Tantra Magazine

Shiva Advaita is the philosophy of the sage Shrikantha as it was exposed in the Brahma Sutra Bhashya, a Shaivit comment on the work Brahma Sutra (500 – 200 B.C.).

Brahma Sutra contains 50 lapidary verses wrote by Badarayana, resuming the Upanishads. Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads are the three central scriptures of the various interpretations of the Vedantic scriptures.

The sages Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva wrote commentaries on these books, deriving three philosophies from them, almost different from one another: non-dualism, limited non-dualism, and dualism, all based on the same texts.

Each pretended that theirs was the correct interpretation of the Veda and rejected the others. Shankara was a monist and granted a lower value to the worship of a personal God.

On the other hand, Ramanuja and Madhva, developed their philosophies in which the devotion towards God in His aspect of Vishnu was considered the highest path. At that time there was no Vedantic school established, at least there was no school that would bring devotion to similar heights.

Yet, Srikantha filled in the gaps. The resulting philosophy was named Shiva Vishishtadvaita which doesn’t seem to be very different from Ramanujas limited non-dualism.

In his commentary, Shrikantha transferred the Shaiva philosophy in a Vedantic terminology. Shrikantha lived in the XI-th century, our era. We know almost nothing about his personal life, so this aspect will always remain a mystery.

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We also don’t know if he catalyzed a social movement that could have rivaled Vira Shaivism or Shaiva Siddhantha; but still, from his writings one thing is clear: he was a brilliant orator and a master of debates, as well as a devoted worshipper of Shiva.

His influence was greater due to another commentator of the texts, Appaya Dikshita, who wrote a detailed commentary on the work of Shrikantha in the XVI-th century, as part of a serious attempt to defend Shaivism from the proselyte intrusions of Vishnuism from Southern India.

According to Shrikanthas philosophy, Shiva created the world with no other purpose than a divine game. Shiva is the effective cause of creation, as His Shakti; He is also its material cause.

Shiva takes on the form of the universe, He transforms Himself into it (the universe), not directly, but through His Shakti.

Thus, He is transcendent, glorious and unaffected by His creation. Shiva has a spiritual body and lives in a paradise that is more luminous than a thousand suns, a paradise that can be attained only by liberated souls.

Shrikantha, in his work Brahma Sutra Bhasya, said: “In the moment of creation, preceded by the first vibrations of His energies, through a simple impulse of His will, independent from any material cause, and from His own substance, He creates all the conscious and unconscious creatures and things.”

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The purification, devotion, and meditation on Shiva as the Self from the void of the spiritual heart (daharakasha) define the path. The meditation is directed towards the Supreme Self, Shiva, the only existence that has evolved through all the manifested forms.

Freedom appears only after a few preliminary realizations, including inner peace, unbending faith and detachment. The bonds that keep the soul in chains can be broken in the torrent of the continual contemplation and identification with Shiva. Liberation depends on grace, not on facts.

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