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Siva Jnana Bodham - 1
« on: May 17, 2009, 01:03:15 PM »
Siva Jnana Bodham is a canonical text of Saiva Siddhantam,
composed by one Meykanda Deva Nayanar, from Tiruvennainallur.
As I have already posted a few weeks back, there are 15
canonical texts on Saiva Siddhantam composed by 6 different
authors.  These are all conceptual texts unlike texts of prayer
like Tevaram and Tiruvachakam.  These are not quite popular
amongst devotees, unlike Tevaram and Tiruvachakam.  It is
something like prayer songs of Sankara and Vedanta Desika
as compared to Brahma Sutras and Upanishads.  Tirumoolar's
Tirumandiram, is an elaborate conceptual text, which deals
both with stories as well as basis philosophy of Saiva Siddhantam.  In fact, Tirumandiram is an exposition of Siva
Jnana Bodham.

Siva Jnana Bodham comprise of 12 Sutras or axioms. Scholars
have quoted these sutras when they comment on Tiruvachakam
and Tevaram and stories of 63 Siva Saints, called Nayanmars.

The essential difference between Advaita Vedanta and Siva
Siddhanta is in the concepts of God, soul, Maya and Mukti.
The soul is not a creation of God, Siva, much less is it of the
essence of Siva.  It is beginningless as Siva and co-eval with
Him.  It never loses its identity even in the state of union with
the godhead.  [Here it differs from Advaita].  Maya again, is not
the illusion of Advaita Vedanta philosophy.  It is the matrix
of all matter. It is Uma or Sakti.  Bodies of creatures, the worlds and every other material thing is created out of it.

The soul, [which is nothing but mind-body complex of Advaita] exists with a taint of Anavamalam, the ego.  This is extirpated
by the grace of Siva and the working of kanma [karma in Advaita Vedanta].  The soul then gains a state of pristine purity, no longer subject to the Anavamalam.  In that state, it gains union with the godhead.

Tirumandiram of Tirumoolar explains the same in elaborate detail in 3046 verses.

Pati is siva. Pasu is the soul.  Pasam is the rope or fetters, i.e
the three taints or impurities or malams, which adhere to the
soul as verdigris adheres to copper vessel.  Of the three impurities, the karma and maya can be overcome by a sadhak
with some efforts.  The anava, the ego, is the last one that goes
but with great efforts and grace of Siva.

Siva Jnana Bodham of Meykanda Deva Nayanar was elaborated first by one AruL Nandi Sivam, of Chidambram in his work,
Siva Jnana Siddhi.  Umapati Sivam, a disciple of AruL Nandi
Sivam, further elaborated it in his work Siva Prakasam. 

I shall give a brief English rendering of 12 Sutras of Siva Jnana
Bodham in a few posts.  The translations have been done by
Prof. G. Vankmika Nathan, in his book Periya Puranam.  He is
citing these, while describing the life stories of 63 Siva Saints.

(Source:  Periya Puranam, Prof. G. Vanmika Nathan, in English prose and poetry.  This is an one time publication under the auspices of  Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.  No reprints available.)

Arunachala Siva.