Vaishnavism and Shaivism

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Vaishnavism and Shaivism

The followers of Vaishnavism worship various forms of Lord Vishnu. The followers of Shaivism worship various forms of Lord Shiva.


Lord Vishnu assumed various names as Narayan, Krishna, Hari, Ram and Govinda in various parts of India. The worshipers of Lord Vishnu belongs to Vaishnavism. The Shakas, Satavahanas and the Kushana inscriptions mention Vishnu. The Guptas worshiped Vishnu.

Chandragupta-II took the title of ‘Param Bhagabat’. The cult became popular in South India, Java, Champa and Combodia in South-East Asia.


The Rig Veda mentions Rudra as the destroyer. In later days it changed to Shiva. It is assumed that the Harappan people even worshipped Pashupati, the earlier form of Shiva. According to Megasthenes, Panini and Patanjali the Mauryas, Sungas, Greeks and Kushana kings may have worshipped Shiva. Important disciples of the cult were Mihirakula, Sasanka, Vakatakas of the Deccan, the Kadambas, the Gangs of Karnataka and Maitrakas of Balabhi.

Adi Sankaracharya laid emphasis on the mystic truth of the Upanishads. He was a Shaivite and his theory was known as Advaitabad He then laid stress on Bhakti and composed hymns addressed to Vishnu, Shiva Shakti and Surya. Shri Ramanuja of the eleventh century AD had set up Sri Sampradaya and popularized Hinduism intertwined with Vedic traditions and the Bhakti cult.

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