canon of "Saiva Siddhaanta

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at WOLFSON.OXFORD.AC.UK
Wed Apr 22 11:58:15 UTC 1998

There is rather a lot to reply to in the last few postings.  I am not
indeed disputing that the Tamil devotional poetry is of early date or that
it is the earliest of its kind---indeed I know of no close counterpart in
Sanskrit.  Nor am I alleging that it is easy to interpret.  What I do
dispute is that it can be regarded as authoritative for the "Saiva
Siddhaanta as I defined it (i.e. as it is found expounded in the works of
theologians from various parts of India up to and including
Aghora"sivaacaarya, the 12th-century Saiddhaantika of Chidambaram and in
the tantras known to those theologians).  I am aware that the label "Saiva
Siddhaanta subsequently came to denote a school with quite different
theology and which regarded a broader canon of texts as authoritative.

If you would like more evidence of a different kind to be convinced that
Kaaraikkaalammaiyaar is not in this sense a Saiddhaantika, I can supply

About Tirumuular, the evidence cited still does not seem to me to be
conclusive (indeed it is the same evidence to which I had referred to),
because, as I observed, the reference is only to the poet's name, and
many names are used for more than one person.   The argument is actually
not mine, but Vaiyapuripillai's.  I do not know whether it has yet been
satisfactorily answered.

It is indeed possible that Tirumuular attests ideas that are first found
much later in the Sanskrit literature, but I should like to see firm
arguments that date him before being persuaded either way.

As for the syncretic character of his religiosity, what I meant was that
he blends a number of traditions (Vedaantic, Pauraa.nik, Saiddhaantika,
and, as I mentioned, "Sriividyaa).  This does not, of course, pin down any
date, but it is definitely uncharacteristic of the early Siddhaanta as I
have defined it, which, as I have said, sees itself as superior to Vedic
teaching, not on a par with it, and is wholly dualistic (with the single
exception of the Sarvaj~naanottara, and that text's brand of non-dualism
seems to me not to be a Vedaantic one).

Dominic Goodall

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