The word 'sādakhya' means ‘real’ (sat), ‘face’ (akhya). The word 'mukha' which is a synonym of ‘akhya' in Sanskrit means either face or mouth, and the Vachanawriters have used these two words (mukha and akhya) in both senses. As far as the number of sadakhyas is concerned there is no unanimity among the Vachanawriters. According to some, the sadakhyas are five, while according to others, they are six. Nor is there any consistency in the use of the names of the sadakhyas. Tōntada Siddhalinga śivayōgi [ತೋಂಟದ ಸಿದ್ಧಲಿಂಗ ಶಿವಯೋಗಿ] has enumerated six, namely, Mahā-sādakhya, Shiva-sādakhya, Mūrti-sādakhya, Amūrti-sādakhya, Kartṛ-sādakhya and Karma-sādakhya [11:33] [ಮಹಾ-ಸಾಧಕ್ಯ, ಮೂರ್ತಿ-ಸಾಧಕ್ಯ, ಅಮೂರ್ತಿ-ಸಾಧಕ್ಯ, ಕರ್ತೃ-ಸಾಧಕ್ಯ, ಕರ್ಮ-ಸಾಧಕ್ಯ]. Others have used names like Sadyōjāta, Vāmadēva, Aghōra, Tatpuruṣa and Īśānya. [ಸದ್ಯೋಜಾತ, ವಾಮದೇವ, ಅಘೋರ, ತತಪುರುಷ, ಮತ್ತು ಈಶಾನ್ಯ] . Occasionally, the names of the six Lingas, such as Āchāralinga [ಅಚಾರಲಿಂಗ], GuruLinga) [ಗುರು ಲಿಂಗ], Jangama-Linga are also substituted. However, the name of Mahā-sādakhya has no substitute.
Perhaps the concept of five faces implies that while man can see in only one direction at a time, Parashiva with his five (or six) Sādakhyas can see in all the five (or six) directions simultaneously, thus suggesting superiority of his knowing power.
In any case, the concept of Sādakhyas is, metaphysically speaking, directly related to the evolution of the primordial Shakti into the world of innumerable forms under the guidance of Parashiva. Just as the Shakti in the different stages of its evolution has different names like Parā-Shakti, Ādi-Shakti, etc. so also Parashiva who guides it in each stage has different names, such as Shiva-sādakhya, Amūrti-sādakhya, etc. This is as follows:
Sadyōjata or Shiva-sādakhya controls and guides Śāntyatīta-kalā or Parā-Shakti
Vāmadēva or Amūrti-sādakhya controls and guides Śānti-kalā or Ādi-Shakti
Aghōra or Mūrti- sādakhya controls and Vidyā-kalā or Icchā-shakti
Tatpuruṣa or Kartṛ-sādakhya controls and Pratiṣṭhā-kalā or Jñyāna-Shakti
Īśānya or Karma-sādakhya controls and Nivṛtti-kalā or Kriyā-Shakti
As the tree grows out of the seed,
With the Linga uniting with its own
Icchā-shakti, becoming the author of the world’s beginning . . .
He shines as Sadāśiva himself . . .
From his Īśānya-face of Sadāśiva the sky was born;
From his Tatpuruṣa-face the air was born;
From his Aghōra-face was born fire;
From his Sadyōjata-face the earth was born . . . (and so on). [11:67]
The concept of Sādakhyas is, spiritually speaking, also directly related to the practice of self-surrender, the ultimate form of total and unconditional devotion. In fact, it is this relationship that gives a better meaning to that concept. But in order to extract such a meaning we have to choose the other meaning of the “Sādakhyas”, namely, “mouth”. That the devotee has this meaning in his mind is mirrored in his realisation that the whole world, his own body, senses, mind, intellect, etc. are gifts (Prasāda or grace) or loan given by Parashiva and that it is his primary duty to repay the loan to the Giver. The real spiritual life, in fact, begins with this realisation. However, the repayment does not mean that the devotee should commit suicide. It simply means that the air he breathes, the water he drinks, the food that he tastes, etc. the senses by which he sees, hears, etc., the intellect, the mind, etc. by which he knows feels, etc., and so on, should be employed or enjoyed only after offering them to Parashiva as a token of gratitude. When the devotee realises this he does not touch them while offering them; it is enough that he offers them mentally into the ‘mouths’ (Sādakhyass) of Parashiva. That the word “Sādakhyas” should have this meaning becomes clear when Tōntada Siddhalinga śivayōgi says:
Earth is the offering for Achāra-Linga;
Water for Guru-Linga;
Fire for Shiva-Linga; for Jangama-Linga air;
Ether for Prasāda-Linga;
For Mahā-Linga the soul . . . [11:412]
Then the gate of each of our senses becomes Parashiva’s mouth (Sādakhyas) into which we offer taste, smell, sound, etc. [11:413, 414] as an act of repayment of the loan.
However, this should not be misconstrued that Parashiva has a body in which there are many mouths by means of which he enjoys whatever the devotee offers. It is a symbolic language, which expresses certain concepts, which the direct ordinary language, cannot effectively express. All the Vachana-writers unanimously declare that Parashiva does not have a body of any kind. Yet the devotee should assume that when he eats or smells or hears Parashiva enjoys thus suggesting that he sacrifices everything for Parashiva and that he has no selfishness (see ASHTAVIDHA-SAKÏLA).
[11:33] & [11:67] : 33rd & 67th Vachana in the 11th Volume, (Samagra Vachana-Samputa in 15 volumes)
Publisher: Kannada Pustaka Pradikhara Govt of Karnataka, Bangalore, 2001.
[11:412, 412, 413]: lbid 412, 413 and 414th Vachana.
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