In this excerpt from the Vayaviya Samhita of the Shiva Purana, various time scales are described:

Brahma's one day is equivalent to a kalpa. He is of unmanifest origin. A thousand kalpas make a year of Brahma. A Brahma's yuga comprises of eight thousand Brahma years. A thousand Brahma yugas make one Savana of Brahma. Brahma's life span consists of three thousand and three Savanas.... A day of Vishnu is the life time of Brahma. A day of Rudra is equivalent to the life time of Vishnu. A day of Sadashiva is life period of Shiva. A day of Sakshat Shiva is the life period of Sadashiva. The life time of Sadashiva is equal to the life period of five hundred and forty thousand of the previous deities. This function of time has been directed by Sakshat Shiva.

This has some discrepancies with time scales given in other scriptures; see my answer here. But my question is about the hierarchy of gods described in this chapter. Most of it is not surprising from a Shaivite perspective; the Shaiva Agamas say that the order of the gods from lowest to highest is Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara, and Sadashiva.

But my question is, who is this "Sakshat Shiva" whose one day is equivalent to the entire lifetime of Sadashiva? My understanding is that Shaivites equate Sadashiva with the supreme Brahman, in the same way that that Vaishnavas believe the supreme Brahman is Para Vasudeva (see my answer here). So how can there be a being called Sakshat Shiva is who is superior to Sadashiva?

Are there any other scriptures which discuss Sakshat Shiva and his relation to Sadashiva? Also, this answer suggests that the Turiya state of the Upanishads is associated with Maheshwara, and that the Turiyatita state which I discuss here is associated with Sadashiva. So do Shaivites believe in a state of consciousness higher than Turiyatita, associated with Sakshat Shiva?

  • It helps to know the actual verse. The verse states, Ishvarasya dine rudrah, Sadaakhyasya tatheshvarah, sakshat shivasya tatsankhya, tatha so api sadashivah. 1/2
    – Surya
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 16:10
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    @KeshavSrinivasan What do u mean by saying Mahanirva Tantram is a modern forgery ?? And BTw you have misinterpreted the original verses. There is nothing called Sakshat Shiva. Tht's why its better to learn sanskrit before reading HIndu scriptures.
    – Rickross
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 11:36
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    @Rickross "What do u mean by saying Mahanirva Tantram is a modern forgery" I meant exactly what I said, there is a great deal of evidence that it's a forgery composed in the 18th or 19th century. In any case, if you think that I've misinterpreted the Shiva Purana chapter, you're welcome to post an answer. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 14:57
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    @Rickross No, not an answer to demonstate my ignorance, an answer to correct my ignorance. In any case, I'm not spreading rumors, this is a well-documented thing. There's a great deal of evidence presented in numerous books concerning the Mahanirvana Tantra being a forgery if you do the research. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 15:06
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    @Rickross Again, I am not spreading rumors at all. If you have evidence or arguments that refute the case that it's a modern forgery, I'm happy to hear it. In any case, if you have information about what Tattvas are higher than Sadashiva, please post an answer. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


Yes, Shaivites do believe in higher than SadaShiva also. Tirumantiram written by Tirumular is one of the oldest texts considered as authoritative by Shaiva Siddhantin. Tirumular is also one among 63 Nayanars and also among 18 Siddhars.

In his work Tirumantiram:

1) Tirumular states Ultimate state of Jiva is beyond SadaShiva also:

2374 The Ultimate State in Jiva's Journey

Beyond Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra,
Beyond Maheswara and Sadashiva,
Beyond Para Bindu and Para Nada,
Beyond Tattvas Thirty and Six, When all these are transcended, The Jiva is left alone with Shiva.

2) Tirumular states SadaShiva also has one Mala (impurity) called Anava:

2183 Number of Malas for the Five Gods

Five are the Malas For Brahma on the Lotus Bloom, Anava (Egoity) and the rest; (Anava, Maya, Karma, Mayeyam and Tirodayi) Four are the Malas for Vishnu; Anava and others (Mayeyam devoid) Three for Rudra, Anava and Others (Mayeyam and Tirodayi devoid); Two for Mahesa Anava and Karma; One alone for Sadashiva--Anava.

3) Tirumular states SadaShiva is born of Anava Shakti:

398: The Five Gods Were Born of Anava Sakti

Out of the union of Anava Sakti with Bindu The Five Gods were born. Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Sadasiva and Maheswara. For the five acts to perform-- Creation, preservation, destruction, obscuration and redemption-- As One from the other in causative succession; Born as they were of the Anava Sakti, Of Anava they were not rid.

400: The Five Gods Were the Primal Family for Five Duties to Perform

From out of Anava Sakti Arose the Primal Family; Sadasiva was the First Born; With Him came the brothers Maheswara, Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma-- Each to perform on heaven and earth His allotted function--Creation, Preservation and the rest.

4) Tirumular talks of various higher manifestations like Para Shiva, Paramam etc..

2285 Further Beyond Para Siva State is Paramam,

Paramparam and Para Maha Sivam Beyond Para Siva is Paramam ; Beyond Paramam is Paramparam; Thus are states ascending; From Para Siva Jagra, to Para Siva Svapna, and to Para Siva Sushupti The Jiva that has Para Siva become reaches The Finite Truth that is Para Nandi.

2286 Nine Manifestations of Para Shiva

Pertaining to Para Siva Are the (Para) Sakti, Para Nada and Para Bindu; And Sadasiva, Brahma, and Hari; Rudra the Lord of Devas, And Mahesvara to count.

Thus, SadaShiva is also called the manifestation of ParaShiva and there are also higher states than ParaShiva as described above. Maybe the term Sakshat Shiva used in the Shiva Purana corresponds to ParaShiva.

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    Wow, Shaiva Siddhanta is complicated. I knew about the 36 Tattvas of the Shaiva Agamas, including Anava Mala, but I wasn't aware of forms of Shiva above even Para Shiva. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 3:42
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    👍 Although mala concept existing in Shaiv Siddhanta, but completely different from Kashmiri Shaivism. Sadashiva in KS has no mala but the different self realization. Like object & subject polarised. Nice to read your answer. Commented May 1, 2017 at 5:21
  • @Rohit What do Kashmiri Shaivites believe about Mala? Also how many Tattvas do Kashmiri Shaivites recognize? Commented May 1, 2017 at 17:30
  • In KS, only 3 mala explained. That too in Sakala beings ( beings from Māyā Tattva). And there are 36 tattvas. @KeshavSrinivasan Commented May 1, 2017 at 18:12
  • There's even beyond Paraparam. 2945: Transcendental Union Beyond Word and Speech As salt in water, in Lord I mixed, Transcending Param and Paraparam states, Beyond word and speech I in union merged; "How was It?"-you ask "It was It"-I say. So we can say we have no idea of Ultimate Shiva in Shaiva Siddhanta because It is unknowable but not beyond reach.
    – Starbeard
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 8:07

See in the pic given. According to Kashmiri Shaivism, Time is the product of Māyā Tattva & it's Kankukas (Read here). Therefore, there is no time for the beings higher than Māyā Tattva so no relative relationship can be asserted among them regarding time. Time is felt/experienced by the beings from Māyā Tattva, not Sadashiva or Maheshvara ( = Shiva + Shakti).

Cosmology in Kashmiri Shaivism.

  • Interesting. Where does the picture come from? Commented May 1, 2017 at 18:40
  • From a book Isvara Pratyabijna I have. Will update the answer with more details in future as I get more info. Commented May 2, 2017 at 3:25
  • OK, can you tell me the name of the book and the author? Commented May 2, 2017 at 21:49

To understand the supreme being and the process of creation started by the supreme being, one has to read the Shakteya Agamas. All the Hindu deities including the Trimurthis Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra coalesce into Moola Prakriti(distinct from Prakriti/Purusha) after Pralaya.

A detailed analysis of Saktheya Agamas is provided in the book attached in the following website.


SadaShivam is Guru and corresponding Devi is Moksha Shakthi. My inference is Sadashiva is Ishwara.

SA Poorveshamapi Guru Kalena Anavachedat - Patanjali YogaSutras Samadhi Pada 26

Translation: Iswara is Guru (Preceptor) to the most ancient, and He surpasses Time, not being subject to Time.

The position of Sadashivam in the heirarchy is given below (refer chapter XVIII in the book)

enter image description here

I am not sure about Shakshat Shiva. It could be Aham Sathyam(Aham of Moola Prakriti), mentioned in the book.

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    First of all, my question is about Shaivites, not Shaktas; Shaktas may give Sadashiva a lower place (as Shaivites view Mahavishnu), but Shaivites might put him higher. Second of all, where did you get the chart? I looked in chapter 18, and I only saw three charts, this one, this one, and this one Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:36
  • By the way, I think in the Shaivite hierarchy of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Maheshwara and Sadashiva (as opposed to whatever the Shakta hierarchy is), the Ishwara of the Yoga school would be equated with Maheshwara, not Sadashiva; see this answer. I'm not sure if there's room for a Maheshwara figure in the Shakta scheme. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:41
  • This is not the traditional Shakta school that we usually hear of. The nature of these Agamic revelations are described in the chapter on the Shakteya Agamas. I just realized that the above picture is missing from the image PDF. The searchable PDF was not uploaded because the Sanskrit and Tamil fonts did not be convert properly from word doc to PDF. I can pm you the searchable PDF(with garbled sanskrit and tamil) where the above image can be found.
    – Naveen
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:50
  • Well, this does site doesn't have a pm feature, but you can give me the link in chat, or my email address is on my profile page. I'm not sure what you mean it being different from the traditional Shakta school. The traditional Shakta school is based on the Shakta Agamas. So is this based on something other than the Shakta Agamas? Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:54
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    Well, at least the Shaiva Agamas make a very clear distinction between Rudra, Maheshwara, and Sadashiva. See also the poems of the Nayanar Tirumular: himalayanacademy.com/view/tirumantiram And see this answer: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/8993/36. And this excellent article from the magazine Hinduism Today: hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5286 Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 4:38

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