Though Saivism is an old religio-philosophical system prevalent in many
parts of India, certain erudite and enlightened teachers from Kashmir developed a special brand of the same. This came to
be popularly known as 'Kashmir
in the annals of philosophical literature
of later periods. However, a more technical
and acceptable title has been 'Pratya-bhijnadarsana'.
Although the basic literature of
Kashmir Saivism is some of the agamas
like the Svacchanda, the Netra and the
new class of cardinal
works was produced by the later writers.
Among them, the following are the principal ones: Siva sutras (revealed to
Vasugupta) (9th century A. D.), Spandasutra of
Vasugupta, Spandasutraurtti of Kallata
(chief disciple of Vasugupta), Sivadrsti of
Somananda (9th century A. D) and
Utpala (A. D. 900).
Abhinavagupta (A. D. 950-1000) was
the most brilliant of the later writers
whose Vrtti on the Isvarapratyabhijna of
Utpala, and his own independent works
made him immortal in the chronicles of
Ksemaraja (A. D. 975-1025), Bhaskara
and Varadaraja were the other noted
writers who have enriched this literature.
Q1. What are the principles of
recognizes three principles
Pati (Shiva) the Lord:
is the pati, the husband, while jivas are pasus or animals or beings that have
lost sight of their absolute nature. Siva is pasupati or the lord of all
animals or jivas.
animal, and denotes all beings, including the animals, plants, humans, and
beings of other worlds. A pasu is an individual soul, clouded by ignorance and
bound to the mortal world.
Pasha: Pasas are the bonds that keep
the individual souls ignorant of their true Siva nature. The three pasas are-
anava (individuality), karma (actions having consequences), and maya
Q2. Why is Shaivism important?
Hindu tradition accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, and encourages an
individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. The followers of Shaivism
are called "Shaivites" or "Saivas". They believe Shiva -
worshiped as a creator and destroyer of worlds - is the supreme god overall. Shiva's
role is to destroy the universe to recreate it. Hindus believe these powers are
used even now to destroy the illusions and imperfections of this world, paving
the way for beneficial change. According to Hindu belief, this destruction is
not arbitrary, but constructive.
Q3. What is the symbol of Shaivism?
also spelled linga, in Hinduism, is a votary object that symbolizes the god
Shiva and is revered as an emblem of generative power. The lingam appears in
Shaivite temples and private shrines throughout India. In Shaivite temples, the
lingam is often before the murtis (sacred images of shiva). The lingam is
distinctively aniconic. It is a smooth cylindrical mass. Often it rests in the
center of a lipped, disk-shaped object which is an emblem of the goddess
Shakti. Hindus consider the two together to symbolize the union of the male and
female principles and the totality of all existence.
Q4. How many Shaivites are there?
Pasupatis: Perhaps the oldest school within
Shaiva Siddhanta: Followed by many intellectuals.
It has a personal doctrine, stressing the plurality of souls (as opposed to the
Advaita idea that all souls and God are ultimately one).
Kashmiri Shaivism: Almost defunct today. Its most
prolific writer is Abhinavagupta (c. 960 – 1020). The goal of this movement is
to “become Shiva “and regain one’s universal nature. It is also called
Virashaivism (the Lingayats): Closely associated with the
twelfth-century reformer, Basava. It opposed caste differences. Followers wear
a small Shiva linga around the neck. The present community is centered around
Q5. Who is the supreme god in
is the Supreme Being in Shaivism, one of the major traditions within Hinduism.
Shiva is known as "The Destroyer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu
trinity which also includes Brahma and Vishnu. In the Shaivite tradition, Shiva
is the Supreme Lord who creates, protects, and transforms the universe. Also
known as Mahadeva 'The Great God' or Hara is one of the five equivalent deities
in Panchayatana puja of Hinduism. Shiva is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who
lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with his wife Parvati
and his three children, Ganesha, Kartikeya,
and Ashok Sundari.
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