What follows is a short collection of excerpts from Raurava Āgama (translated by S. P. Sabharathnam Sivacharyar), through which one can gather a bird's-eye view of the Śaiva path. In sequence, one will find some words on initiation, maṇḍala ritual worship, yoga and the wisdom teaching of the Śaivāgamas. The purpose is inspirational only, as unmentored practice is not recommended.
“At the very occurrence of rising of the sun, the darkness is dispelled completely and instantaneously. Likewise, upon the performance of relevant dīkṣa, the constricting bonds of the sādhakas considered in terms of merit and demerit (dharma and adharma) get removed totally. Just as the sun illumines all these worlds through his radiant rays, even so Lord Śiva illumines the consciousness of the initiated souls through His host of Śaktis functioning in the divine path of mantras and dīkṣa. Just as the fiery and tiny sparks shoot up abundantly in all directions from the well enkindled sacrificial fire, even so the multitudes of Śaktis arise from Lord Śiva. These Śaktis exist pervading the body of the sādhakas who have been blessed with dīkṣa. Just as the sun destroys through his rays the impurities accumulated in the ground, even so Lord Śiva destroys the seeds of karmic effects and other bonds of the initiated sādhakas through His perfectly maintained union with Śaktis which are His own rays. Just as the water poured into water, milk into milk mingles into one and become inseparable from each other, even so the knowers of the nature of mantras attain oneness with the Supreme Being through the power of mantras related to the dīkṣa.”
(Rauravāgama, Vidyāpāda, VII.3-7)
“In the rituals performed with maṇḍalas, Lord Śiva becomes known as Maṇdalī in view of the fact that He occupies these maṇḍalas and presents Himself there eternally. These maṇḍalas of such greatness are worshipped by the sages, celestial beings, asuras, human beings and by all those who are desirous of attaining the final liberation and bliss. The king of Videśvaras and Maṇḍaleśas and those who have manifested with elegance and greatness as the unfailing associates of Mantreśvaras and Maṇḍaleśas present themselves in these maṇḍalas through the appropriate mantras. Verily, they are of the nature of these mantras. They are the souls of these mantras. Even for the highly enlightened sages, it is not possible to give the exact number of such mantras. There are as many mantras as there are Rudras, Devas, Rakṣasas, Yakṣas and Maheśvaras. Their exact number cannot be known. They have been designed and composed in a language suitable to each division of the Earth and other worlds. They have been associated with relevant seed letters and words which are divine, effulgent and vibrant. These Mantras have the power of knowing all. They have the power of reaching all the places and all the divisions of time. They are pure. They are in identical existence with those who have attained the power of knowing all. (...) the mantras should be treated with utmost diligence and sincerity by those who contemplate on the goodness and welfare of all beings.”
(Rauravāgama, Vidyāpāda, III.23-28)
“At the center of the heart-lotus, there is the solar region (sūrya maṇḍala) and at the center of the solar region there is lunar realm (soma maṇḍala). At the center of the lunar realm, there is fiery region (vahni maṇḍala) with its innate purity. At the center of the fiery maṇḍala, the Great Lord Īśvara is present. He presents Himself there with a luster comparable to pure crystal. The sādhaka should install his consciousness, perfected and illumined by such specific discipline and astra mantra, at the center of the heart of Īśvara. There, within that heart-cave, it assumes by its own force a form of astra burnt with the pure fire of Śiva. This astra-form assumed by the consciousness of the sādhaka raises to the head and then to the crest (brahmarandhra). Breaking open the crest, it reaches the solar realm of Śivaloka within a fraction of a second. Upon the head of the sādhaka who is the knower of Supreme Mantra, a motionless luminous light gets formed. At this moment the sādhaka should draw out his soul in the form of astra, contemplating Ekavīra Rudra and His Śakti and unite it with the brahmarandhra through the process of dhāraṇa yoga. The soul drawn out in this way departs from his body.
All other aspects of the soul depart from various parts of his body such as legs and others and accumulate again in the plane of brahmarandhra. Having departed from the brahmarandhra, the soul associated with all of its essential aspects swiftly passes through the outer region of the brahmāṇḍa (vast universe) known as lokāloka (region of visible and invisible worlds). Getting itself separated from this region and from the dual state of prakr̥ti and puruṣa, the exalted and great soul assumes a resplendent subtle form and becomes identical with all the worlds and existents by means of its pervasiveness. Finally, it enters into the Great Lord, Śiva, who is very subtle.”
(Rauravāgama, Vidyāpāda, IX.9-15)
“The enlightened sages get spontaneously inspired to worship Lord Śiva who is always present in the heart-space of every living being, through the secret mantras and great yajñas and through the offerings of flowers designed with the specific mantras. Having systematically worshipped Śiva, the sādhaka attains the exalted state of oneness with Him and becomes supreme among the knowers of the Śaivāgamas. He becomes one with Śiva who presents Himself in the heart-lotus of Karaṇeśa (the Lord of all causes). Having been purified with relevant mantras, dīkṣa and Śiva-worship and having transformed his body into a divine frame adorned with various kinds of mantra-nyāsa, the sādhaka should meditate on Lord Śiva whose divine form is composed of five mahāmantras. Śiva is the ultimate Controller-Lord; He is imperishable; He is the eternal Lord of both pradhāna and puruṣa; He is beyond and above the realm of tattvas. Assuming a pure form which shines forth as a pure crystal and as a pure light bereft of smoke, He presents Himself in the heart-space of all the beings. The sādhaka should meditate on such a pure form of Śiva. (...) The consciousness of such sādhakas gets refined and perfected by the disciplines of yoga and jñāna as set forth in the Śaivāgamas. Their karmic seeds are burnt by the blazing flames of the fire of Śivajñāna. Their eyes are brightened by the luminous rays of Parameśvara. Such sādhakas, being dissociated from all the limiting adjuncts, get established in their own essential state of purity and enter into the unparalleled state of blissful calmness, when their physical body ceases to exist.”
(Rauravāgama, Vidyāpāda, IV.38-41; 51-52)
“There are three states for Śiva - sakala, niṣkala and sakala-niṣkala. There are five mantras - Sadyo(jāta), Vāma(deva), Aghora, Tatpuruṣa and Īśāna - which constitute the divine form of Śiva. Śiva is known as Sadāśiva when He is in sakala-niṣkala state. He who knows the essential nature of sakala, niṣkala and Sadāśiva (sakala-niṣkala) states of Lord Śiva, becomes absolutely disentangled from the repeating phenomenon of birth and death and ultimately attains the pure state of Lord Śiva. He becomes the knower of all; becomes the doer of all. He attains oneness with Lord Śiva who is in inseparable union with Śakti. He becomes the Lord of the Supreme Masters of Vidyeśvaras. He becomes capable of putting all the worlds into their respective functions by his Will. Having dissociated himself from the bonds of māyā and other veiling factors, he becomes absolutely perfect and attains the exalted state of wholeness. He becomes established in his own essential state of absolute purity. Having ascended to the highest state of liberation, he remains supreme; becomes imperishable. He becomes the Supreme Lord Śiva Himself.”
(Rauravāgama, Vidyāpāda, IV.34-37)
(Art by Arumuga Manivelu)