Theological Foundation of
Hindu Religion

1) Saivism and Saiva Sittantha

The devotional literature of the Bhakthi movement is known as 'Panniru Thirumurai' and the fourteen Sastras of the theological exposition are known as 'Saiva Sittanta Sastras'. Sivagnanapotham by Meykanta Tevar is regarded as the basic text of the Saiva Sittanta Sastras. The Saiva Sittanta Sastras are also known as the Meykanta Sastras.

Sivagnanapotham, the basic text of Saiva Sitthanta explains from the creation of man to salvation.

To quote a few examples from the first book of Saiva Sittanta Thiruvunthiar:

(i) Sin

'Evil creeped over the first Holy creature and bore the fruit of evil.
Don't eat off it'.1

(ii) Avatar

'The hitherto unknown God came down as one of us and gave up Himself to save us from evil'.2

(iii) Salvation through His sufferings

'He who has accomplished the works of salvation through His sufferings will not come again in His body, He has no birth or death again'.3

(iv) Eternal life

'If you join Him who shared His home with the thieves you will attain the heavenly abode which is light'.4

Songs from other literature are also quoted. In defining the Trinity as three persons in one God head:

(v) Trinity and Avatar

" The eternal God( Siva) and the Ornamented one (Vitnu).
And the eternal one on the Lotus (Brahma).
If examined are one and the same
But the ignored are confused". 5

In Saivism God is visualized in three forms as 'Aruvam' (God without form), 'Uruvam' (God with a form) and `Aruvuruvam' (God with semiform).

'The Triune Prime God'6

sings Thirugnana sampanthar in Tevaram.

The author of Potripahrotai sings

"Iravaa Inpathu Yemai iruththa vendi piravaa muthalvan piranthaan."7

(To give us eternal pleasure, the unborn prime God was born). He delivers us from our original sin (Sahasa malaa).

(vi) Sacrifice

The Godhead had lost all his glories and offered himself as a 'Sacrifice', so that mankind could be restored to a new life leaving the inherent qualities of leading a sinful life. In short, he gave himself as 'Sacrifice' for the remission of sins of the mankind. This is sung by Thirunavukkarasar in Tevaram as follows


(He offered himself as sacrifice)

"Aviyaai aviyumaahi arukkamaai Perukkamaahi Paaviyar paavam theerkum paramanaai brahmanaahi"9

(He being the sacrifice he offered himself as Sacrifice, decreased yet multiplied, he is the Transcending Brahman who washes away the sins of the sinners.)

2) Vaishnavism

Doctrine of trinity, doctrine of avatar, and the doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice are fundamental doctrinal aspects of Vaishnavism.10


'Moovaraahiya Moorthiyai' 11 (Triune God)

'Moovaraahiya Oruvanai' 12 (Triune person)

'Udambu Uruvil Moonronroi'13

(One in Trinity in the bodily appearence).
Also He resides in our heart

'Ullaththae Uraiyum maal'14

( The one who resides in the heart)


'Thaanae thanakkumavan than uruve evvuruvum
thaanae Thava Vuruvum'15

(He himself is his comparison,all images are his images, He himself is the image of sacrifice)

'Vanakkudai thava neri vali ninru' 16

(By following the adorable path of the one who sacrificed himself )
Thavam means 'Thannuyir thaanara peruthal'17 (offering once own self as sacrifice) says Thiruvalluvar which means sacrificing ones ownself.

(iii) Deliverer

There are references about Original Sin (Janma bhandham)6 and individual sin (Karma bhandham)18 in Bhagavad-Gita. And God delivers us from these

"I will deliver thee from all sins"19


Sivagnanapotham is the basic book for the Saiva Sittanta Sastras and Meykandar is the author of Sivagnanapotham and since it is the basic book, the Saiva Sittanta Sastras are also known after the author of Sivagnanapotham as 'Meykanda Sastras fourteen'. Sivagnanapotham is an Early Indian Christian theological exposition and it consists of forty lines in 12 sutras (cryptic language). Within these 12 sutras, the theme of the whole Bible is briefly explained.

Dr.Pope, Rev.H.R.Hoisington, Rev.T.Foulkes, Dr. Karl, Rev.H.A. Popley, Rev.G.S.Philips, Rev.W.Goudie and Rev.C.A.Clayton were among the European Missionary scholars who studied the Saiva Sittanta and marvelled at the deep devotion and love for God.

The 12 sutras in Sivagnanapotham explain from creation to salvation. The first sutra explains creation and fall of the creature. God created man, woman and the world in three different ways.

'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.20

( the divine powerful activity in creating man)

'And the rib, which the Lord had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man'.21

(the divine powerful activity in creating woman)

'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'.22

( the divine powerful activity in creating other things)

Later on they fell into sin (Malam) and lost the Holiness. This is the end of Holiness and the beginning of Sin. This is explained in the first sutra as follows:

'Avan aval athu enum avai moovinaimaiyin
thotriya thithiye odungi malathulatham
antham aathi enmanaar pulavar'. 24

avan the first man (Adam)
aval the first woman (Eve)
athu all the other things
yenum avai the three mentioned above
moovinaimaiyin in three different activities
thotriya thithiye in the stage of this creation
odungi fallen from the holiness and
malathu ulathaam fell into sin
antham this is the end of holiness
aathi and the beginning of sin
yenmanaar pulavar say the scholars

The eight sutra explains about the redemption.Owing to the fall of men, they became ignorant of their creator and men became slaves to the five senses. This is explained by a beautiful story in this sutra.

A prince who was somehow lost was living with the hunters forgetting his heritage. Later on when the King came to know of this, he came in search of his lost son disguised as a hunter to rescue him and was able to save him. Similarly God took the form of a man (Guru) inorder to rescue the human beings, and through his 'Tavam' (sufferings) he enlightened the souls. ['Thavam' means 'Thannuyir thaanara peruthal' says Thiruvalluvar, which means sacrificing ones ownself and which is already mentioned.] This is explained as follows:

'Aimpula vedarin ayarnthanai valarnthu yena
thammuthal guruvumaai thavathinil unartha vittu
anniam inmaiyin aran kazhal selumae'.25

aimpula vedarin valarnthu living with the pleasures of the hunters of five senses
ayarthanai yena and living aside totally ignorant of the creator
Tham muthal the beginning or the Supreme one
guruvumoi (God) took the form of a Guru
thavathinil and bearing all the sufferings and sacri- ficed himself
unartha vittu thus the Guru enlight ened the soul and the soulis freed from the sin
anniam inmaiyin and now the soul is not separated from God
aran kazhal tholumae and reaches the feet of God who take away our sins.

Because of his sufferings and sacrifice, his feet look like a red flower. Through his sacrifice he cleanses the sin of sinners and unites them with abundant love. So, the cleansed one is completely united with him and he becomes a temple and praises his feet always. This is expressed as follows by Meykandar.

'Semmalar nonthaal seral ottaa
ammalam kaliee anbarodu mariee
maalara neyam malinthavar vedamum
aalayan thaanum aran yena tholumae'.26

Semmalar non thazh the feet which has suffered for others are like the red flower
seral ottaa ammalam kaliee the sin which prevents the soul to reach that great feet is eradicated
anbarodu mariee then it is joined with the God of love
maal ara it is freed from the sin
neyam malinthu is filled with divine love
avar vedamum and the old nature is totally changed and is given a new nature
aalayan thaanum and becomes the temple of God
aran yena tholumae and it worships God who takes away the sin.
  1. Thiruvunthiar 41
  2. Thiruvunthiyar-1
  3. Thiruvunthiyar- 3
  4. Thiruvunthiyar-23
  5. Thirumanthiram (52)
  6. Thirugnana Sampantha Swamigal Devaram (Thalamurai), Sri Kasi Mutt, Thirupananthal 612504,     F.Ed.1988,S.No.154 (1)
  7. Potripahrotai 69
  8. Appar 307-8, Tevara Olineri Katturai (2-Appar), Kazhagam,Madras,1960
  9. Thinavukkarasar Tevaram, S.No.320
  10. .  J.D.Baskara Doss, Op.Cit.,
  11. . Nammalvar Thiruvoimoli 3-6-2 (2360)
  12. . Peria Thirumozhi 3-1-10 (1157)
  13. . Peria Thirumozhi 2-5-3 (1090)
  14. . Thondaradippodiyaazhvaar, 34, (905)
  15. . Naalaira DivyaPrabhandam, Iyarpa moonram Thiruvanthathi 38, (3421), Op.Cit.,
  16. . Nammaalvar Thiruvoimozhi 1-3-5 (2108), Op.Cit.
  17. . Thirukkural 268
  18. . Bhagavadgita 2 : 51
  19. . Bhagavadgita 2 : 39, 3 : 9
  20. . Bhagavadgita 18.66
  21. . Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
  22. . Genesis 2:22 (KJV)
  23. . Genesis 1:1
  24. . Sivagnanapotham, Sutra 1
  25. . Sivagnanapotham, Sutra 8
  26. . Sivagnanapotham, Sutra 12

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Dr. M. Deivanayagam
Dr. D. Devakala

The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion