This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

Shivaism and Vishnuism

Because the Hindu is at liberty to attach himself to whatever symbol, which implies its own specific ‘point of view,’ most conforms to his nature and thereby assists him the most in his desire to identify himself with the Divine, it should be understood that the existence of groups devoted to Shiva and Vishnu does not imply sectarian opposition, any more than membership in the Catholic Benedictine order implies opposition to the Cistercians or the Franciscans. In this way, we arrive at the distinction between Vishnuism (or Vaishnavism) and Shivaism (or Shaivism). We emphasize again that both of these are complementary paths of realization for their disciples, and both or strictly orthodox. The Shaivas and the Vaishnavas each have their own books called Puranas and Tantras, which form a part of the category of traditional writings known as smriti. As we should expect, the emphasis of these writings correspond to the tendencies of those for whom they are meant. This means that they will each deal with a particular aspect of Hindu doctrine in their own way which, while different, remains orthodox. As an example, we can cite their treatment of the doctrine of the Divine Manifestations or Avataras.

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