Friday 20 May 2022

Devi Parashakti is Ultimate As Per Shaivism Too ! Secrets of Shaivism

There is a misconception about the sect of Shaivism in regards to Devi worship. In Shaivism, Devi is seen as the ultimate, just like Sadashiva.

Sadashiva is addressed with 5 heads. In Shaivite rituals, the nyasa ( ritualistic practice of mentally or physically touching various parts of the body while reciting specific mantras or sacred syllables, thus transforming a body into the deity ) involves the usage of the Panchabrahma mantras ( mantras relating to the 5 facets of Brahman - the Supreme Self ).

Sadashiva is seen with 5 facets, which denotes the Panchakritya ( five functions of Shiva in Cosmic governance ).

(1) Sadyojata : Aspect of creation
(2) Vamadeva : Aspect of preservation
(3) Aghora      :  Aspect of dissolution
(4) Tatpurusha: Aspect of Paramashiva related to obscuration / delusion
(5) Ishana      : Aspect of Paramashiva who liberates us; granting enlightenment.

These five facets of Sadashiva are involved in governing the Universe. Hence, He is regarded  supreme.

This is why we also use the Agamic ( Agama is Tantra ) Panchabrahma mantras to transform ourselves into Paramashiva during a nyasa.

The Panchabrahma mantras of Shaiva Agamas are:

ॐ ह्ॐ ईशानमूर्धाय नमः 
ॐ हें तत्पुरुषवक्त्राय नमः 
ॐ हुं अघोरहृदयाय नमः 
ॐ हिं वामदेवगुह्याय नमः 
ॐ हं सद्योजातमूर्तये नमः

oṃ hoṃ īśānamūrdhāya namaḥ 
oṃ heṃ tatpuruṣavaktrāya namaḥ 
oṃ huṃ aghorahṛdayāya namaḥ 
oṃ hiṃ vāmadevaguhyāya namaḥ 
oṃ haṃ sadyojātamūrtaye namaḥ

Shiva's body is described as a Vidya deha ( knowledge-body). Vidya ( knowledge ) here refers to mantras ( This is why the Vedas, which comes from the root Vid, meaning knowledge, are in the form of mantras ). In fact, Sadashiva's body is referred to as 'mantra-maya sharira', meaning, a body that comprises mantras. Paramashiva's body is made up of the Pancha Brahma mantras.

The Ishana aspect of Sadashiva is associated with the head, Tatpurusha with face, Aghora with the chest, Vamadeva with the region below the navel and Sadyojata with the legs. Like this, we assimilate the 5 facets of Sadashiva into our being to establish ourselves as Sadashiva Himself, in complete Advaita.

However, the Panchabrahma mantras are not attributed to Paramashiva alone, but also to Parashakti.

Reference from Paddhati

A Paddhati is a manual that contains the essence of the Agamas. In the Aghora Shivacharya Paddhati, we find the verses: 

daṇḍabhaṅgi nyāsaṃ

oṃ soṃ īśānamūrdhāya umāyai namaḥ - mūrdhni
oṃ seṃ tatpuruṣavaktrāya gauryai namaḥ - vaktre
oṃ suṃ aghorahṛdayāyai gaṅgāyai namaḥ - hṛdaye
oṃ siṃ vāmadevaguhyāya gaṇāṃbikāyai namaḥ - guhye
oṃ saṃ sadyojātamūrtaye ambikāyai namaḥ - pādayoḥ

Dandabhangi refers to the body which we will be consecrating. The body is equated to a stick ( danda ) with different parts ( angas which will be consecrated as per the pertaining deity )

Here, we consecrate ourselves as Devi, using various facets Parashakti, namely Uma, Gauri, Ganga, Ganambika and Ambika.

Why Do We Perform Devi Nyasa as a Shaivite? 

In every Shiva temple, we find an independent shrine for the Shakti of Paramashiva. For example, we find an independent shrine for Apitakuchambaal in Arunachaleshwara temple.

When we offer a ritual to Devi here, we incorporate the Shaiva Nyasa for Devi as described. Remember that we do the Shaiva nyasa here and not that of Shri Vidya for Parashakti.

In Malaysia itself, most of the homa-s and puja done in Devi temples are as per Shaiva Agamas, from my observation.

So in Shaivism, we accept Parashakti as being Parabrahman, Who governs the entire cosmos through the panchakritya ( 5 modes of action associated with 5 facets ).

Ganesha and Subrahmanya as The Absolute Reality

Image: Panchamukhi GaNapati in Permaipura Mariamman temple, Bedong, Kedah, Malaysia

We have the unique Panchabrahma mantras for both Lord Ganesha and Subrahmanya too. In other words, Lord Shiva, Devi, Ganesha and Subrahmanya can be worshiped as the supreme, who performs the 5 modes of action in governing the cosmos in Shaiva tantra.

As we perform the Nyasa, we too, establish ourselves in the state of Advaita and reverberate with the truth of Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahman ( God ).

So do not submit to proclaiming Shaivites who disregard Devi. Even if fanatical, a true Shaivite will at most, only regard Devi as another manifestation or expansion of Shiva, and not as an inferior deity.

Panchabrahma mantra in Vedas

The Agamas are seen as an application to the Vedas. Hence, the Pancha Brahma mantras are verily found in the Vedas too. It comes in the Taittiriiya AraNyakam of Krishna Yajur Veda. This refers to the part of Yajur Veda which was traditionally learned in the forest region.

The Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana mantras as per Vedas are found in this part of the Vedas. 

Video: My online Veda class student Shravanthi reciting the Yajur Veda portion which reveals the Panchabrahma mantras.

These Panchabrahma mantras of the Vedas are actually used during the offering of Deeparadhana ( aarati ) to the deities during puja. So, these 5 facet mantras can be used for Parashakti, Ganesha, and Subrahmanya and not just for Lord Shiva alone during Puja.

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