तत्त्व, tattva

Meanings of the term Tattva 

  • the eternally existing "That";
  • true principle, great beginning, element or primary substance;
  • true nature, the essence of things or phenomena. 

The word tattva consists of two parts: tat (तत्, "this, such") and tva (त्व, abstraction suffix). In this context, the term denotes suchness, the true essence or quality of everything. The term has wide application in philosophy, denoting both the nature of the phenomenon as a whole, for example, "nara-tattva" (human nature) or "atma-tattva" (the nature of the soul), and levels (aspects) of being, the structure of the world. 

25 tattvas 

Thus, the metaphysics of Sankhya philosophy distinguishes 25 tattvas: 

2 non-derivative tattvas 

10 objected tattvas 

  • 5 mahabhutas - earth, water, fire, air, ether
  • 5 tanmatras - smell, taste, form, touch, sound

13 instrumental tattvas 

10 External Instruments: 
  • 5 organs of action (karmendriyas): organs of speech, arms, legs, anus, reproductive organs
  • 5 senses (jnanendriyas): nose, tongue, eyes, skin, ears. 

3 Internal tools: 

36 tattvas

Shaivism recognizes 25 tattvas of the Sankhya system and adds 11 tattvas, which reflect subtle levels in relation to the highest tattva of Sankhya – Purusha: 

Five shuddha-tattvas 

  • Shiva-tattva – Paramashiva (Supreme Shiva), Pure Consciousness;
  • Shakti-tattva – Divine Power (Shakti), one with Shiva and full of ananda
  • Sadashiva-tattva – Iccha-shakti, the realization of the emerging universe as "I am This"; 
  • Ishvara-tattva – Jnana-shakti, the realization of the formed universe as "This is I"; 
  • Shuddhavidya-tattva – Kriya-shakti, awareness of the universe as the balance of "I" and "This", unity in the difference between Shiva and the universe created by him. 

Six Shuddha-Ashuddha-tattvas, or veils of the True Reality 

  • Maya-tattva – the cover of illusion, ignorance, hiding the true nature of Shiva; 
  • KalA-tattva – limitation of omnipotence, the idea of ​​the impossibility of doing something; 
  • Vidya-tattva – the idea of ​​limited knowledge; 
  • Raga-tattva – limitation of Will, which leads to limited desires and attachments; 
  • KAla-tattva – limitation leading to the concept of time and time sequences; 
  • Niyati-tattva – limitation in space; 

Then Purusha-tattva (the principle of the separation of the subject, Shiva, coming under the influence of the above restrictions) and all the other 24 tattvas of the Sankhya appear.