Adherents of the smriti or tradition, which has a numerous following amongst southern Brahmans, and, whilst professing Sankara's doctrines, is usually classed as one of the Saiva sects, its members adopting the horizontal sectarial mark peculiar to Saivas, consisting in their case of a triple line, the tripundra, prepared from the ashes of burnt cow-dung and painted on the forehead.
The high-caste Brahman will probably keep at his home asalagram stone, the favourite symbol of Vishnu, as well as the characteristic emblems of Siva and his consort, to both of which he will do reverence in the morning; and when he visits some holy place of pilgrimage, he will not fail to pay his homage at both the Saiva and the Vaishnava shrines there.
Of Saiva mendicant and ascetic orders, the members of which are considered more or less followers of Sankara Acharya, the following may be mentioned: (I) Dandis, or staff-bearers, who carry a wand with a piece of red cloth, containing the sacred cord, attached to it, and also wear one or more pieces of cloth of the same colour.
According to the Basava-purana he early in life renounced his caste and went to reside at Kalyana, then the capital of the Chalukya kingdom, and later on at Sangamesvara near Ratnagiri, where he was initiated into the Vira Saiva faith which he subsequently made it his life's work to propagate.
His doctrine, which may be said to constitute a kind of reaction against the severe sacerdotalism of Sankara, has spread over all classes of the southern community, most of the priests of Saiva temples there being adherents of it; whilst in northern India its votaries are only occasionally met with, and then mostly as mendicants, leading about a neatly caparisoned bull as representing Siva's sacred bull Nandi.