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Veerashaivism is a subtradition within Shaivism. According to tradition, it was transmitted by five Panchacharayas, ಪಂಚಾಚಾರ್ಯರು , पंचचार्य (five acharya)[clarification needed] Renukacharya, Darukacharya, Ekorama, Panditharadhya, and Vishwaradhya, and first taught by Renukacharya to Agastya, a Vedic seer. The preachings of Jagadguru Renukacharya Bhagavadpada to rishi Agastya is recorded in the form of a book, "Shri Siddhantha Shikhamani", which is regarded as the holiest book for the Veerashaivas.
According to tradition, the Panchacharyas arose out of five great Sthavaralingas[clarification needed] located in Kolanupaka in Telangana, Ujjain in Madhyapradesh, Kedar in Uttarakhand, Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, and Kashi or Banaras in Uttar Pradesh under different names in different Yugas. The Panchacharyas established five peethas,[clarification needed] which play an important role in Veerashaiva:
- Veerasimhasana of Rambhapuri in Balehonnuru (Karnataka)
- Saddharma Shimhasana of (Ujjain) (Madhyapradesh) later moved to Ujjaini (Karnataka)
- Vairagya Shimhasana of Kedar (Uttarakhand)
- Surya Shimhasana of Shrishaila (Andhra Pradesh) and
- Jnana Shimhasana of Kashi (Uttar Pradesh)
Veerashaivism is continued to this day and is preserved and transmitted by five peethas (Rambhapuri, Ujjaini, Kedar, Shreeshail, Kashi), who play an essential role in the Veerashaiva tradition.
Its philosophy of Veerashaivism is explained in Siddhanta Shikhamani. While the Veerashaiva-tradition incorporates Vedic elements, the origin of panchacharyas has been explained in Sivagamas, especially in Svayambhuva Agama, Suprabhedagama and Viragama. The earlier portions of Agama literature are the fundamental source of Saiva religion, while the latter portions are of special importance to Veerashaivism.