Most of the saints I have seen like Vishwamitra, Gautama Maharshi, Sri Madvirat Pothuluri Veerabrahmendra Swamy, Shirdi Sai Baba, Adi Sankaracharya etc put Shiva Namam on their forehead.

  • Is it because they are saivites?
  • Is it because Lord Shiva gives powers faster than Lord Vishnu?
  • 1
    Some saints put shiva namam (vibhuti) on their forehead, while some put lord vishnu namam on their forehead. It is just that their Ishta Deva is Shiva and their Ishta Deva is Vishnu. As for "Is it because Lord Siva gives powers faster than Lord Vishnu". Let me assure you Sir, the saints whom you mentioned, do not wear any 'namam' for the sake of obtaining some kind of 'powers' from God. They are wearing it as a symbol of their devotion. they do not seek any return from God, except for God Himself. They are not after fulfillment of any material desires.
    – Sai
    Nov 14 '14 at 20:39
  • It is vibhUti, not necessarily Shiva nAmam. viBHuti dhAraNa is prescribed by the vEdas. Not just by or for a religious sect.
    – user1195
    Dec 22 '14 at 2:12

Of all the great saints that you have listed, Shankaracharya Bhagavatpada is considered an avatar of Shiva and hence it is quite natural that he would have had the shiva namam(vibhuti as three horizontal lines) on his forehead.

  • As for Shirdi sai baba, he lived his life as a muslim fakir and it is his Hindu bhaktas who prefer to put the mark on his forehead. You can have a look at his photos.
  • As for all other saints, none of us have seen them in person hence it is difficult to determine whether they did put the mark of shiva on their forehead.
  • As for your second question, Shiva is known to be easily pleased but that may not be the only reason for their applying vibhuti. But it is very common for proponents of Advaita to be devotees of Shiva externally as in the case of Shankaracharya Bhagavatpada. So maybe the saints you mentioned fit into this category.
  • why is to common for the proponents of Advaita to be devotees of Lord Shiva?
    – user12458
    Dec 11 '14 at 16:35
  • @JavaTechnical Advaitins by definition are devotees of all deities. It is a sin for an advaitin to see distinction between Shiva and Vishnu.
    – user1195
    Dec 22 '14 at 2:11
  • @moonstar2001 you have misunderstood the comment.I just pointed to an observation that Shankara was considered an incarnation of Shiva and taking a leaf out of him many advaitins seem to worship shiva "externally" like going to a cemetery,manifesting lingas,invoking Kali(Shiva's consort-as in the case of Ramakrishna) etc Dec 25 '14 at 11:34
  • @RaghavSubramanian Nope. A typical advaitin and a follower of Sankaracharya practises samayAchara, studies and adopts vEdAnta. The others that you mention are usually sAktEyAs or vAmAcAra practitioners.
    – user1195
    Dec 25 '14 at 11:57

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