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Shaivism is a sect of Hinduism, most popular in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Followers of Shaivism are known as Shaivas, or Shaivites.[1] It is known in Sanskrit as शैव पंथ. The main belief of Shaivism is that Shiva, is the creator of all, destroyer, preserver and lord of all existence. It is also the oldest form of Hinduism today.[2] The Shvetashvatara Upanishad[2] is the earliest textual exposition of a systematic philosophy of Shaivism.[3] The Shiva Rahasya Purana, an Upapurana, is an important scriptual text.

Schools of Shaivism

Shaivism has many different schools reflecting both regional and temporal variations and differences in philosophy. Shaivism has literature that includes texts from multiple philosophical schools, including non-dualist, dualist, and non-dual-with-dualism perspectives. They can be further broken down to Vedic/Puranic, or Non-puranic schools.


Shaivism is one of the more popular forms of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, and Shaktism. It is the most popular form of Hinduism in Nepal, and the 3rd most popular in India.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Menachery, George, and Ignatius Hirudayam. Canonical Books of Saivism and Vaishnavism in Tamil and Sanskrit. Vol. 3. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambrige: Cambridge UP, 1996. Print.
  3. Śvetāśvatara Upanishad as a systematic philosophy of Shaivism see: Harvnb, Chakravarti 1994 pg 9.