* * *▪ Indian religious cultalso spelled Shaivismcult of the Indian god Śiva, with Vaiṣṇavism and Śāktism, one of the three principal forms of modern Hinduism. Śaivism includes such diverse movements as the highly philosophic Śaiva-siddhānta, the socially distinctive Liṅgāyat, ascetic orders such as the daśnāmī sannyāsins, and innumerable folk variants.The beginnings of the Śiva cult have been traced back by some scholars to non-Aryan phallic worship. Although this is not conclusive, it is clear that the Vedic god Rudra (“the Howler”) was amalgamated with the figure of Śiva (“Auspicious One”) that emerged in the period after the Upaniṣads. The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad treats Śiva as the paramount deity, but it is not until sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD and the rise of the Pāśupata sect that organized sectarian worship developed.There are several schools of modern Śaiva thought, ranging from pluralistic realism to absolute monism, but they all agree in recognizing three principles: pati, Śiva, the Lord; paśu, the individual soul; and pāśa, the bonds that confine the soul to earthly existence. The goal set for the soul is to get rid of its bonds and gain śivatva (“the nature of Śiva”). The paths leading to this goal are caryā (external acts of worship), kriyā (acts of intimate service to God), yoga (meditation), and jñāna (knowledge). Śaivism, like some of the other forms of Hinduism, spread in the past to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Java, Bali, and parts of Indochina and Cambodia.
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