The term "Shaivite" is overused nowadays. For instance, Iyer Brahmins are often called Shaivites, but they're actually followers of Adi Shankaracharya's Smartha sect ((which I discuss here and here), and simply adopt Shiva as their Ishta Devata. True philosophical Shaivism is relatively rare nowadays (in contrast to philosophical Vaishnavism which is pretty common). I discussed one genuine Shaivite sect, the Lingayat sect of Basava, in my answer here. But my question is related to a more famous sect of Shaivism, known as Shaiva Siddhanta, which is based on the Shaiva Agamas and the poems of the Nayanars just as the Sri Vaishnava sect (of which I'm a member) is based on the Pancharatra Agamas and the poems of the Alwars.

In any case, one of the defining works of the Shaiva Siddhanta sect is Meykandar's Siva Jnana Bodham, a commentary on twelve important verses from a Shaiva Agama called the Raurava Agamas. Now Meykandar's shishya Arulnandi Shivacharya wrote a work called the Sivajnana Siddhiyar, which is a commentary on Meykandar's work but also tries to refute rival schools of philosophy. In particular, he refutes the Charvakas, an materialistic atheistic school of Indian philosophy. In this excerpt, Arulnandi Shivacharya pretends to be a Charvaka and identifies Vamachari people as having a kinship with the Charvakas:

O hail to you, O Vami, give me your hand. You are my real incomparable friend, since you pursue like myself the paths of murder and robbery and vice which the cowards call evil, and [you] are the light of an admiring group of girls with lovely braids of hair.

I found this interesting, because many Shavite and Shakta sects follow Vamachara practices. So my question is, do all Shaiva Siddhantins reject Vamachara practices as sinful? Or do some Shaiva Siddhantins disagree with Arulnandi Shivacharya on this?

There are basically three kinds of Shaiva Siddhantins. There's the mainstream Shaiva Siddhantins, who follow Meykandar, which would include Arulnandi Shivacharya. Then there's Shrauta Shaiva Siddhantins, like Srikantha Shivacharya and Appaya Dikshitar. And then there's the Saiva Siddhanta Church, which I discuss here. Do all three groups have the same opinion concerning Vamachara practices?

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    why so many downvotes without explanation? Jul 4, 2017 at 5:57
  • From Wikipedia -- Shaiva-s, SiddhAnta & VAma are 3/7 paths. Why do you want to know what 1 or 2 paths "think" of the 3rd one? Seeing that you have put a bounty, it will be worthy to give details of purpose of Qn.
    – iammilind
    Jul 8, 2017 at 13:30
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    @iammilind That classification of 7 paths is a Shakta notion, it's not universally accepted by all Hindus. In any case, there are some sects of Hinduism which disapprove of Vamachara practices. There are other sects of Hinduism, particularly many Shaiva and Shakta sects, which approve of Vamachara practices. I wanted to know which category the Shaiva Siddhanta sect falls under. I found Arulnandi Shivacharya's tying of Vamacharis to Charvakas interesting, and I was curious as to what other Shaiva Siddhanta Acharyas have to say. Jul 8, 2017 at 14:09
  • Ok thx. Difference between VAmachAra vs other general sects, looks like Tamas vs Sattva kind of bhakti. Both are right (because all bhakti-s are right). Just opinions. Seems many in western countries are on VAma path. Eastern (including Muslims) are on conservative/orthodox path.
    – iammilind
    Jul 8, 2017 at 15:34
  • @iammilind Well, the practices of Westerners are more like Charvakas, i.e. they do materialistic practices for materialistic ends. Vamachara practices, on the other hand, are part of following certain Shaiva and Shakta Agamas. Jul 8, 2017 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Tirumular in Tirumantiram condemns Vamachara practises like drinking wine:

326: The Wicked Drink In VAma Tantra

Lust and drink, fit for the wicked are they;
In ritual unholy they drink and lose the senses
But the wise drink the nectar streaming from his feet, Which destroys egoism and bigotry.

327: Drinking In Vama Tantra Worship Leads To Perdition

They drink and perish, who to the vama sect belong.

The lustful ones in sensual delights are wholly lost;
But the pure souls find the light of sacrifices in their inner flame;
They, who his true name chant, approach him fast.

328: Truth Eludes Drunkards

They see not the inner truth, know not the pasu-pasa,
They dwell not in the bounteous lord's divine grace;
In the clear light of wisdom, Sivayoga they seek not,
They, who soak in liquors, truth never can appraise.

Now, since Tirumantiram is considered as authority by all Shaiva Siddhantins, we can say that this is view of all Shaiva Siddhantins. Also the people belonging to Vama sect are specifically condemned above.

However, the real meaning of drinking wine is explained in this answer from the Kaula Tantra, Kularnava:

[The Kundalini Shakti of the devotee] travels again and again from the mulAdhara to the brahmarandhra (in sahasrara). There the the shakti unites with Chitchandra or Parashiva. The amrita (nectar) like bliss flows out of the sahasrara as a result of this union. One who drinks this amrita, flowing out of the vyompankaja, is the real madyapAyi as prescribed in scriptures. Those who do otherwise are just mere drinkers of wine.

And Tirumular also agrees that this is the real taking of divine nectar. Just after condemning taking wine Tirumular says that, yogis seek Amborisa (divine nectar) of the cranial moon (ie. Sahasrara):

332: True Sakti Worship Seeks Divine Nectar

Sakti seeking, some religious sects ritual drinks consume,
But Sakti dies when the o'er- powered senses swoon;
True Sakti, indeed, in Sivajnanan finds its birth,
To merge in truth-wisdom-bliss - and to other things immune.

333: Sakthi And Siva Are One

If Sakthan his grace imparts, Sakti's grace we have,
If Sakti her grace imparts, Sakthan's grace we gain,
Sakti and Siva, if both in heart we hold,
Then in us, truly, the siddhis eight do shine.

334: Divine Nectar Leads to Siddhis

All Tattvas and egoity past, Truth of self realised,
In truest joy immersed, of false penances void,
Rid of worldly lure, drunk full of Heavenly Bliss,
This indeed is Siddhi true and Sivananda unalloyed.

335: Yogis Seek Ambrosia of the Cranial Moon

The yogis who, breath in control held, yearn for
The nectared delights of Contemplation's Moon,
The eight Siddhis they seek; but witless fools are they
Who to toddy yield and in its heady joys let their senses swoon.

336: Drink Divine Nectar in Samadhi

Open and drink deep the nectar that gushes from the spring;
Unfold the petals of the Holy Master's Lotus Feet;
Lead the Yoga-breath through the spiring channel up
And thus in Samadhi ascending,
Reach the Divine Good in holy meet.

And regarding use of sexual union also, sexual union just for the purpose of lust is obviously condemned:

206: Lust Destroys

Decoyed into passion's snare by tender woman's grace,
They fell into her arms and swooned in the warm embrace;
"This is life's crowning glory, fit for the gods to share--"
Thus speaking, they parted leaving not a trace.

207: Sweet Beginning, Bitter End

"What are the joys that in woman's charms we seek or find?"
The truly wise of heart pronounce thus their course:
"In the hand like the sugary juice from crushing mills,
But in the body bitterer than bitterest neem."

208: Irretrievable Loss in Lust

Those unfirm of mind who, in folly vain,
Struggle to plant seeds deep in moss-covered tank--
If such betimes we bind not and restrain,
Irretrievably lost are they in lust of sex, sordid and rank.

However the actual use of sexual union in the way prescribed by Tantra is not condemned. The real meaning of sexual union as described in the same answer

The union of Parashakti and Paramatma or Parashiva (in sashrara) is the real maithuna. One who is capable of remaining engrossed (in samadhi) in that bliss (that arises out of that union) is the real maithunakari. Others are just doing ordinary sexual congress.

The actual use of Sexual Union by highly advanced yogis is called as Pariyanga Yoga in Tirumantiram:

826: If Breath is Controlled Delicious Enjoyment

For Partners in Sex Union Results
When they seek enjoyment
The breath stands still;
The full breasted damsel and the goodly man
Stand in union exalted;
As liquid silver and gold
Their passion's emissions
In rapture commingles.

831: Successful Practitioners Alone Can Resort to Pariyanga

Unless it be,
He had in success practised
The Pariyanga yoga
Of five ghatika length
No yogi shall
A woman embrace.

832: Lord Siva Practised Pariyanga Yoga

Who may you ask,
Is He that achieved this audacious Yoga;
The lord is He that wears heavenly Ganga on His matted lock; For ghatika five
He embraced Sakti of speech ambrosial sweetness Thinking and thinking not of the act performed. time span of 24 minutes or nazhi kai

1942 Sublimate Sex Act

Embrace the damsel,
Your five sense organs with her five conjoining;
But, detached your passion for the woman be;
Like the senses that are Godward sublimated
Be calm; excited be not;

Control your breath, senses and mind,
Concentrated be your thought,
Thus emit your Bindu.

Thus, use of Pancha-makAras in Real sense is not condemned by Shaiva Siddhantins. However use by Pashus like drinking wine, using sex for lust etc.. is surely condemned.

  • So you means vamacharis do not use the dravyas in appropriate way? Jul 8, 2017 at 12:13
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    @RakeshJoshi They are the views of Shaiva Siddhantins not Tezz's. :P
    – The Destroyer
    Jul 8, 2017 at 12:21
  • I'd prefer a more comprehensive answer giving quotes from more Shaiva Siddhanta Acharyas, but if no one else posts an answer I'll give you the bounty. Jul 9, 2017 at 17:06
  • OK, no one else posted an answer giving quotes from other Shaiva Siddhanta Acharyas, so I'm giving you the bounty. Jul 15, 2017 at 13:52

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