Sankara SampradhAyam - 12

Dr. S.R.Marur smarur at EASI.SOFT.NET
Wed Sep 8 09:58:27 CDT 1999

>From the days of British raj, when the documents were written [*and
registered*], smArthAs were found to refer to themselves as those
belonging to 'siva mathAm' than to smArtha sect!

It is not only the present generation smArthAs, who are totally
ignorant of our religion, are under the impression that they are
saivaities; even during the last century, they [*smArthAs*] have
referred to themselves as such, even in the documents accepted and
honoured by the government.

Not only this. Long time before this [*English rule*], even during
the period when RamAnujA had stabilised the Vaishnava sampradhAyam;
when many of the smArthAs having Vishnu as their 'ishta dEvathA'
started adopting His path, the term advaitin seemed to have given a
saivaite connotation.

Why I say so is because [*the saint*] srI KantAchAryA is said to be
a contemporary of RamAnujA. He says, philosophically, similar to that of
vishistAdvaitham. But, He is quite closer to advaitA on the
question of state of mukthi. Theologically, Siva is His main deity. As
NarayanA is the paramAthman for RamAnujA, Siva is the paramAthman for
srI KantAchAryA.

Though He had thus established a 'Saiva-vishistAdvaitha' path, the
number of smArtha-saivaites (smArthAs having ParamEshwarA as their
ishta-dEvathA) who adopted the Saiva siddhAntha of srI KantA is
abysmally low compared to the smArtha-vaishnavaites who embraced the
siddhAnthA of RamAnujA.

This could be due to the self perception of the smArthAs, mainly as
saivaites, after the exodus of vaishnavaites towards RamAnujA. That
is why, when a religion was established as Saiva siddhAnthA itself,  it
appears, they didn't have the inclination to switch over to that.
Moreover, as the mOkshA of Saiva siddhAnthA was quite closer
[*similar*] to that of advaithA, many would have questioned as to why to
change over to a new but a similar school, leaving advaitA.

Philosophy is important (or appealing) only to a select few. What is
important to the vast majority is bhakti and the upAsanA mUrthy. That
is why there had been many instances of migration of ardent smArthA
devotees of Vishnu to those schools which held Vishnu in an exalted

Purely because of this, advaitA had come to be seen as a sect
considering Siva as its main deity and when a new school with Siva
Himself as its central principle was started, smArthAs (ie ardent
devotees of Siva) didn't choose to join this, in large numbers.

It has come to such a pass, nowadays, that advaitins are taken for
granted to be saivaites, per se, by those unaware [*of our

                                 .... to be continued



Translated from,
HH Sri Chandhra sEkharEndhra Saraswathi Swamiji, 'Sankara
SampradhAyam'. Deivathin Kural (in Tamil), Vol. II, Second
Edition, ed. rA. Ganapathi, Vanathi padhippagam, Chennai,
pp: 119-157 (1980).

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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