ASHTAVIDHA-SAKÏLA (eightfold relationship): [ಅಷ್ಟವಿಧ ಸಕೀಲ]

Sakïla is the attitude of a spiritually advanced aspirant which consists of eight relata or links, namely, anga, linga, hasta, jñānēndriya, bhakti, shakti, arpita and prasāda.[ಅಂಗ, ಲಿಂಗ, ಹಸ್ತ, ಜ್ಞಾನೇಂದ್ರೀಯ, ಭಕ್ತಿ, ಶಕ್ತಿ, ಅರ್ಪಿತ, ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಸಾದ] Before we deal with the relation between these links, we have to determine the meaning of these links.

1. Anga: Though Anga means soul, in this context it means the aspirant; the Vachana-writers have given six names to the aspirant of the six stages. Thus the Anga, in the six ascending orders, is called Bhakta, Mahēśa, Prasādi, Prānalingi, Sharana and Aikya.

2. Linga: The Lingayats believe Paraśiva (Linga) resides in six ‘places’ (sthalas) of the human body (the same are called chakras[ಚಕ್ರ] or padmas[ಪದ್ಮ] in the Śākta[ಶಾಕ್ತ] system). Thus, the one that resides in ādhāra (or mūlādhāra)[ಆಧಾರ, (ಮೂಲಾಧಾರ) ] is Āchāra-Linga[ಆಚಾರ ಲಿಂಗ], the one in svādhisthāna[ಸ್ವಾಧಿಷ್ಠಾನ] GuruLinga[ಗುರುಲಿಂಗ], the one in manipūraka [ಮಣಿಪೂರಕ] Shiva-Linga,[ಶಿವಲಿಂಗ] the one in anāhata[ಅನಾಹತ] Jañgama-Linga,[ಜಂಗಮ ಲಿಂಗ] the one in viśuddha [ವಿಶುದ್ಧ] Prasāda-Linga[ಪ್ರಸಾದ ಲಿಂಗ] and the one in ājñā[ಅಜ್ಞಾ] Mahaa-Linga.[ಮಹಾಲಿಂಗ] These Lingas are the six forms of Paraśiva and therefore, objects of worship of the devotees mentioned in the ascending order in the above paragraph.

3. Hasta (‘hands’): A devotee in the primary stage offers things to God (Paraśiva) by his physical hand, believing that God is in a particular place. But an advanced devotee offer things by his ‘spiritual hand’ wherever they are on the conviction that God is omnipresent. The six spiritual hands are, in the ascending order, sucitta, subuddhi, nirahankāra, sumana and bhāva.[ಸುಚಿತ್ತ, ಸುಬುದ್ಧಿ, ನಿರಹಂಕಾರ, ಸುಮನ ಮತ್ತು ಭಾವ] What is really meant is that the spiritually advanced aspirant regards everything as belonging to Paraśiva and nothing is his (see PRASADA)

4. Jñānēndriyas (senses): In a special sense, every sense organ (such as eye, ear, etc.) is a mouth into which the sense objects (such as colour, smell, etc.) are ‘fed’. The advanced aspirant regards his own senses as mouths of Paraśiva. Thus when he enjoys a colour he thinks that it is enjoyed by Paraśiva.

5. Bhakti: The word ‘bhakti’ means devotion to Paraśiva and according to the Lingayats, there are six grades of devotion, namely (in the ascending order), śraddhā [ಶೃದ್ಧಾ] (conviction), niṣḥṭā [ನಿಷ್ಠಾ] (loyalty), avadhāna [ಅವಧಾನ] (mindfulness), anubhāva [ಅನುಭಾವ] (mystic awareness), ānanda [ಅನಂದ] (bliss) and samarasa [ಸಮರಸ] (feeling of harmony with Paraśiva).

6. śhakti (force): There are six kinds of fundamental elements or forces (Shaktis) of which everything in the world is made. Each of them has its own special quality. Thus the six elements and their respective special qualities are paired as follows:

Kriyā-śhakti [ಕ್ರಿಯಾ ಶಕ್ತಿ] smell
Jñāna -śhakti [ಜ್ಞಾನ ಶಕ್ತಿ] taste
Icchā-śhakti [ಇಚ್ಛಾ ಶಕ್ತಿ] form
Ādi-śhakti [ಆದಿ ಶಕ್ತಿ] touch
Parā-śhakti {ಪರಾ ಶಕ್ತಿ] sound
Cit-śhakti [ಚಿಚ್ಛಕ್ತಿ] blessedness

7 & 8. Arpita and Prasāda: The devotee in each stage offers to God the special quality and converts it into Prasāda (holy food). The belief is that once a food is offered to Paraśiva it becomes Prasāda (grace). The aspirant in the first stage is called Bhakta (Anga); he worships Āchāra-Linga; offers good smell (e.g. flowers with good smell), which is a special quality of Kriya-śhakti into the mouth (i.e., nose) of Āchāra-Linga by his spiritual hand called suchitta (good will) in diligent devotion (śraddhā-bhakti) and gets good smell as Prasāda in return. In the second stage Anga is called Mahēśa, worships GuruLinga, offers good taste which is the special quality of Jñāna-śhakti into the mouth (i.e., tongue) of GuruLinga by his spiritual hand called subuddhi (good intellect) in loyal devotion (niṣḥṭā-bhakti) and gets good taste in return as Prasāda; and so on.

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