The purpose of the following question is to have a deep understanding of the nature of Sanathana Dharma

From my basic understanding (please correct me here if I'm wrong).

The basic pillar of central Hinduism is Advaita Vedanta (there are others too, but this is the main one) by Adi Shankaracharya and elaborated in texts like - Ashtavakra Gita. The other forms of Hinduism are derived from this OR use this philosophy OR are developed over this. These include:

  1. Vaishnava (Vedic)
  2. Shaiva (Vedic)
  3. Shakta (Non-Vedic, Tantric)
  4. Smarta (Vedic + Tantric)

The occult powers come from the Shakta sect (Non-Yogic tantra, or mantra-based sadhana tantra).

But there are tantric who enlist the stages of tantra (mantra tantra sadhana) as - Vedachara (Vedic), Vaishnavachara, Saivachara, Dakshinachara, Vamachara, Siddhantachara and, lastly, Kaulachara. As far I understand - Dakshinachara is the Shakta branch of tantra and later stages like Vamachara are further developed on it [1].

So the question is what specifically is - Vaishnavachara and Saivachara doing here? As these two sects, specially the former one have no tantra or anything related to occult powers related to them (even remotely, this includes practices like invoking deities, their forms, etc.)

If they are tantric, then are there any tantric forms of Vishnu too? (Tantric deities). If yes, then are these even invokable like Shiva & Shakti? All the sources related to tantra only seem to invoke deities which are in the form of shiva or shakti.

Thank You.


  1. https://www.dlshq.org/messages/tantra-sadhana/
  • Narsimha is worshipped by many in Vaishnava tantra.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Mar 1 at 16:35
  • Which tantra specifically? Does that come in the Vaishnavachara stage? @TheLittleNaruto Mar 1 at 16:42
  • Pancharatra is a class of Vaishnavite Tantrika texts. Like the Shakta Tantras, the Pancharatra too is heavily centred around the mantra (especially the 8-lettered Narayana mantra & 12-lettered Vasudeva mantra), bija, icons & rituals. Some Pancharatra texts do deal with occult powers in the sidelines. The viewpoint of exclusively associating Tantra with Shakta circle is basically a remnant of the British trying to view Hinduism from the eyes of their Bengali Hindu collaborators.
    – অনু
    Mar 1 at 17:42
  • 1
    @AbhasKumarSinha - yes it is shakta text but its followers call themselves as vaishnava (possibly a tactic to delude vedic-vaishnava and bring them into their fold and then transition them to ...> dakshina > vama...> kaula as per the verse you mentioned) Mar 2 at 15:06
  • 1
    @ArvindC Understandable. But, having vaishnavachara deities only doesn't make it vaishnavachara. Vaishnavism is much more than that. There are certain rules which are unique to it, just as panchmakara is unique to shakta. My best guess is that Vaishnava tantra which follows the Vaishnav rules should have vaishnav agamas, like Pancharatra like texts. Mar 4 at 13:41


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