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Teachings On Ego In Shaiva Siddhanta

Understanding ego from the teachings of Saiva Siddhanta.

Three- stringed rope is often seen in the hands of Hindu gods and goddesses. It is known as pasha and it is an important symbol. In Saiva Siddhanta, pasa (talai) literally means rope which is used for binding.

From Shaiva Siddhanta perspective, the three stringed rope holds the jiva and limits is intelligence, power and brilliance. Originally, the jiva (atma) is swayamprakasha (self illuminative), but its effulgence is covered is covered by the inherent impurity called anava (ego). This impurity is the root evil and the cause of all worldly sufferings.

Ego has the qualities of assertion and possession – ‘I’ and ‘mine.’ It is worse than darkness. In fact, darkness will reveal itself though the objects are not revealed, but ego will reveal neither itself nor its functions.

Karma (action) and maya (matter) are originally meant for the welfare of the atma. But due to their association with the prime impurity, ego, they too function as bonds and drive the atma to a pathetic state.

Ego, which is unintelligent, can never reach the jiva nor the jiva, which is of a conscious nature, seldom moves towards the non-conscious ego. Shiva, who is the purest substance, will never unite these two. So the Siddhantins declare that the union between the jiva and the ego is beginningless like verdigris in copper and husk in paddy.

Karma cannot be seen through sense perception. It is subtle and super sensible; its products are not immediate. In Shaivism, the doer, the deed, the fruits of the deed and He who grants the fruits and unites with the doer are the four factors connected with karma.
When ego predominates it leads to selfish and person action, resulting in subtle reactions. The stored up karmas are called tolvinai (sanchita karma), the accumulated karmas are called varu vinai (agamiya karma) and the fruit yielding karma are termed as valvinai (prarabdha karma).

Actions are executed in association with objects which are the products of maya. It is of three categories – Shuddha, ashuddha, and shuddhasudhha –and its evolutes are thirty six. The impurities cannot be destroyed, and in liberation they lose their force and exist in a positive and refined manner.