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{{redirect|Vaishnav|the Olympic sailor from France|Vaishnav (sailor)}}{{EngvarB|date=March 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=March 2015}}{{Vaishnavism}}{{Hinduism}}File:Avatars of Vishnu.jpg|alt=|thumb|Krishna showing his vishvarupa universal form to Arjuna before the Kurukshetra WarKurukshetra WarVaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. It is also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas or Vaishnavites, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.BOOK, Pratapaditya Pal, Indian Sculpture: Circa 500 BCE- 700 CE,weblink 1986, University of California Press, 978-0-520-05991-7, 24–25, BOOK, Stephan Schuhmacher, The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen,weblink 1994, Shambhala, 978-0-87773-980-7, 397, The tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Vishnu is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, ten avatars of Vishnu are the most studied. Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Kalki, Hari, Vithoba, Kesava, Madhava, Govinda, Srinathji and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme being.{{Sfn|Matchett|2001|pp=3-9}}{{Sfn|Anna King|2005|pages=32–33}}{{sfn|Avinash Patra|2011|pp=12–16, 25}} The tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism, also called Krishnaism. Later developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia.Selva Raj and William Harman (2007), Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791467084}}, pages 165-166James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, {{ISBN|978-0823931804}}, pages 553-554 The Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas (denominations, sub-schools) ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja.{{sfn|Beck|2012|pp=76-77}}{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|2002|pages=288–304, 340–350}}The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu (often Krishna), and it has been key to the spread of the Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE.BOOK, John Stratton Hawley, A Storm of Songs,weblink 2015, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-18746-7, 10–12, 33–34, James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, {{ISBN|978-0823931804}}, pages 731-733 Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra (Agama) texts and the Bhagavata Purana.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121-122}}BOOK, Johnson, Todd M, Grim, Brian J, The World's Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography,weblink 2013, John Wiley & Sons, 9781118323038, 400,


(File:Indischer Maler um 1660 002.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Krishna with Gopis)Vaishnavism originates in the latest centuries BCE and the early centuries CE, as an amalgam of the heroic Krishna Vasudeva, the "divine child" Bala Krishna of the Gopala traditions, and syncretism of these non-Vedic traditions with the Mahabharata canon, thus affiliating itself with Vedism in order to become acceptable to the orthodox establishment. Krishnaism becomes associated with bhakti yoga in the medieval period.{{refn|group=note|name="Klostermaier-Krishna"|Klostermaier: "Present day Krishna worship is an amalgam of various elements. According to historical testimonies Krishna-Vasudeva worship already flourished in and around Mathura several centuries before Christ. A second important element is the sect of Krishna Govinda. Still later is the worship of Bala-Krishna, the Divine Child Krishna - a quite prominent feature of modern Krishnaism. The last element seems to have been Krishna Gopijanavallabha, Krishna the lover of the Gopis, among whom Radha occupies a special position. In some books Krishna is presented as the founder and first teacher of the Bhagavata religion."{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007}}}}


Northern India

File:Inscription of Heliodorus pillar.gif|thumb|320px|The inscription of the Heliodorus pillar that was made by Indo-Greek envoy Heliodorus in 110 BCE, in what is modern Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh). The inscription states Heliodorus is a (Bhagavata]].BOOK, F. R. Allchin, George Erdosy, The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States,weblink 1995, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-37695-2, 303–304, BOOK, Radhakumud Mookerji, The Gupta Empire,weblink 1959, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-0440-1, 3, ){{See also|Bala Krishna}}Although Vishnu was a Vedic solar deity, he is mentioned more often compared to Agni, Indra, and other Vedic deities, thereby suggesting that he had a major position in the Vedic religion.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9498}} Other scholars state that there are other Vedic deities, such as water deity Nara (also mentioned as Narayana-Purusha in the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas), who together form the historical roots of Vaishnavism.BOOK, Benjamín Preciado-Solís, The Kṛṣṇa Cycle in the Purāṇas: Themes and Motifs in a Heroic Saga,weblink 1984, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-0-89581-226-1, 1–16, In the late-Vedic texts (~1000 to 500 BCE), the concept of a metaphysical Brahman grows in prominence, and the Vaishnavism tradition considered Vishnu to be identical to Brahman, just like Shaivism and Shaktism consider Shiva and Devi to be Brahman respectively.BOOK, William K. Mahony, The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination,weblink 1998, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-3579-3, 13–14, The ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear, the evidence inconsistent and scanty. According to Dalal, the origins may be in Vedic deity Bhaga, who gave rise to Bhagavatism.BOOK, Roshen Dalal, The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths,weblink 2010, Penguin Books, 978-0-14-341517-6, 54–55, According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities Nara and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism.BOOK, Benjamín Preciado-Solís, The Krishna Cycle in the Purāṇas: Themes and Motifs in a Heroic Saga,weblink 1984, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-0-89581-226-1, 6–16, According to Dandekar, Vaishnavism may have emerged from merger of several ancient theistic traditions, where the various deities were integrated as different avatars of the same god. In Dandekar theory, Vaishnavism emerged at the end of the Vedic period, closely before the second urbanisation of northern India, in the 7th to 4th century BCE. Vasudeva and Krishna, "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas,"{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}}WEB,weblink Vaishnava,, 2008-05-22,weblink 5 February 2012, yes, dmy-all, gained prominence, merged into Bhagavan Vasudeva-Krishna,{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}} due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}}This was followed by a merger with the cult of Gopala-Krishna of the cowherd community of the Abhıras{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}} at the 4th century CE.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=120}} The character of Gopala Krishna is often considered to be non-Vedic.BOOK, Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Ramchandra Narayan Dandekar, Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an Indologist: A Symposium, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, India, 1976, 38–40, According to Dandekar, such mergers consolidated the position of Krishnaism between the heterodox sramana movement and the orthodox Vedic religion.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}} The "Greater Krsnaism", states Dandekar, then merged with the Rigvedic Vishnu.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9499}}Syncretism of various traditions and Vedism resulted in Vaishnavism.{{sfn|Gonda|1993|p=163}}{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007|pp=206-217, 251-252}} At this stage that Vishnu of the Rig Veda was assimilated into non-Vedic Krishnaism and became the equivalent of the Supreme God. The appearance of Krishna as one of the Avatars of Vishnu dates to the period of the Sanskrit epics in the early centuries CE. The Bhagavad Gita was incorporated into the Mahabharata as a key text for Krishnaism.BOOK, G. Widengren, Historia Religionum: Handbook for the History of Religions - Religions of the Present, Brill Academic Publishers, Boston, 1997, 270, 978-90-04-02598-1,weblink Finally, the Narayana-cult was also included, which further brahmanized Vaishnavism.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}} The Nara-Narayana cult may have originated in Badari, a northern ridge of the Hindu Kush, and absorbed into the Vedic orthodoxy as Purusa Narayana.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}} Purusa Narayana may have later been turned into Arjuna and Krsna.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}}This complex history is reflected in the two main historical denominations of Vishnavism. The Bhagavats, worship Vasudeva-Krsna, and are followers of brahmanic Vaishnavism, while the Pacaratrins regard Narayana as their founder, and are followers of Tantric Vaishnavism.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}}

Southern India

According to Hardy,{{refn|group=note|Friedhelm Hardy in his "Viraha-bhakti" analyses the history of Krishnaism, specifically all pre-11th-century sources starting with the stories of Krishna and the gopi, and Mayon mysticism of the Vaishnava Tamil saints, Sangam Tamil literature and Alvars' Krishna-centered devotion in the rasa of the emotional union and the dating and history of the Bhagavata Purana.BOOK, Hardy, Friedhelm, Viraha-Bhakti: The Early History of Krsna Devotion in South India (Oxford University South Asian Studies Series), Oxford University Press, USA, 2001, 978-0-19-564916-1, WEB,weblink Book review - FRIEDHELM HARDY, Viraha Bhakti: The Early History of Krishna Devotion in South India. Oxford University Press, Nagaswamy 23 (4): 443 -- Indian Economic & Social History Review,, 2008-07-29, }} there is evidence of early "southern Krishnaism," despite the tendency to allocate the Krishna-traditions to the Northern traditions. South Indian texts show close parallel with the Sanskrit traditions of Krishna and his gopi companions, so ubiquitous in later North Indian text and imagery.MONIUS, Anne E.: Dance Before Doom. Krishna In The Non-Hindu Literature of Early Medieval South India. In: Beck, Guy L., ed. Alternative Krishnas. Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. Albany: State University of New York Press 2005; Ch. 8. pp. 139-149. Early writings in Dravidian culture such as Manimekalai and the Cilappatikaram present Krishna, his brother, and favourite female companions in the similar terms. Hardy argues that the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana is essentially a Sanskrit "translation" of the bhakti of the Tamil alvars.Norman Cutler (1987) Songs of Experience: The Poetics of Tamil Devotion, p. 13Devotion to southern Indian Mal (Tirumal) may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure, largely like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu.WEB,weblink Devotion to Mal (Mayon),, 2008-05-22,weblink 5 February 2012, yes, dmy-all, The Alvars, whose name can be translated "sages" or "saints", were devotees of Mal. Their poems show a pronounced orientation to the Vaishnava, and often Krishna, side of Mal. But they do not make the distinction between Krishna and Vishnu on the basis of the concept of the Avatars. Yet, according to Hardy the term "Mayonism" should be used instead of "Krishnaism" when referring to Mal or Mayon.

Gupta era

Most of the Gupta kings, beginning with Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya) (375-413 CE) were known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas.{{sfn|Ganguli|1988||p=36}}{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}}

Early medieval period

After the Gupta age, Krishnaism rose to a major current of Vaishnavism,{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007}} and Vaishnavism developed into various sects and subsects, most of them emphasizing bhakti, which was strongly influenced by south Indian religiosity.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}}Vaishnavism in the 8th century came into contact with the Advaita doctrine of Adi Shankara. Many of the early Vaishnava scholars such as Nathamuni, Yamunacharya and Ramanuja, contested the Advaita Vedanta doctrines and proposed Vishnu bhakti ideas instead.BOOK, S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Tattva-muktā-kalāpa,weblink 1988, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-0266-7, 2–5, BOOK, Klaus K. Klostermaier, Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India,weblink 1984, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 978-0-88920-158-3, 101–103, Vaishnavism flourished in predominantly Shaivite South India during the seventh to tenth centuries CE with the twelve Alvars, saints who spread the sect to the common people with their devotional hymns. The temples that the Alvars visited or founded are now known as Divya Desams. Their poems in praise of Vishnu and Krishna in Tamil language are collectively known as Naalayira Divya Prabandha(4000 divine verses).{{sfn|Annangaracariyar|1971}}{{sfn|Seth|1962}}

Later medieval period

{{See also|Bhakti movement}}The Bhakti movement of late medieval Hinduism started in the 7th-century, but rapidly expanded after the 12th-century.BOOK, Bardwell L. Smith, Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions,weblink 1976, Brill Archive, 978-90-04-04495-1, 143–156, It was supported by the Puranic literature such as the Bhagavata Purana, poetic works, as well as many scholarly bhasyas and samhitas.BOOK, The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, Karine, Schomer, W. H., McLeod, Motilal Banarsidass, 1987, 9788120802773, 1–5, BOOK, Ravi Gupta, Kenneth Valpey, The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition,weblink 2013, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-14999-0, 2–10, BOOK, C. J. Bartley, The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-136-85306-7, 1–4, 52–53, 79, This period saw the growth of Vashnavism Sampradayas (denominations or communities) under the influence of scholars such as Ramanujacharya, Vedantha Desikacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya and Vallabhacharya.{{Sfn|Beck|2012|p=6}} Bhakti poets or teachers such as Manavala Mamunigal, Namdev, Ramananda, Surdas, Tulsidas, Eknath, Tyagaraja, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many others influenced the expansion of Vaishnavism.Even Meera bai(princess of Mehwar and Rajasthan)took part in this specific movement.{{sfn|Jackson|1992}}{{sfn|Jackson|1991}}John Stratton Hawley (2015), A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, Harvard University Press, {{ISBN|978-0674187467}}, pages 304-310 These Vaishnavism sampradaya founders challenged the then dominant Shankara's doctrines of Advaita Vedanta, particularly Ramanuja in the 12th century, Vedantha Desikacharya and Madhva in the 13th, building their theology on the devotional tradition of the Alvars (Shri Vaishnavas).In North and Eastern India, Krishnaism gave rise to various late Medieval movements: Nimbarka and Ramananda in the 14th century, Sankaradeva in the 15th and Vallabha and Chaitanya in the 16th century. Historically, it was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who founded congregational chanting of holy names of Krishna in the early 16th century after becoming a sannyasi.WEB,weblink Caitanya Vais.n. avism and the Holy Names, Delmonico, Neal, April 4, 2004, Bhajan Kutir, 29 May 2017,

Modern times

During the 20th century, Vaishnavism has spread from India and is now practiced in many places around the globe, including North America, Europe, Africa, Russia and South America. This is largely due to the growth of the ISKCON movement, founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966.JOURNAL, Selengut, Charles, Charisma and Religious Innovation:Prabhupada and the Founding of ISKCON, ISKCON Communications Journal, 4, 2, 1996,weblink yes,weblink" title="">weblink 13 July 2011, BOOK, Herzig, T., Valpey, K, 2004, Re—visioning Iskcon, The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant, 978-0-231-12256-6,weblinkstyle="text-align: center;"
| width=200px style="background: #ffad66;" | Vaishnava Upanishad
| width=60px style="background: #ffdd00;"| Vishnu Avatar
| width= 60px | Composition date
| width= 240px | Topics
| width=40px | Reference
style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Mahanarayana Upanishad
| width=60px | Narayana
| width= 60px | 500 BCE - 100 CE
| width= 240px | Narayana, Atman, Brahman, Rudra, Sannyasa
| width=40px | style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Narayana Upanishad
| width=60px | Narayana
| width= 60px | Medieval
| width= 200px | Mantra, Narayana is one without a second, eternal, same as all gods and universe
| width=40px | Paul Deussen (Translator), Sixty Upanisads of the Veda, Vol. 2, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120814691}} (2010 Reprint), pages 803–805style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Rama Rahasya Upanishad
| width=60px | Rama
| width= 60px | ~17th century CE
| width= 240px | Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Atman, Brahman, mantra
| width=40px | BOOK, Lamb, Ramdas, Rapt in the Name,weblink 2002, SUNY Press, 978-0-7914-5386-5, 191–193, BOOK, Catherine Ludvik, Hanumān in the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki and the Rāmacaritamānasa of Tulasī Dāsa,weblink 1994, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-8120811225, 10–13, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Rama tapaniya Upanishad
| width=60px | Rama
| width= 60px | ~11th to 16th century
| width= 240px | Rama, Sita, Atman, Brahman, mantra, sannyasa
| width=40px | BOOK, Deussen, Paul, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, 1997, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 978-8120814677, 859–864, 879–884, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Kali-Santarana Upanishad
| width=60px | Rama, Krishna
| width= 60px | ~14th century
| width= 200px | Hare Rama Hare Krishna mantra
| width=40px | BOOK, Bryant, Edwin Francis, Maria Ekstrand, The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant,weblink 2013, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-50843-8, 35–45, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Gopala Tapani Upanishad
| width=60px | Krishna
| width= 60px | before the 14th century
| width= 240px | Krishna, Radha, Atman, Brahman, mantra, bhakti
| width=40px | BOOK, B. V. Tripurari, Gopala-tapani Upanisad, Audarya, 2004, 978-1-932771-12-1, xi–xiii, 3–11, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Krishna Upanishad
| width=60px | Krishna
| width= 60px | ~12th-16th century
| width= 240px | Rama predicting Krishna birth, symbolism, bhakti
| width=40px | BOOK, Ayyangar, TRS, 1941, The Vaisnavopanisads, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006), 978-0895819864, 22–31, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Vasudeva Upanishad
| width=60px | Krishna, Vasudeva
| width= 60px | ~2nd millennium
| width= 240px | Brahman, Atman, Vasudeva, Krishna, Urdhva Pundra, Yoga
| width=40px | JOURNAL, George, Jacob, 1887, The Vasudeva and Gopichandana Upanishads, The Indian Antiquary, A Journal of Oriental Research, XVI, March, Part CXCIV, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Garuda Upanishad
| width=60px | Vishnu
| width= 60px | Medieval
| width= 200px | The kite-like bird vahana (vehicle) of Vishnu
| width=40px | Jean Varenne (1972), The Garuda Upanishad, Brill, {{ISBN|978-2020058728}}Paul Deussen (1997), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-1467-7}}, page 663-664style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Hayagriva Upanishad
| width=60px | Hayagriva
| width= 60px | medieval, after the 10th century CE
| width= 200px | Mahavakya of Principal Upanishads, Pancaratra, Tantra
| width=40px | BOOK, Ayyangar, TRS, 1941, The Vaisnavopanisads, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006), 978-0895819864, DS Babu (1990), Hayagriva - the horse headed deity, Oriental Research Institute, Tirupatistyle="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Dattatreya Upanishad
| width=60px | Narayana, Dattatreya
| width= 60px | 14th to 15th century
| width= 200px | Tantra, yoga, Brahman, Atman, Shaivism, Shaktism
| width=40px | BOOK, Antonio, Rigopoulos, Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara: A Study of the Transformative and Inclusive Character of a Multi-faceted Hindu Deity, 1998, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-3696-7, 64–77, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Tarasara Upanishad
| width=60px | Rama, Narayana
| width= 60px | ~11th to 16th century
| width= 200px | Om, Atman, Brahman, Narayana, Rama, Ramayana
| width=40px | WEB, Aiyar, Narayanasvami,weblink Thirty minor Upanishads, 16 January 2016, 1914, Archive Organization, 124–127, style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Avyakta Upanishad
| width=60px | Narasimha
| width= 60px | before the 7th century
| width= 240px | Primordial nature, cosmology, Ardhanarishvara, Brahman, Atman
| width=40px | style="text-align: center;"
| width=200px | Nrisimha Tapaniya Upanishad
| width=60px | Narasimha
| width= 60px | before the 7th century CE
| width= 200px | Atman, Brahman, Advaita, Shaivism, Avatars of Vishnu, Om
| width=40px | BOOK, Deussen, Paul, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda,weblink 1997, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1467-7, 809–858,
Prabhupada - He Built a House, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1983, {{ISBN>0-89213-133-0}} p. xv


Theism with many varieties

Vaishnavism is centered on the devotion of Vishnu and his avatars. According to Schweig, it is a "polymorphic monotheism, i.e. a theology that recognizes many forms (ananta rupa) of the one, single unitary divinity," since there are many forms of one original deity, with Vishnu taking many forms.{{sfn|Schweig|2013|p=18}} Okita, in contrast, states that the different denominations within Vaishnavism are best described as theism, pantheism and panentheism.Kiyokazu Okita (2010), Theism, Pantheism, and Panentheism: Three Medieval Vaishnava Views of Nature and their Possible Ecological Implications, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Volume 18, Number 2, pages 5-26The Vaishnava sampradaya started by Madhvacharya is a monotheistic tradition wherein Vishnu (Krishna) is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.{{Sfn|Bryant|2007|pp=360-361}} In contrast, Sri Vaishnavism sampradaya associated with Ramanuja has monotheistic elements, but differs in several ways, such as goddess Lakshmi and god Vishnu are considered as inseparable equal divinities.William Wainwright (2013), Monotheism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University Press According to some scholars, Sri Vaishnavism emphasizes panentheism, and not monotheism, with its theology of "transcendence and immanence",BOOK, Harold Coward, Daniel C. Maguire, Visions of a New Earth: Religious Perspectives on Population, Consumption, and Ecology,weblink 2000, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-4457-3, 113–114, Ankur Barua (2010), God's body at work: Ramanuja and Panentheism, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Volume 14, Number 1, pages 1-30 where God interpenetrates everything in the universe, and all of empirical reality is God's body.Anne Hunt Overzee (1992). The Body Divine: The Symbol of the Body in the Works of Teilhard de Chardin and Ramanuja. Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–85. {{ISBN|978-0-521-38516-9}}BOOK, Julius Lipner, The Face of Truth: A Study of Meaning and Metaphysics in the Vedantic Theology of Ramanuja,weblink 1986, State University of New York Press, 978-0-88706-038-0, 37–48, The Vaishnava sampradaya associated with Vallabhacharya is a form of pantheism, in contrast to the other Vaishnavism traditions.BOOK, Ursula King, Ursula King (academic), Teilhard De Chardin and Eastern Religions,weblink 2011, Paulist Press, New York, 267–268, The Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Chaitanya, states Schweig, is closer to a polymorphic bi-monotheism because both goddess Radha and god Krishna are simultaneously supreme.{{sfn|Schweig|2013|pp=18-19}}Vaishnavism precepts include the avatar (incarnation) doctrine, wherein Vishnu incarnates numerous times, in different forms, to set things right and bring back the balance in the universe.BOOK, Kinsley, David, Gale's Encyclopedia of Religion, Lindsay Jones, Thomson Gale, 2005, Second, 2, 707–708, 978-0-02-865735-6, BOOK, Constance Jones, James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism,weblink 2006, Infobase, 978-0-8160-7564-5, 474, {{Sfn|Lochtefeld|2002|p=228}} These avatars include Narayana, Vasudeva, Rama and Krishna; each the name of a divine figure with attributed supremacy, which each associated tradition of Vaishnavism believes to be distinct.BOOK, Matchett, Freda, Krishna, Lord or Avatara?: The Relationship Between Krishna and Vishnu, Routledge, Surrey, 2000, 978-0-7007-1281-6, 254, p. 4

Vishnuism and Krishnaism

The term "Krishnaism" ({{IAST|Kṛṣṇaism}}) has been used to describe a large group of independent traditions-sampradayas within Vaishnavism regarded Krishna as the Supreme God, while "Vishnuism" may be used for sects focusing on Vishnu in which Krishna is an Avatar, rather than a transcended Supreme Being.{{sfn|Hardy|1987|pp=}}{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=117}} Vishnuism believes in Vishnu as the supreme being. When all other vaishnavas recognise Krishna as one of Vishnu's avatars, though only the krishnaits identify the Supreme Being (Svayam Bhagavan, Brahman, a source of the Tridev) with Lord Krishna and his forms (Radha Krishna, Vithoba and others), those manifested themselves as Vishnu. This is its difference from such groups as Ramaism, Radhaism, Sitaism, etc.{{sfn|Hardy|1987|pp=}}{{sfn|Matchett|2001|p=}} As such Krishnaism is believed to be one of the early attempts to make philosophical Hinduism appealing to the masses.BOOK, Wilson, Bill, McDowell, Josh, The best of Josh McDowell: a ready defense, T. Nelson, Nashville, 1993, 352–353, 978-0-8407-4419-7,weblink In common language the term Krishnaism is not often used, as many prefer a wider term "Vaishnavism", which appeared to relate to Vishnu, more specifically as Vishnu-ism.


In Vishnu-centered sects Vishnu or Narayana is the one supreme God. The belief in the supremacy of Vishnu is based upon the many avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu listed in the Puranic texts, which differs from other Hindu deities such as Ganesha, Surya or Durga.{{Citation needed|date=June 2017}}To the devotees of the Srivaishnava Sampradaya "Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Being and the foundation of all existence."Page 1–Ramanuja and Sri Vaishnavism {{Webarchive|url= |date=25 February 2008 }}


File:Krishna as the supreme deity in relation to Vishnu.png|thumb|right|Relationship between different forms of Krishna as paripurna avataraparipurna avataraIn the Krishnaism group of independent traditions of Vaishnavism, such as the Nimbarka Sampradaya (the first krishnaite sampradaya developed by Nimbarka c. 12th or 13th century), Ekasarana Dharma, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Mahanubhava, Rudra Sampradaya (Pushtimarg), Vaishnava-Sahajiya and Varkari, devotees worship Krishna as the One Supreme form of God, and source of all avatars, Svayam Bhagavan.{{sfn|Hardy|1987|pp=}}JOURNAL, Latourette, Kenneth Scott, 1961, Review of India and Christendom: The Historical Connections between Their Religions, Pacific Affairs, 34, 3, 317–318, 10.2307/2753385, 2753385, Krishnaism is often also called Bhagavatism—perhaps the earliest krishaite movement was Bhagavatism with the cult of Krishna-Vasudeva (about 2nd century BCE){{sfn|Welbon|1987a|pp=}}—after the Bhagavata Purana which asserts that Krishna is "Bhagavan Himself," and subordinates to itself all other forms: Vishnu, Narayana, Purusha, Ishvara, Hari, Vasudeva, Janardana, etc."It becomes clear that the personality of Bhagvan Krishna subordinates to itself the titles and identities of Vishnu, Narayana, Purusha, Ishvara, Hari, Vasudeva, Janardana etc. The pervasive theme, then, of the Bhagavata Puran is the identification of Bhagavan with Krishna."{{harv|Sheridan|1986|p=53}}Krishna is often described as having the appearance of a dark-skinned person and is depicted as a young cowherd boy playing a flute or as a youthful prince giving philosophical direction and guidance, as in the Bhagavad Gita.BOOK, Geoffrey Parrinder, Sexual Morality in the World's Religion,weblink 1996, Oneword, 978-1-85168-108-2, 9–10, Krishna is also worshiped across many other traditions of Hinduism, and Krishna and the stories associated with him appear across a broad spectrum of different Hindu philosophical and theological traditions, where it is believed that God appears to his devoted worshippers in many different forms, depending on their particular desires. These forms include the different avataras of Krishna described in traditional Vaishnava texts, but they are not limited to these. Indeed, it is said that the different expansions of the Svayam bhagavan are uncountable and they cannot be fully described in the finite scriptures of any one religious community.WEB,weblink Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 20.165, 7 May 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 17 September 2008, yes, dmy-all, JOURNAL, Richard Thompson, Ph. D., December 1994, Reflections on the Relation Between Religion and Modern Rationalism,weblink 2008-04-12, —,weblink" title="">weblink 4 January 2011, yes, dmy-all, Many of the Hindu scriptures sometimes differ in details reflecting the concerns of a particular tradition, while some core features of the view on Krishna are shared by all.JOURNAL, Mahony, W.K., 1987, Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities, History of Religions, 26, 3, 333–335, 1062381, 10.1086/463085,

Radha Krishna

Radha Krishna is the combination of both the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of God. Krishna is often referred as svayam bhagavan in Gaudiya Vaishnavism theology and Radha is Krishna's supreme beloved.{{sfn|Schweig|2005|p=3}} With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that she controls Krishna with Her love.{{sfn|Rosen|2002|p=50}} It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants even Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. Radha Krishna".{{sfn|Rosen|2002|p=52}}Chaitanya-charitamrita''Adi-lila 4.95 {{Webarchive|url= |date=24 August 2008 }} Radha and Krishna are avatars of Lakshmi and Vishnu respectively.While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God, it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem Gita Govinda in the twelfth century CE, that the topic of the spiritual love affair between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha, became a theme celebrated throughout India.{{sfn|Schwartz|2004|p=49}} It is believed that Krishna has left the "circle" of the rasa dance to search for Radha. The Chaitanya school believes that the name and identity of Radha are both revealed and concealed in the verse describing this incident in Bhagavata Purana.{{sfn|Schweig|2005|pp=41–42}} It is also believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis, or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance.{{sfn|Schweig|2005|p=43}}


According to the Bhagavatas, there are ten avatars of Vishnu, including Rama and Krishna.{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}} In contrast, the Pancaratrins follow the vyuhas doctrine, which says that God has four manifestations (vyuhas), namely Vasudeva, Samkarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four manifestations represent "the Highest Self, the individual self, mind, and egoism."{{sfn|Dandekar|1977|p=9500}}

Restoration of dharma

Vaishnavism theology has developed the concept of avatar (incarnation) around Vishnu as the preserver or sustainer. His avatars, asserts Vaishnavism, descend to empower the good and fight evil, thereby restoring Dharma. This is reflected in the passages of the ancient Bhagavad Gita as:{{Sfn|Matchett|2001|pp=3-4}}{{Sfn|Kinsley|2005|p=15}}MIRCEA ELIADE >AUTHOR2=CHARLES J. ADAMS
URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=L74IAAAAYAAJ YEAR=1987ISBN=978-0-02-909710-6, 14, }}In Vaishnava mythology, such as is presented in the Bhagavata Purana and the Pancaratra, whenever the cosmos is in crisis, typically because the evil has grown stronger and has thrown the cosmos out of its balance, an avatar of Vishnu appears in a material form, to destroy evil and its sources, and restore the cosmic balance between the everpresent forces of good and evil.{{Sfn|Matchett|2001|pp=3-4}}{{Sfn|Lochtefeld|2002|p=228}} The most known and celebrated avatars of Vishnu, within the Vaishnavism traditions of Hinduism, are Krishna, Rama, Narayana and Vasudeva. These names have extensive literature associated with them, each has its own characteristics, legends and associated arts.{{Sfn|Matchett|2001|pp=3-4}} The Mahabharata, for example, includes Krishna, while the Ramayana includes Rama.{{Sfn|Anna King|2005|pages=32–33}}


The Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Agamas are the scriptural sources of Vaishnavism,Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791470824}}, pages 46-52, 76-77Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, {{ISBN|978-0520207783}}, page ix-xliiiRC Zaehner (1992), Hindu Scriptures, Penguin Random House, {{ISBN|978-0679410782}}, pages 1-11 and Preface while the Bhagavata Purana is a revered and celebrated popular text, parts of which a few scholars such as Dominic Goodall include as a scripture. Other important texts in the tradition include the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, as well as texts by various sampradayas (denominations within Vaishnavism). In many Vaishnava traditions, Krishna is accepted as a teacher, whose teachings are in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana.{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007}}{{refn|group=note|name="Klostermaier-Krishna"}}


Vedas and Upanishads

Vaishnavism, just like all Hindu traditions, considers the Vedas as the scriptural authority.BOOK, Constance Jones, James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism,weblink 2006, Infobase, 978-0-8160-7564-5, 474, BOOK, Mariasusai Dhavamony, Hindu Spirituality,weblink 1999, Gregorian Press, 978-88-7652-818-7, 32–34, All traditions within Vaishnavism consider the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads embedded within the four Vedas as Sruti, while Smritis, which include all the epics, the Puranas and its Samhitas, states Mariasusai Dhavamony, are considered as "exegetical or expository literature" of the Vedic texts.The Vedanta schools of Hindu philosophy, that interpreted the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra, provided the philosophical foundations of Vaishnavism. Given the ancient archaic language of the Vedic texts, each school's interpretation varied, and this has been the source of differences between the sampradayas (denominations) of Vaishnavism.BOOK, Ronald B. Inden, Imagining India,weblink 1990, Indiana University Press, 978-0-253-21358-7, 109–115, These interpretations have created different traditions within Vaishnavism, from dualistic (Dvaita) Vedanta of Madhvacharya,{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|2002|pp=288-309}} to nondualistic (Advaita) Vedanta of Madhusudana Sarasvati.BOOK, Sanjukta Gupta, Advaita Vedanta and Vaisnavism: The Philosophy of Madhusudana Sarasvati,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-134-15774-7, 1–12,
Note: This hymn appears in Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa as well.Sanskrit original: Quote: दानं यज्ञानां वरूथं दक्षिणा लोके दातार | सर्वभूतान्युपजीवन्ति दानेनारातीरपानुदन्त दानेन | द्विषन्तो मित्रा भवन्ति दाने सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितं तस्माद्दानं परमं वदन्ति ॥ ६॥; Source: WEB,weblink महानारायणोपनिषत् (Mahanarayana Upanishad), 23 January 2016, Sanskrit, Hattangadi, Sunder, 1999,
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Vaishnava Upanishads

Along with the reverence and exegetical analysis of the ancient Principal Upanishads, Vaishnava-inspired scholars authored 14 Vishnu avatar-focussed Upanishads that are called the Vaishnava Upanishads.BOOK, Ayyangar, TRS, 1941, The Vaisnavopanisads, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006), 978-0895819864, i–vi, 1–11, These are considered part of 95 minor Upanishads in the Muktikā Upanishadic corpus of Hindu literature.Peter Heehs (2002), Indian Religions, New York University Press, {{ISBN|978-0814736500}}, pages 60-88 The earliest among these were likely composed in 1st millennium BCE, while the last ones in the late medieval era.BOOK, Olivelle, Patrick, Upaniṣads, Oxford University Press, 1998, 978-0192835765, 11–14, JOURNAL, PE (Translator), Dumont, 1940, The Avyakta Upaniṣad, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 60, 3, 338–355, BOOK, Bryant, Edwin, Maria Ekstrand, The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant,weblink 2013, Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-50843-8, 42, All of the Vaishnava Upanishads either directly reference and quote from the ancient Principal Upanishads or incorporate some ideas found in them; most cited texts include the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Isha Upanishad, Mundaka Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad and others. In some cases, they cite fragments from the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of the Rigveda and the Yajurveda.The Vaishnava Upanishads present diverse ideas, ranging from bhakti-style theistic themes to a synthesis of Vaishnava ideas with Advaitic, Yoga, Shaiva and Shakti themes.BOOK, Deussen, Paul, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1,weblink 1997, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 978-8120814677, 247–268 with footnotes, BOOK, Srinivasan, Doris, Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes, BRILL Academic,weblink 978-9004107588, 1997, 112–120, {| class="wikitable" align=center style = " background: transparent; "
|+ Vaishnava Upanishads

Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a central text in Vaishnavism, and especially in the context of Krishna.James Mulhern (1959) A History of Education: A Social Interpretation p. 93Franklin Edgerton (1925) The Bhagavad Gita: Or, Song of the Blessed One, India's Favorite Bible pp. 87-91Charlotte Vaudeville has said, it is the 'real Bible of Krsnaism'. Quoted in: Matchett, 2000 The Bhagavad Gita is an important scripture not only within Vaishnavism, but also to other traditions of Hinduism.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|pp=124-128}}BOOK, Richard H. Davis, The "Bhagavad Gita": A Biography,weblink 2014, Princeton University Press, 978-1-4008-5197-3, 4–8, It is one of three important texts of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, and has been central to all Vaishnavism sampradayas.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|pp=124-128}}BOOK, E. Allen Richardson, Seeing Krishna in America: The Hindu Bhakti Tradition of Vallabhacharya in India and Its Movement to the West,weblink 2014, McFarland, 978-0-7864-5973-5, 5–6, 11–14, 134–145, The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, and presents Bhakti, Jnana and Karma yoga as alternate ways to spiritual liberation, with the choice left to the individual.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|pp=124-128}} The text discusses dharma, and its pursuit as duty without craving for fruits of one's actions, as a form of spiritual path to liberation.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|pp=125-126}} The text, state Clooney and Stewart, succinctly summarizes the foundations of Vaishnava theology that the entire universe exists within Vishnu, and all aspects of life and living is not only a divine order but divinity itself.{{Sfn|Francis Clooney |Tony Stewart| 2004|p=163}} Bhakti, in Bhagavad Gita, is an act of sharing, and a deeply personal awareness of spirituality within and without.{{Sfn|Francis Clooney |Tony Stewart| 2004|p=163}}The Bhagavad Gita is a summary of the classical Upanishads and Vedic philosophy, and closely associated with the Bhagavata and related traditions of Vaishnavism.BOOK, Richard H. Davis, The "Bhagavad Gita": A Biography,weblink 2014, Princeton University Press, 978-1-4008-5197-3, 58–59, 170, BOOK, Georg Feuerstein, Brenda Feuerstein, The Bhagavad-Gita,weblink 2011, Shambhala Publications, 978-1-59030-893-6, 64–69, The text has been commented upon and integrated into diverse Vaishnava denominations, such as by the medieval era Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta school and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta school, as well as 20th century Vaishnava movements such as the Hare Krishna movement by Swami Prabhupada.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|pp=124-125}}

Vaishnava Agamas

The Pancaratra Samhitas (literally, five nights) is a genre of texts where Vishnu is presented as Narayana and Vasudeva, and this genre of Vaishnava texts is also known as the Vaishnava Agamas.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121-122}} Its doctrines are found embedded in the stories within the Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}} Narayana is presented as the ultimate unchanging truth and reality (Brahman), who pervades the entirety of the universe and is asserted to be the preceptor of all religions.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}}BOOK, Guy L. Beck, Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound,weblink 1995, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1261-1, 173–180, The Pancaratra texts present the Vyuhas theory of avatars to explain how the absolute reality (Brahman) manifests into material form of ever changing reality (Vishnu avatar).{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}}BOOK, F Otto Schrader, Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā,weblink 1973, Adyar Library and Research Centre, 978-0-8356-7277-1, 31–49, 79–118, Vasudeva, state the Pancaratra texts, goes through a series of emanations, where new avatars of him appear. This theory of avatar formation syncretically integrates the theories of evolution of matter and life developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}} These texts also present cosmology, methods of worship, tantra, Yoga and principles behind the design and building of Vaishnava temples (Mandira nirmana).{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}}BOOK, F Otto Schrader, Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā,weblink 1973, Adyar Library and Research Centre, 978-0-8356-7277-1, 30, 150–157, These texts have guided religiosity and temple ceremonies in many Vaishnava communities, particularly in South India.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}}The Pancaratra Samhitas are tantric in emphasis, and at the foundation of tantric Vaishnava traditions such as the Sri Vaishnava tradition.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=122-123}}BOOK, Teun Goudriaan, Sanjukta Gupta, Hindu Tantric and Śākta Literature,weblink 1981, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 978-3-447-02091-6, 105–111, They complement and compete with the vedic Vaishnava traditions such as the Bhagavata tradition, which emphasize the more ancient Vedic texts, ritual grammar and procedures.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=122-123}}BOOK, Dennis Hudson, Katherine Anne Harper, Robert L Brown, The Roots of Tantra,weblink 2012, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-8890-4, 133–156, While the practices vary, the philosophy of Pancaratra is primarily derived from the Upanishads, its ideas synthesize Vedic concepts and incorporate Vedic teachings.BOOK, Harvey P. Alper, Mantra,weblink 1989, State University of New York Press, 978-0-88706-599-6, 242–243, BOOK, S. M. Srinivasa Chari, Vaiṣṇavism: Its Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Discipline,weblink 1994, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1098-3, xxviii–xxxi, The three most studied texts of this genre of Vaishnava religious texts are Paushkara Samhita, Sattvata Samhita and Jakakhya Samhita.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}}H Daniel Smith (1972), The three gems of the Pancharatra canon - An appraisal, Journal: Vimarsa, Volume 1, Issue 1, pages 45-51; (Reprinted by Brill Academic in Ex Orbe Religionum, Editor: C. J. Bleeker (1972)) The other important Pancaratra texts include the Lakshmi Tantra and Ahirbudhnya Samhita.BOOK, F Otto Schrader, Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā,weblink 1973, Adyar Library and Research Centre, 978-0-8356-7277-1, 2–21, BOOK, Sanjukta Gupta, Lakṣmī Tantra: A Pāñcarātra Text,weblink 2000, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1735-7, xv–xix, Scholars place the start of this genre of texts to about the 7th or 8th century CE, and later.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}}BOOK, F Otto Schrader, Introduction to the Pāñcarātra and the Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā,weblink 1973, Adyar Library and Research Centre, 978-0-8356-7277-1, 22–27, 112–114,

Other texts

Mahabharata and Ramayana

The two Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana present Vaishnava philosophy and culture embedded in legends and dialogues.BOOK, J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition,weblink 2010, ABC-CLIO, 978-1-59884-204-3, 1417–1418, The epics are considered the fifth Veda, in Hindu culture.BOOK, Alf Hiltebeitel, Reading the Fifth Veda: Studies on the Mahābhārata,weblink 2011, BRILL, 978-90-04-18566-1, 59–60, 308, The Ramayana describes the story of Rama, an avatara of Vishnu, and is taken as a history of the 'ideal king', based on the principles of dharma, morality and ethics.BOOK, Ramashraya Sharma, A Socio-political Study of the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa,weblink 1986, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-0078-6, 149–150, Rama's wife Sita, his brother Lakshman, with his devotee and follower Hanuman all play key roles within the Vaishnava tradition as examples of Vaishnava etiquette and behaviour. Ravana, the evil king and villain of the epic, is presented as an epitome of adharma, playing the opposite role of how not to behave.BOOK, Ashok Banker, Vengeance of Ravana: Book Seven of the Ramayana,weblink 2011, Penguin, 978-0-14-306699-6, 270–271, The Mahabharata is centered around Krishna, presents him as the avatar of transcendental supreme being.{{Sfn|Bryant|2007|pp=113-115}} The epic details the story of a war between good and evil, each side represented by two families of cousins with wealth and power, one depicted as driven by virtues and values while other by vice and deception, with Krishna playing pivotal role in the drama.{{Sfn|Bryant|2007|pp=69 with note 150, 81-82, 95-98, 333-340}} The philosophical highlight of the work is the Bhagavad Gita.{{Sfn|Bryant|2007|pp=77-94}}


{{multiple image| align = right| image1 = Ananda Krishna and Nagaraja.jpg| width1 = 200| alt1 = | caption1 = | image2 = Shrinika Purohit.jpg | width2 = 100| alt2 = | caption2 = 978-8170172215}}, pages 98-99Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, {{ISBN|978-0231149990}}, pages 162-180}}The Puranas are an important source of entertaining narratives and folk mythology, states Mahony, that are embedded with "philosophical, theological and mystical modes of experience and expression" as well as reflective "moral and soteriological instructions".JOURNAL, Mahony, William K., 1987, Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities, History of Religions, 26, 3, 333–335, 1062381, 10.1086/463085, More broadly, the Puranic literature is encyclopedic,Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, {{ISBN|0-877790426}}, page 915Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 1-5, 12-21, 79-80, 96-98; Quote: "These are the true encyclopedic Puranas. in which detached chapters or sections, dealing with any imaginable subject, follow one another, without connection or transition." and it includes diverse topics such as cosmogony, cosmology, genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, travel guides and pilgrimages,BOOK, Ariel Glucklich, The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective,weblink 2008, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-971825-2, 146, Quote: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called mahatmyas., temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy.Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415172813}}, pages 437-439Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, {{ISBN|978-1570034497}}, page 139Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 1-5, 12-21 The Puranas were a living genre of texts because they were routinely revised,Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, page 153 their content is highly inconsistent across the Puranas, and each Purana has survived in numerous manuscripts which are themselves inconsistent. The Hindu Puranas are anonymous texts and likely the work of many authors over the centuries.John Cort (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts (Editor: Wendy Doniger), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791413821}}, pages 185-204BOOK, Dimmitt, Cornelia, J. A. B., van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas,weblink Temple University Press (1st Edition: 1977), 2012, 978-1-4399-0464-0, 4–5, Of the 18 Mahapuranas (great Puranas), many have titles based on one of the avatars of Vishnu. However, quite many of these are actually, in large part, Shiva-related Puranas, likely because these texts were revised over their history.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 35, 185, 199, 239-242 Some were revised into Vaishnava treatises, such as the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, which originated as a Puranic text dedicated to the Surya (Sun god). Textual cross referencing evidence suggests that in or after 15th/16th century CE, it went through a series of major revisions, and almost all extant manuscripts of Brahma Vaivarta Purana are now Vaishnava (Krishna) bhakti oriented.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 161-164 Of the extant manuscripts, the main Vaishnava Puranas are Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Vayu Purana and Varaha Purana.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 59-61 The Brahmanda Purana is notable for the Adhyatma-ramayana, a Rama-focussed embedded text in it, which philosophically attempts to synthesize Bhakti in god Rama with Shaktism and Advaita Vedanta.Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages=158-159 with footnotes, Quote: "Among the texts considered to be connected with the Brahmanda, the Adhyatma-ramayana is undoubtedly the most important one".BOOK, Winternitz, Maurice, Moriz Winternitz, History of Indian Literature Vol 1 (Original in German, translated into English by VS Sarma, 1981), 1922, Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010), New Delhi, 978-8120802643, 552, BOOK, Ramdas Lamb, Rapt in the Name,weblink 1 February 2012, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-8856-0, 29–30, While an avatar of Vishnu is the main focus of the Puranas of Vaishnavism, these texts also include chapters that revere Shiva, Shakti (goddess power), Brahma and a pantheon of Hindu deities.Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0415670708}}, pages 113-114Edwin Bryant (2003), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-0141913377}}, pages 10-12Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447025225}}, pages 104-106 with footnotes, Quote: "I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas."The philosophy and teachings of the Vaishnava Puranas are bhakti oriented (often Krishna, but Rama features in some), but they show an absence of a "narrow, sectarian spirit". To its bhakti ideas, these texts show a synthesis of Samkhya, Yoga and Advaita Vedanta ideas.BOOK, Wayman, Alex, Researches in Indian and Buddhist philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, Rukmani, T. S., Siddhis in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and in the Yogasutras of Patanjali – a Comparison, 1993, 217–226, 978-81-208-0994-9,weblink ;JOURNAL, Brown, C. Mackenzie, 1983, The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 51, 4, 551–567, 1462581, BOOK, Dasgupta, Surendranath, A history of Indian philosophy, IV: Indian pluralism, Cambridge University Press, 1979, 49, BOOK, Sheridan, Daniel, The Advaitic Theism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, South Asia Books, 1986, 978-81-208-0179-0,weblink 1–2, 17–25, In Gaudiya Vaishnava, Vallabha Sampradaya and Nimbarka sampradaya, Krishna is believed to be a transcendent, Supreme Being and source of all avatars in the Bhagavata Purana.{{Harvnb|Matchett|2000|p=153}}Bhag. Purana 1.3.28 :{{IAST|ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam}} :{{IAST|indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge}} The text describes modes of loving devotion to Krishna, wherein his devotees constantly think about him, feel grief and longing when Krishna is called away on a heroic mission.{{sfn|Matchett|2000|loc=10th canto transl.}}File:JivaGoswami.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Jiva Gosvami's Bhajan Kutir at Radha-kunda. Jiva Goswamis Sandarbhas summarize Vedic sources of Gaudiya VaishnavaGaudiya Vaishnava

Sectarian texts

In the Varkari movement the following scriptures are considered sacred in addition to general body of the common writing:{{Citation needed|date=June 2017}}
  • Dyaneshawri
  • Tukaram-Gatha
  • Sopandevi
  • Namdev-Gatha
  • Eknathi-Bhagwat
The Chaitanya movement has the following texts.
  • Sad Sandarbhas
  • Brahma Samhita

Attitude toward scriptures

Chaitanya Vaishnava traditions refer to the writings of previous acharyas in their respective lineage or sampradya as authoritative interpretations of scripture.BOOK, Gupta, Ravi M., Edited by Gavin Flood, University of Stirling, 2007, Chaitanya Vaishnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami: When knowledge meets devotion, RoutledgeSmartism and Advaita>Advaitism encourage interpretation of Hindu scripture philosophically and metaphorically and not too literally,{{Citation needed>date=November 2009}} Chaitanya Vaishnavism stresses the literal meaning (''{{translmukhya vṛitti}}) as primary and indirect meaning ({{translgauṇa vṛitti}}) as secondary: {{translsākṣhād upadesas tu shrutih}}'' - "The instructions of the {{translshruti-shāstra}} should be accepted literally, without fanciful or allegorical interpretations."Jiva Goswami, ''{{translKṛiṣhna}} Sandarbha'' 29.26-27



The Bhakti movement originated among Vaishnavas of South India during the 7th-century CE,BOOK, Bardwell L. Smith, Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions,weblink 1976, Brill Academic, 978-90-04-04495-1, 143–144, spread northwards from Tamil Nadu through Karnataka and Maharashtra towards the end of 13th-century,BOOK, Bardwell L. Smith, Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions,weblink 1976, Brill Academic, 978-90-04-04495-1, 154–155, and gained wide acceptance by the fifteenth-century throughout India during an era of political uncertainty and Hindu-Islam conflicts.BOOK, The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, Karine, Schomer, W. H., McLeod, Motilal Banarsidass, 1987, 9788120802773, 1–3, {{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=131}}BOOK, Bardwell L. Smith, Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions,weblink 1976, Brill Archive, 978-90-04-04495-1, 143–169, The Alvars, which literally means "those immersed in God", were Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu as they travelled from one place to another.BOOK, Olson, Carl, The many colors of Hinduism: a thematic-historical introduction, Rutgers University Press, 2007, 231, 978-0-8135-4068-9, They established temple sites such as Srirangam, and spread ideas about Vaishnavism. Their poems, compiled as Divya Prabhandham, developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana's references to the South Indian Alvar saints, along with its emphasis on bhakti, have led many scholars to give it South Indian origins, though some scholars question whether this evidence excludes the possibility that bhakti movement had parallel developments in other parts of India.BOOK, J. A. B. van Buitenen, The Archaism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Encyclopedia Indica, 1996, S.S Shashi, 978-81-7041-859-7, 28–45, BOOK, Sheridan, Daniel, The Advaitic Theism of the Bhagavata Purana, South Asia Books, Columbia, Mo, 1986, 978-81-208-0179-0, Vaishnava bhakti practices involve loving devotion to a Vishnu avatar (often Krishna), an emotional connection, a longing and continuous feeling of presence.BOOK, Karen Pechilis Prentiss, The Embodiment of Bhakti,weblink 2000, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-535190-3, 17–24, All aspects of life and living is not only a divine order but divinity itself in Vaishnava bhakti.{{Sfn|Francis Clooney |Tony Stewart| 2004|p=163}} Community practices such as singing songs together (kirtan or bhajan), praising or ecstatically celebrating the presence of god together, usually inside temples, but sometimes in open public are part of varying Vaishnava practices.BOOK, David N. Lorenzen, Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action,weblink State University of New York Press, 978-1-4384-1126-2, 23–24, These help Vaishnavas socialize and form a community identity.BOOK, David N. Lorenzen, Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action,weblink State University of New York Press, 978-1-4384-1126-2, 107–112,


{{multiple image| align = right| image1 = Gaze of a priest.JPG| width1 = 178| alt1 = | caption1 = | image2 = Sadhu Vârânasî.jpg | width2 = 185| alt2 = | caption2 = Urdhva Pundra).James Lochtefeld (2002), "Urdhvapundra", The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N–Z, Rosen Publishing, {{ISBN>978-0823931798}}, page 724Right: A Shaiva Hindu with Tilaka (Tripundra)DEUSSEN>FIRST=PAULURL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=XYEPEIGUY0GC&PG=PA789PUBLISHER=MOTILAL BANARSIDASSPAGES=789–790, Gautam Chatterjee (2003), Sacred Hindu Symbols, Abhinav Publications, {{ISBN|978-8170173977}}, pages 11, 42, 57-58}}Vaishnavas mark their foreheads with tilaka made up of Chandana, either as a daily ritual, or on special occasions. The different Vaishnava sampradayas each have their own distinctive style of tilaka, which depicts the siddhanta of their particular lineage. The general tilaka pattern is of a parabolic shape resembling the letter U or two or more connected vertical lines on and another optional line on the nose resembling the letter Y, which usually represents the foot of Vishnu and the centre vertical line symbolizing his manhood. Alternate interpretations suggest that the symbol is representation of male and female parts in Vaishnavism {{webarchive |url= |date=27 January 2008 }weblink


{{location map+|India|float=right|width=375|caption=Major pilgrimage and temple sites in Vaishnavism. Orange markers are UNESCO world heritage sites.|places={{Location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=20.888028|long=70.401278}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=16.073889|long=78.968056}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=23.182778|long=75.768333}}{{location map~|India|label=Nathdwara|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=left|lat=24.93|long=73.82}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=22.249722|long=77.651667}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=29.97|long=76.84}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=24.48|long=86.7}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=26.2|long=91.7}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=24.63|long=93.77}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=23.83|long=91.26}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=32.57|long=76.11}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=19.072076|long=73.535807}}{{location map~|India|label=Rameshwaram|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=9.283333|long=79.3}}{{location map~|India|label=Guruvayur|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=left|lat=10.08|long=76.2}}{{location map~|India|label=Dwarka|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=top|lat=22.333333|long=69.083333}}{{location map~|India|label=Ayodhya|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=26.8|long=82.20}}{{location map~|India|label=Mathura|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=left|lat=27.4|long=77.1}}{{location map~|India|label=Vrindavan|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=top|lat=27.58|long=77.70}}{{location map~|India|label=Varanasi|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=25.310753|long=83.010614}}{{location map~|India |lat=32.98|long=74.95|label=Vaishno Devi|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=top}}{{location map~|India|label=Pandharpur|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=17.933333|long=75.55}}{{location map~|India|label=Udupi|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=left|lat=13.34|long=74.745}}{{location map~|India|label=Tirupati|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=13.65|long=79.42}}{{location map~|India|label=Srirangam|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=left|lat=10.87|long=78.68}}{{location map~|India|label=Badrinath|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=right|lat=30.74|long=79.49}}{{location map~|India|label=Jagannath|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=19.8|long=85.81}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=20.1154|long=75.225}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Green_pog.svg|position=right|lat=17.05|long=79.27}}{{location map~|India|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right|lat=24.863|long=79.92}}{{location map~|India |lat=24.718|long=84.999 |label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=bottom}}{{location map~|India |lat=22.4833|long=73.5332|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=20.552377|long=75.700436|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=20.02639|long=75.17917|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right}}{{location map~|India |lat=18.95833|long=72.93055|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right}}{{location map~|India |lat=10.951483 |long=79.3562|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right}}{{location map~|India |lat=11.1219 |long=79.2710|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=10.783055 |long=79.1325|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right}}{{location map~|India |lat=12.61667|long=80.19167|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=right}}{{location map~|India |lat=15.3144|long=76.47167|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=top}}{{location map~|India |lat=23.85892|long=72.10162|label=|mark=Orange_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=23.44|long=88.392|label=Mayapur|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=27.5|long=77.67|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=29.956|long=78.17|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=23.18|long=75.78|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=12.82|long=79.71|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=8.078|long=77.541|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}{{location map~|India |lat=26.5|long=74.55|label=|mark=Blue_pog.svg|position=left}}}}In tantric traditions of Vaishnavism, during the initiation (diksha) given by a guru under whom they are trained to understand Vaishnava practices, the initiates accept Vishnu as supreme. At the time of initiation, the disciple is traditionally given a specific mantra, which the disciple will repeat, either out loud or within the mind, as an act of worship to Vishnu or one of his avatars. The practice of repetitive prayer is known as japa.In the Gaudiya Vaishnava group, one who performs an act of worship with the name of Vishnu or Krishna can be considered a Vaishnava by practice, "Who chants the holy name of Krishna just once may be considered a Vaishnava."Chaitanya Charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 15.106

Pilgrimage sites

Important sites of pilgrimage for Vaishnavas include Guruvayur Temple, Srirangam, Vrindavan, Mathura, Ayodhya, Tirupati, Pandharpur (Vitthal), Puri (Jaggannath), Nira Narsingpur (Narasimha), Mayapur, Nathdwara, Dwarka Udipi (Karnataka)and Muktinath.BOOK, Klaus K., Klostermaier, Oxford University, Hinduism: A Short History, Oxford, Oneworld Publications, 2000, 978-1-85168-213-3,weblink BOOK, Valpey, K.R., 2004, The Grammar and Poetics of Murti-Seva: Chaitanya Vaishnava Image Worship as Discourse, Ritual, and Narrative, University of Oxford,

Holy places

Vrindavana is considered to be a holy place by several traditions of Krishnaism. It is a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places like Govardhana and Gokula associated with Krishna from time immemorial. Many millions of bhaktas or devotees of Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna's life on Earth.{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007}}{{refn|group=note|name=Klostermaier|Klostermaier: "Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana, certainly the most popular religious books in the whole of India. Not only was Krsnaism influenced by the identification of Krsna with Vishnu, but also Vaishnavism as a whole was partly transformed and reinvented in the light of the popular and powerful Krishna religion. Bhagavatism may have brought an element of cosmic religion into Krishna worship; Krishna has certainly brought a strongly human element into Bhagavatism [...] The center of Krishna-worship has been for a long time Brajbhumi, the district of Mathura that embraces also Vrindavana, Govardhana, and Gokula, associated with Krishna from time immemorial. Many millions of Krishna bhaktas visit these places ever year and participate in the numerous festivals that reenact scenes from Krshna's life on Earth."{{sfn|Klostermaier|2007}}}}On the other hand, Goloka is considered the eternal abode of Krishna, Svayam bhagavan according to some Vaishnava schools, including Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The scriptural basis for this is taken in Brahma Samhita and Bhagavata Purana.BOOK, SCHWEIG, G.M., 2005, Dance of divine love: The Rasa Lila of Krishna from the Bhagavata Purana, India's classic sacred love story, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey; Oxford, 978-0-691-11446-0, 10,


Four sampradayas and other sects

The Vaishnavism traditions may be grouped within four sampradayas, each exemplified by a specific Vedic personality. They have been associated with a specific founder, providing the following scheme: Brahma Sampradaya (Madhvacharya), Sri Sampradaya (Ramanuja), Rudra Sampradaya (Vishnuswami, Vallabhacharya),BOOK, E. Allen Richardson, Seeing Krishna in America: The Hindu Bhakti Tradition of Vallabhacharya in India and Its Movement to the West,weblink 2014, McFarland, 978-0-7864-5973-5, 19–21, Kumaras sampradaya (Nimbarka).{{sfn|Klostermaier|1998}}{{refn|group=note|(a) Steven Rosen and William Deadwyler III: "the word sampradaya literally means 'a community'."(b) Federico Squarcini traces the semantic history of the word sampradaya, calling it a tradition, and adds, "Besides its employment in the ancient Buddhist literature, the term sampradaya circulated widely in Brahamanic circles, as it became the most common word designating a specific religious tradition or denomination".BOOK, Federico Squarcini, Boundaries, Dynamics and Construction of Traditions in South Asia,weblink 2011, Anthem Press, 978-0-85728-430-3, 20–27, }} These four sampradayas emerged in early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE, by the 14th century, influencing and sanctioning the Bhakti movement.{{sfn|Beck|2012|p=6}}The philosophical systems of Vaishnava sampradayas range from theistic Dvaita of Madhvacharya, to qualified monistic Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja, to pure nondualistic Shuddhadvaita of Vallabhacharya. They all revere an avatar of Vishnu, but have varying theories on the relationship between the soul (jiva) and Brahman,{{sfn|Beck|2012|pp=74-77}} on the nature of changing and unchanging reality, methods of worship, as well as on spiritual liberation for the householder stage of life versus sannyasa (renunciation) stage.{{sfn|Beck|2012|pp=76-77}}{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|2002|pages=288–304, 340–350}}Beyond the four major sampradayas, the situation is more complicated,{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=134-135}} with the Vaikhanasas being much older{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123}} than those four sampradayas, and a number of additional traditions and sects which originated later,{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=135}} or aligned themselves with one of those four sampradayas. Krishna sampradayas continued to be founded late into late medieval and during the Mughal Empire era, such as the Radhavallabha, Haridasi, Gaudiya and others.{{sfn|Beck|2012|pp=70-79}}{| class="wikitable"! Sampradaya! Main Theological Preceptor! Philosophy! Founder! (Sub)sects! Founded! (Sub)sect-founder! Worship Vaikhanasa Visnu Sage Vaikhanasa 4th century CE Vishnu Smartism Syncretistic/Advaita Vedanta Classical Period of Hinduism(pre Gupta Era - Early Medieval Period) Krishna worship as Ishta-deva Sri Vaishnavism(Sri Sampradaya) Laksmi Vishishtadvaita("qualified monism") Nathamuni (10th century){{sfn1996|p=136}}Ramanujacharya (1017–1137) Iyengar Thenkalai 12th-14th century Pillai LokacharyaManavala Mamunigal Vishnu Iyengar Vadakalai 14th century Vedanta Desika Vishnu + Lakshmi Brahma sampradaya Brahma Dvaita ("dualism") Madhvacharya (1238–1317) Haridasa 13th-14th century Unknown Lord Hari Achintya Bheda Abheda("difference and non-difference") Gaudiya Vaishnavism{{refnBased on a list of gurus found in Baladeva Vidyabhusana's Govinda-bhasya and Prameya-ratnavali, ISKCON situates Gaudiya Vaishnavism within the Brahma sampradaya, calling it Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.}} 16th century Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) Radha Krishna Rudra sampradaya Shiva Shuddhadvaita("pure nondualism") Vishnuswami{{refnStephen Knapp: "Actually there is some confusion about him, as it seems there have been three Vishnu Svamis: Adi Vishnu Svami (around the 3rd century BCE, who introduced the traditional 108 categories of sannyasa), Raja Gopala Vishnu Svami (8th or 9th century CE), and Andhra Vishnu Svami (14th century)."Stepehn Knapp, The Four Sampradayas}} Pushti sect ca. 1500 Vallabhacharya (1479–1531) Krishna Radha, Balarama Charan Dasi 18th century{{sfn2002|p=143}} Charan Das a Dhusar of Dehra Radha Krishna Nimbarka sampradaya(Kumara-sampradaya) Four Kumaras Narada Dvaitadvaita("duality in unity") Nimbarka (13th century) 13th century Radha Krishna Sant (Sant Mat) traditions Varkari sect 13th century Dnyaneshwar(Jñāneśvar) (1275–1296){{refnGavin Flood notes that Jñāneśvar is sometimes regarded as the founder of the Varkari sect, but that Vithoba-worship predates him.{{sfn1996|p=143}}}} Vithoba (Krisna) Ramanandi Sect 14th century Ramananda Rama Kabir panth1987>SURNAME=DANDEKARAUTHORLINK=RAMCHANDRA NARAYAN DANDEKAREDITOR-SURNAME=ELIADEEDITORLINK=MIRCEA ELIADEEDITION= PUBLISHER=MACMILLANURL=, Encyclopædia Britannica, "Kabir" Accessed: 2019-04-23 15th century Sant Kabir, a disciple of Ramananda Vishnu, Narayana, Govinda,P. 661 The Ādi-Granth, Or: The Holy Scriptures of the Sikhs edited by Ernst Trumpp. Quote: "On my tongue Vishnu, in my eyes Narayana, in my heart dwells Govinda."Adi Granth IV.XXV.I Ram Dadu panth 16th–17th century Dadu Dayal (1544–1603) non-sectarian Other traditions Ekasarana Dharma 16th century Srimanta Sankardeva (1449–1568) Krishna worship alone without Radha Vaishnava-Sahajiya(tantric) 16th century Vidyapati (1352–1448), Chandidas (1370–1433) Radha Krishna Lalpanthi Sampradaya(Lal Dasi sect) 17th century{{sfn1981|p=394}} Laldas a Meo of Dhaoli Dub Pranami Sampraday(Nijanand Sampradaya){{refnSee also Shri Krishna Pranami.Shri Krishna Pranami Gandhi's mother belonged to the Pranami tradition.}} 17th century Devchandra Maharaj (1581–1655) Shree Raj-ShyamajiThe Supreme Lord (Purna Brahm Parmatma) Swaminarayan Faith 19th century Swaminarayan (1781-1830) Swaminarayan

Early traditions


The Bhagavats were the early worshippers of Krishna, the followers of Bhagavat, the Lord, in the person of Krishna, Vasudeva, Vishnu or Bhagavan.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123-124}} The term bhagavata may have denoted a general religious tradition or attitude of theistic worship which prevailed until the 11th century, and not a specific sect,{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123}}{{sfn|Welbon|2005a|p=9501}} and is best known as a designation for Vishnu-devotees.{{sfn|Welbon|2005a|p=9501}} The earliest scriptural evidence of Vaishnava bhagavats is an inscription from 115 BCE, in which Heliodoros, ambassador of the Greco-Bactrian king Amtalikita, says that he is a bhagavata of Vasudeva.{{sfn|Welbon|2005a|p=9502}} It was supported by the Guptas, suggesting a widespread appeal, in contrast to specific sects.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123-124}}

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The Pāñcarātra is the tradition of Narayana-worship.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}} The term pāñcarātra means "five nights," from pañca, "five,"and rātra, "nights,"{{Sfn|Jones|Ryan|2007|p=321-322}}{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}} and may be derived from the "five night sacrifice" as described in the Satapatha Brahmana, which narrates how Purusa-Narayana intends to become the highest being by performing a sacrifice which lasts five nights.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}}The Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata describes the ideas of the Pāñcarātras.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121}} Characteristic is the description of the manifestation of the Absolute through a series of manifestations, from the vyuha manifestations of Vasudeva and pure creation, through the tattvas of mixed creation into impure or material creation.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=121-122}}The Pāñcarātra Samhitas developed from the 7th or 8th century onward, and belongs to Agamic or Tantras,{{sfn|N.N.1|1940|p=7}}{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}} setting them at odds with vedic orthodoxy.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=122-123}} Vishnu worshipers in south India still follow the system of Pancharatra worship as described in these texts.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=122}}Although the Pāñcarātra originated in north India, it had a strong influence on south India, where it is closely related with the Sri Vaishnava tradition. According to Welbon, "Pāñcarātra cosmological and ritual theory and practice combine with the unique vernacular devotional poetry of the Alvars, and Ramanuja, founder of the Sri Vaishnava tradition, propagated Pāñcarātra ideas."{{sfn|Welbon|2005b|p=9509}} Ramananda was also influenced by Pāñcarātra ideas through the influence of Sri Vaishnavism, whereby Pāñcarātra re-entered north India.{{sfn|Welbon|2005b|p=9509}}


The Vaikhanasas are associated with the Pāñcarātra, but regard themselves as a Vedic orthodox sect.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123}}JOURNAL, Gonda, Jan, 1977, Religious Thought and Practice in Vaikhānasa Viṣṇuism, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 40, 3, 550–571, 616501, Modern Vaikhanasas reject elements of the Pāñcarātra and Sri Vaishnava tradition, but the historical relationship with the orthodox Vaikhanasa in south India is unclear.{{citation needed|date=April 2016}} The Vaikhanasas may have resisted the incorporation of the devotic elements of the Alvar tradition, while the Pāñcarātras were open to this incorporation.{{sfn|Welbon|2005b|p=9509}}{{full citation needed|date=April 2016}}Vaikhanasas have their own foundational text, the Vaikhanasasmarta Sutra, which describes a mixture of Vedic and non-Vedic ritual worship.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123}} The Vaikhanasas became chief priests in a lot of south Indian temples, where they still remain influential.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=123}}

Medieval traditions


The Smarta tradition developed during the (early) Classical Period of Hinduism around the beginning of the Common Era, when Hinduism emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions.{{sfn|Hiltebeitel|2013}}{{sfn|Flood|1996}} According to Flood, Smartism developed and expanded with the Puranas genre of literature.{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=113}} By the time of Adi Shankara,{{sfn|Hiltebeitel|2013}} it had developed the pancayatanapuja, the worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal, namely Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Surya and Devi (Shakti),{{Sfn|Flood|1996|p=113}} "as a solution to varied and conflicting devotional practices."{{sfn|Hiltebeitel|2013}}Traditionally, Sri Adi Shankaracharya (8th century) is regarded as the greatest teacher and reformer of the Smarta.{{sfn|Doniger|1999|p=1017}}{{sfn|Popular Prakashan|2000|p=52}} According to Hiltebeitel, Adi Shankara Acharya established the nondualist interpretation of the Upanishads as the touchstone of a revived smarta tradition.{{sfn|Hiltebeitel|2013}}{{refn|group=note|Hiltebeitel: "Practically, Adi Shankara Acharya fostered a rapprochement between Advaita and smarta orthodoxy, which by his time had not only continued to defend the varnasramadharma theory as defining the path of karman, but had developed the practice of pancayatanapuja ("five-shrine worship") as a solution to varied and conflicting devotional practices. Thus one could worship any one of five deities (Vishnu, Siva, Durga, Surya, Ganesa) as one's istadevata ("deity of choice")."{{sfn|Hiltebeitel|2013}}}}


File:Nammazhwar.jpg|thumb|right|NammalvarNammalvarThe Alvars, "those immersed in god," were twelve{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=131}} Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service.WEB,weblink The Alvars, Andrea Nippard, 2013-04-20,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2013, yes, dmy-all, The Alvars appeared between the 5th century to the 10th century CE, though the Vaishnava tradition regards the Alvars to have lived between 4200 BCE - 2700 BCE.The devotional writings of Alvars, composed during the early medieval period of Tamil history, are key texts in the bhakti movement. They praised the Divya Desams, 108 "abodes" (temples) of the Vaishnava deities.WEB, Indian Literature Through the Ages,weblink Indian literature, Govt of India, 2013-04-20,weblink" title="">weblink 15 May 2013, yes, dmy-all, The collection of their hymns is known as Divya Prabandha. Their Bhakti-poems has contributed to the establishment and sustenance of a culture that opposed the ritual-oriented Vedic religion and rooted itself in devotion as the only path for salvation.WEB, About Alvars,,weblink 2007-07-02,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-06-21,

Contemporary traditions

Gavin Flood mentions five most important contemporary Vaisnava orders.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=135}}

Sri Vaishnava

The Sri Vaishnava community consists of both Smarta Brahmans and non-Brahmans.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=137-138}} It existed along with a larger purana-based Brahamanic worshippers of Vishnu, and non-Brahmanic groups who worshipped and felt possessed by non-Vishnu village deities.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=137-138}} The Sri Vaishnavism movement grew with its social inclusiveness, where emotional devotionalism to personal god (Vishnu) has been open without limitation to gender or caste.{{refn|group=note|Vishnu is regionally called by other names, such as Ranganatha at Srirangam temple in Tamil Nadu.BOOK, Constance Jones, James D. Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism,weblink 2006, Infobase, 978-0-8160-7564-5, 352, }}The most striking difference between Srivaishnavas and other Vaishnava groups lies in their interpretation of Vedas. While other Vaishnava groups interpret Vedic deities like Indra, Savitar, Bhaga, Rudra, etc. to be same as their Puranic counterparts, Srivaishnavas consider these to be different names/roles/forms of Lord Narayan citing solid reasons thus claiming that the entire Veda is dedicated for Vishnu worship alone. Srivaishnavas have remodelled Pancharatra homas like Sudarshana homa, etc. to include Vedic Suktas like Rudram in them, thus giving them a Vedic outlook.Sri Vaishnavism developed in Tamil Nadu in the 10th century.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=135-136}} It incorporated two different traditions, namely the tantric Pancaratra tradition and the puranic Vishnu worship of northern India with their abstract Vedantic theology, and the southern bhakti tradition of the Alvars of Tamil Nadu with their personal devotion.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=135-136}} The tradition was founded by Nathamuni (10th century), who along with Yamunacharya, combined the two traditions and gave the tradition legitimacy by drawing on the Alvars.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=136}} Its most influential leader was Ramanuja (1017-1137), who developed the Visistadvaita ("qualified non-dualism") philosophy.{{sfn|Flood|1996|pp=133, 136}} Ramanuja challenged the then dominant Advaita Vedanta interpretation of the Upanishads and Vedas, by formulating the Vishishtadvaita philosophy foundations for Sri Vaishnavism from Vedanta.BOOK, C. J. Bartley, The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-136-85306-7, 1–4, Sri Vaishnava includes the ritual and temple life in the tantra traditions of Pancaratra, emotional devotionalism to Vishnu, contemplative form bhakti, in the context of householder social and religious duties. The tantric rituals, refers to techniques and texts recited during worship, and these include Sanskrit and Tamil texts in South Indian Sri Vaishnava tradition. According to Sri Vaishnavism theology, moksha can be reached by devotion and service to the Lord and detachment from the world. When moksha is reached, the cycle of reincarnation is broken and the soul is united with Vishnu after death, though maintaining their distinctions, in vaikuntha, Vishnu's heaven.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=136-137}} Moksha can also be reached by total surrender and saranagati, an act of grace by the Lord.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=137}} Ramanuja's Sri Vaishnavism subscribes to videhamukti (liberation in afterlife), in contrast to jivanmukti (liberation in this life) found in other traditions within Hinduism, such as the Smarta and Shaiva traditions.BOOK, Kim Skoog, Andrew O. Fort, Patricia Y. Mumme, Living Liberation in Hindu Thought,weblink 1996, SUNY Press, 978-0-7914-2706-4, 63–84, 236–239, Two hundred years after Ramanuja, the Sri Vaishnava tradition split into the Vadakalai ("northern culture") and Tenkalai ("southern culture"). The Vatakalai relied stronger on the Sanskrit scriptures, and emphasized bhakti by devotion to temple-icons, while the Tenkalai relied more on the Tamil heritage and total surrender.{{sfn|Flood|1996|p=137}}

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Gaudiya Vaishnavism, also known as Chaitanya VaishnavismHindu Encounter with Modernity, by Shukavak N. Dasa {{Webarchive|url= |date=11 May 2008 }} " and Hare Krishna, was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) in India. "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region (present day Bengal/Bangladesh) with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu or Krishna". Its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana.The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (bhakti) of Radha and Krishna, and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, Svayam Bhagavan. Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna's holy names, such as "Hare", "Krishna" and "Rama", most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna (mantra), also known as kirtan. It sees the many forms of Vishnu or Krishna as expansions or incarnations of the one Supreme God, adipurusha.After its decline in the 18-19th century, it was revived in the beginning of the 20th century due to the efforts of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. His son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura founded sixty-four Gaudiya Matha monasteries in India, Burma and Europe.Edwin Bryant, Maria Ekstrand, The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant (2004) - 448 pagesPage 130 Thakura's disciple Srila Prabhupada went to the west and spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Varkari-tradition and Vithoba-worship

The Varkari-tradition is a non-BrahamanicalZelliot (1988) p. xviii "Varkari cult is rural and non-Brahman in character"Sand (1990) p. 34 "the more or less anti-ritualistic and anti-brahmanical attitudes of Varkari sampradaya." tradition which worships Vithoba, also known as Vitthal, who is regarded as a form of Vishnu or Krishna. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai. The Varkari-tradition is geographically associated with the Indian states of Maharashtra and northern Karnataka.The Varkari movement includes a duty-based approach towards life, emphasizing moral behavior and strict avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, the adoption of a strict lacto-vegetarian diet and fasting on Ekadashi day (twice a month), self-restraint (brahmacharya) during student life, equality and humanity for all rejecting discrimination based on the caste system or wealth, the reading of Hindu texts, the recitation of the Haripath every day and the regular practice of bhajan and kirtan. The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on the eleventh (ekadashi) day of the lunar months" Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.The Varkari poet-saints are known for their devotional lyrics, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Notable saints and gurus of the Varkaris include Jñāneśvar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath, and Tukaram, all of whom are accorded the title of Sant.Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously a hero stone, a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva, a Jain saint, or even all of these at various times for various devotees.

Ramanandi tradition

The Ramanandi Sampradaya, also known as the Ramayats or the Ramavats,{{sfn|Michaels|2004|p=254}} is one of the largest and most egalitarian Hindu sects India, around the Ganges Plain, and Nepal today.{{sfn| Burghart |1983|p=362}} It mainly emphasizes the worship of Rama,{{sfn|Michaels|2004|p=254}} as well as Vishnu directly and other incarnations.{{sfn|Tattwananda|1984|p=10}} Most Ramanandis consider themselves to be the followers of Ramananda, a Vaishnava saint in medieval India.{{sfn|Raj|Harman|2007|p=165}} Philosophically, they are in the Vishishtadvaita (IAST {{IAST|Viśiṣṭādvaita}}) tradition.{{sfn|Michaels|2004|p=254}}Its ascetic wing constitutes the largest Vaishnava monastic order and may possibly be the largest monastic order in all of India.{{sfn|Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia 1999}} {{IAST|Rāmānandī}} ascetics rely upon meditation and strict ascetic practices, but also believe that the grace of god is required for them to achieve liberation.

Northern Sant tradition

Kabir was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced the Bhakti movement, but whose verses are also found in Sikhism's scripture Adi Granth.Ronald McGregor (1984), Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447024136}}, page 47 His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda, he becomes a Vaishnavite with universalist leanings.BOOK, Hugh Tinker, South Asia: A Short History,weblink 12 July 2012, 1990, University of Hawaii Press, 978-0-8248-1287-4, 75–77, Rekha Pande (2014), Divine Sounds from the Heart—Singing Unfettered in their Own Voices, Cambridge Scholars, {{ISBN|978-1443825252}}, page 77Ronald McGregor (1984), Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, {{ISBN|978-3447024136}}, pages 43–44Some scholars state Kabir's ideas were one of the many influencesWH McLeod (2003), Exploring Sikhism: Aspects of Sikh Identity, Culture, and Thought, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0195658569}}, pages 19–31David Lorenzen (1981), Religious change and cultural domination, Colegio Mexico, {{ISBN|978-9681201081}}, pages 173–191 on Guru Nanak, who went on to found Sikhism in the fifteenth century. Other Sikh scholars disagree, stating there are differences between the views and practices of Kabir and Nanak.J. S. Grewal (2010), WH McLeod and Sikh Studies, Journal of Punjab Studies, Vol. 17, Issue 1–2, page 119, ArchiveBOOK, History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1469-1606 C.E, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd, Gandhi, Surjit Singh, Guru Nanak and Kabir, 2008, English, 174 to 176, 978-8126908578, {{ASIN, 8126908572, uk, }}BOOK, The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent, Cambridge University Press, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, 24 Sep 1993, English, 114–116, 978-0521432870, {{ASIN, 0521432871, uk, }}Harpreet Singh, quoting Hew McLeod, states, "In its earliest stage Sikhism was clearly a movement within the Hindu tradition; Nanak was raised a Hindu and eventually belonged to the Sant tradition of northern India, a movement associated with the great poet and mystic Kabir."Pashaura Singh and Louis E. Fenech (2014), The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0199699308}}, page 205 Surjit Singh Gandhi{{better source|date=August 2015}} disagrees, and writes "Guru Nanak in his thought pattern as well as in action model was fundamentally different from Kabir and for that matter other radical Bhaktas or saints (saint has been erroneously used for such Bhaktas by Mcleod). Hence to consider Kabir as an influence on Guru Nanak is wrong, both historically and theologically".McLeod places Nanak in the Sant tradition that included Kabir, and states that their fundamental doctrines were reproduced by Nanak. JS Grewal contests this view and states that McLeod's approach is limiting in its scope because, "McLeod takes into account only concepts, ignores practices altogether, he concentrates on similarities and ignores all differences".J. S. Grewal (2010), WH McLeod and Sikh Studies, Journal of Punjab Studies, Volume 17, Issue 1–2, page 119

Vaishnavism versus other Hindu traditions

The Vaishnavism sampradayas subscribe to various philosophies, are similar in some aspects and differ in others. When compared with Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism, a similar range of similarities and differences emerge.{| class="wikitable sortable"|+Comparison of Vaishnavism with other traditions! !! style="background: #ffcc99;" | Vaishnava Traditions !! Shaiva Traditions !! Shakta Traditions !! Smarta Traditions || References|Mahavishnu or Krishna as Vishvarupa>Vishwarupa{{Citation neededParashiva{{Citation needed>date=November 2018}} Devi as Adi Parashakti{{Citation neededURL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=4HGXJGEACAAJPUBLISHER=BLOOMSBURY ACADEMICURL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=Z3AJAWAAQBAJ PUBLISHER=FORTRESS PRESSPAGES=182, URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=4AFXLUCHSOAC PUBLISHER=ROUTLEDGEPAGES=65–71, Avatar >URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=9MMNANEBFD8C PUBLISHER=INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES, SINGAPOREPAGES=221, MARIASUSAI DHAVAMONY >TITLE=HINDU-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE: THEOLOGICAL SOUNDINGS AND PERSPECTIVES YEAR=2002ISBN=978-90-420-1510-4, 63, Sannyasa>Monastic life Accepts Recommends Accepts Recommends Stephen H Phillips (1995), Classical Indian Metaphysics, Columbia University Press, {{ISBNYEAR=1992PUBLISHER= OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS PAGES=4–18, Bhakti >WEBSITE=OVERVIEW OF WORLD RELIGIONSACCESSDATE=13 DECEMBER 2017, MUNAVALLI>FIRST1=SOMASHEKARDATE=2007PAGE=83URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=OA7BLTFOOICCPUBLISHER=INNER TRADITIONSPAGES=56–57, FRAZIER > FIRST=J. JOURNAL=THE JOURNAL OF HINDU STUDIES ISSUE=2 PAGES=101–113, 10.1093/jhs/hit028, Ahimsa and Vegetarianism >Ekasarana Dharma) >978-0-521-43878-0}}, pages 162–167 Optional Optional Recommends, Optional LISA KEMMERER >AUTHOR2=ANTHONY J. NOCELLA URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=LQ70LGRWLRQC PUBLISHER=LANTERN PAGES=27–36, FREDERICK J. SIMOONS >TITLE=PLANTS OF LIFE, PLANTS OF DEATH YEAR=1998ISBN= 978-0-299-15904-7, 182–183, Free will, Maya (illusion)>Maya, Karma Affirms Affirms Affirms Affirms Brahman (Vishnu) and Atman (Hinduism)>Atman (Soul, Self) Brahman (Shiva), Atman Brahman (Devi), Atman Brahman, Atman Epistemology(Pramana) >URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=I1BLW4-YY20C PUBLISHER=MOTILAL BANARSIDASSPAGES=336–340, 1. Perception2. Inference3. Reliable testimony 1. Perception2. Inference3. Comparison and analogy4. Postulation, derivation5. Negative/cognitive proof6. Reliable testimony John A. Grimes, A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English, State University of New York Press, {{ISBNFloodp=225}}Eliott Deutsche (2000), in Philosophy of Religion : Indian Philosophy Vol 4 (Editor: Roy Perrett), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0815336112}}, pages 245-248Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita (qualified Advaita), Advaita >Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita, Advaita >Advaita >TITLE=OFFERING FLOWERS, FEEDING SKULLS YEAR =2004 ISBN=978-0-19-534713-5URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=G3DXAAAAMAAJPUBLISHER=BRILLPAGES=177–225, Soteriology)>URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=D5HK8EKMQBCC PUBLISHER=CONCEPT PAGES=375,


There is no data available on demographic history or trends for Vaishnavism or other traditions within Hinduism.The global religious landscape: Hindus, Pew Research (2012) Estimates vary on the relative number of adherents in Vaishnavism compared to other traditions of Hinduism. Website gives numbers as of year 1999.Hinduism - BranchesKlaus Klostermaier and other scholars estimate Vaishnavism to be the largest.BOOK, L. Dankworth, A. David, Dance Ethnography and Global Perspectives: Identity, Embodiment and Culture,weblink 2014, Springer, 978-1-137-00944-9, 33, , Quote: "Klostermaier 1998, p.196 Vaishnavite - devotees of the deity Vishnu, and the largest, numerically, part of mainstream Hinduism, which is divided up into several sects."BOOK, Steven Rosen, Essential Hinduism,weblink 2006, Greenwood, 978-0-275-99006-0, xvi, According to a 2010 estimate by Johnson and Grim, the Vaishnavism tradition is the largest group with about 641 million or 67.6% of Hindus.BOOK, Johnson, Todd M, Grim, Brian J, The World's Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography,weblink 2013, John Wiley & Sons, 9781118323038, 400, In contrast, Jones and Ryan estimate Vaishnavism to have perhaps 200 million followers, and it being the second largest tradition of Hinduism after Shaivism. The denominations of Hinduism, states Julius Lipner, are unlike those found in major religions of the world, because Hindu denominations are fuzzy, individuals revere gods and goddesses polycentrically, with many Vaishnava adherents recognizing Sri (Lakshmi), Shiva, Parvati and others reverentially on festivals and other occasions. Similarly, Shaiva, Shakta and Smarta Hindus revere Vishnu.Julius J. Lipner (2009), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0-415-45677-7}}, pages 40-41, 302-315, 371-375BOOK, Gavin Flood, The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism,weblink 2008, John Wiley & Sons, 978-0-470-99868-7, 200–203, Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism.BOOK, Férdia J. Stone-Davis, Music and Transcendence,weblink 2016, Routledge, 978-1-317-09223-0, 23, Large Vaishnava communities exist throughout India, and particularly in Western Indian states, such as western Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Other major regions of Vaishnava presence, particularly after the 15th century, are Odisha, Bengal and northeastern India (Assam, Manipur).BOOK, David Gordon White, Tantra in Practice,weblink 2001, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1778-4, 308–311, Dvaita school Vaishnava have flourished in Karnataka where Madhavacharya established temples and monasteries, and in neighboring states, particularly the Pandharpur region.BOOK, B. N. Krishnamurti Sharma, A History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature: From the Earliest Beginnings to Our Own Times,weblink 2000, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1575-9, 514–521, Krishnaism has a limited following outside of India, especially associated with 1960s counter-culture, including a number of celebrity followers, such as George Harrison, due to its promulgation throughout the world by the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.BOOK, RIDENOUR, Fritz, So What's the Difference?, Gospel Light Publications, 2001, 180–181, 978-0-8307-1898-6, BOOK, Giuliano, Geoffrey, Dark horse: the life and art of George Harrison, Da Capo Press, New York, 1997, 12, 978-0-306-80747-3, GRAHAM M. SCHWEIG >TITLE=DANCE OF DIVINE LOVE: THE RڄASA LڄILڄA OF KRISHNA FROM THE BHڄAGAVATA PURڄA. NA, INDIA'S CLASSIC SACRED LOVE STORY LOCATION =PRINCETON, N.J PAGES =FRONT MATTER, 978-0-691-11446-0,

Academic study

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


See also






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Further reading

  • {{Citation | last =Flood | first =Gavin | year =1996 | title =An introduction to Hinduism | publisher =Cambridge University Press| isbn= 978-0-521-43878-0 | url=weblink}}
  • {{Citation | editor-last1 =Bryant | editor-first1 =Edwin | editor-last2 =Ekstrand | editor-first2 =Maria | year =2013 | title =The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant | publisher =Columbia University Press}}

External links

{{VaisnavaSampradayas}}{{Krishna}} {{VishnuAvatars}}{{Famous Vishnu temples}} {{Hindudharma}}

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