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Vaishnavism ( Vaishnava dharma) is one of the major traditions within along with , , and . It is also called Vishnuism (paternal), its followers are called Vaishnavas (maternal), and it considers as the Supreme Lord.

(1986). 9780520059917, University of California Press. .
(1994). 9780877739807, Shambhala. .

The tradition is notable for its doctrine, wherein Krishna is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, of Vishnu are the most studied. , , , , , , Kesava, Madhava, Govinda, Sri Nathji and are among the popular names used for the same supreme being. The tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism, also called Krishnaism. Later developments led by 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, , pages 165-166James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, , pages 553-554 The Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas (denominations, sub-schools) ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of to Vishishtadvaita school of .

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 in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE.

(2019). 9780674187467, Harvard University Press. .
James G Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, , pages 731-733 Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra (Agama) texts and the .
(2019). 9781118323038, John Wiley & Sons. .


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


Origins

Northern India
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. 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.
(1984). 9780895812261, Motilal Banarsidass. .
In the late-Vedic texts (~1000 to 500 BCE), the concept of a metaphysical 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.
(1998). 9780791435793, State University of New York Press. .

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.

(2019). 9780143415176, Penguin Books. .
According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities Nara and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism.
(1984). 9780895812261, Motilal Banarsidass. .
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. and , "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the ," gained prominence, merged into , due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas.

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

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

(1997). 9789004025981, Brill Academic Publishers. .

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

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


Southern India
According to , 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 and the present Krishna, , 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 .Norman Cutler (1987) Songs of Experience: The Poetics of Tamil Devotion, p. 13

Devotion to southern Indian Mal () may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure, largely like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu. The , 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 and on the basis of the concept of the . 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 (Vikramaditya) (375-413 CE) were known as Parama Bhagavatas or .


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

Vaishnavism in the 8th century came into contact with the doctrine of . Many of the early Vaishnava scholars such as Nathamuni, Yamunacharya and Ramanuja, contested the Advaita Vedanta doctrines and proposed Vishnu bhakti ideas instead.

(1988). 9788120802667, Motilal Banarsidass. .
(1984). 9780889201583, Wilfrid Laurier University Press. .
Vaishnavism flourished in predominantly during the seventh to tenth centuries CE with the twelve , saints who spread the sect to the common people with their devotional . The temples that the Alvars visited or founded are now known as . Their poems in praise of and Krishna in are collectively known as Naalayira (4000 divine verses).


Later medieval period
The of late medieval Hinduism started in the 7th-century, but rapidly expanded after the 12th-century.
(1976). 9789004044951, Brill Archive. .
It was supported by the Puranic literature such as the , poetic works, as well as many scholarly and .
(1987). 9788120802773, Motilal Banarsidass.
(2019). 9780231149990, Columbia University Press. .
(2019). 9781136853067, Routledge. .

This period saw the growth of Vashnavism Sampradayas (denominations or communities) under the influence of scholars such as , Vedantha Desikacharya, , and . Bhakti poets or teachers such as Manavala Mamunigal, , , , , , , Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many others influenced the expansion of Vaishnavism.Even Meera bai(princess of Mehwar and Rajasthan)took part in this specific movement.John Stratton Hawley (2015), A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, Harvard University Press, , pages 304-310 These Vaishnavism sampradaya founders challenged the then dominant 's doctrines of Advaita Vedanta, particularly in the 12th century, Vedantha Desikacharya and in the 13th, building their theology on the devotional tradition of the ().

In North and Eastern India, Krishnaism gave rise to various late Medieval movements: and in the 14th century, in the 15th and 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 .


Modern times
During the 20th century, Vaishnavism has spread from India and is now practiced in many places around the globe, including , , , and . This is largely due to the growth of the movement, founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966.
(2019). 9780231122566 .
Prabhupada - He Built a House, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1983, p. xv


Beliefs

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. Okita, in contrast, states that the different denominations within Vaishnavism are best described as theism, and .Kiyokazu Okita (2010), Theism, Pantheism, and Panentheism: Three Medieval Vaishnava Views of Nature and their Possible Ecological Implications, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Volume 18, Number 2, pages 5-26

The Vaishnava sampradaya started by Madhvacharya is a monotheistic tradition wherein Vishnu (Krishna) is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. In contrast, Sri Vaishnavism sampradaya associated with Ramanuja has monotheistic elements, but differs in several ways, such as goddess Lakshmi and god Vishnu are considered as inseparable equal divinities.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",

(2019). 9780791444573, State University of New York Press. .
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.
(1986). 9780887060380, State University of New York Press. .
The Vaishnava sampradaya associated with Vallabhacharya is a form of pantheism, in contrast to the other Vaishnavism traditions. The Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Chaitanya, states Schweig, is closer to a polymorphic bi-monotheism because both goddess Radha and god Krishna are simultaneously supreme.

Vaishnavism precepts include the (incarnation) doctrine, wherein Vishnu incarnates numerous times, in different forms, to set things right and bring back the balance in the universe.

(2019). 9780028657356, Thomson Gale.
(2019). 9780816075645, Infobase. .
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.
(2019). 9780700712816, Routledge.
p. 4


Vishnuism and Krishnaism
The term "Krishnaism" has been used to describe the sects focused on Krishna, while "Vishnuism" may be used for sects focusing on Vishnu in which Krishna is an , rather than a transcended Supreme Being. Vishnuism believes in as the supreme being,(Krishnaism contraficts this,and claims that Krishna is the source of the Tridev and also an immediate expansion of Himself as Mahavishnu) manifested himself as Krishna, while Krishnaism accepts Krishna to be or "authentic", that manifested himself as Vishnu. As such Krishnaism is believed to be one of the early attempts to make philosophical appealing to the masses.
(1993). 9780840744197, T. Nelson.
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.


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

To the devotees of the "Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Being and the foundation of all existence." Page 1–Ramanuja and Sri Vaishnavism


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

Krishnaism is often also called Bhagavatism, after the which asserts that Krishna is "Bhagavan Himself," and subordinates to itself all other forms: , , , , , , , 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."

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

(1996). 9781851681082, Oneword. .

Krishna is also worshiped across many other traditions of , and Krishna and the stories associated with him appear across a broad spectrum of different Hindu and theological traditions, where it is believed that 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 texts, but they are not limited to these. Indeed, it is said that the different expansions of the are uncountable and they cannot be fully described in the finite scriptures of any one religious community. Many of the sometimes differ in details reflecting the concerns of a particular tradition, while some core features of the view on Krishna are shared by all.


Radha Krishna
Radha Krishna is the combination of both the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of God. Krishna is often referred as in Gaudiya Vaishnavism theology and is Krishna's supreme beloved. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that she controls Krishna with Her love. It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants even Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. Radha Krishna".Chaitanya-charitamrita'' Adi-lila 4.95

While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of , it is since Goswami wrote a famous poem in the twelfth century CE, that the topic of the spiritual love affair between the divine Krishna and his devotee , became a theme celebrated throughout India. It is believed that Krishna has left the "circle" of the 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 . It is also believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the , or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance.


Dashavatara
According to the Bhagavatas, there are ten avatars of Vishnu, including and . 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."


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 . This is reflected in the passages of the ancient as:

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


Texts
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, , pages 46-52, 76-77Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, , page ix-xliiiRC Zaehner (1992), Hindu Scriptures, Penguin Random House, , 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.


Scriptures

Vedas and Upanishads
Vaishnavism, just like all Hindu traditions, considers the as the scriptural authority.
(2019). 9780816075645, Infobase. .
(1999). 9788876528187, Gregorian Press. .
All traditions within Vaishnavism consider the , the and the embedded within the four Vedas as , 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 , that interpreted the Upanishads and the , 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.

(1990). 9780253213587, Indiana University Press. .
These interpretations have created different traditions within Vaishnavism, from dualistic ( Dvaita) Vedanta of , to nondualistic ( Advaita) Vedanta of Madhusudana Sarasvati.
(2019). 9781134157747, Routledge. .


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.
(2019). 9780895819864, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006).
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, , pages 60-88 The earliest among these were likely composed in 1st millennium BCE, while the last ones in the late medieval era.
(1998). 9780192835765, Oxford University Press.
(2019). 9780231508438, Columbia University Press. .

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, , , Mundaka Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad and others. In some cases, they cite fragments from the and layers of the and the .

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

(1997). 9788120814677, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. .
(1997). 9789004107588, BRILL Academic. .

>+ Vaishnava Upanishads
Vaishnava UpanishadVishnu AvatarComposition dateTopicsReference
Mahanarayana UpanishadNarayana500 BCE - 100 CENarayana, Atman, Brahman, Rudra, Sannyasa
Narayana UpanishadNarayanaMedievalMantra, Narayana is one without a second, eternal, same as all gods and universePaul Deussen (Translator), Sixty Upanisads of the Veda, Vol. 2, Motilal Banarsidass, (2010 Reprint), pages 803–805
Rama Rahasya UpanishadRama~17th century CERama, Sita, Hanuman, Atman, Brahman, mantra
(2019). 9780791453865, SUNY Press. .
(1994). 9788120811225, Motilal Banarsidass. .
Rama tapaniya UpanishadRama~11th to 16th centuryRama, Sita, Atman, Brahman, mantra, sannyasa
(1997). 9788120814677, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Kali-Santarana UpanishadRama, Krishna~14th centuryHare Rama Hare Krishna mantra
(2019). 9780231508438, Columbia University Press. .
Gopala Tapani UpanishadKrishnabefore the 14th centuryKrishna, Radha, Atman, Brahman, mantra, bhakti
(2019). 9781932771121, Audarya.
Krishna UpanishadKrishna~12th-16th centuryRama predicting Krishna birth, symbolism, bhakti
(2019). 9780895819864, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006).
Vasudeva UpanishadKrishna, Vasudeva~2nd millenniumBrahman, Atman, Vasudeva, Krishna, [[Urdhva Pundra]], Yoga
[[Garuda Upanishad]]VishnuMedievalThe kite-like bird ''vahana'' (vehicle) of VishnuJean Varenne (1972), The Garuda Upanishad, Brill, Paul Deussen (1997), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Motilal Banarsidass, , page 663-664
Hayagriva UpanishadHayagrivamedieval, after the 10th century CEMahavakya of Principal Upanishads, Pancaratra, Tantra
(2019). 9780895819864, Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2006).
DS Babu (1990), [https://archive.org/stream/hayagriva014842mbp#page/n3/mode/2up Hayagriva - the horse headed deity], Oriental Research Institute, Tirupati
Dattatreya UpanishadNarayana, Dattatreya14th to 15th centuryTantra, yoga, Brahman, Atman, Shaivism, Shaktism
(1998). 9780791436967, State University of New York Press.
Tarasara UpanishadRama, Narayana~11th to 16th centuryOm, Atman, Brahman, Narayana, Rama, Ramayana
Avyakta UpanishadNarasimhabefore the 7th centuryPrimordial nature, cosmology, [[Ardhanarishvara]], Brahman, Atman
Nrisimha Tapaniya UpanishadNarasimhabefore the 7th century CEAtman, Brahman, Advaita, Shaivism, Avatars of Vishnu, Om
(1997). 9788120814677, Motilal Banarsidass. .


Bhagavad Gita
The 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.
(2019). 9781400851973, Princeton University Press. .
It is one of three important texts of the school of , and has been central to all Vaishnavism sampradayas.
(2019). 9780786459735, McFarland. .

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

The Bhagavad Gita is a summary of the classical Upanishads and Vedic philosophy, and closely associated with the Bhagavata and related traditions of Vaishnavism.

(2019). 9781400851973, Princeton University Press. .
(2019). 9781590308936, Shambhala Publications. .
The text has been commented upon and integrated into diverse Vaishnava denominations, such as by the medieval era Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta school and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta school, as well as 20th century Vaishnava movements such as the Hare Krishna movement by Swami Prabhupada.


Vaishnava Agamas
The Pancaratra Samhitas (literally, five nights) is a genre of texts where Vishnu is presented as Narayana and Vasudeva, and this genre of Vaishnava texts is also known as the Vaishnava Agamas. Its doctrines are found embedded in the stories within the Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata. Narayana is presented as the ultimate unchanging truth and reality (Brahman), who pervades the entirety of the universe and is asserted to be the preceptor of all religions.
(1995). 9788120812611, Motilal Banarsidass. .

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).

(1973). 9780835672771, Adyar Library and Research Centre. .
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 school of Hindu philosophy. These texts also present cosmology, methods of worship, tantra, Yoga and principles behind the design and building of Vaishnava temples ( Mandira nirmana).
(1973). 9780835672771, Adyar Library and Research Centre. .
These texts have guided religiosity and temple ceremonies in many Vaishnava communities, particularly in South India.

The Pancaratra Samhitas are tantric in emphasis, and at the foundation of tantric Vaishnava traditions such as the Sri Vaishnava tradition.

(1981). 9783447020916, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. .
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.
(2019). 9780791488904, State University of New York Press. .
While the practices vary, the philosophy of Pancaratra is primarily derived from the Upanishads, its ideas synthesize Vedic concepts and incorporate Vedic teachings.
(1989). 9780887065996, State University of New York Press. .
(1994). 9788120810983, Motilal Banarsidass. .

The three most studied texts of this genre of Vaishnava religious texts are Paushkara Samhita, Sattvata Samhita and Jakakhya Samhita.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.

(1973). 9780835672771, Adyar Library and Research Centre. .
(2019). 9788120817357, Motilal Banarsidass. .
Scholars place the start of this genre of texts to about the 7th or 8th century CE, and later.
(1973). 9780835672771, Adyar Library and Research Centre. .


Other texts

Mahabharata and Ramayana
The two Indian , the and the present Vaishnava philosophy and culture embedded in legends and dialogues.
(2019). 9781598842043, ABC-CLIO. .
The epics are considered the fifth Veda, in Hindu culture.
(2019). 9789004185661, BRILL. .
The Ramayana describes the story of , an avatara of Vishnu, and is taken as a history of the 'ideal king', based on the principles of , morality and ethics.
(1986). 9788120800786, Motilal Banarsidass. .
Rama's wife , his brother , with his devotee and follower all play key roles within the Vaishnava tradition as examples of Vaishnava etiquette and behaviour. , the evil king and villain of the epic, is presented as an epitome of adharma, playing the opposite role of how not to behave.
(2019). 9780143066996, Penguin. .

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


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

More broadly, the Puranic literature is encyclopedic,Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, , page 915 (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , 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 , , genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, travel guides and pilgrimages,

(2019). 9780199718252, Oxford University Press. .
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, , pages 437-439Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, , page 139Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , 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, , 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, , pages 185-204
(2019). 9781439904640, Temple University Press (1st Edition: 1977). .

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, , 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 (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, , pages 161-164 Of the extant manuscripts, the main Vaishnava Puranas are , , Nāradeya Purana, , and .Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , pages 59-61 The is notable for the Adhyatma-ramayana, a Rama-focussed embedded text in it, which philosophically attempts to synthesize in god Rama with and .Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , 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".

(2019). 9788120802643, Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010).
(2012). 9780791488560, State University of New York Press. .
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, , pages 113-114Edwin Bryant (2003), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Penguin, , pages 10-12Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , 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 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 , Yoga and ideas.

(1993). 9788120809949, Motilal Banarsidass. .
;
(1986). 9788120801790, South Asia Books. .

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.Bhag. Purana 1.3.28 : : 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.


Sectarian texts
In the movement the following scriptures are considered sacred in addition to general body of the common writing:
  • Dyaneshawri
  • Tukaram-Gatha
  • Sopandevi
  • Namdev-Gatha
  • Eknathi-Bhagwat

The Chaitanya movement has the following texts.

  • Sad Sandarbhas
  • Brahma Samhita


Attitude toward scriptures
Chaitanya Vaishnava traditions refer to the writings of previous in their respective lineage or sampradya as authoritative interpretations of scripture.
(2019). 9780415405485, Routledge.
While many schools like and encourage interpretation of philosophically and metaphorically and not too literally, Chaitanya Vaishnavism stresses the literal meaning ( ) as primary and indirect meaning () as secondary: - "The instructions of the should be accepted literally, without fanciful or allegorical interpretations.", Sandarbha 29.26-27


Practices

Bhakti
The originated among Vaishnavas of during the 7th-century CE,
(1976). 9789004044951, Brill Academic. .
spread northwards from Tamil Nadu through and towards the end of 13th-century,
(1976). 9789004044951, Brill Academic. .
and gained wide acceptance by the fifteenth-century throughout India during an era of political uncertainty and Hindu-Islam conflicts.
(1987). 9788120802773, Motilal Banarsidass.
(1976). 9789004044951, Brill Archive. .

The , which literally means "those immersed in God", were Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu as they travelled from one place to another.

(2019). 9780813540689, Rutgers University Press.
They established temple sites such as , and spread ideas about Vaishnavism. Their poems, compiled as Divya Prabhandham, developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The '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.
(1996). 9788170418597
(1986). 9788120801790, South Asia Books.

Vaishnava bhakti practices involve loving devotion to a Vishnu avatar (often Krishna), an emotional connection, a longing and continuous feeling of presence.

(2019). 9780195351903, Oxford University Press. .
All aspects of life and living is not only a divine order but divinity itself in Vaishnava bhakti. Community practices such as singing songs together ( kirtan or bhajan), praising or ecstatically celebrating the presence of god together, usually inside temples, but sometimes in open public are part of varying Vaishnava practices.
9781438411262, State University of New York Press. .
These help Vaishnavas socialize and form a community identity.
9781438411262, State University of New York Press. .


Tilaka
Vaishnavas mark their foreheads with 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 of their particular lineage. The general tilaka pattern is of a parabolic shape resembling the letter U or two or more connected vertical lines on and another optional line on the nose resembling the letter Y, which usually represents the foot of Vishnu and the centre vertical line symbolizing his manhood. Alternate interpretations suggest that the symbol is representation of male and female parts in union. britannica.com Vaishnavism http://www.stephen-knapp.com/tilak_why_wear_it.htm


Initiation
In tantric traditions of Vaishnavism, during the initiation () given by a 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 , 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 .

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 , , , Mathura, , Tirupati, , , Nira Narsingpur (Narasimha), , , Udipi(Karnataka)and Muktinath (NEPAL).
(2019). 9781851682133, Oneworld Publications.


Holy places
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 and associated with Krishna from time immemorial. Many millions of bhaktas or devotees of visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna's life on Earth.

On the other hand, is considered the eternal abode of , according to some schools, including Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The scriptural basis for this is taken in and .

(2019). 9780691114460, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey; Oxford.


Traditions

Four sampradayas and other sects
The Vaishnavism traditions may be grouped within four , each exemplified by a specific Vedic personality. They have been associated with a specific founder, providing the following scheme: Brahma Sampradaya (), Sri Sampradaya (), Rudra Sampradaya (, ),
(2019). 9780786459735, McFarland. .
Kumaras sampradaya (). These four sampradayas emerged in early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE, by the 14th century, influencing and sanctioning the .

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

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

Sage Vaikhanasa 4th century CE
Syncretistic/
Classical Period of Hinduism
(pre Gupta Era - Early Medieval Period)
Krishna worship as

(Sri Sampradaya)

("qualified monism")
(10th century)
(1017–1137)
12th-14th centuryPillai Lokacharya
Manavala Mamunigal
14th century +
Brahma sampradaya ("dualism") (1238–1317)13th-14th centuryUnknownLord
Achintya Bheda Abheda
("difference and
non-difference")
Gaudiya Vaishnavism16th centuryChaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534)

("pure nondualism")
ca. 1500 (1479–1531)Krishna Radha, Balarama
Charan Dasi18th centuryCharan Das a Dhusar of Dehra
Nimbarka sampradaya
(Kumara-sampradaya)

("duality in unity")
(13th century) 13th century
Sant traditions sect13th century
(Jñāneśvar) (1275–1296)
(Krisna)
Ramanandi Sect14th century
15th century, a student of RamanandaVishnu, Narayana, GovindaP. 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." IV.XXV.I
Other traditions 16th centurySrimanta Sankardeva (1449–1568) worship alone without
Vaishnava-Sahajiya
()
16th century
Lalpanthi Sampradaya
(Lal Dasi sect)
17th centuryLaldas a Meo of Dhaoli Dub
Pranami Sampraday
(Nijanand Sampradaya)
17th centuryDevchandra Maharaj (1581–1655)Shree Raj-Shyamaji

The Supreme Lord (Purna Brahm Parmatma)

Swaminarayan Faith19th century (1781-1830)


Early traditions

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


Pancaratra
The Pāñcarātra is the tradition of Narayana-worship. The term pāñcarātra means "five nights," from pañca, "five,"and rātra, "nights," and may be derived from the "five night sacrifice" as described in the Satapatha Brahmana, which narrates how Purusa-Narayana intends to become the highest being by performing a sacrifice which lasts five nights.

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

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

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


Vaikhanasas
The Vaikhanasas are associated with the Pāñcarātra, but regard themselves as a Vedic orthodox sect. Modern Vaikhanasas reject elements of the Pāñcarātra and Sri Vaishnava tradition, but the historical relationship with the orthodox Vaikhanasa in south India is unclear. The Vaikhanasas may have resisted the incorporation of the devotic elements of the Alvar tradition, while the Pāñcarātras were open to this incorporation.

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


Medieval traditions

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

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


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

The devotional writings of Alvars, composed during the early medieval period of Tamil history, are key texts in the . They praised the , 108 "abodes" (temples) of the Vaishnava deities. The collection of their hymns is known as . 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.


Contemporary traditions
Gavin Flood mentions five most important contemporary Vaisnava orders.


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

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 incude Vedic Suktas like Rudram in them, thus giving them a Vedic outlook.

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

(2019). 9781136853067, Routledge. .

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

(1996). 9780791427064, SUNY Press. .

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


Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Gaudiya Vaishnavism, also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism Hindu Encounter with Modernity, by Shukavak N. Dasa " and Hare Krishna, was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) in . "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region (present day /) with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of or ". Its philosophical basis is primarily that of the and .

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

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 pages Page 130 Thakura's disciple 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-Zelliot (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 , 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 . The Varkari-tradition is geographically associated with the Indian states of and northern .

The Varkari movement includes a duty-based approach towards life, emphasizing moral behavior and strict avoidance of and , the adoption of a strict lacto-vegetarian diet and fasting on day (twice a month), self-restraint ( ) during life, equality and humanity for all rejecting discrimination based on the caste system or wealth, the reading of , the recitation of the every day and the regular practice of and . The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on the eleventh ( ekadashi) day of the lunar months" in the month of , and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.

The Varkari poet-saints are known for their devotional lyrics, the , dedicated to Vithoba and composed in . Other devotional literature includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Notable saints and of the Varkaris include Jñāneśvar, , , , and , 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 have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously a , a pastoral deity, a manifestation of , a , or even all of these at various times for various devotees.


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

Its ascetic wing constitutes the largest Vaishnava monastic order and may possibly be the largest monastic order in all of India. 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 and , whose writings influenced the , but whose verses are also found in Sikhism's scripture . Kabir Encyclopædia Britannica (2015)Accessed: July 27, 2015Ronald McGregor (1984), Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , page 47 His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader .
(1990). 9780824812874, University of Hawaii Press. .
Rekha Pande (2014), Divine Sounds from the Heart—Singing Unfettered in their Own Voices, Cambridge Scholars, , page 77Ronald McGregor (1984), Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , pages 43–44

Some 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, , pages 19–31David Lorenzen (1981), Religious change and cultural domination, Colegio Mexico, , 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, Archive

(2019). 9788126908578, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd.
(1993). 9780521432870, Cambridge University Press.

Harpreet Singh, quoting Hew McLeod, states, "In its earliest stage Sikhism was clearly a movement within the Hindu tradition; 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, , page 205 Surjit Singh Gandhi disagrees, and writes "Guru Nanak in his thought pattern as well as in action model was fundamentally different from Kabir and for that matter other radical Bhaktas or saints (saint has been erroneously used for such Bhaktas by Mcleod). Hence to consider Kabir as an influence on Guru Nanak is wrong, both historically and theologically".

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

+Comparison of Vaishnavism with other traditions
(1970). 9781474280808, Bloomsbury Academic. .
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Stephen H Phillips (1995), Classical Indian Metaphysics, Columbia University Press, , page 332 with note 68
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John A. Grimes, A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English, State University of New York Press, , page 238Eliott Deutsche (2000), in Philosophy of Religion : Indian Philosophy Vol 4 (Editor: Roy Perrett), Routledge, , pages 245-248
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(2019). 9789004152113, Brill. .
(2019). 9788180695445, Concept. .


Demography
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. Klaus Klostermaier and other scholars estimate Vaishnavism to be the largest.
(2019). 9781137009449, Springer. .
, 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."
(2019). 9780275990060, Greenwood. .
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.
(2019). 9781118323038, John Wiley & Sons. .
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, , pages 40-41, 302-315, 371-375
(2019). 9780470998687, John Wiley & Sons. .

Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism.

(2019). 9781317092230, Routledge. .
Large Vaishnava communities exist throughout India, and particularly in Western Indian states, such as western , , and . Other major regions of Vaishnava presence, particularly after the 15th century, are , and northeastern India (, ).
(2019). 9788120817784, Motilal Banarsidass. .
Dvaita school Vaishnava have flourished in where Madhavacharya established temples and monasteries, and in neighboring states, particularly the region.
(2019). 9788120815759, Motilal Banarsidass. .

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

(2019). 9780830718986, Gospel Light Publications.
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Academic study
Vaishnava theology has been a subject of study and debate for many devotees, philosophers and scholars within for centuries. Vaishnavism has its own academic wing in University of Madras - Department of Vaishnavism.http://www.unom.ac.in/index.php?route=department/department/deptpage&deptid=73 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.


Mantras
  • Dwadashaakshara Mantra
  • Hare Krishna (mantra)
  • Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya


See also
  • International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  • Heliodorus pillar – a 2nd-century BCE Vaishnava inscription
  • Hathibada Ghosundi Inscriptions – a 1st-century BCE inscription mentioning Narayana and Vasudeva
  • Divya Prabhandham
  • – a 1st-century BCE Vaishnava inscription
  • Vasu Doorjamb Inscription – a 1st-century CE inscription from Vaishnava temple


Notes

Sources

Printed sources
  • Chatterjee, Asoke: Srimadbhagavata and Caitanya-Sampradaya. Journal of the Asiatic Society 37/4 (1995)1-14.
  • (2019). 9781134608751, Routledge. .
  • Clementin-Ojha, Catherine: La renaissance du Nimbarka Sampradaya au XVIe siècle''. Contribution à l'étude d'une secte Krsnaïte. Journal asiatique 278 (1990) 327-376.
  • Couture, André: The emergence of a group of four characters (Vasudeva, Samkarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha) in the Harivamsa: points for consideration. Journal of Indian Philosophy 34,6 (2006) 571-585.

  • Guy, John: New evidence for the Jagannatha sect in seventeenth century Nepal. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 3rd 2 (1992) 213-230.

  • Hardy, Friedhelm E.: Krsnaism. In: The Encyclopedia of Religion 8 (Ed. Mircea Eliade) (1987) 387/2 - 392/1
  • Hawley, John Stratton: Three Bhakti Voices. Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Time and Ours. 2nd impression. Oxford 2006
  • Hudson, D. (1993). "Vasudeva Krsna in Theology and Architecture: A Background to Srivaisnavism". Journal of Vaisnava Studies (2).

  • (2019). 9780700712816, Routledge. .
  • Mishra, Baba: Radha and her contour in Orissan culture. In: Orissan history, culture and archaeology. In Felicitation of Prof. P.K. Mishra. Ed. by S. Pradhan. (Reconstructing Indian History & Culture 16). New Delhi 1999; pp. 243–259
  • 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; pp. 139–149

  • Patel, Gautam: Concept of God According to Vallabhacarya. In: Encyclopaedia of Indian Wisdom. Prof. Satya Vrat Shastri Felicitation Volume. Vol. 2. Editor: Ramkaran Sharma. Delhi, Varanasi 2005, pp. 127–136
  • Pauwels, Heidi: Paradise Found, Paradise Lost: Hariram Vyas's Love for Vrindaban and what Hagiographers made of it. In: Pilgrims, Patrons, and Place: Localizing Sanctity in Asian Religions. Ed. by Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinohara. (Asian Religions and Society Series). Vancouver, Toronto 2003; pp. 124–180.

  • Redington, James D.: Elements of a Vallabhite Bhakti-synthesis. Journal of the American Oriental Society 112 (1992) 287-294
  • Rosenstein, Ludmila L.: The Devotional Poetry of Svami Haridas. A Study of Early Braj Bhasa Verse. (Groningen Oriental Studies 12). Groningen 1997

  • Sinha, K.P.: A critique of A.C.Bhaktivedanta. Calcutta 1997


Web-sources

Further reading

External links

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