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Pashupata Siddhanta


- by mahAmahopAdhyAya j~nAnaku~njastha shrIgopInAtha kavirAja

The sarvadarshana samgraha of mAdhavAchArya devotes a chapter to the treatment of the philosophical doctrines and teachings of the pAshupatas. It seems therefore clear that as early as the fourteenth century of the Christian era the sect had assumed such importance that it claimed recognition as a distinct theologico-phlosophical school. From a careful study of the earlier literature it would appear that the sect is much older than the days of mAdhava. Udayana (1000 AD) refers to it in his nyAyakusumAnjali and the author of nyAyasAra wrote a work viz. gaNakArikA, dealing with the pAshupata categories. Uddyotakara, the author of nyAyavArtika (500 AD), calls himself a pAshupatAcharya. The purANas and even the mahAbhArata contain numerous references to this sect. the brahmasUtras of bAdarAyaNa include a section in the second pAda of chapter II, refuting the views of the adherents of this sect.

The earliest history of this sect is shrouded in mystery. In the vedic literature, the word pashupati indeed occurs in various places (atharvaNa samhitA 11,2,28, vAj. Sam 16,28, pArask. GrhsUtra 2,8, Ashv. GrhsUtra 48) but only as a synonym of Rudra. It has not got there that technical meaning which we find invariably attached to it in subsequent pAshupata literature. This sect was of course known to the mahAbhArata. The vAmana purANa classifies the worshippers of shiva linga under four groups:

a. Shaiva
b. pAshupata or mahApAshupata
c. kAladamana 
d. kApAlika

It observes that all these sects had their origin in brahmA. The pAshupata sect was represented by maharshi bharadvAja and his disciple, rAjA somakeshvara. The shaiva sect was led by shakti, son of vasistha and guru of gopAyana. The kAladamana sect was represented by Apastambha, the guru of krAtheshvara. Dhanada or kubera headed the kApAlika sect and had a disciple named arNodara, who was a shUdra by caste; dhanada is described as a mahAvratin. It is also stated in the shiva purANa that vAsudeva krShNa learnt the pAshupata system from uamanyu, the elder brother of dhaumya.

We have now no means of ascertaining the extent of the early literature of this sect or its details. But from the statement of the shiva purANa, it appears that the original doctrines of the sect were contained in four samhitAs compiled by ruru, dadhIchi, agastya and upamanyu. The atharvashira and some other upaniShads belong to this sect. The philosophical position of the school is based on a sUtra work called pAshupata shAstra panchartha darshana and attributed to maheshvara. This work was in five chapters (hence called panchAdhyAyI) and commented on by rAshikara, the supposed twenty-eighth and last incarnation of shiva. mAdhavAchArya, keshava kAshmIrI and rAmAnanda (on kAshI khaNDa) refer to this work. bhAsarvajna wrote eight kArikAs, called gaNakArikA dealing with the pAshupata doctrines. An unknown author commented on these kArikAs – ratnaTIkA. The same wrote a work called satkAryavichAra. samskArakArikA is a manual treating of pAshupata rituals. Haradatta was one of the earlier authors of this school, but no detail regarding life or works is known. The yogachintAmaNi of shivAnanda speaks of a work named nakulIsha yogaparAyaNa which evidently belongs to this sect.

The historical foundation of the sect, evidently a subsequent branch of the original school, is attributed to one nakulIsha, who was an inhabitant of karavana near modern Broach in the Boroda state. His name appears in various forms viz. lakulIsha, laguDIsha etc. The origin of the name is not known, but it is surmised that he was so called on account of his always holding a cudgel in his hand. The bairAgIs of this sect bear this characteristic even now. It is difficult to determine the age of this early shaiva preacher. He is believed to have been an incarnation of shiva. It is stated in vayu purANa that simultaneously with the appearance of shrI krShNa as vAsudeva, shiva manifested himself as lakulI at a place, thence called kAyAvarohaNa, now corrupted into Karwana. A temple of lakulIsha is still seen there. An inscription is found in the neighborhood of the temple of Ekalingaji, at a distance of 14 miles from Udaipur. The shiva purANa refers to lakulI of kAyAvarohaNa as one of the sixty-eight forms of shiva.

According to this purANa, lakulI had four disciples who practiced the pAshupata yoga and besmeared their bodies with ashes and dust. The names of these four heroes are: kushika, gArgya, mitra and kauruShya. The Chintra Inscription alludes to this story. In this description however, the name of the third disciple, as give above appears as maitreya. Though the synchronism of vAsudeva krShNa and lakulIsha, as pointed out by the purANa, is hardly capable of being established, the age of the shaiva teacher remains still unsettled. Farquhar believes that lakulIsha was a historical person and lived between the ages of mahAbharata and vAyu purANa. The age of this purANa, according to him, is 300-400 AD. Hence lakulIsha is placed at an earlier date. Fleet says that the figure of shiva with club found on the coins of the kushAn king HuviShka represents lakulIsha.

1. kArya

The kArya is threefold: vidyA, kalA and pashu.

vidyA is a quality of the pashu, and is of two kinds: knowledge (bodha) and ignorance (abodha). The former is essentially either vivekapravrtti or avivekapravrtti, but from the standpoint of object it is fourfold or fivefold. The vivekapravrtti is manifested by a valid source of knowledge and is called chitta. It is by means of the chitta that an animal is conscious of the light of chaitanya. The second tye pf vidyA (abodha-vidyA) is described as pashvartha-dharmAdharmikA. ratnaTIkA observes that the character of vidyA as a guNa is from the standpoint of pAshupata system, but according to vaisheShika it would be dravya.

kalA is dependent on a conscious agent and is itself unconscious. It is of two kinds: kArya and kAraNa. The former is of then types: the five tattvas (prthvI etc.) and the five guNas (rUpa etc.). The latter is of three kinds: five senses, five motor organs and three inner organs (buddhi, ahamkAra and manas).

The pashu is either sAnjana (endowed with body and senses) or niranjana (bereft of body and senses).

2. kAraNa

kAraNa, literally a cause, is the name of pati (Ishvara, God). He is the anugrAhaka of all creation and destruction. He is one and without a second. His classification is based on a difference of guNa and karma only. The kAraNa is independent in this system and is not dependent on karma and other factors. He is pati which implies possession of infinite power or knowledge and action i.e. possession for all times of aishvarya. He is Adya or the Primal One, i.e., possesses natural powers.

3. Yoga

It is defined as the communion between Atman and Ishvara through the medium of chitta. There are two varieties of yoga – one is kriyAtmaka (active) in the form of japa, dhyAna etc. and the other stands for cessation of all action (kriyoparama). The latter kind is technically known as samvidgati. The fruit of yoga in this system is not kaivalya (as in sAmkhya and pAtanjala) but realization of Supreme Power (paramaishvarya) accompanied by end of pain.

4. Vidhi

Vidhi is the name of a function which aims at dharma or artha. It is twofold, being primary or secondary. The primary vidhi is charyA, which is of two kinds: vrata and dvAras. The vratas are thus enumerated:

a. Ash bath
b. Ash bed (bhasmasnAnashayyA)
c. upahAra or niyama consisting of:
- Laughter or hasita, which aTTahAsa (side-splitting laughter with lips gaping wide)
- Song or gIta (in praise of Shiva)
- Dancing or nrtya 
- huDukkAra involving the utterance of the sound ‘huDuk’ in the manner of an ex-bellowing. This sound is produced from the contact of the tongue with the palate (probably some kind of tAlavya kriyA?)
- Obeisance or namaskAra
d. Japa
e. Circumambulation or pradakShiNa

The dvAras are:

a. krAthana or the showing of the body during waking moments as if it were in sleep. 
b. Spandana or the quivering of the limbs as under the influence of vAyu. 
c. maNDana or going in the manner of one suffering from injury in the leg, or rather limping.
d. shR^i~NgAra or showing oneself by means of one’s physical erotic movements (vilAsAH) as if one is in passion at the sight of a beautiful and youthful lady. 
e. avitatkaraNa or performing an evil action condemned by the world in the manner of one devoid of sense of discrimination. 
f. avitadbhAShaNa or uttering of meaningless, contradictory words.

The secondary vidhi is what is subsidiary and auxiliary to the primary vidhi, i.e., anusnAna and bhakShocchiShTa.

5. duHkhAnta

With the pAshupatas duHkhAnta means, not only the negation of sorrow but also realization of Supreme Lordship (paramaishvarya). duHkhAnta is of two kinds: anAtmaka and sAtmaka. The former is absolute cessation of all pain. The latter is realization of power which consists in drk-kriyAshakti. Drk-shakti (=dhIshakti) is really one, but is called five-fold through difference of object, viz. shravaNa, manana, vijnAna and sarvajnatva. Similarly kriyAshakti too, though one, is described as three-fold through upachAra – manojavitva, kAmarUpitva and vikaraNadharmitva. The word darshana means knowledge of everything amenable to sight and touch – subtle, distant and closed. The perfect knowledge of every shabda is shravaNa, of every thought is manana, of every shAstra through text and sense is vijnAna; and omniscience is the perfect knowledge, eternally shining, of all tattvas in regard to all things, said or unsaid, either in summary or in detail or severally. Manojavitva is the power of doing something instantaneously. kAmarUpitva is the power of controlling any form simply at will and under the stress of karma. vikaraNadharmitva is the power of doing or knowing anything (niratishaya aishvarya sambandhitva) without any organ.

This two-fold shakti is collectively called Supreme Lordship. When this two-fold siddhi is reached, all the ten marks of siddhi reveal themselves. These marks are: avashyatva, anAveshyatva, avadhyatva, abhayatva, akShayatva, ajaratva, amaratva, apratighAta, mahattva and patitva. These are explained below:

a. Avashya is absolutely free. There are differences of opinion on the meaning of the term avashyatva. One view is that vashyatva is a mala and when it is removed the dharma existing in puruSha viz., avashyatva is manifested. The author of ratnaTIkA reproduces this view, saying that the manifestation of aishvarya is not admitted, for it is unreasonable to hold that a dharma which is not of the nature of the dharma (anAtmakadharma) should be manifested. If it were manifested, the dharma would be anAtmaka. Hence avashyatva means aishvarya-sambandha. It is this which eliminates subordination. 
b. anAveshyatva means that the jnAnasambandha cannot be overpowered by another person. 
c. akShayatva implies eternal relation with aishvarya. 
d. apratighAta is thus defined: sarvatrA.abhipretArthEshu pravartamAnasya maheshvareNApi apratibandha-dharmittvam. The implications of this statement are too many to be considered here. 
e. Mahattva is superiority to all pashus, owing to greatness of aishvarya. 
f. Patitva is Lordship of all kAryas i.e. pashu, vidyA and kalA.

yA yogibR^indahR^idayAmbujarAjahaMsI
mandasmitastutamukhI madhukaiTabhaghnI |
vighAnadhakArataTabhedapaTIyasI sA 
mUrtiH karotu kutukaM bhramarAmbikAyAH ||

namaH shivAbhyAm