As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa which summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. You can read the Brahma Sutras here. In any case, as I discuss in my question here, Vyasa criticizes the Shaiva Agamas for their belief that Ishwara is only the efficient cause of the Universe, in contrast to the Vedanta school's view that Brahman is both the efficient cause and the material cause of the Universe.

Different Shaivite philosophers respond to Vyasa's criticism differently. Some Shaivites reject the Vedanta school altogether. The Veerashaiva commentator Sripati somehow shifts the criticism to Vaishnavism. The Shaiva Siddhanta philosopher Srikantha Sivacharya argues that Vyasa is just criticizing people who misinterpret the Shaiva Agamas. But I'm interested in the response of Appaya Dikshitar, a 16th century Shaiva Siddhanta philosopher who simultaneously believed in both Shaiva Siddhanta and Adi Shankaracharya's philosophy of Advaita. In this excerpt from his Shiva Tattva Viveka, Appaya Dikshitar argues that the issue is not different interpretations of the same Shaiva Agamas as Srikantha Sivacharya suggests, but rather different sets of Shaiva Agamas:

Our answer is as follows. The Pasupata System is two­ fold. One follows the sruti and the other does not.... Thus the statements censuring the acceptance of the Pasupatagamas pertain to the followers of the Vedic Path who enter the non-Vedic Pasupatagamas.... The chief goal of the Vedic Pasupatagama is elaboration of the highest Vedic vows called Pasupata, sambhava, etc., that are taught in the Atharvasiras, Kalagni and Rudra Upanisads. Therefore, they don't have any point of view that is different from the Vedic viewpoint. The refutation of the validity of the Pasupatagamas in "patyurasamatjasyat" pertains to the non- Vedic Pasupatagamas. Indeed the viewpoint that Isvara is inerely the efficient cause of the Universe is refuted here. This viewpoint is well-known in the non-Vedic Pasupatagamas only, not in the Vedic Pasupatagamas.... Besides even the non-Vedic Pasupatagamas also are not wholly invalid.... The Mahabharata establishes the authority of the independent agamas com­ posed by Siva, Kesava, etc., just like that of the Vedas....

Now the question as to who is authorized to follow the practices described in the independent agamas is answered as follows. Those men who have been cast outside the Vedas either due to some great sin or due to the curse by the sages like Gautama, etc., those who are of mixed birth, women and Sudras are authorized suitably to follow the practices described in the tantras. The agamas were created before in order to bestow favour upon these people. Thus the Kurma Purana describes that those who were ostricized from the Vedic Path because of the curse of great men, are fit to follow the practices in the tantras. The Kurma Purana describes those who were cursed by Gautama[.]... It then shows that they prayed to Siva and Kesava for salvation[.]... Then it describes that Siva and Kesava composed Pasupata and Pancaratragamas respectively for somehow granting them salvation[.]... These agamas are called false doctrines because as explained earlier, somewhere some of their parts are rooted in deception in order to create delusion in the minds of sinners.... As explained earlier, the Saivagamas which summarize the essential meaning of the Vedas and which are free from the fault of even any doubt are established as superior.

So Appaya Dikshitar argues that there are two kinds of Shaiva Agamas, Vedic and non-Vedic, and that Vyasa is criticizing the non-Vedic kind, which are only meant for low-caste people and women. So my question is, which Shaiva Agamas does Appayya Dikshitar consider Vedic and which ones does he consider non-Vedic?

He says that the Vedic Shaiva Agamas agree with the Vedanta school's view that Ishwara is both the efficient cause and material cause of the Universe, whereas the non-Vedic ones see Ishwara only as the efficient cause. Now the Kashmiri Shaivite sect, which mainly focuses on the 64 Bhairava Tantras rather than the 28 Shaiva Agamas, nevertheless have an opinion on the 28 Shaiva Agamas. They think the 28 Shaiva Agamas can be divided into two categories: 10 Shiva Agamas which are dualistic in philosophy, and 18 Rudra Agamas which are semidualistic in philosophy. (They connect these to Durvasa's sons Amardaka and Srinatha whom I discuss here.) I don't know whether the Shaiva Siddhanta sect embraces this distinction between Shiva Agamas and Rudra Agamas, but assuming they do, that could be what Appaya Dikshitar is referring to.

Does anyone know of any Shaiva Siddhanta works which shed light on this?

  • "The Kurma Purana describes those who were cursed by Gautama[.]... It then shows that they prayed to Siva and Kesava for salvation[.]... Then it describes that Siva and Kesava composed Pasupata and Pancaratragamas respectively for somehow granting them salvation"- Bhairava, Rudra & Shiva agamas are result of Durvasa, not curse which you already know. I think he is not talking about Rudra & Shiva agamas. The existence of Shaiva, Rudra & Bhairava agamas were not out of mixing of castes, sinners, curse etc. May 20, 2017 at 3:36
  • @RohitSinghRathore Well, I think only Kashmiri Shaivites believe in the story of Durvasa's sons Tryambaka, Amardaka, and Srinatha, not Shaiva Siddhantins. It's possible that the Shaiva Siddhanta sect believes that the 10 Shiva Agamas were composed for the sake of low-caste and cursed people, even if the Kashmiri Shaivite sect believes something different. In any case, what Agamas do you think the Kurma Purana is referring to? May 20, 2017 at 3:41
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    @RohitSinghRathore Yeah, but even going through all the Agamas may not settle the question, because different people can interpret the same Agama differently. Srikantha Sivacharya, who was the Shaiva Siddhanta commentator on the Brahma Sutras, believed that all 28 Shaiva Agamas are consistent with the Vedas and that they all say that Brahman is both the efficient cause and material cause of the Universe if you interpret them properly. May 20, 2017 at 4:01
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    @RohitSinghRathore Appayya Dikshitar was certainly aware of Kashmiri Shaivism, as he studied Vidyaranya's Sarvadarshana Sangraha, which refutes the Pratyabhijna school. May 20, 2017 at 4:08
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    Why are there so many occurrences of "deceptive philosophies" in the Smritis? Some claim Buddhism, others claim Advaita, others claim Shaivism, the Bhavishya Purana even claims Islam is a deceptive ideology.
    – Ikshvaku
    Nov 15, 2017 at 1:09


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