The Śaivasiddhānta tradition favors Bhakti yoga, emphasizing loving devotion to Shiva. Its theology presents three universal realities: the pashu (individual soul), the pati (lord, Shiva), and the pasha (soul’s bondage) through ignorance, karma and maya. According to the theory Pasha’s 3 3lements i.e. karma with consequences, maya & avidya, allow the soul to remain in the pashu or animal state and don’t let the soul meet pati or lord. BUt with the bounded elements only a soul can meet pati, if we consider karma as instrument of correction, Mind as instrument of knowledge and Body as instrument of action. This process will take time of millions of years that’s why an individual needs a Guru that will make him free from pashu or animal state of soul and dissolve him completely into the supreme lord or pati.

The Shaiva-siddhanta, recognizes three principles: Pati, Shiva, the Lord; pashu, the individual soul; and pasha, the bonds that confine the soul to earthly existence. The goal set for the soul is to get rid of its bonds and gain shivatva ( “the nature of Shiva”). According to Shiva followers, there are four successive stages in the path to realization, and proficiency where one stage qualifies one for the next. These are charya (religious conduct), kriya (action), yoga (union) and jnana (knowledge or liberation).

Charya is thus a basic discipline that has to be followed by a siddhantin (follower of southern Shaivism). 

The two aspects of Charya – moral conduct and ritual practice – are interrelated. The sadhaka (follower of spiritual disciplines) should have an attitude of surrender towards God at all times.

The follower of Charya should be ready to serve both God and his devotees without any expectation. He must be free from all negative emotions like anger, lust, jealousy, greed etc.

The other aspect of Charya is visual conduct and worship of Shiva in his various manifestations like Lord Natraj, Dakshineshwar, Jyotirlinga and other divine icons of lord shiva. The follower of Charya should keep out a God-centered attitude in all his activities, both sacred and secular.

Strict adherence to this path is also known as the dasa marga (the way of the servant), where the devotee regards himself to be a slave of the Lord. He has a similar attitude towards the teacher who shows him the path to God. One is said to attain the world of Shiva by pursuing this path.

The tradition teaches ethical living, service to the community and through one’s work, loving worship, yoga practice and discipline, continuous learning and self-knowledge as means for liberating the individual soul from bondage.

The Shaiva Siddhanta practices have focussed on abstract ideas of spirituality, worship and loving devotion to Shiva as SadaShiva, and taught the authority of the Vedas and Shaiva Agamas.

Further Reading

What is Yoga?

History of Yoga

Misconceptions about Yoga

Fundamentals Of Yoga

9 Principles Of Yoga

Yoga Basics

Panch Mahabhutas



Astanga Yoga

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