Tamil was called Tevaram (also known as Dravida Veda). There are 63
Nayanars, the most important among them being Tirujnana Sambandhar and
Tirunavukkarasu (popularly known as ‘Appar’).
Saiva Acharyas or Teachers
The emotional Saivism preached by the Nayanars was supplemented on the
doctrinal side by a large number of Saiva intellectuals (Acharyas) who were
associated with several forms of Saiva movements like Agamanta, Suddha
and Virasaiva. The Agamantas based their tenets mainly on the 28 agamas
which explain the various aspects of Siva. Aghora Sivacharya was one of
their best exponents. The Suddhasaivas upheld Ramanuja’s teachings and
Srikanta Sivacharya was their great expounder. The Virasaivas or Lingayats
were led by Basava (a minister of Chalukya king Bijjala Raya of the 12th
century AD). Basava used his political power and posi-tion in furthering the
cause of this movement which was both a social and religious reform
movement. These people were also influenced by Ramanuja’s teachings.
The Pasupata doctrine, founded by Lakulisa, was dualistic in nature. Pasu
(the individual soul) was eternally existing with the pati (the supreme soul),
and the attainment of dukkhanta (end of misery) was through the
performance of yoga and vidhi (means). This vidhi consisted of various
senseless and unsocial acts (or extreme acts). The Kapalikas and the
Kalamukhas were undoubtedly off-shoots of the Pasupata sect and there is
enough epigraphic evidence to show that these were already flourishing in the
Gupta period. Other extreme sects of Saivism are the Aghoris (successors of
Kapalikas) and the Gorakhnathis.
In contrast to the above mentioned extreme forms, some moderate forms
of Saivism also appeared in northern and central India in the early medieval
period. In Kashmir two moderate schools of Saivism were founded.
Vasugupta founded the Pratyabhijna school, and his pupils, Kallata and
Somananda, founded the Spandasastra school. All these teachings were
systematised by Abhinava Gupta who founded a new monistic system, called
the Trika. Another moderate Saiva sect, known as Mattamayuras, flourished