Smarta tradition is a movement in Hinduism that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era. It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa, Advaita and theism; the Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal – Vishnu, Brahma and Devi. The Smarta tradition contrasted with the older Shrauta tradition, based on elaborate rituals and rites. There has been considerable overlap in the ideas and practices of the Smarta tradition with other significant historic movements within Hinduism, namely Shaivism, Brahmanism and Shaktism; the Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta, regards Adi Shankara as its founder or reformer. Shankara championed the ultimate reality is impersonal and Nirguna and any symbolic god serves the same equivalent purpose. Inspired by this belief, the Smarta tradition followers, along with the five Hindu gods include a sixth impersonal god in their practice.
The tradition has been called by William Jackson as "advaitin, monistic in its outlook". The term Smarta refers to Brahmins who specialize in the Smriti corpus of texts named the Grihya Sutras, in contrast to Shrauta Sutras. Smarta Brahmins with their focus on the Smriti corpus, contrast from Srauta Brahmins who specialize in the Sruti corpus, rituals and ceremonies that follow the Vedas. Smarta स्मार्त is an adjective derived from Smriti; the smriti are a specific body of Hindu texts attributed to an author, traditionally written down but revised, in contrast to Śrutis considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally across the generations and fixed. Smarta has several meanings: Relating to memory Recorded in or based on the Smriti Based on tradition, prescribed or sanctioned by traditional law Orthodox Brahmin versed in or guided by traditional law and Vedanta doctrineIn Smarta tradition context, the term Smarta means "follower of Smriti". Smarta is specially associated with a "sect founded by Shankaracharya", states Monier Williams.
See Late Middle Kingdoms - The Late-Classical Age and Classical Hinduism The Vedanga texts, states Alf Hiltebeitel, are Smriti texts that were composed in the second half of the Vedic period that ended around 500 BCE. The Vedanga texts include the Kalpa texts consisting of the Srautasutras and Dharmasutras, many of which were revised well past the Vedic period; the Grihyasutras and Dharmasutras, states Hiltebeitel, were composed between 600 BCE and 400 CE, these are sometimes called the Smartasutras, the roots of the Smriti tradition. The Smriti texts accept the knowledge in the Sruti, but they interpret it in a number of ways, which gave rise to six darsanas of Hindu philosophy. Of these, states Hiltebeitel, the Mimamsa and Vedanta have sometimes been called the Smarta schools which emphasize the Vedas with reason and other pramanas, in contrast to Haituka schools which emphasize hetu independent of the Vedas while accepting the authority of the Vedas. Of the two Smarta traditions, Mimamsa focussed on Vedic ritual traditions, while Vedanta focussed on Upanishadic knowledge tradition.
Around the start of the common era, thereafter, a syncretism of Haituka schools, the Smarta schools with ancient theistic ideas gave rise to a growth in traditions such as Shaivism and Shaktism. Hiltebeitel and Flood locate the origins of a revived orthodox Smarta Tradition in the Classical Period of Hinduism with nondualist interpretation of Vedanta, around the time when different Hindu traditions emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions; the revived Smarta Tradition attempted to integrate varied and conflicting devotional practices, with its ideas of nondual experience of Atman as Brahman. The rapprochement included the practice of pancayatana-puja, wherein a Hindu could focus on any saguna deity of choice such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya or Ganesha, as an interim step towards realizing the nirguna Brahman; the growth of this Smarta Tradition began in the Gupta period, was dominated by Dvija classes, in particular the Brahmins, of the early medieval Indian society.
This Smarta Tradition competed with other major traditions of Hinduism such as Shaivism and Shaktism. The ideas of Smarta Tradition were influential, creative with concepts such as of Harihara and Ardhanarishvara, many of the major scholars of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Bhakti movement came out of the Smarta Tradition. Medieval era scholars such as Vedanta Desika and Vallabhacharya recognized Smarta Tradition as competing with Vaishnavism and other traditions. According to Jeffrey Timm, for example, in verse 10 of the Tattvarthadipanibandha, Vallabhacharya states that, "Mutually contradictory conclusions are non-contradictory when they are considered from their respective contexts, like Vaishnava, etc."According to Murray Milner Jr. a professor of Sociology, the Smarta tradition refers to "Hindus who tend toward Brahmanical orthodoxy in both thought and behavior". Smartas are committed to a "relatively unified Hinduism" and they reject extreme forms of sectarian isolationism, reminiscent of the European discourse about church and Christian sects.
The tradition, states Milner, has roots that emerged sometime between 3rd century BCE and 3rd century CE, likel
Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites", it is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism, it considers the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda. Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra; the ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism.
Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism. Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, destroyer to being the same as the Atman within oneself and every living being, it is related to Shaktism, some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism. Shiva means kind, gracious, or auspicious; as a proper name, it means "The Auspicious One". The word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature. The term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver"; the Sanskrit word śaiva or Shaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", while the related beliefs, history and sub-traditions constitute Shaivism. The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, it has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology, predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional differences in philosophy.
Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism and mixed schools. The origins of Shaivism a matter of debate among scholars; some trace the origins to the Indus Valley civilization, which reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE. Archeological discoveries show seals. Of these is the Pashupati seal, which early scholars interpreted as someone seated in a meditating yoga pose surrounded by animals, with horns; this "Pashupati" seal has been interpreted by these scholars as a prototype of Shiva. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that it is not clear from the seal if the figure has three faces, or is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Other scholars state that the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered, the interpretation of the Pashupati seal is uncertain. According to Srinivasan, the proposal that it is proto-Shiva may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings".
Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000–2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, the bull interpretation is more accurate. The Rigveda has the earliest clear mention of Rudra in its hymns such as 2.33, 1.43 and 1.114. The text includes a Satarudriya, an influential hymn with embedded hundred epithets for Rudra, cited in many medieval era Shaiva texts as well as recited in major Shiva temples of Hindus in contemporary times. Yet, the Vedic literature only present scriptural theology, but does not attest to the existence of Shaivism; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad composed before the Bhagavad Gita about 4th century BCE contains the theistic foundations of Shaivism wrapped in a monistic structure. It contains the key terms and ideas of Shaivism, such as Shiva, Maheswara, Bhakti, Atman and self-knowledge. According to Gavin Flood, "the formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD."
According to Chakravarti, Shiva rose to prominence as he was identified to be the
Shaiva siddhanta, provides the normative rites and theological categories of Agamic and Vedic Shaivam combined. Being a dualistic philosophy, the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become an enlightened soul through Lord Shiva's Grace; this tradition was once practiced all over India. However the Muslim subjugation of North India restricted Shaiva Siddhanta to the south, where it merged with the Tamil Saiva movement expressed in the bhakti poetry of the Nayanars, it is in this historical context that Shaiva Siddhanta is considered a "southern" tradition, one, still much alive. The Tamil compendium of devotional songs known as Tirumurai, the Shaiva Agamas and "Meykanda" or "Siddhanta" Shastras, form the scriptural canon of Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta. Shaiva Siddhanta encompasses tens of millions of adherents, predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Today it has thousands of active temples there and numerous monastic and ascetic traditions, along with its own community of priests, the Adishaivas, who are qualified to perform Agama based Shaiva Temple rituals.
Monier-Williams gives the meaning of siddhanta as ‘any fixed or established or canonical text-book or received scientific treatise on any subject... as.. Brahma-siddhanta ब्रह्म-सिद्धान्त... Surya-siddhanta, etc.’ The name of the school could be translated as "the settled view of Shaiva doctrine" or "perfected Shaivism." Saiva Siddhanta's original form is uncertain. Some hold, it seems to others, that the early Śaiva Siddhānta may have developed somewhere in Northern India, as a religion built around the notion of a ritual initiation that conferred liberation. Such a notion of liberatory initiation appears to have been borrowed from a Pashupata tradition. At the time of the early development of the theology of the school, the question of monism or dualism, which became so central to theological debates, had not yet emerged as an important issue. From the fifth to the eighth CE Buddhism and Jainism had spread in Tamil Nadu before a forceful Shaiva bhakti movement arose. Between the seventh and ninth centuries, pilgrim saints such as Sambandar and Sundarar used songs of Shiva’s greatness to refute concepts of Buddhism and Jainism.
Manikkavacakar's heart-melting verses, called Tiruvacakam, are full of visionary experience, divine love and urgent striving for truth. The songs of these four saints are part of the compendium known as Tirumurai which, along with the Vedas, Shaiva Agamas, the Meykanda Shastras, are now considered to form the scriptural basis of the Śaiva Siddhānta in Tamil Nadu, it seems probable that the Tirumurai devotional literature was not, considered to belong to the Śaiva Siddhānta canon at the time when it was first composed: the hymns themselves appear to make no such claim for themselves. The Bhakti movement should not be exaggerated as an articulation of a'class struggle', there is a strong sense against rigid structures in the society. In the twelfth century Aghorasiva, the head of a branch monastery of the Amardaka order in Chidambaram, took up the task of amalgamating Sanskrit and Tamil Siddhanta. Refuting monist interpretations of Siddhanta, Aghorasiva brought a change in the understanding of Siva by reclassifying the first five principles, or tattvas, into the category of pasa, stating they were effects of a cause and inherently unconscious substances, a departure from the traditional teaching in which these five were part of the divine nature of God.
Aghorasiva was successful in preserving the Sanskrit rituals of the ancient Āgamic tradition. To this day, Aghorasiva's Siddhanta philosophy is followed by all of the hereditary temple priests, his texts on the Āgamas have become the standard puja manuals, his Kriyakramadyotika is a vast work covering nearly all aspects of Shaiva Siddhanta ritual, including the daily worship of Siva, occasional rituals, initiation rites, funerary rites, festivals. In Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta, the thirteenth century Meykandar, Arulnandi Sivacharya, Umapati Sivacharya further spread Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta. Meykandar's twelve-verse Śivajñānabodham and subsequent works by other writers, all of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, laid the foundation of the Meykandar Sampradaya, which propounds a pluralistic realism wherein God and world are coexistent and without beginning. Siva is an efficient but not material cause, they view the soul's merging in Siva as salt in water, an eternal oneness, twoness. Saiva Siddhanta today is practiced among the Saiva's of southern India and Sri Lanka by members of the Vellalar community.
It is prevalent among Saiva's of the Tamil diaspora around the world. Prominent Siddhanta societies and monasteries exist in a number of other countries; the United States island of Kauai, a part of Hawaii, is home to the Saiva Siddhanta Peetam, an organization that promotes the union of worldwide Hindus, through a publication called Hinduism Today. This was founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, under the auspices of Subramuniyaswami's designated successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami; this lineage, which traces itself back to the Shaiva Siddhars of Northern Sri Lanka, adheres to the philosophical position that the original Shaiva Siddhanta as expounded by Tirumular, was and is monistic, propagates this teaching as Advaita Saiva Siddhanta. The famous songs of the Sri Lankan Shaiva Sage, Shiva Yogaswami, attest to this view of the nature of God and World as being one; the texts revered by the southern Saiva Siddhanta are the
Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk, a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century, he was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, he is best known for his speech which began with the words - "Sisters and brothers of America..." in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893. Born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality, he was influenced by his guru, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India.
He travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint, his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day. Vivekananda was born Narendranath Datta in a Bengali family at his ancestral home at 3 Gourmohan Mukherjee Street in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival, he was one of nine siblings. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court. Durgacharan Datta, Narendra's grandfather was a Sanskrit and Persian scholar who left his family and became a monk at age twenty-five, his mother, Bhubaneswari Devi, was a devout housewife. The progressive, rational attitude of Narendra's father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape his thinking and personality. Narendranath was interested in spirituality from a young age and used to meditate before the images of deities such as Shiva, Rama and Mahavir Hanuman.
He was fascinated by wandering monks. Naren was naughty and restless as a child, his parents had difficulty controlling him, his mother said, "I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his ghosts". In 1871, at the age of eight, Narendranath enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's Metropolitan Institution, where he went to school until his family moved to Raipur in 1877. In 1879, after his family's return to Calcutta, he was the only student to receive first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination, he was an avid reader in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, history, social science and literature. He was interested in Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Narendra was trained in Indian classical music, participated in physical exercise and organised activities. Narendra studied Western logic, Western philosophy and European history at the General Assembly's Institution.
In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1884. Narendra studied the works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin, he became fascinated with the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and corresponded with him, translating Spencer's book Education into Bengali. While studying Western philosophers, he learned Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature. William Hastie wrote, "Narendra is a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities in German universities, among philosophical students, he is bound to make his mark in life". Narendra was known for the ability at speed reading. Several incidents have been given as examples. In a talk, he once quoted verbatim, three pages from Pickwick Papers. Another incident, given is his argument with a Swedish national where he gave reference to some details on Swedish history that the Swede disagreed with but conceded.
In another incident with Dr. Paul Deussen's at Kiel in Germany, Vivekananda was going over some poetical work and did not reply when the professor spoke to him, he apologized to Dr. Deussen explaining that he was too absorbed in reading and hence did not hear him; the professor was not satisfied with this explanation but Vivekananda quoted and interpreted verses from the text leaving the professor dumbfounded about his feat of memory. Once, he requested some books written by Sir John Lubbock from a library and returned them the next day claiming that he had read them; the librarian refused to believe him until cross examination about the contents convinced him that Vivekananda was being truthful. Some accounts have called Narendra a shrutidhara. In 1880 Narendra joined Keshab Chandra Sen's Nava Vidhan, established by Sen after meeting Ramakrishna and reconverting from Christianity to Hinduism. Narendra became a member of a Freemasonry lodge "at some point before 18
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient, non-theistic, Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jains trace their history through a succession of 24 victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 8th century BC and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology; the main religious premises of Jainism are anekāntavāda, aparigraha and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā, asteya and aparigraha; these principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles.
Parasparopagraho Jīvānām is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most basic prayer in Jainism. Jainism has Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; the Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions except Kanji Panth sub-tradition, with laypersons supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources. Jainism has between five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, Diwali; the principle of ahimsa is a fundamental tenet of Jainism. It believes that one must abandon all violent activity, without such a commitment to non-violence all religious behavior is worthless. In Jain theology, it does not matter how correct or defensible the violence may be, one must not kill any being, "non-violence is one's highest religious duty".
Jain texts such as Acaranga Sūtra and Tattvarthasūtra state that one must renounce all killing of living beings, whether tiny or large, movable or immovable. Its theology teaches that one must neither kill another living being, nor cause another to kill, nor consent to any killing directly or indirectly. Furthermore, Jainism emphasizes non-violence against all beings not only in action but in speech and in thought, it states that instead of hate or violence against anyone, "all living creatures must help each other". Violence negatively affects and destroys one's soul when the violence is done with intent, hate or carelessness, or when one indirectly causes or consents to the killing of a human or non-human living being; the idea of reverence for non-violence is founded in Hindu and Buddhist canonical texts, it may have origins in more ancient Brahmanical Vedic thoughts. However, no other Indian religion has developed the non-violence doctrine and its implications on everyday life as has Jainism.
The theological basis of non-violence as the highest religious duty has been interpreted by some Jain scholars not to "be driven by merit from giving or compassion to other creatures, nor a duty to rescue all creatures", but resulting from "continual self-discipline", a cleansing of the soul that leads to one's own spiritual development which affects one's salvation and release from rebirths. Causing injury to any being in any form creates bad karma which affects one's rebirth, future well being and suffering. Late medieval Jain scholars re-examined the Ahiṃsā doctrine when one is faced with external threat or violence. For example, they justified violence by monks to protect nuns. According to Dundas, the Jain scholar Jinadatta Suri wrote during a time of Muslim destruction of temples and persecution that "anybody engaged in a religious activity, forced to fight and kill somebody would not lose any spiritual merit but instead attain deliverance". However, such examples in Jain texts that condone fighting and killing under certain circumstances are rare.
The second main principle of Jainism is anekāntavāda or anekantatva, a word derived from anekānta and vada. The anekāntavāda doctrine states that reality is complex and always has multiple aspects. Reality can be experienced, but it is not possible to express it with language. Human attempts to communicate is Naya, explained as "partial expression of the truth". Language is not Truth. From Truth, according to Mahāvīra, language returns and not the other way round. One can experience the truth of a taste, but cannot express that taste through language. Any attempts to express the experience is syāt, or valid "in some respect" but it remains a "perhaps, just one perspective, incomplete". In the same way, spiritual truths are complex, they have multiple aspects, language cannot express their plurality, yet through effort and appropriate karma they can be experienced. Since reality is many-sided the great error, according to Jainism, is ekānta where some relative truth is treated as an absolute truth to the exclusion of others.
The anekāntavāda premise of the Jains is ancient, as evidenced by its mention in Buddhist texts such as the Samaññapha
Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism along with Shaivism and Smarthism. It is called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord; the tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Krishna is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, ten avatars of Vishnu are the most studied. Rama, Narayana, Hari, Kesava, Govinda, Sri Nathji and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme being; the tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism called Krishnaism. Developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia; the Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja. The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu, it has been key to the spread of the Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE. Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra texts and the Bhagavata Purana.
Vaishnavism originates in the latest centuries BCE and the early centuries CE, as an amalgam of the heroic Krishna Vasudeva, the "divine child" Bala Krishna of the Gopala traditions, syncretism of these non-Vedic traditions with the Mahabharata canon, thus affiliating itself with Vedism in order to become acceptable to the orthodox establishment. Krishnaism becomes associated with bhakti yoga in the medieval period. Although Vishnu was a Vedic solar deity, he is mentioned more compared to Agni and other Vedic deities, thereby suggesting that he had a major position in the Vedic religion. Other scholars state that there are other Vedic deities, such as water deity Nara, who together form the historical roots of Vaishnavism. In the late-Vedic texts, the concept of a metaphysical Brahman grows in prominence, the Vaishnavism tradition considered Vishnu to be identical to Brahman, just like Shaivism and Shaktism consider Shiva and Devi to be Brahman respectively; the ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear, the evidence inconsistent and scanty.
According to Dalal, the origins may be in Vedic deity Bhaga. According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities Nara and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism. According to Dandekar, Vaishnavism may have emerged from merger of several ancient theistic traditions, where the various deities were integrated as different avatars of the same god. In Dandekar theory, Vaishnavism emerged at the end of the Vedic period before the second urbanisation of northern India, in the 7th to 4th century BCE. Vasudeva and Krishna, "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas," gained prominence, merged into Bhagavan Vasudeva-Krishna, due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas; this was followed by a merger with the cult of Gopala-Krishna of the cowherd community of the Abhıras at the 4th century CE. The character of Gopala Krishna is considered to be non-Vedic. According to Dandekar, such mergers consolidated the position of Krishnaism between the heterodox sramana movement and the orthodox Vedic religion.
The "Greater Krsnaism", states Dandekar merged with the Rigvedic Vishnu. Syncretism of various traditions and Vedism resulted in Vaishnavism. At this stage that Vishnu of the Rig Veda was assimilated into non-Vedic Krishnaism and became the equivalent of the Supreme God; the appearance of Krishna as one of the Avatars of Vishnu dates to the period of the Sanskrit epics in the early centuries CE. The Bhagavad Gita was incorporated into the Mahabharata as a key text for Krishnaism; the Narayana-cult was included, which further brahmanized Vaishnavism. The Nara-Narayana cult may have originated in Badari, a northern ridge of the Hindu Kush, absorbed into the Vedic orthodoxy as Purusa Narayana. Purusa Narayana may have been turned into Arjuna and Krsna; this complex history is reflected in the two main historical denominations of Vishnavism. The Bhagavats, worship Vasudeva-Krsna, are followers of brahmanic Vaishnavism, while the Pacaratrins regard Narayana as their founder, are followers of Tantric Vaishnavism.
According to Hardy, there is evidence of early "southern Krishnaism," despite the tendency to allocate the Krishna-traditions to the Northern traditions. South Indian texts show close parallel with the Sanskrit traditions of Krishna and his gopi companions, so ubiquitous in North Indian text and imagery. Early writings in Dravidian culture such as Manimekalai and the Cilappatikaram present Krishna, his brother, favourite female companions in the similar terms. Hardy argues that the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana is a Sanskrit "translation" of the bhakti of the Tamil alvars. Devotion to southern Indian Mal may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu; the Alvars, whose name can be translated "sages" or "saints", were devotees of Mal. Their poems show a pronounced orientation to the Vaishnava, Krishna, side of Mal, but they do not make the distinction between Krishna and Vishnu on the basis of the concept of the Avatars. Yet, according to Hardy the term "Mayonism" should be used instead of "Krishnaism" when referring to Mal or Mayon.
Most of the Gupta kings, beginning with Chandragupta II were known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. After the Gupta age, Krishnaism rose to a major current of Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism developed into various sects and subsects
Kashmir Shaivism or more Trika Shaivism refers to a nondualist tradition of Śaiva-Śakta Tantra which originated sometime after 850 CE. Though this tradition was influential in Kashmir and is thus called Kashmir Shaivism, it was a pan-Indian movement termed "Trika" by its great exegete Abhinavagupta, which flourished in Oḍiśā and Mahārāṣṭra. Defining features of the Trika tradition is its idealistic and monistic Pratyabhijnā philosophical system, propounded by Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, the centrality of the three goddesses Parā, Parāparā, Aparā. While Trika draws from numerous Śaiva texts, such as the Shaiva Agamas and the Śaiva and Śakta Tantras, its major scriptural authorities are the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, the Siddhayogeśvarīmata and the Anāmaka-tantra, its main exegetical works are those of Abhinavagupta, such as the Tantrāloka, Mālinīślokavārttika, Tantrasāra which are formally an exegesis of the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, although they drew on the Kali-based Krama subcategory of the Kulamārga.
Kashmir Shaivism claimed to supersede Shaiva Siddhanta, a dualistic tradition which scholars consider normative tantric Shaivism. The Shaiva Siddhanta goal of becoming an ontologically distinct Shiva was replaced by recognizing oneself as Shiva who, in Kashmir Shaivism's monism, is the entirety of the universe. Dating from around 850-900 CE, the Shiva Sutras and Spandakārikā were the first attempt from the Śākta Śaiva domain to present a non-dualistic metaphysics and gnostic soteriology in opposition to the dualistic exegesis of the Shaiva Siddhanta; the Shiva Sutras appeared to Vasugupta according to tradition. The Spandakārikā was either composed by his student Bhatta Kallata. Somananda, the first theologian of monistic Shaivism, was the teacher of Utpaladeva, the grand-teacher of Abhinavagupta, who in turn was the teacher of Ksemaraja; the Tantrāloka, Mālinīślokavārttika, Tantrasāra of the Kashmirian Abhinavagupta are formally an exegesis on the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, although they drew on the Kali-based Krama tradition of the Kulamārga.
Jayaratha wrote a commentary on the Tantrāloka. There were no major writers or publications after the 14th century. In the 20th century Swami Lakshman Joo, a Kashmiri Brahmin, helped revive both the scholarly and yogic streams of Kashmir Shaivism, his contribution is enormous. He inspired a generation of scholars who made Kashmir Shaivism a legitimate field of inquiry within the academy. Acharya Rameshwar Jha, a disciple of Joo, is credited with establishing the roots of Kashmir Shaivism in the learned community of Varanasi. Rameshwar Jha with his creativity, familiarity with the ancient texts and personal experiences provided access to concepts of non-dualistic Kashmir Shaivism, his writings of Sanskrit verses have been published as the books Purnta Pratyabhijna and Samit Swatantram. Swami Muktananda, although not belonging to the direct lineage of Kashmir Shaivism, felt an affinity for the teachings, validated by his own direct experience, he encouraged Motilal Banarsidass to publish Jaideva Singh's translations of Shiva Sutras, Pratyabhijnahrdayam, Spanda Karikas and Vijnana Bhairava.
He introduced Kashmir Shaivism to a wide audience of western meditators through his writings and lectures on the subject. The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra, was introduced to the West by Paul Reps, a student of Joo, by including an English translation in his book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques. Since it is a Tantric tradition, a necessary prerequisite for Trika yogic practice is tantric initiation or diksa; the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, a major source for the tradition, states: "Without initiation there is no qualification for Saiva yoga."Although domesticated into a householder tradition, Kashmir Shaivism recommended a secret performance of Kaula practices in keeping with its tantric heritage. This was to be done in seclusion from public eyes, therefore allowing one to maintain the appearance of a typical householder; the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra outlines several major preconditions conferring the authority to practice Yoga:The Yogin who has mastered posture the mind, controlled the vital energy, subdued the senses, conquered sleep, overcome anger and agitation and, free from deceit, should practise Yoga in a quiet, pleasant cave or earthen hut free from all obstructions.
Numerous texts such as the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra outline six “varieties of the goal” or “targets” of yogic practices, mainly: Contemplation of void, which bestows all Perfections and liberation. Contemplation of body, which bestows the coercion of deities like Visnu or Rudra Contemplation of drop, which bestows sovereignty over Yogins Contemplation of phoneme, which bestows the Perfection of mantra Contemplation of world, which bestows regency of a world Contemplation of resonance, which leads to isolation and liberation; each of the goals is given specific practices. For example, in the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, perfecting the Void is said to be reached by moving the mind and vital energy through two groups of three voids located along the central channel, reaching to the region above the head. Different scriptures outline their location in the body; the practice of resonance deals with various sounds, how the yogin is to focus on a specific sound and its resonance within the central channe