The Shaiva Life

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By S.Sivapathasundaram

A SHAIVITE is a worshipper of Shiva, the supreme God. The Shaivite must therefore lead a life consonant with the greatness of the God he worships. He has a dignity to maintain.

Appar swami gives a complete picture of Saiva in a single stanza. He says we are not bound in fealty to any. We are not afraid of death. We are from the torments of hell, and hypocrisy is foreign to us. We are self- respecting; we know no suffering; we bow to nobody; we are very happy; we know he wears a white ear- ring, who is not subject to any one and who is the giver of all good. Since we are the eternal servants of any one, we can’t be servant of anyone else, since death comes as a release from this body, when it has become until for habitation, we would rather welcome death than fear it.

We readily obey him and are therefore free from every kind of suffering. Including hell, which is the consequence of wrong doing? As servant of God, we also occupy the highest place in the world. Any other position is inferior ours. There is therefore no need for us to appear to be what we are not to be hypocrites. As the servants of the Shiva we cannot condescend to do anything which is not in keeping with our high position. We hail with pleasure every kind of experience we undergo, in order to free us from karma. So even suffering is a source of pleasure to us. We cannot bow to others whether they are mighty men of the world or powerful Gods of the upper world as they are all inferior to the servant of Shaiva.

Divine meditation gives UN uninterrupted joy leaving no room for unhappiness. Nothing is greater than being the slave of God. There is therefore, no other position in this world, which we would care to seek. We would decline any if offered to us.

Says Manickavasagar: “I would decline even the position in this world, which we would care to seek. We would decline any if offered to us. I would decline even the position occupied by Indra, Vishnu and Bramah.

நாமார்க்கு குடியேல்லோம் நமனையன்சோம்

       நரகத்தி லிடர்ப்படோம் நடலையில்லோம்

ஏமாப்போம் பிணியறியோம் பணிவே மல்லேம்

      இன்பமே எநநாளு துன்பமில்லை

தாமார்க்கு குடியல்லாத் தன்மையான

     சன்கரன சன்கவெண் குலையோர்காதிற்

கோமாற்கே நாமென்று ஆளாய்க்

        கொய்மலர் சவடியினையே குறுகினோமே

கொள்ளேன் புரன்தரன் மாலயன் வாழ்வு

We have not legitimate ground for anger, fear or sorrow. God’s love for us is infinite. Ever thing that takes place in this world is the result of his law of love. Whatever happens to us, therefore, proceeds from His love for us. It must hence be always good us. There can then be no occasion for fear, sorrow or anger. We entertain these feelings in consequence of our ignorance of God’s ways. In our folly, we fear the advent of what is all good and feel sorry when it comes to us.

Neither do we set any value on other opinions of us. We must examine ourselves in the light if God’s law and if we are able to tell ourselves “you are good”, we can certainly rest satisfied with our self.  But nothing is more difficult to achieve than such an estimate of our-selves. Even Appar does not pass a favorable judgment on himself. It is therefore, impossible for us to be able to say that today we are better than we were yesterday. If I am not able to say of myself, “you are not a righteous man”. It is my duty to reject other praise of me. If they praise me they are mistaken. It also follows that our Endeavour to get the praise of other is a folly of follies. Fame is false. It is a product of ignorance.

vகுலம்பொல்லேன் குணம் பொல்லேன் குறியும் பொல்லேன்

The true shaivite’s life is an ideal one. He is fully armed is against all tendencies to wrong doing, and is fully equipped to do the right. The sacred ashes which he wears are the Parashskthi, the love of God. With God’s love visibly present in him, he can only be kind and loving toward others. The worship, at which he has surrendered himself to God, cannot permit him to do anything outside.

 “His Holy Laws,” says Manikavasagar of God “make full use of me or sell me outright or sell me as Otty”. He cannot therefore act contrary to his laws. The Panchakshara him what his actual position is. On one side Anava, Which blind him, and on the other side is the surgeon who not only restore his sight but also give him a light (shivagnanam) with which he can see things too subtle to be seen with ordinary ledge. He easily sees that he must avoid the blinder and join the eye- surgeon, the giver also of supreme light. His worship of God gives him a similar lesson and redoubles the might to do the right.  

“இருன்தென்னை ஆண்டுகொள் விற்றுக்கொள் ஒற்றிவை”

Otty is a sale with a condition of redeeming with a fixed time. Coming to details the true Shaivite eats not to fatten his body but get service from it to God. He does his work as service to god. If he is a cultivator, he regards cultivation as service to God, and on that account does this work with all his might. He is proof ‘against Anavic allurement’ if it catches his attention; he dismisses it, saying that it is of no concern to him. Whenever a new project comes to his mind, he measures it with the yard-stick, “How far will this project help me in my onward march to the ultimate goal?” If he finds it not helpful to it, he rejects it. Pomp and power rank and riches, fame and fashion can have no appeal to him.

The true Shaivite may belong to any class or caste. The saints of the Pariapuranam include men of all trades and castes.

Most of them pursued the trades of the families in which they were born. But of these trades, service to God was the soul. They could make every item of their work an occasion for worship .there has been men who combined worship with work.

One of these was seen one day plucking, one by one, the leaves of a thorny herb for cooking. The plucking of each leaf, he said, was accompanied by the repetition of the Panchaksharam. On several other occasions also, his lips were found to be busy, while he was engaged in some piece of work. He seemed to have made it a point to repeat Panchaksharam at all times. This was also inferable from the fact, that one day, while his wife was pounding rice, he advised her to repeat the name “Shiva” at each stroke of the pestle. His rule of life seems to be that work and worship must go together. The potter saint of the Periapuranam was worshipping God all the time he was making pots. But his worship did not end there. He made free gifts of pots to saints who needed them.

Coming now to nominal Shaivites like us, even we can improve our position of we make a serious effort. Our worship is capable of assuming one of three forms. It may be almost mechanical. In that case, the great gift of our religion such as sacred ashes and Panchaksharam cannot do us any appreciable good. With most of us this is the case. But it is some satisfaction to remember that the good, though not appreciable, is never negligible.

In the second form of worship, the intellects stand the worshipper the significance and potentiality of these Sadanas and can assist him in his attempt to mend and improve his ways. It can tackle desires of moderate strength but is over-powered present. They are a power and can keep down even strong rebellious desires. Worships accompanied by both the intellect and by the emotions can reform us and take us nearer true Shavaism.   

Vanakkam23

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