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-DARSANASUDHA Dr. N.K. Sundareswardin Harmony and Conflicts between the Saiva and Vaisnava systems - The South Indian Scenario S.AS. Sarma Introduction Many different systems of beliefs and practices emerged from Vedic religion, amongst which the Saiva and Vaisnava systems are two of the most prominent. Numerous practices followed by both these cults can be traced back to the Vedas: for example the Vedic upanayana ceremony might have been instrumental in the prescription of the initiation rites in both these systems. Visnu and Rudra (Siva), who are both venerated in the hymns of the Vedic corpus, do not hold a prominent place amongst the Vedic Gods but, it is quite clear particularly in the later Saiva-Vaisnava- Upanisads', that they are both revered as the supreme Gods by the Saivas and the Vaisnavas respectively. On the other hand, Indra and other Gods, who were given equal status as given for Siva and Visnu in the Vedic texts, were placed in the patheon of Siva and Visnu in the Saiva-Vaisnava systems. This can clearly be seen in the Paficavaranastava of Aghorasiva, a twelfth-centu ry south Indian Prescription for the visualization of Sadagiva and his retinue where Indra and other Gods (Lokapalas) are placed in the fourth circuit.” Saiva and Vaisnava System - An Introduction While we find a harmony in the beliefs and practices of the Vedic corpus’, we find that the Saiva and Vaispava Systems have 3 different approach towards doctrine, in particular salvation. They are loo also very the custo Texts of corpus, C prevalent Co of] mo cite cor tor and ear! Rat int con stu ins¢ Thus the 7* cer esablishe second ha major king bythe Bud the first Pamanay; the Tevarg Even t appear i the Pai Positively « Tet Tran Event f the ive a y are DarSanasudha also very different in terms of their influence on the : social life and the customs of their followers. Texts of Saiva and Vaisnava systems The texts belonging to the Saiva system, such as the Nisvasa corpus, could be dated back to 450 A. ‘D., but they are known to be prevalent only from the 7 century. As Prof, Sanderson observes: Concerning the chronology of the early scriptural sources of Tantric Saivism we can do little more than assent for most of the texts known to us that they predate the citations that appear in the works of the earliest datable commentators, that is to say, in the works of the tenth to early eleventh centuries from Kashmir and Mdlava, and for a few of them, that they 80 back at least to the early ninth century since they survive in Haravijaya of Ratnakara composed in Kashmir around 830, are listed in the text of thé Skandapurana Preserved in a manuscript completed in 810, or are mentioned as having been studied or practiced during this period in Saiva inscriptions from Cambodia.* Thus not only the existence of Saiva texts in the beginning of the 7" century is affirmed but the fact that they were by then well- established is further supported by an inscription’ belonging to the second half of the 7 century in which the Saiva initiations of three major kings are indicated and also the reference to the Saiva initiation by the Buddhist Philosopher Dharmakirti (600-60 c.; who belongs to the first half of the seventh century) in his work entitle the Pramanavartikakarika. The Saiva-bhakti literature in Tamil such as the Tevaram, was also written during the 7°/8" century A.D, Even though it is said that the Va/spava-bhakti literature began toappear from the 8" century, according to Prof. Sanderson the texts of the Paficaratra (Vaisnava) tradition that exist today, can be dated Positively only from the 10" century. Text Transmission between Saiva and Vaisnava texts® Even though textual transmission between two religious systems 101