Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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The soul according to Saiva Siddhanta

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Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says that Maya is like mud, the soul is like a bar of iron stuck in the mud and God is like a Magnet. Unless the iron bar is cleaned of the thick mud, it is difficult for it to migrate towards the magnet. The soul should be cleansed of the mud of Maya so that it is free to be migrate and stick to the magnet of God. Adapted from The Sayings of Ramakrishna, saying 18 page 27.

Prevailing view of Saiva Siddhanta on the states of a soul.

Soul is like a crystal; it takes the color of a juxtaposed object. Two common juxtaposed entities are Siva Sakti and Mala; the crystal of a soul can be colored by Siva Sakti, Mala or both, which define its three states (avastha): Suddha, Kevala, and Sakala.

Soul's natural state before birth in a body is Kevala with Anava Mala (Sahaja Mala, innate impurity) as the coloring agent; when the soul acquires a body on account of Karma, it is in Sakala state, a multicolored state in which Malas and Siva Sakti are the coloring agents; when all Malas are extinct, the soul is in Suddha state, where Siva Sakti is the only coloring agent.  Kevala Avastha is night in slumber; Sakala state is day in phenomenal awakening and awareness; Suddha state is merger with Siva.  The soul has a sticky surface according to other interpreters of Siddhanta. If the soul is unstuck from Anava Mala, it can stick with Siva Sakti; it is like competitive displacement and binding of chemicals, when a stronger affinitive element displaces the lesser affinitive element and takes its place. This corresponds to displacement of Anava Mala and replacement with Siva Sakti in the soul.  Since Siva Sakti is the source of pristine soul which is back home with Siva, it is Advaitam, oneness.


Christian Theology is of the belief that only humans possess the indwelling soul, which lifted them above other animals. Hinduism is of the belief that all fauna and flora including matter possess soul. If God created this universe, it is hard to imagine that His created inanimate objects do not have a fragment of Himself; that Himself is the soul. He could not have incorporated souls just in humans and left animals, plants and matter without the soul. Since He pervades all, He has His fragment in all. Sentience is same in all, from a sage to a stone. Remember the tree-huggers who embraced two thousand year old trees from being felled. They said that they know it was a seedling when Jesus Christ appeared on this earth. It reminded them of him. That tree has sentience; its expression is suboptimal compared to that of a human. Consciousness sleeps in stone, feels in flora, senses in fauna and thinks in man. Sentience runs parallel with consciousness. Only the extent of its manifestation varies.  Sentience may parallel the sophistication of nervous energy. Since there is only a difference in the (expression of ) degree of sentience between animal and man, how could one kill an animal for whatever purpose? That is the basis of Ahimsa or noninjury.  Let me give you an example. A sentient man knocked unconscious for any reason lays in the hospital for a month in an obtund state. For the duration of his vegetative state he is less than fully sentient. That does not negate the fact he was sentient before his present condition. It is the very low degree of sentience that reduced him to a vegetative state. He can become fully sentient when he recovers from his condition. In like manner objects and beings though sentient intrinsically, have variable degree of expression. Karma can reduce a soul to an embodied state of an animal, plant, or tree in its next birth. All inanimate objects were eternally ordained to suppress their sentience by God. Fish eggs lay dormant, lifeless, and insentient in a dry riverbed; once there is rain and water starts flowing you see fish where there were none before. The insentient egg which was part of the mud, acquired some degree of sentience when it became a fish. Sentience is feeling and awareness. Sentience is conditioned by certain qualities: Sattva (virtue and goodness), Rajas (motion and passion) and Tamas (darkness, sloth and slumber). A stone is Tamas through and through with no Sattva or Rajas.  A Sage, Yogi, or prophet is the highest form of a human being and shows Sattva to its full extent. Ordinary human beings have a mixture of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in variable amounts and their behavior corresponds to the degree to which they have these three qualities. Hitler was 85% Tamas, 14% Rajas and 1% Sattva. Remember he cried over injury caused to the cut flowers and a dead bird; that accounts for 1% of Sattva. His Rajas was the driving force for His Tamas. These three qualities are compared to a tricycle in Hinduism. The front wheel is Rajas (front-wheel drive); the right rear wheel is Sattva; the left rear wheel is Tamas. The driver who is sitting on the tricycle turns the Rajas wheel to the right and goes the way of a Sattvic (and Rajasic) man; when he turns the wheel to the left he goes the way of a Tamasic (and Rajasic) man. If he goes straight, he is the average man. Rajas provides momentum in whichever direction a man goes. Without momentum there is no direction. The same allegory is used to describe Gods: Brahma in Rajasic mode during creation, Vishnu in Sattvic mode in sustenance and Siva in Tamasic mode in destruction.

Kevala: Soul plus Anava Mala.

Sakala: Soul plus three Malas and Siva Sakti.

Suddha: Soul plus Siva Sakti.

    In Sakala state, Siva Sakti and Malas coexist in the soul. The three entities (Soul, Malas and Siva Sakti) are comparable to the rice grain with three corresponding elements: the rice, the chaff, and the rice germ. The Malas do not preclude the presence of  Siva Sakti and have no effect on him; Siva Sakti is as unaffected by Anava mala as the sun is unaffected by cloud, an umbrella or sunshade. Anava Mala does not veil Siva Sakti but only the soul.  The soul is compared to an owl which is naturally equipped with the nictitating membrane in addition to the eyelids.  The owl covers its eyeballs with its nictitating membrane and prevents light from entering its eyes.  In like manner, Anava Mala covers the soul, preventing the light of knowledge reaching the soul. The soul, unlike God, is subject to vicissitudes in knowing, needs organs (Indriyas), objects, and sunshine of knowledge, and carries a shroud of Anava Mala which prevents diffusion of knowledge.

    The soul and its capacity to acquire knowledge are compared to an eye or crystal; God or Siva is the sun.  All objects, including the crystal, disappear in the thick of darkness and the eye cannot perceive any object (in darkness); the eye and the crystal need sunlight to see and shine respectively.  Siva Sakti provides sunlight of knowledge to the soul to cognize an object and attain salvation.

    People stand on the mountain; walk, run, and slice through air; and wade in  water, and yet neither see the mountain nor feel the air, nor alleviate the thirst. People stand and grope in broad bright daylight and yet do not see.  In like manner, they wade in the knowledge of the Supreme and yet do not recognize it. Anava Mala is in pursuit of evanescent pleasures of the world which end in pain, suffering and disappointment. It is like a cat that goes after a cockroach while sitting on a milk pot. These flimsy joys of the world do not lead to salvation of the soul. Whatever little spiritual knowledge that the soul acquires during Sakala Avastha is Siva Knowledge.

    Pasu: It is the individual soul. Before the soul stepped into this mundane world sporting a body, it was in Kevala state (Kevala-k-kitai), which is disembodied inactive condition of the soul mired in Anava (I-ness, Mineness, spiritual darkness). Vaishnava ThAkura calls them, Ahamta (mineness) and Mamata --possessiveness (example of Ahamta: I am a doctor; example of Mamata: This is my house.)  Mala, the inherent darkness of the soul. It was solitary (Kevala) and of low status, pining all the time for Bliss. It was wilted, with no iccha, Jnana and Kriya (desire, knowledge and action)-- a case of deep depression and darkness. Kevala state is a dormant state of the soul suspended in time between destruction and creation of the universe. It is a time of sleep for the soul because there is no world to speak of, and Maya and karma exist in a potential but inactive state. This is the interphase for the soul and the world, when there is no kinesis; the inactive soul keeps company with Anava Mala. (you may draw some parallels between the interphase of the soul and that of the cell physiology.)

    Kevala Avastha of the soul during its sleep state is comparable to amblyopia (blindness) of the eye due to visual deprivation from abnormalities of the eyelid and lens , and distortion of image from astigmatism, and corneal opacities. The retina of the eye is normal and can perceive light and sight, if light is allowed to pass without hindrance. In Kevala Avastha, the soul is unable to see the Light of the Lord (Siva Jnanam) from the veiling by Anava Mala; soul's intelligence (light and sight) diminishes and the soul takes on the qualities of Anava Mala (darkness of the soul). Thus deprived of its intelligence, the soul becomes matter.

Notes: abnormality of eyelid: hemangioma causing swelling of eyelid and blocking entry of light. Opacity of lens causing cataract and blocking of light.

    In Sakala state, there is some light coming in for the soul to gain knowledge necessary to merge with Siva in Suddha state. Without light, the eye has no value; without knowledge, the soul has no value. Knowledge proceeds from total absence in Kevala state, to limited knowledge in Sakala state to great knowledge in Suddha state.

Siva Sakti wakes up the soul first and other sleepers out of their slumber. Anava Mala is the next one to wake up. Siva Sakti sets in motion the creative process in which the now-awakened Maya gives Tanu, Karana, Bhuvana, and Bhogam to the soul according to its karmic merits. The soul enters Sakala state with the body and three Malas: Anava, Maya and Karma Malas.

Tanu = body; Karana = intellect and mind; Bhuvanam =  world; Bhogam = experience as a result of past karma, painful and pleasant.

Siva Sakti ordains that man in his Sakala state enjoys and suffers fruits of his Karma: these are known as Bhōga, experience, as a result of past karma, whether painful or pleasant and Bhōgya, experience of good or evil karma; an object of enjoyment. (Bhōga is the experience and Bhōgya is the object of enjoyment.) The soul goes through many births and rebirths under the purview of Siva Sakti, performs Karmic deeds, eats their respective fruits and thus spends time on earth in Sakala Avastha. 

This process of birth, death, and rebirth of the soul is compared to a bird on a tree. The bird leaves (death of the body) the tree in the morning and returns (rebirth of a soul in a body) to the tree in the evening; this happens many times as long as the bird lives. When the bird dies (liberation of the soul), it never returns to the tree of life (earth). There are many birds on a tree; many go and come; some don't; some new ones come in; that is flux. That flux in permanence in the return of the embodied souls is Samsara (life on earth), while for individual soul liberation is the end of life on earth.

Review and explanation: Siva Sakti wakes up the soul from its Kevala state. Siva Sakti takes pity, gives the soul a body and sends it to the world so it can enjoy the world, have varied experiences, births and rebirths, and through it all mature, ripen and come back to him in a state of Bliss, Suddha state. Now the soul has become the samsaric world traveler. This state is called Sakala Sate. Kanma and Maya Malas come into the soul during Sakala state along with a trace of Siva Consciousness (knowledge) in the spiritual heart. Anava Mala is intrinsic to every soul that is born; Maya Mala is conferred to the soul by God; Kanma (karma) Mala is generated by the soul on account of its thought, word and deed. Maya is like a lamp that gives a little light in the dark of night until the sun comes up in the morning. Maya gives some spiritual light to soul but only  a little until the latter receives Grace, which together with Karma tends to attenuate, and later destroys Anava Mala.  Though Maya sheds some light of knowledge on the soul, it is a Mala because the knowledge gained through Maya is by itself not adequate to liberate the soul.

    Siva Sakti has a presence in Sakala state along with the Malas; thus, Sakala state is Sat-Asat, Sat being Siva and Asat being the Malas. Siva-Sat gives the soul some spiritual knowledge and Malas-Asat gives rise to spiritual ignorance. Anava Mala, the intrinsic Mala of the soul, is so recalcitrant that Siva Sakti employs Maya and Karma Malas to weaken it. Maya brings Tattvas to the soul thus giving the soul a body and organs, which help the soul acquire some rudimentary spiritual knowledge which to certain extent weakens Anava Mala. Maya is thus a faint light of the soul, while Siva Sakti in comparison is the sun.

Sat = Being; Asat = nonbeing, matter.

       Since Maya is only a weak light (in modern parlance, low-wattage bulb or night light), it provides limited mundane knowledge to the soul and not the knowledge of Siva; it takes Siva (Supreme Light) to offer Supreme spiritual knowledge to the soul. Maya is always Asat while Siva is always Sat and the soul is Sat-Asat. The question is why Siva Sakti uses Maya Mala to shed some light to the soul and also partially remove Anava Mala. Why does Siva Sakti use one Mala (Maya) to remove another Mala (Anava)? The argument goes as follows: As washerman uses soap or detergent (compared to Maya Mala) to remove a more ingrained dirt (compared to Anava Mala) in the soiled cloth. Thus by partial cleansing by detergent and beating of the clothe on the wash-stone, Maya prepares the soul ingrained with Anava Mala for greater purification by Siva Sakti. In modern parlance, the soul in Sakala state attends the school of hard knocks in this phenomenal world; hard knocks of daily living mature and "ripen" the Malas, which when completely ripened, fall off and the soul goes to the next state, Suddha Avastha. The soul goes through spiritual evolution over many human births and this progress is proportional to the attenuation of Anava Mala, which, when expunged with the Grace of God, results in liberation.

  Eradication of Anava Mala is complete abandoning of I, Mine, I-ness, and My-ness, which coincides with the descent of wisdom into the soul. This stage, called Malaparipākam, strikes the death knell of three Malas and sets the stage for Iru-Vinai-y-Oppu, Satti- nipātham,  liberation to enjoy Siva's bliss and Odukkam

Malaparipākam: stage of the soul when its three Malams meet with the causes of their removal.

Iru-Vinai-y-Oppu = State of the soul in which  it takes an attitude of perfect equanimity towards meritorious and sinful deeds)

Satti-nipātham =  Sakti-nipātham  = Setting (descent) of the Divine Grace in the soul, when it is ripe.

Definitions are according to Tamil Lexicon.

Odukkam = involution into Siva Sakti

    One of the five functions (panchakritya) of Siva is Tirodhana or veiling, concealment of spiritual knowledge; it is actually a function of Siva Sakti, the feminine aspect of Siva (Tiruvundiyar, Verse 78); Arul Nandi in Siddhiar is of the view that Tirodhana is a Mala along with Maya, Karma, and Anava Malas, because it obscures the souls from the Light of Siva Sakti in order to ripen Anava Mala. Tirodhana Sakti, belonging to Sakti, is an obscurant of divine knowledge, instigator of Anava Mala and impeller of desires, and creates in the embodied soul a sense of belonging to the world of pain and pleasure until the soul is ready (mature enough) to give them up for progress towards Suddha Jnana (pure knowledge) state. It is like the professor of mathematics concealing his knowledge of higher mathematics and letting his preschooler son struggle with simple additions.

Karma is the wash-stone on which the clothes are beaten for removing dirt; this beating of fabric of soul on the stone of Karma  by Tirodhana Sakti (washerman) causes pain to soul, as Malas (impurities) are removed.

    Under the influence of Tirodhana Sakti, the evil, unpliant and defiant I-defining Anava Mala expresses desire which leads the soul to action which in its turn leads to Karma and transmigration. Though Siva Sakti sits side by side with Anava Mala and soul, Siva Sakti activates but does not interfere with Anava Mala's natural autonomous course which is comparable to the sun (earth and water) not wanting to alter the kind of tree that grows from a particular seed.

    Siva does not use Tirodhana Sakti and Anava Mala to torture but induce the soul give up desires that cause karma and make it eat the fruits of their deeds which helps obtaining liberation for the soul.

    The self-centered Anava Mala is full of desires and has a choke hold on Jnana and Kriya Saktis; Siva Sakti stimulates Karma and Maya Malas; the latter induces the soul to perform purifying actions (karma) over many births and life on earth. The soul abandons Anva Mala with the help of Siva Sakti going into Malaparipākam1, Iru-Vinai-y-Oppu2, Satti- nipātham3, Oddukkam4 and VIdu 5  = மலபரிபாகம்1, இருவினையொப்பு2, சத்திநிபாதம்3, ஒடுக்கம்4 and வீடு 5  = Removal of impurities1, resolution of sin and merit2, descent of Sakti3, Involution4, and liberation 5  to enjoy Siva's bliss.

Oddukkam = ஒடுக்கம்: Involution, as of the elements, one into another; absorption, dissolution, disappearance, as of salt in water; in this instance it means that the soul involutes into Siva Sakti.

In order to function in Sakala state, naturally man is endowed (burdened) with Tattvas. Don't be disheartened; even gods, celestials, and worms are in Sakala state, according to Mular.  Soul has the susceptibility to accumulate surface impurities, when it comes into contact with Malas (literally feces, here it means impurities). Anava Mala is compared to verdigris on the surface of copper vessel. Anava is recalcitrant surface impurity burrowing deeper into the vessel.  Anava is the first Mala of the soul and the last Mala to leave the soul, when Siva confers Grace. Some students of Saiva Siddhanta wonder why the soul, which is or should be a pure entity, is affected by corrosive verdigris. Another common analogy given is that the soul is a crystal which takes on the color of the object next to it. The soul is sticky and the dirt (malas) easily sticks to it. The soul has to graduate from its Sakala state to Suddha (pure) state. Now it is important to scrub and remove the verdigris before it attains liberation; it is removed only by the grace of God. The new soul, which is a magnet for this and that, cannot remain in isolation, must take qualities from God before it can obtain Bliss. Let me give you an example to illustrate the stickiness of the soul to anything that passes by. The bone avidly eats up calcium and lead; calcium is good for the bone, but lead is not. When a child eats paint chip with lead, the child gets lead poisoning and lead deposits in the bone, which over time releases  lead into the bloodstream causing anemia and brain damage. The lead in the bone and blood is like impurities (Malas) sticking on the soul. How do you get rid of the lead from the bone and blood? It is done by use of therapeutic modality of  competitive binding and substitution.  EDTA likes to combine with calcium and lead; but it likes lead more than it likes calcium. If you give Calcium EDTA to a child, the lead in the bone leaches out into the blood, kicks out the calcium from calcium EDTA and takes its place. Then the lead EDTA circulating in the blood is excreted in urine; the child gets the calcium, gets rid of the lead EDTA in the urine and gets better. In the same manner, Sivaness (calcium) likes to replace Malas (lead) by competitive binding and substitution, thereby making the soul pure (suddha). 

When Sakalars with three impurities get rid of Kanma or Karma, they graduate to a higher class, Pralayakalars. Sakalars  with three Malas were wallowing in Asuddha (impure) Maya ( 24 Tattvas beginning with #13 to #36) Go to Tatttvas-36. Man's soul is Tattva#12. Having moved to a higher ground, the Pralayakalars swim in Suddha-Asuddha Maya Tattvas (Pure and impure Maya). Srikanta Rudras also belong to this category. Once the Pralayakalars lose their Maya Malam, they become Vijnanakalars with Anava Mala. You might remember that anyone having only Anava Mala is said to belong to Kevala state; now Kevala state is the lowest rung of the ladder that Vijnanakalars have to scale; they are still enveloped by Asuddha Maya. There are four steps they have to ascend to reach Point Bliss: Each step one above the other is a purer state,  Kevala-kevala, Kevala-sakala,  Kevala-suddha, and Kevala-Arul. The 24 tattvas  (#13 to #36), known as Anma Tattvas belonging to the body,  involute into the soul of the aspirant (Tattva #12), as he moves from Sakalar state to Pralayakalar state. This aggregate of 25 Tattvas merge into six Vidya Tattvas (Suddha-Asuddha Tattvas, #6 to #11).  This aggregate of 31 Tattvas  (#6 to #36) merges into Suddha Vidya Tattva (#5) of Suddha Tattvas, which involutes into Isvaram(#4), Sadakhyam (#3) and finally into Sakti Tattva (#2).  Sakti stands with all the lower Tattvas involuted (dissolved or merged) in her (#2) and Siva  (#1) stands with her. 

Sakalar Pralayakalar Vijnanakalar
3 Malas: Anava, Maya and Kanma Anava and Maya Malas Anava Malam

Mular says that there are nine  states for the soul to pass through: three Kevala series, three Sakala series, and three Suddha series.

 States of Jiva

Kevala-Kevala—1 Atita-atitia state

Kevala-Sakala—2 Vaindava manifestation

Kevala-Suddha--3 (Vijnanakala state)

Sakala-Kevala—4 Jagrat-Atita State

Sakala-Sakala—5  Jagrat within jagrat State

Sakala-Suddha—6  Tat-Para State

Suddha-Kevala—7  State of Upasantha

Suddha-Sakala—8  Expansive Turiya State

Suddha-Suddha—9  Siva-becoming State.

Kevala-kevala—1: Atita-atitia state

Kevala-sakala—2: Vaindava manifestation

Kevala-suddha—3: Vijnanakala state

Ref: Madras university: Lexicon

Sakala-kevala--4 = Jagrat-atita: state: condition of the soul while awake, when it loses its breath and consciousness.

Sakala-sakala--5: Jagrat within Jagrat state = Condition of the soul in waking state, in which all its powers are in full display, as when a person is alert and wide awake.

Sakala-suddha--6 = State of Tat Para state (self-illumined, Final Bliss)

Suddha-Kevala--7 = State of Upasantha  (Calmness, tranquillity, peacefulness; Mitigation, alleviation.)

Suddha-Sakala--8 = Expansive Turiya state (Transcendental consciousness)

Suddha-Suddha—9  Siva-becoming State

The soul has to climb nine stages in order to become one with Siva.

    Unless the soul acquires Brahman knowledge (Brahma Vidya or Siva Consciousness) during Sakala state and goes on to Suddha state it will go to Sakala-kevala (stage 4)) or Suddha-kevala (stage 7) state between destruction and creation of the universe. All knowledge acquired in previous lives are not wasted but retained, accounted for, and factored in, when the soul is born in a higher Avastha; the soul is closer to salvation in stage nine (Suddha-Sudda state). If there is no destruction of the universe the soul goes back into Sakala state in endless cycles of birth and death, until one of two things happen: 1. the soul graduates to Suddha state and gets Arul (Grace); 2. the soul is shunted into Sakala state again until Malas ripen and drop off.

    Sakala state is the life in the phenomenal world; the joy and sorrow, success and failure, pain and pleasure, knowledge and ignorance, health, wealth, and happiness and their respective opposites are enjoyed or suffered in the name of maturation and fall of Malas. As said earlier, we are pulled by Malas by one hand and Siva Sakti by the other hand.

1. IruL, darkness. We are pulled by the passions of the world and Pasa (impurities) and that centrifugal pull is Pasajnanam, the pull or knowledge of pasa (fetters or bond)  also known as IRUL (darkness). Knowledge derived of the world is pasajnanam, which has no value for liberation.  Pasajnanam = knowledge of bonds of the world; mundane knowledge; useless knowledge lacking Siva Jnanam (wisdom of Siva)

2. Marul, confusion. Tugged by God (Siva) and the world, the soul is confused and becomes introspective and looks within for self-knowledge or knowledge of its own nature. This is Pasujnanam, or introspective knowledge, which causes confusion in the choice the soul has to make.

3. Arul, Grace. The soul has won over Irul and Marul, gave up darkness and confusion, seeks knowledge of Pati, the Chief, the God, or Siva and receives Grace.  This is Patijnanam.

    This is the soul's progress from Darkness, to Confusion to Grace in Sakala state.

    Considering Siva's Panchakrityas (five functions: creation, maintenance, destruction, veiling and liberation), the aim of four preceding functions is to liberate the soul. As opposed to Vaishnava view that this world is his playground, and the Lord's functions are his play activity, the Siddhantist says that Siva by his five functions creates this universe for the soul to enjoy the fruits of karma, bring the Malas to a ripe state (ripe Malas fall like ripe fruits), obscures soul's vision of knowledge long enough for the soul to eat its fruits in the Sakala state and then confer Arul (Grace) in Suddha state. This is the soul's journey from Kevala to Sakala to Suddha state. 

Every soul takes a birth in a body from inorganic and organic entities to the highest earthly human being 8,400,000 times. One, then, would consider that human body is the most difficult to come by. It is mind-boggling to think that we as human beings have gone through possibly around 8.4 million births before we came to this stage. This is the evolution of the soul from the lowliest of 8,400,000 organisms to the highest--human. Devas are intermediate between Isvara, the inner controller and human beings.  Gods and goddesses take birth among humans: Avatars, Parvati etc.

Our birth history:

Inorganic births: 3 million births (30 lakhs, 1 lakh = 100,000)

wrigglers (worms): 1 million births (10 lakhs)

Birds: 1.1 million births (11 lakhs)

Beasts: 2.4 million births (24 lakhs)

Human beings: 400,000 births ( 4 lakhs)




The question comes up whether we really went through 8.4 million births. It should be understood that this is revealed wisdom; we are not in a position to accept or refute the revelation with the aid of worldly intelligence.  We are like a newborn infant, who has no capacity to understand its existence before conception, at conception, gestation, birth and postnatal period. In like manner we do not have the special Consciousness to know and realize that we went through 8.4 million births. Our physical memory of past lives ceases at death and birth. It is RAM memory. Our ROM is zilch. Our soul retains the ROM memory in its subtle body, which we cannot access.  Rishi's Superconsciousness has received revelations from the Great Self about these events. Human consciousness is several levels below the Pure Consciousness of Brahman; in like manner the sentience of a worm is several levels below the human sentience. Worm has no knowledge of our existence, but we ourselves do of us and the worm.  We are endowed with enough consciousness to think and it cannot leap out of our ambit of understanding and intelligence. We are like the flightless winged bird which sees the eagle soar high into the sky; our clipped consciousness cannot soar high enough to understand the mysteries beyond our sight. If the Sadhaka develops his Ati-indriya (Atīndriya) Tattva during the course of Sadhana (perfection), the inhered vision takes him far beyond worldly wisdom and knowledge. Atīndriya = Ati + Indriya = Beyond + Senses.  Superconsciousness is the tool for understanding extramundane spiritual  knowledge which is beyond reason and argument. That is where Sastras (sacred texts) come. Our world and being is corrupted by Avidya (ignorance) and Maya (illusion). Superconsciousness takes the Sadhaka far beyond the limitations of Avidya and Maya to see what has never been seen, hear what has never been heard, and experience bliss. Our intelligence (consciousness) is like the optical microscope, while Superconsciousness is like the Electron Microscope. Our consciousness is like a pair of eyeglasses, while Superconsciousness is like Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Maya, the Mouse, and the mousetrap by Ramakrishna. Paraphrasing from His sayings of Ramakrishna, saying 9, page 24, the mouse and the soul are similar. Mouse has a granary to feed on and also fried rice (Mouri) placed in the mousetrap to relish. Granary is an endless supply of feed, while fried rice is an attractive flavorful feed. The mouse in its ignorance goes for the fried rice in the mousetrap and invites death. Similarly the embodied soul is faced with the attractive petty pleasures of the world and the threshold of Divine Bliss which is million times greater than the petty pleasures. By choosing the petty pleasures of the world, it falls into the trap of Maya, the great illusion and dies therein.


    In rebirth, Siva Sakti makes the body as the deeds demand; but his input overrides Karma, in the choice of the body for the soul.


Sthulasarira, gross body that we own and use, takes it origin from Sukshmasarira (subtle body) by the will of Supreme Siva, Karma playing a secondary role. Subtle body originates from Asuddha Maya which again takes its origin from Bindu, Nada, Siva, and Sakti, the Tetralogy of Saiva Siddhanta. Go to TATTVAS-36.

Annamaya Kosa = food sheath; Pranamaya Kosa = vital airs (breath); Manonmaya Kosa = Mind sheath; Vijnanamaya Kosa = intellectual sheath; Ananadamaya Kosa = Bliss sheath.

The five Kosas or sheaths enclose the soul; some call them a prison for the soul. Maya is the material cause of these sheaths. The king (soul) lives in this palace (body) enclosed by five courtyards. As the king returns to his palace from a visit to his kingdom, one attendant stays at each of the five gates; and the king enters his room by himself and stays there alone. The vital breath is the closest guard near his room. As the king would wander into any one of the five courtyards, the soul may go to any one of the five sheaths, kosas or bodies. Each body (sheath) has organs; soul's activity depends upon the organ it visits; soul's condition also varies according to the organ it visits. There are five such states (Avastha) corresponding to the fivefold body.

The five states are

1. Jagara Avastha around the chest with 35 organs,

2. Svapna Avastha in the larynx with 25 organs,

3. Susupti Avastha around the heart with three organs,

4. Turiya Avastha around the navel with two organs, and

5. Turiyatita Avastha in Muladhara Chakra, where the soul remains alone by itself.

Jagra Avastha Svapna Avastha Susupti Avastha Turiya Avastha Turiyatita Avastha
Purusha (soul) Purusha (soul) Purusha (soul) Purusha (soul) Purusha (soul)
four Antakarana four Antakarana      
five Jananedriyas        
five Karmendriyas        
five Tanmatras five Tanmatras      
15 organs (10 vital breaths plus five motor functions:  speech, ambulation, grasp, evacuation and reproduction.) 10 vital breaths, five motor functions. Prana (main life breath) Prana  
Total 35 organs. Total 25 organs Total three organs Total two organs Soul alone by itself
Chest Larynx Heart Navel Muladhara Chakra
Jagra Avastha Svapna Avastha Susupti Avastha Turiya Avastha Turiyatita Avastha

For more information on Indriyas, Tanmatras, Citta, Antakarana, go to BG Chapter 2 Samkhya Theory.

All the organs noted above in each of these states are active in their respective avasthas. The soul without the body was in Kevala state; when it moves into a physical body, it enters Sakala state, in which are present five different levels of activity ranging from Turiyatita Avastha to Jagra Avastha. The soul, when it occupies the body, settles down first in Muladhara Chakra, which is the stepping stone for higher areas. This is the lonely state of the soul, practically shut out from the outside world. Turiyatita Avastha5 in Muladhara is practically not any different from the static Kevala state, because there is not even a breath; it is suffocation with no action or knowledge of the body, the world, or God. Anava Mala is dominant and recalcitrant. The soul settles down in Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine, then looks around to escape from the lonely place and goes up to the Navel area where it experiences Turiya Avastha4. It is a breath of fresh air; the soul finds itself showing some signs of life. In terms of embryology, It appears that the soul-body has moved from embryonic one-celled state to a fetus that can breath. Yet, it cannot think, act or feel; it is like being unconscious and yet breathing. The soul looks around and moves to the heart station and goes into deep sleep like a fetus that sleeps most of the time. What else is there to do? This is Susupti Avastha3 or deep sleep state. Now the soul gets some basic faculty like Citta, with which the soul understands in a limited way what happens around it. Deep sleep goes on to dream sleep, when the soul moves to the throat area, starts breathing, thinking with Antakarana, feeling, touching, grasping, tasting and hearing and acting out without using the motor organs. That is Svapna Avastha2 or the dream state of the soul. The soul has come a long way and snaps out of the dream sleep; it has some awareness, it thinks somewhat vaguely, and the senses show some function. It has all organs and it is awake, but not completely and this is Jagrat state1 or waking state.

The soul gets cloaked with a body; its progress matches with that of the embryo in the womb which grows from one embryonic cell to a fully formed viable fetus. It does not breathe in air because it is confined and its lungs are budding; the mother provides the vital air (prana or oxygen) via the umbilical cord and it does not drown as the breathing movements of the chest sucks in the amniotic fluid into his budding lungs.  It does not eat though it makes eating movements. It opens the eyes, looks around, sees darkness, kicks, yawns, grasps slippery umbilical cord, sucks its thumb, urinates, swallows the urine-laden amniotic fluid, passes it back into the amniotic fluid, floats, and swims. It grows by leaps and bounds; it has the full complement of functioning organs; it dreams a while, sleeps a lot and thinks; what he thinks, no one knows.

The soul learns and knows through sense organs, karma, time, body, people, and books; on its own it knows nothing. What the soul knows through intermediaries actually comes from the grace of God. The soul needs the grace of God to know, but God does not need anything, anyone, any organ, or any known or unknown entity to know. He is all knowledge and all consciousness; uses Iccha, Jnana, and Kriya; creates, maintains, and destroys; pervades all in this universe; and remains as the life principle in all beings. He is extant in all things. All souls endowed with bodies receive knowledge and consciousness from him. He makes sure that Tattvas go to build bodies, organs, mind and other faculties through which he imparts knowledge of spirit and matter to the soul. Siva and Sakti are the essential elements in functioning of body, organs, faculties including physics, chemistry, and mechanics of matter. Nothing moves or functions without his Grace. As the sun is the source of light for the crystal, God is the source of knowledge of the soul.

The soul comes under the influence of Antakarana (inner organ) consisting of Manam, Buddhi, Cittam, and Ahamkaram (Mind, Intuitive intellect, Determinative faculty, and Ego).

The soul receives ambiguous knowledge from Manam,  discerning knowledge from Buddhi, superficial knowledge from Citta, and questionable knowledge from Ahankaram.

Soul is the king; Buddhi is the prime minister; Ahamkara, Manam, and Cittam are cabinet members; then come down the line the five karmendriyas, five jnanedriyas, five Tanmatras and five Bhutas.  The bhutas (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) and objects made of them exude tanmatras (sound, touch, color and form, taste, and smell). Tanmatras go beyond their preceding characterization in that they cover vibrations coming from Bhutas and their objects and beings. Janendriyas (sense organs) perceive Tanmatras by way of hearing, tactile sense, sight, taste, and smell.  These impressions from Tanmatras and sense organs are passed on to Antakarana, the inner organ, which consists of Manam, Buddhi, Cittam, and Ahamkaram (Mind, Intuitive intellect, Determinative faculty, and Ego). The sense organs are limited in the sense that each has a specific function. But God or Siva Sakti has no physical eyes and yet can see, hear....


Jnanendriyas: Sense organs: Ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose

Karmendriyas are motor organs, voice box, hands, feet, rectum and genitals, causing  speech, grasp, locomotion, evacuation, and generation.

Janendriyas are sensory organs, ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose.

Buddhi: Reason, power of discernment or judgment, one of the four species of antakkara–am

Antakarana = அந்தகரணம் = Inner seat of thought, feeling, and volition, consisting of four aspects: மனம்1, புத்தி2 , சித்தம்3, அகங்காரம்4 (Mind1, Buddhi or Intellect2, Determinative Faculty3, Egoism4 ; உட்கருவி = utkaruvu  = Inner Organ.   

Cittam = Determinative faculty

Tanmatirai: தன்மாத்திரை = Rudimentary or subtle elements, viz.,  ஓசை, ஊரு, ஒளி, சுவை, நாற்றம் = sound27, touch28, form29, taste30, odor31 from which the Great elements came: ether32, air33, fire34, water35, earth36.

The above definitions are obtained from Tamil Lexicon.  

The soul receives ambiguous knowledge from Manam, discerning knowledge from Buddhi, superficial knowledge from Citta, and questionable knowledge from Ahankaram. Cittam receives the impressions of all the sense organs and integrates them for presentation to other faculties. Manas analyses information from Cittam, formulates hypothesis and makes suggestions to Ahankara. Ahankara, the egotistical element in the chain, views the presentation in relation to I, Me, Mine and Mineness. The next element in the chain is Buddhi (the chief minister) who elucidates the material from sense organs colored by the Mind and Ahankara and makes informed judgment. Buddhi is the link between all the distal elements and the soul which apprehends the object and the outside world by the elements mentioned above. Consciousness is the privileged possession of the soul, which other elements do not have.  Soul may reject the advice of Buddhi and take that of Cittam, Manam or Ahankara, which are the qualities of animal or man deprived of Buddhi, which is the exclusive possession of man among beings.  Soul has an oppressive overhang, Anava Mala; therefore, five Tattvas come to aid it. They are the fivefold Pancakancukam (panca + kancukam = five + vestures). They are Kālam, Niyati, Kalai, Vidyai, and Arāgam (Sanskrit: Kāla, Niyati, Kala, Vidya, and Rāga; English: Time, Destiny (karma), Aptitude or Creativity, Knowledge, and Desire). Endowed with these five Tattvas, the soul knows and explores the outside world; these faculties provide the soul to think, speak, and act in ways that cause Karma.  From Maya come in a linear fashion the following tattvas in a father-son descent: Kāla, Niyati, Kalā, Vidya, Raga and Purusa, the last being the soul. Desire (Arāgam) is the father of the soul, Knowledge (Vidyai) the grandfather, Aptitude or Creativity the great grandfather, Order the great great grandfather, and Time is the great, great great grandfather. Desire has the immediate influence on the soul, causing it to enjoy the world of objects and is the cause of Karma. Vidya or knowledge is a complement to will and action. Aptitude (Kalai) helps the soul remove some of Anava Mala. Order or Destiny (Niyati) makes sure that the soul consumes (resolves) its Karma. Time (Kāla), the patriarch of the said Tattvas, brings karma to its end, fruition or holds it in reserve for the future.  The five tattvas or vestures serve the soul also called Purusa. Saiva philosophy here differs slightly from the Sankhya philosophy. Go to BG Chapter 2 Samkhya Theory. Siva Sakti provides the soul all the elements needed for embodiment, and enjoyment in this world. Siva pervades all that exists; he animates it; his Sakti operates in all animate and inanimate objects. The powers of beings and elements trace their origin to Siva Sakti, which is the highest of all Saktis. All combined Saktis of this universe is miniscule compared to Siva Sakti.

The soul obtains knowledge of objects and world from sense organs to which a susceptible soul falls prey. This is compared to an young prince who is waylaid and abducted by thieves. Living and growing up with and among thieves (sense organs), the prince learns their ways which are unworthy of a prince. In like manner, the senses hijack the  soul and takes it to the world of Asat; the soul, though of divine origin from Sakti, wallows in sensual pleasures and pursuits, which accumulate Karma. Siva is Sat and Cit and the the soul is mired in a world of Asat and Acit. Once the soul comes under the influence of Sat, Siva Sakti, it moves away from matter and obtains liberation.    


Saiva Siddhantist believes that souls of other religions should excel and achieve the native blessedness of that particular religion; thus, no religion can give the ultimate release that Saivism gives. When the soul is ripe in its own religion, it will be born in Saivite religion. That is not the end of the road; within Savism there are subdivisions or inner religions; once the soul attains excellence in the inner religions, the soul has to take birth in Saiva Siddhanta. Now the soul has to perform Chariyai, Kriyai, and Yogam. These are set in a ladder pattern to reach Siva. The soul has to excel in Dasamarga, Kriyamarga, Sakhamarga and Sanmarga. The above chart illustrates the various Margas, a Sadhaka in Saiva Siddhanta should follow to obtain release.  Dasamarga is the path of servant, Kriya Satputramarga, the way of a child, Sakhamarga, the path of friend, Sanmarga-Sadhanamarga, the path of wisdom.

One may progress from one stage to the next to the highest and attain salvation in one lifetime; that is rare. More commonly one lifetime is spent in Dasamarga and the soul is born again and again to pursue other paths and eventually merges with Siva.

Dasamarga. Dasa = servant or slave. Marga = path. Path of the servant. Service to the Lord with one's body. The devotee serves the Lord as a servant. He keeps the temple clean, spotless, and shiny; he collects flowers and makes garlands for the Lord; he keeps the flame of the lights alive all the time; he tends the flower gardens; he praises and sings glories of the Lord; he worships and honors him; he calls himself a loyal dog of the Lord, waiting to do his bid.  Dasamarga takes the devotee of Siva to the world of Siva (Saloka) after death and he will be reborn again to pursue other paths.  (loka = world)

Kriyamarga or Satputramarga. Kriya = service. Satputra = blessed child. The path of the child. Service to the Lord with one's senses. This path is that of the child of the Lord. Does this remind you of Jesus Christ? The devotee takes flowers to the Lord, lights up lamps with fragrant oils, performs five purifications, sets up a prayer room with alter, picture of Siva and other aspects of worship, consecrates the picture, makes burnt offerings and praises the Lord. This path of service is akin to that of son to his father (nearness, Samipya) and takes the soul to Siva.

Sakhamarga. Sakha = friend. Path of friend. The five senses should be kept under control; The Ida and Pingala Nadi should be controlled; meditation on a single object and channeling Prana and Kundalini goddess to Susumna Nadi, merging of the yogi with Siva in Sahasrara Chakra, imbibing the ambrosia and going to the sphere of fire, sun and moon are the steps towards Sakhamarga. This is the path of friend (intelligence) to the Lord. This path assures that the devotee attains likeness to Siva (Sarupya).


The Journey of Soul beyond the borders of the body. The Path to Siva Bliss.

There are Âdhāra centers in the body and NirÂdhāra centers are above Sahasrara Chakra. Adhara = support. Niradhara = without support; centers above the seventh Chakra.  There are six Adhara Centers in the body: Muladhara, Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddhi, and Ajna  each one presided by a deity, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahesvara, Sadasiva, and Apara Bindu. Adhara yogam is accomplished by Kundalini yogi who ascends all six centers to reach the seventh Sahasrara center in the crown presided by Paranada where he unites with Siva. Kundlini yoga is Adhara yogam with support derived from the centers or chakras. Beyond the Sahasrara Chakra is the Niradhara center without any apparent support; reaching it is Niradhara yogam. Jnana and Prana ascend beyond the seven centers and course through eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh sthanas (posts), presided respectively by Parabindu, Paranada, Parasakti and Parasiva. Beyond these eleven centers is the 12th and furthest ultimate point of yogic journey (the Ultima Thule), Dvadasanta. This journey from Sahasrara chakra to the 12th point in space is Niradhara Yogam which is the state of the soul, when it loses its self-consciousness, attains Sivahood and remains without any attachment or physical support. Reaching Dvadasanta Siva (Paraipara) in Jnana form is Bliss. (Please note that there are several variants of the theme in different texts.) Many other texts say that this center is 12 inches above the crown as opposed to the above description. Realization from the 8th to 12th is progressively deeper and the 12th is ultimate experience.

Dvādasāntham (Sanskrit) / Tvādasāntham (Tamil) definition:

1. (Yoga.) A mystic centre which is believed to be 12 inches above crown;

2. (Yoga.) The 12th and last stage of experience of the soul in yoga practice;


The soul's progress to Grace: Iruvinaiyoppu1, Malaparipākam2, and Sattinipātam3

 Bipolar equable resolution1, Purging of Malas2, and Surging with Grace3.

Others mention Oddukkam4 (involution) into Siva.

Malaparipākam is maturing of the soul indicating that the soul is no more burdened with the three Malas, Anava, maya and Karma Malas. Malaparipākam = Mala + paripākam = impurity + cooking; maturity, perfection, ripeness; fit condition.

 Karma in perfect resolution consists of good and bad Karma coming individually to zero sum status.  Iruvinaiyoppu is the state of the soul coming to perfect equanimity towards meritorious and sinful deeds; the end result is a zero sum status. In Iruvinaiyoppu, there is no reciprocal cancellation; both good karma and bad karma must come to zero individually.  Iruvinaiyoppu  = Iru + Vinai +Oppu = two +  good and bad deeds + likeness, resemblance, similarity, equality. Vinai = Nalvinai and Tivinai = good deed and evil deed.

The Grace of God descends on the soul, once it goes through Malaparipakam after Iruvinaiyoppu; that is called Saktinipātam (Sanskrit) or Sattinipātam (Tamil).

Saktinipātam  /  Sattinipātam = Satti + Nipātam = Grace + Descent

Once Sattinipatam happens to the soul, it is free and becomes eternal like God. The Grace-infused soul is separate from the Lord or Siva, but enjoys Siva's Bliss.

Tirodhana Sakti (Veiling, concealing, obscuring) of Mahesvara is the antithesis of anugraha  (Grace) conferred by Sadasiva. Mahesvara and Sadasiva are one and the same; transformation of the soul from impure state to pure state by Iruvinaiyoppu and Malaparipakam induces transformation of Tirodhana Sakti to Anugraha Sakti. Think of sound traveling as light energy.

    The descent of Grace on to the soul proceeding from Parasakti (Sadasiva) takes place at a slow pace (Manda) to start with, picks up slow speed (Mandatara) followed by intense (Tīvira) and hyperintense (Tīviratara) penetration or pervasion.  Descent and pervasion are proportional to the graduated weakening of Anavamala; it appears as if Anavamala is weakened by maturity of Malas (like the ripe fruit falling off) and the graduated penetration of the soul by Grace (Saktinipātam). According to Unmai Vilakkam, the soul, Anava Mala, and Pati still hold together in Mukti or liberation. How is that possible? Anava Mala has morphed from an obstructionist to a facilitator (transformation). Once Grace has pervaded the soul, Anava Mala becomes the purveyor of Bliss in Suddha state; remember, once Anava Mala was a purveyor of nescience in Kevala and Sakala state. Tirodhana Sakti, which is the veiling power of the Lord, has morphed into Arul Sakti. Arul = Grace.

The four events (Iruvinaiyoppu, Malaprapakam, Saktinipatam, and Oddukkam) caused the soul to step into Suddha Avastha. The soul, thus optimized and purified, and penetrated by Grace is at the doorstep of liberation; it also has transformed from the dual state of Sat-Asat to Sat state; Asat dropped out with the fall of Malas; now it is one with Siva. Here oneness with Siva does not mean integral part of Siva.

Mukti (liberation) is union with God; Mukta (the liberated soul) in relation to Siva is like the fruit and its essence, flower and its fragrance, fire and its heat and vina and its musical sound. Saivites believe that Jivan mukti (liberation while alive) is achievable while Vaishnavites (Ramanujacharya) believe in Videha Mukti (liberation after death).

The soul in mukti and Siva are indistinguishable like the rays of the moon and the sun. We very often forget that the moon is there in the sky in daylight because the effulgence of the sun subsumes the moon light. Though they are indistinguishable, Siva and the soul are distinct entities; for the soul to enjoy bliss from Siva, it has to be a distinct entity to receive bliss. Siva (Siva Sakti) is like a nursing mother and the soul is like a suckling infant.


   Sayings Sri Ramakrishna
Emancipated soul = Jivan Mukta. Corporeal liberation, liberation while alive is an important tenet of Saivism.

953. How does the emancipated soul live in the world?  


He lives in the world like the diver-bird. It dives into water, but the water does not wet its plumage; the few drops of water which may possibly stick to its body are easily shaken off when it once flaps its wings.   

Comment: Water here means merits and demerits which accumulate karma with resultant rebirth. In Jivan Mukti, the liberated soul does not accumulate karma, though he is engaged in worldly acts.