G.U.POPE AND SAIVA SIDDHANTHAM
(George Uglow Pope was born on 24 April 1820 in Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia. His family migrated to England when he was an infant. Even as a child he cultivated many a language. He left for South India in 1839. It was at Sawyerpuram near Tuticorin. "The Student of Tamil" bloomed into a scholar of Tamil, Sanskrit and Telugu. Pope setup several schools and taught Latin, English, Hebrew, Mathematics and Philosophy. As he was a martinet he was always in trouble. Of him Bishop Caldwell said: "The chief drawback to his success was the severity of his discipline which led, after a succession of petty rebellions, to his withdrawal". Pope believed in the theory: "Things have tears". He worked with the motto: "Conscience within and God above". He completed his translation of Tirukkural on September 1, 1886. His "Sacred Kural" contains introduction, grammar, translation, notes, lexicon and concordance. It also includes the English translation of F.W.Ellis and the Latin Translation of Fr. Beschi. It is a tome of 436 pages. He had, by February 1893, translated Naaladiyaar. His magnum opus, the translation of Tiruvachakam appeared in 1900. Of this he says: "I date this on my eightieth birthday. I find, by reference, that my first Tamil lesson was in 1837. This ends, as I suppose a long life of devotion to Tamil studies. It is not without deep emotion that I thus bring to a close my life's literary work". The much coveted Gold Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society was awarded to him in 1906. He passed away on 12 February 1908.
The services of this great soul to Tamil and Saivism defy reckoning by weights and measures. In his last days he was a mature Saiva Siddhanti, with his faith as ever rooted in Chiristianity. He delivered his last sermon on May 26, 1907. What he himself felt about it, is extracted hereinbelow. It is reproduced from the Light of Truth, Vol. VIII, February 1908, No. 11, page 327. Editor.)
THE LAST MESSAGE FROM REV. DR. G.U.POPE, M.A., D.D
In forwarding us a copy of his last Sermon preached in Balliol College Chapel on May 26,1907, with all best Christmas wishes, Dr.Pope wrote to us as follows in his Autograph which will interest all Indian lovers of this old Tamil veteran Scholar and Savant.
26 Walton Bell Road,
Oxford, Dec.25, 1907.
My dear friend,
In the heart of this my last sermon, lie truths that harmonize with all that is best in Tiruvachagam and Siva-nyanam(Siva-gnana bodham).
Iam very old. May the Father bless you and yours.
Ever truly your friend
THE SOUL'S EMANCIPATION
In Sanskrit, Mukti or Moksha
The best explanation of the Saiva Siddhanta doctrine of Mutti, or the Soul's final emancipation from embodiment (erlosung von den weltlichen banden-Seligkeit), is found in the treatise called Siva-piragacam by the same great sage Umapathi(1.38, &c.) and has been translated(though from a very imperfect MS.) by Mr. Hoisington(American Oriental Soc. Journal 1854). This is a commentary on the Siva-gnana-bodham. Mr.J.M.Nalla-sami, a learned Saivite of Madras, has recently published a translation of Siva-gnana-bodham, with valuable notes, which is a most useful compendium.
Ten faulty (or imperfect) theories of this consummation, so devoutly wished for by all Hindus, are enumerated in these works, or in the commentaries on them:-
(1) There is the bliss aspired to by the Lokayattar ('Worldlings'. This is simply grosss sensual enjoyment in this world. These heretics are continually attacked in the Siddhanta books.(see Sarva-darcana-sangraha (Trubner's Series).) They were atheistic Epicureans, followers of Charvaka (Note XIV).
(2) There is the cessation of the five Kandhas. This is the Buddhist Nirvana, and is always considered by Tamil authors to be mere annihilation. The South-Indian view of Buddhism is illustrated in Note IX(Sarva-darcana-sangraha, p.31).
(3) The destruction of the three(or eight) qualities is pronounced to be the final emancipation by some Jains, and by the teachers of the atheistic Sankhya system. This would reduce the human Soul to the condition of an unqualified mass, a mere chaos of thought and feeling.
(4) There is the cessation of deeds by mystic wisdom. This is the system of Prabhakara(Sarva-darcana-Sangraha, p.184). The deeds mentioned are all rites and services whatsoever. The devotee becomes in this case, so the Saivite urges, like a mere image of clay or stone.
(5) 'Mukthi' is represented by some Saiva sectaries as consisting in the removal from the Soul of all impurity as a copper vessel is supposed to be cleaned from verdigris by the action of mercury. There is a good deal of abstruse reasoning about the pollution aforesaid. 'Copper is not really in this sense purified by the removal of the green stain on its surface; the innate weakness of the metal is in its constant liability to this defilement. Gold is never coated by such impure matter. Copper will always be so; it is, as it were, congenital. Now these sectarians preach that, by the grace of Shivan, the innate corruption of the Soul may be removed, from which will necessarily follow permanent release from all bonds'. This seems to resemble very closely the Christian idea of the sanctification of the souls of men by divine grace infused. The Siddhanta, however, insists upon it that for ever, even in the emancipated state, the power of defilement, the potentiality of corruption, remains(i.e. 'Pacam is eternal'). This corruption cannot, it is true, operate any longer in the emancipated condition: but it is still there,-dead, unilluminated, the dark part of the Soul, turned away from the central light, like the unilluminated part of the moon's orb. Personal identity, and the imperfections necessarily clinging to a nature eternally finite, are not destroyed even in Mutti.
(6) Another class of Saiva sectaries taught that in emancipation the body itself is transformed, irradiated with Shivan's light, and rendered immortal. This system supposed that intimate union with shivan transmuted rather than sanctified the Soul.
(7) There is then the system of the Vedantis, who taught that the absolute union of the Soul with the Infinite Wisdom, its commingling with the Divine spirit, as the air in a jar becomes one with the cirumambient air when the jar is broken, was Mutti. But here personality is lost.
(8) The doctrine of Palkariyam(followers of Bhaskara) is, that in emancipation there is an absolute destruction of the human Soul, which is entirely absorbed in the supreme essence.
(9) There were some Saivities who taught that in emancipation the Soul acquires mystic miraculous powers; that in fact, the emancipated one is so made partaker of the divine nature and attributes, that he is able to gain possession of and exercise miraculous powers, which are called the eight 'Siddhis'. Persons professing to wield such magical powers are not unfrequently found in India, and there is in them very often a bewildering mixture of enthusiasm and fraud.
(10) There were also some who taught that in emancipation the Soul becomes, like a stone, insensible. This stationary, apathetic existence, if existence it can be called, is the refuge of the Soul from the sufferings and struggles of embodiment.
In opposition to all these faulty theories, the true doctrine of emancipation is thus defined: When the Soul, finally set free from the influence of threefold defilement through the grace of Shivan, obtains divine wisdom, and so rises to live eternally in the conscious, full enjoyment of Shivan's presence, in conclusive bliss, this is EMANCIPATION, according to the Siddhanta philosophy. (See T.A.P.75 in NOTE VI).
THE 'GURU' (Sans. guru=venerable).
The Guru plays a most important part in all Hindu religion. He is the 'venerable' preceptor, master and embodied god. In the Saiva system His dignity culminates. He is one who in successive embodiments has drawn nearer and nearer to final deliverance(Mutti), and is now in His last stage of embodiment (NOTE V). Shivan lives in Him, looks lovingly on the meet disciple through His eyes, blesses with His hands, with His mouth whispers into the disciple's ear the mystic words of initiation, and crowns with the lotus flowers of His feet the bowed head of the postulant, who thus is to become as his Master.