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Sankarpa Nirakaranam - One Among 14 Philosophical Works Of Saiva Siddhanta

Sankarpa Nirakaranam is one among the 14 philosophical works of Saiva Siddhanta. The term literally means the refutation of rival schools. Sankarpa Nirakaranam is known as Meykanda Shastra (philosophical treatise in the footsteps of Meykandar, or the seer of truth), authored by Umapati Sivacharya. Conventionally, Saiva Siddhanta scholars make two divisions in their philosophical expositions, viz., purva paksha (the prima facie view) and supaksha (theory under discussion; the truth). One such famous work dealing with a different school of thought (parapakkam) is Sankarpa Nirakaranam. Pasanavada, Bhedavada, Sivasamavada, Sivasankranthavada, Ishwara Avikaravada and Shivadvaitavada are discussed and discarded. The text consists of a type of Tamil poetry called Airiappa.

Any religious system with philosophical analysis is studied from the following three perspectives, viz., founder, knowledge texts and doctrines.

Shaivism has no founder or founders except the contributions made by prominent saints and eminent sages, which form the scriptural aspect of Shaivism. The devotional utterances of devout saints have been carefully analyzed and examined the philosophical ideas from them. Thus the twelve canonical literature texts (Panniru Thirumuraigal) and fourteen Siddhanta texts (Meykanda Shastras) constitute the knowledge texts of Shaivism.

As was the convention in Indian philosophical writing, Umapati has taken up for criticism, which are germane Shaiva schools, and not so germane, like the advocates of the doctrine of Maya. Differing in various respects from Siddhanta Shaivism, these other schools are examined by Umapati and rejected.

He has formulated the views of the following as prima facie schools and refuted them to establish the truths of Saiva Siddhanta. Doctrines of maya, of identity, of difference, of equality with Shiva, etc. Umapati while refuting the rival views has highlighted the subtle doctrinal differences even among the various schools of Shaivism. His exposition and refutation bring out the distinction of Saiva Siddhanta from unqualified non-dualism and qualified non-dualism alike. The work is in twenty sections in Tamil and in metrical verses.