SAIVISM1. It recognize eighteen Agamas. From the fifth to the ninth centuries many great Shaiva saints like Sambandar Appar and Sundarar flourished in South India whose hymns constitute a magnificently rich devotional literature. The collection of these hymns is called Tirumurai. Manikkavasagar (seventh century) has written his famous Tiruvasagam. Meykandar the author of the Shiva jnanabodhamwho belongs to the thirteenth century is regarded as the first systematic expounder of the Siddhanta philosophy. His disciple Arulnandi Shivacharya is the author of the famous work Shiva jnanasiddhiyar. Shrikantha Shivacharya (fourteenth century) has written a commentary on the Brahmasutra which is commented upon by Appaya Diksita in his Shivarkamanidipika in the light of shivism in general though not strictly according to the Siddhanta philosophy.
2. Shaiva Siddhanta calls itself 'Shuddhavaita' the name which Vallabha's school bears. But whereas Vallabha means by the word 'Shuddha' that which is free from the impurity of Maya (Maya sambandharahita) and by the word 'Advaita the non-dual Brahman Shaiva Siddhanta takes the word 'Shuddha' in the sense of 'unqualified' and the word 'Advaita' in the sense of 'Dvaita devoid of duality' which means that difference is real in existence but inseparable from identity in consciousness. This means that though matter and sould are real yet they are not opposed to Shiva but are inseparably united with him who is the supreme reality. This suggests the influence of Aprthaksiddhi of Ramanuja. But whereas Ramanuja makes matter and sould only the attributes of God Shaiva Siddhanta agrees with Madhva in giving them substantive existence.
3. Shiva is the supreme reality and is called pati or the lord who possesses the eight attributes of 'self-existence essential purity, intuitive wisdom, infinite intelligence, freedom from all bonds infinite grace of love omnipotence and infinite bliss. Junst as the potter is the first cause his staff and wheel is the instrumental cause and clay is the material cause of a pot similarly Shiva is the first cause his Shakti is the instrumental cause and Maya is the material cause of this world. The relation of Shiva and Shakti is that of identity (tadatmya) though it is the power of the Lord. Thus Shakti is conscious unchanging and eternal energy and is known as Svarupa Shakti.
4. The individual sould are called pashu for like cattle they are bound by the rope of avidya to this world. The sould is really an all-pervading eternal and conscious agent and enjoyer (ichcha-jnana-kriyayukta). It has consciousness the essence of which is in the act of seeing. It is different from the gross and the subtle body and the senseorgans etc. The bound soulmis take themselves as finite and limited in will thought and action and in liberation are restored to their original nature.
5. The fetters which bind the souls are called pasha and are three fold Avidya Karma and Maya. Avidya is one in all beings and is beginningless. It is also called Anavamala or the impurity which consists in the fales notion of the soul to regard itself finite or atomic confined to the body and limited in knowledge and power. It is avidya because it makes the sould ignorant of its inherent glory and greatness. It is Anava because it makes the sould mistake itself as atomic and finite. It is the bondage (Pashutva) of the beast (pashu). Karma is produced by the deeds of the souls and is subtle and unseen (adrsta) and is the cause of the union of the conscious with the unconscious. Maya is the material cause of this impure world.
6. The removal of the pashu, makes the soul one with Shiva.