The Saiva Adheenams – Heads of Mutts of Tamil Shaivism

Just like the mutts established by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya , and its heads, are renowned for sustaining and spreading Advaita Philosophy..

Tamil Saiva Siddhanta also has throughout its long and illustrious history, its own mutts and heads, called Adheenams, that has sustained and spread its Saiva Siddhanta teachings and philosophy.

Adheenams not only propagate Saiva Siddhanta by publishing books and having their Sivacharyas give upanyasams (talks), they also have various temples under their purview.

They also give diksha for Samanya , everyday folk , for them to be able to practice the daily Anushtanas and Nitya Pujas as a Saiva.

Many of the Adheenams are known to have worked closely with the downtrotten and backward communities to bring them back into the fold of Sanathana Dharma.

There are a few that are still prevalent and relevant today, such as Madurai Adheenam , Dharmapura Adheenam, Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam and Perur Adheenam.

Madurai Adheenam is one of the most illustrious Adheenams which traces its line to one of the 4 Great Saints of Tamil Saiva Siddhanta, the boy Saint Thiru Gyana Sambandar ( 6th Century ). They are close to the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple in Madurai.

Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam is popular for one of its illustrious followers , U. V Swaminatha Iyer , called the Tamil Tatha ( grandfather ) affectionately.

He went from village to village (early 1900s) arduously collecting and collating rare and ancient tamil palm-leaf manuscripts, such as Silapattikaram , Purananuru , Pattupattu etc.

In fact without him , almost none of the ancient tamil sangam texts, tamils are proud of today, would have survived. In a span of about five decades, Swaminatha Iyer published about 100 books, including minor poems, lyrics, puranas and bhakti (devotional) works.

The legendary tamil poet Bharati would pay homage to UV Swaminatha Iyer, equating him to Rishi Agastya.

Without the immense contributions of the Saiva Adheenams, which were supported by other wealthy Saiva householders, Tamil Saiva Siddhanta would not have survived. There is a dire need for the new generation to bring the efforts of the Giants of the previous generations, forward.


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