Saiva Siddhanta believes in the one eternal God (pati) who is the sole creator, who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. The souls (pasus) are many and are in search of the Lord. They travel through many births to seek and reach Him. But they are bound by the impurities (malams) — ego (anavam), karma and maya. These are the cause of bondage and have to be overcome before the soul can reach God.

The philosophy lays emphasis on spiritual growth by showing the goal and the path in very clear terms. The goal is liberation from the cycle of birth and this is possible through the grace of Lord Siva. His grace is gained through devotion. But how is one to cultivate this devotion? The answer is in the following of devotional practices that bring about a spiritual awakening in the individual. The life and works of the devout saints who had realised God serve as a beacon to the uninitiated soul.

In a lecture, Sri A. Velayudhan drew attention to the fact that Saivism proclaims devotion to Siva as a cardinal requirement inasmuch as it expects the devotees to show mutual respect and devotion to one another. It is easy to claim to oneself that one is a devotee of Siva and engage in devout worship of the Lord by singing hymns on His glory or by offering flowers and service to Him in temples. The larger aim of the philosophy is to kindle in beings a fellow feeling towards all. The kindness and love towards all should spring in one’s heart and get transformed into one’s thought, word and deed.

That is why the practices of doing service to devotees in temples and worshipping the Lord through one’s body and mind (ritual worship and meditation) are recommended. Such a way of life instils good qualities and love towards all. Yoga is the conscious practice of single-minded focus of the mind on God. Wisdom is jnana and this is gained by learning from the saints, their lives and works and from the gurus. Saint Tirunavukkarasar exemplified these practices in his lifetime and his life and hymns serve as an inspiration to many of his followers. The awareness of Siva’s divine presence is a unique experience that is the result of His grace.

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