Tantra Magazine

PART 2
According to the same philosophy, after death, the liberated soul goes to Shiva on the path of the gods, with no possible return to terrestrial life.

The individual soul continues to exist in the spiritual level, enjoying the ecstasy of knowing God, enjoying all experiences and powers, except that of creating the universe.

Finally, the individual self does not become one with Brahman or Shiva, but shares all His qualities and attributes.

The human being is free to act according to his own free will, but responsible for his actions. Shiva will always fulfill ones needs in accordance with ones karma .

Shrikantha wrote in Brahma Sutra Bhasya: “Shiva associates His three energies (iccha – will, jnana – knowledge, kriya – action), which enter in the conglomerate of effects and come out as Universe, comprising the triad of deities (Brahma -creation, Vishnu – preservation, Rudra Shiva – re-absorbtion). Who can understand Shivas greatness, the Almighty, the All-knowing?”

Appaya Dikshita (1554-1626) remains one of the most unusual persons in the history of Hindu philosophy. Appaya Dikshitas commentaries on various philosophical schools were so deep and profound, that these schools claimed his commentaries, even if Appaya Dikshita never adhered to these philosophies.

Ardent devotee of Shiva, he compiled manuals of ritual worship (puja) that are still being used to this day by the Shivait priests.

He was also an excellent devotional poet. From a philosophical point of view, he adhered to the Advaita school of the sage Adi Shankara. In his debates to re-establish the worship of Shiva against the Vishnuism of those times, he had his life threatened on countless occasions.

Shaivism had been constricted in the XVI-th century Southern India, due to the unpleasant patron ship of Ramaraja, king of the Vijayanagar, and continued after his death.

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However, Appaya Dikshita managed to gain the grace of the vassal king, then independently Chinna Bomman from Velore, thus influencing the state doctrine.

Appaya Dikshita perfected the composition of certain commentaries on the various philosophies of the time, including that of Shrikantha. The adepts of this spiritual line claim Appayas commentaries on the writings of the dualist Madhva to this very day.

Through his 104 books, Appaya Dikshita has created many harmonious relationships with the other systems of thinking, has promoted Shaivism among other philosophical approaches and has contributed to the re-establishment of the norms of devotional worship of Shiva.

The leadership of the king Chinna Bomman of Velore ensured the wide spreading of Appayas ideas through especially prepared conferences and great travels for Appaya and his followers, who served as Shaiva missionaries.

In one of his texts Appaya Dikshita wrote: “since the torrid heat of the malevolent critics against Shiva and His worship waits to destroy and burn the offspring of Shiva-bhakti , (devotion for Shiva) that might appear in the minds of the devotes (for whom the existing seed is the merit accumulated during their previous lives), this work, Shivakarnamrita, with its verse created as if from nectar, is precisely written to help the salvation of these offsprings.”

Appaya Dikshita concluded that Shrikantha’s philosophies, as well as those of other dualists, or monist-dualists were necessary steps in order to recognize the truth of monism, advaita.

He argued that Shrikantha’s accent on Saguna Brahman (a God with qualities) more than on Nirguna Brahman (God beyond any quality) was meant to create for the time being the faith and devotion within Shaivit adepts, because such devotion is a necessary element before the knowledge of the Transcendent Absolute, ParamaShiva can be attained.

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Appaya Dikshita said in his work Shivarkamanidipika: “Even if Advaita was the accepted religion, impressed on us by great teachers of the past, such as Shri Shankara (and in many other scriptures as well), the spiritual bend towards monism (Advaita) is produced only through Shiva’s grace.”

Shiva Advaita appears to have no community of adepts or any formal association these days. However, historically, it can be understood as a profound reconciliation between the Vedanta and Siddhanta. Its major importance lies in the promotion and reinvigoration of Shaivism in the XVI-th century, which was a century of great ideological turmoil.


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