--> Skip to main content

Anubhava Sahitya

Anubha Sahitya are compositions of the saint-poets mainly belonging to Virashaivism. The traditional account of the origin of Virashaiva sect is derived from fire ascetics – Ekorana, Panditaradhya, Revana, Marula and Visvaradhya, who are mythically said to have appeared from the five lingas.

The doctrine traces its origin to the teachings of Vijayabhairavi Agama, Malini Vijaya Tantra and Mahanirvana Tantra and depends less on the Vedic sources through Srikantha has authored a commentary on Brahmasutra in the context of Virasaiva philosophy.

The foundation of the philosophy was laid by the vacana (songs of colloquial language) by the trio – Allama Prabhu, Basava and Chenna Basava. In order to expound and popularize their philosophy, Anubhava Mantapa, an assembly of saranaganas (devotees of the sect) was established in the famous city of Kalyana in Karnataka for promotion of spiritual discussion and exchange of philosophical thought. All these have been explained in detail by Siddhavireshvara in his Sunyasampadana.

The voluminous composition of vacanas of the 12th century and ancient agamas were brought to life due to the genuine efforts of preceptors such as Mahalingadeva, Magge Mayideva, Jakkanarya and Giridhara.

Of these, Magge Mayideva is best known as sutrakara (literally, composer of sutra, a technical aphoristic style of composing a Shastra text). He was born in 15th century CE and hailed from a place called Magge near Aihole. He traces his origin to Upamanyu Shivacharya. His father Sangameshvaraprabhu, the fifth from Upamanyu, along with his other ancestors are hailed as great teachers of Shaiva doctrine. He wrote Anubhava Sutra (or Sahitya) apart from Shivambhara, an appendix to Anubhava Sutra and a commentary called Viseshartha Prakasika. It is because of this that he has been hailed as sutrakara of Satsthala Siddhanta.

His works have been supplemented by Jakkanarya, the author of Ekottara Satasthali which was commented upon by Srigirindra. Virasaiva Sikharatna records that Magge Miyideva was teacher of Jakkanarya.

The main doctrine of Satsthala Siddhanta is that there exist six states of Shiva as bhakta, mahesha, prasadi, pranalinga, sarana and aikya. Aikya is ultimately identifying oneself with Brahman by attaining the ekottarasata sthala or jnanasunyasthala, a state when one will have no knowledge of being identified with the universal being.

Anubhava Sutra proclaims that parabhakti stands above moksha for moksha is not held to be the highest end of man, but forms only the gateway through which the atman (the individual self) has to pass for realizing its divine possibilities of self-adoration and self-delight. This doctrine is known as fifth purushartha, explicitly mentioned in Anubhava Sutra – dharmadi purusharthanam caturnam paratha para. Panchamah purushartho hi bhaktih saivi sanatani.

The other works which supplement Anubhava Sutra are Siddhanta Sikhamani, Shivadvaitadarpana, Shiva stotravali and Virashaivasikharatna.