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Saiva siddhānta, provides the normative rites, cosmology and theological categories of Agamic and Vedic Shaivam combined. Being a dualistic philosophy, the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become an enlightened soul through Lord Siva's Grace.

Shiva, Lord of the Dance (Nataraja). Tamil Nadu, Chola dynasty (11th CE)

Saiva siddhānta, provides the normative rites, cosmology and theological categories of Agamic and Vedic Shaivam combined. Being a dualistic philosophy, the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become an enlightened soul through Lord Siva's Grace.

This tradition was once practiced all over India. However the Muslim subjugation of North India restricted Shaiva Siddhanta to the south, where it merged with the Tamil Saiva movement expressed in the bhakti poetry of the Nayanars. It is in this historical context that Shaiva Siddhanta is commonly considered a "southern" tradition, one that is still very much alive. The Tamil compendium of devotional songs known as Tirumurai, the Shaiva Agamas and "Meykanda" or "Siddhanta" Shastras, form the scriptural canon of Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta.

Shaiva Siddhanta encompasses tens of millions of adherents, predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Today it has thousands of active temples there and numerous monastic and ascetic traditions, along with its own community of priests, the Adisaivas, who are qualified to perform Agama based Shaiva Temple rituals.