What is the correct term to use, Shaivism or Shivaism? I could not find a good source about how the word Shaiva (Saiva, Caiva) appeared and when.


From Wikipedia of Shaivism,

Shaivism ([Śaivam]) (Devanagari: शैव संप्रदाय) (Tamil: சைவம்) is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being or its metaphysical concept of Brahman. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites"

Devotees of Shiva are Shaiva

Devotees of Vishnu are Vaishnava

Hence Shaiva is the correct pronunciation.

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  • I do not consider wikipedia as a source of reliable knowledge. – Julio Olivieras Apr 24 '18 at 19:03
  • @JulioOlivieras in all.the hindu shastras there is only shaiva you can verify with any sources. This is correct as per grammar. – Rakesh Joshi Apr 24 '18 at 19:08
  • wikipedia as a source of reliable knowledge? Why Shaivism =Śaivam? Seems to be not correct. Why not for example Śaiva sampradāya as notes in Devangari शैव संप्रदाय – Julio Olivieras Apr 24 '18 at 19:18
  • @JulioOlivieras Śaivam is a tamil word and the dot on the top means that it is to be pronounced as shaivam. Sanskrit can be written in English alphabets in various ways like itrans roman etc – Rakesh Joshi Apr 24 '18 at 19:48
  • Thank you! Actually, in Tamil Shiva சிவன் pronounces sivan and shaivam சைவம் pronounces saivam. – Julio Olivieras Apr 24 '18 at 20:51

Saiva, Siva are Sanskrit and "ism" is English. So they are both hybrid words. Both Saivism and Sivaism mean the same thing but Sivaism is a bit unusual. They are analogous to Marxianism and Marxism.

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It took some digging to get it answered:

Śaivism is formed from śaiva as Brāhmanism is from brāhmaṇa. Grammatical explanation of what is a Śaiva according to Aparāditya’s Yājñavalkyasmŗți-tīkā: Śaiva is one who studies or who knows the śaivam, which is in turn defined as the scriptural system propounded by Śiva (śivaproktaṃ śāstram). Formation: The use of the aṆ suffix (i.e., taddhita formation) can mean “taught by him” (tena proktam), giving us the word śaivam. Then, I can understand that śaivam ≠ śaivism.

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  • Yes Shaiva means a Shiva devotee, and Shaivism means tradition of Shiva . Like the answer given by @SK above. – user14995 Apr 26 '18 at 2:34

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