Monday, July 5, 2010





Maraignana Sambanthar

This book systematises the Rituals of the Saiva Religion as found in the various Saiva Agamas or tantras and is invaluable to the student of the Saiva Religion. The original is in Kural Metre, but the Tamil is very simple and graceful. Not much is known about the author except that he was one of the Sanyasins attached to the mutt of Tiruvavadathurai. But the book shows his vast erudition and thorough knowledge of the Agamic lore. The book will throw considerable light on our daily observances and practices, and it will help us to correct our notions when they are wrong, and improve them if need be. We send forth this volume fully hoping that this will be of the greatest use to our readers.


1. The Feet of Pollappilliar dwelling in the Holy Shrine at Tiruvennainallur worshipped by all good men are the flowers we adorn our head with.

2. The world and souls pervading close and yet transcending all, Shines Siva, our Lord He is.

3. The one, yet over the five functions, the Powers five, Dwells she in the Souls. Her feet we will adore.

4. We will behold and worship with fragrant flowers the Feet of the Elephant God who destroys the sorrows of His devotees.

5. We will closely meditate on the Feet of the Victorious Kumara who showed His grace to the Gods by removing their difficulties.

6. We will worship with fragrant flowers the Feet of the gracious Nandi who is the Lord of the God's hosts.

7. We will place on our head the lotus feet of Sanat kumara, the son of the four faced God, Brahma.

8. We will place on our head the flowery feet of other Munis, and throw away our sins.

9. We will meditate on the sacred feet of the Mother of Karaikal who enjoyed the Sacred Dance of our God with the eye of Grace.

10. We will always meditate on the feet of the Brahmin child (Gnanasambantha) who gave the sacred ashes to the king of Pandi and removed his fever.

11. We will place on our head the feet of Vakisa, who became great by crowning his head with the Foot of Paramasiva, and cast away our sins.

12. We will meditate on the Feet of him (Saint Sundara) who compelled the king of Death to bring back the child from the mouth of the alligator.

13. We will place the twin feet of the True Bhakta whose song brought the immaculate One to come on His Steed.

14. We will place the Feet of Mailgai Thaver and other sweet singers on our head.


These are the authors of the Tiruvisaippa and their names are: Mailgai Thevar (1); Karuvur Thevar (2), Nambiandar Nambi (3), Gandaraditya Devar, (4), Venattadigal (5), Tiruvali Amudar (6), Purushottamar (7), Ilamperumanadigal (8), Sethirayar (9), Sendar (10), Adiravadigal (11), Kalladar (12), Pattinathu Pillayar (13).

15. Let us worship with a gladsome heart the Feet of the Saints, who knowing the world to be false attached themselves to the Golden feet of God.

16. Let us meditate on the Feet of Meikanda Deva of Tiruvannainallur. Let us bow to him and praise him and delight in hm.

17. Let us meditate on the Golden feet of the wise seers who believed in an Eternal Siva who dwells in all souls.

18. Let the King, the Brahmans and God's devotees, the Devas, prosper.

19. Let the king who bears the burden of this world prosper. Let the rains fall in abundance and delight the Earth.


The Truly Great Soverigns feel as much for the sorrows of their people as the people themselves and what nobler examples of such do we possess than our late sovereign and our present King-Emperor.

20. Let them prosper well on earth who first feed the great to the best of their ability and eat afterwards.

21. Let them prosper, crowned with fame, who feed without exception whoever comes at noon-tide.

22. Let them enter heaven who give with love gold to the devotees who build and repair temples of the Lord.

23. Let them reach Sivam who do such work with the money given by those who seek salvation.

24. With the desire of enlightening others, we will compose this treatise entitled Saiva Samaya Neri gathering our materials from the Saiva Agamas.

25. The sins of the people are cured by the sight of the Guru. The faults of our treatise will be removed by the sight of the learned.

26. As the sun shines everywhere, so let this treatise shine everywhere. This will remove the dark mala and give blessedness to souls.


1. We will give together the characteristics of the Acharya and others. Let them who care to remove their defects carefully read and ascertain the truth.

2. These will be born and be found in the countries bordering the nine sacred rivers.

3. The chief among will be those born in the Superior four castes.


According to this, those who are eligible to become gurus and teachers are not confined to the Brahmin caste alone but every one of the four castes, Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra can become a teacher if he is otherwise qualified. This requires to be clearly and fully noted as the common and fallacious belief that only Brahmans alone are entitled to teach is only too well fastered by intereated people and by some of the Indian religious sects. But this is opposed to the real spirit of the oldest Indian Codes and Hindu religion. The arguments contained in the following texts of the Agamas are quite telling.

Says Suprabheda Agama:

"Brahmans, Kshatryas, Vaishyas and Sudras can alone become Acharyas and none others."

Says Kanda Kolottara Agama:

"Even stones duly consecrated can confer both worldly and Heavenly Bliss. If stones can become Sivam, how can any one say that Sudras cannot become so."

Says Saiva Purana:

"All the four castes, who giving up worldly studies, study Saiva Sastras can become the praised Acharyas."

4. Among them, they who are devoid, of bodily and mental faults are alone fit to be Acharyas.

5. By untimely union, and by want of chastity are caused bodily and mental infirmities in children born.

6. If the mother partakes of wholesome food, the children will get beautiful forms.

7. Those who have done good in a former birth will be born with all good qualities. Others will never get them.

8. Men too tall or too short or too big are not fit as teachers.

9. Men too white or too dark, or too red are not fit.

10. Men lame of feet or hands, the hunch-backed the blind of one or both eyes, and those who are wanting in any of their limbs or organs are not fit.

11. The squint-eyed, the hollow-eyed, the blear-eyed, the cruel-eyed are not fit.

12. The thick-lipped, the large-toothed, the flat and scrubby nosed are not fit.

13. The men with legs too short or long-kneed, the too-tall, and the thick-soled and broad- toed are also unfit.

14. The pot-bellied, the dropsied, the screech-voiced, and stammerers are not fit.

15. Men with incurable diseases, and consumption are unfit.

16. The too young or the too old, and the positively ugly are unfit.

17. Men possessed of anger, of desire, bad men without pity, those men wanting in propriety of speech are also unfit.

18. The indolent, the deceitful, the forgetful, those who only learn worldly books, and those who cannot impart instruction properly are also unfit.

19. Men freed of such faults are alone eminently fitted to be teachers.


20. He must have been initiated by a proper teacher in all the four modes of initiation (Samaya Diksha, Visesha Diksha, Niravana Diksha and Acharya abhisheka) and should have observed the rites and observances of each of these paths.

21. Possessed of love to his teacher, he must have learned discriminately the Agamas and the subtle Vedanta.


The Vedanta is the Philosophy of the Upanishads, as expounded by Badrayana and elucidated by Sri Nilakanta Sivacharya. The Philosophy of the Agamas is the Saiva Siddhanta. And between them, both the acharyas have declared there is no difference, meaning thereby, the difference is one without a distinction.

22. When worshipping god, he should fancy himself as slave, (Dasa), be possessed of all love to God, and be freed of the fault of 'I' and 'mine'.

23. Perceiving God in his hearts, and doing Sivoham Bhavana he must remove the sins of the sinful.

24. Observing how the Grace of God (Sattinipada) rests on each, and adopting the purification of each accordingly either by Sambavi Diksha or Sakti Diksha, or Mantra Diksha and removing all their kinds of Mala, the true teacher will show the presence of the Golden Feet of the Immaculate One in the heart of the disciple.


25. Sakti Diksha is manasa Diksha. Sambavi Diksha is performed by the eye of Wisdom.


Sakti Diksha is otherwise called gnanavati and Sambavi Vignana Diksha. In the Manasa process, the rites and ceremonies are all performed by the power of the mind without the use of externals. In the Vignana Diksha, the mere sight of the teacher will purify the pupil.

Mantra Diksha.

26. Mantra Diksha is performed with Homa and Kunda mandala &c. for the purpose of purifying the sins of the pupil.


Mantra Diksha is otherwise called Kriya Diksha and this and Gnanavati Diksha are called also Hotri-Diksha.


27. The teachers are divided as Prerakacharyas, Bodhakacharyas and Muktiacharyas.

The Prerakacharya.

28. The first acharya is he who instructs Saiva pupils as to who their proper teachers are who will show them grace, and thus secures their Salvation.

The Bodhakacharya.

29. The Bodhakacharya purifies the pupil who comes to him in love by giving the Samaya and Vishesha Diksha, and graciously instructs him in his duties.

The Muktitacharya.

30. The Muktita will give emancipation to such as above by Nirvana Diksha, testing their worth, within 12 years of the pupils joining him.

The castes, and their teachers.

31. Brahmins can be teachers to Brahmins and other caste pupils.

32. The Rajanyas can be teachers to their own and order and those below. The Merchant- class can officiate to his own class and Sudras. Sudras can officiate as teacher to Sudras alone.

Some Special rules.

33. If among Brahmins there are no proper gurus let the Brahman pupil get Gnana upadesa from the Rajanya Guru.

34. This applies to Brahmopadesa and not to Karmopadesa.

35. These rules apply also to receiving Gnanopadesa even from the hands of gurus of Vaishya and Sudra classes in failure of gurus among the higher classes. There is no wrong in this.

36. A Sudra can also be a guru if he remains a bachelor all his life and understands well the nature of the Thripadartha as taught in Siddhanta.

The books they can read.

37. The first three classes can study the Vedas and Agamas with the aid of chchandas &c.

38. The Sudras can study the Agamas and the Puranas and understand this meaning.

The teaching of these books.

39. The Vedas and Agamas teach distinctly the nature of the Pathi, Pasu and Pasa.

The nature of the Saivacharya.

40. He alone is the Saivacharya who receiving the Word of God understands the nature of the Pathi, Pasu and Pasa without doubt and mistake.

41. Even if devoid of bodily perfection, if he understands well the nature of the Thripadartha, he is a true teacher.

42. Even if possessed of all bodily and mental perfections, if he is not possessed of Sivagnana he is no teacher.

43. Even is possessed of all bodily and mental perfections, none except from the four castes can be a teacher.


44. There are five Mudras for the Guru; Vibhuti, Rudraksha Mala, the sacred thread, the upper cloth, and the head-cloth.

45. The Sudra teachers are not entitled to wear the head-dress and upper cloth.

The Sacred thread.

46. The threads should be spun by virgins of the four castes. Spin one from seven threads and spin from three such yarns. Brahmins can wear seven such threads.

47. The Rajanyas can wear 5 such threads, Vaishyas 3 such, and Sudras one alone.

48. The four castes can wear the thread on their breast uttering the Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Satyojada mantras. Their sins will vanish, and they will secure Bhoga and Moksha.

49. Sudras living as family men can wear the thread in Pujah, Tharpana and Homa occasions.

50. Among Sudras, the Naishtika Brahmachari can wear the thread always if he has got rid of all the desires of the world.

The duties of the Acharyas.

51. Know, the duties of the teachers are three namely, Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya.

52. The Nitya (daily) duties are, bathing and performing Tharpana, worshipping God, and tending the sacred fire.

53 The Naimittika duties consist in consecrating images, and performing Diksha and in teaching the sacred words of God to proper pupils and explaining their impact.

54. The Kamya consists in doing Siva Pujah and Japa for purpose of securing salvation.

55. Sanyasis and Vanaprastas are not fit to be Acharyas.

56. Brahmacharis and Grihastas are alone fit to be Acharyas.

57. The Brahmachari Acharya will confer Mukti alone. The other Acharya living in piety will both confer the worldly and heavenly Bliss.

58. These Acharyas are to initiate all the four classes by the Hotri Diksha.

59. If the husband permits, the wife can receive the Diksha.

60. The purification of the Adhwas can be given to all the four castes but not to the others.

61. To the others who are not entitled to receive Hotri Diksha, perform Diksha by sight (Sakshu Diksha) and by touch, laying hands on the head (Parisa Diksha).

62. For giving Nirvana Diksha, the pupil has to be tested for the prescribed period or for one year. For the other Dikshas, the aspirants need not undergo any probation.

Characteristics of the aspirant in whom the grace has descended.

63. If the grace has fallen, the aspirants will regret the body as poison and will seek the means to get out of it.

64. When hearing spiritual stories 7c, the hairs on his body will stand on their ends, his eyes will brim with tears, his speech will falter, and when seeing Siva Bhaktas, will raise his hands and worship them without shame.

65. He will desire the society of those who wear the Sacred ashes &c, and his love to them will grow.


66. The pupils thus undergoing probations for 12 years should be tested so that they are free from doubts and errors, and then they should be given Nirvana Diksha and saved.

67 & 68. The periods of probation for Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras are respectively 3, 6, 9 and 12 years.

The Intelligence Pupils.

69. When under probation, the pupil shows no good at all it is fit he should at once be discarded.

70 & 71. If the Acharya gives Diksha to an unfit person, either through fear or love or love of gold and other inducements, both will fall into hell and fall deeper into it and it will be difficult for them to be raised up.

72. Therefore rejecting the unfit persons, give Diksha only to the loving ones.

How many can receive Diksha at one time.

73. It is best to give Diksha to only one at a time. It can be given to two also.

74. If the Acharya gives Diksha to many, he will suffer pain by going to hell.

The Seasons for Giving Diksha.

75. The months of Kartigai, Arpisi, and Vaigasi are best for giving the purifying Diksha.

76. The months of Panguni, Ani, Margali are second best. The months of Masi and Adi are inferior.

77. In the other four months, no Diksha should be given at all. But there may be good days even in these months.

78. The time of solar and lunar eclipses are good days.

79. The days of Dakshanayana and Uttarayana, and Vishu days in Chittirai and Arpasi are also good.

80. These days are prescribed only to those who desire this world's bliss. To those who desire Heavenly bliss, no time is prescribed at all.

81. To these latter, in their own perfection, all times are good, supremely good.


82. The pupil should dedicate his wealth, body and life to the service of His Acharya.

83. The Acharya should not receive all the wealth offered to him. Only receive one-sixth of this wealth.

84. The Acharya can receive all that is offered to him if the pupil happens to be a Sanyasi or Vanaprasta.

85. The mother out of love gives the healing potion to her child. He is the Acharya who removes the sorrows of death and birth of her pupils.

86. The Acharya should lovingly confer Diksha on all eligible persons, without regard to any other consideration.

87. We have thus far set forth the qualifications of the Acharya.


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