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Śaiva Siddhānta

Śaiva Siddhānta. A dualistic school of Śaivism prevalent in S. India. The canon of this school is made up of the twenty-eight dualist Śaiva-Āgamas and Upāgamas, though, unlike in Kashmir Śaivism, the authority of the Vedas is also acknowledged. Two currents can be discerned in the school, the one gnostic, the other devotional.

The gnostic tradition emphasized knowledge (jñāna) and used Skt. as its medium of expression. Its dualist theology is summarized in the Tattvaprakāśa (Light on the Tattvas) of Bhojadeva (c.11th cent.) and expounded in Aghorasiva's commentaries on dualist Āgamas.

The devotional tradition, which used Tamil as a medium of expression, emphasized bhakti and surrender to the Lord Śiva. It revered the twenty-eight dualist Āgamas, but equally important if not more so was the devotional Tamil poetry of the Nāyaṇmārs (4th–9th cents. CE).

The most important theological text of the school is the Tamil Civañāṉapotam (Skt., Śivajñānabodha) by Meykaṇṭatēvar (Skt., Meykaṇḍadeva) (c.1220 CE) which is said to be the quintessence of the Vedas and Āgamas.

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