I have met a couple of shaivites who have vaishnavite names ( ramakrishna, giri, venkatraman) though I have never encountered a vaishnavite family with predominately shaivaite names. Is there any reference in any of our scriptures to this? What is the reason behind this - I.e. Shaivites naming their children after God Vishnu?

  • it depends on who you call Shaivites. I read on this forum by one of the posters that, Iyers, who are actually advaitins, are sometimes interpreted as Shaivites. Advaitins worship all forms of God as Supreme and equal to each other. All the best.
    – Sai
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 14:01
  • @Sai Yeah, as I discuss in my answer here, Iyers follow the Smartha sect of Adi Shankaracharya, wherein they technically worship the five Panchayatana gods, but in practice they're considered Shaivites because they worship Shiva as their Ishta Devata. But true philosophical Shaivites, of the kind that derive beliefs from Shaiva Agamas in the same way that Vaishnavas follow Pancharatra Agamas, are rare nowadays. The Lingayat sect which I discuss here is one of the few sects that are genuinely Shaivite: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/6621/36 Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 0:03
  • @Keshav - There is difference though. Original Shaivates lay more emphasis on Shaiva agamas and relegate Vefas to second place unlike Vaishnavaites who give importance to Vedas and Vaishnava agamas. Also, as per Vaishnavaites any thing that is against Vedas per se has interpreted accordingly, so that it doesnt negate vedas or it has to be discarded.
    – user808
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:01
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    @Krishna Well, not all Shaivites relegate the Vedas to a second place - among the followers of the Shaiva Siddhanta sect there are both Vaidika Shaiva Siddhantins and Avaidika Shaiva Siddhantins. Also, there was a time when Vaishnavas were accused of being Avaidika, because they didnt follow all the practices that Purva Mimamsa Brahmins followed and instead followed the practices prescribed in Pancharatra Agamas. But then Yamunacharya explained in his Agama Pramanya that it wasn't that Vaishnavas didn't follow the Vedas, rather they follow the Ekayana Shakha of Yajurveda: gdurl.com/Kfid Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:24
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    @Krishna I'm not sure whether Shavites give a similar justification for their practices, which is why I asked this question: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/7501/36 In any case, I do agree with you that the Shaivites devoted less effort to associating themselves with Vedantic philosophy compared to the Vaishnavas; Yamunacharya composed the Agama Pramanya to defend the consistency of the Pancharatra texts with Vedanta, but as far as I know Shaivite philosophers didn't do such things. That's why when Vedanta became the dominant school of Hindu philosophy, the popularity of Shaivism declined. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:35

2 Answers 2


One of the names of Vishnu is Shiva as described in this post. Similarly, there is overlapping of many other names too in Shiva Sahasranama and Vishnu Sahasranama. Also, there are many versions of Shiva Sahasranama and Vishnu Sahasranama from various scriptures.

So the vaishnavite names can also be interpreted as Shaivites names or vice versa.

  • That contradicts everything, How can Shiva and Vishnu be same. Isn't Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva) three main gods as Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer respectively as Trinity
    – Up-In-Air
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 15:21
  • @Up-In-Air In my view they are diff but few names are common... bdw few believe in HariHaraAbheda i.e. consider Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiva) same..u can read commentaries on Sahasranama or may see posts like this to understand...
    – YDS
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 16:24
  • As per advaita a jivan muktha is Hari, Shiva, Shakthi or whatever.. because he is realised that he is God..So naming is not a concern but even Shankaracharya clearly says that Iswaara is non other than Narayana accepting supermacy of Narayana otherwise one cannot write Brahma sutra bhasya..
    – Prasanna R
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 12:28

It is safe to say people whom you are referring to are actually Smarthas. Orthodox Shaivaites are rare in modern days. Smarthas on the other hand, are more inclined to follow Smrithi (the Vedas) and accept all forms of god as supreme and equal. Vaishnavism/Vaishnavam/Sri Vaishnavam that Sriman Narayana (Vishnu is his avatar) is the only supreme being (aka Brahman) and other gods are actually Devathas who has Vishnu as their antharyami (paramathma - one who resides inside athmas and is the supreme). So, the answer to your question is that they are Smarthas who are more liberal in naming their children since they worship all gods equally.

  • They are smarthas with leanings towards Shaivism. Infact, they are more shaivates than smarthas, the readon being, they cant accept the the Vishnu's supremacy. Alternative is Hari Hara oneness concept or nirguna concept of Adi Shankara for Smarthas AKA Shaivaites in garb of Advaitins.
    – user808
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:05

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