Ajivika is one of the nāstika or "heterodox" schools of Indian philosophy. Purportedly founded in the 5th century BCE by Makkhali Gosala, it was a śramaṇa movement and a major rival of vedic religion, early Buddhism and Jainism. Ājīvikas were organised renunciates. Original scriptures of the Ājīvika school of philosophy may once have existed, but these are unavailable and lost, their theories are extracted from mentions of Ajivikas in the secondary sources of ancient Indian literature. Scholars question whether Ājīvika philosophy has been and summarized in these secondary sources, as they were written by groups competing with and adversarial to the philosophy and religious practices of the Ajivikas, it is therefore that much of the information available about the Ājīvikas is inaccurate to some degree, characterisations of them should be regarded and critically. The Ājīvika school is known for its Niyati doctrine of absolute determinism, the premise that there is no free will, that everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is preordained and a function of cosmic principles.
Ājīvikas considered the karma doctrine as a fallacy. Ajivika metaphysics included a theory of atoms, adapted in Vaisheshika school, where everything was composed of atoms, qualities emerged from aggregates of atoms, but the aggregation and nature of these atoms was predetermined by cosmic forces. Ājīvikas were considered as atheists. They believed that in every living being is an ātman -- a central premise of Jainism. Founded in what is now the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Ājīvika philosophy reached the height of its popularity during the rule of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara, around the 4th century BCE; this school of thought thereafter declined, but survived for nearly 2,000 years through the 14th century CE in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Ājīvika philosophy, along with the Cārvāka philosophy, appealed most to the warrior and mercantile classes of ancient Indian society. Ajivika is derived from Ajiva which means "livelihood, mode of life"; the term Ajivika means "those following special rules with regard to Iivelihood", sometimes connoting "religious mendicants" in ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts.
Aaseevagam can be split as aasu + eevu + agam. Where "aasu" means errorless and available knowledge, "eevu" means solutions and "agam" means the place. Ajivika means a place; the name Ajivika for an entire philosophy resonates with its core belief in "no free will" and complete niyati "inner order of things, self-command, predeterminism", leading to the premise that good simple living is not a means to salvation or moksha, just a means to true livelihood, predetermined profession and way of life. The name came to imply that school of Indian philosophy which lived a good simple mendicant-like livelihood for its own sake and as part of its predeterministic beliefs, rather than for the sake of after-life or motivated by any soteriological reasons; some scholars spell Ajivika as Ajivaka. Ājīvika philosophy is cited in ancient texts of Buddhism and Jainism to Makkhali Gosala, a contemporary of the Buddha and Mahavira. Exact origins of Ājīvika is unknown, but accepted to be the 5th century BCE. Primary sources and literature of the Ājīvikas is lost, or yet to be found.
Everything, known about Ājīvika history and its philosophy is from secondary sources, such as the ancient and medieval texts of India. Inconsistent fragments of Ājīvika history is found in Jain texts such as the Bhagvati Sutra and Buddhist texts such as the Samaññaphala Sutta, Buddhaghosa's commentary on Sammannaphala Sutta, with a few mentions in Hindu texts such as Vayu Purana; the Ājīvikas reached the height of their prominence in the late 1st millennium BCE declined, yet continued to exist in south India until the 14th Century CE, as evidenced by inscriptions found in southern India. Ancient texts of Buddhism and Jainism mention a city in the 1st millennium BCE named Savatthi as the hub of the Ājīvikas. In part of the common era, inscriptions suggests that the Ājīvikas had a significant presence in the South Indian state of Karnataka, prominently in Kolar district and some places of Tamil Nadu; the Ājīvika philosophy spread in ancient South Asia, with a Sangha Geham for Ājīvikas on the island now known as Sri Lanka and extending into the western state of Gujarat by the 4th century BCE, the era of the Maurya Empire.
Riepe refers to Ājīvikas as a distinct heterodox school of Indian tradition. Raju states that "Ājīvikas and Cārvākas can be called Hindus", adds that "the word Hinduism has no definite meaning". Epigraphical evidence suggests that emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century BCE, considered Ājīvikas to be more related to the schools of Hinduism than to Buddhists, Jainas or other Indian schools of thought. Makkhali Gosala is considered as the founder of the Ājīvika movement; some sources state that Gosala was only a leader of a large Ājīvika congregation of ascetics, but not the founder of the movement himself. The Swiss Indologist Jarl Charpentier and others suggest the Ājīvika tradition existed in India well before the birth of Makkhali Gosala, citing a variety of ancient Indian texts. Gosala was believed to be born in Tiruppatur of Tiruchirappalli district in Tamil Nadu and was the son of Mankha, a professional mendica
Yamunacharya known as Alavandar and Periya Mudaliar was a Vishistadvaita philosopher in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India. Ramanuja, one of the leaders of the srivaishnava school sought to be his disciple, he was the grandson of a Brahmin, Nathamuni. Nathamuni was a famed yogi. Alavandar's birth star was Uttiradam, he grew up learning Vedic texts from Rama Misra known as Manakkal Nambi and was skilled in mimansa. SriVaishnavite legend relates this history—As a teenager he challenged the royal priest Akkiyalvan of the Pandya king. Akkiyalvan, when he saw the age of the youth, asked sarcastically "alavandara?" Meaning "has he come to rule me?". He defeated Akkiyalvan by proving through the accepted rules of logic that Akkiyalvan's mother was barren, the king was not righteous and the queen unchaste; the king and queen, impressed that the boy has understood the shortcomings of logic, adopted him. The queen hailed the boy as "Alavandhaar"- the saviour. In other versions of the legend, he is given half the kingdom.
There is no historical record to show his reign so it is possible that this happened in a smaller village rather than the kingdom of Pandya. After years of rule, Mannakal Nambi tricked him into visiting the temple of Ranganatha. There, he had an epiphany and gave up the material duties of a king and became a sanyasin embracing saranagati, he composed Strotra Ratna at that spot. Mannakal Nambi handed over the reins of Natha Muni's school including the collected Divya Prabandha and renamed him Yamuna Muni or Yamunacharya. After the demise of Alavandar, Srirangam was led by the latter's son Thiruvarangan, however the place lacked the divine touch. According to a legend, Lord Ranganatha himself instructed Mahapurna to go to Kanchi and invite Ramanuja to Srirangam; the names of Parashara and Veda Vyasa, should be commemorated on the earth by giving it to a person worthy to bear it. Compose a commentary on Tiruvaymozhi of Nammalvar the most prolific of Alvars. Compose a commentary on Upanishads, Vedanta Sutras and Bhagavad Gita.
Alavandar, like Ramanuja, focused both on philosophical debates like dvaita vs. advaita and bhakti prayers and the works attributed to him are in Sanskrit although he codified the heritage of the Tamil Alvars. Works attributed to him are: Chathusloki - a popular prayer in praise of Lakshmi Stotraratnam - a prayer in praise of Narayana Siddhitrayam - consisting of Atmasiddhi. Samvitsiddhi and Iswarasiddhi which describe the Vishistadvaita school of thought, describing a relation between the soul and the universe Agama Pramanya - stating the authority of Pancharatra agama Maha Purusha Nirnayam - describing that the ultimate reality is the god-goddess pair Sri and Narayana Gitartha Sangraha - a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita Nityam Mayavada Khandanam Yāmuna’s doctrine of Soul contrasted with those of others, Surendranath Dasgupta, 1940 Bibliography of Yamuna Acharya's works, Item 580, Karl Potter, University of Washington The Philosophy of Yāmunācārya, by Surendranath Dasgupta From: A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 3 Works of Yāmunaacharyar - acharya.org
The alvars spelt as alwars or azhwars were Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bhakti to the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna in their songs of longing and service. They are venerated in Vaishnavism, which regards Vishnu or Krishna as the Supreme Being. Many modern academics place the Alvars date between 5th century to 10th century CE, however traditionally the Alvars are considered to have lived between 4200 BCE - 2700 BCE. Orthodoxy posits the number of alvars as ten, though there are other references that include Andal and Madhurakavi Alvar, making the number twelve. Andal is the only female saint-poet in the 12 Alvars. Together with the contemporary sixty three Shaiva Nayanars, they are among the most important saints from Tamil Nadu; the devotional outpourings of Alvars, composed during the early medieval period of Tamil history, helped revive the bhakti movement, through their hymns of worship to Vishnu and his avatars. They praised 108 "abodes" of these Vaishnava deities.
The poetry of the Alvars echoes bhakti to God through love, in the ecstasy of such devotions they sang hundreds of songs which embodied both depth of feeling and felicity of expressions. The collection of their hymns is known as Divya Prabandha; the Bhakti literature that sprang from Alvars has contributed to the establishment and sustenance of a culture that broke away from the ritual-oriented Vedic religion and rooted itself in devotion as the only path for salvation. In addition they helped to make the Tamil religious life independent of a knowledge of Sanskrit; as part of the legacy of the Alvars, five Vaishnava philosophical traditions have developed at the stages. The word azhwar has traditionally been etymologized as from Tamil.'Azh','to immerse oneself' as'one who dives deep into the ocean of the countless attributes of god'. However Indologist Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan has established from epigraphy and textual evidence that the traditional term Āḻvār for Vaiṣṇavaite Tamil poet saints has been a corruption of the original Āḷvār.
It is investigated with a multi-faceted approach using philology, linguistics and religion. Palaniappan shows that what was Āḷvār meaning'One who rules', or' Master' got changed through hypercorrection and folk etymology to Āḻvār meaning'One, immersed'. Palaniappan cites inscriptional evidence and literary evidence from Vaishnavaite tradition itself for a gradual sound change from Āḷvār to Āḻvār over a period of two centuries from the 9th to the 11th century involving references to religious leaders in Vaiṣṇavism, Śaivism and Jainism and to political personalities, he states: "āḻvār is but a corrupt form of āḷvār, used interchangeably with nāyanār in secular and religious contexts in the Tamil land" and "... Notwithstanding the Vaiṣṇava claim of unbroken teacher-student tradition, the fact that Nāthamuni has used the form āļvār but Piļļān, a disciple and younger cousin of Rāmānuja, ended up using the form āḻvār suggests that there has been an error in transmission somewhere along the teacher-student chain between the two teachers.
This error was due to the influence of the sound variation that has occurred in the Srirangam area and elsewhere". The original word ஆள்வார் compares with the epithet'Āṇḍãḷ' ( for the female canonized Vaishnava saint Gōdai and they share the same verb Tamil. Āḷ, the former being the honorific non-past form and the latter the feminine past form of that same verb. Palaniappan’s findings on ‘Āḻvār’ have been accepted by scholars like Prof. Alexander Dubyanskiy. In his article on Āṇṭāḷ, Dubyanskiy says, “Āṇṭāḷ was among the twelve Āḻvārs, the poet-saints, adepts of Viṣṇu, canonized by the tradition, which accepted the interpretation of the meaning of the word āḻvār as “submerged, plunged,” from the verbal root āḻ, “to plunge, to be in the deep.” But it was convincingly shown by S. Palaniappan that the term in question was represented by the word āḷvār, which reads as “those who rule, lords”, was applied in the texts, both Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava, to Śiva and Viṣṇu accordingly. In the course of time the term underwent the process of sound variation, took the form āḻvār and acquired the folk etymology, accepted and fixed by the tradition.
It is worth noting here that this interpretation agrees well with the meaning of the poetess’ nickname Āṇṭāḷ, which means “she who rules.” Alvars are considered the twelve supreme devotees of Vishnu, who were instrumental in popularising Vaishnavism in the Tamil-speaking regions. The alvars were influential in promoting the Bhagavata cult and the two Hindu epics, namely and Mahabaratha; the religious works of these saints in Tamil, songs of love and devotion, are compiled as Nalayira Divya Prabandham containing 4000 verses and the 108 temples revered in their songs are classified as Divya desam. The verses of the various azhwars were compiled by Nathamuni, a 10th-century Vaishnavite theologian, who called it the "Dravida Veda or Tamil Veda"; the songs of Prabandam are sung in all the Vishnu temples of South India daily and during festivals. The saints belonged to different castes; as per tradition, the first three alvars, Poigai and Pey were born miraculously. Tirumizhisai was the son of a sage.
Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six āstika schools of Hindu philosophy. It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism, it was influential on other schools of Indian philosophy. Sāmkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepts three of six pramanas as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge; these include anumāṇa and śabda. Sometimes described as one of the rationalist schools of Indian philosophy, this ancient school's reliance on reason was exclusive but strong. Samkhya is dualist. Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of puruṣa and prakṛti. Jiva is; this fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of ahaṅkāra. The universe is described by this school as one created by purusa-prakṛti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, feelings and mind. During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage of the mind; the end of this imbalance, bondage is called kaivalya, by the Samkhya school.
The existence of God or supreme being is not directly asserted, nor considered relevant by the Samkhya philosophers. Sāṃkhya denies the final cause of Ishvara. While the Samkhya school considers the Vedas as a reliable source of knowledge, it is an atheistic philosophy according to Paul Deussen and other scholars. A key difference between Samkhya and Yoga schools, state scholars, is that Yoga school accepts a "personal, yet inactive, deity" or "personal god". However, Radhanath Phukan, in the introduction to his translation of the Samkhya Karika of Isvarakrsna has argued that commentators who see the unmanifested as non-conscious make the mistake of regarding Samkhya as atheistic, though Samkhya is as much as theistic as Yoga is. Samkhya is known for its theory of guṇas. Guṇa, it states, are of three types: sattva being goodness, compassion and positivity. All matter, states Samkhya, in different proportions; the interplay of these guṇas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.
The Samkhya theory of guṇas was discussed and refined by various schools of Indian philosophies. Samkhya's philosophical treatises influenced the development of various theories of Hindu ethics. Samkhya referred to as Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya, is a Sanskrit word that, depending on the context, means "to reckon, enumerate, deliberate, reasoning by numeric enumeration, relating to number, rational." In the context of ancient Indian philosophies, Samkhya refers to the philosophical school in Hinduism based on systematic enumeration and rational examination. The word samkhya means relating to numbers. Although the term had been used in the general sense of metaphysical knowledge before, in technical usage it refers to the Samkhya school of thought that evolved into a cohesive philosophical system in early centuries CE; the Samkhya system is called so because "it ` enumerates' twenty true principles. Some 19th and 20th century scholars suggested. Richard Garbe stated in 1898, "The origin of the Sankhya system appears in the proper light only when we understand that in those regions of India which were little influenced by Brahmanism the first attempt had been made to solve the riddles of the world and of our existence by means of reason.
For the Sankhya philosophy is, in its essence, not only atheistic but inimical to the Veda." Dandekar wrote in 1968, "The origin of the Sankhya is to be traced to the pre-Vedic non-Aryan thought complex". Some scholars disagreed with this view. Surendranath Dasgupta, for example in 1922, Samkhya can be traced to Upanishads such as Katha and Maitrayani, the "extant Samkhya" is a system that unites the doctrine of permanence of the Upanishads with the doctrine of momentariness of Buddhism and the doctrine of relativism of Jainism. Arthur Keith in 1925 stated, "Samkhya owes its origin to the Vedic-Upanisadic-epic heritage is quite evident," and "Samkhya is most derived out of the speculations in the Vedas and the Upanishads."Johnston in 1937, analyzed available Hindu and Buddhist texts for the origins of Samkhya wrote "the origin lay in the analysis of the individual undertaken in the Brahmanas and earliest Upanishads, at first with a view to assuring the efficacy of the sacrificial rites and in order to discover the meaning of salvation in the religious sense and the methods of attaining it.
Here – in Kaushitaki Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad – the germ are to be found two of the main ideas of classical Samkhya."Chandradhar Sharma in 1960 affirmed that Samkhya in the beginning was based on the theistic absolute of Upanishads, but on under the influence of Jaina and Buddhist thought it rejected theistic monism and was content with spiritualistic pluralism and atheistic realism. This explains why some of the Samkhyas, e.g. Vijnanabhiksu in the sixteenth century, tried to revive the earlier theism in Samkhya. More recent scholarship offers a
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
Smarta tradition is a movement in Hinduism that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era. It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa, Advaita and theism; the Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal – Vishnu, Brahma and Devi. The Smarta tradition contrasted with the older Shrauta tradition, based on elaborate rituals and rites. There has been considerable overlap in the ideas and practices of the Smarta tradition with other significant historic movements within Hinduism, namely Shaivism, Brahmanism and Shaktism; the Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta, regards Adi Shankara as its founder or reformer. Shankara championed the ultimate reality is impersonal and Nirguna and any symbolic god serves the same equivalent purpose. Inspired by this belief, the Smarta tradition followers, along with the five Hindu gods include a sixth impersonal god in their practice.
The tradition has been called by William Jackson as "advaitin, monistic in its outlook". The term Smarta refers to Brahmins who specialize in the Smriti corpus of texts named the Grihya Sutras, in contrast to Shrauta Sutras. Smarta Brahmins with their focus on the Smriti corpus, contrast from Srauta Brahmins who specialize in the Sruti corpus, rituals and ceremonies that follow the Vedas. Smarta स्मार्त is an adjective derived from Smriti; the smriti are a specific body of Hindu texts attributed to an author, traditionally written down but revised, in contrast to Śrutis considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally across the generations and fixed. Smarta has several meanings: Relating to memory Recorded in or based on the Smriti Based on tradition, prescribed or sanctioned by traditional law Orthodox Brahmin versed in or guided by traditional law and Vedanta doctrineIn Smarta tradition context, the term Smarta means "follower of Smriti". Smarta is specially associated with a "sect founded by Shankaracharya", states Monier Williams.
See Late Middle Kingdoms - The Late-Classical Age and Classical Hinduism The Vedanga texts, states Alf Hiltebeitel, are Smriti texts that were composed in the second half of the Vedic period that ended around 500 BCE. The Vedanga texts include the Kalpa texts consisting of the Srautasutras and Dharmasutras, many of which were revised well past the Vedic period; the Grihyasutras and Dharmasutras, states Hiltebeitel, were composed between 600 BCE and 400 CE, these are sometimes called the Smartasutras, the roots of the Smriti tradition. The Smriti texts accept the knowledge in the Sruti, but they interpret it in a number of ways, which gave rise to six darsanas of Hindu philosophy. Of these, states Hiltebeitel, the Mimamsa and Vedanta have sometimes been called the Smarta schools which emphasize the Vedas with reason and other pramanas, in contrast to Haituka schools which emphasize hetu independent of the Vedas while accepting the authority of the Vedas. Of the two Smarta traditions, Mimamsa focussed on Vedic ritual traditions, while Vedanta focussed on Upanishadic knowledge tradition.
Around the start of the common era, thereafter, a syncretism of Haituka schools, the Smarta schools with ancient theistic ideas gave rise to a growth in traditions such as Shaivism and Shaktism. Hiltebeitel and Flood locate the origins of a revived orthodox Smarta Tradition in the Classical Period of Hinduism with nondualist interpretation of Vedanta, around the time when different Hindu traditions emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions; the revived Smarta Tradition attempted to integrate varied and conflicting devotional practices, with its ideas of nondual experience of Atman as Brahman. The rapprochement included the practice of pancayatana-puja, wherein a Hindu could focus on any saguna deity of choice such as Vishnu, Durga, Surya or Ganesha, as an interim step towards realizing the nirguna Brahman; the growth of this Smarta Tradition began in the Gupta period, was dominated by Dvija classes, in particular the Brahmins, of the early medieval Indian society.
This Smarta Tradition competed with other major traditions of Hinduism such as Shaivism and Shaktism. The ideas of Smarta Tradition were influential, creative with concepts such as of Harihara and Ardhanarishvara, many of the major scholars of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Bhakti movement came out of the Smarta Tradition. Medieval era scholars such as Vedanta Desika and Vallabhacharya recognized Smarta Tradition as competing with Vaishnavism and other traditions. According to Jeffrey Timm, for example, in verse 10 of the Tattvarthadipanibandha, Vallabhacharya states that, "Mutually contradictory conclusions are non-contradictory when they are considered from their respective contexts, like Vaishnava, etc."According to Murray Milner Jr. a professor of Sociology, the Smarta tradition refers to "Hindus who tend toward Brahmanical orthodoxy in both thought and behavior". Smartas are committed to a "relatively unified Hinduism" and they reject extreme forms of sectarian isolationism, reminiscent of the European discourse about church and Christian sects.
The tradition, states Milner, has roots that emerged sometime between 3rd century BCE and 3rd century CE, likel
Ramakrishna Paramahansa Ramkṛiṣṇa Pôromôhongśa. Ramakrishna experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age, was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the goddess Kali, Tantra and Advaita Vedanta. Reverence and admiration for him among Bengali elites led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda. Ramakrishna was born on 18 February 1836, in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, into a poor and orthodox Brahmin family. Kamarpukur was untouched by the glamour of the city and contained rice fields, tall palms, royal banyans, a few lakes, two cremation grounds, his parents were Chandramani Devi. According to his followers, Ramakrishna's parents experienced supernatural incidents and visions before his birth. In Gaya his father Khudiram had a dream in which Lord Gadadhara, said that he would be born as his son. Chandramani Devi is said to have had a vision of light entering her womb from Shiva's temple.
Although Ramakrishna attended a village school with some regularity for 12 years, he rejected the traditional schooling saying that he was not interested in a "bread-winning education". Kamarpukur, being a transit-point in well-established pilgrimage routes to Puri, brought him into contact with renunciates and holy men, he became well-versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, hearing them from wandering monks and the Kathaks—a class of men in ancient India who preached and sang the Purāṇas. He could write in Bengali; the name Sri Ramakrishna was taken up by himself. Ramakrishna describes his first spiritual ecstasy at the age of six: while walking along the paddy fields, a flock of white cranes flying against a backdrop of dark thunder clouds caught his vision, he became so absorbed by this scene that he lost outward consciousness and experienced indescribable joy in that state. Ramakrishna had experiences of similar nature a few other times in his childhood—while worshipping the goddess Vishalakshi, portraying god Shiva in a drama during Shivaratri festival.
From his 10th or 11th year of school on, the trances became common, by the final years of his life, Ramakrishna's samādhi periods occurred daily. Early on, these experiences have been interpreted as epileptic seizures, an interpretation, rejected by Ramakrishna himself. Ramakrishna's father died in 1843, after which family responsibilities fell on his elder brother Ramkumar; this loss drew him closer to his mother, he spent his time in household activities and daily worship of the household deities and became more involved in contemplative activities such as reading the sacred epics. When Ramakrishna was in his teens, the family's financial position worsened. Ramkumar started a Sanskrit school in Kolkata and served as a priest. Ramakrishna moved to Kolkata in 1852 with Ramkumar to assist in the priestly work. In 1855 Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni—a rich woman of Kolkata who belonged to the kaivarta community. Ramakrishna, along with his nephew Hriday, became assistants to Ramkumar, with Ramakrishna given the task of decorating the deity.
When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple. After Ramkumar's death Ramakrishna became more contemplative, he began to look upon the image of the goddess the mother of the universe. Ramakrishna had a vision of the goddess Kali as the universal Mother, which he described as "... houses, doors and everything else vanished altogether. And what I saw was an infinite shoreless sea of light; however far and in whatever direction I looked, I saw shining waves, one after another, coming towards me." Rumors spread to Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna had become unstable as a result of his spiritual practices at Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna's mother and his elder brother Rameswar decided to get Ramakrishna married, thinking that marriage would be a good steadying influence upon him—by forcing him to accept responsibility and to keep his attention on normal affairs rather than his spiritual practices and visions. Ramakrishna himself mentioned that they could find the bride at the house of Ramchandra Mukherjee in Jayrambati, three miles to the north-west of Kamarpukur.
The five-year-old bride, Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya was found and the marriage was duly solemnised in 1859. Ramakrishna was 23 at this point, they spent three months together in Kamarpukur. Sarada Devi was fourteen. Ramakrishna became a influential figure in Sarada's life, she became a strong follower of his teachings. After the marriage, Sarada stayed at Jayrambati and joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18. By the time his bride joined him, Ramakrishna had embraced the monastic life of a sannyasi; as a priest Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony—the Shodashi Puja –where Sarada Devi was worshiped as the Divine Mother. Ramakrishna regarded Sarada as the Divine Mother in person, addressing her as the Holy Mother, it was by this name that she was known to Ramakrishna's disciples. Sarada Devi outlived Ramakrishna by 34 years and played an important role in the nascent relig