Philosophy—Its Origin And Its Limitations
Philosophy is the rational aspect of religion. It is an integral part
of religion in India. It is a rational enquiry into the nature of Truth
or Reality. It gives clear solutions for the profound, subtle problems
of life. It shows the way to get rid of pain and death and attain
immortality and eternal bliss.
Philosophy has its root in the practical needs of man. Man wants to
know about transcendental matters when he is in a reflective state.
There is an urge within him to know about the secret of death, the
secret of immortality, the nature of the soul, the Creator and the
world. Philosophy helps him to know all these things. Philosophy is the
self-expression of the growing spirit of man. The philosophers are its
voice. Great creative thinkers and philosophers appear in all ages. They
elevate and inspire the people.
Certain philosophical questions arise in the mind of man. What is
this Samsara? Has it any purpose? Is the world real or mere appearance?
Is there any Creator or Governor of this universe? If there is a
Creator, what is His nature? What is the relation between man and the
Creator? Is there any way to escape from the round of births and deaths?
Is there any such thing as the Impersonal Absolute? If so, what is Its
essential nature? How did man come into bondage? What is his essential
nature? Is he a part of the Supreme Soul, or is he identical
with It? What is the difference between Personal God and the
Impersonal Absolute? What is the source for this world? What is matter?
What is mind? What is individual soul? What is the goal of life? The
search for a solution of these problems is philosophy. Philosophy solves
beautifully all these problems.
Death—The Starting Point Of Philosophy
The idea of death has ever been the strongest motive-power of
religion and religious life. Man is afraid of death. Man does not want
to die. He wants to live for ever. This is the starting point of
philosophy. Philosophy enquires and investigates. It boldly proclaims:
“O man! Do not be afraid of death. There is an immortal abode. That is
Brahman. That is your own Atman which dwells in the chamber of your
heart. Purify your heart and meditate on this pure, immortal, changeless
Self. You will attain immortality.” Death is the ultimate pointer to the
transiency of all things and the existence of an ultimate Reality.
Various Schools Of Philosophy
A clear understanding of man’s relation to God is a matter of
momentous importance to students of philosophy and to all aspirants.
Philosophers, prophets, saints, sages, thinkers, Acharyas and great
religious leaders of the world have tried to explain the relation of man
to God and the universe. Various schools of philosophy and different
kinds of religious beliefs have come into existence, on account of
various explanations given by different philosophers.
Philosophy And Intuition
Philosophy will take you to the gates of the realm of eternal bliss,
but it cannot allow you to enter that realm. Intuition or realisation is
necessary for entering into that holy land of everlasting joy and
Hindu philosophy is not mere speculation or guesswork. It is lofty,
sublime, unique and systematic. It is based tin mystic spiritual
experience, or Aparoksha Anubhuti. The seers, sages and Rishis who had
direct, intuitive perception of the Truth are the founders of the
different philosophical systems in India. The different schools of
philosophy are all based on the Srutis or the Vedas, directly or
indirectly. Those who have studied carefully the Upanishads will find
that the revelations of the Srutis are in harmony with the conclusions
The Orthodox And The Heterodox Systems Of Indian
The six systems of Indian philosophy or the Shad-Darsanas are the six
orthodox systems of philosophy. They are the six ways of looking at the
1. The Nyaya
2. The Vaiseshika
3. The Sankhya
5. The Purva-Mimamsa
6. The Uttara-Mimamsa, or the
The orthodox systems of philosophy believe in the authority of the
The heterodox systems of philosophy do not believe in the
authority of the Vedas.
The six heterodox systems of philosophy are:
1. The Materialistic School of Charvaka;
2. The System of the Jainas;
3. The School of Presentationists or Vaibhashikas (Buddhistic);
4. The School of Representationists or Sautrantikas (Buddhistic);
5. The School of Idealism or Yogacharas (Buddhistic); and
6. The School of Nihilism of the Madhyamikas (Buddhistic).
The Shad-Darsanas Or The Six Orthodox Schools
The Shad-Darsanas or the six orthodox systems grew directly out of
the Vedas. Darsana means literally sight or vision.
Darsana means a system of philosophy. The Darsana literature is
philosophical. Each Darsana is a way of looking into the Truth; is a
standpoint in respect of the Truth.
Gautama Rishi systematised the principles of Nyaya or the Indian
logical system. Kanada composed the Vaiseshika Sutras. Kapila Muni
founded the Sankhya system. Patanjali Maharshi is the first systematiser
of the Yoga school. He composed his Yoga Sutras. The Yoga-Darsana of
Patanjali is a celebrated text-book on Raja Yoga. Jaimini, a disciple of
Vyasa, composed the Sutras of the Mimamsa school, which is based on the
ritual-sections of the Vedas. Badarayana composed his famous
Vedanta-Sutras or Brahma-Sutras which expound the teachings of the
Upanishads. The different schools of the Vedanta have built their
philosophy on the foundation of these Sutras.
Different Ways Of Approach To The Same Goal
The six schools of thought are like the six different roads which
lead to one city. You may go to Bombay by train or aeroplane or motor
bus or any other vehicle. Even so, you can reach the goal of life
through Yoga, or Vedanta, or any other path. The methods or ways of
approach to the Goal are different to suit people of different
temperaments, capacities and mental calibre. But they all have one aim,
viz., removal of ignorance and its effects of pain and sufferings and
the attainment of freedom, perfection, immortality and eternal bliss by
union of the individual soul (Jivatman) with the Supreme Soul
No student of Hinduism ought to be satisfied without acquiring a
clear and accurate knowledge of the principal distinguishing
characteristics of the six philosophical schools. The more advanced
scholar should study the original Sutras in which the doctrines of each
school are enunciated. Study of the six schools of philosophy will
sharpen the intellect and give you vast knowledge. You will have a clear
and comprehensive understanding of the Truth. Each system is a step or
rung in the spiritual ladder.
Interrelation Between The Six Systems
The six schools are divided into three groups: (i) The Nyaya and the
Vaiseshika, (ii) The Sankhya and the Yoga, and (iii) The Mimamsa and the
Vedanta. The Vaiseshika is a supplement of the Nyaya. The Yoga is a
supplement of the Sankhya. The Vedanta is an amplification and
fulfilment of the Sankhya. Study of Vyakarana (grammar), Mimamsa, Nyaya
and Sankhya is necessary to understand the Vedanta. The Nyaya sharpens
the intellect and enables the aspirants to grasp the Vedanta. The Nyaya
is considered as a prerequisite for all philosophical enquiry.
The Vaiseshika is not very much in honour now. The Nyaya is popular.
The Sankhya is not a living faith. The Yoga is practised by a few in its
practical form. The Vedanta is the most popular of all the schools
The Nyaya and the Vaiseshika will give you an analysis of the world
of experience. They arrange all the things of the world into certain
kinds or categories (Padarthas). They explain how God has made all this
material world out of atoms and molecules. They show the way to attain
knowledge of God. The Sankhya will provide you with deep knowledge of
Hindu psychology. Kapila Muni was the father of psychology. The Yoga
deals with the control of Vrittis, or thought-waves, and with
meditation. The Yoga system shows the ways to discipline the mind and
the senses. The Yoga will help you to cultivate concentration and
one-pointedness of mind and enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi or the
Superconscious State. The Purva-Mimamsa deals with the Karma-Kanda of
the Vedas, and the Uttara-Mimamsa with the Jnana-Kanda. The
Uttara-Mimamsa is also known as the Vedanta-Darsana. This is the
corner-stone of Hinduism. The Vedanta philosophy explains in detail the
nature of Brahman or the Eternal Being, and shows that the individual
soul is, in essence, identical with the Supreme Self. It gives methods
to remove Avidya or the veil of ignorance and to merge oneself in the
ocean of bliss or Brahman.
The Nyaya calls ignorance Mithya Jnana, false knowledge. The Sankhya
styles it Aviveka, non-discrimination between the real and the unreal.
The Vedanta names it Avidya, nescience. Each philosophy aims at its
eradication by Knowledge or Jnana. Then one attains eternal bliss or
By study of Nyaya and Vaiseshika, one learns to utilise his intellect
to find out fallacies and to know the material constitution of the
world. By study of Sankhya, one understands the course of evolution. By
study and practice of Yoga, one gains self-restraint and obtains mastery
over mind and senses. By practice of Vedanta, one reaches the highest
rung of the ladder of spirituality or the pinnacle of divine glory,
oneness with the Supreme Being, by the destruction of ignorance
Vedanta—The Most Satisfactory System of Philosophy
The Nyaya and the Vaiseshika
schools rely too much on human reason, though they accept the Vedas as
the supreme authority. Human intellect is frail and finite. It has got
its limitations. It functions within time, space and causation. Its
findings cannot be infallible. It cannot solve transcendental matters.
Vedas only are infallible and authoritative. They contain the
revelations or direct intuitional experiences of seers and Rishis. These
experiences will tally with the experiences of those who have attained
Knowledge of the Self (Brahma-Jnana).
The Vedanta is the most satisfactory system of philosophy. It has
been evolved out of the Upanishads. It has superseded all other schools.
The Mimamsa school had laid great stress on rituals, or Karma-Kanda.
According to the Mimamsa school, Karma or ritual is all-in-all in the
Veda. Upasana (worship) and Jnana (knowledge) are only accessories to
Karma. This view is refuted by the Vedanta school. According to the
Vedanta, Self-realisation (Jnana) is the foremost thing, and ritual and
worship are accessories. Karma will take one to heaven which is only an
impermanent place of refined sensual enjoyment. Karma cannot destroy the
cycle of births and deaths, and cannot give eternal bliss and
During the time of Sankaracharya, all the six schools of philosophy
flourished. Therefore, he had to refute the other systems in order to
establish his absolute monism (Kevala Advaita). But, nowadays, Sankhya,
Vaiseshika, etc., are in name only. Even now, some Hindu preachers,
Sannyasins and Mandalesvars try to establish Advaita Vedanta by refuting
these old systems. This is a mistake. They will have to refute at the
present moment materialism, agnosticism, atheism and science, and then
establish Advaita Vedanta.
(THE SCHOOLS OF VEDANTA)
The Sutras or aphorisms of Vyasa are the basis of the Vedanta
philosophy. These Sutras have been variously explained by different
commentators. From these interpretations have arisen several schools of
philosophy, viz., Kevala Advaita philosophy of Sri Sankaracharya the
philosophy of Qualified Monism or Visishtadvaita of Sri Ramanujacharya,
the Dvaita philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya, the Bhedabheda philosophy of
Sri Nimbarkacharya, the Suddha Advaita philosophy of Sri Vallabhacharya,
the Achintya Bhedabheda philosophy of Sri Chaitanya and the Siddhanta
philosophy of Sri Meykandar.
Each system of philosophy treats of three main problems, viz., God,
world and soul. The several schools of philosophy are only different
attempts at discovering the Truth.
The different Acharyas, belonging to distinctly different cults,
became founders of sects and great system-builders. The followers of
these schools sought to prove their orthodoxy by interpreting the
Vedanta Sutras in accordance with their own tenets, showing their claim
to be based on, and regularly evolved from, ancient tradition.
Sruti—The Common Basis Of All Schools
The Vedanta schools base their doctrines on the Upanishads. The
Upanishads, the Vedanta Sutras and the Bhagavad-Gita are regarded as the
authoritative scriptures. They are called Prasthana-Traya Granthas.
Different commentators of the Vedanta Sutras have formed different views
on the true nature of Brahman, but they all base their theories on the
supreme authority of the Sruti. To reject any one of these views is to
reject the Sruti itself.
The Three Main Schools Of Metaphysical Thought
Dvaita, Visishtadvaita and Advaita
Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva are the most illustrious
commentators on the Vedanta Sutras. These commentators have tried to
establish theories of their own, such as Advaita-Vada (unqualified
non-dualism or uncompromising or rigorous monism), Visishtadvaita-Vada
(differentiated or qualified monism) and Dvaita-Vada (strict or rigorous
dualism). Sankaracharya had in view, while preparing his commentary,
chiefly the purpose of combating the baneful effects which blind
ritualism had brought to bear upon Hinduism.
Dualism (Dvaita), Qualified Monism (Visishtadvaita) and Monism
(Advaita) are the three main schools of metaphysical thought. They are
all stages on the way to the Ultimate Truth, viz., Para-Brahman. They
are rungs on the ladder of Yoga. They are not at all contradictory. On
the contrary, they are complimentary to one another. These stages are
harmoniously arranged in a graded series of spiritual experiences.
Dualism, Qualified Monism, Pure Monism—all these culminate eventually in
the Advaita Vedantic realisation of the Absolute or the transcendental
Trigunatita Ananta Brahman.
Madhva said: “Man is the servant of God,” and established his Dvaita
philosophy. Ramanuja said: “Man is a ray or spark of God,” and
established his Visishtadvaita philosophy. Sankara said: “Man is
identical with Brahman or the Eternal Soul,” and established his Kevala
A Dvaitin wants to serve the Lord as a servant. He wishes to play
with the Lord. He wishes to taste the sugar-candy. A Visishtadvaitin
wants to become like Lord Narayana and enjoy the divine. He does not
wish to merge himself or become identical with the Lord. He wishes to
remain as a spark. A Jnani merges himself in Brahman. He wishes to
become identical with Brahman. He wants to become the sugar-candy
People have different temperaments and different capacities. So,
different schools of philosophy are also necessary. The highest rung is
Advaita philosophy. A dualist or qualified monist eventually becomes a
Different Conceptions Of Brahman Only Different
Approaches To The Reality
Nimbarkacharya reconciles all the different views regarding the Lord
taken up by Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and others, and proves that their
views are all true with reference to the particular aspect of Brahman
dealt with by them, each in his own way. Sankara has taken Reality in
Its transcendental aspect, while Ramanuja has taken It in Its immanent
aspect, principally; but, Nimbarka has adjusted different views taken by
the different commentators.
Sri Sankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Madhvacharya, Sri
Vallabhacharya and Sri Nimbarkacharya—all were great souls. We
cannot say that Sri Sankara was greater than Sri Ramanuja, or Sri
Vallabha was greater than Nimbarka, etc. All were Avatara Purushas. Each
one incarnated himself on this earth to complete a definite mission, to
preach and propagate certain doctrines which were necessary to help the
growth of a certain type of people, who flourished at a certain period,
who were in a certain stage of evolution. All schools of philosophy are
necessary. Each philosophy is best suited to a certain type of people.
The different conceptions of Brahman are but different approaches to the
Reality. It is extremely difficult, rather impossible, for the finite
soul to get—all at once—a clear conception of the Illimitable or
Infinite Soul, and more so, to express it in adequate terms. All cannot
grasp the highest Kevala Advaita philosophy of Sri Sankara all at once.
The mind has to be disciplined properly before it is rendered as a fit
instrument to grasp the tenets of Sri Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta.
Salutations and adorations to all Acharyas! Glory to the Acharyas!
May their blessings be upon us all.
(SAIVA SIDDHANTA AND SAKTAISM)
The Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy
In the books which treat of Saivism, there is a reference to four
schools, viz., the Nakulisapasupata, the Saiva, the Pratyabhijna and the
Saiva Siddhanta is the philosophy of Southern Saivism. It owes its
origin to no single author. It is midway between Sankara’s Advaita and
Ramanuja’s Visishtadvaita. Its literature consists chiefly of: (i) the
twenty-eight Saivite Agamas, (ii) the collection of Saivite hymns known
as Tirumurai, (Compiled by Nambi Andar Nambi, the Tirumurai includes
the Tirumantiram of Tirumular, the Tevaram of Appar, Sundarar and
Sambandhar, and the Tiruvachakam of Manikkavachagar.) (iii) the
collection of the lives of the Saivite saints, known as Periyapuranam,
(iv) Meykandar’s Sivajnanabodham, (v) Arulnandi’s Siva-jnanasiddhiar,
and (vi) the works of Umapati. Tirumular’s work ‘Tirumantiram’ is the
foundation upon which the later structure of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy
The central doctrine of the Saiva Siddhanta philosophy is that Siva
is the Supreme Reality, and that the Jiva or the individual soul is of
the same essence as Siva, but not identical. Pati (God), Pasu (soul) and
Pasa (the bonds), and the thirty-six Tattvas or principles which
constitute the world, are all real.
The Saiva Siddhanta system is the distilled essence of the Vedanta.
It prevailed in Southern India even before the Christian era.
Tirunelveli and Madurai are the centres of the Saiva Siddhanta school.
Even now, Saivism is a very popular creed in South India. It is a rival
school of Vaishnavism.
Characteristics Of The Supreme Reality
The Supreme Reality is called Siva. He is infinite consciousness. He
is eternal, changeless, formless, independent, omnipresent, omnipotent,
omniscient, one without a second, beginningless, causeless, taintless,
self-existent, ever-free, ever-pure and perfect. He is not limited by
time. He is infinite bliss and infinite intelligence. He is free from
defects, the all-doer and the all-knower.
Lord Siva is the God of love. His grace is infinite. His love is
infinite. He is the saviour and Guru. He is engaged in freeing the souls
from the thraldom of matter. He assumes the form of a Guru out of His
intense love for mankind. He wishes that all should know Him and attain
the blissful Siva-Pada. He watches the activities of the individual
souls and helps them in their onward march. He liberates the individual
souls from their fetters or bonds.
The Five Activities of the Lord
The five activities of the Lord (Pancha-Krityas) are: Srishti
(creation), Sthiti (preservation), Samhara (destruction), Tirobhava
(veiling) and Anugraha (grace). These, separately considered, are the
activities of Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahesvara and Sadasiva.
Siva, Sakti And Maya
The Lord Siva pervades the whole world by His Sakti. He works through
His Sakti. Sakti is the conscious energy of Lord Siva. She is the very
body of Lord Siva. The potter is the first cause for the pot. The stick
and the wheel are the instrumental causes. The clay is the material
cause of the pot. Similarly, Lord Siva is the first cause of the world.
Sakti is the instrumental cause. Maya is the material cause.
Sakti is not the material cause of the universe, because she is of
the nature of consciousness (Chaitanya). Siva is pure consciousness, but
matter is pure unconsciousness. Sakti is the intermediate link between
Sakti is the reflex of Siva. It has no independent existence. Siva
assumes this form out of His great love for mankind. Siva wishes that
all should know Him.
Evolution Of The Tattvas From Suddha-Maya
The world undergoes evolution for the benefit of the souls. The whole
process of creation is for the sake of the salvation of the souls. The
world is real and eternal. The world of matter and souls forms the body
of the Lord.
The Saiva Siddhanta analyses the universe into thirty-six Tattvas or
principles, as against the twenty-five of the Sankhya. The thirty-six
Tattvas arise from Maya, the material cause of the world. Suddha-Maya is
Maya in its primal state. From it arise the five pure principles called
Siva Tattva, Sakti Tattva, Sadasiva Tattva, Isvara Tattva and
Suddhavidya Tattva. Siva functions through these five pure principles.
Maya evolves into the subtle principles and then into the gross. Siva
Tattva is the basis of all consciousness and action. It is
undifferentiated (Nishkala Suddha Maya). The Sakti of Siva starts her
activity. Then Siva becomes the experiencer. Then He is called Sadasiva,
known also by the name Sadakhya, who is not really separate from Siva.
The Suddha Maya becomes active. Then Siva, the experiencer, becomes the
ruler. He is then Isvara, who is not really separate from Sadasiva.
Suddhavidya is the cause of true knowledge.
The Bonds That Bind The Soul
Anava, Karma and Maya
Souls (Pasu) are by nature infinite, all-pervading, eternal and
all-knowing like Lord Siva (Pati). Yet they think that they are finite,
limited and little-knowing, ignorant and temporary. This is due to their
bonds (Pasa), viz., Anava, Karma and Maya which are called the three
Malas or impurities. Anava is the impurity which makes the all-pervading
Jiva think itself to be atomic (Anu). It produces the erroneous notion
of finiteness. The second impurity or bond is Karma. The soul acts in
certain ways on account of its limitation and does good and evil
actions. Karma brings about the conjunction of the soul with its body.
The results of the Karma have to be worked out in the world. There
should be worlds and bodies, in order to experience the fruits of
actions and acquire knowledge. These are provided by Maya, the third
Mala or bond. Maya is the material cause of the world. The soul gets
experience and limited knowledge through Maya.
The soul learns, by long experience, that this Samsara is full of
pains and is transitory, and that he can attain eternal bliss and
immortality only by attaining Sivatva or the nature of Siva or
God-realisation. He develops Vairagya (dispassion), and Viveka
(discrimination between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the
Three Orders of Jivas
The Saiva Siddhantins divine Jivas or Pasus into three orders, viz.,
Vijnanakalas, Pralayakalas and Sakalas. Vijnanakalas have only the Anava
Mala (egoism). Maya and Karma have been resolved. Pralayakalas are those
who are free from Maya alone, in the stage of Pralaya. Sakalas have all
the Malas (defects), viz., Anava, Karma and Maya.
The Malas affect only the Jivas and not Siva. Those who are freed
from the Malas or impurities attain Sivatva or the nature of Siva. They
are Siddhas or perfected beings.
The Way To The Attainment Of Sivatva Or
You must free yourself from the three bonds, if you want to attain
salvation. You must annihilate Maya which is the root of all sins. You
must destroy all Karmas which produce rebirth. You must remove the
erroneous notion of a finite self.
The three bonds can be removed only through rigorous Tapas, proper
discipline, the help of a Guru, and above all, the grace of Lord Siva.
Charya (observance), Kriya (rites) and Yoga (Yama, Niyama, etc.)
constitute the discipline. When the aspirant practises in right earnest
Charya, Kriya and Yoga, he obtains the grace of Lord Siva. Then the Lord
instructs the soul, reveals Himself and illumines him. Then the soul
realises its nature as Siva (Jnana).
Discipline and grace culminate in Jnana. Jnana is the supreme means
of salvation or the attainment of the final beatitude. Karma and other
means are only subsidiary to it. They are only auxiliaries.
The attainment of Sivatva or Siva-nature does not mean complete
merging of the soul in Siva. The liberated soul does not lose its
individuality. It continues to exist as soul in God. Sivatva is the
realisation of an identity of essence in spite of difference. The soul
attains the nature of Siva or God, but it is not itself Siva or God.
The Sakti Yoga Philosophy
In this system of Sakti Yoga philosophy, Siva is omnipresent,
impersonal and inactive. He is pure consciousness. Sakti is dynamic.
Siva and Sakti are related as Prakasa and Vimarsa. Sakti or Vimarsa is
the power that is latent in the pure consciousness. Vimarsa gives rise
to the world of distinctions. Siva is Chit, Sakti is Chidrupini. Brahma,
Vishnu and Siva do their functions of creation, preservation and
destruction in obedience to Sakti. Sakti is endowed with Ichha (will),
Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (action). Siva and Sakti are one.
Sakti-Tattva and Siva-Tattva are inseparable. Siva is always with Sakti.
Siva-Tattva and Sakti-Tattva
The creative aspect of the Supreme Siva is called Siva-Tattva.
Sakti-Tattva is the will of Siva. It is the seed and womb of the entire
Siva has two aspects. In one aspect, He is the supreme, changeless
One who is Satchidananda. This is Para Samvit. Nishkala Siva is Nirguna
Siva. He is not connected with the creative Sakti. In the other aspect,
He changes as the world. The cause of the change is Siva-Tattva.
Sakti-Tattva is the first dynamic aspect of Brahman. This Siva-Tattva
and Sakti-Tattva are inseparable.
Sakti—The Ruler of Maya
Maya or Prakriti is within the womb of Sakti. Maya is the matrix of
the world. Maya is potential in the state of dissolution. She is dynamic
in creation. Maya evolves into several material elements and other
physical parts of all sentient creatures, under the direction of Sakti.
There are thirty-six Tattvas or principles in the Sakti philosophy.
Sakti—The Active Aspect Of The Immanent God
The power or active aspect of the immanent God is Sakti. Siva or
Brahman is the unchanging consciousness. Sakti is His changing Power
which appears as mind and matter. Sakti is the embodiment of power. She
runs this world-show. She maintains the sportive play or Lila of the
Lord. She is the supporter of the vast universe. She is the supreme
Power by which the world is upheld. She is the Universal Mother. She is
Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Kali, Chandi, Chamundi, Tripurasundari and
Rajarajesvari. She is Lalita, Kundalini and Parvati. There is no
difference between God and His Sakti, just as there is no difference
between fire and its burning power.
Devi is Sakti of Lord Siva. She is Jada Sakti and Chit Sakti.
Prakriti is Jada Sakti. Suddha Maya is Chit Sakti. Nada, Bindu and the
rest are only names for different aspects of Sakti. Sakti is Prakriti,
Maya, Mahamaya and Sri Vidya. Sakti is Brahman Itself. Sakti manifested
Herself to Lord Siva in the ten forms as the Dasa-Maha-Vidyas, viz.,
Kali, Bagalamukhi, Chhinnamasta, Bhuvanesvari, Matangi, Shodasi,
Dhumavati, Tripurasundari, Tara and Bhairavi.
Sakti is Chidrupini. She is pure, blissful Consciousness. She is the
Mother of Nature. She is Nature Itself. She is Jagat-Janani, Creatrix of
the world; Mahishasura-mardini, destroyer of Mahishasura; Bhrantinasini,
destroyer of illusion or Avidya; and Daridryanasini, destroyer of
The world is a manifestation of Sakti. The countless universes are
only dust of Divine Mother’s holy feet. Her glory is ineffable. Her
splendour is indescribable. Her greatness is unfathomable. She showers
Her grace on Her sincere devotees. She leads the individual soul from
Chakra to Chakra, from plane to plane, and unites him with Lord Siva in
Manifestations Of The Divine Mother
The Supreme Lord is represented as Siva and His power is represented
as His consort—Sakti, Durga or Kali. Just as the husband and wife look
after the well-being of the family, so also Lord Siva and His Sakti are
engaged in looking after the affairs of this world.
Divine Mother is everywhere triple. She is endowed with the three
Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. She manifests Herself as Will
(Ichha Sakti), Action (Kriya Sakti) and Knowledge (Jnana Sakti). She is
Brahma-Sakti (Sarasvati) in conjunction with Brahma, Vishnu-Sakti
(Lakshmi) in conjunction with Vishnu and Siva-Sakti (Gauri) in
conjunction with Siva. Hence She is called Tripurasundari.
Radha, Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and Savitri are the five primary
forms of Prakriti or Devi. Durga destroyed Madhu and Kaitabha through
Vishnu. As Mahalakshmi, She destroyed the Asura Mahisha; and as
Sarasvati, she destroyed Sumbha and Nisumbha with their companions
Dhumralochana, Chanda, Munda and Raktabija.
The Abode Of The Divine Mother
The abode of Tripurasundari, the Divine Mother, is called Sri-Nagara.
This magnificent abode known as Mani-Dvipa, is surrounded by twenty-five
ramparts which represent the twenty-five Tattvas. The resplendent
Chintamani Palace is in the middle. The Divine Mother sits in the
Bindu-Pitha in Sri-Chakra in that wonderful palace. There is a similar
abode for Her in the body of man also.
The body is Sakti. The needs of the body are the needs of Sakti. When
man enjoys, it is Sakti who enjoys through him. She sees through his
eyes, works through his hands and hears through his ears. Body, mind,
Prana, egoism, intellect, organs, and all functions are Her
The whole world is Her body. Mountains are Her bones. Rivers are Her
veins. Ocean is Her bladder. Sun and moon are Her eyes. Wind is Her
breath. Agni is Her mouth.
The Indescribable Glory Of Devi
The Story of the Yaksha
In the Kenopanishad, it is said that the gods became puffed up with a
victory over the Asuras. They wrongly took the success to be the result
of their own valour and powers. The Lord wanted to teach them a lesson.
He appeared before them in the form of a Yaksha—a huge form, the
beginning and end of which were not visible. The Devas wanted to find
out the identity of this form and sent Agni for this purpose. The Yaksha
asked Agni: “What is thy name and power?” Agni replied: “I am Agni,
Jatavedas. I can burn up the whole universe in a minute.” The Yaksha
placed before Agni a dry blade of grass and asked him to burn it. Agni
was not able to burn it. He ran away from the Yaksha in shame. The gods
then sent Vayu to enquire who he was. Vayu approached the Yaksha. The
Yaksha asked Vayu: “Who are you? What is your power?” Vayu replied: “I
am the wind-god. I can blow the whole world in a minute.” The Yaksha
then placed a blade of grass before Vayu and challenged him to blow it
away. Vayu could not make it move an inch from its place. He, too, left
the place in shame. Last of all came Indra himself. When Indra reached
the place, he found that the Yaksha vanished.
Then Uma appeared before Indra and revealed to him the real identity
of the Yaksha. She said to Indra: “It is the power of the Divine
Mother—and not that of the gods—that crowned the gods with victory. It
is the Sakti of Uma or Haimavati, sister of Krishna, that is the source
of the strength of all the gods.” Sakti is the great Teacher of Jnana.
She sheds wisdom on Her devotees.
The Devi Behind the Gods
When Vishnu and Mahadeva destroyed various Asuras, the power of Devi
was behind them. Devi took Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and gave them the
necessary Sakti to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and
destruction. She is at the centre of the life of the universe. She is in
the Muladhara Chakra in our bodies. She vitalises the body through the
Sushumna. She vitalises the universe from the summit of Mount Meru.
The Mother That Protects
Sakti may be termed as that by which we live and have our being in
this universe. In this world, all the wants of the child are provided by
the mother. The child’s growth, development and sustenance are looked
after by the mother. Even so, all the necessities of life, life’s
activities in this world and the energy needed for it, depend upon Sakti
or the Universal Mother.
The first syllable which a child or a quadruped utters is the name of
the beloved mother. Is there any child who does not owe its all to the
affection and love of its mother? It is the mother who protects you,
consoles you, cheers you and nurses you. She is your friend,
philosopher, preceptor and guide throughout your life. The human mother
is a manifestation of the Universal Mother. All women are forms of the
The Scriptures Of The Sakta School
The Devi-Sukta of the Rig-Veda, Sri-Sukta, Durga-Sukta, Bhu-Sukta and
Nila-Sukta, and the specific Sakta Upanishads such as the Tripurasundari
Upanishad, Sitopanishad, Devi Upanishad, Saubhagya Upanishad, Sarasvati
Upanishad, Bhavanopanishad, Bahvrichopanishad, etc.—all emphatically
declare the Mother-aspect of God.
Saktaism—A Universal Cult
He who worships Sakti, that is, God in Mother-form, as the Supreme
Power which creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, is a
Worship of Sakti, or Saktaism, is one of the oldest and most
widespread religions in the world. Everybody in this world wants power
and loves to possess power. He is elated by power. He wants to domineer
over others through power. War is the outcome of greed for power.
Scientists are followers of Saktaism. He who wishes to develop
will-power and a charming personality is a follower of Saktaism. In
reality, every man in this world is a follower of Saktaism.
Scientists say now that everything is energy only, and that energy is
the physical ultimate of all forms of matter. The followers of the Sakta
school of philosophy have said the same thing long ago. They further say
that this energy is only a limited manifestation of the infinite Supreme
Power or Maha Sakti.
Vedanta And Saktaism
The basis of Saktaism is the Veda. Saktaism upholds that the only
source and authority (Pramana) regarding transcendental or supersensual
matters such as the nature of Brahman, etc., is the Veda. Sakti Vada or
Sakta Darsana is a form of monism or Advaita Vada. Saktaism is only
Vedanta. The Saktas have the same spiritual experiences as those of a
Saktaism speaks of the personal and impersonal aspects of Godhead.
Brahman is Nishkala or without Prakriti, and Sakala or with Prakriti.
The Vedantins speak of Nirupadhika Brahman (pure Nirguna Brahman without
Maya), and Sopadhika Brahman (with Upadhi or Maya) or Saguna Brahman. It
is all the same. Names only are different. It is a play of words or
Sabda Jala. People fight on words only and carry on lingual warfare,
hair-splitting, logical chopping and intellectual gymnastics. In
reality, the essence is One. Clay only is truth; all modifications such
as pot, etc., are in name only. In Nirguna Brahman, Sakti is potential;
whereas, in Saguna Brahman, Sakti is dynamic.
Saktaism is not mere theory or philosophy. It prescribes systematic
Sadhana of Yoga, regular discipline according to the temperament,
capacity and degree of evolution of the Sadhaka. Sadhana means
unfolding, rousing up or awakening of the power of Sakti. Saktaism helps
the aspirant to arouse the Kundalini and unite Her with Lord Siva and to
enjoy the supreme bliss or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. A Sakta does Sadhana
which helps the union of Siva and Sakti through the awakening of the
forces within the body. He becomes a Siddha in the Sadhana when he is
able to awaken Kundalini and pierce the six Chakras. The mode of Sadhana
depends upon the tendencies and capacities of the Sadhaka.
Bhava or Attitude
The aspirant thinks that the world is identical with the Divine
Mother. He moves about thinking his own form to be the form of the
Divine Mother and thus beholds oneness everywhere. He also feels that
the Divine Mother is identical with Brahman.
The advanced Sadhaka feels: “I am the Devi and the Devi is in Me.” He
worships himself as Devi instead of adoring any external object. He
says: “Saham—I am She (Devi).”
The Awakening of Kundalini
The Sakti must be awakened by Dhyana, Bhava, Japa and Mantra Sakti.
The Mother, the embodiment of the fifty letters, is present in the
various letters in the different Chakras. When the chords of a musical
instrument are struck harmoniously, fine music is produced. Even so,
when the chords of the letters are struck in their order, the Mother who
moves in the six Chakras and who is the very Self of the letters,
awakens Herself. The Sadhaka attains Siddhi easily when She is roused.
It is difficult to say when and how She shows Herself, and to what
When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to the world. He has objective
consciousness. When She awakes, he sleeps. He loses all consciousness of
the world and becomes one with the Lord. In Samadhi, the body is
maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Siva and Sakti in
Pasu Bhava and Divya Bhava
Physical contact with a female is gross Maithuna. This is due to
Pasu-Bhava or animal attraction or brutal instinct. Mother Kundalini
Sakti unites with Lord Siva in the Sahasrara during Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
This is real Maithuna or blissful union. This is due to Divya-Bhava or
divine disposition. You must rise from Pasu-Bhava to Divya-Bhava through
Satsanga, service of Guru, renunciation, dispassion, discrimination,
Japa and meditation.
Indispensability of Guru’s Guidance and Mother’s
Sakti Yoga Sadhana is to be practised in a perfect, practical way
under the guidance of a Guru who has become perfect. Guru is
indispensable for the practice of Sakti Yoga Sadhana. He initiates the
aspirant and transmits the divine Sakti.
No one can free himself from the thraldom of mind and matter without
Mother’s grace. The fetters of Maya are too hard to break. If you
worship Her as the great Mother, you can very easily go beyond Prakriti
through Her benign grace and blessings. She will remove all obstacles in
the path, lead you safely into the illimitable domain of eternal bliss,
and make you absolutely free. When She is pleased and bestows Her
blessings on you, then alone you can free yourself from the bondage of
this formidable Samsara.
Knowledge of Sakti Leads to Salvation
Knowledge of Sakti leads to salvation. “Sakti-Jnanam Vina Devi
Nirvanam Naiva Jayate—O Devi! Without the knowledge of Sakti, Mukti
cannot be attained”—says Siva to Devi. The Jiva or the individual soul
thinks, when he is under the influence of Maya, that he is the doer and
the enjoyer and identifies himself with the body. Through the grace of
Sakti and through Sadhana or self-culture, the individual soul frees
himself from all fetters and attains spiritual insight and merges
himself in the Supreme.
Worship of the Divine Mother, intense faith and perfect devotion and
self-surrender, will help you to attain Her grace. Through Her grace
alone you can attain Knowledge of the Imperishable.
Glory to Sri Tripurasundari, the World-Mother, who is also
Rajarajesvari and Lalita-Devi. May Her blessings be upon you all. May
you all obtain the grace of Sakti, the Universal Mother and enjoy the
supreme bliss of final emancipation.