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Iru Vinai Oppu – Concept In Shaiva Philosophy

The term iru vinai oppu means equalization of a two-fold deed, for oppu means equilibrium and iru vinai means two fold. It is an important concept in Shaiva philosophy. According to Shaiva Siddhanta, iru vinai oppu means experiencing both pleasure, caused by good deeds, and pain, caused by bad deeds, without any mental fluctuation. The aspirant must maintain equilibrium during both prosperity and adversity. Regarding both joy and pain as alike is the essence of iruvinai oppu. This view has been illustrated – periyapuranam – by devotees of Shiva, who are affected neither by poverty nor affluence.
This concept should not be construed as someone doing good and bad deeds and maintaining a balance between them. Also, it is not possible to maintain a state where a good act and a bad act become equal.

Again, the concept also means that a great deed and the worst deed yield fruit at the same time. This state, too, is impossible because in such a state each will annul the other, both will be destroyed, and nothing will affect the doer. Even if the above state is possible, and even if the two-fold deed is destroyed, nothing can prevent the doer from being affected by subsequent deeds.

In the Suddha (pure) state of existence, the soul experiences with detachment the fruits of its past good and evil deeds. There are certain requirements to achieve this state, such as the onset of Shiva’s grace upon the soul and the grace of the preceptor.

The process of reaching the state of iru vinai oppu has been viewed differently by different commentators on Shaiva texts. According to Maraijnana Desikar, experience is not possible for the soul when a balance arises between good and evil deeds. At this stage, the soul gets initiation from the preceptor and engages in jnana yoga.

As a sequel to this yogic practice, the impurities are annihilated like darkness being removed by light in the opinion of Shivagra yogin, tirodhana (the power of obstruction) impels the energies of the impurities when maturation of both merit and demerit takes place simultaneously. The soul has to be in heaven and hell at the same time.

At this stage, Shiva appears as a guru, purifies the being and enable it to attain wisdom. After the annihilation of impurities, due to the dawn of wisdom, the being enters into a non-dual union with Shiva. This is a state of Suddhavastha (pure experience).

  • Saiva Siddhanta (1960) by Devasenapathi V A – Madras University Chennai
  • Of Human Bondage and Divine Grace (1963) Annamalai University Chidambaram
  • Siddanta Vina Vidai (1975) Arunai Vadivelu Mudaliyar – Dharmapuram Adeenam Chennai
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume V page 188 - IHRF