[Advaita-l] Notes on the Musings on the Fundamentals of Hinduism - 7 (IV)

Anbu sivam2 anbesivam2 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 12 21:39:29 CDT 2009


The concept of the Trigunas is essential part of all branches of Hinduism.
Here is an example from a Pandit in Saiva Siddhaantha.

This section is from the book "Studies In
by J. M. Nallasvami Pillai. Also available from Amazon: Studies In
The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Siddhanta. Part 6

And we regard the various conceptions of God. as He, She and It, as
conceptions derived from material forms, and as such not appertaining to His
real essence, but the forms are necessary for our own easy conception of God:
[image: The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 363]

"He is male, female and neuter, earth and heaven and none of these."
[image: The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 364]

"Praise be to Him who is female and male and neuter." Further, the words
Saguna and Nirguna are usually translated as personal, and impersonal, and
we have often pointed out how vaguely and loosely these words are used, and
protested against this translation. We will first consider the words Saguna
and Nirguna. It literally means "with guna," and "without guna." One school
of people would interpret it as meaning "with good qualities," and "without
bad qualifies," and that this is absurd is seen from the fact that the two
words are made to mean the same thing. The word "Guna," however does not
mean any good or bad quality, but is a technical word as used by the Sankhya
and Vedanta schools and as occurring in the Upanishats, Gita, etc. It means
the three gunas, Satva, Rajas, Tamas, the qualities of Prakriti or Pradhana
or matter ; and as such the words would mean "with material qualities" or
"without material qualities". St. Tirumular uses the phrase [image: The
Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 365] mukkunanirgunam, " so
that no mistake may be made of the word Nirgunam itself.
[image: The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 366]

"Satva is condition of wakefulness (Jagrata); Rajas is dream-condition
(Svapna); Tamas is Sushupti ; the stainless Turiyam is Nirguna."

So also the Gita<http://chestofbooks.com/new-age/spirituality/saivism/Saiva-Siddhanta/The-Upanishats-And-Agamas-Part-4.html#gita>speaks
of "Thraigunyo Nirgunaha," and it stands to reason that God cannot be
"Saguna," clothed in matter or material qualities, and must be therefore,
non-material, Nirguna. The Supreme God is, therefore, described in the
Gita and Sivajnanabodham as Nirguna and not as Saguna, as in the
following passages : - c

"This one God is hid in every bhuta pervading all, the inner atma of every
atma, Inspector of all deeds (spectator) in whom everything dwells
(supporter), the witness, the pure Intelligence and Nirguna Being; the
lsvara of lsvaras, the Mahesvara, the God Supreme of Gods, the king of
kings, the supreme of supreme, the "Isa" of the universe. (Svetas).
"Beginningless, Nirguna, Paramatman, Imperishable, though seated in
the body<http://chestofbooks.com/new-age/spirituality/saivism/Saiva-Siddhanta/Vowels-And-Consonants-Mind-And-Body.html>,
O Kaunteya, worketh not, nor is soiled (Gita 13-31). Note Ramanuja explains
Nirguna as destitute of satva and other qualities.

"Will not the Lord, who is Nirguna, Nirmala, Eternal Happiness, Tatparam
(transcending all things) and
appear to the soul when it gets rid of its tattvas such as akas,
etc? Will not He appear as a far transcending wonder and an inseparable
light of its understanding? " (Sivajnana-bOdham ix. 2. a). But certain
deities are stated to be Saguna, as being clothed with pure Satva or Rajasa
or Tamasa, and they should not be confounded with the Turiya murti or the
Fourth, the chaturtha, the supreme Brahman; these Saguna beings are merely
certain souls from among Sakalars wielding very high powers and possessing
still material bodies.

"Santam sivam advaitam chaturtham" (Ramatapini Up).

The word Nirguna is the same as the word "gunatita," beyond guna or matter."
The word, therefore, implies non-material and therefore pure chit. Christian
missionaries need not, therefore, shy at this word, and they should
certainly drop the word "Saguna," which technically means material. From the
passages quoted above, especially from the verse from Sivajnanabodham, it
will be seen that God is called "Nirguna.," "Intelligeiice and.,Rationality
and Consciousness, " are not denied to Him. This is made further clear in
the following verses from St. Meykandan and St. Tirumular.
[image: The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 367]

"When the soul becoming one with God and feels Him,

He becomes the Supreme Bliss, as God becomes one with the soul. So
understanding Him, will he not know with the soul what is understood by the
[image: The Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 368]

"That day I knew my God, the same was not understood by the Gods. The bright
effulgence lighting the inside of, my soul and body, it is said, does not
know! Who else can know?"

Of course, it is also said in these works that God ' cannot know'[image: The
Personality Of God According To The Saiva Sidd 369] and it is pointed out by
Sivajnana Svamigal in his Dravida Maha Bashya that this only means that
God's consciousness is not like the consciousness of the individual man,
which is limited, and cannot become conscious unless it forgets, and can
only understand in relation ("change is essential to consciousness" - Bain).
This human consciouness is called God does not possess this limited His
consciousness is what transcends all limitation and all relation and is
absolute, as in His Akanrlakara, there is no distinction of this and that,
there is nothing out of Him

(to be continued)

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