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Eight Fold City In Shiva Philosophy In Hinduism

Eight fold city – puryastaka – is a metaphysical analysis in Shaiva Siddhanta (Shiva Philosophy) in Hinduism. In this excellent exposition of the nature of the world, the place of the atman (being) and the role and character of Shiva are given.

From the invisible forces like egoity and action and its fruits, the siddhantins switched on to the visible world and the human body by linking the above two while elucidating the evolutes of maya.

Samkya’s twenty four evolutes are retained by the Shiva followers as the product of Shuddha Shuddha Maya or prakriti maya.

The first five tattvas are pure and are known as Shiva Tattvas. The next seven are impure and are known as ashuddha maya or vidya tattvas. These two are causal entities, since they do not emerge from others.

Prakriti maya emerges from ashuddha maya and therefore it is the effect of things. ‘Ma’ means dissolution and ‘ya’ means evolution. The world resolves in maya and evolves from it again.

From kata of the ashuddha maya product evolves prakriti, also known as mula prakrti. Since this is the first cause often subsequent to the twenty four tattvas, it is known as prakriti maya.

The svarupa (original nature) of this maya is guna, which has three dimensions: sattva, rajas and tamas. So all the effects o the prakrti are constituted of these three gunas including nature and the human body.

Mind, intellect, siddham, and egoity are the evolutes known as antahkarnas. The five organs of knowledge are the organs of speech, feet, hands, anus and the generative organ.

The five tanmatras are sound, touch, form, taste, and smell.  Corresponding to the tanmatras there are five gross elements known as sky (sound), air (touch), agni (fire,form), water (taste) and earth (smell). Through these evolutes known as atmatattvas the selves undergo experiences of pleasure, pain and delusion.

Of these 35 tattvas, Shiva tattvas do not associate with the human body. Of the thirty one tattvas, the five elements, the five organs of knowledge, and the five organs of action constitute the gross body (shtula sharira or annamaya kosha). The five subtle elements or tanmatras along with mind, buddhi, and ahamkara (three antahkarans excluding siddham) constitute the subtle body (sukshma sharira or pranamaya kosha).

Prakriti or siddham (the resolute mind) refers to guna sharira or manomaya kosha. The vidyatattvas (seven), exluding maya, constitute the kanchuka sharira or vijnanamaya kosha, and maya alone refers to the karana sharira or casual body, also known as anandamaya kosha.

The guna sarira, kachuka sarira, and karana sarira are united together and are called para sarira. So there are three kinds of body: sthula (gross), sukshma (subtle) and para (causal). Para also means adhisukshma (very subtle body).

Puryastaka figuratively refers to the subtle body of living beings as contrasted with the gross body that is visible. It is constituted by the five subtle essences (tanmatras) of sound, touch, form, taste, and smell, on the one hand, and the internal organs of mind, intellect and ego, on the other. According to Shaiva Siddhantins unlike the elements that exist in a gross form and are visible, the atman has a subtle form that transmigrates from one birth to the another enclosing the self within it. The subtle body, of course, is inert, while its occupant atman alone is the intelligent and conscious self. It is unique and separate in different selves, and provides experiences of each self separately.