Article

Shaivism

Peter Bisschop

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0051
Shaivism

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The study of Shaivism has seen a great surge the last few decades. While it has always been recognized that Shaivism, together with Vaishnavism, constitutes one of the major traditions of Hinduism, it has become increasingly clear that Shaivism, in fact, played a key role in the development of Brahmanical Hinduism. This is mainly due to the important work done by Alexis Sanderson and others. The roots of early Shaivism can be traced back to the worship of the Vedic deity Rudra, but it is only in the centuries after the start of the Common Era that there is clear and reliable evidence for the existence of organized sectarian worship of Rudra-Shiva, with the appearance of the Pāśupatas, or “followers of Paśupati.” In the subsequent centuries, the Pāśupata movement rapidly spread throughout the north of India and different forms of Shaivism arose, giving rise to tantric traditions. In the south of India, the Shaiva religion acquired a distinctive devotional character. During the early medieval period, Shaivism became the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu regional kingdoms and practically functioned as a state religion in many areas of the Indian subcontinent, while also having a noteworthy impact upon processes of state formation in Southeast Asia. In the early 21st century Shaivism remains a characteristic feature of Hinduism.

Article.  10457 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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