--> Skip to main content

Sivaprakasama – Saiva Siddhanta Classic By Umapati Sivacharya

Sivaprakasama was written by Umapati Sivacharya, who lived between 1290 CE and 1340 CE. It is one of the fourteen philosophical classics of Saiva Siddhanta. Sivaprakasama, as the name suggests, means the illumination or realization of Shiva. When the fetters which cause the bondage of beings are annihilated by true knowledge and by God’s grace, those beings shine in their pristine purity. This is the illumination mentioned above.

This work contains one hundred verses, which the author classifies into two sections – podu (general) and unmai (specific). The former deals with the nature of the atma in its embodied state and involved in worldly experience, while the latter section deals with the state of the atma in release. The first forty verses describe the general state of bondage, while the last fifty verses speak of the truth about the atma as explained by Saiva Siddhanta.

It was Umapati Sivam who coined the phrase ‘Saiva Siddhanta’ for the first time. He also claimed that Saiva Siddhanta developed the essence of Vedanta or the Upanishads. In Sivaprakasam, Umapati refutes the opponents of Saivism and establishes Saiva Siddhanta.

He says that he follows the tradition of his predecessors and gives a complete list of the preceptors of Saiva philosophy. His famous dictum is that nothing needs to be accepted because of its antiquity and whatever is novel cannot be ignored because of its novelty.