Originally Posted by OPVerma
THERE is a lot of animosity and debate among Hindus on the subject, largely due to ignorance. There is a similar thread running below in the name of Vaishnaism Vs Shaivism that I do not like as it divides. Though Shivani has argued well on socio economic differences I would like to highlight on some other aspects by connecting it with spiritual progress and by sharing my personal experiences.
In my childhood I was an ardent devotee of Shiva. I ate non veg, smoked sometimes marijuana, bluffed parents, did meditation, and studied well. Soon as I completed my degrees, Shiva stopped answering to my prayers and Krishna started fascinating me. I was parked alongside a new and incredible store house of knowledge known as Indian Scriptures. I gave up meditation, began to follow the strict rules of Krishna worship, and enjoyed devotional ecstasy day and night. There was nothing like it, wholesome vegetarian meals, Knowledge, security, enjoyment and victory over opponents all time any where.
So I repeat Shivani's words Vaishnism is "external path to God", while Shaivism is more an "internal path to God".
At present I worship Krishna whole time by distributing Knowledge and pray to Shiva to provide rest and controlled sex (in next birth ) that Krishna does not give.
I hope more Hindu devotees Shiva and Krishna/ Rama would come forward and share their experiences without undermining each other.
In ancient India there were only Shiva temples and Hindus worshipped the Shivaling. The excavation of ancient sites like Mohenjodaro and Harrappa have revealed many Shivalingams, but no statues or idols of other gods and goddesses.
Rama and Krishna themselves are seen worshipping the Shivalingam in the Ramayana and Mahabharatha respectively.
As per tradition, Rama is said to have built the Shiva temple in Rameshwaram. Shiva over there is known as Ramanathaswamy meaning ' Rama's Lord'. Rameshwaram, also stands for Rama's Eshwar, meaning 'Rama's God.'
Similarly, the famous Guruvayoor temple in south India have a tradition of first revering Lord Shiva in Mamiyoor Shiva temple nearby, and then revering Krishna. This can be understood to be so , because of Krishna's reverence for his Ishtadevata Shivalingam.
Similarly a trip to Tirupati at Venkateswara Temple ought to be followed by Sree Kalahasti Shiva temple , in order to finish the pilgrimage. The scriptures show Vishnu to be a devotee of Shivalingam and gaining his discus from Shivalingam after performing austerities.
The famous Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum also shows the Vishnu idol next to Shivalingam, showing Vishnu's devotion to Shiva.
In ancient India , the Shiva Lingam only was worshipped as Saguna Brahman, and Hindu religious master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had stated that human idol worship in Hinduism started later on emulating Jain and Buddhist idols in their temples who created idols of Buddha and Mahavira for worship.
In the yogic philosophy, the Shivalinga as Saguna Brahman is considered the first form to arise when creation occurs, and also the last form before the dissolution of creation.
The Shivalingam is considered as a cosmic pillar of light as per the Vedas and Shaivite scriptures, and the Prajapita Brahmakumaris state it to be an incorporeal point of light.