The Śiva·sūtras, technically akṣara·samāmnāya, variously called māheśvarāṇi sūtrāṇi, pratyāhāra·sūtrāṇi, varṇa·samāmnāya, etc

, refer to a set of fourteen aphorisms devised as an arrangement of the sounds of Sanskrit for the purposes of grammatical exposition as carried out by the grammarian Pāṇini in the Aṣṭādhyāyī

Pāṇini himself uses the term akṣara·samāmnāya whereas the colloquial term “Shiva sutra” is a later development, as per claims by Nandikeśvara in his Kāśikā, that the god Śiva sounded his drum fourteen times to reveal these sounds to Pāṇini

They were either composed by Pāṇini to accompany his Aṣṭādhyāyī or predate him