It is not easy to estimate the relative numbers of Śivaites and Vishnuites in south India, and good authorities hold opposite views. There is little hostility. The worship of both gods is sometimes performed in the same building as at Chidambaram or in neighbouring shrines, as at Śrîrangam.

As among the Śivaites revelation is often supposed to be made by Śiva through Śakti, so here the Lord is said to have revealed the truth to his consort Śrî or Lakshmî, she to a demigod called Visvaksena, and he to Namm'âr̤vâr, from whom Râmânuja was eighth in spiritual descent.

Both consist of hymns, attributed to a succession of saints and still sung in the temple worship, and in both sects the saints are followed by a series of teachers and philosophers. We will take the Śivaites first. The first portion of it, known as Devâram, contains the hymns of Sambandha, Appar and Sundara.

In another region, probably in the west, grew up the monotheism of the Bhâgavatas, which was the parent of Vishnuism. Hinduism may be said to fall into four principal divisions which are really different religions: the Smârtas or traditionalists, the Sivaites, the Vishnuites and the Śâktas. The first, who are still numerous, represent the pre-buddhist Brahmans.

The doctrine of bhakti is common to both Vishnuites and Śivaites. It is perhaps in general estimation associated with the former more than with the latter, but this is because the Bhagavad-gîtâ and various forms of devotion to Kṛishṇa are well known, whereas the Tamil literature of Dravidian Śivaism is ignored by many European scholars.

These persons are the most eminent of the sixty-three saints of the southern Śivaites and are credited with many miracles. Tamil scholars consider that Sambandha cannot have lived later than the beginning of the seventh century. He was an adversary of the Jains and Appar is said to have been persecuted by the Buddhists.

The biographers of Śankara represent him as contending with these demoniac fanatics not merely with the weapons of controversy but as urging the princes who favoured him to exterminate them. Hindu authorities treat the Pâśupatas as distinct from the Śaivas, or Śivaites, and the distinction was kept up in Camboja in the fourteenth century.

It can hardly be by chance that as the Hindus became more familiar with Islam their sects grew more definite in doctrine and organization especially among the Vishnuites who showed a greater disposition to form sects than the Sivaites, partly because the incarnations of Vishnu offer an obvious ground for diversity. About 1100 A.D. the first great Vaishnava sect was founded by Râmânuja.

For Vishnuites as for Śivaites there exist God, the soul and matter, but most sects shrink from regarding them as entirely separate and bridge over the differences with various theories of emanations and successive manifestations of the deity. But for practical religion the soul is entangled in matter and, with the help of God, struggles towards union with him.

Both Śivaites and Pâncarâtrins sometimes employ the language of the Advaita. See Chatterji, Kashmir Śaivism, 75 ff., 160, where he points out that the Kañcukas are essentially equivalent to Kant's "forms of perception and conception." IV. 1901 ff. The commentary is translated in Siddhânta-Dipika, vol. I. ff.