
image both for external worship and for mental worship. 
The second is the sacred ashes. This represents the 

love of God. Fire has burnt cow dung-, removed its 
impurities^ and has changed it to a beautiful form. 
So the Love of God nullifies the power of Anava and 
makes the soul divine. When a worshipper wears 


sacred ashes on the forehead, he must feel that the 
Love of God is on him, and cultivate the habit of 
avoiding deeds that are unworthy of one who wears 
the Love of God. Besides, as he puts on the ashes 
he repeats songs in praise of the Love of God, which 
heighten the feeling. 

The Suggestive Nature of Images 

In the image of Nataraja, the first hand tells the wor- 
shipper that God has given him his body and habitation 
for his benefit, and that he should make the best use 
of them and of his time. He must use them in the 
service of God and not in securing fleeting and harmful 
pleasures of the senses. The second hand is the hand 
of hope, indicating that man need not fear anything 
but should work for his salvation. The third hand 
warns him of the uncertainty of his life in this world, 


Anavic influence and all the wrong desires created 
by it. The fourth hand and the uplifted foot show his 
destination of infinite bliss. The smile engenders 
love for God, and the three eyes exhort the worshipper 
to think correctly, desire correctly, and act correctly. 
The eye on the forehead particularly condemns wrong 
desires. This image is a perpetual sermon, initiates 
religious contemplation, and serves as a suitable object 
of long and continued adoration. It attunes the mind 
to God and attaches it to Him. The min d is then filled 
with the thought of God, and the body influenced 
by the mind becomes the tool of God. The tongue 
sings praises of God, the body prostrates before Him, 
and the mind goes into ecstasy at the thought of 
Him. The man loses his individuality and is possessed 
by God. 


The Mantras are formulas embodying vital truths in 
a condensed form. The simplest of these is AUM, 
composed of three elementary sounds A, U, M, with 
a continuation of the last sound. The continuation is 
split into two subtle sounds. These five sounds repre- 
sent God, God’s Love which gives true knowledge,* 
the soul, God’s Love which causes evolution,! and 
Anava. The same five things are represented by 
another Mantra consisting of five distinct letters. 
Each of these Mantras is called Panchakshara (lit. 
five letters). 

They are used in two ways. They may be repeated 
either for contemplation or as accompaniments to some 
other exercise. The middle letter represents the soul 
and each pair of letters on either side represents the 
things to which the soul attaches itself. On its left- 
hand side are God and the Love of God which gives 
true knowledge (Parashakti), which are the real goal of 
the soul and give it endless bliss. On the right-hand 
side is Anava, with the Love of God that causes 
evolution (Adi Shakti). When the soul contemplates 
these five letters, it sees that it cannot but lean towards 

* Parashakti. f Adi Shakti. 


the left-hand side and avoid things on the right, the 
things of the world that bring on endless suffering. 
The contemplation attaches the soul more and more to 
God, draws it away from tilings of the world, and leads 
it to truth, goodness, and bliss. The more often these 
formulas are contemplated in the right spirit; the more 
free one is from the deceptive nature of things as 
presented by the senses. The thought of God will 
dominate the mind; and all the things in the world will 
more and more reflect God. 

Besides these two formulas or Mantras, there are 
eleven Mantras which serve a great many purposes. 
These indicate the various parts of an image of God 
which is used for the purpose of contemplation. The 
first five stand for the five faces of the image repre- 
senting the love of God which confers on souls the five 
gifts of spiritual illumination, suppression of Anava, 
destruction, sustenance of life, and creation. The 
remaining six stand respectively for his heart, head, 
hair, clothing, eyes, and weapon, which symbolize 
His being the great reality, His perfection, His winning 
over the souls, His protecting them, His being the 
origin of the universe, and His power of dispelling 

They are also used to make the body manifest the 
divinity that is in it. Though the body is made of 
products of Maya, it is quickened by the Love of God, 
and is therefore essentially and potentially divine. 
Men of the Cl^rya stage have known this truth, and 
the association of the Mantras with the various parts 
of the body brings home to them this truth and makes 



e first five 

e and is fit for 

divine service. He then consecrates his heart and then 
other parts of the body with the appropriate Mantras. 
His body has thus assumed a divine form. 

The mind and body are further purified by the 
application of sacred ashes with appropriate Mantras 
to sixteen parts of the body, and by various other means. 
The worshipper then practises control of breath. 

which is believed to aid concentration of mind. With 
these preliminary aids, he begins the worship of God. 
There are several elements in the systematic worship 
of God, of which bathing the image and offering 
flowers are the chief. The water in which he bathes 
the image is love, and the eight kinds of flowers 
which he offers represent non-injury, control of the 
senses, forbearance, sympathy, love, truth, spiritual 
contemplation, and service. When the worship is over 
he surrenders himself to God. 

London 40 Museum Street, W C i 
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