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Self In Bondage – Saiva Siddhanta Teaching


The self in bondage is referred to as Pashu in Saiva Siddhanta. As per Shaiva Siddhanta teaching, the self is eternal. It has different states of existence:

Disembodied state before birth. Here it dwells in darkness due to the radical impurity called anava (ego).

Embodied condition after birth where it is bound by its moral deserts and the material world of maya. The self here experiences good and bad and undergoes the five states of walking state, dream state, deep sleep, a long and deeper sleep, waking from which one does not recall how long he has been sleeping, and lastly the transcendental condition, where even the movement of vital airs or life breath is stilled.

The self develops relationships either with Shiva (sat) or the products of asat (mundane world). Hence it acquires the qualities with which it is attached at the moment. This type of ambiguous combination is called sat-asat or real-unreal. In other words, the atma when in the company of the permanent real is called sat and in the company of the impermanent world is called asat. This is in alternation, not in simultaneity.

The atman is bound by radical impurity. It can be known only with the instruments of maya, just as king functions through his ministers. The Siddhantins do not countenance the theory of materialism that that the atma is the same as the body, mind etc. The self is different from these. It uses them for its knowledge and action, for its goals and purposes. It is the intelligent energy of the self which is productive of knowledge. Hence the self is intelligent when contrasted with a body, etc., which are inert.

Atma are classified into three kinds in Saiva Siddhanta –
  1. those which are endowed with radical impurity alone,
  2. with this impurity and karma
  3. with all the impurities of maya, karma, and radical impurity.

The first kind is called vijnana kala, the second is pralaya kala and third sakala. Each of these kind receives the onset of grace in accordance with the degree of association with the impurities. Once the impurities are annihilated, atman becomes one with Shiva in the sense of atma inseparable from Him and enjoys His grace.







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