The Info List - Vaishnava

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VAISHNAVISM (_ Vaishnava dharma_) is one of the major traditions within Hinduism along with Shaivism , Shaktism , and Smartism . It is also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.

The tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Vishnu is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, ten avatars of Vishnu are the most studied. Krishna , Rama , Narayana , Vāsudeva , Hari , Vithoba , Kesava, Madhava, Govinda and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme. The tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as _Bhagavatism_, also called _Krishnaism_. Later developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia. The Vaishnava tradition has many _sampradayas_ (denominations, sub-schools) ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja . New Vaishnavism movements have been founded in the modern era such as the ISKCON of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami .

The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu (often Krishna), and it has been key to the spread of Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE. Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra (Agama) texts and the Bhagavata Purana .


* 1 History

* 1.1 Origins

* 1.1.1 Northern India * 1.1.2 Southern India

* 1.2 Gupta era * 1.3 Early medieval period * 1.4 Later medieval period * 1.5 Modern times

* 2 Beliefs

* 2.1 Theism with many varieties

* 2.1.1 Vishnuism and Krishnaism * 2.1.2 Vishnu * 2.1.3 Krishna * 2.1.4 Radha Krishna * 2.1.5 Dashavatara

* 2.2 Restoration of dharma

* 3 Texts

* 3.1 Scriptures

* 3.1.1 Vedas and Upanishads

* Vaishnava Upanishads

* 3.1.2 Bhagavad Gita * 3.1.3 Vaishnava Agamas

* 3.2 Other texts

* 3.2.1 Mahabharata and Ramayana * 3.2.2 Puranas * 3.2.3 Sectarian texts

* 3.3 Attitude toward scriptures

* 4 Practices

* 4.1 Bhakti * 4.2 Tilaka * 4.3 Initiation * 4.4 Pilgrimage sites * 4.5 Holy places

* 5 Traditions

* 5.1 Four sampradayas and other sects

* 5.2 Early traditions

* 5.2.1 Bhagavats

* 5.2.2 Pancaratra

* Vaikhanasas

* 5.3 Medieval traditions

* 5.3.1 Smartism * 5.3.2 Alvars

* 5.4 Contemporary traditions

* 5.4.1 Sri Vaishnava * 5.4.2 Gaudiya Vaishnavism * 5.4.3 Varkari-tradition and Vithoba-worship * 5.4.4 Ramanandi tradition * 5.4.5 Northern Sant tradition

* 6 Vaishnavism versus other Hindu traditions * 7 Demography

* 8 Academic study

* 8.1 Krishnaism and Christianity

* 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 References

* 12 Sources

* 12.1 Printed sources * 12.2 Web-sources

* 13 Further reading * 14 External links


Krishna with Gopis Main article: Historical Vishnuism

Vaishnavism originates in the latest centuries BCE and the early centuries CE, as an amalgam of the heroic Krishna Vasudeva , the "divine child" Bala Krishna of the Gopala traditions, and syncretism of these non-Vedic traditions with the Mahabharata canon, thus affiliating itself with Vedism in order to become acceptable to the orthodox establishment. Krishnaism becomes associated with bhakti yoga in the medieval period.


Northern India

The inscription of the Heliodorus pillar that was made by Indo-Greek envoy Heliodorus in 110 BCE, in what is modern Vidisha ( Madhya Pradesh ). The inscription states Heliodorus is a Bhagavata . See also: Bala Krishna

Although _Vishnu_ was a Vedic solar deity, he is mentioned less often compared to Agni, Indra and other Vedic deities, thereby suggesting that he had a minor position in the Vedic religion. Other scholars state that there are other Vedic deities, such as water deity Nara (also mentioned as Narayana- Purusha in the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas), who together form the historical roots of Vaishnavism. In the late-Vedic texts (~1000 to 500 BCE), the concept of a metaphysical Brahman grows in prominence, and the Vaishnavism tradition considered Vishnu to be identical to Brahman, just like Shaivism and Shaktism consider Shiva and Devi to be Brahman respectively.

The ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear, the evidence inconsistent and scanty. According to Dalal, the origins may be in Vedic deity _Bhaga_, who gave rise to Bhagavatism. According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities _Nara_ and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism. According to Dandekar, Vaishnavism may have emerged from merger of several ancient theistic traditions, where the various deities were integrated as different avatars of the same god. In Dandekar theory, Vaishnavism emerged at the end of the Vedic period, closely before the second urbanisation of northern India, in the 7th to 4th century BCE. Vasudeva and Krishna , "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas ," gained prominence, merged into _Bhagavan Vasudeva-Krsna _, due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas.

This was followed by a merger with the cult of _Gopala-Krsna _ of the cowherd community of the Abhıras at the 4th century CE. The character of Gopala Krishna is often considered to be non-Vedic. According to Dandekar, such mergers consolidated the position of Krishnaism between the heterodox sramana movement and the orthodox Vedic religion. The "Greater Krsnaism", states Dandekar, then merged with the Rigvedic Vishnu .

Syncretism of various traditions and Vedism resulted in Vaishnavism. At this stage that Vishnu of the Rig Veda was assimilated into non-Vedic Krishnaism and became the equivalent of the Supreme God. The appearance of Krishna as one of the _Avatars _ of Vishnu dates to the period of the Sanskrit epics in the early centuries CE. The Bhagavad Gita was incorporated into the Mahabharata as a key text for Krishnaism.

Finally, the Narayana-cult was also included, which further brahmanized Vaishnavism. The Nara-Narayana cult may have originated in Badari, a northern ridge of the Hindu Kush, and absorbed into the Vedic orthodoxy as Purusa Narayana. Purusa Narayana may have later been turned into Arjuna and Krsna.

This complex history is reflected in the two main historical denominations of Vishnavism. The Bhagavats , worship Vasudeva-Krsna, and are followers of brahmanic Vaishnavism, while the Pacaratrins regard Narayana as their founder, and are followers of Tantric Vaishnavism.

Southern India

According to Hardy , there is evidence of early "southern Krishnaism," despite the tendency to allocate the Krishna-traditions to the Northern traditions. South Indian texts show close parallel with the Sanskrit traditions of Krishna and his gopi companions, so ubiquitous in later North Indian text and imagery. Early writings in Dravidian culture such as _ Manimekalai _ and the _ Cilappatikaram _ present Krishna, his brother , and favourite female companions in the similar terms. Hardy argues that the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana is essentially a Sanskrit "translation" of the bhakti of the Tamil alvars .

Devotion to southern Indian Mal ( Tirumal ) may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure, largely like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu. The Alvars , whose name can be translated "sages" or "saints", were devotees of Mal. Their poems show a pronounced orientation to the Vaishnava, and often Krishna, side of Mal. But they do not make the distinction between Krishna and Vishnu on the basis of the concept of the Avatars . Yet, according to Hardy the term "Mayonism" should be used instead of "Krishnaism" when referring to Mal or Mayon.


Most of the Gupta kings, beginning with Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya) (375-413 CE) were known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas . During the Gupta age, most of the Vaishnava Puranas and the Tantric Vaishnava samhitas were written.


Main article: Alvars

After the Gupta age, Krishnaism rose to a major current of Vaishnavism, and Vaishnavism developed into various sects and subsects, most of them emphasizing _bhakti_, which was strongly influenced by south Indian religiosity.

Vaishnavism in the 8th century came into contact with the Advaita doctrine of Adi Shankara . Many of the early Vaishnava scholars such as Nathamuni, Yamunacharya and Ramanuja, contested the Advaita Vedanta doctrines and proposed Vishnu bhakti ideas instead. Vaishnavism flourished in predominantly Shaivite South India during the seventh to tenth centuries CE with the twelve Alvars , saints who spread the sect to the common people with their devotional hymns . The temples that the Alvars visited or founded are now known as Divya Desams . Their poems in praise of Vishnu and Krishna in Tamil language are collectively known as _Naalayira_ Divya Prabandha (4000 divine verses).


See also: Bhakti movement

The Bhakti movement of late medieval Hinduism started in the 7th-century, but rapidly expanded after the 12th-century. It was supported by the Puranic literature such as the Bhagavata Purana , poetic works, as well as many scholarly bhasyas and samhitas .

This period saw the growth of Vashnavism Sampradayas (denominations or communities) under the influence of scholars such as Ramanujacharya , Madhvacharya , Nimbarkacharya and Vallabhacharya . Bhakti poets or teachers such as Manavala Mamunigal , Namdev , Ramananda , Surdas , Tulsidas , Eknath , Tyagaraja , and many others influenced the expansion of Vaishnavism. These Vaishnavism sampradaya founders challenged the then dominant Shankara 's doctrines of Advaita Vedanta, particularly Ramanuja in the 11th century and Madhva in the 13th, building their theology on the devotional tradition of the Alvars (Shri Vaishnavas ).

In North and Eastern India, Krishnaism gave rise to various late Medieval movements: Nimbarka and Ramananda in the 14th century, Kabir and Sankaradeva in the 15th and Vallabha and Caitanya in the 16th century. Historically, it was Caitanya Mahaprabhu who founded congregational chanting of holy names of Krishna in the early 16th century after becoming a sannyasi .


During the 20th century, Vaishnavism has spread from India and is now practiced in many places around the globe, including North America , Europe , Africa , Russia and South America . This is largely due to the growth of the ISKCON movement, founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966.



Vaishnavism is centered on the devotion of Vishnu and his avatars. According to Schweig, it is a "polymorphic monotheism, i.e. a theology that recognizes many forms (ananta rupa) of the one, single unitary divinity," since there are many forms of one original deity, with Vishnu taking many forms. Okita, in contrast, states that the different denominations within Vaishnavism are best described as theism, pantheism and panentheism .

The Vaishnava sampradaya started by Madhvacharya is a monotheistic tradition wherein Vishnu (Krishna) is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. In contrast, Sri Vaishnavism sampradaya associated with Ramanuja has monotheistic elements, but differs in several ways, such as goddess Lakshmi and god Vishnu are considered as inseparable equal divinities. According to some scholars, Sri Vaishnavism emphasizes panentheism, and not monotheism, with its theology of "transcendence and immanence", where God interpenetrates everything in the universe, and all of empirical reality is God's body. The Vaishnava sampradaya associated with Vallabhacharya is a form of pantheism, in contrast to the other Vaishnavism traditions. The Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Chaitanya, states Schweig, is closer to a polymorphic bi-monotheism because both goddess Radha and god Krishna are simultaneously supreme.

Vaishnavism precepts include the avatar (incarnation) doctrine, wherein Vishnu incarnates numerous times, in different forms, to set things right and bring back the balance in the universe. These avatars include Narayana, Vasudeva, Rama and Krishna; each the name of a divine figure with attributed supremacy, which each associated tradition of Vaishnavism believes to be distinct.

Vishnuism And Krishnaism

The term "Krishnaism" has been used to describe the sects focused on Krishna, while "Vishnuism" may be used for sects focusing on Vishnu in which Krishna is an Avatar , rather than a transcended Supreme Being. Vishnuism believes in Vishnu as the supreme being, manifested himself as Krishna, while Krishnaism accepts Krishna to be Svayam bhagavan or "authentic", that manifested himself as Vishnu. As such Krishnaism is believed to be one of the early attempts to make philosophical Hinduism appealing to the masses. In common language the term Krishnaism is not often used, as many prefer a wider term "Vaishnavism", which appeared to relate to Vishnu, more specifically as Vishnu-ism.


In Vishnu-centered sects Vishnu or Narayana is the one supreme God. The belief in the supremacy of Vishnu is based upon the many avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu listed in the Puranic texts, which differs from other Hindu deities such as Ganesha , Surya or Durga .

To the devotees of the Sri Sampradaya "Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Being and the foundation of all existence."


_ Relationship between different forms of Krishna as paripurna avatara _ of Vishnu and as Svayam Bhagavan in Chaitanya school of Vaishnavism. Main article: Krishna

In the Krishnaism branch of Vaishnavism, such as the Gaudiya Vaishnava , Nimbarka and Vallabhacharya traditions, devotees worship Krishna as the One Supreme form of God , and source of all avatars, Svayam Bhagavan .

Krishnaism is often also called Bhagavatism, after the Bhagavata Purana which asserts that Krishna is "Bhagavan Himself," and subordinates to itself all other forms: Vishnu , Narayana , Purusha , Ishvara , Hari , Vasudeva , Janardana , etc.

Krishna is often described as having the appearance of a dark-skinned person and is depicted as a young cowherd boy playing a flute or as a youthful prince giving philosophical direction and guidance, as in the Bhagavad Gita .

Krishna is also worshiped across many other traditions of Hinduism , and Krishna and the stories associated with him appear across a broad spectrum of different Hindu philosophical and theological traditions, where it is believed that God appears to his devoted worshippers in many different forms, depending on their particular desires. These forms include the different _avataras_ of Krishna described in traditional Vaishnava texts, but they are not limited to these. Indeed, it is said that the different expansions of the Svayam bhagavan are uncountable and they cannot be fully described in the finite scriptures of any one religious community. Many of the Hindu scriptures sometimes differ in details reflecting the concerns of a particular tradition, while some core features of the view on Krishna are shared by all.

Radha Krishna

Main article: Radha Krishna

_ Radha Krishna_ is the combination of both the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of God. Krishna is often referred as _svayam bhagavan _ in Gaudiya Vaishnavism theology and Radha is Krishna's supreme beloved. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that she controls Krishna with Her love. It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants even Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. Radha Krishna".

While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God , it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem _Gita Govinda _ in the twelfth century CE, that the topic of the spiritual love affair between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha , became a theme celebrated throughout India. It is believed that Krishna has left the "circle" of the rasa dance to search for Radha. The Chaitanya school believes that the name and identity of Radha are both revealed and concealed in the verse describing this incident in Bhagavata Purana . It is also believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis , or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance.


Main article: Dashavatara

According to the Bhagavatas, there are ten avatars of Vishnu, including Rama and Krishna . In contrast, the Pancaratrins follow the _vyuhas_ doctrine, which says that God has four manifestations (_vyuhas_), namely Vasudeva, Samkarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four manifestations represent "the Highest Self, the individual self, mind, and egoism."


Vaishnavism theology has developed the concept of avatar (incarnation) around Vishnu as the preserver or sustainer. His avatars, asserts Vaishnavism, descend to empower the good and fight evil, thereby restoring Dharma . This is reflected in the passages of the ancient Bhagavad Gita as:

Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age. —  Bhagavad Gita 4.7–8,

In Vaishnava mythology, such as those presented in the _Bhagavata Purana _ and the _ Pancaratra _, whenever the cosmos is in crisis, typically because the evil has grown stronger and has thrown the cosmos out of its balance, an avatar of Vishnu appears in a material form, to destroy evil and its sources, and restore the cosmic balance between the everpresent forces of good and evil. The most known and celebrated avatars of Vishnu, within the Vaishnavism traditions of Hinduism, are Krishna , Rama , Narayana and Vasudeva . These names have extensive literature associated with them, each has its own characteristics, legends and associated arts. The _Mahabharata_, for example, includes Krishna, while the _Ramayana_ includes Rama.


The Vedas, the Upanishads, the _Bhagavad Gita_ and the Agamas are the scriptural sources of Vaishnavism, while the Bhagavata Purana is a revered and celebrated popular text, parts of which a few scholars such as Dominic Goodall include as a scripture. Other important texts in the tradition include the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, as well as texts by various _sampradayas_ (denominations within Vaishnavism). In many Vaishnava traditions, Krishna is accepted as a teacher, whose teachings are in the _Bhagavad Gita_ and the _ Bhagavata Purana_.


Vedas And Upanishads

Vaishnavism, just like all Hindu traditions, considers the Vedas as the scriptural authority. All traditions within Vaishnavism consider the Brahmanas , the Aranyakas and the Upanishads embedded within the four Vedas as Sruti , while Smritis, which include all the epics, the Puranas and its Samhitas, states Mariasusai Dhavamony, are considered as "exegetical or expository literature" of the Vedic texts.

The Vedanta schools of Hindu philosophy , that interpreted the Upanishads and the _ Brahma Sutra _, provided the philosophical foundations of Vaishnavism. Given the ancient archaic language of the Vedic texts, each school's interpretation varied, and this has been the source of differences between the _sampradayas_ (denominations) of Vaishnavism. These interpretations have created different traditions within Vaishnavism, from dualistic (_Dvaita_) Vedanta of Madhvacharya , to nondualistic (_Advaita_) Vedanta of Madhusudana Sarasvati . AXIOLOGY IN A VAISHNAVA UPANISHAD

The charity or gift is the armour in the world, All beings live on the gift of the other, Through gifts strangers become friends, Through gifts, they ward off difficulties, On gifts and giving, everything rests, That is why charity is the highest. —_Mahanarayana Upanishad_ 63.6

Vaishnava Upanishads

Along with the reverence and exegetical analysis of the ancient Principal Upanishads , Vaishnava-inspired scholars authored 14 Vishnu avatar-focussed Upanishads that are called the Vaishnava Upanishads. These are considered part of 95 minor Upanishads in the Muktikā Upanishadic corpus of Hindu literature. The earliest among these were likely composed in 1st millennium BCE, while the last ones in the late medieval era.

All of the Vaishnava Upanishads either directly reference and quote from the ancient Principal Upanishads or incorporate some ideas found in them; most cited texts include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad , Chandogya Upanishad , Katha Upanishad , Isha Upanishad , Mundaka Upanishad , Taittiriya Upanishad and others. In some cases, they cite fragments from the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of the Rigveda and the Yajurveda .

The Vaishnava Upanishads present diverse ideas, ranging from bhakti -style theistic themes to a synthesis of Vaishnava ideas with Advaitic, Yoga, Shaiva and Shakti themes.

Vaishnava Upanishads Vaishnava Upanishad Vishnu Avatar Composition date Topics Reference

Mahanarayana Upanishad Narayana 500 BCE - 100 CE Narayana, Atman, Brahman, Rudra, Sannyasa

Narayana Upanishad Narayana Medieval Mantra, Narayana is one without a second, eternal, same as all gods and universe

Rama Rahasya Upanishad Rama ~17th century CE Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Atman, Brahman, mantra

Rama tapaniya Upanishad Rama ~11th to 16th century Rama, Sita, Atman, Brahman, mantra, sannyasa

Kali-Santarana Upanishad Rama, Krishna ~14th century Hare Rama Hare Krishna mantra

Gopala Tapani Upanishad Krishna before the 14th century Krishna, Radha, Atman, Brahman, mantra, bhakti

Krishna Upanishad Krishna ~12th-16th century Rama predicting Krishna birth, symbolism, bhakti

Vasudeva Upanishad Krishna, Vasudeva ~2nd millennium Brahman, Atman, Vasudeva, Krishna, Urdhva Pundra , Yoga

Garuda Upanishad Vishnu Medieval The kite-like bird _vahana_ (vehicle) of Vishnu

Hayagriva Upanishad Hayagriva medieval, after the 10th century CE Mahavakya of Principal Upanishads, Pancaratra, Tantra

Dattatreya Upanishad Narayana, Dattatreya 14th to 15th century Tantra, yoga, Brahman, Atman, Shaivism, Shaktism

Tarasara Upanishad Rama, Narayana ~11th to 16th century Om, Atman, Brahman, Narayana, Rama, Ramayana

Avyakta Upanishad Narasimha before the 7th century Primordial nature, cosmology, Ardhanarishvara , Brahman, Atman

Nrisimha Tapaniya Upanishad Narasimha before the 7th century CE Atman, Brahman, Advaita, Shaivism, Avatars of Vishnu, Om

Bhagavad Gita

The _ Bhagavad Gita _ is a central text in Vaishnavism, and especially in the context of Krishna. The _Bhagavad Gita_ is an important scripture not only within Vaishnavism, but also to other traditions of Hinduism. It is one of three important texts of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy , and has been central to all Vaishnavism sampradayas.

The _Bhagavad Gita_ is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, and presents Bhakti, Jnana and Karma yoga as alternate ways to spiritual liberation, with the choice left to the individual. The text discusses dharma , and its pursuit as duty without craving for fruits of one's actions, as a form of spiritual path to liberation. The text, state Clooney and Stewart, succinctly summarizes the foundations of Vaishnava theology that the entire universe exists within Vishnu, and all aspects of life and living is not only a divine order but divinity itself. Bhakti, in Bhagavad Gita, is an act of sharing, and a deeply personal awareness of spirituality within and without.

The _Bhagavad Gita_ is a summary of the classical Upanishads and Vedic philosophy, and closely associated with the Bhagavata and related traditions of Vaishnavism. The text has been commented upon and integrated into diverse Vaishnava denominations, such as by the medieval era Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta school and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta school, as well as 20th century Vaishnava movements such as the Hare Krishna movement by Swami Prabhupada.

Vaishnava Agamas

The _ Pancaratra Samhitas_ (literally, five nights) is a genre of texts where Vishnu is presented as Narayana and Vasudeva, and this genre of Vaishnava texts is also known as the Vaishnava Agamas . Its doctrines are found embedded in the stories within the Narayaniya section of the _Mahabharata_. Narayana is presented as the ultimate unchanging truth and reality (Brahman), who pervades the entirety of the universe and is asserted to be the preceptor of all religions.

The Pancaratra texts present the _Vyuhas_ theory of avatars to explain how the absolute reality (Brahman) manifests into material form of ever changing reality ( Vishnu avatar). Vasudeva, state the Pancaratra texts, goes through a series of emanations, where new avatars of him appear. This theory of avatar formation syncretically integrates the theories of evolution of matter and life developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. These texts also present cosmology, methods of worship, tantra, Yoga and principles behind the design and building of Vaishnava temples (_Mandira nirmana_). These texts have guided religiosity and temple ceremonies in many Vaishnava communities, particularly in South India.

The _ Pancaratra Samhitas_ are tantric in emphasis, and at the foundation of tantric Vaishnava traditions such as the Sri Vaishnava tradition. They complement and compete with the vedic Vaishnava traditions such as the Bhagavata tradition, which emphasize the more ancient Vedic texts, ritual grammar and procedures. While the practices vary, the philosophy of Pancaratra is primarily derived from the Upanishads, its ideas synthesize Vedic concepts and incorporate Vedic teachings.

The three most studied texts of this genre of Vaishnava religious texts are _Paushkara Samhita_, _Sattvata Samhita_ and _Jakakhya Samhita_. The other important Pancaratra texts include the _Lakshmi Tantra_ and _Ahirbudhnya Samhita_. Scholars place the start of this genre of texts to about the 7th or 8th century CE, and later.


Mahabharata And Ramayana

Main articles: Mahabharata and Ramayana

The two Indian epics , the Mahabharata and the Ramayana present Vaishnava philosophy and culture embedded in legends and dialogues. The epics are considered the fifth Veda, in Hindu culture. The Ramayana describes the story of Rama , an avatara of Vishnu, and is taken as a history of the 'ideal king', based on the principles of dharma , morality and ethics. Rama's wife Sita , his brother Lakshman , with his devotee and follower Hanuman all play key roles within the Vaishnava tradition as examples of Vaishnava etiquette and behaviour. Ravana , the evil king and villain of the epic, is presented as an epitome of _adharma_, playing the opposite role of how not to behave.

The Mahabharata is centered around Krishna , presents him as the avatar of transcendental supreme being. The epic details the story of a war between good and evil, each side represented by two families of cousins with wealth and power, one depicted as driven by virtues and values while other by vice and deception, with Krishna playing pivotal role in the drama. The philosophical highlight of the work is the Bhagavad Gita.


Main articles: Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana Left: The Puranas include numerous legends of Krishna as a child, a teenager and as an adult. Right: The Krishna stories have inspired numerous dramatic and dance arts in Indian culture.

The Puranas are an important source of entertaining narratives and folk mythology, states Mahony, that are embedded with "philosophical, theological and mystical modes of experience and expression" as well as reflective "moral and soteriological instructions".

More broadly, the Puranic literature is encyclopedic, and it includes diverse topics such as cosmogony , cosmology , genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, travel guides and pilgrimages, temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy. The Puranas were a living genre of texts because they were routinely revised, their content is highly inconsistent across the Puranas, and each Purana has survived in numerous manuscripts which are themselves inconsistent. The Hindu Puranas are anonymous texts and likely the work of many authors over the centuries.

Of the 18 Mahapuranas (great Puranas), many have titles based on one of the avatars of Vishnu. However, quite many of these are actually, in large part, Shiva-related Puranas, likely because these texts were revised over their history. Some were revised into Vaishnava treatises, such as the _ Brahma Vaivarta Purana _, which originated as a Puranic text dedicated to the Surya (Sun god). Textual cross referencing evidence suggests that in or after 15th/16th century CE, it went through a series of major revisions, and almost all extant manuscripts of _ Brahma Vaivarta Purana_ are now Vaishnava (Krishna) bhakti oriented. Of the extant manuscripts, the main Vaishnava Puranas are _ Bhagavata Purana _, _ Vishnu Purana _, _Nāradeya Purana _, _ Garuda Purana _, _ Vayu Purana _ and _ Varaha Purana _. The _ Brahmanda Purana _ is notable for the _Adhyatma-ramayana_, a Rama-focussed embedded text in it, which philosophically attempts to synthesize Bhakti in god Rama with Shaktism and Advaita Vedanta . While an avatar of Vishnu is the main focus of the Puranas of Vaishnavism, these texts also include chapters that revere Shiva, Shakti (goddess power), Brahma and a pantheon of Hindu deities.

The philosophy and teachings of the Vaishnava Puranas are bhakti oriented (often Krishna, but Rama features in some), but they show an absence of a "narrow, sectarian spirit". To its bhakti ideas, these texts show a synthesis of Samkhya , Yoga and Advaita Vedanta ideas.

In Gaudiya Vaishnava , Vallabha Sampradaya and Nimbarka sampradaya , Krishna is believed to be a transcendent,Supreme Being and source of all avatars in the Bhagavata Purana. The text describes modes of loving devotion to Krishna, wherein his devotees constantly think about him, feel grief and longing when Krishna is called away on a heroic mission. _ Jiva Gosvami's Bhajan Kutir at Radha-kunda . Jiva Goswamis Sandarbhas_ summarize Vedic sources of Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition's accretion of the concept Krishna to be the supreme Lord.

Sectarian Texts

In the Varkari movement the following scriptures are considered sacred in addition to general body of the common writing:

* Dyaneshawri * Tukaram-Gatha * Sopandevi * Namdev-Gatha * Eknathi-Bhagwat

The Chaitanya movement has the following texts.

* Sad Sandarbhas * Brahma Samhita


Vaishnava traditions refer to the writings of previous acharyas in their respective lineage or _sampradya_ as authoritative interpretations of scripture. While many schools like Smartism and Advaitism encourage interpretation of scriptures philosophically and metaphorically and not too literally, Vaishnavism stresses the literal meaning (_mukhya vṛitti_) as primary and indirect meaning (_gauṇa vṛitti_) as secondary: _sākṣhād upadesas tu shrutih_ - "The instructions of the shruti-shāstra should be accepted literally, without _fanciful or allegorical interpretations_."



The Bhakti movement originated among Vaishnavas of South India during the 7th-century CE, spread northwards from Tamil Nadu through Karnataka and Maharashtra towards the end of 13th-century, and gained wide acceptance by the fifteenth-century throughout India during an era of political uncertainty and Hindu-Islam conflicts.

The Alvars , which literally means "those immersed in God", were Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu as they travelled from one place to another. They established temple sites such as Srirangam , and spread ideas about Vaishnavism. Their poems, compiled as Divya Prabhandham , developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana 's references to the South Indian Alvar saints, along with its emphasis on _bhakti_, have led many scholars to give it South Indian origins, though some scholars question whether this evidence excludes the possibility that _bhakti_ movement had parallel developments in other parts of India.

Vaishnava bhakti practices involve loving devotion to a Vishnu avatar (often Krishna), an emotional connection, a longing and continuous feeling of presence. All aspects of life and living is not only a divine order but divinity itself in Vaishnava bhakti. Community practices such as singing songs together (_kirtan_ or _bhajan_), praising or ecstatically celebrating the presence of god together, usually inside temples, but sometimes in open public are part of varying Vaishnava practices. These help Vaishnavas socialize and form a community identity.


Left: A Vaishnava Hindu with Tilaka ( Urdhva Pundra ). Right: A Shaiva Hindu with Tilaka ( Tripundra )

Vaishnavas mark their foreheads with _tilaka _, either as a daily ritual, or on special occasions. The different Vaishnava sampradayas each have their own distinctive style of tilaka , which depicts the siddhanta of their particular lineage. The general tilaka pattern is of a parabolic shape resembling the letter U or two or more connected vertical lines on and another optional line on the nose resembling the letter Y, which usually represents the foot of Vishnu and the centre vertical line symbolizing his manhood. Alternate interpretations suggest that the symbol is representation of male and female parts in union.



In tantric traditions of Vaishnavism, during the initiation (diksha ) given by a guru under whom they are trained to understand Vaishnava practices, the initiates accept Vishnu as supreme. At the time of initiation, the disciple is traditionally given a specific mantra , which the disciple will repeat, either out loud or within the mind, as an act of worship to Vishnu or one of his avatars. The practice of repetitive prayer is known as japa .

In the Gaudiya Vaishnava group, one who performs an act of worship with the name of Vishnu or Krishna can be considered a Vaishnava by practice, "Who chants the holy name of Krishna just once may be considered a Vaishnava."


Important sites of pilgrimage for Vaishnavs include Guruvayur Temple , Sri Rangam , Vrindavan , Mathura , Ayodhya , Tirupati , Pandharpur (Vitthal) , Puri (Jaggannath) , Mayapur , Nathdwara and Dwarka .


Main articles: Vrindavana and Goloka

Vrindavana is often considered to be a holy place by majority of traditions of Krishnaism. It is a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places like Govardhana and Gokula associated with Krishna from time immemorial. Many millions of _bhaktas_ or devotees of Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna's life on Earth.

On the other hand, Goloka is considered the eternal abode of Krishna , Svayam bhagavan according to some Vaishnava schools, including Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Swaminarayan Sampraday . The scriptural basis for this is taken in Brahma Samhita and Bhagavata Purana .



The Vaishnavism traditions may be grouped within four sampradayas , each exemplified by a specific Vedic personality. They have been associated with a specific founder, providing the following scheme: Brahma Sampradaya ( Madhvacharya ), Sri Sampradaya ( Ramanuja ), Rudra Sampradaya ( Vishnuswami , Vallabhacharya ), Kumaras sampradaya ( Nimbarka ). These four sampradayas emerged in early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE, by the 14th century, influencing and sanctioning the Bhakti movement .

The philosophical systems of Vaishnava sampradayas range from theistic Dvaita of Madhvacharya, to qualified monistic Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja, to pure nondualistic Shuddhadvaita of Vallabhacharya. They all revere an avatar of Vishnu, but have varying theories on the relationship between the soul (jiva ) and Brahman , on the nature of changing and unchanging reality, methods of worship, as well as on spiritual liberation for the householder stage of life versus sannyasa (renunciation) stage.

Beyond the four major sampradayas, the situation is more complicated, with the Vaikhanasas being much older than those four sampradayas, and a number of additional traditions and sects which originated later, or aligned themselves with one of those four sampradayas. Krishna sampradayas continued to be founded late into late medieval and during the Mughal Empire era, such as the Radhavallabha , Haridasi, Gaudiya and others.


Vaikhanasa Visnu

Sage Vaikhanasa

4th century CE



Syncretistic/ Advaita Vedanta

Classical Period of Hinduism (pre Gupta Era - Early Medieval Period) Krishna worship as Ishta-deva

Sri Vaishnavism (Sri Sampradaya) Laksmi Vishishtadvaita ("qualified monism") Nathamuni (10th century) Ramanujacharya (1017–1137) Iyengar Thenkalai 12th-14th century Pillai Lokacharya Manavala Mamunigal Vishnu

Iyengar Vadakalai 14th century Vedanta Desika Vishnu + Lakshmi

Brahma sampradaya Brahma Dvaita ("dualism") Madhvacharya (1238–1317) Haridasa 13th-14th century Unknown Lord Hari

Achintya Bheda Abheda ("difference and non-difference") Gaudiya Vaishnavism 16th century Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) Radha Krishna

Rudra sampradaya Shiva Shuddhadvaita ("pure nondualism") Vishnuswami Pushti sect ca. 1500 Vallabhacharya (1479–1531) Krishna

Charan Dasi 18th century Charan Das a Dhusar of Dehra Radha Krishna

Nimbarka sampradaya (Kumara-sampradaya) Four Kumaras Narada Dvaitadvaita ("duality in unity") Nimbarka (13th century)

13th century

Radha Krishna

Sant traditions

Varkari sect 13th century Dnyaneshwar (Jñāneśvar) (1275–1296) Vithoba (Krisna)

Ramanandi Sect 14th century Ramananda Rama

Kabir panth 15th century Vaishnava Saint Kabir , a student of Ramananda Vishnu, Narayana, Govinda

Other traditions

Ekasarana Dharma 16th century Srimanta Sankardeva (1449–1568) Krishna worship alone without Radha

Vaishnava-Sahajiya (tantric ) 16th century vidyapati Chandidasa Radha Krishna

Lalpanthi Sampradaya (Lal Dasi sect) 17th century Laldas a Meo of Dhaoli Dub

Pranami Sampraday (Nijanand Sampradaya) 17th century Devchandra Maharaj (1581–1655) Krishna

Swaminarayan Faith 19th century Swaminarayan (1781-1830) Swaminarayan

(Lord of all Lords)



The Bhagavats were the early worshippers of Krishna, the followers of _Bhagavat_, the Lord, in the person of Krishna, Vasudeva, Vishnu or Bhagavan. The term _bhagavata_ may have denoted a general religious tradition or attitude of theistic worship which prevailed until the 11th century, and not a specific sect, and is best known as a designation for Vishnu-devotees. The earliest scriptural evidence of Vaishnava bhagavats is an inscription from 115 BCE, in which Heliodoros, ambassador of the Greco-Bactrian king Amtalikita, says that he is a bhagavata of Vasudeva. It was supported by the Guptas, suggesting a widespread appeal, in contrast to specific sects.


Main articles: Pancaratra and Narayana

The _Pāñcarātra_ is the tradition of Narayana-worship. The term _pāñcarātra_ means "five nights," from _pañca_, "five,"and _rātra_, "nights," and may be derived from the "five night sacrifice" as described in the _Satapatha Brahmana_, which narrates how Purusa- Narayana intends to become the highest being by performing a sacrifice which lasts five nights.

The _Narayaniya_ section of the Mahabharata describes the ideas of the _Pāñcarātras_. Characteristic is the description of the manifestation of the Absolute through a series of manifestations, from the _vyuha_ manifestations of Vasudeva and pure creation, through the tattvas of mixed creation into impure or material creation.

The _Pāñcarātra Samhitas_ developed from the 7th or 8th century onward, and belongs to Agamic or Tantras, setting them at odds with vedic orthodoxy. Vishnu worshipers in south India still follow the system of Pancharatra worship as described in these texts.

Although the _Pāñcarātra_ originated in north India, it had a strong influence on south India, where it is closely related with the Sri Vaishnava tradition. According to Welbon, "_Pāñcarātra_ cosmological and ritual theory and practice combine with the unique vernacular devotional poetry of the Alvars, and Ramanuja, founder of the Sri Vaishnava tradition, propagated _Pāñcarātra_ ideas." Ramananda was also influenced by _Pāñcarātra_ ideas through the influence of Sri Vaishnavism, whereby _Pāñcarātra_ re-entered north India.


Main article: Vaikhanasas

The Vaikhanasas are associated with the _Pāñcarātra_, but regard themselves as a Vedic orthodox sect. Modern _Vaikhanasas_ reject elements of the _Pāñcarātra_ and _Sri Vaishnava_ tradition, but the historical relationship with the orthodox _Vaikhanasa_ in south India is unclear. The _Vaikhanasas_ may have resisted the incorporation of the devotic elements of the Alvar tradition, while the _Pāñcarātras_ were open to this incorporation.

Vaikhanasas have their own foundational text, the _Vaikhanasasmarta Sutra_, which describes a mixture of Vedic and non-Vedic ritual worship. The Vaikhanasas became chief priests in a lot of south Indian temples, where they still remain influential.



Main article: Smarta Tradition

The Smarta tradition developed during the (early) Classical Period of Hinduism around the beginning of the Common Era, when Hinduism emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions. According to Flood, Smartism developed and expanded with the Puranas genre of literature. By the time of Adi Shankara, it had developed the _pancayatanapuja_, the worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal, namely Vishnu , Shiva , Ganesha , Surya and Devi (Shakti), "as a solution to varied and conflicting devotional practices."

Traditionally, Sri Adi Shankaracharya (8th century) is regarded as the greatest teacher and reformer of the Smarta. According to Hiltebeitel, Adi Shankara Acharya established the nondualist interpretation of the Upanishads as the touchstone of a revived _smarta_ tradition.


Nammalvar Main article: Alvars

The Alvars, "those immersed in god," were ten or twelve Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. The Alvars appeared between the 5th century to the 10th century CE, though the Vaishnava tradition regards the Alvars to have lived between 4200 BCE - 2700 BCE.

The devotional writings of Alvars, composed during the early medieval period of Tamil history , are key texts in the bhakti movement . They praised the Divya Desams , 108 "abodes" (temples) of the Vaishnava deities. The collection of their hymns is known as _Divya Prabandha _. Their Bhakti-poems has contributed to the establishment and sustenance of a culture that opposed the ritual-oriented Vedic religion and rooted itself in devotion as the only path for salvation.


Gavin Flood mentions five most important contemporary Vaisnava orders.

Sri Vaishnava

Main article: Sri Vaishnavism

The Sri Vaishnava community consists of both Smarta Brahmans and non-Brahmans. It existed along with a larger purana-based Brahamanic worshippers of Vishnu, and non-Brahmanic groups who worshipped and felt possessed by non- Vishnu village deities. The Sri Vaishnavism movement grew with its social inclusiveness, where emotional devotionalism to personal god (Vishnu) has been open without limitation to gender or caste.

Sri Vaishnavism developed in Tamil Nadu in the 10th century. It incorporated two different traditions, namely the tantric Pancaratra tradition and the puranic Vishnu worship of northern India with their abstract Vedantic theology, and the southern bhakti tradition of the Alvars of Tamil Nadu with their personal devotion. The tradition was founded by Nathamuni (10th century), who along with Yamunacharya , combined the two traditions and gave the tradition legitimacy by drawing on the Alvars. Its most influential leader was Ramanuja (1017-1137), who developed the Visistadvaita ("qualified non-dualism") philosophy. Ramanuja challenged the then dominant Advaita Vedanta interpretation of the Upanishads and Vedas, by formulating the Vishishtadvaita philosophy foundations for Sri Vaishnavism from Vedanta.

Sri Vaishnava includes the ritual and temple life in the tantra traditions of Pancaratra, emotional devotionalism to Vishnu, contemplative form bhakti, in the context of householder social and religious duties. The tantric rituals, refers to techniques and texts recited during worship, and these include Sanskrit and Tamil texts in South Indian Sri Vaishnava tradition. According to Sri Vaishnavism theology, _moksha_ can be reached by devotion and service to the Lord and detachment from the world. When _moksha_ is reached, the cycle of reincarnation is broken and the soul is united with Vishnu after death, though maintaining their distinctions, in _vaikuntha_, Vishnu's heaven. Moksha can also be reached by total surrender and _saranagati_, an act of grace by the Lord. Ramanuja's Sri Vaishnavism subscribes to _videhamukti_ (liberation in afterlife), in contrast to _jivanmukti_ (liberation in this life) found in other traditions within Hinduism, such as the Smarta and Shaiva traditions.

Two hundred years after Ramanuja, the Sri Vaishnava tradition split into the _ Vadakalai _ ("northern culture") and _ Tenkalai _ ("southern culture"). The _Vatakalai_ relied stronger on the Sanskrit scriptures, and emphasized bhakti by devotion to temple-icons, while the _Tenkalai_ relied more on the Tamil heritage and total surrender.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Main article: Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Gaudiya Vaishnavism, also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism and Hare Krishna, was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) in India . "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region (present day Bengal /Bangladesh ) with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu or Krishna ". Its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana .

The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (_bhakti _) of Radha and Krishna , and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God , _ Svayam Bhagavan _. Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna's holy names, such as "Hare ", "Krishna" and " Rama ", most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna (mantra) , also known as kirtan . It sees the many forms of Vishnu or Krishna as expansions or incarnations of the one Supreme God, _adipurusha _.

After decline in the 18-19th century, a started at the beginning of the 20th century, due to the efforts of Bhaktivinoda Thakur . His son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura founded sixty-four Gaudiya Matha monasteries in India, Burma and Europe. Thakura's disciple Srila Prabhupada went to the west and spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Varkari-tradition And Vithoba-worship

Main articles: Vithoba and Varkari

The Varkari-tradition is a non-Brahamanical tradition which worships Vithoba , also known as Vitthal, who is regarded as a form of Vishnu or Krishna. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai . The Varkari-tradition is geographically associated with the Indian states of Maharashtra and northern Karnataka .

The Varkari movement includes a duty-based approach towards life, emphasising moral behavior and strict avoidance of alcohol and tobacco , the adoption of a strict lacto-vegetarian diet and fasting on _ Ekadashi _ day (twice a month), self-restraint (_brahmacharya _) during student life, equality and humanity for all rejecting discrimination based on the caste system or wealth, the reading of Hindu texts , the recitation of the _ Haripath _ every day and the regular practice of _bhajan _ and _kirtan _. The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on the eleventh (_ekadashi_) day of the lunar months" Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha , and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik .

The Varkari poet-saints are known for their devotional lyrics, the abhang , dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi . Other devotional literature includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Notable saints and gurus of the Varkaris include Jñāneśvar , Namdev , Chokhamela , Eknath , and Tukaram , all of whom are accorded the title of Sant .

Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously a hero stone , a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva , a Jain saint , or even all of these at various times for various devotees.

Ramanandi Tradition

Main articles: Ramananda and Ramanandi Sampradaya

The Ramanandi Sampradaya, also known as the Ramayats or the Ramavats, is one of the largest and most egalitarian Hindu sects India, around the Ganges Plain , and Nepal today. It mainly emphasizes the worship of Rama , as well as Vishnu directly and other incarnations. Most Ramanandis consider themselves to be the followers of Ramananda , a Vaishnava saint in medieval India. Philosophically, they are in the Vishishtadvaita ( IAST Viśiṣṭādvaita) tradition.

Its ascetic wing constitutes the largest Vaishnava monastic order and may possibly be the largest monastic order in all of India. Rāmānandī ascetics rely upon meditation and strict ascetic practices, but also believe that the grace of god is required for them to achieve liberation.

Northern Sant Tradition

Main articles: Kabir and Nanak

Kabir was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint , whose writings influenced the Bhakti movement , but whose verses are also found in Sikhism's scripture Adi Granth . His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda .

Some scholars state Kabir's ideas were one of the many influences on Guru Nanak, who went on to found Sikhism in the fifteenth century. Other Sikh scholars disagree, stating there are differences between the views and practices of Kabir and Nanak.

Harpreet Singh, quoting Hew McLeod, states, "In its earliest stage Sikhism was clearly a movement within the Hindu tradition; Nanak was raised a Hindu and eventually belonged to the Sant tradition of northern India, a movement associated with the great poet and mystic Kabir." Surjit Singh Gandhi disagrees, and writes " Guru Nanak in his thought pattern as well as in action model was fundamentally different from Kabir and for that matter other radical Bhaktas or saints (saint has been erroneously used for such Bhaktas by Mcleod). Hence to consider Kabir as an influence on Guru Nanak is wrong, both historically and theologically".

McLeod places Nanak in the Sant tradition that included Kabir, and states that their fundamental doctrines were reproduced by Nanak. JS Grewal contests this view and states that McLeod's approach is limiting in its scope because, "McLeod takes into account only concepts, ignores practices altogether, he concentrates on similarities and ignores all differences".


The Vaishnavism sampradayas subscribe to various philosophies, are similar in some aspects and differ in others. When compared with Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism, a similar range of similarities and differences emerge.

Comparison of Vaishnavism with other traditions


Scriptural authority Vedas and Upanishads Vedas and Upanishads Vedas and Upanishads Vedas and Upanishads

Supreme deity god Vishnu god Shiva goddess Devi None

Creator Vishnu Shiva Devi Brahman principle

Avatar Key concept Minor Significant Minor

Monastic life Accepts Recommends Accepts Recommends

Rituals, Bhakti Affirms Optional Affirms Optional

Ahimsa and Vegetarianism Affirms Optional Optional Recommends, Optional

Free will , Maya , Karma Affirms Affirms Affirms Affirms

Metaphysics Brahman (Vishnu) and Atman (Soul, Self) Brahman (Shiva), Atman Brahman (Devi), Atman Brahman, Atman

Epistemology ( Pramana ) 1. Perception 2. Inference 3. Reliable testimony 1. Perception 2. Inference 3. Reliable testimony 4. Self-evident 1. Perception 2. Inference 3. Reliable testimony 1. Perception 2. Inference 3. Comparison and analogy 4. Postulation, derivation 5. Negative/cognitive proof 6. Reliable testimony

Philosophy Dvaita, qualified advaita, advaita Dvaita, qualified advaita, advaita Shakti-advaita Advaita

Salvation ( Soteriology ) Videhamukti, Yoga, champions householder life Jivanmukta, Shiva is soul, Yoga, champions monastic life Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga Jivanmukta, Advaita, Yoga, champions monastic life


There is no data available on demographic history or trends for Vaishnavism or other traditions within Hinduism. Estimates vary on the relative number of adherents in Vaishnavism compared to other traditions of Hinduism. Klaus Klostermaier and other scholars estimate Vaishnavism to be the largest. According to a 2010 estimate by Johnson and Grim, the Vaishnavism tradition is the largest group with about 641 million or 67.6% of Hindus. In contrast, Jones and Ryan estimate Vaishnavism to have perhaps 200 million followers, and it being the second largest tradition of Hinduism after Shaivism. The denominations of Hinduism, states Julius Lipner, are unlike those found in major religions of the world, because Hindu denominations are fuzzy, individuals revere gods and goddesses polycentrically , with many Vaishnava adherents recognizing Sri (Lakshmi), Shiva, Parvati and others reverentially on festivals and other occasions. Similarly, Shaiva, Shakta and Smarta Hindus revere Vishnu.

Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism. Large Vaishnava communities exist throughout India, and particularly in Western Indian states, such as western Madhya Pradesh , Rajasthan , Maharashtra and Gujarat . Other major regions of Vaishnava presence, particularly after the 15th century, are Odisha , Bengal and northeastern India ( Assam , Manipur ). Dvaita school Vaishnava have flourished in Karnataka where Madhavacharya established temples and monasteries, and in neighboring states, particularly the Pandharpur region.

Krishnaism has a limited following outside of India, especially associated with 1960s counter-culture, including a number of celebrity followers, such as George Harrison , due to its promulgation throughout the world by the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada .


Vaishnava theology has been a subject of study and debate for many devotees, philosophers and scholars within India for centuries. Vaishnavism has its own academic wing in University of Madras-The department of Vaishnavism. In recent decades this study has also been pursued in a number of academic institutions in Europe, such as the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies , Bhaktivedanta College , and Syanandura Vaishnava Sabha, a moderate and progressive Vaishnava body headed by Gautham Padmanabhan in Trivandrum which intends to bring about a single and precise book called _Hari-grantha_ to include all Vaishnava philosophies.


Debaters have often alleged a number of parallels between Krishnaism and Christianity, originating with Kersey Graves ' _The World\'s Sixteen Crucified Saviors _ claiming 346 parallels between Krishna and Jesus , theorizing that Christianity emerged as a result of an import of pagan concepts upon Judaism. Some 19th- to early 20th-century scholars writing on Jesus Christ in comparative mythology (John M. Robertson , _Christianity and Mythology_, 1910) even sought to derive both traditions from a common predecessor religion.


* Hindu sects * Brahmanas * Krishnaism * Shaivism * Shaktism * Vaikhanasas * Divya Prabhandham


* ^ _A_ _B_ Klostermaier: "Present day Krishna worship is an amalgam of various elements. According to historical testimonies Krishna- Vasudeva worship already flourished in and around Mathura several centuries before Christ. A second important element is the sect of Krishna Govinda. Still later is the worship of Bala-Krishna, the Divine Child Krishna - a quite prominent feature of modern Krishnaism. The last element seems to have been Krishna Gopijanavallabha, Krishna the lover of the Gopis, among whom Radha occupies a special position. In some books Krishna is presented as the founder and first teacher of the Bhagavata religion." * ^ Friedhelm Hardy in his "Viraha-bhakti" analyses the history of Krishnaism, specifically all pre-11th-century sources starting with the stories of Krishna and the gopi , and Mayon mysticism of the Vaishnava Tamil saints, Sangam Tamil literature and Alvars ' Krishna-centered devotion in the rasa of the emotional union and the dating and history of the Bhagavata Purana . * ^ Klostermaier: " Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana , certainly the most popular religious books in the whole of India. Not only was Krsnaism influenced by the identification of Krsna with Vishnu, but also Vaishnavism as a whole was partly transformed and reinvented in the light of the popular and powerful Krishna religion. Bhagavatism may have brought an element of cosmic religion into Krishna worship; Krishna has certainly brought a strongly human element into Bhagavatism The center of Krishna-worship has been for a long time Brajbhumi , the district of Mathura that embraces also Vrindavana, Govardhana, and Gokula, associated with Krishna from time immemorial. Many millions of Krishna _bhaktas_ visit these places ever year and participate in the numerous festivals that reenact scenes from Krshna's life on Earth."

* ^ (A) Steven Rosen and William Deadwyler III: "the word sampradaya literally means 'a community'." (B) Federico Squarcini traces the semantic history of the word _sampradaya_, calling it a tradition, and adds, "Besides its employment in the ancient Buddhist literature, the term sampradaya circulated widely in Brahamanic circles, as it became the most common word designating a specific religious tradition or denomination". * ^ Based on a list of gurus found in Baladeva Vidyabhusana's _Govinda-bhasya_ and _Prameya-ratnavali_, ISKCON situates Gaudiya Vaishnavism within the Brahma sampradaya, calling it _Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya_. * ^ Stephen Knapp: "Actually there is some confusion about him, as it seems there have been three Vishnu Svamis: Adi Vishnu Svami (around the 3rd century BCE, who introduced the traditional 108 categories of sannyasa), Raja Gopala Vishnu Svami (8th or 9th century CE), and Andhra Vishnu Svami (14th century)." * ^ Gavin Flood notes that Jñāneśvar is sometimes regarded as the founder of the Varkari sect, but that Vithoba-worship predates him. * ^ See also _Shri Krishna Pranami_. Gandhi's mother belonged to the Pranami tradition. * ^ Hiltebeitel: "Practically, Adi Shankara Acharya fostered a rapprochement between Advaita and _smarta_ orthodoxy, which by his time had not only continued to defend the _varnasramadharma _ theory as defining the path of _karman_, but had developed the practice of _pancayatanapuja_ ("five-shrine worship") as a solution to varied and conflicting devotional practices. Thus one could worship any one of five deities (Vishnu, Siva, Durga, Surya, Ganesa) as one's _istadevata_ ("deity of choice")." * ^ Vishnu is regionally called by other names, such as Ranganatha at Srirangam temple in Tamil Nadu.


* ^ Pratapaditya Pal (1986). _Indian Sculpture: Circa 500 BCE- 700 CE_. University of California Press. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-520-05991-7 . * ^ Stephan Schuhmacher (1994). _The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen_. Shambhala. p. 397. ISBN 978-0-87773-980-7 . * ^ Matchett 2001 , pp. 3-9. * ^ _A_ _B_ Anna King 2005 , pp. 32–33. * ^ Avinash Patra 2011 , pp. 12–16, 25. * ^ _A_ _B_ G. Widengren (1997). _Historia Religionum: Handbook for the History of Religions - Religions of the Present_. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. p. 270. ISBN 90-04-02598-7 . * ^ Selva Raj and William Harman (2007), Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791467084 , pages 165-166 * ^ James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 978-0823931804 , pages 553-554 * ^ _A_ _B_ Beck 2012 , pp. 76-77. * ^ _A_ _B_ Jeaneane D. Fowler 2002 , pp. 288-304, 340–350. * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood 1996 , pp. 124-125. * ^ John Stratton Hawley (2015). _A Storm of Songs_. Harvard University Press. pp. 10–12, 33–34. ISBN 978-0-674-18746-7 . * ^ James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 978-0823931804 , pages 731-733 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Flood 1996 , p. 121-122. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ F Otto Schrader (1973). _Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā_. Adyar Library and Research Centre. pp. 2–21. ISBN 978-0-8356-7277-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470824 , pages 46-52, 76-77 * ^ Johnson, Todd M; Grim, Brian J (2013). _The World\'s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography_. John Wiley & Sons. p. 400. ISBN 9781118323038 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Klostermaier 2007 . * ^ F. R. Allchin; George Erdosy (1995). _The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States_. Cambridge University Press. pp. 303–304. ISBN 978-0-521-37695-2 . * ^ Radhakumud Mookerji (1959). _The Gupta Empire_. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-208-0440-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Vaishnava". philtar.ucsm.ac.uk. Retrieved 2008-05-22. * ^ Dandekar 1977 , p. 9498. * ^ _A_ _B_ Benjamín Preciado-Solís (1984). _The Kṛṣṇa Cycle in the Purāṇas: Themes and Motifs in a Heroic Saga_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 1–16. ISBN 978-0-89581-226-1 . * ^ William K. Mahony (1998). _The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination_. State University of New York Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-0-7914-3579-3 . * ^ Roshen Dalal (2010). _The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths_. Penguin Books. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-0-14-341517-6 . * ^ Benjamín Preciado-Solís (1984). _The Kṛṣṇa Cycle in the Purāṇas: Themes and Motifs in a Heroic Saga_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 6–16. ISBN 978-0-89581-226-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Dandekar 1977 , p. 9499. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 120. * ^ Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar , Ramchandra Narayan Dandekar (1976). _ Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an Indologist: A Symposium_. India: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. pp. 38–40. * ^ Gonda 1993 , p. 163. * ^ Klostermaier 2007 , pp. 206-217, 251-252. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ Dandekar 1977 , p. 9500. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Hardy, Friedhelm (2001). _Viraha-Bhakti: The Early History of Krsna Devotion in South India ( Oxford University South Asian Studies Series)_. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-564916-8 . * ^ "Book review - FRIEDHELM HARDY, Viraha Bhakti: The Early History of Krishna Devotion in South India. Oxford University Press, Nagaswamy 23 (4): 443 -- Indian Economic & Social History Review". ier.sagepub.com. Retrieved 2008-07-29. * ^ _A_ _B_ MONIUS, Anne E.: _Dance Before Doom. Krishna In The Non- Hindu Literature of Early Medieval South India._ In: Beck, Guy L., ed. _Alternative Krishnas. Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity_. Albany: State University of New York Press 2005; Ch. 8. pp. 139-149. * ^ Norman Cutler (1987) _Songs of Experience: The Poetics of Tamil Devotion_, p. 13 * ^ _A_ _B_ "Devotion to Mal (Mayon)". philtar.ucsm.ac.uk. Retrieved 2008-05-22. * ^ Ganguli 1988 , p. 36. * ^ S. M. Srinivasa Chari (1988). _Tattva-muktā-kalāpa_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 2–5. ISBN 978-81-208-0266-7 . * ^ Klaus K. Klostermaier (1984). _Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India_. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 101–103. ISBN 978-0-88920-158-3 . * ^ Annangaracariyar 1971 . * ^ Seth 1962 . * ^ Bardwell L. Smith (1976). _Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions_. Brill Archive. pp. 143–156. ISBN 90-04-04495-7 . * ^ Schomer, Karine; McLeod, W. H., eds. (1987). _The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 1–5. ISBN 9788120802773 . * ^ Ravi Gupta; Kenneth Valpey (2013). _The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition_. Columbia University Press. pp. 2–10. ISBN 978-0-231-14999-0 . * ^ C. J. Bartley (2013). _The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion_. Routledge. pp. 1–4, 52–53, 79. ISBN 978-1-136-85306-7 .

* ^ _A_ _B_ Beck 2012 , p. 6. * ^ Jackson 1992 . * ^ Jackson 1991 . * ^ John Stratton Hawley (2015), A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674187467 , pages 304-310 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ C. J. Bartley (2013). _The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion_. Routledge. pp. 1–4. ISBN 978-1-136-85306-7 . * ^ Delmonico, Neal (April 4, 2004). " Caitanya Vais.n. avism and the Holy Names" (PDF). _ Bhajan Kutir_. Retrieved 29 May 2017. * ^ Selengut, Charles (1996). "Charisma and Religious Innovation: Prabhupada and the Founding of ISKCON". _ISKCON Communications Journal_. 4 (2). Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. * ^ Herzig, T.; Valpey, K (2004). "Re—visioning Iskcon". _The Hare Krishna Movement: the Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_. ISBN 978-0-231-12256-6 . Retrieved 2008-01-10. * ^ _ Prabhupada - He Built a House, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami , Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1983, ISBN 0-89213-133-0 _ p. xv * ^ Schweig 2013 , p. 18. * ^ Kiyokazu Okita (2010), Theism, Pantheism, and Panentheism: Three Medieval Vaishnava Views of Nature and their Possible Ecological Implications, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Volume 18, Number 2, pages 5-26 * ^ Bryant 2007 , pp. 360-361. * ^ William Wainwright (2013), Monotheism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University Press * ^ Harold Coward; Daniel C. Maguire (2000). _Visions of a New Earth: Religious Perspectives on Population, Consumption, and Ecology_. State University of New York Press. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0-7914-4457-3 . * ^ Ankur Barua (2010), God's body at work: Ramanuja and Panentheism, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Volume 14, Number 1, pages 1-30 * ^ Anne Hunt Overzee (1992). The Body Divine: The Symbol of the Body in the Works of Teilhard de Chardin and Ramanuja. Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–85. ISBN 978-0-521-38516-9 * ^ Julius Lipner (1986). _The Face of Truth: A Study of Meaning and Metaphysics in the Vedantic Theology of Ramanuja_. State University of New York Press. pp. 37–48. ISBN 978-0-88706-038-0 . * ^ Ursula King (2011). _Teilhard De Chardin and Eastern Religions_. New York: Paulist Press. pp. 267–268. * ^ Schweig 2013 , pp. 18-19. * ^ Kinsley, David (2005). Lindsay Jones, ed. _Gale's Encyclopedia of Religion_. 2 (Second ed.). Thomson Gale. pp. 707–708. ISBN 0-02-865735-7 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). _Encyclopedia of Hinduism_. Infobase. p. 474. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5 .

* ^ _A_ _B_ Lochtefeld 2002 , p. 228. * ^ Matchett, Freda (2000). _Krishna, Lord or Avatara?: The Relationship Between Krishna and Vishnu_. Surrey: Routledge. p. 254. ISBN 0-7007-1281-X . p. 4 * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 117. * ^ Wilson, Bill; McDowell, Josh (1993). _The best of Josh McDowell: a ready defense_. Nashville: T. Nelson. pp. 352–353. ISBN 0-8407-4419-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Page 1– Ramanuja and Sri Vaishnavism Archived 25 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Schweig 2013 , p. 17–19. * ^ Review: by Kenneth Scott Latourette India and Christendom: The Historical Connections between Their Religions. by Richard Garbe; Lydia Gillingham Robinson Pacific Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Autumn, 1961), pp. 317-318. * ^ "It becomes clear that the personality of Bhagvan Krishna subordinates to itself the titles and identities of Vishnu, Narayana, Purusha, Ishvara, Hari, Vasudeva, Janardana etc. The pervasive theme, then, of the _ Bhagavata Puran_ is the identification of Bhagavan with Krishna."(Sheridan 1986 , p. 53) * ^ Geoffrey Parrinder (1996). _Sexual Morality in the World\'s Religion_. Oneword. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-85168-108-2 . * ^ Chaitanya Charitamrita _Madhya_ 20.165 * ^ Richard Thompson; Ph. D. (December 1994). "Reflections on the Relation Between Religion and Modern Rationalism". Retrieved 2008-04-12. * ^ Mahony, W.K. (1987). "Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities". _History of Religions_. 26 (3): 333–335. JSTOR 1062381 . doi :10.1086/463085 . * ^ Schweig 2005 , p. 3. * ^ Rosen 2002 , p. 50. * ^ Rosen 2002 , p. 52. * ^ Chaitanya-charitamrita _Adi-lila 4.95_ * ^ Schwartz 2004 , p. 49. * ^ Schweig 2005 , pp. 41–42. * ^ Schweig 2005 , p. 43. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Matchett 2001 , pp. 3-4. * ^ Kinsley 2005 , p. 15. * ^ Bryant 2007 , pp. 339-340. * ^ Mircea Eliade; Charles J. Adams (1987). _The Encyclopedia of religion_. 2. Macmillan. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-02-909710-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783 , page ix-xliii * ^ RC Zaehner (1992), Hindu Scriptures, Penguin Random House, ISBN 978-0679410782 , pages 1-11 and Preface * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). _Encyclopedia of Hinduism_. Infobase. p. 474. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5 .

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Mariasusai Dhavamony (1999). _ Hindu Spirituality_. Gregorian Press. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-88-7652-818-7 . * ^ Ronald B. Inden (1990). _Imagining India_. Indiana University Press. pp. 109–115. ISBN 978-0-253-21358-7 . * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler 2002 , pp. 288-309. * ^ Sanjukta Gupta (2013). _ Advaita Vedanta and Vaisnavism: The Philosophy of Madhusudana Sarasvati_. Routledge. pp. 1–12. ISBN 978-1-134-15774-7 . * ^ Deussen, Paul (1997). _Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1_. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 264. ISBN 978-8120814677 . ; Note: This hymn appears in Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa as well. * ^ Sanskrit original: Quote: दानं यज्ञानां वरूथं दक्षिणा लोके दातार सर्वभूतान्युपजीवन्ति दानेनारातीरपानुदन्त दानेन द्विषन्तो मित्रा भवन्ति दाने सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितं तस्माद्दानं परमं वदन्ति ॥ ६॥; Source: Hattangadi, Sunder (1999). "महानारायणोपनिषत् (Mahanarayana Upanishad)" (PDF) (in Sanskrit). Retrieved 23 January 2016. * ^ _A_ _B_ Ayyangar, TRS (1941). _The Vaisnavopanisads_. Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006). pp. i–vi, 1–11. ISBN 978-0895819864 . * ^ Peter Heehs (2002), Indian Religions, New York University Press, ISBN 978-0814736500 , pages 60-88 * ^ Olivelle, Patrick (1998). _Upaniṣads_. Oxford University Press. pp. 11–14. ISBN 978-0192835765 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Dumont, PE (Translator) (1940). "The Avyakta Upaniṣad". _Journal of the American Oriental Society_. 60 (3): 338–355. * ^ Bryant, Edwin, Maria Ekstrand (2013). _The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_. Columbia University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-231-50843-8 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Deussen, Paul (1997). _Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1_. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers . pp. 247–268 with footnotes. ISBN 978-8120814677 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Ayyangar, TRS (1941). _The Vaisnavopanisads_. Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006). ISBN 978-0895819864 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Srinivasan, Doris (1997). _Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes_. BRILL Academic. pp. 112–120. ISBN 978-9004107588 . * ^ Paul Deussen (Translator), Sixty Upanisads of the Veda, Vol. 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691 (2010 Reprint), pages 803–805 * ^ _A_ _B_ Lamb, Ramdas (2002). _Rapt in the Name_. SUNY Press. pp. 191–193. ISBN 978-0-7914-5386-5 . * ^ Catherine Ludvik (1994). _Hanumān in the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki and the Rāmacaritamānasa of Tulasī Dāsa_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 10–13. ISBN 978-8120811225 . * ^ Deussen, Paul (1997). _Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2_. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers . pp. 859–864, 879–884. ISBN 978-8120814677 . * ^ Bryant, Edwin Francis, Maria Ekstrand (2013). _The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_. Columbia University Press. pp. 35–45. ISBN 978-0-231-50843-8 . * ^ B. V. Tripurari (2004). _Gopala-tapani Upanisad_. Audarya. pp. xi–xiii, 3–11. ISBN 1-932771-12-3 . * ^ Ayyangar, TRS (1941). _The Vaisnavopanisads_. Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006). pp. 22–31. ISBN 978-0895819864 . * ^ Jacob, George (1887). "The Vasudeva and Gopichandana Upanishads". _The Indian Antiquary, A Journal of Oriental Research_. XVI (March, Part CXCIV). * ^ Jean Varenne (1972), The Garuda Upanishad, Brill, ISBN 978-2020058728 * ^ Paul Deussen (1997), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-1467-7 , page 663-664 * ^ DS Babu (1990), Hayagriva - the horse headed deity, Oriental Research Institute, Tirupati * ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1998). _Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara: A Study of the Transformative and Inclusive Character of a Multi-faceted Hindu Deity_. State University of New York Press. pp. 64–77. ISBN 978-0-7914-3696-7 . * ^ Aiyar, Narayanasvami (1914). "Thirty minor Upanishads". Archive Organization. pp. 124–127. Retrieved 16 January 2016. * ^ Deussen, Paul (1997). _Sixty Upanishads of the Veda_. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 809–858. ISBN 978-81-208-1467-7 . * ^ James Mulhern (1959) A History of Education: A Social Interpretation p. 93 * ^ Franklin Edgerton (1925) The Bhagavad Gita: Or, Song of the Blessed One, India's Favorite Bible pp. 87-91 * ^ Charlotte Vaudeville has said, it is the \'real Bible of Krsnaism\'. Quoted in: Matchett, 2000 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Flood 1996 , pp. 124-128. * ^ Richard H. Davis (2014). _The "Bhagavad Gita": A Biography_. Princeton University Press. pp. 4–8. ISBN 978-1-4008-5197-3 . * ^ E. Allen Richardson (2014). _Seeing Krishna in America: The Hindu Bhakti Tradition of Vallabhacharya in India and Its Movement to the West_. McFarland. pp. 5–6, 11–14, 134–145. ISBN 978-0-7864-5973-5 . * ^ Flood 1996 , pp. 125-126. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Francis Clooney & Tony Stewart 2004 , p. 163. * ^ Richard H. Davis (2014). _The "Bhagavad Gita": A Biography_. Princeton University Press. pp. 58–59, 170. ISBN 978-1-4008-5197-3 .

* ^ Georg Feuerstein; Brenda Feuerstein (2011). _The Bhagavad-Gita_. Shambhala Publications. pp. 64–69. ISBN 978-1-59030-893-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Flood 1996 , p. 121. * ^ Guy L. Beck (1995). _Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 173–180. ISBN 978-81-208-1261-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ F Otto Schrader (1973). _Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā_. Adyar Library and Research Centre. pp. 31–49, 79–118. ISBN 978-0-8356-7277-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Flood 1996 , p. 122. * ^ F Otto Schrader (1973). _Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā_. Adyar Library and Research Centre. pp. 30, 150–157. ISBN 978-0-8356-7277-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Dennis Hudson (2012). Katherine Anne Harper; Robert L Brown, eds. _The Roots of Tantra_. State University of New York Press. pp. 133–156. ISBN 978-0-7914-8890-4 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Flood 1996 , p. 122-123. * ^ Teun Goudriaan; Sanjukta Gupta (1981). _ Hindu Tantric and Śākta Literature_. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 105–111. ISBN 978-3-447-02091-6 . * ^ Harvey P. Alper (1989). _Mantra_. State University of New York Press. pp. 242–243. ISBN 978-0-88706-599-6 . * ^ S. M. Srinivasa Chari (1994). _Vaiṣṇavism: Its Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Discipline_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xxviii–xxxi. ISBN 978-81-208-1098-3 . * ^ H Daniel Smith (1972), The three gems of the Pancharatra canon - An appraisal, Journal: Vimarsa, Volume 1, Issue 1, pages 45-51; (Reprinted by Brill Academic in _Ex Orbe Religionum_, Editor: C. J. Bleeker (1972)) * ^ Sanjukta Gupta (2000). _Lakṣmī Tantra: A Pāñcarātra Text_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xv–xix. ISBN 978-81-208-1735-7 . * ^ F Otto Schrader (1973). _Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā_. Adyar Library and Research Centre. pp. 22–27, 112–114. ISBN 978-0-8356-7277-1 . * ^ J. Gordon Melton; Martin Baumann (2010). _Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition_. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1417–1418. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3 . * ^ Alf Hiltebeitel (2011). _Reading the Fifth Veda: Studies on the Mahābhārata_. BRILL. pp. 59–60, 308. ISBN 90-04-18566-6 . * ^ Ramashraya Sharma (1986). _A Socio-political Study of the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 149–150. ISBN 978-81-208-0078-6 . * ^ Ashok Banker (2011). _Vengeance of Ravana: Book Seven of the Ramayana_. Penguin. pp. 270–271. ISBN 978-0-14-306699-6 . * ^ Bryant 2007 , pp. 113-115. * ^ Bryant 2007 , pp. 69 with note 150, 81-82, 95-98, 333-340. * ^ Bryant 2007 , pp. 77-94. * ^ ML Varadpande (1987), History of Indian Theatre, Vol 1, Abhinav, ISBN 978-8170172215 , pages 98-99 * ^ Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990 , pages 162-180 * ^ _A_ _B_ Mahony, William K. (1987). "Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities". _History of Religions_. 26 (3): 333–335. JSTOR 1062381 . doi :10.1086/463085 . * ^ Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, ISBN 0-877790426 , page 915 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 1-5, 12-21, 79-80, 96-98; QUOTE: "These are the true encyclopedic Puranas. in which detached chapters or sections, dealing with any imaginable subject, follow one another, without connection or transition." * ^ Ariel Glucklich (2008). _The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective_. Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2 . QUOTE: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called _mahatmyas_. * ^ Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813 , pages 437-439 * ^ Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1570034497 , page 139 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 1-5, 12-21 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , page 153 * ^ _A_ _B_ John Cort (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts (Editor: Wendy Doniger), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791413821 , pages 185-204 * ^ _A_ _B_ Dimmitt, Cornelia; van Buitenen, J. A. B. (2012). _Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas_. Temple University Press (1st Edition: 1977). pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-1-4399-0464-0 . * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 35, 185, 199, 239-242 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 161-164 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 59-61 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages=158-159 with footnotes, QUOTE: "Among the texts considered to be connected with the _Brahmanda_, the _Adhyatma-ramayana_ is undoubtedly the most important one". * ^ Winternitz, Maurice (1922). _History of Indian Literature Vol 1 (Original in German, translated into English by VS Sarma, 1981)_. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010). p. 552. ISBN 978-8120802643 . * ^ Ramdas Lamb (1 February 2012). _Rapt in the Name_. State University of New York Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-0-7914-8856-0 . * ^ Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415670708 , pages 113-114 * ^ Edwin Bryant (2003), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Penguin, ISBN 978-0141913377 , pages 10-12 * ^ Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225 , pages 104-106 with footnotes, Quote: "I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas."

* ^ Rukmani, T. S. (1993). "Siddhis in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and in the Yogasutras of Patanjali – a Comparison". In Wayman, Alex. _Researches in Indian and Buddhist philosophy_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 217–226. ISBN 978-81-208-0994-9 . ; Brown, C. Mackenzie (1983). "The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma". _Journal of the American Academy of Religion_. Oxford University Press. 51 (4): 551–567. JSTOR 1462581 . * ^ Dasgupta, Surendranath (1979). _A history of Indian philosophy_. IV: Indian pluralism. Cambridge University Press. p. 49. * ^ Sheridan, Daniel (1986). _The Advaitic Theism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa_. South Asia Books. pp. 1–2, 17–25. ISBN 81-208-0179-2 .

* ^ Matchett 2000 , p. 153Bhag. Purana 1.3.28 :_ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam_ :_indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge_ * ^ Matchett 2000 , 10th canto transl.. * ^ Gupta, Ravi M. (2007). _ Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami _. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40548-3 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Gupta, Ravi M.; Edited by _Gavin Flood_, University of Stirling (2007). _Chaitanya Vaishnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami: When knowledge meets devotion_. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-40548-3 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * ^ Jiva Goswami , _Kṛiṣhna Sandarbha_ 29.26-27 * ^ Bardwell L. Smith (1976). _Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions_. Brill Academic. pp. 143–144. ISBN 90-04-04495-7 . * ^ Bardwell L. Smith (1976). _Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions_. Brill Academic. pp. 154–155. ISBN 90-04-04495-7 . * ^ Schomer, Karine; McLeod, W. H., eds. (1987). _The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 1–3. 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* ^ Graham M. Schweig (2005). _Dance of Divine Love: The Rڄasa Lڄilڄa of Krishna from the Bhڄagavata Purڄa. na, India's classic sacred love story_. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. pp. Front Matter. ISBN 0-691-11446-3 . * ^ http://www.unom.ac.in/index.php?route=department/department/deptpage but that both sects were derived from an earlier common source.



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* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ The Sampradaya of Sri Caitanya, by Steven Rosen and William Deadwyler III


* Flood, Gavin (1996), _An introduction to Hinduism_, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0 * Bryant, Edwin; Ekstrand, Maria, eds. (2013), _The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_, Columbia University Press


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