Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lakuliśa's Pashupatha System

Lakuliśa was a prominent teacher of the Pashupata, one of the early sects of Shaivism. Lakulisha, (literal meaning: the lord with a club) is believed as the founder of the Pashupata sect. Some believe that the Pashupata doctrine was already in existence before him, and Lakulisha was its first formal guru (teacher). It is believed that he was born into a traditional Vedik brahmin family and lived in Kayavatara or Kayavarohana (currently known as Karvan), located in Vadodara district of Gujarat state in western India. According to a tradition stated in the Linga Purana, he is considered as the 28th and the last avatar of Shiva and the creator of Yoga. According to the same tradition, he had four disciples: Kaurushya, Garga, Mitra and Kushika. According to another tradition mentioned in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana, he and his four disciples while residing at Mahakalavana, installed a linga at that place, known as Kayavarohaneshvara.This school is represented today in the broad sadhu tradition, and numerous Pashupata sites of worship are scattered across India.

The Karavana Mahatmya recounts the birth of Lakulisha and refers to the temple of Somanatha as one of the most important Pashupata centers. Lakulisha propounded a Saiva monism, though indications are that Pashupata philosophy was previously dualistic, with Siva as efficient cause of the universe but not material cause. It is thought to be the source of various ascetic streams, including the Kapalikas and the Kalamukhas.

Traditionally, the deepest Pashupata teachings have been kept secret, reserved for initiates who were tried, tested and found most worthy. Central scriptures are the Pashupata Sutras (ascribed to the Bhagawan Lakulisha), Kaundinya's commentary on them, Panchartha Bhashya (ca 500) and the Mrigendra Agama.

The principal text of the Pashupata sect, the Pāśupata Sūtra is attributed to him. The manuscripts of this text and a commentary of it, the Pañcārtha Bhāṣya by Kaundinya (c.500 CE) were discovered in 1930. The Pāśupata Sūtra formalizes various canons of the Pashupata sect, and contains the basic theology of the sect.

His images have been found in Gujarat, a state on the western coast of India and also in some parts of the eastern India. Some of his images depict him as a naked yogi and he carries prayer beads, a club, a cup of human skull. He is shown as accompanied by animals. Almost all of his images depict him urdhvareta (ithyphallic).

Vaishnavite ramblings :

While searching through GOOLE, i've found several web forums in which Vaishnavites abuse Shaivism. They say that "The very act of worshiping Shiva" is anti-vedik per se. To support their claims they give references to Brahma Sutras of Badarayana maharshi. This shows the ignorance of those vaishnavas about the vedantic tradition. A careful study of Brahma Sutras reveals a different thing.

Badarayana refutes only the dualistic pasupata system but not monistic pashupata system. Further, he never denied Lord Shiva. If he really want to deny pashupatha system for the very reason of worshiping false God ( ie., Lord shiva as per vaishnavas) who is not Brahman then there wouldn't have been a lengthy discussion at all. Badarayana would have written only one sutra which may look something like ''since pashupati is not Brahman the system is rejected'' . But Badarayana never said so. Let us see what Brahma sutras say about dualistic pashupatha.

Patyurasamanjasyat II.2.37 (208)

ie., The Lord (cannot be the efficient or the operative cause of the
world) on account of the inconsistency (of that doctrine).

Sambandhanupapattescha II.2.38 (209)

ie., And because relation (between the Lord and the Pradhana or
the souls) is not possible.

Adhishthananupapattescha II.2.39 (210)

ie., And on account of the impossibility of rulership (on the part of
the Lord).

Karanavacchenna bhogadibhyah II.2.40 (211)

ie., If it be said (that the Lord rules the Pradhana etc.,) just as (the
Jiva rules) the senses (which are also not perceived), (we say)
no, because of the enjoyment, etc.

Antavattvamasarvajnata va II.2.41 (212)

ie., (There would follow from their doctrine the Lord’s) being
subject to destruction or His non-omniscience.

If badarayana felt that worshiping Shiva itself is wrong then he wouldn't have written so many sutras. He would have negated worship of Shiva with one sutra. But that was not intention of badarayana. His intension is to attack the dualism. Badarayana refuted Bhagavata Vaishnavas too.

Lakulisha'a Pashupata Saivism is Monistic and theistic. This school of Saivism reveres Siva as Supreme Cause and Personal Ruler of soul and world, denoted in His form as Pashupati, "Lord of souls." This school centers around the ascetic path, emphasizing sadhana, detachment from the world and the quest for "internal kundalini grace."


  1. Correct !! right said , to be very honest the Vaishnava cult is Largely dualistic !! and we've know Shaivism or Hinduism to be Largely Monoistic, with one exception of Pasupatha (dualism)and the Shaiva Sidhhanta which prevailed in Kashmir before vasu Gupta and later became Monoistic .pasupatha Shaivism is predominant in nepal and the Pashupatinath Temple!!!!!

  2. the title Vaishnavite ramblings sounds funny and nice!!!because they are actually doing it!!! have done it and continue to do so.....