Sadāśiva Brahmam, a Pāśupata at Tiruvānaikkā
(This article was published in “the Hindu” on July 5, 1970, by R. Nagaswamy, Director of Archaeology, Tamilnadu Government.)
One of the most eminent poet-philosopher of the 17th Century A.D. was Sadāśiva Brahmam. A number of inscriptions found at Tiruvanaikoil, throw valuable light on his life and work. Sadāśiva, his father and his grand father, have contributed to the greatness of Jambukeswara temple, Tiruvanaikoil, Thirucci, in the 16th Century and the 17th Century. A number of structures and mandapas in the temple were built by Sadāśiva.
Sadāśiva was the son of Mahādeva Dīkṣhita and the grand son of Śrīkaṇṭta Ākāśavāsī Chandrasekhara Vājapeyayāji, also called Chandrasekhara guru, who was made the head of Pāśupata maṭha, with the rights of "Arccanai", Thirukkaṇcāttu muddirai' 'Kovil Kelvi', "Kaṇakkeḻuttu" and 'Murasuvantiram' in the temple in Saka 1506 (A.D.1584). Chandrasehara guru was a gṛhastha(married ) heading a maṭha. Usually heads of mathas were Sanyāsins recluses.
The inscription referring to this appointment, mentions, a number of religious works like 'Parāśara samhitā, Kālāgni Rudropaniṣhad, Sanatkumāra samhitā, Ṛk Brāhmaṇa and 'Yajña karaṇa; the rules enumerated in them for the followers of Pāśupata-vratins be they Brahmacāris, Gṛihasthas, or Sanyāsins. It also states that Upamanyu, Dadhici, Agastya, Rāma, and Kriṣhṇa were gṛhasthas who observed Pāśupata-vrata. According to the inscription Śruti and Śmṛi are to be closely followed. Candrasekara guru was commanded to be a Gṛihasta Pāśupata, conduct yajña and other rights and enjoy privileges in the temple. As mentioned earlier he performed Vājapeya sacrifice and was called Vājapeyayāji, Evidently Chandrasekharaguru was a Vaidika Pāśupata.
Chandrasehara was succeeded by his son Mahādeva-makhin who also performed a number of yajñas and was called Sāgnijit, Sarvajit, Mahārātrayāji. Thirumalai Nāyak of Madurai gifted lands to Mahādeva makhin in 1662. Sadāśiva makhin was appointed heir apparent to the Math in 1654, during the life of his father. Mahādeva makhin passed away in 1665 and his wife in 1678.
Dharmakartā for 60 years.
Like his ancestors, Sadāśiva makhin performed a number of sacrifices. In 1674 he performed Pasuka Cāturmāsyna and Vājapeya sacrifice in the temple and to commemorate that, provided an evening service, pradoṣha kattalai, by gifting lands. From then on, he came to be called Sadāśiva Vājapeya Jīyar Ayyar. Sadāśiva was called by various names as Sadāśiva-swāmi, Sadāśiva-dīkṣhita, Sadāśiva-dīkshitendra, Sadāśiva-makhin and Sadāśiva-vājpeya-Jīyar Ayyan. He was the Dharmakartā of the temple for 60 years from 1654.
According to epigraphs he constructed a number of Maṇḍapas like the Dārukāvana-vilāsa and made other additions in the Tiruvanaikka temple. Utsava-maṇḍapa called Ayyan-maṇḍapa was constructed by him. He provided for offerings to God Candrasekhara, on Amāvāsya and Saṅkrānti days. Likewise, the maṇḍapa north of this Utsava maṇḍapa was built by him. It bears an inscription calling it Sadāśivasamy manṇḍapa. The preceding maṇḍapa was built by a certain Sangama. The Sankarālaya in the third prakara and several maṇḍapas and tanks are said to have been built by him.
He was a great follower of Śrīkaṇṭa's “Śivādvaita” school; mention has been made that his ancestors belonged to the Śrī-Kanṭnta Ākāsvāsī santāna. According to epigraphs Sadāśiva composed a number of prabandhas on the greatness of Śiva of Kāvai (Ānaikkā). A few of them are found engraved on the temple. One of the verses states that he alone is a learned man who interprets 'Praṇava' in the Advaita sense. Another verse praises the three names of Śiva. A number of verses praise Sadāśiva, the three names of Śiva. A number of verses praise Sadāśiva and Śiva cult he propagated. There are also inscriptions recording Sadāśiva's literary attainments. He erected Jayasthambas, bearing Śivanāma-traya in Jambukeśvar and Māturbūteśvara temples. These pillars bearing epigraphs, still exist in the temple.
This Sadāśiva guru is probably identical with the celebrated Sadāśiva Brahmendra Sadguru, considered a great Advaita saint. In fact he was a Śivādvaitin of the Śrīkaṇṭa school. He has written a commentary called Brahmatatva Prakāśikā on the Brahmasūtras and a gloss Yoga-sudhākara on Pātanjala sutras. His work 'Daharavidyā Prakāśikā; and a Commentary on Śiva-Gīta, extol the supremacy of Śiva and at the same time pay homage to Viṣhṇu. According to tradition, Sadāśiva was a diciple of Paramasivendra Saraswati the 57th head of Kanchi Kāmakoṭi Pīṭha. Being a Pāśupata Siddhāntin, he believed in Māyā and hence was a great devotee of Akhilāṇḍanāyaki.
On account of intense devotion to `Srī Śiva and being a great Pāśupata he became an 'avaduta (naked sayasin)' towards the end of his life and attained samādhi in Nerur near Karur in 1714.