Difference between revisions of "Vaiśnava"

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[[Image:Vishnu2.jpg|thumb|250px|right|[[Vishnu]] as the Supreme Lord]]
 
[[Image:Vishnu2.jpg|thumb|250px|right|[[Vishnu]] as the Supreme Lord]]
 
[[Image:Major Vishnu Temples in India.jpg|thumb|250px|These are the most important Vishnu temples for pilgrimages in India.]]
 
[[Image:Major Vishnu Temples in India.jpg|thumb|250px|These are the most important Vishnu temples for pilgrimages in India.]]
The term ''Vaiśnav'' refers to devotees of [[Brahm]] ([[God]]) in general as well as to devotees of [[Vishnu]] in particular and is derived from the Lord's name, ''Vishnu''. The sect or worship is known as Vaiśnavam (Vaiśnavism) or [[Bhāgavata-dharma]]. Vaishnava is normally practiced  in the Pāñcharātra sense wherein Narayan may be worshipped alongside his incarnations, and sects adhering to this include the Hare Krishna, Pushtimarg, and Swaminarayan. In one sense, ''Vishnu'' denotes the omnipresent, all-pervading Being, while in another, it represents one of the Holy triad, viz. [[Brahmā]], [[Vishnu]] and [[Shiva|Mahesh]]. Lord Vishnu is known as the preserver of creation. In one of his forms, he has four arms - one holding a conch ([[Pāñcajanya]]), another a discus ([[Sudarśana]]), another a mace (Kaumudakī), and the fourth one a lotus. This concept of Vishnu is Puranic, but it has a very ancient origin. The name Vishnu appears in the [[Rig Veda]] thus: ‘''Idam vishnur-vi cakrame tredhā nidadhe padam,  samūhlam-asya pāmsure''; Vishnu traversed this world: thrice he planted his foot and the whole (world) was gathered in the dust of his footsteps’<ref>Rig [[Veda]], 1.22.17.</ref>. Elsewhere he has been conceived as [[a]] personification of light and of the sun<ref>[[Rig Veda]], 1.155</ref>. He is called Śipivista, clothed in rays of light. The wise ever contemplate the supreme station (''paramam padam'') of Vishnu as the eye ranging over the sky <ref>[[Rig Veda]], 1.22.20</ref>. The idea of the Vedic Vishnu is abstract, whereas that of Puranic Vishnu is anthropomorphic. He is the unconquerable Preserver who lives in [[Vaikuntha]] or Goloka. During the period of dissolution, he rests on the great serpent [[Ananta]] or Śesa in the midst of the ocean of causal waters (''kārana salila''). Many Puranas describe him as the Supreme God. Nevertheless, even the Puranic idea of Vishnu has its source in the [[Vedas]].
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The term ''Vaiśnav'' refers to devotees of [[Brahm]] ([[God]]) who is called Narayan and takes the forms of the Earthly [[Vishnu]] and [[Krishna]] Vasudeva, and is derived from the Lord's name, ''Vishnu''. This Narayan is perceived in certain Vaiśnav traditions to be either the heavenly [[Vishnu]] and [[Krishna]] Vasudeva too (and their Earthly incarnations were just a reflection of who they are spiritually in heaven.) The sect or worship is known as Vaiśnavam (Vaiśnavism) or [[Bhāgavata-dharma|Bhāgvata-dharma]]. Vaiśnava is normally practiced  in the Pāñcharātra sense wherein Narayan may be worshipped alongside his incarnations, and sects adhering to this include the Hare Krishna, Pushtimarg, and Swaminarayan. In one sense, ''Vishnu'' denotes the omnipresent, all-pervading Being, while in another, it represents one of the Holy triad, viz. [[Brahmā]], [[Vishnu]] and [[Shiva|Mahesh]]. Lord Vishnu is known as the preserver of creation. In one of his forms, he has four arms - one holding a conch ([[Pāñcajanya]]), another a discus ([[Sudarśana]]), another a mace (Kaumudakī), and the fourth one a lotus. This concept of Vishnu is Puranic, but it has a very ancient origin. The name Vishnu appears in the [[Rig Veda]] thus: ‘''Idam vishnur-vi cakrame tredhā nidadhe padam,  samūhlam-asya pāmsure''; Vishnu traversed this world: thrice he planted his foot and the whole (world) was gathered in the dust of his footsteps’<ref>Rig [[Veda]], 1.22.17.</ref>. Elsewhere he has been conceived as [[a]] personification of light and of the sun<ref>[[Rig Veda]], 1.155</ref>. He is called Śipivista, clothed in rays of light. The wise ever contemplate the supreme station (''paramam padam'') of Vishnu as the eye ranging over the sky <ref>[[Rig Veda]], 1.22.20</ref>. The idea of the Vedic Vishnu is abstract, whereas that of Puranic Vishnu is anthropomorphic. He is the unconquerable Preserver who lives in [[Vaikuntha]] or Goloka. During the period of dissolution, he rests on the great serpent [[Ananta]] in the midst of the ocean of causal waters (''kārana salila''). Many Puranas describe him as the Supreme God. Nevertheless, even the Puranic idea of Vishnu has its source in the [[Vedas]]. The name Narayan is first mentioned in the ''Satapatha-Brahmana''<ref>  ''Satapatha-Brahmana'' 13.6 </ref>, and the [[Narayan sukhtam|Narayan Sukta]] first appears in the ''Taittiriya Aranyaka''<ref> ''Taittiriya Aranyaka'' 10.13.1 </ref> and in this Aranyaka the name Hari is connected to Narayan. The most popular mantra "''Hari Aum''" occurs first in the Kasha and the Praśna Upanişads wherein they end by the exclamation.
  
Nārāyan, [[Bhāgavata|Bhāgvata]], [[Krishna]] Vāsudeva, and Vishnu are the main epithets of [[Brahm]] in Vaiśnavam. [[Krishna]] is the primary object of devotion in the [[Bhāgavata-dharma|Bhāgavata]] and Gaudīya traditions. He is worshiped in several forms: as Vāsudeva [[Krishna]] (the Supreme Being), as Gopāl Krishna (baby Krishna), as Vanamālī Krishna (the young cowherd), and as the king of Dwāraka.
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Narayan, Hari, [[Krishna]] Vasudeva, and Vishnu are the main epithets of [[Brahm]] in Vaiśnavam. Other lesser common ones, but still popular, include,  Achyut, Badri, Janardan, Ram (not only referring to Ramchandra Ikshvaku), Rishikesh, Sriman, and Srivatsa. [[Krishna]] is the primary object of devotion in the [[Bhāgavata|Bhāgvata]] and Gaudīya traditions. He is worshiped in several forms: as Vasudeva [[Krishna]] (as the Supreme Being), as Gopāl Krishna (baby Krishna), as Vanamālī Krishna (the young cowherd), and as the king of Dwāraka.
  
 
{{Cquote|O mind, meditate on Mura’s adversary;
 
{{Cquote|O mind, meditate on Mura’s adversary;
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==Scriptures==
 
==Scriptures==
 
:''See also: [[Vishnu#Relation to Krishna|Vishnu's Relation to Krishna]]''
 
:''See also: [[Vishnu#Relation to Krishna|Vishnu's Relation to Krishna]]''
Vaiśnavs typically reference the Vedic suktams as the first compiled scriptural basis for Vaiśnavam. ''Vaiśnav Āgama'' is an umbrella term for the entire Vaiśnav corpus. The Alvars of southern India had also referred to it as the ''Vaiśnav Veda''. The complete spiritual wisdom any human should have is said to be the word of God or ''Ekāyana Veda'' which has been synonymously been called ''Mulaveda'' ("''The Root Veda''.") ''Ekāyana Veda'' has been a term used by both the Vaikhānas and Pāñcharātra sampradays. Ekāyana Veda was also briefly mentioned in the ''Chandogya Upanishad'' but without much description. Apart from the ''Bhagavad Gita'', which is considered the literal 'word of God' or ''Brahmshabd'', the Mukhya Upanishads (primarily the Vaiśnava ones) and ''Brahm Sutras'' are usually given precedence over other text, thus constituting the Prasthanatrayi ("''Three Sources''.")
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Vaiśnavs typically reference the Vedic suktams as the first compiled scriptural basis for Vaiśnavam. ''Vaiśnav Āgama'' is an umbrella term for the entire Vaiśnav corpus. The Alvars of southern India had also referred to it as the ''Vaiśnav Veda''. The complete spiritual wisdom any human should have is said to be the word of God or ''Ekāyana Veda'' which has been synonymously been called ''Mulaveda'' ("''The Root Veda''.") ''Ekāyana Veda'' has been a term used by both the Vaikhānas and Pāñcharātra sampradays. Ekāyana Veda was also briefly mentioned in the ''Chandogya Upanishad'' but without much description. Apart from the ''Bhagvad Gita'', which is considered the literal 'word of God' or ''Brahmshabd'', the Mukhya Upanishads (primarily the Vaiśnava ones) and ''Brahm Sutras'' are usually given precedence over other text, thus constituting the Prasthanatrayi ("''Three Sources''.")
  
 
===Vedic Support For Vaiśnav Doctrine===
 
===Vedic Support For Vaiśnav Doctrine===
Five suktas[https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/invoc/in_sria.html] of the Vedas are believed by many Vaiśnavs to support Vaishnavism in particular:
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Five suktas[https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/invoc/in_sria.html] of the Vedas are believed by many Vaiśnavs to support Vaiśnavism in particular:
  
#The Purush Sukta (''Rig Veda'')
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#[[Purusha suktham|The Purush Sukta]] (''Rig Veda'')
#The Narayan Sukta (''Yajur Veda'')
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#[[Narayan sukhtam|The Narayan Sukta]] (''Taittiriya Samhita'')
 
#[[Nila Suktham|The Nila Sukta]] (''Taittiriya Samhita'')
 
#[[Nila Suktham|The Nila Sukta]] (''Taittiriya Samhita'')
 
#The Sri Sukta (''Rig Veda'')
 
#The Sri Sukta (''Rig Veda'')
 
#The Bhu Sukta (''Taittiriya Brahmana'')[https://www.nios.ac.in/media/documents/OBE_indian_knowledge_tradition/Level_C/Veda/VC-Ch-11.pdf]
 
#The Bhu Sukta (''Taittiriya Brahmana'')[https://www.nios.ac.in/media/documents/OBE_indian_knowledge_tradition/Level_C/Veda/VC-Ch-11.pdf]
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<br>
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The Purush Sukta is considered a prequel (or “Purva-Narayan Sukta”), to the ''Taittiriya Samhita’s'' Narayan Sukta (also called “Uttar-Narayan Sukta.”) The latter sukta is also found in the ''Mahanarayana Upanishad''.
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Brahm as Narayan or Krishna do not occur in the Rig Veda but there are a few hymns dedicated solely to Vishnu[https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01154.htm][https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv07099.htm][https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv07100.htm], 2 dedicated to both Vishnu and Indra[https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01155.htm][https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv06069.htm], and others wherein he is mentioned together with various deities.
  
 
=== Vaiśnav Āgama Shastra ===
 
=== Vaiśnav Āgama Shastra ===
 
[[Image:Vishnu.jpg|thumb|150px|right|Vishnu the Supreme Purush]]
 
[[Image:Vishnu.jpg|thumb|150px|right|Vishnu the Supreme Purush]]
The Āgamas are the secondary scriptures, derived from the [[Veda]]. Although they have many divisions, the primary Āgamas are five in number: [[Saura]], [[Śākta]], Gānapatya, Vaishnav, and Shaiv or Pāśupatya. The Vaiśnav [[Āgama]] shastra or corpus has two main subdivisions: the [[Vaikhānasa Āgama]] and the Pāñcharātra [[Āgama]]. As all these Āgamas are said to have been derived from the [[Veda]], they are also called Śrauta Āgamas. God Almighty, according to Vaiśnavism is determined based on shad-gunyavigraham devam (6 qualities of godliness.)  
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The Āgamas are the secondary scriptures, derived from the [[Veda]]. Although they have many divisions, the primary Āgamas are five in number: [[Saura]], [[Śākta]], Gānapatya, Vaiśnava, and Shaiv or Pāśupatya. The Vaiśnav [[Āgama]] shastra or corpus has two main subdivisions: the [[Vaikhānasa Āgama]] and the Pāñcharātra [[Āgama]]. As all these Āgamas are said to have been derived from the [[Veda]], they are also called Śrauta Āgamas. God Almighty, according to Vaiśnavism is determined based on shad-gunyavigraham devam (6 qualities of godliness.)  
  
The Vaishnav tradition is primarily a tradition of [[bhakti]], or devotion to God. Nārada defines [[bhakti]] as being of the nature of intense love for God: ''Sā tvasmin parama premarūpā''.<ref>''[[Narada]] [[Bhakti]] Sutra'', 2.</ref> The sage Śāndilya defines it as supreme attachment to God: ''sā parānuraktir-īśvare''.<ref>''Shandilya [[Bhakti]] Sutra'', 2.</ref> Two types of bhakti have been described by the teachers of bhakti: ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā''. ''Vaidhī bhakti'' involves [[worship]] and other rituals as instructed by the scriptures, whereas in ''rāgānugā bhakti'', intense love for God is fundamental, and rituals and [[worship]] become secondary. The [[Vaikhānasa Āgama]] deals primarily with ''vaidhī bhakti'', while Pāñcharātra Āgama teaches both ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā bhakti''.
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The Vaiśnava tradition is primarily a tradition of [[bhakti]], or devotion to God. Nārada defines [[bhakti]] as being of the nature of intense love for God: ''Sā tvasmin parama premarūpā''.<ref>''[[Narada]] [[Bhakti]] Sutra'', 2.</ref> The sage Śāndilya defines it as supreme attachment to God: ''sā parānuraktir-īśvare''.<ref>''Shandilya [[Bhakti]] Sutra'', 2.</ref> Two types of bhakti have been described by the teachers of bhakti: ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā''. ''Vaidhī bhakti'' involves [[worship]] and other rituals as instructed by the scriptures, whereas in ''rāgānugā bhakti'', intense love for God is fundamental, and rituals and [[worship]] become secondary. The [[Vaikhānasa Āgama]] deals primarily with ''vaidhī bhakti'', while Pāñcharātra Āgama teaches both ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā bhakti''.
  
 
===Pāñcharātra Corpus===
 
===Pāñcharātra Corpus===
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|-
 
|-
 
!Chief Scriptural Source
 
!Chief Scriptural Source
|Ekāyana Veda (''Bhagavad Gita'' is a part of it)
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|Ekāyana Veda (''Bhagvad Gita'' is a part of it)
 
|-
 
|-
 
!Satvik
 
!Satvik
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'''Other Upanishads:''' ''Avyakta'', ''Dattatreya'', ''Garud'', ''Gopal Tapani'', ''Hayagriva'', ''Kali Santaran'', ''Krishna'', ''Mahanarayan'', ''Narayan'', ''Nrisimha Tapaniya'', ''Rama Rahasya'', ''Rama Tapaniya'', ''Tarasara'', ''Vasudeva''
 
'''Other Upanishads:''' ''Avyakta'', ''Dattatreya'', ''Garud'', ''Gopal Tapani'', ''Hayagriva'', ''Kali Santaran'', ''Krishna'', ''Mahanarayan'', ''Narayan'', ''Nrisimha Tapaniya'', ''Rama Rahasya'', ''Rama Tapaniya'', ''Tarasara'', ''Vasudeva''
 
<br><br>
 
<br><br>
'''Maha-Puranas:''' ''Bhagavata'', ''Garuda'', ''Naradiya'', ''Padma'', ''Varaha'', ''Vishnu''
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'''Maha-Puranas:''' ''Bhagvata'', ''Garuda'', ''Naradiya'', ''Padma'', ''Varaha'', ''Vishnu''
 
<br><br>
 
<br><br>
 
'''Upa-Puranas:''' ''Brihan-Naradiya'', ''Hamsa'', ''Narasimha'', ''Parasara'', ''Sanat-Kumar'', ''Vamana'', ''Vasishtha'', ''Vishnudharmottara''
 
'''Upa-Puranas:''' ''Brihan-Naradiya'', ''Hamsa'', ''Narasimha'', ''Parasara'', ''Sanat-Kumar'', ''Vamana'', ''Vasishtha'', ''Vishnudharmottara''
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==Sectarian Development==
 
==Sectarian Development==
The theological traditions of the other Vaishnav sects have resemblance to the one developed by Rāmānuja, albeit with noteworthy variations. Teachers like Madhva, [[Vallabha Acharya|Vallabha]], [[Nimbārka]], and others also  incorporated [[Ramanuja|Rāmānuja]]’s ideas in their philosophies.  
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{{Cquote|Those who know the gradation of the devatas, and who understand the supremacy of Vishnu, are known as ''Ekantinā'' and masters of the knowledge of the divine hierarchy. Let those be alone called - ''Ekantins'' who know God to be one and the highest.|4=Madhavacharya}}
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The theological traditions of the other Vaiśnava sects have resemblance to the one developed by Rāmānuja, albeit with noteworthy variations. Teachers like Madhva, [[Vallabha Acharya|Vallabha]], [[Nimbārka]], and others also  incorporated [[Ramanuja|Rāmānuja]]’s ideas in their philosophies.  
  
 
=== Brahmā Sampraday ===
 
=== Brahmā Sampraday ===
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The darshan it prescribes to is [[Achintya Bheda Abheda]] (basically an integration of [[Dwaita]] and [[Vishishtadvaita]]) and [[Dwaita]] itself.
 
The darshan it prescribes to is [[Achintya Bheda Abheda]] (basically an integration of [[Dwaita]] and [[Vishishtadvaita]]) and [[Dwaita]] itself.
  
The ''Bhagavata Purana'' confirms that instructions were imparted to someone of the Brahmā gotra, which then passed through the latter.
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The ''Bhagvata Purana'' confirms that instructions were imparted to someone of the Brahmā gotra, which then passed through the latter.
{{Cquote|Text 17: The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, has descended into this world by His various partial incarnations such as Lord Haṁsa [the swan], Dattātreya, the four Kumāras and our own father, the mighty Ṛṣabhadeva.|4=[https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/4/ Bhagavata Purana 11.4.14]}}
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{{Cquote|Text 17: The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, has descended into this world by His various partial incarnations such as Lord Haṁsa [the swan], Dattātreya, the four Kumāras and our own father, the mighty Ṛṣabhadeva.|4=[https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/4/ Bhagvata Purana 11.4.14]}}
  
According to the ''Bhagavata Purana'', Hamsa was a Prajapati, confirming he was of the Brahmā gotra. The scripture continues to say that Hamsa imparted spiritual knowledge to Sanaka the Sanat Kumar. Hamsa's spiritual instructions are preserved in the ''Hamsa Gita''. This Hamsa may be the same Brahmā as Vaikhānasa.
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According to the ''Bhagvata Purana'', Hamsa was a Prajapati, confirming he was of the Brahmā gotra. The scripture continues to say that Hamsa imparted spiritual knowledge to Sanaka the Sanat Kumar. Hamsa's spiritual instructions are preserved in the ''Hamsa Gita''. This Hamsa may be the same Brahmā as Vaikhānasa.
  
 
==== Vaikhānasa Āgama ====
 
==== Vaikhānasa Āgama ====
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[[image:Chaturvyuya.jpg|thumb|250px|The core aspects of God in Pāñcharātra - Vishnu with the Chaturvyuha]]
 
[[image:Chaturvyuya.jpg|thumb|250px|The core aspects of God in Pāñcharātra - Vishnu with the Chaturvyuha]]
 
[[image:Panchvir.jpg|thumb|250px|The Vrishni Panchvir or ''Vrishni Five Heroes'' which Pāñcharātra centres upon<br>(Kondamotu Vrishni heroes relief, 4th century C.E., Hyderabad State Museum)]]
 
[[image:Panchvir.jpg|thumb|250px|The Vrishni Panchvir or ''Vrishni Five Heroes'' which Pāñcharātra centres upon<br>(Kondamotu Vrishni heroes relief, 4th century C.E., Hyderabad State Museum)]]
:''See also: [[Vishnu#Relation to Krishna|Vishnu's Relation to Krishna]]''
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:''See also: [[Vishnu#Relation to Krishna|Vishnu's Relation to Krishna]], [[Dasavathara Stotram]]''
 
The Pāñcharātra Āgama prescribes worship of Narayan. It is so-called because Vishnu taught this doctrine in five nights to Anant, Garuda, Vishwaksena, Brahmā, and Rudra. The Pāñcharātra tradition follows both ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā'' bhakti. The term Pāñcharātra can be traced to the Pāñcharātra [[yajna]] (a sacrifice spread over five nights) described in the scriptures.  The term is first used in the ''Taittiriya Samhita''<ref> ''Taittiriya Samhita'' vii.1.10.2; P. 293 ''Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide'' By Roshen Dalal </ref> wherein a man named Babara Pravahini used the Pāñcharātra sacrifice to gain rhetorical power. The ''Shatapatha Brahmana''.<ref>''Shatapatha Brahmana'', 13.6.1</ref>. The ''[[Ahirbudhnya Samhita]]'' says that Narayan himself composed the Pāñcharātra [[Tantra]] and therein explained the secret of his five forms: Para (the transcendent), Vyūha (heavenly avataras), Vibhabha (Earthly avataras), [[Antaryāmin]] (the in-dweller within individuals) and [[Arcā]] ([[Murti Puja|as consecrated images]].) Pāñcharātra may [also] be so-called because it adheres to panchakala or 5 daily observances; abhigamana or prayers, upadana or collecting materials for worship (i.e., incense sticks, lotus flowers), ijya or sacrifice (i.e., worship, fasting), swadhyaya or self-study, and yoga or meditation.
 
The Pāñcharātra Āgama prescribes worship of Narayan. It is so-called because Vishnu taught this doctrine in five nights to Anant, Garuda, Vishwaksena, Brahmā, and Rudra. The Pāñcharātra tradition follows both ''vaidhī'' and ''rāgānugā'' bhakti. The term Pāñcharātra can be traced to the Pāñcharātra [[yajna]] (a sacrifice spread over five nights) described in the scriptures.  The term is first used in the ''Taittiriya Samhita''<ref> ''Taittiriya Samhita'' vii.1.10.2; P. 293 ''Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide'' By Roshen Dalal </ref> wherein a man named Babara Pravahini used the Pāñcharātra sacrifice to gain rhetorical power. The ''Shatapatha Brahmana''.<ref>''Shatapatha Brahmana'', 13.6.1</ref>. The ''[[Ahirbudhnya Samhita]]'' says that Narayan himself composed the Pāñcharātra [[Tantra]] and therein explained the secret of his five forms: Para (the transcendent), Vyūha (heavenly avataras), Vibhabha (Earthly avataras), [[Antaryāmin]] (the in-dweller within individuals) and [[Arcā]] ([[Murti Puja|as consecrated images]].) Pāñcharātra may [also] be so-called because it adheres to panchakala or 5 daily observances; abhigamana or prayers, upadana or collecting materials for worship (i.e., incense sticks, lotus flowers), ijya or sacrifice (i.e., worship, fasting), swadhyaya or self-study, and yoga or meditation.
  
Vaishnavam has also been known as Bhagavatam, Ekantika Dharm, Pāñcharātra, Satvat Vidhi, and Narayaniya. Bhagavatam refers to the Krishna the Bhagavat. Ekantika Dharm refers to Vasudeva as well, but according to the ''Narada Pāñcharātra'', there were 2 kinds of Ekantins - pure (''Vasudevaikayajina'' or "''worshiping only Vasudeva''") and mixed (who worshiped other forms of Vasudeva.) The "Mokshadharmaparvan" section of the ''Mahabharata'' states that the worship of Vasudeva evolved from ekavyuha (only Krishna), to dvivyuha (him and Sankarshan), then trivyuha (the prior 2 and Pradyumna), and chaturvyuha (the 3 plus Aniruddha.) Later, Sambha too was added to the regular pantheon.
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Vaiśnavam has also been known as Bhagvatam, Ekantika Dharm<Ref> Suta Lomaharshan refers to it as ''Ekanta Dharm'' in HD 348.4 </ref>, Pāñcharātra, Satvat Vidhi<Ref> Sauti Ugrashrava describes it as such </ref>, and Narayaniya. Bhagvatam refers to the Krishna the Bhagvat. Ekantika Dharm refers to Vasudeva as well, but according to the ''Narada Pāñcharātra'', there were 2 kinds of Ekantins - pure (''Vasudevaikayajina'' or "''worshiping only Vasudeva''") and mixed (who worshiped other forms of Vasudeva.) The "Mokshadharmaparvan" section of the ''Mahabharata'' states that the worship of Vasudeva evolved from ekavyuha (only Krishna), to dvivyuha (him and Sankarshan), then trivyuha (the prior 2 and Pradyumna), and chaturvyuha (the 3 plus Aniruddha.) Later, Sambha too was added to the regular pantheon.
  
The Pāñcharātra tradition of Vaisnavism and the Nārāyanīya section in the Śāntiparvan of the [[Mahabharata]] have great  similarity. The primary aim of the Pāñcharātra tradition is ''[[prapatti]]'' or ''śaranā[[gati]]'' (self-surrender), and the path is therefore called ''[[ek]]āntika'' (with but one aim). According to Pāñcharātrikas, ''śaranāgati'' or total resignation is the main method of contemplation.
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The Pāñcharātra tradition of Vaisnavism and the Nārāyanīya section in the Śāntiparvan of the [[Mahabharata]] have great  similarity. The primary aim of the Pāñcharātra tradition is ''[[prapatti]]'' or ''śaranā[[gati]]'' (self-surrender), and the path is therefore called ''Ekāntika'' (with but one aim). According to Pāñcharātrikas, ''śaranāgati'' or total resignation is the main method of contemplation.
  
 
The Satvata and Ahirbudhnya samhitas list 39 avatars of Vishnu:
 
The Satvata and Ahirbudhnya samhitas list 39 avatars of Vishnu:
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#Narasimha
 
#Narasimha
 
#Piyushaharana
 
#Piyushaharana
#Shripati
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#Sripati
 
#Kantatman
 
#Kantatman
 
#Rahujit
 
#Rahujit
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#Patalashayana
 
#Patalashayana
 
<br>
 
<br>
The main deities of this sect are Vasudeva himself, and his expansions of Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and Samba.
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The main deities of this sect are Narayan, then his expansions as Vasudeva himself, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha.
  
==== Gaudīya and Bhāgavata Tradition ====
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==== Gaudīya and Bhāgvata Tradition ====
 
[[image:Sri_Chaitanya_Mahaprabhu.jpg|thumb|150px|Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu]]
 
[[image:Sri_Chaitanya_Mahaprabhu.jpg|thumb|150px|Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu]]
The Gaudīya tradition of bhakti is based on the theology of the Bhagavata and the ''[[Narada]] Pāñcharātra''. The Gaudīya Vaishnavs are worshippers of [[Rādhā]] and Krishna. The person of Rādhā does not find mention in the Bhagavata. This concept is derived from the ''Narada Pāñcharātra'', where [[Pārvati]], the divine consort of [[Shiva]], says: ‘''Tadrāse dhāranādrādhā vidvadbhih parikīrtitā''; I held you in ''rāsa'' (divine play), that is why I am known as Rādhā by those in the know.’<ref>''Narada Pāñcharātra'', 1.2.62.</ref> ''Gopīs'', the milkmaids of Vraja, are the embodiments of amorous love. The aggregate of this love of the ''gopīs'' is Rādhā, the embodiment of ''mahābhāva'', the manifestation of ''hlādinī'' (the power of divine beatitude), which is one of the components of God’s ''svarūpa [[Śakti|śakti]]'' (intrinsic powers).  
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The Gaudīya tradition of bhakti is based on the theology of the Bhagvatam and the ''[[Narada]] Pāñcharātra''. The Gaudīya Vaiśnavas are worshippers of [[Rādhā]] and Krishna. The person of Rādhā does not find mention in the Bhagvatam. This concept is derived from the ''Narada Pāñcharātra'', where [[Pārvati]], the divine consort of [[Shiva]], says: ‘''Tadrāse dhāranādrādhā vidvadbhih parikīrtitā''; I held you in ''rāsa'' (divine play), that is why I am known as Rādhā by those in the know.’<ref>''Narada Pāñcharātra'', 1.2.62.</ref> ''Gopīs'', the milkmaids of Vraja, are the embodiments of amorous love. The aggregate of this love of the ''gopīs'' is Rādhā, the embodiment of ''mahābhāva'', the manifestation of ''hlādinī'' (the power of divine beatitude), which is one of the components of God’s ''svarūpa [[Śakti|śakti]]'' (intrinsic powers).  
  
This concept of Rādhā is a dominant theme in Vrindavan. The highest aspect of ''mahābhāva'', known as ''mā[[dana]]'' or maddening delight, is possessed only by Rādhā and no one else, not even by Krishna.<ref> Rupa Gosvami, ''Ujjvala-nilamani'', ‘Sthayibhava Prakarana’, 172 et seq.</ref> The delight Rādhā derives thereby is so immensely superior to what Krishna enjoys as the object of her love and is so irresistibly tempting that Krishna cannot suppress his eagerness to taste his own charms and sweetness as Rādhā does. Accordingly, there is an aspect of Krishna in which all the attributes of the Krishna of Vrindavan as well as those of Rādhā coexist.<ref>Krishnadas Kaviraj, ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'', 1.4.109, 115–16; 2.8.239. </ref> In this aspect, Krishna, as the subject of ''mādana'', relishes his own charms and sweetness. [[Caitanya]] Mahāprabhu (or Śri Gaurānga), is considered to be this dual form—Krishna and Rādhā embodied in one frame—by the Gaudīya Vaishnavs. So it is their custom to worship Gaurānga and his companions before worshipping Krishna.  
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This concept of Rādhā is a dominant theme in Vrindavan. The highest aspect of ''mahābhāva'', known as ''mā[[dana]]'' or maddening delight, is possessed only by Rādhā and no one else, not even by Krishna.<ref> Rupa Gosvami, ''Ujjvala-nilamani'', ‘Sthayibhava Prakarana’, 172 et seq.</ref> The delight Rādhā derives thereby is so immensely superior to what Krishna enjoys as the object of her love and is so irresistibly tempting that Krishna cannot suppress his eagerness to taste his own charms and sweetness as Rādhā does. Accordingly, there is an aspect of Krishna in which all the attributes of the Krishna of Vrindavan as well as those of Rādhā coexist.<ref>Krishnadas Kaviraj, ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'', 1.4.109, 115–16; 2.8.239. </ref> In this aspect, Krishna, as the subject of ''mādana'', relishes his own charms and sweetness. [[Caitanya]] Mahāprabhu (or Śri Gaurānga), is considered to be this dual form—Krishna and Rādhā embodied in one frame—by the Gaudīya Vaiśnavs. So it is their custom to worship Gaurānga and his companions before worshipping Krishna.  
  
The highest privilege for a jiva is to serve the Lord with ''madhura rati'' (amorous attachment) and be united with him, while maintaining one’s individuality, or while maintaining an idea of separation of Purusa and Prakrti (in Vaishnav theological terms). To attain this state one needs to practise thinking of oneself as a young ''gopī'', beautifully dressed, attending on Rādhā in her love-pastimes with Krishna, being the principal subordinate to Rūpamañjarī, the chief among Rādhā’s attendants (known as ''mañjarīs''). Similar is the mode of meditation for devotees with other ''ratis'' <ref>Krishnadas Kaviraj, ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'',2.22.91</ref>.
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The highest privilege for a jiva is to serve the Lord with ''madhura rati'' (amorous attachment) and be united with him, while maintaining one’s individuality, or while maintaining an idea of separation of Purusa and Prakrti (in Vaiśnav theological terms). To attain this state one needs to practise thinking of oneself as a young ''gopī'', beautifully dressed, attending on Rādhā in her love-pastimes with Krishna, being the principal subordinate to Rūpamañjarī, the chief among Rādhā’s attendants (known as ''mañjarīs''). Similar is the mode of meditation for devotees with other ''ratis'' <ref>Krishnadas Kaviraj, ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'',2.22.91</ref>.
  
 
{{Cquote| I will build a funeral pyre of sandalwood and aloe; light it by Your own hand. When I am burned away to cinders, smear this ash upon Your limbs. …let flame be lost in flame.|4=Mirabai}}
 
{{Cquote| I will build a funeral pyre of sandalwood and aloe; light it by Your own hand. When I am burned away to cinders, smear this ash upon Your limbs. …let flame be lost in flame.|4=Mirabai}}
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But this is not possible for novices. So they are to prepare themselves by following the disciplines of ''vaidhī bhakti'' and ''navadhā bhakti''. Thereafter the aspirant  is expected to develop the sentiments inherent in the ''śānta, dāsya, sakhya'', and ''vātsalya'' attitudes (''sneha, pranaya'', and the like). When the aspirant feels a deep attraction for and cannot bear separation from Krishna, he or she is established in ''bhāva''. When this too ripens, the aspirant is established in the attitude of a ''gopī'' (''gopī bhāva siddha''), which, in select aspirants, culminates in ''mahābhāva''. In this state, separation is removed and total union prevails; the aspirant enters into the supreme state of divine ecstasy and becomes one with the beloved enjoying the absolute ''mādhurya'' of Krishna. In this state, Krishna is  looked upon as the nearest and dearest, nay—the person of the devotee is totally merged into that of Krishna, who is Narayan of Goloka, the ''advaya jñāna-[[tattva]] [[vastu]]'' the unique or non-dual essence of knowledge.
 
But this is not possible for novices. So they are to prepare themselves by following the disciplines of ''vaidhī bhakti'' and ''navadhā bhakti''. Thereafter the aspirant  is expected to develop the sentiments inherent in the ''śānta, dāsya, sakhya'', and ''vātsalya'' attitudes (''sneha, pranaya'', and the like). When the aspirant feels a deep attraction for and cannot bear separation from Krishna, he or she is established in ''bhāva''. When this too ripens, the aspirant is established in the attitude of a ''gopī'' (''gopī bhāva siddha''), which, in select aspirants, culminates in ''mahābhāva''. In this state, separation is removed and total union prevails; the aspirant enters into the supreme state of divine ecstasy and becomes one with the beloved enjoying the absolute ''mādhurya'' of Krishna. In this state, Krishna is  looked upon as the nearest and dearest, nay—the person of the devotee is totally merged into that of Krishna, who is Narayan of Goloka, the ''advaya jñāna-[[tattva]] [[vastu]]'' the unique or non-dual essence of knowledge.
 
[[image:Sri_Shankaradeva.jpg|thumb|150px|Sri Shankaradeva]]
 
[[image:Sri_Shankaradeva.jpg|thumb|150px|Sri Shankaradeva]]
Important exponents of the Gaudīya tradition include Rūpa, Sanātana, and Jīva [[Gosvāmi]]. Among more recent traditions, ISKCON, the Hare Krishna school, follows the Gaudīya tradition.The ISKCON followers emphasize keeping count on the rosary ( ''[[japa]] mālā'') while repeating the holy name, and consider the Bhagavata, the Gita, and the ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'' their main scriptures.
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Important exponents of the Gaudīya tradition include Rūpa, Sanātana, and Jīva [[Gosvāmi]]. Among more recent traditions, ISKCON, the Hare Krishna school, follows the Gaudīya tradition.The ISKCON followers emphasize keeping count on the rosary ( ''[[japa]] mālā'') while repeating the holy name, and consider the Bhagvatam, the Gita, and the ''Chaitanya Charitamrita'' their main scriptures.
  
 
==== The Śankaradeva Tradition ====
 
==== The Śankaradeva Tradition ====
Śankaradeva considers the Bhagavata as the embodiment of Krishna, and worships it as such. His followers usually do not worship images, but otherwise follow Gaudīya theology. They follow the teachings of the Bhagavata, which prescribes the Kaliyuga method of worshipping  the Supreme Being through ''kīrtana'', identifying him with Krishna and [[Rama]] and addressing him as Mahāpurusa.<ref>Bhagavata, 11.5.32–34.</ref> Thus the Purusottama of the Gita is the Mahāpurusa of the Bhagavata, and the theology of Śankaradeva is known as Mahāpurusiyā [[Dharma]]. ''Kīrtana'', the main method of worship, is also called ''nāma-[[dharma]]''. Just as the Gita enjoins giving up all duties and the practice of implicit resignation to the Lord,<ref>''Bhagavad Gita'', 18.66.</ref> Śankaradeva also lays great stress on ''eka śarana'' (surrender to the one Lord), which gives the school its other epithet eka śaraniyā. The concept of mukti is not given much importance by this sect, and it does not accept ''madhura bhāva'' or the ''Rādhā'' and ''gopī'' concepts of [[Caitanya]] and the [[Bhāgavata]] school.
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Śankaradeva considers the Bhagvatam as the embodiment of Krishna, and worships it as such. His followers usually do not worship images, but otherwise follow Gaudīya theology. They follow the teachings of the Bhagvatam, which prescribes the Kali Yuga method of worshipping  the Supreme Being through ''kīrtana'', identifying him with Krishna and [[Rama]] and addressing him as Mahāpurusa.<ref>Bhagvata 11.5.32–34.</ref> Thus the Purusottama of the Gita is the Mahāpurusa of the Bhagvata, and the theology of Śankaradeva is known as Mahāpurusiyā [[Dharma]]. ''Kīrtana'', the main method of worship, is also called ''nāma-[[dharma]]''. Just as the Gita enjoins giving up all duties and the practice of implicit resignation to the Lord,<ref>''Bhagvad Gita'', 18.66.</ref> Śankaradeva also lays great stress on ''eka śarana'' (surrender to the one Lord), which gives the school its other epithet eka śaraniyā. The concept of mukti is not given much importance by this sect, and it does not accept ''madhura bhāva'' or the ''Rādhā'' and ''gopī'' concepts of [[Caitanya]] and the [[Bhāgavata-dharma|Bhāgvata]] school.
  
 
=== Rudra Sampraday ===
 
=== Rudra Sampraday ===
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==== The Vāllabha Tradition ====
 
==== The Vāllabha Tradition ====
 
[[image:Sri_Vallabhacharya.jpg|thumb|left|150px|Sri Vallabha Acharya]]
 
[[image:Sri_Vallabhacharya.jpg|thumb|left|150px|Sri Vallabha Acharya]]
Although the school founded by Vallabha Acharya accepts the [[Vedas]], the ''Bhagavad Gita'', and the ''[[Narada]] Pāñcharātra'' as scripture, its primary authority is the ''Bhagavata [[Purana]]'', because this text is directly related to Krishna. For Vallabha, [[Sri Krishna]] is the [[Sat]]-cid-[[ananda]] [[Parabrahman]], also called Purusottama, even when present in his pastoral aspect as the cowherd boy of Vraja. Vallabha, however, does not accept the reality of [[Rādhā]] as in the Vrindavan Vaishnav tradition and the Gaudīya tradition. According to Vallabha, the highest type of jiva is ''pusti jīva'', the spiritually nourished jiva. This concept of ''pusti'' is derived from the ''Bhagavata'': ‘''posanam tadanugrahah''; ''posana'' is his grace.’<ref>Bhagavata, 2.10.4.</ref> This is why Vallabha’s system of philosophy is called Pusti Mārga. One may practice bhakti rigorously, but divine grace is nonetheless the last word and the ''summum bonum'' of life. A pusti jīva prefers to serve the Lord, even eschewing Mukti. ''Bhajanānanda'' (the joy of devotional adoration) is infinitely superior to ''[[brahmānanda]]'' (the bliss of [[Brahman]]), and this can be had through service to Krishna, the Pūrna Purusottama (the Supreme Being totally manifest). To attain this privilege, the disciplines of nine-fold bhakti mentioned earlier have been prescribed. When this bhakti matures, the devotee enters into a transcendental state in this very life and gets a spiritual body in the life beyond, in order to be perpetually engaged in the divine service of the Lord.
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Although the school founded by Vallabha Acharya accepts the [[Vedas]], the ''Bhagvad Gita'', and the ''[[Narada]] Pāñcharātra'' as scripture, its primary authority is the ''Bhagvata Purana'', because this text is directly related to Krishna. For Vallabha, [[Sri Krishna]] is the [[Sat]]-cid-[[ananda]] [[Parabrahman]], also called Purusottama, even when present in his pastoral aspect as the cowherd boy of Vraja. Vallabha, however, does not accept the reality of [[Rādhā]] as in the Vrindavan Vaiśnav tradition and the Gaudīya tradition. According to Vallabha, the highest type of jiva is ''pusti jīva'', the spiritually nourished jiva. This concept of ''pusti'' is derived from the ''Bhagvatam'': ‘''posanam tadanugrahah''; ''posana'' is his grace.’<ref>Bhagvata, 2.10.4.</ref> This is why Vallabha’s system of philosophy is called Pusti Mārga. One may practice bhakti rigorously, but divine grace is nonetheless the last word and the ''summum bonum'' of life. A pusti jīva prefers to serve the Lord, even eschewing Mukti. ''Bhajanānanda'' (the joy of devotional adoration) is infinitely superior to ''[[brahmānanda]]'' (the bliss of [[Brahman]]), and this can be had through service to Krishna, the Pūrna Purusottama (the Supreme Being totally manifest). To attain this privilege, the disciplines of nine-fold bhakti mentioned earlier have been prescribed. When this bhakti matures, the devotee enters into a transcendental state in this very life and gets a spiritual body in the life beyond, in order to be perpetually engaged in the divine service of the Lord.
  
 
=== Sri Sampraday ===
 
=== Sri Sampraday ===
 
[[Image:Sri and Vishnu being worshiped.jpg|thumb|250px|It is unclear who the original founder of this sampraday was but it has been popular historically, nonetheless.]]
 
[[Image:Sri and Vishnu being worshiped.jpg|thumb|250px|It is unclear who the original founder of this sampraday was but it has been popular historically, nonetheless.]]
It is uncertain how old this sampraday is (with adherents claiming it traces back to Vishnu and Laxmi themselves) but this tradition was made more popular by Tamil Saint Nathmuni. It was then popularized by Ramanuja, who connected Vaishnavism with other Vedic persons, including Indra and Varuna. Later in the 14th century, Bhakti Era patriarch Ramananda Swami preached Sri Sampraday in northern India after settling there. Today the sect also worships Vishnu's avatars (Rama, Krishna, as well as Hanuman.)
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It is uncertain how old this sampraday is (with adherents claiming it traces back to Vishnu and Laxmi themselves) but this tradition was made more popular by Tamil Saint Nathmuni. It was then popularized by Ramanuja, who connected Vaiśnavism with other Vedic persons, including Indra and Varuna. Later in the 14th century, Bhakti Era patriarch Ramananda Swami preached Sri Sampraday in northern India after settling there. Its main doctrine is that Vishnu is God Almighty, and that Sri Lakshmi is His form that intercedes on behalf of worshipers by accepting their prayers to Vishnu (and to her as well.) It is interesting to note that the Yogamaya or spiritual energy of Vishnu in the universe (within scriptures of other Vaiśnava sects) has often been considered feminine. Today the sect also worships Vishnu's avatars too (Rama, Krishna, as well as Hanuman.)
  
 
The darshan it prescribes to is [[Vishishtadvaita]].
 
The darshan it prescribes to is [[Vishishtadvaita]].
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'''[[Prapatti]]:''' By long and continued practice of these disciplines, one is established on the plane of ''vaidhī bhakti'' consisting of dhyana and ''upāsanā''. Thereafter the aspirant ascends to the plane of ''paramā bhakti'' (supreme devotion), maintaining in oneself the knowledge that one is merely a ''śesa'' (a minute part of the whole, which is the Deity) and that the Deity is the ''śesin'' (the whole). ''Paramā bhakti'' is identical with ''prapatti'' (resignation). This state of being an eternal servant of the Lord is itself the highest goal. The idea of identifcation with the Supreme Being is not acceptable to the Śrīvaishnav. According to this tradition, the Supreme Being or Purusottama  is by nature devoid of all blemish and is full of limitless, unsurpassable, and countless auspicious qualities: ‘''nirasta-nikhiladoso-’nava-dhikātiśayāsankhyeya-kalyānagunaganah''’.<ref>Ramanujacharya, ''Brahm Sutra Sri Bhashya'', 1.1.1.</ref>
 
'''[[Prapatti]]:''' By long and continued practice of these disciplines, one is established on the plane of ''vaidhī bhakti'' consisting of dhyana and ''upāsanā''. Thereafter the aspirant ascends to the plane of ''paramā bhakti'' (supreme devotion), maintaining in oneself the knowledge that one is merely a ''śesa'' (a minute part of the whole, which is the Deity) and that the Deity is the ''śesin'' (the whole). ''Paramā bhakti'' is identical with ''prapatti'' (resignation). This state of being an eternal servant of the Lord is itself the highest goal. The idea of identifcation with the Supreme Being is not acceptable to the Śrīvaishnav. According to this tradition, the Supreme Being or Purusottama  is by nature devoid of all blemish and is full of limitless, unsurpassable, and countless auspicious qualities: ‘''nirasta-nikhiladoso-’nava-dhikātiśayāsankhyeya-kalyānagunaganah''’.<ref>Ramanujacharya, ''Brahm Sutra Sri Bhashya'', 1.1.1.</ref>
  
=== Other Vaishnav Traditions ===
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=== Other Vaiśnav Traditions ===
==== Early Medieval Vaishnav Schools ====
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==== Early Medieval Vaiśnav Schools ====
 
[[image:Mirabai.jpg|thumb|150px|Mirabai]]  
 
[[image:Mirabai.jpg|thumb|150px|Mirabai]]  
Many other Vaishnav devotees called [[sants]] preached the doctrine of love throughout India. Several sects have preserved the traditions they founded. These include the sects of [[Nimbārka]], [[Rāmānanda]], and Samartha Rāmdās, the Vārkarīpantha (worshippers of Vitthala or Vithobā of [[Pandharpur]], including Nāmadeva, Eknāth, [[Tukārām]], and Janābai among others); and smaller sects associated with Haridās and [[Dādu]]. Jñāneśvara  blended bhakti with [[Advaita]] [[Vedanta]] in ''Jnaneshvari'', his commentary on the Bhagavadgita. The other [[sants]] have stressed bhakti as the path to God realization and advocated singing the name of the Lord and chanting his praise. These [[sants]] accepted and preached the path of pure devotion (''premā bhakti''), considering God a loving parent or master rather than as the divine lover of the [[Bhāgavata]] or Gaudīya tradition. An exception was Mīrābāi; she practiced and preached ''rāgānugā bhakti'' (passionate love) towards the Lord, viewing him as lover. Kabir was the most unique worshipper in the Vaiśnav tradition because he addressed God Almighty as Hari mainly, then Narayan, then Govind, and then Vishnu, but he heavily criticized worshiping God as someone of whom we have stories (i.e., Vishnu being a brother or having any connection to any deities) and incarnations. Regardless, he promoted his Hari-worship as Vaiśnavam.
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Many other Vaiśnav devotees called [[sants]] preached the doctrine of love throughout India. Several sects have preserved the traditions they founded. These include the sects of [[Nimbārka]], [[Rāmānanda]], and Samartha Rāmdās, the Vārkarīpantha (worshippers of Vitthala or Vithobā of [[Pandharpur]], including Nāmadeva, Eknāth, [[Tukārām]], and Janābai among others); and smaller sects associated with Haridās and [[Dādu]]. Jñāneśvara  blended bhakti with [[Advaita]] [[Vedanta]] in ''Jnaneshvari'', his commentary on the ''Bhagvad Gita''. The other [[sants]] have stressed bhakti as the path to God realization and advocated singing the name of the Lord and chanting his praise. These [[sants]] accepted and preached the path of pure devotion (''premā bhakti''), considering God a loving parent or master rather than as the divine lover of the [[Bhāgavata-dharma|Bhāgvata]] or Gaudīya tradition. An exception was Mīrābāi; she practiced and preached ''rāgānugā bhakti'' (passionate love) towards the Lord, viewing him as lover. Kabir was the most unique worshipper in the Vaiśnav tradition because he addressed God Almighty as Hari mainly, then Narayan, then Govind, and then Vishnu, but he heavily criticized worshiping God as someone of whom we have stories (i.e., Vishnu being a brother or having any connection to any deities) and incarnations. Regardless, he promoted his Hari-worship as Vaiśnavam, and his Kabirpanth is popular.
  
{{Cquote|Good is the bitch of a Vaiśnav: bad is a Shākta's mother; For, the one hears the Hari Nam, the other but deals in evil.|4=Poem 52, “Sloks of the Bhagat Kabir,''Sri Guru Granth Sahib''}}
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{{Cquote|Good is the bitch of a Vaiśnav: bad is a Shākta's mother;
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For, the one hears Hari Nam, the other but deals in evil.|4=[https://www.sacred-texts.com/skh/granth/gr40.htm Poem 52, Section 40 (“Sloks of the Bhagat Kabir”), ''Sri Guru Granth Sahib'']}}
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{{Cquote|Orthodox priest expostulated: “This is not your religion. You have made yourself a Vaiśnav and call on Vishnu, Narayan, Gobind, and Mukand. This is our religion.”
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Kabir replied: “On my tongue Vishnu, in my eyes Narayan, and in my heart Gobind dwells. When at the door of Yama they question me, what will you say, oh mad Mukand.”|4=Kabir Kassauti introduction}}
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Kabir received spiritual knowledge in Vaiśnavam from his preceptor Ramanand, who himself worshipped only Hari. He himself is believed in one Ramanandi tradition to have been the 4th spiritual successor to Ramanuja Acharya. His sampraday is popular.
  
 
==== Sri Ramakrishna on Vaiśnav Bhakti ====
 
==== Sri Ramakrishna on Vaiśnav Bhakti ====
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== The Common Contemplative Tradition of Vaiśnavism ==
 
== The Common Contemplative Tradition of Vaiśnavism ==
Vaisnavism is mainly a tradition of bhakti. This bhakti has been defined and explained in different ways by different teachers. Unmotivated devotion (''ahaitukī bhakti'') to God is preached in the ''Bhagavata Purana'': ‘''Sa vai pumsām paro dharmo yato bhaktir-adhoksaje, ahaituky-apratihatā yayā’’tmā samprasīdati'';That is the highest religion of humanity from which arises motiveless and uninterrupted devotion to God that fills the soul with bliss.’<ref>[[Bhagavata]], 1.2.6.</ref> The ''[[Narada]] Pancharatra'' defines bhakti as the realization that God alone is ‘mine’ (truly one’s own), accompanied by divine love (''preman'') and devoid of attachment to any worldly object. In later Vaishnav tradition, a distinction is drawn between bhakti and ''preman''. Bhakti is spontaneous attachment for God, being entirely possessed by and absorbed in him. ''Preman'' is the most concentrated form of this love, characterized by that intense attachment to God which purifies the heart completely. ''Preman'' is the culmination and fulflment of bhakti, its utmost perfection. This is also the basis of the two divisions: ''vaidhī'' or ''sā[[dhana]] bhakti'' (ritual devotion) and ''rāgānugā'' or ''premā bhakti'' (the devotion consequent upon intense attachment).
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Vaisnavism is mainly a tradition of bhakti. This bhakti has been defined and explained in different ways by different teachers. Unmotivated devotion (''ahaitukī bhakti'') to God is preached in the ''Bhagvata Purana'': ‘''Sa vai pumsām paro dharmo yato bhaktir-adhoksaje, ahaituky-apratihatā yayā’’tmā samprasīdati'';That is the highest religion of humanity from which arises motiveless and uninterrupted devotion to God that fills the soul with bliss.’<ref>[[Bhagvata]], 1.2.6</ref> The ''[[Narada]] Pancharatra'' defines bhakti as the realization that God alone is ‘mine’ (truly one’s own), accompanied by divine love (''preman'') and devoid of attachment to any worldly object. In later Vaiśnav tradition, a distinction is drawn between bhakti and ''preman''. Bhakti is spontaneous attachment for God, being entirely possessed by and absorbed in him. ''Preman'' is the most concentrated form of this love, characterized by that intense attachment to God which purifies the heart completely. ''Preman'' is the culmination and fulflment of bhakti, its utmost perfection. This is also the basis of the two divisions: ''vaidhī'' or ''sā[[dhana]] bhakti'' (ritual devotion) and ''rāgānugā'' or ''premā bhakti'' (the devotion consequent upon intense attachment).
  
 
== Spirit of Renunciation in Vaiśnavism ==
 
== Spirit of Renunciation in Vaiśnavism ==
Although there are exceptions, formal renunciation is not an important component of the Vaishnav tradition. The renunciation practiced by its adherents manifests more as an indifferent attitude towards worldly objects that are obstacles to one-pointed or single-minded love for God. This is called ''yukta [[vairāgya]]'' (detachment proper): ‘''Anāsaktasya visayān yathārham-upayuñjatah, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairāgyam-ucyate''; That detachment which is characterized by acceptance of only those objects that are not detrimental to devotion and which is accompanied by a desire to associate with Krishna is termed ''yukta [[vairāgya]]''.’<ref>Rupa Gosvami, ''Bhakti-rasamrita-[[sindhu]]'', 1.2.253.</ref> This is in contrast to ''phalgu vairāgya'' (feeble detachment) ‘''Prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunah mumuksubhih parityāgo vairāgyam phalgu kathyate''; Renunciation of all objects—even those related to Krishna himself, knowing them to be worldly—by seekers of salvation is termed ''phalgu vairāgya’'' <ref>Rupa Gosvami, ''Bhakti-rasamrita-[[sindhu]]'',1.2.254</ref>. This is the spirit of renunciation of those who tread on the path of knowledge. Vaishnav devotees generally practice ''yukta vairāgya''. Sri [[Caitanya]] Mahāprabhu exemplified an uncompromising spirit of renunciation, and so did his direct disciples like Rūpa, Sanātana, and [[Jīva gosvāmi|Jīva Gosvāmi]].
+
Although there are exceptions, formal renunciation is not an important component of the Vaiśnav tradition. The renunciation practiced by its adherents manifests more as an indifferent attitude towards worldly objects that are obstacles to one-pointed or single-minded love for God. This is called ''yukta [[vairāgya]]'' (detachment proper): ‘''Anāsaktasya visayān yathārham-upayuñjatah, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairāgyam-ucyate''; That detachment which is characterized by acceptance of only those objects that are not detrimental to devotion and which is accompanied by a desire to associate with Krishna is termed ''yukta [[vairāgya]]''.’<ref>Rupa Gosvami, ''Bhakti-rasamrita-[[sindhu]]'', 1.2.253.</ref> This is in contrast to ''phalgu vairāgya'' (feeble detachment) ‘''Prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunah mumuksubhih parityāgo vairāgyam phalgu kathyate''; Renunciation of all objects—even those related to Krishna himself, knowing them to be worldly—by seekers of salvation is termed ''phalgu vairāgya’'' <ref>Rupa Gosvami, ''Bhakti-rasamrita-[[sindhu]]'',1.2.254</ref>. This is the spirit of renunciation of those who tread on the path of knowledge. Vaiśnav devotees generally practice ''yukta vairāgya''. Sri [[Caitanya]] Mahāprabhu exemplified an uncompromising spirit of renunciation, and so did his direct disciples like Rūpa, Sanātana, and [[Jīva gosvāmi|Jīva Gosvāmi]].
  
 
== Sannyasins and Householders and their Sacraments ==
 
== Sannyasins and Householders and their Sacraments ==
The Vaishnav movement comprises both sannyasin and householder traditions. Each has a tradition of teacher-pupil succession (''paramparā''), maintained by the process of ''dīksā'' (initiation with a [[mantra]]). On being initiated into the sect (''[[sampradāya]]'') the disciple undertakes to abide by the values of the tradition and the community. He or she receives a [[mantra]] of Vishnu or Krishna (and in case of renunciants a new name) in accordance with the traditional ''ista'' (Chosen Deity) of the particular ''[[sampradāya]]''. All Vaishnavs must mark their fore-head with sandalwood ''tilaka'' (a holy mark in the form of an extended ‘U’) and other sacred marks—signs of Vishnu’s insignia—on different parts of the body: arms, nose, chest, and the like. A body without these marks is considered ‘as inauspicious as a carcass’. All initiated Vaishnavs are also expected to wear a string of beads made from the stem of tulsi (the holy basil) around their necks, have a rosary for [[japa]] (repeating the divine name), and wear a ''śikhā'' (a knotted tuf of hair on the back of the head).
+
The Vaiśnav movement comprises both sannyasin and householder traditions. Each has a tradition of teacher-pupil succession (''paramparā''), maintained by the process of ''dīksā'' (initiation with a [[mantra]]). On being initiated into the sect (''[[sampradāya]]'') the disciple undertakes to abide by the values of the tradition and the community. He or she receives a [[mantra]] of Vishnu or Krishna (and in case of renunciants a new name) in accordance with the traditional ''ista'' (Chosen Deity) of the particular ''[[sampradāya]]''. All Vaiśnav must mark their fore-head with sandalwood ''tilaka'' (a holy mark in the form of an extended ‘U’) and other sacred marks—signs of Vishnu’s insignia—on different parts of the body: arms, nose, chest, and the like. A body without these marks is considered ‘as inauspicious as a carcass’. All initiated Vaiśnavs are also expected to wear a string of beads made from the stem of tulsi (the holy basil) around their necks, have a rosary for [[japa]] (repeating the divine name), and wear a ''śikhā'' (a knotted tuf of hair on the back of the head).
  
 
== Worship Customs ==
 
== Worship Customs ==
 
=== The Marks of Vaidhī Bhakti ===
 
=== The Marks of Vaidhī Bhakti ===
Vaidhī bhakti has nine aspects  (''navalaksanā'' or ''navadhā'')--all directed to Vishnu: ‘''Śravanam kīrtanam vishnoh smaranam pādasevanam, arcanam vandanam dāsyam sakhyam-ātmanivedanam''.’<ref>Bhagavata, 7.5.22.</ref>
+
Vaidhī bhakti has nine aspects  (''navalaksanā'' or ''navadhā'')--all directed to Vishnu: ‘''Śravanam kīrtanam vishnoh smaranam pādasevanam, arcanam vandanam dāsyam sakhyam-ātmanivedanam''.’<ref>Bhagvata, 7.5.22.</ref>
 
# listening to the name and glories of the Lord
 
# listening to the name and glories of the Lord
 
# chanting his holy name
 
# chanting his holy name
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# friendship, and
 
# friendship, and
 
#self-surrender<br>
 
#self-surrender<br>
<br>These nine ways of worshiping Vishnu are followed by all the Vaishnav schools as ''vaidhī bhakti''. Each school has its own approach, emphasizing one or more of these aspects. According to Nārada, dedication of all actions to the Lord and extreme yearning on forgetting him are marks of devotion. The lineage of [[Parāśara]] holds that attachment to worship and other rituals is the mark of bhakti. [[Garga]] maintains that speaking of His glories is the sign of devotion. Śāndilya holds that love for the Self is bhakti. Another aspect of devotion especially stressed in the Vaishnav tradition is association with and service to devotees of the Lord. The Gaudīya Vaishnavs hold that to have utmost taste for taking the Lord’s name, compassion towards all jivas (living beings), and service to devotees (initiated Vaishnavs) are the means to as well as marks of devotion. But it is ''śaranāgati'' that is most important for a Vaishnav spiritual aspirant. This ''śaranāgati'' has six aspects ‘''Ānukūlyasya samkalpah prātikūlyasya varjanam, raksisyatīti viśvāsa goptrtvavaranam tathā; ātmaniksepakārpanye sadvidhā śaranāgatih.''’ :  
+
<br>These nine ways of worshiping Vishnu are followed by all the Vaiśnav schools as ''vaidhī bhakti''. Each school has its own approach, emphasizing one or more of these aspects. According to Nārada, dedication of all actions to the Lord and extreme yearning on forgetting him are marks of devotion. The lineage of [[Parāśara]] holds that attachment to worship and other rituals is the mark of bhakti. [[Garga]] maintains that speaking of His glories is the sign of devotion. Śāndilya holds that love for the Self is bhakti. Another aspect of devotion especially stressed in the Vaiśnav tradition is association with and service to devotees of the Lord. The Gaudīya Vaiśnavs hold that to have utmost taste for taking the Lord’s name, compassion towards all jivas (living beings), and service to devotees (initiated Vaiśnavs) are the means to as well as marks of devotion. But it is ''śaranāgati'' that is most important for a Vaiśnav spiritual aspirant. This ''śaranāgati'' has six aspects ‘''Ānukūlyasya samkalpah prātikūlyasya varjanam, raksisyatīti viśvāsa goptrtvavaranam tathā; ātmaniksepakārpanye sadvidhā śaranāgatih.''’ :  
 
# resolve to subordinate one’s will to the divine will,  
 
# resolve to subordinate one’s will to the divine will,  
 
# avoidance of all that is contrary to His will,  
 
# avoidance of all that is contrary to His will,  
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=== Most Important Worship Methods ===
 
=== Most Important Worship Methods ===
No other Hindu tradition (or any tradition in general) encourages the chanting of God's names more than Vaiśnavam, which teachers that because we live in the [[Kali Yuga]], the easiest yajna (sacrifice) is Sankirtan or Nam Dharm ("''Spiritual Duty of the Name''.")
+
:''See also: [[Hari Nama Keerthanam]]''<br>
 +
No other Hindu tradition (or any tradition in general) encourages the chanting of God's names more than Vaiśnavam, which teachers that because we live in the [[Kali Yuga]], the easiest yajna (sacrifice) is [[Hari Nama Keerthanam|Sankirtan or Nam Jap]] ("''Name Repetition''.")
  
 
;Most Important Mantras
 
;Most Important Mantras
 
#Hari Aum
 
#Hari Aum
#Hari Nam
+
#Hari Nām
 
#Hari Sharanam
 
#Hari Sharanam
#Aum Namo Nāraynāya (Sri Vaiśnava Mantra)
+
#Aum Namo Nārāyanāya (Sri Vaiśnava Mantra)
#Aum Namo Nāraynāya Vidmahe, Vāsudevāya dhimahi, tan no Vishnu prachodāyat
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#Aum Namo Nārāyanāya Vidmahe, Vāsudevāya dhimahi, tan no Vishnu prachodāyat
#Aum Namo Vāsudevāya Nama
+
#Aum Namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya
 
#Aum Dev Devāya Namo Namā
 
#Aum Dev Devāya Namo Namā
 
#Klim Krishnāya Govindāya Gopijana-vallabhāya svāha (Gopal Mantra)
 
#Klim Krishnāya Govindāya Gopijana-vallabhāya svāha (Gopal Mantra)
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;Most Important Consecrated Pujas
 
;Most Important Consecrated Pujas
 
#Satyanarayan Puja
 
#Satyanarayan Puja
#Pāñcharātra Puja
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#Pāñcharātra Pradipa Arti[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuox1I5TCSk]
  
 
=== Rāgānugā or Premā Bhakti ===
 
=== Rāgānugā or Premā Bhakti ===
 
The highest form of devotion is that which transcends all the three ''gunas''. It is love for love’s sake alone. It is a spontaneous and uninterrupted inclination of the mind towards the Lord without even the desire for liberation (mukti). It is supreme bhakti, or ''preman''—intense, uninterrupted, unalloyed, and motiveless love towards God, which leads to God-realization.  
 
The highest form of devotion is that which transcends all the three ''gunas''. It is love for love’s sake alone. It is a spontaneous and uninterrupted inclination of the mind towards the Lord without even the desire for liberation (mukti). It is supreme bhakti, or ''preman''—intense, uninterrupted, unalloyed, and motiveless love towards God, which leads to God-realization.  
  
This ''preman'' surpasses all other types of bhakti. Sri Ramakrishna says, ‘The mature stage of bhakti is [[bhāva]]. When one attains it, one remains speechless while thinking of Satchidā[[nanda]]. The feeling of an ordinary man can go only that far. When [[bhāva]] ripens, it becomes [[mahābhāva]]. Prema is the last’<ref>''The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'', trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),502–3.</ref>. When love towards God is intensified, a sweet relationship is established between God and the devotee. This ''rāgātmikā'' or ''rāgānugā bhakti'' manifests in five different attitudes (''bhāvas''): ''śānta'' (calm), ''dāsya'' (serviceful), ''sakhya'' (friendly), ''vātsalya'' (parental), and ''madhura'' (amorous). Several sentiments go to make each attitude, and each ''[[bhāva]]'' subsumes the sentiments inherent in the preceding attitude. For instance, in ''śānta bhāva'' the devotees enjoy divine bliss through meditation on the transcendental beauty of the Deity and adore him with all their hearts’ devotion. When this love matures into a personal or relational love, the devotees serve the Deity much like a servant serves the master. This stage of love includes ''sneha'' (affection), ''pranaya'' (friendship), ''māna'' (pique), and ''[[rāga]]'' (attachment). A servant enjoys both the wealth (''[[aiśvarya]]'') and sweet affection (''mādhurya'') of the Lord. Next the devotee approaches even nearer and loves the Deity as a friend (''sakhā''). This type of love includes ''[[anurāga]]'' (love as a constant freshness) in addition to the sentiments mentioned earlier. When love rises to a still higher level, it manifests as parental affection (''vātsalya'') for the beloved. All the qualities inherent in friendly love are further intensified and awareness of ''[[aiśvarya]]'' is dispelled; only ''mādhurya'' prevails. Up to this stage of parental love, the bhakti is relational (''sambandhātmikā''). When the last vestige of remoteness of the Deity vanishes from the mind of the devotee, two more mental states become manifest: ''[[bhāva]]'' (intoxication) and ''[[mahābhāva]]'' (supreme love-intoxication). The personality of the lover merges with the Beloved. The lover concentrates his or her whole being on the Beloved and becomes united with the Deity in spirit. This is the highest consummation of love for God. This has been described as amorous love (''kāmātmikā''), which is considered the highest form of contemplation in the Vaishnav tradition. The devotees of this grade do not want liberation or anything other than divine communion—enjoying the absolute sweetness (''mādhurya'') of the Lord. This is the culmination of ''preman'', the purest love for the beloved. The state where separation is overcome and total union between the devotee and the Beloved takes place is ''mahābhāva''. The deep impact of this experience affects the entire being—the mind, body, and soul of the devotee. It manifests externally as the ''sāttvika vikāras'' (unaffected emotions), which are recognized to be eight in number: ''sveda'' (perspiration), ''stambha'' (stupor), ''romāñca'' (horripilation), ''[[svara]]-bhanga'' (broken voice), ''vaivarnya'' (pallor), ''aśru'' (tears), ''vepathu'' (tremor), and ''[[pralaya]]'' (loss of [[consciousness]]). These manifestations take place only when the mind becomes extremely pure and totally free from all worldliness. Sri Ramakrishna points out that that ‘the ordinary jīva does not experience mahābhāva or prema. He goes only as far as bhāva’ <ref>''The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'', trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),255.</ref>.
+
This ''preman'' surpasses all other types of bhakti. Sri Ramakrishna says, ‘The mature stage of bhakti is [[bhāva]]. When one attains it, one remains speechless while thinking of Satchidā[[nanda]]. The feeling of an ordinary man can go only that far. When [[bhāva]] ripens, it becomes [[mahābhāva]]. Prema is the last’<ref>''The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'', trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),502–3.</ref>. When love towards God is intensified, a sweet relationship is established between God and the devotee. This ''rāgātmikā'' or ''rāgānugā bhakti'' manifests in five different attitudes (''bhāvas''): ''śānta'' (calm), ''dāsya'' (serviceful), ''sakhya'' (friendly), ''vātsalya'' (parental), and ''madhura'' (amorous). Several sentiments go to make each attitude, and each ''[[bhāva]]'' subsumes the sentiments inherent in the preceding attitude. For instance, in ''śānta bhāva'' the devotees enjoy divine bliss through meditation on the transcendental beauty of the Deity and adore him with all their hearts’ devotion. When this love matures into a personal or relational love, the devotees serve the Deity much like a servant serves the master. This stage of love includes ''sneha'' (affection), ''pranaya'' (friendship), ''māna'' (pique), and ''[[rāga]]'' (attachment). A servant enjoys both the wealth (''[[aiśvarya]]'') and sweet affection (''mādhurya'') of the Lord. Next the devotee approaches even nearer and loves the Deity as a friend (''sakhā''). This type of love includes ''[[anurāga]]'' (love as a constant freshness) in addition to the sentiments mentioned earlier. When love rises to a still higher level, it manifests as parental affection (''vātsalya'') for the beloved. All the qualities inherent in friendly love are further intensified and awareness of ''[[aiśvarya]]'' is dispelled; only ''mādhurya'' prevails. Up to this stage of parental love, the bhakti is relational (''sambandhātmikā''). When the last vestige of remoteness of the Deity vanishes from the mind of the devotee, two more mental states become manifest: ''[[bhāva]]'' (intoxication) and ''[[mahābhāva]]'' (supreme love-intoxication). The personality of the lover merges with the Beloved. The lover concentrates his or her whole being on the Beloved and becomes united with the Deity in spirit. This is the highest consummation of love for God. This has been described as amorous love (''kāmātmikā''), which is considered the highest form of contemplation in the Vaiśnav tradition. The devotees of this grade do not want liberation or anything other than divine communion—enjoying the absolute sweetness (''mādhurya'') of the Lord. This is the culmination of ''preman'', the purest love for the beloved. The state where separation is overcome and total union between the devotee and the Beloved takes place is ''mahābhāva''. The deep impact of this experience affects the entire being—the mind, body, and soul of the devotee. It manifests externally as the ''sāttvika vikāras'' (unaffected emotions), which are recognized to be eight in number: ''sveda'' (perspiration), ''stambha'' (stupor), ''romāñca'' (horripilation), ''[[svara]]-bhanga'' (broken voice), ''vaivarnya'' (pallor), ''aśru'' (tears), ''vepathu'' (tremor), and ''[[pralaya]]'' (loss of [[consciousness]]). These manifestations take place only when the mind becomes extremely pure and totally free from all worldliness. Sri Ramakrishna points out that that ‘the ordinary jīva does not experience mahābhāva or prema. He goes only as far as bhāva’ <ref>''The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'', trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),255.</ref>.
  
 
== Most Important Devotees ==
 
== Most Important Devotees ==
Certain Vaiśnav royals since ancient times have referred to themselves as Parama-Bhāgavatas (''Great Devotees''), and the greatest in Vaiśnav history have been the following:
+
Certain Vaiśnav royals, such as monarchs, since ancient times have referred to themselves as Parama-Bhāgvatas (''Great [Vaiśnav] Devotees''), and the greatest in Vaiśnav history have been the following:
 
#Prahlada Daitya (worshipped Vishnu throughout his life and promulgated his worship)
 
#Prahlada Daitya (worshipped Vishnu throughout his life and promulgated his worship)
 
#Naradas (rishis of this gotra worshipped Narayan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
 
#Naradas (rishis of this gotra worshipped Narayan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
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#Suta Maharaj (worshipped Krishna, narrated literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
 
#Suta Maharaj (worshipped Krishna, narrated literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
 
#Shandilya Kashyap (worshipped Krishna, better arranged the Pancaratra sect, composed literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
 
#Shandilya Kashyap (worshipped Krishna, better arranged the Pancaratra sect, composed literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
#Ramanuja (worshipped Vishnu, renewed Sri Vaishnavam, founded Dwaita Darshan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
+
#Ramanuja (worshipped Vishnu, renewed Sri Vaiśnavam, founded Dwaita Darshan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
 
#Ramanand (worshipped Narayan, founded Bairagi Sampraday, composed literature, and promulgated his worship by begging the Bhakti Era in northern India)
 
#Ramanand (worshipped Narayan, founded Bairagi Sampraday, composed literature, and promulgated his worship by begging the Bhakti Era in northern India)
 
#Kabir Julaha<Br> <Br>
 
#Kabir Julaha<Br> <Br>
  
 
Ramanuja, Ramanand, and Kabir were medieval figures but nonetheless crucial for renewing Vaiśnavam by preaching bhakti to the masses in northern India. The Bhakti Era was a period of mainly-Vaiśnava popularization.
 
Ramanuja, Ramanand, and Kabir were medieval figures but nonetheless crucial for renewing Vaiśnavam by preaching bhakti to the masses in northern India. The Bhakti Era was a period of mainly-Vaiśnava popularization.
 +
 +
==Related Articles==
 +
*[[Vishnu]]
 +
*[[Krishna]]
 +
*[[Bhāgavata-dharma|Bhāgvata-dharma]]
 +
*[[Narayana suktham]]
  
 
==External Resources==
 
==External Resources==
 +
*[https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/bhagavata-dharma-the-dharma-of-humanity “Bhágavata Dharma“]
 
*[https://iskconeducationalservices.org/HoH/tradition/movements-and-leaders/shaivism/ ISKCON Educational Services]
 
*[https://iskconeducationalservices.org/HoH/tradition/movements-and-leaders/shaivism/ ISKCON Educational Services]
 
*[https://rootshunt.com/aryans/bharatpersiawomenwarriors/amazonwomenwarriors/amazonsandbharat/vedicdiscoveries/samkarsan/vrishniheroes/vrishniheroes.htm Vrishni Heroes and Pāñcharātra]
 
*[https://rootshunt.com/aryans/bharatpersiawomenwarriors/amazonwomenwarriors/amazonsandbharat/vedicdiscoveries/samkarsan/vrishniheroes/vrishniheroes.htm Vrishni Heroes and Pāñcharātra]
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*[https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m12/m12c039.htm Mahabharata mentioning avatars of Narayan]
 
*[https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m12/m12c039.htm Mahabharata mentioning avatars of Narayan]
 
*[https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/vishnu#buddhism "Vishnu, Viṣṇu, Visnu: 47 definitions"] By Wisdom Library
 
*[https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/vishnu#buddhism "Vishnu, Viṣṇu, Visnu: 47 definitions"] By Wisdom Library
 +
*[https://ramanuja.org/sri/Web/Index Bhagavad Ramanujacharya]
 +
*[http://www.acharya.org/wp/ Srivaishnava Sampradayam]
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*[https://www.madhvacharya.com/ Sri Madhvacharya]
 +
*[http://www.krishna.com/ Krishna.com]
 +
*[https://www.iskcon.org/ International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)]
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*[https://www.baps.org/ Swamynarayan Sampraday]
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*[http://www.sarvadhnya.com/ Mahanubhav Panth]
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*[http://harekrsna.de/surya/12adityas.htm The twelve Sun-gods (12 Adityas) and their associates]
 +
*[https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/8485/yoga-maya Yogamaya]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Latest revision as of 00:25, 18 October 2021

By Swami Purnanda

Vishnu as the Supreme Lord
These are the most important Vishnu temples for pilgrimages in India.

The term Vaiśnav refers to devotees of Brahm (God) who is called Narayan and takes the forms of the Earthly Vishnu and Krishna Vasudeva, and is derived from the Lord's name, Vishnu. This Narayan is perceived in certain Vaiśnav traditions to be either the heavenly Vishnu and Krishna Vasudeva too (and their Earthly incarnations were just a reflection of who they are spiritually in heaven.) The sect or worship is known as Vaiśnavam (Vaiśnavism) or Bhāgvata-dharma. Vaiśnava is normally practiced in the Pāñcharātra sense wherein Narayan may be worshipped alongside his incarnations, and sects adhering to this include the Hare Krishna, Pushtimarg, and Swaminarayan. In one sense, Vishnu denotes the omnipresent, all-pervading Being, while in another, it represents one of the Holy triad, viz. Brahmā, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Vishnu is known as the preserver of creation. In one of his forms, he has four arms - one holding a conch (Pāñcajanya), another a discus (Sudarśana), another a mace (Kaumudakī), and the fourth one a lotus. This concept of Vishnu is Puranic, but it has a very ancient origin. The name Vishnu appears in the Rig Veda thus: ‘Idam vishnur-vi cakrame tredhā nidadhe padam, samūhlam-asya pāmsure; Vishnu traversed this world: thrice he planted his foot and the whole (world) was gathered in the dust of his footsteps’[1]. Elsewhere he has been conceived as a personification of light and of the sun[2]. He is called Śipivista, clothed in rays of light. The wise ever contemplate the supreme station (paramam padam) of Vishnu as the eye ranging over the sky [3]. The idea of the Vedic Vishnu is abstract, whereas that of Puranic Vishnu is anthropomorphic. He is the unconquerable Preserver who lives in Vaikuntha or Goloka. During the period of dissolution, he rests on the great serpent Ananta in the midst of the ocean of causal waters (kārana salila). Many Puranas describe him as the Supreme God. Nevertheless, even the Puranic idea of Vishnu has its source in the Vedas. The name Narayan is first mentioned in the Satapatha-Brahmana[4], and the Narayan Sukta first appears in the Taittiriya Aranyaka[5] and in this Aranyaka the name Hari is connected to Narayan. The most popular mantra "Hari Aum" occurs first in the Kasha and the Praśna Upanişads wherein they end by the exclamation.

Sometimes transliterated as: Vaisnava, VaiZnava, Vaishnava


Narayan, Hari, Krishna Vasudeva, and Vishnu are the main epithets of Brahm in Vaiśnavam. Other lesser common ones, but still popular, include, Achyut, Badri, Janardan, Ram (not only referring to Ramchandra Ikshvaku), Rishikesh, Sriman, and Srivatsa. Krishna is the primary object of devotion in the Bhāgvata and Gaudīya traditions. He is worshiped in several forms: as Vasudeva Krishna (as the Supreme Being), as Gopāl Krishna (baby Krishna), as Vanamālī Krishna (the young cowherd), and as the king of Dwāraka.

   
Vaiśnava
O mind, meditate on Mura’s adversary;

O hands, be clasped in the worship of Sridhara;

O ears, hear the great deeds of Achyuta;

O eyes, be fixed on Krishna;

O feet, go to the temple of Hari;

O nose, smell the tulsi at the feet of Mukunda;

O head, bow down to Adhokshaja.

   
Vaiśnava

—Kulashekhara Alvar, Mukundamala

Scriptures

See also: Vishnu's Relation to Krishna

Vaiśnavs typically reference the Vedic suktams as the first compiled scriptural basis for Vaiśnavam. Vaiśnav Āgama is an umbrella term for the entire Vaiśnav corpus. The Alvars of southern India had also referred to it as the Vaiśnav Veda. The complete spiritual wisdom any human should have is said to be the word of God or Ekāyana Veda which has been synonymously been called Mulaveda ("The Root Veda.") Ekāyana Veda has been a term used by both the Vaikhānas and Pāñcharātra sampradays. Ekāyana Veda was also briefly mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad but without much description. Apart from the Bhagvad Gita, which is considered the literal 'word of God' or Brahmshabd, the Mukhya Upanishads (primarily the Vaiśnava ones) and Brahm Sutras are usually given precedence over other text, thus constituting the Prasthanatrayi ("Three Sources.")

Vedic Support For Vaiśnav Doctrine

Five suktas[1] of the Vedas are believed by many Vaiśnavs to support Vaiśnavism in particular:

  1. The Purush Sukta (Rig Veda)
  2. The Narayan Sukta (Taittiriya Samhita)
  3. The Nila Sukta (Taittiriya Samhita)
  4. The Sri Sukta (Rig Veda)
  5. The Bhu Sukta (Taittiriya Brahmana)[2]


The Purush Sukta is considered a prequel (or “Purva-Narayan Sukta”), to the Taittiriya Samhita’s Narayan Sukta (also called “Uttar-Narayan Sukta.”) The latter sukta is also found in the Mahanarayana Upanishad.

Brahm as Narayan or Krishna do not occur in the Rig Veda but there are a few hymns dedicated solely to Vishnu[3][4][5], 2 dedicated to both Vishnu and Indra[6][7], and others wherein he is mentioned together with various deities.

Vaiśnav Āgama Shastra

Vishnu the Supreme Purush

The Āgamas are the secondary scriptures, derived from the Veda. Although they have many divisions, the primary Āgamas are five in number: Saura, Śākta, Gānapatya, Vaiśnava, and Shaiv or Pāśupatya. The Vaiśnav Āgama shastra or corpus has two main subdivisions: the Vaikhānasa Āgama and the Pāñcharātra Āgama. As all these Āgamas are said to have been derived from the Veda, they are also called Śrauta Āgamas. God Almighty, according to Vaiśnavism is determined based on shad-gunyavigraham devam (6 qualities of godliness.)

The Vaiśnava tradition is primarily a tradition of bhakti, or devotion to God. Nārada defines bhakti as being of the nature of intense love for God: Sā tvasmin parama premarūpā.[6] The sage Śāndilya defines it as supreme attachment to God: sā parānuraktir-īśvare.[7] Two types of bhakti have been described by the teachers of bhakti: vaidhī and rāgānugā. Vaidhī bhakti involves worship and other rituals as instructed by the scriptures, whereas in rāgānugā bhakti, intense love for God is fundamental, and rituals and worship become secondary. The Vaikhānasa Āgama deals primarily with vaidhī bhakti, while Pāñcharātra Āgama teaches both vaidhī and rāgānugā bhakti.

Pāñcharātra Corpus

The complete spiritual wisdom any human should have is said to be the word of God or Ekāyana Veda which has been synonymously been called Mulaveda ("The Root Veda"), Pāñcharātra, Sātvat, Tantra, and Āgama. Just before listing 108 shastras, Padma Samhita narrator Samvarta declares, "Narayan himself is the proclaimer of all the tantras." Ekayana Veda was revealed to a select few who were deserving of it; Sanat Kumars (Sanatan, Sujat, Sanak, Sananand) and Kapila. Later sages such as Atri , Angirasa , Pulastya , Pulaha , Kratu , Vasista and Svayambhuva learnt the Ekayana Veda from Narayan too.

   
Vaiśnava
Having spoken thus, he (Narayan) taught the Veda called Ekayana, which is the main root of the great Veda-tree.
   
Vaiśnava

—Parmeshvar Samhita 1.32c-33b


It is said that from this Ekāyana Veda from which other scriptures, Vaiśnav and certain non-Vaiśnav ones, emerged. They are of 3 munibhashita shastra (scriptures compiled by human sages) classes - Sattvik (shastras composed by Narayan himself or ones whom he instructed), Rajas (shastras by persons influenced by Narayan but also ideas from other seers), and Tamas (shastras written by seers with no direct guidance from Narayan or persons that do.)

Classification Text
Chief Scriptural Source Ekāyana Veda (Bhagvad Gita is a part of it)
Satvik Four Vedas, Ahirbudhnya Samhita, Aniruddha Samhita, Sanat Kumar Samahita, Narada Pāñcharātra, Hamsa Gita
Rajasik Satvat Shastra, Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana
Tamasik

Darshan shastras: Brahm Sutras, Sarvamūla Granthas

Mukhya Shakhas: Chandogya Upanishad, Shatapatha Brahmana, Taittiriya Samhita

Other Upanishads: Avyakta, Dattatreya, Garud, Gopal Tapani, Hayagriva, Kali Santaran, Krishna, Mahanarayan, Narayan, Nrisimha Tapaniya, Rama Rahasya, Rama Tapaniya, Tarasara, Vasudeva

Maha-Puranas: Bhagvata, Garuda, Naradiya, Padma, Varaha, Vishnu

Upa-Puranas: Brihan-Naradiya, Hamsa, Narasimha, Parasara, Sanat-Kumar, Vamana, Vasishtha, Vishnudharmottara

Other shastras: Bharadwaj Samhita, Ishvar Samhita, Laksmi Tantra, Marichi Samhita, Narayan Samhita, Padma Samhita, Pancharatra Raksha, Pancharatra Samhitausu Jnanapada Samikshanam, Parama Samhita, Parasara Samhita, Parmeshvar Samhita, Paushkara Samhita, Satvat Samhita, Satvat Tantra, Shandilya Samhita Bhakti Kanda, Sripurushottama Samhita, Vishnu Samhita, Vishwamitra Samhita

Sectarian Development

   
Vaiśnava
Those who know the gradation of the devatas, and who understand the supremacy of Vishnu, are known as Ekantinā and masters of the knowledge of the divine hierarchy. Let those be alone called - Ekantins who know God to be one and the highest.
   
Vaiśnava

—Madhavacharya

The theological traditions of the other Vaiśnava sects have resemblance to the one developed by Rāmānuja, albeit with noteworthy variations. Teachers like Madhva, Vallabha, Nimbārka, and others also incorporated Rāmānuja’s ideas in their philosophies.

Brahmā Sampraday

Vikhanas Brahmā the devotee of Vishnu founded the Vaikhānasa sect.
Vikhanas Brahmā in the centre, Arti and Bhrigu on the left, and Marichi and Kashyap on the right.

This sampraday traces its foundation by Brahmā (someone of that gotra.)

The darshan it prescribes to is Achintya Bheda Abheda (basically an integration of Dwaita and Vishishtadvaita) and Dwaita itself.

The Bhagvata Purana confirms that instructions were imparted to someone of the Brahmā gotra, which then passed through the latter.

   
Vaiśnava
Text 17: The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, has descended into this world by His various partial incarnations such as Lord Haṁsa [the swan], Dattātreya, the four Kumāras and our own father, the mighty Ṛṣabhadeva.
   
Vaiśnava

Bhagvata Purana 11.4.14

According to the Bhagvata Purana, Hamsa was a Prajapati, confirming he was of the Brahmā gotra. The scripture continues to say that Hamsa imparted spiritual knowledge to Sanaka the Sanat Kumar. Hamsa's spiritual instructions are preserved in the Hamsa Gita. This Hamsa may be the same Brahmā as Vaikhānasa.

Vaikhānasa Āgama

The Vaikhānasa school of Vaisnavism claims its origin from the sage Vikhanas or Brahmā, meaning it was someone of the Brahmā or Prajapati gotra. Vaikhanasas claim to be a surviving school of Vedic agnihotra (fire ceremonialism) called the Taittiriya school of the Krishna Yajur Veda. Vaikhanasa tradition says that Vikhanas rishi composed the Vaikhanasa Kalpasutra and taught four disciples[8], Atri, Bhrigu, Kashyapa, and Marichi, the procedures of samurtarchana (devotional service to Vishnu in images.) Most Vaikhanasa literature is mainly involved with ritual, prescribing the ceremonies and their rules of performance. The Vaikhānasas are primarily a community of temple priests, and their mode of worship is essentially oriented towards Vishnu. The Vaikhānasa Grhya Sūtras prescribe for the householders a daily worship involving the fabrication of an image of Vishnu. All gods and goddesses are supposed to be worshiped in Vishnu.[9] To the Vaikhānasas, Vishnu is the Supreme Being, the highest principle. He has two aspects: sakala (with form) and niskala (without form). The niskala aspect is his essence as all-pervasive Being, while his conditioned presence (the sakala aspect) gracefully responds to devotional intent and meditation. Vaikhanasa ritual theory is based on the fivefold conception of Vishnu; as Brahm, Purush, Satya, Achyuta (the immutable), and Aniruddha (the irreducible aspect.)[10] Worship entails venerating Vishnu, and many times his 4 attendants; Achuta, Satya, Purusha, Aniruddha.

Moksha is release into Vishnu’s abode, called Vaikuntha. It can be attained by the practice of japa (devoted repetition of a mantra or prayer), hūta (sacrifice), archanā (service to the image), and dhyana (meditation conforming to a yogic regimen). Four types of moksha have been described: sālokya (to live in the abode of God), sāmīpya (to live near God), sārūpya (to have a form akin to that of God), and sāyujya (being united with or merged in God). The last one is considered the ultimate moksha. The Vaikhānasa treatises speak of four abodes of Vishnu: Āmoda, Pramoda, Sammoda, and Vaikuntha, where Vishnu, Mahā Vishnu, Sadā Vishnu, and Nārāyan respectively preside. Among the four sadhanas, archanā has been declared the highest by Marichi Samhita. By means of archanā',' one can enter Vaikuntha, the abode of Narayan, and enjoy eternal bliss.

Vaikhānasas tended to live in the forest, and their diet consisted mainly of wild rice and grains.[11]

The Madhva Tradition

Sri Madhvacharya

Madhvācharya did not accept the Advaitic concept of jīvanmukti or nirvāna mukti. According to him, mukti is the attainment of Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu (sālokya), and attainment of a form similar to the Deity (sārūpya). Mukti or salvation is attained only by the grace of Vishnu, and even after mukti, the jiva remains the servant of the Lord. Ishvara and jiva are distinct entities. Bhakti, the only means of salvation, leads to the direct perception of the Deity. By performing proper worship, a person becomes competent for bhakti. This worship includes :ankana (marking the body with holy symbols), nāmakarana (naming children and other objects of love with holy names),and bhajana (service). Bhajana again is of three types: kāyika (physical), vācika (verbal), and mānasika (mental). Kāyika bhajana includes dāna (charity), paritrāna (acts of deliverance), and pariraksana (acts of protection). Vācika bhajana includes satyakathana (speaking the truth), hitavākya kathana (beneficial counsel), priyavākya kathana (sweet and gentle speech), and svādhyāya (study of scriptures). Mānasika bhajana comprises dayā (compassion), sprhā (desire for service to God), and śraddhā (faith in the guru and scriptures). Through these devotional practices, mediate knowledge is gained; this helps the growth of bhakti, which in turn results in enlightenment. This leads to a very ripe devotion which, in turn, leads to liberation—eternal servitude to God.

Kumār Sampraday

Vishnu with the Sanat Kumars

This tradition traces its foundation to a Sanat Kumar (4 sons of Brahmā.) Sanaka was the specific of the 4 who founded and preached it, as [according to the Parama Samhita] he was taught the Pāñcharātra by Vishnu himself.[12] It is recorded that Sanak was trained in spiritual knowledge by Hamsa (usually identified as an avatara of Vishnu.) As a result, this path is also referred to as Sanakandi Sampraday.

Its 2 major sects are the original Pāñcharātra (whose tradition is traced thousands of years ago) and Nimbarka Sampradaya (whose tradition was founded by Nimbarka Acharya of the 7th century.)

The darshan it prescribes to is Bhedabheda (or Dvaitadvaita.)

Pāñcharātra Āgama

The core aspects of God in Pāñcharātra - Vishnu with the Chaturvyuha
The Vrishni Panchvir or Vrishni Five Heroes which Pāñcharātra centres upon
(Kondamotu Vrishni heroes relief, 4th century C.E., Hyderabad State Museum)
See also: Vishnu's Relation to Krishna, Dasavathara Stotram

The Pāñcharātra Āgama prescribes worship of Narayan. It is so-called because Vishnu taught this doctrine in five nights to Anant, Garuda, Vishwaksena, Brahmā, and Rudra. The Pāñcharātra tradition follows both vaidhī and rāgānugā bhakti. The term Pāñcharātra can be traced to the Pāñcharātra yajna (a sacrifice spread over five nights) described in the scriptures. The term is first used in the Taittiriya Samhita[13] wherein a man named Babara Pravahini used the Pāñcharātra sacrifice to gain rhetorical power. The Shatapatha Brahmana.[14]. The Ahirbudhnya Samhita says that Narayan himself composed the Pāñcharātra Tantra and therein explained the secret of his five forms: Para (the transcendent), Vyūha (heavenly avataras), Vibhabha (Earthly avataras), Antaryāmin (the in-dweller within individuals) and Arcā (as consecrated images.) Pāñcharātra may [also] be so-called because it adheres to panchakala or 5 daily observances; abhigamana or prayers, upadana or collecting materials for worship (i.e., incense sticks, lotus flowers), ijya or sacrifice (i.e., worship, fasting), swadhyaya or self-study, and yoga or meditation.

Vaiśnavam has also been known as Bhagvatam, Ekantika Dharm[15], Pāñcharātra, Satvat Vidhi[16], and Narayaniya. Bhagvatam refers to the Krishna the Bhagvat. Ekantika Dharm refers to Vasudeva as well, but according to the Narada Pāñcharātra, there were 2 kinds of Ekantins - pure (Vasudevaikayajina or "worshiping only Vasudeva") and mixed (who worshiped other forms of Vasudeva.) The "Mokshadharmaparvan" section of the Mahabharata states that the worship of Vasudeva evolved from ekavyuha (only Krishna), to dvivyuha (him and Sankarshan), then trivyuha (the prior 2 and Pradyumna), and chaturvyuha (the 3 plus Aniruddha.) Later, Sambha too was added to the regular pantheon.

The Pāñcharātra tradition of Vaisnavism and the Nārāyanīya section in the Śāntiparvan of the Mahabharata have great similarity. The primary aim of the Pāñcharātra tradition is prapatti or śaranāgati (self-surrender), and the path is therefore called Ekāntika (with but one aim). According to Pāñcharātrikas, śaranāgati or total resignation is the main method of contemplation.

The Satvata and Ahirbudhnya samhitas list 39 avatars of Vishnu:

  1. Padmanabha
  2. Dhruva
  3. Ananta
  4. Shaktyatman
  5. Madhusudana
  6. Vidyadhideva
  7. Kapila
  8. Vishwarupa
  9. Vihangama
  10. Krodatman
  11. Badavavaktra
  12. Dharma
  13. Vagishvara
  14. Ekarnavashayin
  15. Kamatheshvara
  16. Varaha
  17. Narasimha
  18. Piyushaharana
  19. Sripati
  20. Kantatman
  21. Rahujit
  22. Kalanemighna
  23. Parijatahara
  24. Lokanatha
  25. Shantatman
  26. Dattatreya
  27. Nyagrodhashayin
  28. Ekashringatanu
  29. Vamanadeha
  30. Trivikrama
  31. Nara
  32. Narayan (the rishi and brother or Nara)
  33. Ilari
  34. Krishna
  35. Parshurama
  36. Rama Dhanurdhara
  37. Vedavid
  38. Kalkin
  39. Patalashayana


The main deities of this sect are Narayan, then his expansions as Vasudeva himself, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha.

Gaudīya and Bhāgvata Tradition

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

The Gaudīya tradition of bhakti is based on the theology of the Bhagvatam and the Narada Pāñcharātra. The Gaudīya Vaiśnavas are worshippers of Rādhā and Krishna. The person of Rādhā does not find mention in the Bhagvatam. This concept is derived from the Narada Pāñcharātra, where Pārvati, the divine consort of Shiva, says: ‘Tadrāse dhāranādrādhā vidvadbhih parikīrtitā; I held you in rāsa (divine play), that is why I am known as Rādhā by those in the know.’[17] Gopīs, the milkmaids of Vraja, are the embodiments of amorous love. The aggregate of this love of the gopīs is Rādhā, the embodiment of mahābhāva, the manifestation of hlādinī (the power of divine beatitude), which is one of the components of God’s svarūpa śakti (intrinsic powers).

This concept of Rādhā is a dominant theme in Vrindavan. The highest aspect of mahābhāva, known as dana or maddening delight, is possessed only by Rādhā and no one else, not even by Krishna.[18] The delight Rādhā derives thereby is so immensely superior to what Krishna enjoys as the object of her love and is so irresistibly tempting that Krishna cannot suppress his eagerness to taste his own charms and sweetness as Rādhā does. Accordingly, there is an aspect of Krishna in which all the attributes of the Krishna of Vrindavan as well as those of Rādhā coexist.[19] In this aspect, Krishna, as the subject of mādana, relishes his own charms and sweetness. Caitanya Mahāprabhu (or Śri Gaurānga), is considered to be this dual form—Krishna and Rādhā embodied in one frame—by the Gaudīya Vaiśnavs. So it is their custom to worship Gaurānga and his companions before worshipping Krishna.

The highest privilege for a jiva is to serve the Lord with madhura rati (amorous attachment) and be united with him, while maintaining one’s individuality, or while maintaining an idea of separation of Purusa and Prakrti (in Vaiśnav theological terms). To attain this state one needs to practise thinking of oneself as a young gopī, beautifully dressed, attending on Rādhā in her love-pastimes with Krishna, being the principal subordinate to Rūpamañjarī, the chief among Rādhā’s attendants (known as mañjarīs). Similar is the mode of meditation for devotees with other ratis [20].

   
Vaiśnava
I will build a funeral pyre of sandalwood and aloe; light it by Your own hand. When I am burned away to cinders, smear this ash upon Your limbs. …let flame be lost in flame.
   
Vaiśnava

—Mirabai


But this is not possible for novices. So they are to prepare themselves by following the disciplines of vaidhī bhakti and navadhā bhakti. Thereafter the aspirant is expected to develop the sentiments inherent in the śānta, dāsya, sakhya, and vātsalya attitudes (sneha, pranaya, and the like). When the aspirant feels a deep attraction for and cannot bear separation from Krishna, he or she is established in bhāva. When this too ripens, the aspirant is established in the attitude of a gopī (gopī bhāva siddha), which, in select aspirants, culminates in mahābhāva. In this state, separation is removed and total union prevails; the aspirant enters into the supreme state of divine ecstasy and becomes one with the beloved enjoying the absolute mādhurya of Krishna. In this state, Krishna is looked upon as the nearest and dearest, nay—the person of the devotee is totally merged into that of Krishna, who is Narayan of Goloka, the advaya jñāna-tattva vastu the unique or non-dual essence of knowledge.

Sri Shankaradeva

Important exponents of the Gaudīya tradition include Rūpa, Sanātana, and Jīva Gosvāmi. Among more recent traditions, ISKCON, the Hare Krishna school, follows the Gaudīya tradition.The ISKCON followers emphasize keeping count on the rosary ( japa mālā) while repeating the holy name, and consider the Bhagvatam, the Gita, and the Chaitanya Charitamrita their main scriptures.

The Śankaradeva Tradition

Śankaradeva considers the Bhagvatam as the embodiment of Krishna, and worships it as such. His followers usually do not worship images, but otherwise follow Gaudīya theology. They follow the teachings of the Bhagvatam, which prescribes the Kali Yuga method of worshipping the Supreme Being through kīrtana, identifying him with Krishna and Rama and addressing him as Mahāpurusa.[21] Thus the Purusottama of the Gita is the Mahāpurusa of the Bhagvata, and the theology of Śankaradeva is known as Mahāpurusiyā Dharma. Kīrtana, the main method of worship, is also called nāma-dharma. Just as the Gita enjoins giving up all duties and the practice of implicit resignation to the Lord,[22] Śankaradeva also lays great stress on eka śarana (surrender to the one Lord), which gives the school its other epithet eka śaraniyā. The concept of mukti is not given much importance by this sect, and it does not accept madhura bhāva or the Rādhā and gopī concepts of Caitanya and the Bhāgvata school.

Rudra Sampraday

A member of the Rudra gotra was the founder of this worship tradition.

This tradition was preached first by someone of the Rudra gotra. 'Shiva', besides being the name of an ancient rishi of this gotra, has also tended to be used as anyone who came after from this gotra after Shiva's lifetime.

This sampraday has 2 sects; Vishnuswami (whose tradition is traced thousands of years ago) and Pushtimarg (whose tradition was founded by Vallabha Acharya of the 15th century.)

The darshan it prescribes to is Shuddhadvaita (pure monism.)

The Vāllabha Tradition

Sri Vallabha Acharya

Although the school founded by Vallabha Acharya accepts the Vedas, the Bhagvad Gita, and the Narada Pāñcharātra as scripture, its primary authority is the Bhagvata Purana, because this text is directly related to Krishna. For Vallabha, Sri Krishna is the Sat-cid-ananda Parabrahman, also called Purusottama, even when present in his pastoral aspect as the cowherd boy of Vraja. Vallabha, however, does not accept the reality of Rādhā as in the Vrindavan Vaiśnav tradition and the Gaudīya tradition. According to Vallabha, the highest type of jiva is pusti jīva, the spiritually nourished jiva. This concept of pusti is derived from the Bhagvatam: ‘posanam tadanugrahah; posana is his grace.’[23] This is why Vallabha’s system of philosophy is called Pusti Mārga. One may practice bhakti rigorously, but divine grace is nonetheless the last word and the summum bonum of life. A pusti jīva prefers to serve the Lord, even eschewing Mukti. Bhajanānanda (the joy of devotional adoration) is infinitely superior to brahmānanda (the bliss of Brahman), and this can be had through service to Krishna, the Pūrna Purusottama (the Supreme Being totally manifest). To attain this privilege, the disciplines of nine-fold bhakti mentioned earlier have been prescribed. When this bhakti matures, the devotee enters into a transcendental state in this very life and gets a spiritual body in the life beyond, in order to be perpetually engaged in the divine service of the Lord.

Sri Sampraday

It is unclear who the original founder of this sampraday was but it has been popular historically, nonetheless.

It is uncertain how old this sampraday is (with adherents claiming it traces back to Vishnu and Laxmi themselves) but this tradition was made more popular by Tamil Saint Nathmuni. It was then popularized by Ramanuja, who connected Vaiśnavism with other Vedic persons, including Indra and Varuna. Later in the 14th century, Bhakti Era patriarch Ramananda Swami preached Sri Sampraday in northern India after settling there. Its main doctrine is that Vishnu is God Almighty, and that Sri Lakshmi is His form that intercedes on behalf of worshipers by accepting their prayers to Vishnu (and to her as well.) It is interesting to note that the Yogamaya or spiritual energy of Vishnu in the universe (within scriptures of other Vaiśnava sects) has often been considered feminine. Today the sect also worships Vishnu's avatars too (Rama, Krishna, as well as Hanuman.)

The darshan it prescribes to is Vishishtadvaita.

Śrīvaisnavism and The Rāmānuja Tradition

Nāthamuni is traditionally considered the founder of the Śri Sampradāy. Yāmuna Acharya was the first āchārya of this sampradāy. However, it was Rāmānuja who established this school on a firm footing.

Sri Ramanuj Acharya

Bhakti: According to the Śrīvaishnav tradition, bhakti is realizing one’s ultimate relationship with the Lord as his eternal servant. This relationship generates love for and attachment to him. Rāmānuja also equates bhakti with dhyana and upāsanā. Dhyana is the concentration of the mind on the Deity, and upāsanā, continuous thought of Him or Her. Bhakti has two stages: dhana-bhakti (bhakti as means, i.e. ritual devotion) and phala-bhakti or sādhya-bhakti (bhakti as fruit). dhana-bhakti aims to inculcate strong faith in the Deity as the highest value and a sense of the utter transitoriness of worldly achievements. Sādhya-bhakti is being established in love for God, as a servant loves the master. This is the means to mukti. To achieve sādhya-bhakti, one must go through a seven-fold culture (sādhana saptaka):

  1. viveka, discrimination regarding what ought to be accepted and what to be given up, especially in relation to food;
  2. vimoka, control of passions like anger, jealously, and lust;
  3. abhyāsa, practice of disciplines like worship, japa, chanting the names of God, and pilgrimage, in order to maintain a constant memory of God as the indwelling principle (śesin) within oneself as well as in the whole universe;
  4. kriya, the five-fold works or sacrifices—to gods and goddesses through agnihotra (fire sacrifice) and other rituals, to the rishis through scriptural study, to one’s ancestors, to human beings, and to other living beings (bhūtas) through appropriate offerings;
  5. kalyāna, virtuous conduct, consisting in practicing virtues like satya (truth), ārjava (straightforwardness), dayā (compassion), dāna (charity), and ahimsā (non-injury);
  6. anavasāda, freedom from despair, dejection, pessimism, and the like, and maintenance of a cheerful and positive attitude of mind; and
  7. anuddharsa, absence of exultation or excitement, maintaining an even temperament in all situations.


Prapatti: By long and continued practice of these disciplines, one is established on the plane of vaidhī bhakti consisting of dhyana and upāsanā. Thereafter the aspirant ascends to the plane of paramā bhakti (supreme devotion), maintaining in oneself the knowledge that one is merely a śesa (a minute part of the whole, which is the Deity) and that the Deity is the śesin (the whole). Paramā bhakti is identical with prapatti (resignation). This state of being an eternal servant of the Lord is itself the highest goal. The idea of identifcation with the Supreme Being is not acceptable to the Śrīvaishnav. According to this tradition, the Supreme Being or Purusottama is by nature devoid of all blemish and is full of limitless, unsurpassable, and countless auspicious qualities: ‘nirasta-nikhiladoso-’nava-dhikātiśayāsankhyeya-kalyānagunaganah’.[24]

Other Vaiśnav Traditions

Early Medieval Vaiśnav Schools

Mirabai

Many other Vaiśnav devotees called sants preached the doctrine of love throughout India. Several sects have preserved the traditions they founded. These include the sects of Nimbārka, Rāmānanda, and Samartha Rāmdās, the Vārkarīpantha (worshippers of Vitthala or Vithobā of Pandharpur, including Nāmadeva, Eknāth, Tukārām, and Janābai among others); and smaller sects associated with Haridās and Dādu. Jñāneśvara blended bhakti with Advaita Vedanta in Jnaneshvari, his commentary on the Bhagvad Gita. The other sants have stressed bhakti as the path to God realization and advocated singing the name of the Lord and chanting his praise. These sants accepted and preached the path of pure devotion (premā bhakti), considering God a loving parent or master rather than as the divine lover of the Bhāgvata or Gaudīya tradition. An exception was Mīrābāi; she practiced and preached rāgānugā bhakti (passionate love) towards the Lord, viewing him as lover. Kabir was the most unique worshipper in the Vaiśnav tradition because he addressed God Almighty as Hari mainly, then Narayan, then Govind, and then Vishnu, but he heavily criticized worshiping God as someone of whom we have stories (i.e., Vishnu being a brother or having any connection to any deities) and incarnations. Regardless, he promoted his Hari-worship as Vaiśnavam, and his Kabirpanth is popular.

   
Vaiśnava
Good is the bitch of a Vaiśnav: bad is a Shākta's mother;

For, the one hears Hari Nam, the other but deals in evil.

   
Vaiśnava

Poem 52, Section 40 (“Sloks of the Bhagat Kabir”), Sri Guru Granth Sahib

   
Vaiśnava
Orthodox priest expostulated: “This is not your religion. You have made yourself a Vaiśnav and call on Vishnu, Narayan, Gobind, and Mukand. This is our religion.”

Kabir replied: “On my tongue Vishnu, in my eyes Narayan, and in my heart Gobind dwells. When at the door of Yama they question me, what will you say, oh mad Mukand.”

   
Vaiśnava

—Kabir Kassauti introduction

Kabir received spiritual knowledge in Vaiśnavam from his preceptor Ramanand, who himself worshipped only Hari. He himself is believed in one Ramanandi tradition to have been the 4th spiritual successor to Ramanuja Acharya. His sampraday is popular.

Sri Ramakrishna on Vaiśnav Bhakti

According to Sri Ramakrishna, in the present-day age of Kaliyuga, devotion as prescribed by Nārada is the way to God-realization. This involves intense love for God and total indifference towards everything contrary to God; and this is developed by singing the names and glories of God. Ramakrishna says that two things are essential to realize God: simplicity and yearning. It is necessary to establish a close relationship with God and impress deeply on the mind the idea that God is one’s very own. Knowing this, one must take refuge in God and develop an intense attachment for Him. He says, ‘God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attractions of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child’s attraction for its mother, and the husband’s attraction for the chaste wife.’’[25] He prescribes four aids to contemplation:

  1. association with holy persons,
  2. solitude,
  3. discrimination (between the real and the unreal, to develop the conviction that God alone is real and all else unreal), and
  4. prayer for genuine faith and love for God.


He declares that God realization is the sole aim of human life, and that a still higher aim is to love God with all one’s heart and soul but without any ulterior motive. Mukti is a secondary matter for Ramakrishna, and is inferior to bhakti. The culmination of all knowledge is the realization that the same (and one) God has become the jivas, the universe, and all its components; it is to experience God in every thing and in every being.

The Common Contemplative Tradition of Vaiśnavism

Vaisnavism is mainly a tradition of bhakti. This bhakti has been defined and explained in different ways by different teachers. Unmotivated devotion (ahaitukī bhakti) to God is preached in the Bhagvata Purana: ‘Sa vai pumsām paro dharmo yato bhaktir-adhoksaje, ahaituky-apratihatā yayā’’tmā samprasīdati;That is the highest religion of humanity from which arises motiveless and uninterrupted devotion to God that fills the soul with bliss.’[26] The Narada Pancharatra defines bhakti as the realization that God alone is ‘mine’ (truly one’s own), accompanied by divine love (preman) and devoid of attachment to any worldly object. In later Vaiśnav tradition, a distinction is drawn between bhakti and preman. Bhakti is spontaneous attachment for God, being entirely possessed by and absorbed in him. Preman is the most concentrated form of this love, characterized by that intense attachment to God which purifies the heart completely. Preman is the culmination and fulflment of bhakti, its utmost perfection. This is also the basis of the two divisions: vaidhī or dhana bhakti (ritual devotion) and rāgānugā or premā bhakti (the devotion consequent upon intense attachment).

Spirit of Renunciation in Vaiśnavism

Although there are exceptions, formal renunciation is not an important component of the Vaiśnav tradition. The renunciation practiced by its adherents manifests more as an indifferent attitude towards worldly objects that are obstacles to one-pointed or single-minded love for God. This is called yukta vairāgya (detachment proper): ‘Anāsaktasya visayān yathārham-upayuñjatah, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairāgyam-ucyate; That detachment which is characterized by acceptance of only those objects that are not detrimental to devotion and which is accompanied by a desire to associate with Krishna is termed yukta vairāgya.’[27] This is in contrast to phalgu vairāgya (feeble detachment) ‘Prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunah mumuksubhih parityāgo vairāgyam phalgu kathyate; Renunciation of all objects—even those related to Krishna himself, knowing them to be worldly—by seekers of salvation is termed phalgu vairāgya’ [28]. This is the spirit of renunciation of those who tread on the path of knowledge. Vaiśnav devotees generally practice yukta vairāgya. Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu exemplified an uncompromising spirit of renunciation, and so did his direct disciples like Rūpa, Sanātana, and Jīva Gosvāmi.

Sannyasins and Householders and their Sacraments

The Vaiśnav movement comprises both sannyasin and householder traditions. Each has a tradition of teacher-pupil succession (paramparā), maintained by the process of dīksā (initiation with a mantra). On being initiated into the sect (sampradāya) the disciple undertakes to abide by the values of the tradition and the community. He or she receives a mantra of Vishnu or Krishna (and in case of renunciants a new name) in accordance with the traditional ista (Chosen Deity) of the particular sampradāya. All Vaiśnav must mark their fore-head with sandalwood tilaka (a holy mark in the form of an extended ‘U’) and other sacred marks—signs of Vishnu’s insignia—on different parts of the body: arms, nose, chest, and the like. A body without these marks is considered ‘as inauspicious as a carcass’. All initiated Vaiśnavs are also expected to wear a string of beads made from the stem of tulsi (the holy basil) around their necks, have a rosary for japa (repeating the divine name), and wear a śikhā (a knotted tuf of hair on the back of the head).

Worship Customs

The Marks of Vaidhī Bhakti

Vaidhī bhakti has nine aspects (navalaksanā or navadhā)--all directed to Vishnu: ‘Śravanam kīrtanam vishnoh smaranam pādasevanam, arcanam vandanam dāsyam sakhyam-ātmanivedanam.’[29]

  1. listening to the name and glories of the Lord
  2. chanting his holy name
  3. constant remembrance
  4. service
  5. worship
  6. salutation
  7. servitude
  8. friendship, and
  9. self-surrender


These nine ways of worshiping Vishnu are followed by all the Vaiśnav schools as vaidhī bhakti. Each school has its own approach, emphasizing one or more of these aspects. According to Nārada, dedication of all actions to the Lord and extreme yearning on forgetting him are marks of devotion. The lineage of Parāśara holds that attachment to worship and other rituals is the mark of bhakti. Garga maintains that speaking of His glories is the sign of devotion. Śāndilya holds that love for the Self is bhakti. Another aspect of devotion especially stressed in the Vaiśnav tradition is association with and service to devotees of the Lord. The Gaudīya Vaiśnavs hold that to have utmost taste for taking the Lord’s name, compassion towards all jivas (living beings), and service to devotees (initiated Vaiśnavs) are the means to as well as marks of devotion. But it is śaranāgati that is most important for a Vaiśnav spiritual aspirant. This śaranāgati has six aspects ‘Ānukūlyasya samkalpah prātikūlyasya varjanam, raksisyatīti viśvāsa goptrtvavaranam tathā; ātmaniksepakārpanye sadvidhā śaranāgatih.’ :

  1. resolve to subordinate one’s will to the divine will,
  2. avoidance of all that is contrary to His will,
  3. firm faith that the Lord is the saviour of all,
  4. acceptance of the protective grace of the Lord,
  5. total surrender to Him, and
  6. awareness of one’s poverty (of spirit)


Vaidhī bhakti is further categorized into three groups according to the three gunas: sāttvika, rājasika, and tāmasika.

Most Important Worship Methods

See also: Hari Nama Keerthanam

No other Hindu tradition (or any tradition in general) encourages the chanting of God's names more than Vaiśnavam, which teachers that because we live in the Kali Yuga, the easiest yajna (sacrifice) is Sankirtan or Nam Jap ("Name Repetition.")

Most Important Mantras
  1. Hari Aum
  2. Hari Nām
  3. Hari Sharanam
  4. Aum Namo Nārāyanāya (Sri Vaiśnava Mantra)
  5. Aum Namo Nārāyanāya Vidmahe, Vāsudevāya dhimahi, tan no Vishnu prachodāyat
  6. Aum Namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya
  7. Aum Dev Devāya Namo Namā
  8. Klim Krishnāya Govindāya Gopijana-vallabhāya svāha (Gopal Mantra)
  9. Hare Krishnā, Hare Krishnā, Krishnā Krishnā, Hare Hare / Hare Rām, Hare Rām, Rām Rām, Hare Hare (Mahāmantra[30])


Most Important Consecrated Pujas
  1. Satyanarayan Puja
  2. Pāñcharātra Pradipa Arti[8]

Rāgānugā or Premā Bhakti

The highest form of devotion is that which transcends all the three gunas. It is love for love’s sake alone. It is a spontaneous and uninterrupted inclination of the mind towards the Lord without even the desire for liberation (mukti). It is supreme bhakti, or preman—intense, uninterrupted, unalloyed, and motiveless love towards God, which leads to God-realization.

This preman surpasses all other types of bhakti. Sri Ramakrishna says, ‘The mature stage of bhakti is bhāva. When one attains it, one remains speechless while thinking of Satchidānanda. The feeling of an ordinary man can go only that far. When bhāva ripens, it becomes mahābhāva. Prema is the last’[31]. When love towards God is intensified, a sweet relationship is established between God and the devotee. This rāgātmikā or rāgānugā bhakti manifests in five different attitudes (bhāvas): śānta (calm), dāsya (serviceful), sakhya (friendly), vātsalya (parental), and madhura (amorous). Several sentiments go to make each attitude, and each bhāva subsumes the sentiments inherent in the preceding attitude. For instance, in śānta bhāva the devotees enjoy divine bliss through meditation on the transcendental beauty of the Deity and adore him with all their hearts’ devotion. When this love matures into a personal or relational love, the devotees serve the Deity much like a servant serves the master. This stage of love includes sneha (affection), pranaya (friendship), māna (pique), and rāga (attachment). A servant enjoys both the wealth (aiśvarya) and sweet affection (mādhurya) of the Lord. Next the devotee approaches even nearer and loves the Deity as a friend (sakhā). This type of love includes anurāga (love as a constant freshness) in addition to the sentiments mentioned earlier. When love rises to a still higher level, it manifests as parental affection (vātsalya) for the beloved. All the qualities inherent in friendly love are further intensified and awareness of aiśvarya is dispelled; only mādhurya prevails. Up to this stage of parental love, the bhakti is relational (sambandhātmikā). When the last vestige of remoteness of the Deity vanishes from the mind of the devotee, two more mental states become manifest: bhāva (intoxication) and mahābhāva (supreme love-intoxication). The personality of the lover merges with the Beloved. The lover concentrates his or her whole being on the Beloved and becomes united with the Deity in spirit. This is the highest consummation of love for God. This has been described as amorous love (kāmātmikā), which is considered the highest form of contemplation in the Vaiśnav tradition. The devotees of this grade do not want liberation or anything other than divine communion—enjoying the absolute sweetness (mādhurya) of the Lord. This is the culmination of preman, the purest love for the beloved. The state where separation is overcome and total union between the devotee and the Beloved takes place is mahābhāva. The deep impact of this experience affects the entire being—the mind, body, and soul of the devotee. It manifests externally as the sāttvika vikāras (unaffected emotions), which are recognized to be eight in number: sveda (perspiration), stambha (stupor), romāñca (horripilation), svara-bhanga (broken voice), vaivarnya (pallor), aśru (tears), vepathu (tremor), and pralaya (loss of consciousness). These manifestations take place only when the mind becomes extremely pure and totally free from all worldliness. Sri Ramakrishna points out that that ‘the ordinary jīva does not experience mahābhāva or prema. He goes only as far as bhāva’ [32].

Most Important Devotees

Certain Vaiśnav royals, such as monarchs, since ancient times have referred to themselves as Parama-Bhāgvatas (Great [Vaiśnav] Devotees), and the greatest in Vaiśnav history have been the following:

  1. Prahlada Daitya (worshipped Vishnu throughout his life and promulgated his worship)
  2. Naradas (rishis of this gotra worshipped Narayan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  3. Vaikhānasa Brahmā (worshipped Vishnu, established the Brahmā Sampraday, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  4. Hamsa Brahmā (worshipped Vishnu, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  5. Rudra (worshipped Vishnu, established the Rudra Sampraday, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  6. Brahmā Sanat Kumars (worshipped Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna, remained celibate, composed literature, established the Kumar Sampraday, and promulgated his worship)
  7. Nara & Narayan (worshipped Narayan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  8. Parasara
  9. Dvaipayana Vyasa (worshipped Krishna, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  10. Ambarisha
  11. Bhishma Kaurava (worshipped Krishna, preached ethics)
  12. Arjun Pandava (worshipped Krishna and followed his instructions)
  13. Ratna Valmiki (worshipped Krishna, composed a Ramayana, and promulgated his worship)
  14. Vibhishana Vishrava
  15. Prajapati (worshipped Krishna and promulgated his worship)
  16. Raibya (worshipped Krishna and promulgated his worship)
  17. Kukshi (worshipped Krishna and promulgated his worship)
  18. Barhishadas (worshipped Krishna and promulgated his worship)
  19. Vivaswan Aditya (worshipped Vishnu and promulgated his worship)
  20. Manu Aditya (worshipped Vishnu and promulgated his worship)
  21. Ikshvaku Aditya (worshipped Vishnu and promulgated his worship)
  22. Daksha (worshipped Vishnu and promulgated his worship)
  23. Shuka
  24. Shaunaka
  25. Dalbhyamuni
  26. Rukhmangada
  27. Vasishtha
  28. Suta Maharaj (worshipped Krishna, narrated literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
  29. Shandilya Kashyap (worshipped Krishna, better arranged the Pancaratra sect, composed literature, and promulgated Vishnu/Narayan/Krishna worship)
  30. Ramanuja (worshipped Vishnu, renewed Sri Vaiśnavam, founded Dwaita Darshan, composed literature, and promulgated his worship)
  31. Ramanand (worshipped Narayan, founded Bairagi Sampraday, composed literature, and promulgated his worship by begging the Bhakti Era in northern India)
  32. Kabir Julaha

Ramanuja, Ramanand, and Kabir were medieval figures but nonetheless crucial for renewing Vaiśnavam by preaching bhakti to the masses in northern India. The Bhakti Era was a period of mainly-Vaiśnava popularization.

Related Articles

External Resources

References

  1. Rig Veda, 1.22.17.
  2. Rig Veda, 1.155
  3. Rig Veda, 1.22.20
  4. Satapatha-Brahmana 13.6
  5. Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.13.1
  6. Narada Bhakti Sutra, 2.
  7. Shandilya Bhakti Sutra, 2.
  8. P. 350 Philosophy of Pancaratras By S. Rangachar
  9. Vaikhanasa Grihya Sutra, 4.10.12.
  10. P. 158 General Studies History 4 Upsc By Krishna Reddy
  11. P. 505 Ancient India By V. D. Mahajan
  12. P. 129 Pancaratra Samhitas and Early Vaisnava Theology: With a Translation and Critical Notes from the Chapters on Theology in the Ahirbudhnya Samhita By Mitsunori Matsubara
  13. Taittiriya Samhita vii.1.10.2; P. 293 Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide By Roshen Dalal
  14. Shatapatha Brahmana, 13.6.1
  15. Suta Lomaharshan refers to it as Ekanta Dharm in HD 348.4
  16. Sauti Ugrashrava describes it as such
  17. Narada Pāñcharātra, 1.2.62.
  18. Rupa Gosvami, Ujjvala-nilamani, ‘Sthayibhava Prakarana’, 172 et seq.
  19. Krishnadas Kaviraj, Chaitanya Charitamrita, 1.4.109, 115–16; 2.8.239.
  20. Krishnadas Kaviraj, Chaitanya Charitamrita,2.22.91
  21. Bhagvata 11.5.32–34.
  22. Bhagvad Gita, 18.66.
  23. Bhagvata, 2.10.4.
  24. Ramanujacharya, Brahm Sutra Sri Bhashya, 1.1.1.
  25. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002), 83.
  26. Bhagvata, 1.2.6
  27. Rupa Gosvami, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, 1.2.253.
  28. Rupa Gosvami, Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu,1.2.254
  29. Bhagvata, 7.5.22.
  30. Originally from the Kali Santarana Upanishad
  31. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),502–3.
  32. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nihilananda (Chennai,Ramakrishna Math, 2002),255.