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Shaivism - yoga and austerities

Whereas Vaishnuism is devotional, constituting the way of  Bhakti, and metaphysically dualistic or at least a dualism in monism; Shaivism is primarily yogic.  Certainly there are  Shaivite sects, primarily in the South of India, which had and  have a dualistic devotional approach, but for the most part, and  especially in the North (e.g. Kashmir) Shiva (or Ishwara, or  Mahadeva ("Great God")) is identified with the monistic Absolute Reality, and the goal of the yogi is to return to Shiva;  to identify his or her finite consciousness with the infinite  Shiva consciousness.   Thus Shiva is sometimes referred to as "the Lord of the Yogis".  A prominent Shaivite movement in the West is the "Siddha Yoga" sect founded by Swami Muktananda.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page created 25 November 1998; last modified 23 March 2003