Mysticism is the Keynote of Saiva Religion

Dr N. Sellaph, SriLanka

Without a proper understanding of mysticism,it is not easy to get at the root of Saivism.It is because of that the inner meaning of
Saivism is hidden and can not easily be understood by those who are not awakened their wisdom by direct communication with
God Siva. Mysticism is the technique of discovering the Truth as a whole. The whole can not be discovered by the addition of it
into parts. Truth is said to be indivisible. It can only be perceived by an insight of the whole as a whole. By the mental
projection of concepts the mystical aspect of Saivism can not be realized totally. To come upon Totality one has to obtain pure
perception. The mystical approach to the discovery of Truth or God Siva depends entirely on the awakening of creative
intelligence through pure perception.

In allegorical terms the Wisdom of God is symbolized as third eye of the dancing God Nadarajah. It is the custom of Saiva
devotees to wear a dot of sandalwood paste on their for heads between the eye brows-i.e. at the center of the for head. This dot
of sandalwood paste is called "Pottu" in Tamil. Now Saiva ladies wear pottu in various colours to match their sarees or dress as
a fashion. Only a few of the Saivites realize the mystical meaning of wearing the pottu. Every time a Saiva religious devotee
wears a pottu he has to pray to God to awaken his creative intelligence from within. Sandalwood paste which is called
Santhanam is offered profusely at Saiva temples weddings and religious functions. It is a pity that most of the laymen do not
realize the importance of wearing a pottu lays in motivating the wearer to pray to God in order to awaken his creative
intelligence, rather than be a fashion. In mystical language the Wisdom of God is symbolized as the third eye of Siva. Pottu is
representative of it.

What is pure perception ?

Saiva mystics say that the discovery of Truth or God can only be obtained by means of pure perception. The ordinary perception
we have is limited by the three dimensions of the mind and five senses Saivism classifies perception into four parts. They are:-

[1] Perception of the senses.

Out of the five senses we have,the eye is said to be the most powerful. Seeing with the eye is the first perception. Though the
senses of ear,nose,tongue and skin can not see anything,yet they are capable of perceiving different sounds smell,taste and
feelings. All the perceptions of the senses are distorted by the projection of the mind. The eye does not distort what it sees. It
acts like a lens of a camera. It passes what it sees to the mind without any distortion. The moment when the mind receives a
perception it throws out its own impressions in a flash and goes forth to decide or discern what perception it received from the
eye.. The mind makes a decision of the eye sight with its own impressions that are hidden in the subconscious layer. As a result
what the eye sees is distorted and far away from the truth. That Is why Saiva mystics say that those who merely see do not
discern what they see. A layman believes all what he sees, but the mystic believes only after discerning what he sees.

[2] Mental perception

It is a perception caused by the imagination of thoughts. Imagination is the formation of images in the mind. By such a process
of imagination,the mind is able to make concepts which are unreal. Perception of the mind areas created by thoughts.,that are
registered in the subconscious layer of the mind. Thoughts are of the past whereas Truth is always of the present. As such any
perception of the mind can not be true. That is why Saiva mystics do not take mental perception as pure perception. They say
that the ending of sense and mental perception is the beginning of pure perception. The process of the purgation of the mind is
called real meditation. Concepts of the mind are to be purged out to obtain perception of truth.

[3] Dream Perception

What we call dream is attain of thoughts and fancies during sleep. It is only imaginary vision. Some psychologists try to
interpret dreams in order in order to detect the truth. But the Saiva mystics do not accept the process of interpretation of a means of discovering the truth. The vision obtained by dreams is nothing but a developments of thoughts by the
subconscious mind. With the aid of past thoughts the deep mind tries to solve problems that are unsolved in our lives.
Sometimes few problems are solved by dreams,unless a correct interpretation of dreams is made, it is not possible to find the
needful solution, found in dreams . The mystics say that finding of solution to problems by dreams cannot lead to the discovery
of truth.. So an aspirant has transcend the state of dreaming also to come upon pure perception.. Some devotees boast that their
Lord appeared in their dreams and enlightened them.The mystics do not believe that enlightenment can be obtained by dreams.

[4] Pure perception

The mystics call pure perception as enlightenment intuition or insight into the Wisdom of God with the assistances of his
grace.with the assistance of "His Grace" Unless an aspirant gets the grace of God it is not possible to have pure perception. The
souls are said to be impure when they are related to the three impurities.of Maya{Physical and Mental Energy} Karma [the
dualistic action of knowledge and ignorance and ignorance that is in the form of good and evil] and Anava [the subtle energy of
egoism]. The impure souls that are in relativity to the three fetters can not have pure perception. of Totality which is called
Pooranam -the whole- in Tamil Language. The ignorant try to divide the whole into parts and try to see it through parts.They are
ignorant of the fact that the Whole is indivisible and it can not be seen through parts. The mystics exclaim in a sarcastic way
that the whole cannot be seen through any hole.The worship of demigod and rituals cannot give an insight into the absolute.

Negative Approach to pure perception

The mystics realized that the positive approach to pure perception by the acquisition of knowledge with the aid of reading books
and hearing sermons could not give pure perception of truth. So they laid down the technique of seeing false as false in order to
come upon truth.All the opposites formed by the movement of the mind such as evil and good are to have equanimity f the
mind.. When the mind attains a state of equilibrium it becomes silent or empty. When it becomes silent it is converted it
becomes a receptacle of God's grace or enlightenment . In other words only a silent mind that can have pure perception.

After negation of everything relative the aspirant is amalgamated with the Oneness. The mystic called such a state of
Amalgamation as Samadhi, when the subject and object are dissolved alike.Mysticism guides us to purgate the mind with
meditative Neutral inquiry to see the false as false. This is the Keynote of Mysticism in Saivism.