The Saints of Shaivism
In ancient India Saivism took shape as a distinct and major religious movement mostly
in the south due to the untiring work of many great saints who were dedicated to
Siva in every conceivable way and showed exemplary devotion to their beloved Lord
through their lives and works of great merit. Outstanding among them were the four
great teachers, namely Manikkavachaka, Appar, Jnanasambhanda and Sundarmurthy.
They are said to be the originators of the four main paths of Saivism, namely the
sat marga, dasa marga, the satpura marga and the saha marga. Mention may also be
made of Auvai, a famous woman saint from Tamilnadu who composed many devotional
poems of highest fervor.
Sakyanayanar was originally a Buddhist monk who became an ardent devotee of Siva
in the later part of his life. He was blessed with a vision of Siva with Parvathi.
Nandanar was an untouchable by birth, but was accepted as a great devotee of Siva
and allowed to enter the famous Chidambaram temple because of his great devotion.
There were many such saints who contributed greatly to the spread of Saivism in
ancient India through their devotion and selfless acts of service.
Source: Some content for this article is referenced from different articles on Shiva from Wikipedia.org with necessary