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Sanmata – Six Sub Faiths in Hinduism Established by Adi Shankaracharya

Sanmata is the six sub faiths in Hinduism established by Adi Shankaracharya. These are six alternative ways of worship – personal gods. The six sub faiths are:
  1. Shaivam (Shiva)
  2. Vaishnavism (Vishnu, including is all avatars)
  3. Shaktam (Shakti, Devi, Durga and all the divine forms of Mother Goddess)
  4. Ganapatyam (Ganesha)
  5. Sauram (Surya)
  6. Kumaram (Skanda or Muruga)
The six forms represent Saguna Brahman – with qualities, aspects, powers, name and forms.

Symbolically Shiva represents knowledge; Vishnu lordship; Shakti exemplifies power; Ganesha strength; Kumara symbolizes valor and Surya splendor.

Prapancha Sara Tantra – In this text written by Adi Shankaracharya, he gave detail description of murtis of each of the six deities, their mantras, sequence of worship and other details.

The conflicts among the various religious sects were settled through the Sanmata concept.

Worship of personal god is given importance by Adi Shankaracharya.