I have seen that Vaishnavas are opposed to Advaita siddhanta. Are there Advaita Vaishnava sampradayas also?

Also I want to know whether Shaivas and Shaktas think themselves as part of Advaita's pancayatana or they also oppose Advaita and have separate sampradayas?

  • Lmao Not even a single Shaiv Sampradaaya follow kevaladvaita bro.
    – user27805
    Sep 7, 2022 at 12:17
  • Well, there are Śaivas and Śāktas, who do follow Advaita, and there are those who don't. For e.g Appayya Dīkṣita was a Śaiva and also a follower of Advaita. Bhāskararāya was a Śākta, who followed Advaita.
    – Bingming
    Feb 15 at 14:32
  • There is vaishnava advaita too and majority of literature in Advaita is Vaishnavite. Take Madhusudana Sarasvati's Advaita Siddhi, Krishna's Uttara Gita, Dattatreya's Dattatreya Yoga Samhita, Rama's Yoga Vasistha. All of them are Advaitic.
    – User 29449
    Feb 16 at 12:44

3 Answers 3


A good question. There are 12 original commentaries on the Brahma Sutra. Each commentary sketches the position of a disctinct sect.

Branches of the Vedanta System

  1. Advaita or Kevaladvaita school of Shankaracharya.
  2. Dvaita school of Madhvacharya.
  3. Bhedabheda school of Bhaskacharya.
  4. Achintya-Bhedabhed school of Baladeva (Sri JivaGoswami, Sri Chaitanya).
  5. Dvaitadvaita school of Nimbarkacharya.
  6. Shuddhadvaita school of Vallabhacharya.
  7. Vishishtadvaitaschool of Ramanujacharya.
  8. Shaiva-Vishisshtadvaita school of Shrikantha.
  9. Visheshadvaita school of Shripati.
  10. Samanjasya school of Vijnanabhikshu.
  11. Shakta-Vishishtadvaita school of Panchanana.
  12. Shaktadvaita of Haritayana

Journey from many to one essentials of Advaita Vedanta by Swami Bhaskarananda

The list shows that Shaivas (8) and Shaktas (11,12) have their own commentaries on the Brahma Sutra. Shaktas even have Shaktadvaita. This would suggest that Shaivas and Shaktas consider themselves as separate from the Kevaladvaita of Shankara.

  • Is it that 8,11 are similar to 7 and that only supreme being is different and also what is the difference between 1 and 12?
    – user16895
    Nov 30, 2018 at 13:48
  • Yes, 8, 11 are similar to 7 with Narayan replaced by Shiva and Shakti, respectively. The difference between 1 and 12 is that Brahman of 1 is replaced by Devi in 12. Nov 30, 2018 at 14:06
  • Then it means all the other worshipers of other gods like Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapti also reach Devi as per 12?
    – user16895
    Nov 30, 2018 at 14:12
  • 12 considers Devi to be the highest. I don't know what 12 says happens to followers of Vishnu, Shiva or Ganapati.I suspect that 12 says that followers of Vishnu, Shiva or Ganapati can also reach Devi if that is what they want. Nov 30, 2018 at 14:22
  • If Devi is considered highest and other god worshippers can't reach devi , then it will map to dvaita school(2) or is it that here also they lose individuality and thus it is similar to 1?
    – user16895
    Nov 30, 2018 at 14:25

Are there Advaita Vaishnava sampradayas also?

There is a good section of people who believe Adi Sankaracharya himself was a Vaishnavaite and that being an Advaitin and a Vaishnava may not be mutually exclusive. This topic has been at the center of some of the most intense, sometimes cordial, sometimes downright nasty, debates online. I don't have any intention of getting in to any debates here with people throwing vakyas, bhasyas and all things at each other.

But then there are people within advaita tradition that focuses purely on devotion to Narayana but ultimately they do believe the Nirguna concept being the end all.

Here's an interesting read: https://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/1999-September/010829.html

whether Shaivas and Shaktas think themselves as part of Advaita's pancayatana or they also oppose Advaita and have separate sampradayas?

I had asked a similar question here and am still waiting for an answer.

Most Shaivas and Shaktas certainly do not link themselves to the Advaita samparadaya of Adi Sankaracharya. They might have their own advaitic siddhantas, but many of them do not even consider Veda vedanta as authoritative above their agamas or other texts. Lingayats are the first to come up in my memory that fit that criteria. There will be shaivaites and shaktas within the Advaita sampradaya but then I am sure they are in the scope of this question.

Here are some pages already on Hinduism.stackexchange that detail out some of the issues that relate to Shaivism and Vedanta.

Which Shaivite sect believes God is the operator of the Universe but not the source?

What commentary on the Brahma Sutras does the Saiva Siddhanta Church support?

  • Madhusudhana Saraswati was an advaita Vaishnava who wrote very devotional books on Krishna. Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur quotes his explanations often in his Bhagavad Gita commentary. In BG 15.18 VCT writes: 'There should be no indignation at the explanation of these three verses (16-18) which establish the supreme position of the form of Krishna. I offer my respects to the impersonalists. (Madhusudhana Saraswati)'
    – user16618
    Nov 29, 2018 at 18:09
  • @RaRe yes, I know. There are few more, but I don't think they followed or formed a separate sampradaya on their own. Mostly fell under the ambit of Advaita or smartha. That said, it is told that Madhusudhana Saraswati differs on several conclusions with Adi Sankaracharya's works. I haven't personally accessed his works, so I will leave it at that.
    – Ambi
    Nov 30, 2018 at 1:59
  • yes no sampradaya.
    – user16618
    Nov 30, 2018 at 2:08

whether Shaivas and Shaktas think themselves as part of Advaita's pancayatana or they also oppose Advaita and have separate sampradayas?

Shaivas and Shaktas follow different philosophies and consider themselves different sampradayas with respect to Smartas.

Shaktas Follow their own version of Advaita (ShAktAdvaita) where Brahman is also considered satya and Jagat is also considered satya. As shown below The Sakta Acharya Bhaskararaya rejects the Jagat mithya concept in his Lalita Sahasranama Bhasya which is one of the distinguishing features of Kevala Advaita.

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The Shaivas, similarly go by their own schools of thought, some of which are enumrated as follows-

1. Viśēṣādvaita/विशेषाद्वैत

The Vyutpatti of Viśēṣādvaita śabda is “विश्च शेषश्च विशेषौ ईशजीवौ तयोरद्वैतं विशेषाद्वैतम्" . The meaning of this is "विश्चक्षुषि व्योम्नि वाते परमात्मनि पक्षिणि" (एकाक्षरकोष, पृ.१८) from Nighaṇṭū it's clear that the meaning of "वि" śabda also happens to be Paramātmā. From the Vyutpatti of "वाति उत्पादयति जगदिति विः " it's evident that the "वि" śabda signifies the Kāraṇībhūta Īśvara of the Jagat. Though Amarakōṣa says that the meaning of "वि" śabda is Pakṣī anyways in Mundaka Up. Paramātmā is described as Pakṣī "द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया" (मुण्डको. ३।१।१). So the actual meaning of "वि" śabda should be taken as Paramātmā. Śēṣa śabda denotes Paramātmā's aṃśaroopa ie Jīvātmā. "यथाऽग्नेः क्षुद्रा विस्फुलिङ्गाः" (बृहदारण्यको. २।१।२० ) thus from this Śruti (अग्निकण के दृष्टान्त से) it's proved that Jīvātmā is aṃśa of Paramātmā. By Aṃśāśībhāva it's established that inbetween Jīva and Paramātmā "यथा नद्यः स्यन्दमानाः " (मुण्डको ३१२१८) this śruti denotes the Advaita (Abheda) bodha . In the context of the world, this Siddhānta that asserts the non-differentiated state(Abheda) of 1. Shiva and the liberated state of the soul(jīva) is called "Viśēṣādvaita".

विशब्देनोच्यते शम्भुर्हंसहंसेति मन्त्रतः । शेषशब्देन शारीरो यथाग्नेरिति मन्त्रतः । । अद्वैतेन भवेद्योगो यथा नद्य इति श्रुतेः । (श्रीकरभाष्य,मङ्गलश्लो. १६)

In this verse, The Saiva acharya Śrīpati Panditā has succinctly explained the essence of Viśēṣādvaita.

2. Śivādvaita/शिवाद्वैत

The Vyutpatti of this śabda is “शिवश्च शिवश्च शिवौ, तयोरद्वैतं शिवाद्वैतम्”.First, the śabda "शिव" denotes the Paramātmā, and the second śabda "शिव" represents the individual soul(jīvātmā) that is a part (aṃśa) of the same. In the state of the world, the principle of Śivādvaita Siddhanta is to describe the non-dual state (Advaita/Abheda) present in both the worshiped(Śiva) and the worshiper(Aṃśa of Śiva) as the liberated state(Muktāvasthā).

3. Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita/शक्तिविशिष्टाद्वैत

“शक्तिश्च शक्तिश्च शक्ती, ताभ्यां विशिष्टौ शक्तिविशिष्टौ शिव - जीवौ तयोरद्वैतं शक्तिविशिष्टाद्वैतम्” according to this Vyutpatti the Siddhānta that denotes Abhēda ie Advaita b/w Sarvajñatva Sarvakartrutva etc Sūkṣmacid- Cit-śaktiviśiṣta Śiva and Alpjñatva Alpakatrutva etc Sthūlacid-citśaktiviśiṣta jīva that very siddhānta is known as Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita Siddhānta. This Siddhānta is derived from Bhramara- Kīṭa Nyāya. Just as a kīṭa , distinct from a bhramara, transforms into a bhramara through constant meditation on the bhramara, similarly, an individual (jīva) with a vastly different nature from Śiva also attains the svaroopa of Śiva through continuous(nirantara) meditation on Śiva, developing their latent Śaktis. This is the essence of Śaktiviśiṣṭādvaita Siddhānta.

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