Bhagavatism and Brahmanism - Vaishnavism in South India and Shaivism, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev

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The document Bhagavatism and Brahmanism - Vaishnavism in South India and Shaivism, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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Vaishnavism in South India

  • The history of the Vaishnava movement from the end of the Gupta period till first decade of the 13th Century A.D. is considered mostly with South India. 
  • Vaishnava poet-saints known as Alvars preached one-souled and loving adoration for Vishnu and their songs were collectively named prabandhas. 
  • The wave of Vishnu bhakti was supplemented on its doctrinal side by a class of Vaishnava teachers known as the Sri Vaishnava Acharyas. 
  • The most famous of the 12 Alvars were Nammalvar and Tumalisai. 
  • The Alvars represented the emotional side of south Indian Vaishnavism and the Acharyas its intellectual aspect. 
  • The two great acharyas developed between themselves the doctrine of the Visistadvaita (qualified non-dualism) in opposition to Samakara’s advaitavada. 
  • Two other Vaishnava teachers of the south, who lived shortly after Ramanuja were Madhavacharya and Nimbakara, the founders of the Brahma Sampradaya and Sanakadi Sampradaya respectively. 
  • They were the preachers of Dvaitavada (dualism) and Dvaitadvaitavada (dualistic non-dualism) in Vaishnavism. 
  • Nimbarka, though a native of the Deccan, lived most of the time in Mathura, and his Vaishnavism had a marked emphasis on Radha-Krishna worship.

Shaivism

  • Side by side with Vaishnavism, Shaivism also won great popularity. The origin of Shiva can be traced to the concept of Rudra in the Rig Veda.
  • Probably, he founded its place among Aryan gods because of the influence of Dravidians who had a similar god among them called Pasupati.
  • Shiva is a god of asceticism and animal sacrifice; he is also protector of men in the ordinary day-to-day lives. He is worshipped most in the form of the linga (phallus) because of the influence of another sect of Shaivism called Lingayat.
  • After 2nd century A.D. Shaivisim was divided into four schools, viz. Pasupata, Saiva, Kapalika and Kalamukha.
  • Evidence of the spread of Shaivism under the Magdha, Maurya and Shunga rulers is to be gleaned from the writing of Panini, Patanjali and Megasthenes.
      

Know The Important Facts

  •  The Jain Aupapatika Sutra also mentions Baladeva and Vasudeva and characterises the former as one of the eight great Kshatriya teachers. 
  •  Narayana is found mentioned for the first time in the Satapatha Brahmana.
  •  The conception of the Vamana avatara associated with Vishnu, and that of the Varaha, Matsya and Kurma avataras not yet connected with that God, are to be found in the Satapatha and other Brahmanas.
  •  The figures of Kartikeya and his different aspects described variouly as Skanda, Kumara, Visakha and Mahasena found on the coins of Huvishka show that this God was held in great veneration in the second century A.D.
  •  The Niddessa refers to a body of Indians whose special objects of worship were the sun and the moon.
  •  The five well known Brahmanical sect were the Vaishnava, Saiva, Sakta, Saura and Ganapatya.
  •  The coins of Wima Kadphises bear either Shiva, Shiva and bull, or one of the emblems of Shiva, a trident battle axe.
  •  Gondopharnes. the Indo-Parthian ruler, very often describes himself in his coin-legends as devavrata or sudevavrata.
  •  The Pasupata vow is summarily described in the Atharvasiras Upanishad, a sectarian work devoted to the exaltation of Rudra’s glory.
  •  Kusika, Mitra, Garga, and Kaurushya were the four disciples of Lakulisa.

 

  • In his grammar Panini writes of the followers of Shiva, and Patanjali refers to idols erected in his honour
  • Megasthenes’ reference to an Indian Dionysius are clearly to be linked with Shiva.
  • Panini in his sutra on the formation of words Eka Saiva probably refers to a group of Shiva worshippers of his time (5th century B.C.).
  • Patanjali in his commentary on one of the sutras of Panini describes a class of Shiva worshippers named by him as Shiva-Bhagavatas.
  • Atimargika religious practices of the Pasupatas is described in the Pasupata Sutras and in the much later Sarvadarsansamgraha.
  • The Pasupata doctrine as amended and organised by Lakulisa was dualistic in character.
  • Kashmir became the venue of the Pruyabhijna and Spandasastra schools founded respectively by Vasugupta and his pupils Kallata and Somananda.
  • A sect of moderate Shaivas known as Mattamayuras flourished at the same time in central India.
  • The Shaiva movement in the South, like the Vaishnava, flourished at the beginning through the activities of the 63 saints known in Tamil as Nayanars.
  • There appealing emotional songs in Tamil were called Tevaram Stotras, also known as Dravida Veda and ceremonially sung in the local Shiva temples.
  • Manikka-agar, though not included in the list of the 63 Nayanars, was also a great Shaiva devotee, and his Tamil work Tinuvasagam is one of the best devotional poems of India.
  • The Suddhashaivas upheld Visistadvaitavada, and its great expounder Srikantha Sivhacharya appears to have been influenced by Ramanuja.
  • The Virshaiva or Lingayata movement was developed by Basava.

Ajivikas

  • The main rivals for the Buddhists were the Ajivikas, a body of ascetics who were under a rigorous discipline similar to that of the Jainas, and who also practised complete nudity.
  • Like Mahavira, Gosala Maskariputra looked back to earlier teachers and ascetic groups, whose doctrines he refurbished and developed.
  • According to both Buddhist and Jaina tradition he was of a humble birth; and he died before the Buddha about 487 B.C., after a fierce altercation with Mahavira in the city of Sravasti.
  • His followers seem to have combined with those of other teachers, such as Purana Kashyapa, the antinomian and Pukudha Katyayana, the atomist, to form the Ajivika sect.
  • After a period of prosperity in Mauryan times, when Ashoka and his successor Dasratha presented caves to the Ajivikas, the sect rapidly declined. It only retained some local importance in a small region of eastern Mysore and the adjacent parts of Madras, where it survived until the 14th century, after which we hear no more of it.
  • Though the Ajivikas rejected the traditional Brahmin set of views, they did not come forward with any positive answer to the main questions of concern to the people of that age to counter the Brahmin ideas, as did Buddhism.
  • Man’s purpose, his place in the world and in society, the value of individual effort and the principles on which “correct conduct” should be based were not really discussed in Gosala’s teachings, although they had proved of so much interest to the Buddhists and Jainas. The “universal predetermination” proclaimed by this teaching excluded in principle any consideration of all these questions.
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