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Sankara to start with came out with his Advaita philosophy to silence Buddhism and Jainism who were silent on God.
Hindus often try to explain it away by the Vedic wisdom of “During early Vedic period prayers were directed to gods like Indra, Agni, Varuna and others.
This gave rise to many other philosophies with regimented compartmentalization that has resulted in various sectarian worship, rituals and festivals in India.
American Hindus are trying to adopt the same with their temple complexes and in the process remain confused and bewildered not able to convince the new set of generation that is arising out of inter-caste marriages and Inter-racial marriages which tendency is growing day by day.
Today in India we have four traditions in Hinduism—Saiva, Sakta, Vaishanava and Smaarta out of which Smaarta Tradition seem to be more logical and apt for Americans which needs detailed explanation.
Sankara took a veritable task of streamlining Bhaktimaarga (path of devotion) by removing the crudities that has crept in and by re-establishing the six main categories of worship of the Hindu deities from Vedic period and later, namely, Ganapatyam, Saivam, Vaishanvam, Saktam, Kumaram and Sauram (worship of Ganapati, Siva, Vishnu, Ambika, Skanda and Surya).
For the daily worship of a house holder, he prescribed the Panchayatana Puja in which images or symbols of five of the above six deities to be worshiped together, thereby eliminating possibility of discard among Hindu religious followers.