Shaivas and Smartas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jul 9 10:48:13 CDT 2002


On Mon, 8 Jul 2002, hemang Chamakuzhi Subramanian wrote:

> how does it matter whethter one is a shaivaite or a it
> not enuff if the person is a follower and a seeker of knowledge?

Yes.  Shankaracharya has recommended the worship of all the major deities
of the Vedas--Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya, and Ganapati.  On the one hand
Bhakti should be ekantic (singularly focused) but on the other hand the
goal is to transcend names and forms.  The Panchayatana puja is an
arrangement that satisfies both needs by making ones chosen form the main
focus while acknowledging the others.  You can find out more about this in
the archives.

I think the main reason why Smartas have tended to prefer Shiva Bhagavan
(There are many exceptions, Swami Madhusudan Saraswati for example
was an ardent Krishna Bhakta) is because the rival schools of Vedanta have
mainly been Vaishnava in orientation and have rejected such essential
concepts as Maya.  The Shaivas on the other hand may have seemed to be
more kindred spirits.  (Though we have important differences with them
too.)  Shri Appaya Dikshita is a famous example of an Advaitin who started
life as a Shaiva and converted to our sampradaya later on.

>  Do you become a shaivaite or vaishnavaite if you were born to one?

For all practical purposes yes.  It's not so much a philosophical issue as
a sociological one.  People tend to believe what their teachers have
taught them and father and mother are the first teachers.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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