38 Facts About Shaivism


Shaivism is one of the major Hindu traditions that worships Shiva, which includes Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and Smartism as the Supreme Being.

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Shaivism developed as an amalgam of pre-Vedic religions and traditions derived from the southern Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta traditions and philosophies, which were assimilated in the non-Vedic Shiva-tradition according to Chakravarti.

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Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism with a theology that is predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva.

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Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional variations and differences in philosophy.

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Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools ranging from nondualism, dualism, and mixed schools.

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Origins of Shaivism are unclear and a matter of debate among scholars, as it is an amalgam of pre-Vedic cults and traditions and Vedic culture.

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Inscriptions found in the Himalayan region, such as those in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal suggest that Shaivism was established in this region during the Mauryas and the Guptas reign of the Indian subcontinent, by the 5th century.

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The newly arising regional powers in central and northern India, such as the Aulikaras, the Maukharis, the Maitrakas, the Kalacuris or the Vardhanas preferred adopting Shaivism instead, giving a strong impetus to the development of the worship of Shiva.

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The description is conflicting, with some texts stating the tantric, puranik and Vedic traditions of Shaivism to be hostile to each other while others suggest them to be amicable sub-traditions.

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Shaivism was the predominant tradition in South India, co-existing with Buddhism and Jainism, before the Vaishnava Alvars launched the Bhakti movement in the 7th century, and influential Vedanta scholars such as Ramanuja developed a philosophical and organizational framework that helped Vaishnava expand.

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Mantramarga of Shaivism, according to Alexis Sanderson, provided a template for the later though independent and highly influential Pancaratrika treatises of Vaishnava.

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Shaivism arrived in a major way in southeast Asia from south India, and to much lesser extent into China and Tibet from the Himalayan region.

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Shaivism sub-traditions subscribe to various philosophies, are similar in some aspects and differ in others.

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Over its history, Shaivism has been nurtured by numerous texts ranging from scriptures to theological treatises.

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The Vedic literature, in Shaivism, is primary and general, while Agamas are special treatise.

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Shaivism-inspired scholars authored 14 Shiva-focussed Upanishads that are called the Shaiva Upanishads.

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In Shaivism, there are ten dualistic Agama texts, eighteen qualified monism-cum-dualism (bhedabheda) Agama texts and sixty four monism (advaita) Agama texts.

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Shaivism is ancient, and over time it developed many sub-traditions.

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Atimarga branch of Shaivism emphasizes liberation – or the end of all Dukkha – as the primary goal of spiritual pursuits.

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Shaivism is the purported author of the Pashupata-sutra, a foundational text of this tradition.

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Shaivism then moved to the third stage of life where he lived like a loner in a cave or abandoned places or Himalayan mountains, and towards the end of his life he moved to a cremation ground, surviving on little, peacefully awaiting his death.

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Shaivism would walk around, for example, almost naked, drank liquor in public, and used a human skull as his begging bowl for food.

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Shaivism'storic Shaiva Siddhanta literature is an enormous body of texts.

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Kashmir Shaivism is an influential tradition within Shaivism that emerged in Kashmir in the 1st millennium CE and thrived in early centuries of the 2nd millennium before the region was overwhelmed by the Islamic invasions from the Hindu Kush region.

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The Kashmir Shaivism traditions became nearly extinct due to Islam except for their preservation by Kashmiri Pandits.

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Kashmir Shaivism has been a nondualistic school, and is distinct from the dualistic Shaiva Siddhanta tradition that existed in medieval Kashmir.

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Notable feature of Kashmir Shaivism was its openness and integration of ideas from Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Vajrayana Buddhism.

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For example, one sub-tradition of Kashmir Shaivism adopts Goddess worship by stating that the approach to god Shiva is through goddess Shakti.

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Lingayatism, known as Veera Shaivism: is a distinct Shaivite religious tradition in India.

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Shaivism was highly influential in southeast Asia from the late 6th century onwards, particularly the Khmer and Cham kingdoms of Indo-China, and across the major islands of Indonesia such as Sumatra, Java and Bali.

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Shaivism is conceptualized as a kind spiritual teacher, the first of all Gurus in Indonesian Hindu texts, mirroring the Dakshinamurti aspect of Shiva in the Indian subcontinent.

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Shaivism was adopted by several ruling Hindu dynasties as the state religion, including the Chola and the Rajputs.

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Shaivism incorporated Saura ideas, and the surviving Saura manuscripts such as Saurasamhita acknowledge the influence of Shaivism, according to Alexis Sanderson, assigning "itself to the canon of Shaiva text Vathula-Kalottara.

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Buddhism and Shaivism have interacted and influenced each other since ancient times, in both South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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Scholars disagree whether a syncretic tradition emerged from Buddhism and Shaivism, or it was a coalition with free borrowing of ideas, but they agree that the two traditions co-existed peacefully.

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Syncretism between Buddhism and Shaivism was particularly marked in southeast Asia, but this was not unique, rather it was a common phenomenon observed in the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, the south and the Himalayan regions.

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Twelve jyotirlinga sites across India have been particularly important pilgrimage sites in Shaivism representing the radiant light of infiniteness, as per Siva Mahapurana.

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Early Bhakti movement poets of Shaivism composed poems about pilgrimage and temples, using these sites as metaphors for internal spiritual journey.

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