The word ‘Tāpatraya’ refers to the three (traya) kinds of evils (tāpa), namely, adhibhautika [ಅಧಿಭೌತಿಕ] (those caused by the physical nature), such as famine, floods, storm, etc., adhidaivika [ಅಧಿದೈವಿಕ] (those caused by the gods and goddesses when they become angry with man due to his indifference to them) such as small pox, etc; and adhyātmika [ಅಧ್ಯಾತ್ಮಿಕ] (those caused neither by nature nor by gods and goddesses but by man himself due to his greed, lust, anger, arrogance, etc.) such as, for example, indigestion due to eating more than necessary; in fact, all result of karma are adhyatmika tapas.
The Sanskrit word ‘tattva’ derives from ‘tat’ (meaning ‘that’) and ‘tva’ (meaning ‘-ness’), together meaning the essence or real nature. Broadly speaking, tattvas are the building blocks of the whole world including man.
According to the Vachana-writers, the tattvas are 36, namely, five superintending deities (Adhidēvatas) or Sādakhyas, such as Sadāshiva, Vāmadēva, etc., five elementary forces (Shaktis) such as Kriyā-Shakti, Jñyāna-Shakti, etc., five senses (jñanēndriyas) such as eyes, ears, etc., five motor organs (karmēndriyas) such as legs, hands, etc., five internal organs (antaḥkaraṇas [ಅಂತ:ಕರಣ]) such as mind, intellect, ego, etc., five airs (such as prāna, udāna, etc.), five gross elements, such as earth, water, etc. and Parashiva who controls and guides these 35 tattvas.
These tattvas are classified under tattva-traya (three tattvas), namely, Shiva-tattva, Vidyātattva and Ātma-tattva. Shiva-tattva is the highest principle and the source of everything. Vidyā-tattva includes ten tattvas, namely, five Adhidēvatas and their five respective Shaktis. Ātma-tattva includes 25 tattvas, five sense organs, five motor organs, five airs, five internal organs including the empirical self (jīvatman) and five gross elements (see ADHI-DIAVATĀS AND SHAKTIS, ANTAHKARANA-CATUSHTAYA, KARMENDRIYAS, and JÑANENDRIYAS).
These emanate from Parashiva not like things poured out of a bag, but like the different ornaments made from the same gold. Just as the different golden ornaments are just different forms of gold, so also these 35 tattvas are different forms of Parashiva. One who realises this is a śivayōgi (also see MUVATTARU TATTVAGALU).
The word “Tattva-Jñyāna” is a compound word meaning ‘knowledge (Jñyāna) of the reality (tattva) of all that exists. In other words, the compound means ‘metaphysics’. However, tattva-Jñyāna does not come from reading books or listening to spiritual discourses; it comes from direct intuition, which is possible to the mystics or yōgis.
According to the Vachana-writers, Parashiva is the highest tattva, because all other tattvas are directed and controlled by him. However, tattva-Jñyāna does not, in this case, mean knowing Parashiva as if he is an object; we can know him only by mystic experience where the distinction between the knower and the known is obliterated. The knower of Parashiva considers himself as identical to Parashiva in the sense that he is an inseparable part or a vehicle of Parashiva.
|Vibhoti or Bhasma [ವಿಭೂತಿ or ಭಸ್ಮ, ಭಸಿತ]||Linganga-Yoga|