It is difficult to explain the appearance of Saiva cult without
the assumption of Thomas ministry all through India.
We know for certain that Siva was not a Vedic god. Attempts
were made to make him into a Vedic god by equating Siva with the
angry god Rudra.
Rudra as Pre-Siva
The etymology of the word rudra has taken scholars into all sorts
of wild chase. The Persian/Sanskrit word Rudr is given
normally to mean “howler”. “angry” “fierce” and is generally
applied to the storm which was feared by the early nomads.
It is a destructive nature force.
Thus at least in the Vedic period Rudra simply meant "the
Wild One" or "the Fierce God" or the “Terrible”
The famous hymn, Shri Rudram is a Vedic chant that is still
chanted today. According to Adi Sankara's commentary on the Vishnu
sahasranama, Rudra means "One who makes all beings cry at the time
of cosmic dissolution." Thus Sayana the
14c Sanskrit gramarian
suggests over six derivations for the word Rudra.
There are seventy-five references to Rudra in the Rig Veda
As a frightening ghora ("terrible"), or asau devam
He is "fierce like a formidable wild beast" (RV 2.33.11).
the god with braided hair (RV 1.114 I ).
armed with a bow and fast-flying arrows. (R.V 7.46)
who causes disease and who healed them (RV 7.46.2) (RV
1.114.1). (RV 1.43.4), (RV 2.33.4) (RV
as one of the many deities in Rig Veda (7.40.5.)
as one of the Maruts (storms) (RV 8.96.8)
as the father of Maruts (RV 2.33.1)
Evidently Veda has no direct reference to a god called Siva.
If he is simply the god to be feared then Rudra as referred in the
Rig Veda may come close to Siva.
However as the Siva worship evolved through the ages other
interpretations are applied which include the meaning to as “to
shine” (Grassmann) and “ruddy” (Pischel). Others have tried
to equate with the base concept of “rodasi” – relating it to the
duality of Heaven and Earth and Male and Female. This root
has led later to the concept of Ardha-Nareeswara (Half man-half
woman) form of Siva in the Later Puranas. At any rate these
interpretations developed only during the Puranic period.
Thus Rudra ("howler") is a storm, the hunt, death, wild nature and
a wind god. He has arrows which cause disease in whomever they
hit, god, human or animal. With Diti, he is the father of the
Maruts (the winds). Rudra is also another name of Lord Shiva, the
lord of destruction, according to Saivism – it is the Rudra form
However the Siva of the Saivites are far different from ghora
(Terrible) Rudra of the Vedas.
Satarudriya, or the hundred names of Rudra, found in the
Vajasaneyi samhita of Yajurveda, about which Monier
of the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University)
"In this hymn—a
hymn which is of the greatest interest, because constantly used in
the present day—he is described as possessing many contradictory,
incongruous, grotesque, and wholly ungodlike attributes;
for example, he is a killer and destroyer; he is terrible, fierce
( ugra), inauspicious ; he is a deliverer and saviour; he causes
happiness, and prevents disease ; he has a healing and auspicious
body (siva tanuh); he is yellow-haired, brown- coloured, copper-coloured,
ruddy, tall, dwarfish; he has braided locks (kapardin), wears the
sacred thread, and is clothed in a skin ; he is blue-necked and
thousand-eyed; he dwells in the mountains, and is the owner of
troops (gana-pati) of servants who traverse the earth obeying his
orders ; he is ruler and controller of a thousand Rudras who are
described as fierce and ill-formed (virupa); he has a hundred bows
and a thousand quivers; he is the general of vast armies; he is
lord of ghosts, goblins, and spirits; of beasts, horses, and dogs;
of trees, shrubs, and plants; he causes the fall of leaves ; he is
lord of the Soma-juice; he is patron of thieves and robbers, and
is himself a thief, robber, and deceiver; he presides over
carpenters, chariot-makers, blacksmiths, architects, huntsmen; he
is present in towns and houses, in rivers and lakes, in woods and
roads, in clouds and rain, in sunshine and lightning, in wind and
storm, in stones, dust, and earth."
Some do believe that there are strong indication that
Siva was a Dravidian god and was the god of the Indus Civilization.
Shiva in Cave Rock Drawings !
Does these look
like god Siva?
In a hunter gathering community we should expect these depictions
Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh (cave II E-19 and III
E-15) shows a bow and arrow bearing dancer as shown in the figure
above. It dates back to 3000 to 1900 B. C. Looking at the
above cave drawing if you can see a god Siva that would be the
greatest imagination God has given to you.
Lord of Animals in the Indus Valley
(The Pashupati seal)
In a community where cows are the wealth we should expect these
Compare with the art forms of Baquara Tribes of Sudan where cow
horns are worn as a headdress during festivals especially by the
Seals such as these date from between c.2500-1500 BCE and were found
in considerable numbers in sites such as the ancient city of
Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. They are inscribed in a still
undeciphered local script; figures and animals are carved in
intaglio on their surfaces. This one depicts a male figure seated
cross-legged in a yoga-like position, surrounded by animals, and
wearing a horned hat. The association with animals and the seated
position suggest that this is a depiction of a holy person (shaman?)
and a precursor of the images of Siva, an important Hindu god who
has been worshipped since at least as early as second century CE and
whose powers were thought to be procreative.”
From: Linduff, K.M., "Siva Seals, " in Art Past/ Art Present,
by D. Wilkins, B. Schultz, and K. Linduff, New York, 2000, 4th ed.
This claim has not fared well with some modern academics. Gavin
Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that while
it is not clear from the seal that the figure has three faces, is
seated in a yoga posture, or even that the shape is intended to
represent a human figure. Historian John Keay is more specifically
...there is little evidence for the currency of this myth. Rudra, a
Vedic deity later identified with Shiva, is indeed referred to as
pasupati because of his association with cattle; but asceticism
and meditation were not Rudra's specialties, nor is he usually
credited with an empathy for animals other than kine. More
plausibly, it has been suggested that the Harappan figure's heavily
horned headgear bespeaks a bull cult, to which numerous other
representations of bulls lend substance.
Keay, John (2000).
India: A History.
New York: Grove Press.
Other indications claiming the Siva’s Indus origin are are the seals
that shows bulls since Bull is the vehicle of Siva.
Evidentle those who see these as proofs of Siva worship in
Indus Civilization is using their imagination to run wild. We
are not in any way near to decoding the Indus Valley script and any
attempt in this direction will be guess work which are evidently
imposing meanings on otherwise unknown symbols. However we
should not be unaware of the fact that once the Siva as Supreme God
came to be popular many earlier cults flowed into it. As it
was in the case of Vishnavism so also we find similar cultic
mergings into Saivism. the modern religions of India known as
Hinduism is an outgrowth of various religious experiences not only
of the Aryans and of the Dravidians but also of other ethnic and
tribal groups like the Negritos, the Australoids (Khasis and
Jaintias), the Bodos (the Garos, Kacharis, Chutiyas and Tipperahs),
the Mongoloids, and the Kiratas of India through the ages. In
that sense we can always trace back some tinges of Vishnu or siva or
for that matter any other god among them. So one should not be
surprised to see Pre-christian symbolisms that came to be attributed
continues this logic:
once the figure of Siva has taken definite shape, attributes and
epithets are lavished on it in profusion. He is the great ascetic,
for asceticism in India means power, and Siva is the personification
of the powers of nature. He may alternate strangely between
austerities and wild debauch, but the sentimentality of some
Krishnaite sects is alien to him. He is a magician, the lord of
troops of spirits, and thus draws into his circle all the old
animistic worship. But he is also identified with Time (Mahakala)
and Death (Mrityu) and as presiding over procreation he is
Ardhanaresvara, half man, half woman.
Stories are invented or adapted to account for his various
attributes, and he is provided with a divine family. He dwells on
Mount Kailasa: he has three eyes: above the central one is the
crescent of the moon and the stream of the Ganges descends from his
braided hair: his throat is blue and encircled by a serpent and a
necklace of skulls. In his hands he carries a three -pronged trident
and a drum.
But the effigy or description varies, for Siva is adored under many
forms. He is Mahadeva, the Great God, Hara the Seizer, Bhairava the
terrible one, Pasupati, the Lord of cattle, that is of human souls
who are compared to beasts.
Local gods and heroes are identified with him. Thus Gor Baba, said
to be a deified ghost of the aboriginal races, reappears as
Goresvara and is counted a form of Siva, as is also Khandoba or
Khande Rao, a deity connected with dogs. Ganesa, "the Lord of
Hosts," the God who removes obstacles and is represented with an
elephant's head and accompanied by a rat, is recognized as Siva's
son. Another son is Skanda or Kartikeya, the God of War, a great
deity in Ceylon and southern India.”
In “The Concept of Rudra-Śiva Through the Ages” By
Mahadev Chakravarti gives probably another basic cult which merged
“The Satarudriya rendered homage to a plurality of Rudras, as
ganapatis, or leaders or lords of tribes, to the non-vedic
carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, fishermen,and Nisadas who
belonged to the Proto-Australoid forest tribes. Rudras thus
appear here as the leader of troops, called ganas and pramathas,
of beings greatly inferior, yet similar to himself; and sometimes
the host of Rudras have been blended in the conception of Rudra.
He also appears here as the representative of a class of people
and the followers of different professions found in him their own
god. It might happen often that their own peculiar gods were
identified with the Aryan Rudra”
Chakravarti in his excellent and very detailed study in the
development of Saivism as a mixture of Pre-Aryan and Aryan
traditions, points out D.R. Bhandarkar’s theory that Saivism was
developed out of the tribe in Magadha which had Vratya cult as
their religion under the priest Eka-vratya who with all his
followers immigrated to Indus valley. He also supports this
conjecture since the Maruts associated with Rudra is called Saka in
Rg Veda V.30.10 and VI.1.9.4. Vratyas were an obscure
non-sacrificing ethnic group and were victims of Purushameda (human
sacrifice) according to Yajurveda.
[See the references as given by Chakravarti
Vaj Sam, XXX.8 and Tairr Brah. III 4,5,1 ;
Mcdonnel and Keith Vedic Index, Vol. II 1958 p 342;
Heidelberg, 1976 s.v.”Vratah”;
J.C.Heesterman, ‘Vratya and Sacrifice’ in IIJ, 6,(1962) p 18.;
Walker B, Hindu World Vol II London 1968 p 583]
Skt., vratya; pagans, outcasts
Little information can be found on these outcasts of early Vedic
society, but what we know makes them look like proto-type Tantrics
who, as was done elsewhere on the planet, worshipped the Goddess
and celebrated life with wine and orgies. Women among the Vratyas
sometimes became pumscali (ritual prostitutes) and they may well
be the precursers of the later devadasi tradition.
Philip Rawson, referring to Vratyas but probably speaking of the
pumscali, makes them sound like an all female "sect" and connects
them to the dakinis and yoginis of later myth and ritual.
According to Rawson, they may represent "a female line of power
holders" who initiated male Tantrics by "ritual intercourse with
[Rawson. The Art of Tantra, p. 80]
Mircea Eliade, in his discussion of Shiva, contributes information
that refers to the Vratya men. According to him, an obscure
chapter of the Atharva Veda refers to this "mystical fellowship,"
but does not tell us much more than that they dressed in black,
wore turbans, practiced yogic techniques such as breathing
exercises, and "homologized their bodies with the macrocosm".
Thus, he sees them as a precursor of the later ascetics and yogis
[Eliade. Yoga, pp. 103f., 256f.]
Indra Sinha, on the other hand, clearly defines them as
non-Dravidian, Aryan outcasts who were known to have celebrated
"bacchantic, orgiastic rites" and hints they may have continued
traditions from the early Indus Valley civilization.
[Sinha. Great Book of Tantra, p. 72]
But some times these stories and ideas were often pushed to
ridiculous limits. Note the following quotes
"On the mountain there is a wonderful forest called the forest of
Dâru, where many sages live … Shiva himself, assuming a strange
form, came there to put their faith to the test. He was
magnificent, completely naked, his only ornament the ash with
which his whole body was smeared. Walking about, holding his penis
in his hand, he showed off with the most depraved tricks."
"…. Sometimes he danced lasciviously; sometimes he uttered cries.
He wandered around the hermitages like a beggar. … Despite his
strange appearance and his tanned colour, the most chaste women
were attracted to him. … They let their hair fall loose. Some
rolled on the ground. They clung to each other and, barring [Rudra's]
path, they made wanton gestures at him, even in the presence of
The sages cried, this Shiva who carries a trident has a body of
ill omen. He has no modesty. … He is naked and ill-made. He lives
in the company of evil spirits and wicked goblins."- (Shiva Purana,
quoted in Daniélou p55-56).
"The world shall not find peace until a receptacle is found for my
sexual organ. No other being except the Lady of the Mountain may
seize hold of my sexual organ. If she takes hold of it, it will
immediately become calm." (op cit, p63)
In The Linga Purana, Brahma himself instructs the sages in the
reverence of Shiva's phallus:
"As long as this phallus is not in a fixed position, no good can
come to any of the three worlds. In order to calm its wrath, you
must sprinkle this divine sexual organ with holy water, build a
pedestal in the form of a vagina and shaft (symbol of the goddess)
and install it with prayers, offerings, prostrations, hymns and
chants accompanied by musical instruments. Then you shall invoke
the God, saying 'You are the source of the Universe, the origin of
the Universe. You are present in everything that exists. The
Universe is but the form of yourself, O Benevolent One! Calm
yourself and protect the world.'"
"Having severed the head of the Creator and killed the guardian of
of the house of the Sustainer of creation, Bhairava had cut
through all fetters. Horrendous, abject, naked, or in rags that
emphasized his nakedness, self-contradictory and consistent with
his unspeakable being, with an entrancing smile on his lips he
bared his fangs. The images of the Lord show him young and in
glory as Bhiksatanamurti, the Supreme Beggar.
They show him as Kankalamurti, carrying the impaled by of
Visvaksena; or emiacated and deathlike in his image as Bhairava;
or stern, bloated, his matted hair surrounded by flames, fiercly
ponderous, and black as Kala or Mahakala."- Stella Kramrisch, The
Presence of Siva
Bhairava is also said by some to be a gambler's deity. R.N
Saletore (1981) recounts the following prayer addressed to
Bhairava, by a gambler:
"I adore thee that sittest naked with thy head resting on thy
knee; thy moon, thy bull and thy elephany-skin having been won at
play by Devi. When the gods give all powers at thy mere desire and
when thou art free from longings, having for thy only possession
the matted locks, the ashes and the skull, how canst thou suddenly
have become avaricious with regard to hapless me in that thou
desirest to disappoint me for a small gain? Of a truth, the
wishing tree no longer gratifies the hopes of the poor, as thou
dost not support me, Lord Bhairava, though thou supportest the
three eyes, I have three dice, so I am like thee in one respect;
thou hast ashes on thy body, so have I; thou eatest from a skull,
so do I; show me mercy."
Prabodha Chandrodaya, the following words are attributed to a
wizard of the Kapalikas:
"My necklace and ornaments are of human bones; I dwell among the
ashes of the dead and eat my food in human skulls. I look with
eyes brightened with the antinomy of Yoga, and believe that the
parts of this world are reciprocally different, but that the whole
is not different from God. ...After fasting we drink liquor out of
the skulls of Brahmans; our sacred fires are fed with the brains
and lungs of men mixed up with their flesh, and human beings
covered with the fresh blood gushing from the dreadful wound in
their throats, are the offerings by which we appease the terrible
god (Maha Bhairava)."
"The adept should drink, drink and drink again until he falls to
the ground. If he gets up and drinks again, he will be freed from
rebirth. His happiness enchants the goddess, Lord Bhairava
delights in his swooning, his vomiting pleases all the gods.".
These were probably developed to ridicule the powerful growth of
early Saivism which emphasized love and unity by representing them
as vulgar. Evidently these are remnants of the local village gods
and their perversions. It is normal for common people to bring with
them their own concepts of the gods whom they feared. Rudra
evidently does not represent Siva in this respect as Saivites would
expound them. Siva has nothing to do with such ideas of Rudra. What
is surprising is that these stories still prevail in Puranas.
The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudra is however not
universally accepted in the academic circles either, as Axel
To what extent
origins are in fact to be sought in Rudra is extremely unclear.
The tendency to consider
an ancient god is based on this identification, even though the
facts that justify such a far-reaching assumption are meager
Michaels, Axel (2004).
Hinduism: Past and Present.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
“Supreme Being of the Saivite religion. God Siva is All and in all,
simultaneously the creator and the creation, both immanent and
transcendent. As personal Deity, He is creator, preserver and
destroyer. He is a one being, perhaps best understood in three
perfections: Parameshvara (Primal Soul), Parashakti (pure
consciousness) and Parasiva (Absolute Reality).”
Siva: Hindu - Hinduism Dictionary on Siva By Himalayan Academy
These primal qualities of Siva has no reference to Vedic gods at
all. Again notice the underlying monotheistic concept the Supreme
God. These causes consternation to all who study the subject of the
vast difference between the Vedic period gods and the Post Christian
period gods of Hinduism that every scholar unanimously agrees that
it should be sought in some form of other of external cultural
infiltration during the period.
worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across
all of India.
Modern historians believe that the figure of Shiva as we know him
today was built-up over time, with the ideas of many regional cults
being amalgamated into a single figure. How the persona of
Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well-documented.”
Axel Michaels explains the composite nature of Shaivism as follows:
is also a high god, who gives his name to a collection of theistic
trends and sects:
the term also implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either
in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine.
Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate.
Michaels, Axel (2004).
Hinduism: Past and Present.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Axel Michaels says Rudra was called Shiva for the
first time in the Śvetāśvatara Upanishad.
As we have discussed earlier, these Upanishads are in Sanskrit and
therefore written down at least only by the second century AD. So
it is reasonable assume that the Siva evolved during the first two
centuries of the Christian era. It was connected to the Aryan and
Dravidian gods later as dormant concepts within the culture. But
the essential transforming element for these came with the coming of
In the Saivite theological concept he is the god of love and
probably the only god in all Hindu Panthenon who was willing to die
for his creation ( He drank the poison that came out of the
carelessness of the gods during the churning of the milky way lest
it will destroy the whole creation) So the picture here is totally
at variant from the Aryan Rudra god. The Saivite Siva is more like
Yahvh of the Abrahamic people. I have elsewhere looked into a
possibility of descendants of Abraham from his concubines coming to
India who probably formed a component of Indus Civilization.
Sumerian and Abrahamic culture therefore appears dorment in the
religious evolution of Indus Civilization. The cultic stone in the
form of linga is certainly Abrahamic. It is the traditional worship
form of Saivites even today
Sacred stones are mentioned with great frequency in the Old
Testament; they were erected by Jacob at Beth-el (Gen. xxviii. 18;
comp. xxxi. 13), at Shechem (Gen. xxxiii. 20 [where should
be read instead of ),
at Gilead (Gen. xxxi. 52), and over the grave of Rachel; and by
Joshua in the sanctuary of Shechem (Josh. xxiv. 26; comp. Judges
ix. 6). The "stone of help" ("Eben-ezer") set up by Samuel (I Sam.
vii. 12) was such a "maẓẓebah"; and other sacred stones existed at
Gibeon (II Sam. xx. 8), at Enrogel (I Kings i. 9, "the
serpent-stone"), and at Michmash (I Sam. xiv. 33). Twelve stones
of this characterwere set up by Moses near his altar at the foot
of Mount Sinai (Ex. xxiv. 4), and a circle of twelve at Gilgal was
ascribed to Joshua (Josh. iv. 20). Finally, Jachin and Boaz, the
two columns of the Temple (I Kings vii. 15 et seq.), were
such maKKebot, not intended as supports for the building, but
possessing an independent purpose, as is shown by their names……
These stones were extremely diverse in form, ranging from rough
blocks, over which the blood of the sacrifice, or the
anointing-oil, was poured (Gen. xxviii. 18; I Sam. xiv. 33 et
seq.), to carefully wrought columns, such as those erected in
the Temple of Solomon or in the Phenician sanctuaries…..
The original signification of the sacred stone is well illustrated
by the account of the one at Beth-el (Gen. xxviii.). Jacob slept
with a stone for a pillow, and dreamed that the Lord addressed
him. When he awoke he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and
I knew it not"; then he anointed the stone, or, in other words,
rendered an offering to it. This belief in a maKKebah, or in a
stone, as the habitation of a deity is spread throughout the
world, and even the designation "Beth-el." was adopted among the
Greeks and Romans, under the forms βαιτύλιον and "bætulus," to
denote a stone of this character. At a very early period the stone
served likewise as an altar of sacrifice, and the offering laid
upon it was by implication given to the deity that dwelt therein.
It must also be borne in mind that originally, even in the case of
a burnt offering, it was the blood and not the act of burning
which constituted the essential of the sacrifice, and that the
shedding of blood on the sacred stone served the same purpose as
anointing it. There was no idea, however, of identifying the deity
with the stone, as is shown by the fact that a number of stones,
or trees, sacred to a divinity might stand together. Where
specially chosen or prepared sacred stones took the place of
natural landmarks, they expressed an invitation to the deity to
take up his abode in them (comp. Hos. xiii. 2). Among the Greeks
the sacred pillars of stone were developed into images of the
deity, and received a head and a phallus; but the Israelitish
maẓẓebot, did not pass through this evolution.
Source: (From Benziger, "Hebräische Archäologie
Source: (From Benzinger, "Hebräische Archäologie.")
Compare this with the indus linga structure
Harappan linga form
Some people believe
that artifacts from Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and other archaeological
sites of northwestern India and Pakistan indicate that some early
form of Shiva worship was practiced in the Indus Valley. These
artifacts include lingams and the "Pashupati seal" that has been the
subject of much study. The Indus Valley civilization reached its
peak around 2300-2000 BCE, when trade links with Mesopotamia are
known to have existed, was in decline by 1800 BCE, and faded away by
1008 Lingas carved on a rock surface. Photograph is taken at the
shore of the river Tungabhadra, Hampi, India
Since we do not know exactly the Indus religious forms, we cannot
really associate these with Siva. But we can see abruptly siva
appear soon after the beginning of the first century AD
Dravidian Identity of the Sumerians.
An Introduction to the History of Tamil People
(by Prof. A. Velupillai)
This is another hypothesis that is strongly advocated by certain
scholars. The Sumerian records have been deciphered and material
remains have been interpreted satisfactorily. Linguistic and
cultural affinities between the Sumerians and the Tamils,
separated by much more than a millennia, are pointed out. The late
Professor A. catAcivam (A.Sathasivam) from Sri Lanka and Dr.
ulakaNAtan muttarAjan (Loganathan Muttarayan) from Malaysia are
examples. Eminent historians of the caliber of K.A. Nilakanda
cAttiri (Nilakantta Sastri), have pointed out similarities in
temple worship. A hypothesis, connecting the ancestors of the
Dravidians, if not the Tamils. to the Mediterranean area, is still
advocated by certain scholars.
Abrupt appearance of Siva – evidence of the numismatics
How do we accound for such a monotheistic Siva appearing all of a
sudden soon after the ministry of St.Thomas in the Taxila
throughout India? Ca we find one reference to Siva in any
prechristian documentations apart from forced identitifications of
some forsaken god from prehistory?
Kushan Emperor Vima Kadphises 90-100 AD Copper tetradrachm
Obverse: King Sacrificing at Altar Reverse: Shiva with
Vima Kadphises 90-100 AD; Gold Dinar, Possibly the FIRST GOLD
COIN of India
Obverse: King emerging of clouds Reverse: Shiva standing
Siva standing, facing, holding trident and diadem. Behind him to
bull Nandi, standing facing left.
Vasu Deva I gold dinar
Obverse: King Sacrificing at Altar
“The reverse of this coin depicts three-headed, two armed Shiva
(OHPO) with his bull, Nandi. Shiva in his left hand is holding a
trident while right hand most likely is having a diadem.
“The most profound aspect of the three-headed Shiva, the
Maheshamurti, is in evidence at the Elephanta (Gharapuri)
caves, built by the Rashtrakuta kings in the 6th century A.D. The
three heads represent Shiva as Aghori, Ardhanarishvara and
Mahayogi. Aghori (destroyer) form suggest his power of
cosmic destruction, Ardhanarishvara(preserver) depicts him
as half-man/half-woman signifying the essential unity of the sexes
while Mahayogi(creator) posture symbolises the ascetic &
meditative aspect. It is also believed that, these three forms
represents, Mahesh/Mahadev (Shiva), Vishnu and Brahma,
“It appears that the image of Shiva holding various objects like
wheel, club and lotus, which are usually associated with Vishnu,
were introduced during the reigns of Kushan rulers, Huvishka and
Vasudeva I. Possibly, keeping in the same tradition, their
successor, Kanishka II also minted three-headed Shiva coin which
symbolically represent both the major deities of Hinduism, Shiva
and Vishnu, in a single form.”
Representations of the son of Siva, Skanda (also called Karttikeya,
the war god), appeared on Kushan coins as early as AD 100. Siva's
other son, the elephant-headed Ganesa, patron deity of commercial
and literary enterprises, did not appear until the 5th century.
These are probably the earliest documented evidence of Saivas.
Parallel to these Saivic development was the development of the cult
of Surya, the sun god, who had temples built in his honour. These
were probably of Iranian influence which later merged with or
developed into Vaishanvism. It is in the Svetasvatara Upanishad, -
the Shaivite equivalent to the Vaishnava
Bhagavad-gita. - for
the first time we come across the name Siva. Here Siva is described
as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe.
A sect of Pasupata ascetics, founded by Lakulisa (or Nahulisa), is
attested by inscriptions from the 5th century and is among the
earliest of the sectarian religious orders of Hinduism. This sect
was very similar to the modern Pentecostal Movement including
speaking in tongues, visions, revelations, and even holy laughter.
“Shaiva theism was expounded in the Agamas, which number two hundred
including the Upagamas (the "Lesser" Agamas), which were composed 6-
7th century AD. In the 7th century AD, Banabhatta included the
worship of Shiva in his account of the prominent religious sects of
that time. In the 7th century AD the great Chinese traveller
Xuanzang (Huen Tsang) toured India and wrote in Chinese about the
prevalence of Shiva worship at that time, describing Shiva temples
at Kanoj, Karachi, Malwa, Gandhar (Kandahar), and especially at
Varanasi (Benares) where he saw twenty large temples dedicated to
These lead us to the validity at least to some extent on the
influence of Christianity in the development of both Saivism and
Vaishnavism. Especially relevant is the numistic evidence of the
Indo-Parthian Kingdom which was the center of St.thomas’ ministry to
start with. It gives us an indication that Saivism was most
probably the first form of Christianity. It is certain that it
underwent changes and transformations and syncretization by the time
it reached the sixth century. Thus there is a lot of validity in
the argument as presented by Dr. Devakala which we explained in the
chapter ofn Thomas.
Biblical Christianity, Judaism and Shaivite Hinduism Share the
Same Names for God.
Ish; Yish; Is; Isa; Issa; El; Al; etc.
(Suffixes and prefixes to mean "God")
The same in Shaivism
Yahve; Jahve; Tseeva (God)
Shiva; Shaiva; Siva (God)
Elohim; Elokhim (God intellectualized)
Lakhimi (Goddess of Prosperity); Lokhi; Lukh (Shiva)
El Shaddai (The Almighty)
Saday; Sada (Shiva)
Ha-Kadosh (The Holy One)
Hakh-e-Kheda (God's Duty)
El Elyon (Possessor of Heaven and Earth)
Il Layun (Absorption in God)
Yesoda (Dual Sexual Nature of Life)
Yeshoda (Shiva's Dual Sexual Nature)
Similar sacred symbolism and iconography are associated with both
the Hebrew Yah-Veh and the Kashmiri Shaiva: The Holy Trinity; the
flame; the cherub; the guardian angel; the snake; the bull; blowing
of bull's horn, etc.
Hebrew and Kashmiri Cabalistic Terminology Is About the Same.
Ani (he spark of life)
Agni (Vedic god of fire)
Avoda (work; labor)
Vud; Wud (skilled labor)
Ayeen (void; non-being)
Gav'r (surrounding and attacking)
Kash'r (crown of the head)
Ko-Yimi (path to death)
Naph's (soul; spirit self)
Sephiroth (spiritual energy centers)
Sipath (spiritual energy centers)
Yesu; Yesh; Yeh; Yahu; Yakhu; Yah; Yao; Ie
(The Material Universe)
The same as in Judaism
Yesh me Ayeen (The Goal of Creation)
Yech me ayen (Creation Fused to the Void)
Swar; Svar (Heaven; light; brilliance)
The basic creed of the saiva sidhantha is given by the Saiva
Sidhantha Church as follows:
“A Creed of
1. We BELIEVE
Lord Siva is God, whose Absolute Being, Parasiva, transcends
time, form and space.
2. We BELIEVE Lord Siva is God, whose immanent nature of love,
Parasakti, is the substratum, primal substance or pure
consciousness flowing through all form as energy, existence,
knowledge and bliss.
3. We BELIEVE Lord Siva is God, whose immanent nature is the
Primal Soul, Supreme Mahadeva, Paramesvara, author of Vedas and
Agamas, the creator, preserver and destroyer of all that exists.
4. We BELIEVE in the Mahadeva Lord Ganesa, son of Siva-Sakti,
to whom we must first supplicate before beginning any worship or
5. We BELIEVE in the Mahadeva Karttikeya, son of Siva-Sakti,
whose vel of grace dissolves the bondages of ignorance
6. We BELIEVE that each individual soul is created by Lord Siva
and is identical to Him, and that this identity will be fully
realized by all souls when the bondage of anava, karma and maya
is removed by His grace.
7. We BELIEVE in three worlds of existence: the Bhuloka,
where souls take on physical bodies; the Antarloka, where souls
take on astral bodies; and the Sivaloka, where souls exist in
their own self-effulgent form
8. We BELIEVE in the law of Karma — that one must reap the
effects of all actions he has caused — and that each soul
continues to reincarnate until all karmas are resolved and
moksha, liberation, is attained.
9. We BELIEVE that the performance of charya, virtuous living,
kriya, temple worship, and yoga, leading to Parasiva through
grace of the living satguru, is absolutely necessary to bring
forth jnana, wisdom
10. We BELIEVE that there is no intrinsic evil.
11. We BELIEVE that religion is the harmonious working together
of the three worlds and that this harmony can be created through
temple worship, wherein the beings of all three worlds can
12. We BELIEVE in the Panchakshara Mantra, the five sacred
syllables “Namah Sivaya,” as Saivism's foremost and essential
The Nicean Creed
We BELIEVE in one God, the Father All-sovereign, maker of heaven
and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
in one Lord Jesus Christ, and the only-begotten
Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of
Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance
with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us
men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was
made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became
man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered
and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the
Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sits on the right
hand of the Father, and comes again with glory to judge living
and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceeds
from the Father, who with the Father and Son is worshipped
together and glorified together, who spoke through the prophets.
in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a
resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. “
What is expressed in both the creeds are identitical and we know
that this was the faith that existed until the third and fourth
centuries in India when the idol worship became prevalent and the
inner core of faith was lost to the general public.
“Taproot of the Hindu religion:
Doctrine of Avatar - God becoming a man in order to redeem human
beings. (Unborn Prime God was born in order to give us eternal
Trinity or Triune doctrine - God in triune stage - Appan, Ammai,
Makan (Saivism); Siva, Vishnu, Brahma (Vaishnavism)
Doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice - The offering of sacrifice
has ceased even though there is sacrificial altar in the temple.
People do not offer sacrifice while they worship God.
Doctrine of forgiveness of sin - There is forgiveness for the sins
of human beings by the grace of God and this doctrine is totally
controversial to the saying that ‘the actions of one person
would definitely yield its fruits’.
Doctrine of bhakthi - Appreciating the bhakthi which is in ones
heart irrespective of one’s appearance, color, culture etc. (Kannappa
The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion
Dr. M. Deivanayagam,
Dr. D. Devakala
In the Savite Trinity of Appan, Amma and Makan – while the concept
of Appan (Father), Amma (Sakthi – Holy spirit) and Makan ( Son) - we
oftern confront the son in the form of the Elephant. Pillaiyar is
depicted as Gana Pathy which in itself simply means Lord or Saviour
of People – Emmanuel. Yet the Elephant figure have come to dominate
the religious ceremonies. Though it blows off the stretch of
imagination, this was a natural development of the concept of
incarnation. It is a sybolisation the “The only begotten Son of
God” as the following research indicates.
In “The Wonder that is Pillaiyarpatti” Sivashankar Chandrasekaran
describes this original concept thus:
Pillaiyarpatti is a small town twelve kilometers from Karaikudi,
near Madurai, in the Sivagangi District of Tamil Nadu. The town is
named after the Ganesa Temple that adorns it. Here, Lord Ganesa is
known as Pillaiyar, Tamil for revered and noble son, and 'Karpaga
Vinayakar', Lord who offers his blessings like the celestial tree
Kalpaka whose specialty is ' you ask and it will be given'.
This temple is 1,600 years old. It contains fourteen stone
inscriptions dated between 400 AD and 1238 AD that reveal that the
place was known as 'Ekkattur', 'Thiruveengaikudi', 'Maruthankudi'
and 'Raja Narayanapuram' before it became to be called
Pillaiyarpatti. An inscription dated 1284 AD, on the right side
wall of the Thiruveesar sanctum, suggests that the original name of
the Ganesa was 'Desi Vinayaga Pillaiyar',
Pillaiyarpatti Temple is a rock cut temple. The image of Karpaga
Vinayakar and that of a Siva Linga were carved out of stone by a
sculptor called 'Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan' who put his signature on
a stone inscription found even today in the sanctum. He put his name
in the ' Tamizhi language' which was in use between 2nd
and 5th century AD. It can concluded that the icon of
Karpaga Vinayakar must have been carved around 4th
Elephant Headwith one Tusk on Lingam
This is an image of the rock cut Karpaka Vinayakar Shrine at
Karaikkudi at one of the oldest Cave Temples
(Rock Cut) temples of Tamilnadu. Pillayarpatti is situated
between Pudukkottai and Karaikkudi.
Karpaga Vinayakar is one of the oldest Vinayakar images in the world
for it has only two arms. The significance of the two arms is that
the first god evolved by ancient man was in the shape of man. This
male god created out of stone was called Yaksha and the female god
was called Yakshi. Later on to show the superiority of god to man
the head of the man was removed and in its place a head in the shape
of OM was fixed. The OM head was similar to that of an elephant.
There are only two images of Vinayakars with two arms in the world.
One is at Pillaiyarpatti the other is in Afghanistan. The one at
Afghanistan must have been made later, for it is in a standing
posture and has a number of ornaments adorning it. The one at
Pillaiyarpatti is in a sitting posture mediating. He does not have
Modakam (the most favourite sweet of Pillaiyar) but a Siva Linga in
his palm. He mediates for the well being of the people and so their
prayers are answered immediately.
Both Arjuna and Krishna worshipped Him and obtained favors from Him.
In the Ramayana too we come across several references to Him. Sage
Valmiki depicted Ravana, the demon king and chief villain of the
epic, as a great devotee and daily worshipper of Lord Shiva. It is
believed that worship of His icons was widely prevalent as early as
2nd or 3rd Century B.C.,.
The concept of Son of God is clearly indicated in this icon
represention where the word Om is superimposed on the Formless Form
of Sivlinga to represent the incarnate God who mediates between God
and Man. God reaching down to man.
Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith,
Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou
prepare for me;
In fact the similarity goes much deeper as explained in detail by
Dr. Devakala in
Theological Foundation of
Siva-linga at Baramula in Kashmir
Does the face suggest any one?
Trinity as expressed in Saivism groups
”Saivism and Saiva Sittantha
The devotional literature of the Bhakthi movement is known as 'Panniru
Thirumurai' and the fourteen Sastras of the theological exposition
are known as 'Saiva Sittanta Sastras'. Sivagnanapotham by Meykanta
Tevar is regarded as the basic text of the Saiva Sittanta Sastras.
The Saiva Sittanta Sastras are also known as the Meykanta Sastras.
Sivagnanapotham, the basic text of Saiva Sitthanta explains from the
creation of man to salvation. To quote a few examples from the first
book of Saiva Sittanta Thiruvunthiar:
One who drank the poison of cosmos
which otherwise would have killed all the living
“Avan aval athu yenum avai moovinaimaimayin
Thotria thithiye odungi malaththulathaam
anthan aathi yenmanaar pulavar”
In the beginning god created man (avan), woman (aval) and the
world (athu) in three different actions and they were holy. . But
later they fell into sin (malam) which end the life of holiness
and was the beginning of sin say the scholars. ( Sivagnanapothan
“Muththi mutharkodikkae mogk kodi padarnthu
aththi paluththathu yenru vunthee para
appalhan vunnaathaw vunthee para”
Among the creatures which were holy, on the first creeper, the
creeper of sin crept over it and bore the fruit of evil. Speak
this forth. Do not partake of that fruit. Speak this forth.
'The hitherto unknown God
came down as one of us and gave up Himself to save us from evil'.
(iii) Salvation through His sufferings
'He who has accomplished
the works of salvation through His sufferings will not come again
in His body, He has no birth or death again'.
(iv) Eternal life
'If you join Him who shared
His home with the thieves you will attain the heavenly abode which
Songs from other literature are also quoted. In defining the
Trinity as three persons in one God head:
(v) Trinity and Avatar
" The eternal God( Siva)
and the Ornamented one (Vitnu).
And the eternal one on the
If examined are one and the
But the ignored are
In Saivism God is visualized in three forms as 'Aruvam' (God
without form), 'Uruvam' (God with a form) and `Aruvuruvam' (God
'The Triune Prime God'
sings Thirugnana sampanthar in Tevaram.
The author of Potripahrotai sings
"Iravaa Inpathu Yemai iruththa vendi piravaa muthalvan piranthaan."
(To give us eternal pleasure, the unborn prime God was born). He
delivers us from our original sin (Sahasa malaa).
The Godhead had lost all his glories and offered himself as a
'Sacrifice', so that mankind could be restored to a new life
leaving the inherent qualities of leading a sinful life. In short,
he gave himself as 'Sacrifice' for the remission of sins of the
mankind. This is sung by Thirunavukkarasar in Tevaram as follows
(He offered himself as sacrifice)
"Aviyaai aviyumaahi arukkamaai Perukkamaahi Paaviyar paavam
theerkum paramanaai brahmanaahi"
(He being the sacrifice he offered himself as Sacrifice, decreased
yet multiplied, he is the Transcending Brahman who washes away the
sins of the sinners.)”
Dr. M. Deivanayagam,
Dr. D. Devakala:The
Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion
Main Saivite Traditions
Dr. Kanti Chandra Pandey (M.A., Ph.D., D. Litt., M.O.L. Shastri,
Lucknow University) in Bhaskari (Varanasi, 1998, p. VI) (also
"Saivism: Some Glimpses", Delhi, 1996.) lists eight systems of
1. Pashupata dualism
2. Siddhanta Shaiva dualism
3. Dualistic-cum-Non-dualistic Shaivism of Lakulisha Pashupata
4. Vishishtadvaita Shaivism
5. Visheshadvaita Shaivism (Vira Shaiva)
6. Nandikeshvara Shaivism
7. Raseshvara Shaivism
8. Monistic Shaivism of Kashmir
Pasupatis of Vairagis
Probably the oldest school within Shaivism. The school of Shaiva Siddhanta is a continuation of this tradition.
The Shaivasiddhantins date as early as the sixth century AD.
Followed by many intellectuals. It has a personal doctrine,
stressing the plurality of souls (as opposed to the
advaita idea that
all souls are one with God ). According to Shaiva Sidhdhaantha
the God is formless (arUpa) . But for the salvation of mankind He
took the form of lingam
– form of the formless (arUpa rUpa).
This is very
close to the Christian Theology and will probably identical with
if Ganapathy, the Lord of reconciliation can be identified with
Christ the form of the formless.
Kashmiri (Trika) Shaivism - Shiva-advaita.
Abhinavagupta (c. 960 – 1020) was the proponent of this
theological movement. In this the aim of the believer is to
There is only one reality, that is Cit – consciousness.
This the the advaita version of Saivism.
It is almost identical with the Lurianic Kaballah of Judaism.
This theology is very close to the Eastern Christian Theology of
creation of cosmos.
Virashaivism (the Lingayats)
This movement started with Basava of the 12th c. It
opposed caste differences.
Shaiva Asceticism – the rebels in Saivism
Shaiva has long been connected with rigorous asceticism and odd
behaviors. Well known are the naked Nagas. Many yogis are
Shaivites. Prominent are the Nathapatnis, followers of Gorakhnatha,
and the Aghori who deliberately contravene moral norms.