History of Saivism - Mandaitivu Mukapuvajal sivasubramanija suvami kovil

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Monday, November 21, 2011

History of Saivism

1. Origin of Agama
Saivism is the pre-historic religion of India. Siva the supreme is said to have revealed the Vedas and Agamas to enlightened souls. Saiva Siddhanta is the essence of the 28 Agamas. The Sankara Samhita of Skanda Purana says; “ The Vedas are in the middle of the mouth of Siva, the aksharas (letters) are in teeth and the Agamas are in the tongue”
Scholar V.V. Ramana Sastri in his Tirumantiram 1911 edition says;
“When agamas came south from the north, they appeared as the Viramahesvara Darshana in West India and as Saiva Darshana in South India. This was a few thousand years before the ardent of four Saiva acharyas like Thirunganasambanthar and Thirunavukkarasar. Thirumoolar wrote his Thirumantiram purporting to give in its nine tantras, the substance of the nine agamas. Of the nine agamas only eight are said to be principal agamas while the nineth Yamala is not a Saiva agama but Saktha tantra. Evidently, the Thirumantiram text had been interfered with and the original name of some agama had been substituted by Yamala. The Vira agama and Vathula agama are the principal texts for Viramahesvara sect.”
The statement from great scholar like Ramana Sastri are not historically accurate. The statement that the agamas came from north is totally incorrect. The Viramahesvara sect or now known as Vira Saiva cult which propagated by Basava in Kannada area in the middle of 12th century. This took root in Tamilnadu some centuries later from the days of Saints Santalinga Swamigal, Sivaprakasa Swami and Chidambara Swami in the 17th Century and of course could have had nothing to do with Thirumular. His argument that the agamas were earlier than the the Saiva acharyas by at least 1000 years and that Thirumular would have lived earlier than 6th century A.D are of course quite true.
Mohenjo-daro in ancient times was most likely one of the administrative centers of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. It was the most developed and advanced city in South Asia, and perhaps the world, during its peak. The planning and engineering showed the importance of the city to the people of the Indus valley.
The Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300–1700 BC, flowered 2600–1900 BC), abbreviated IVC, was an ancient riverine civilization that flourished in the Indus river valley in ancient India (now Pakistan and the present north-west India). Another name for this civilization is the "Harappan Civilization."
Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilization have brought light to a proto-dravidian civilization which had Sivalinga worship; a sculpted figure of a dancer has also been unearthed. These facts go to indicate that Saivism has been prevalent throughout the Indian sub-continent 5000 years ago and therefore there is no basis for saying that Saivism spread to south india from Kashmir.
The Saivagamas had gained importance in the country even in pre Chola days. One of the titles assumed by Rajasimha Pallave (686-705 AD) is Agamapriya, the lover of agamas and another is Saiva Siddhantin.
Although we find that the available agams are only in Sanskrit, a deep consideration of the life and culture of people, their temples and temple rituals and worship may make us pause and ask if they were originally Tamil sources and Sanskrit rituals were not actually taken from the Tamil originals.
Some linguists believe that Dravidian-speaking people were spread throughout the Indian subcontinent before a series of Indo-Aryan migrations.
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