Influence of Vaishnavism

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Vaishnavism sometimes referred as the heart of Hinduism is the largest community within the Hinduism worshipping the God Lord Vishnu.

There are many divisions focusing on one form or avatar of Vishnu.

The twelve Alvars laid the foundations for the Vaishnavas based in Shri Rangam with the leader Sri Ramanuja.

The four sampradayas created by Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Vishnuswami and Madhva are the Lakshmi Sampradaya, the Kumara Sampradaya, the Rudra Sampradaya and the Brahma Sampradaya respectively. The Vaisnavas regard the Pancaratra literature as almost equal to the Vedas. With the Bhakti movement sweeping across the country, the devotional traditions were rediscovered and revived in many places. The notable women saints were Andal and Mirabai.

In North India, the most influential Vaishnava cult was started by Vallabhacharya with his doctrine called Suddha Advaita stressing on pure non-dualism. Later, Chaitanya movement was started in North India by Chaitanya who transformed the Vaishnava faith and accepted converts from Islam. Jayadeva, the author of Gita-Govinda, and many other poets like Vidyapati, Umapati and Chandidas, adopted the Radha-Krishna cult.


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