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Pashupata Darshana

[Query] I read elsewhere on your website that Pashupata, Shaivagama etc. are not acceptable to Advaitins. Please explain.

The five major components of Pashupata Shastra are: kAraNa, kArya, yoga, vidhi and duhkhaanta. The Pashupata or Shaiva philosophy may be summarized as below: The Ishwara or lord of all beings is called ‘Shiva’. The Jivas are considered as ‘pashu’ and hence shiva is ‘Pashupati’. The Jivas are pashus because they are tied down by karmapAsha and aj~nAna. Like the potter makes a pot with clay, Shiva has made this world (i.e. the pot) with Prakriti (i.e. clay). Thus, Shiva is the nimitta kAraNa and Prakriti is upAdAna kAraNa. The relation that jiva establishes with Shiva by japa, dhyAna, sharaNagati etc. is referred to as Yoga here. These modes and procedures adopted by the Jiva to attain Shiva are referred to as Vidhi. Attaining paramasAmya with Shiva is the end of all miseries i.e. duHkhaanta and this is Moksha. These are the important tenets of Shaiva philosophy, pAshupata in particular. Now, let’s see the view of Vedanta. The only padArtha in existence is paramAtman (ekamevAdvitiiyaM brahma). There is neither a Jiva nor a Jagat apart from this Brahma vastu. These appear due to avidyA. The one Paramatman becomes many and appears as jIva and jagat (bahusyAM prajAyeya). So, the case here is different because clay is separate from the potter. But there is no Prakriti different from Paramatman. According to Sruti, by knowing just the Atman, everything is known (yenAshrutaM shrutaM bhavati, amataM mataM, avijnAtaM vijnAtam etc.). By knowing the potter however (i.e. the nimitta kAraNa), the swarUpa of the pot is not understood! So, this Atman is both the nimitta and upAdana kAraNa. When we say paramasAmya (which is moksha according to Shaivas), this state refers to complete similarity between Jiva and Shiva.

No two things in the creation can be exactly same. In other words, this paramasAdrishya that the Shaivagamas talk of, is not possible between two ‘different’ things. So, this state of paramasAmya is possible only when jIva is totally identical with Shiva. Moksha is an eternal state and this is accepted by the Shaivagamas. So, if Moksha was a state that was newly generated by adopting the Shaivagama Vidhis, then it cannot be eternal as anything newly created is temporal in nature. Also, qualities of Shiva like Sarvajnatva, Sarvakartrtva etc. should mix with the qualities of the Jiva Pashu, if the pAshupata philosophy is accepted and one agrees that Jiva is different from Shiva and merges into him during Moksha. On these lines, pAshupata is refuted and oneness of Jiva and Shiva is established.

Vande shivam shankaram.