Both sects believe in the oneness of Shiva - Shakti as the supreme essence of the vishvam.

So what is the difference between the two?

Can I have a compare and contrast type answer? Like in what ways they are similar and in what ways they differ?

For example, as far as i understand, both consider the Shiva Shakti as a couple as the highest.

Also, I understand that there are multiple denominations within each of these two sects. So i expect a generalised answer only if it's not too much to ask.

I am editing the question for focused enhancement

Since mod team asked to edit question to make it focused.

I would like to request it to how Shaktism and Shaivism differ in terms of their soteriology and the relationship between Shiva and Shakti in the two sects.

It would be really helpful if any excerpt from a renowned practitioner of either sect can be quoted, who might have explained basic differences.

  • 1
    I think this is too broad (Needs more focus) and also definition of Shaiva and Shakta can be subjective too. Maybe you can limit your question to something specific.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:02
  • 2
    antaH shAktaH bahiH shaivaH vyavahAre tu vaiShNavaH...
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:04
  • @TheLittleNaruto this verse is good..where is this verse taken from?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:16
  • @TheDestroyer either from Kaularnava or pks
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:52
  • @TheLittleNaruto It's from some Smartha text and used for Adi Shankaracharya....
    – Vidya
    Commented Feb 9 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


Although both groups consider Śiva & Śakti to be on equal footing, there are certain theological differences.

  1. Śāktas believe that Ādyāśākti is the lone progenitor of everything, including Sadāśiva. Śaivas disagree, for they reject the notion of Sadāśiva being caused to manifest by any other entity. Instead, they believe that everything, including Ādyāśakti is created by Sadāśiva.
  2. In the Saundaryalaharī, Ādi Śaṅkara makes the following play of words - without the 'i'-kāra (which is used to denote feminine gender in grammer), Śiva (Ever-Auspicious) becomes śava (corpse, the most inauspicious object). Śāktas interpret this to mean that the existence of Sadāśiva is dependent on the independent Ādyāśakti. Śaivas disagree, they believe that Sadāśiva is independent, rather it is Ādyāśakti whose manifestation is dependent upon Sadāśiva. They interpret this line to mean that in the absence of Ādyāśakti, the cosmos ceases to exist & Sadāśiva becomes unresponsive like a corpse (as anybody who can elicit a response ceases to exist).
  3. Sāṁkhya philosophy states that the cosmos manifests due to interaction of the static Puruṣa with the ever-changing Prakṛti. Śaivas interpret Puruṣa as Sadāśiva & Prakṛti as Ādyāsakti, by comparing Puruṣa with Paramātman of Vedānta & Prakṛti with māyā, Sadāśiva stands superior to Ādyāśakti. Meanwhile Sāktas state that Ādyāsakti Herself is the unmanifested Brahman who at the time of creation becomes both Puruṣa & Prakṛti by the action of Her own indescribable māyā & it is only for the sake of clarification at the dualist level, Puruṣa is referred to as a separate entity by the name of Sadāśiva.
  4. Śaivas believe that nothing exists above Śivaloka & that Śaktas ultimately reach the abode of Pārvatī, which lies below it. Śaktas believe that Śivaoka lies below Ādyāśākti's abode.
  5. Śaivas consider the 28 Śaivāgamas as their authority while Sāktas derive authority from their own set of Āgamas & Nigamas.
  6. Śaivas & Śaktas have their own unique codes of conducting Tāntrika worship.
  7. Śaivas emphasize on the identification of paśu, pāśa & Paśupati, while Sāktas emphasize on arousal of the kuṇḍalinī upto the level of sahasrāra.
  8. Although both are heavily ritual oriented, Śaivas (especially Viraśaivas & Śaivasiddhāntins) tāntrikas emphasize a bit more on devotion compared to Sākta tāntrikas. Saktas heavily emphasize on japa & puraścaraṇa.

Much of the above mentioned siddhāntas have been derived from the Śivapurāṇa, the Devībhāgavatapurāṇa & a few Tāntrika compendiums.

  • 1
    Point 4,5,6,7 and 8.. can you add supporting verses for the same?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 15:57
  • @TheLittleNaruto Refer to Shivapurāṇa, Devībhāgavatapurāṇa, Mahābhāgavata Upapurāṇa, Kriyākramodyotika of Aghoraśivacārya & Mantramahodadhi of Mahīdhara Bhaṭṭa.
    – অনু
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 16:23
  • @অনু Do you know the meaning of "Supportive verses " ?
    – Vidya
    Commented Feb 9 at 13:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .