The Upanishads, a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions. Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are known, their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hindus; the Upanishads are referred to as Vedānta. Vedanta has been interpreted as the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" and alternatively as "object, the highest purpose of the Veda"; the concepts of Brahman and Ātman are central ideas in all of the Upanishads, "know that you are the Ātman" is their thematic focus. Along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra, the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for the several schools of Vedanta, among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism.
More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down orally; the early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, five of them in all likelihood pre-Buddhist, down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to be composed through the early modern and modern era, though dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas. With the translation of the Upanishads in the early 19th century they started to attract attention from a western audience. Arthur Schopenhauer was impressed by the Upanishads and called it "the production of the highest human wisdom".
Modern era Indologists have discussed the similarities between the fundamental concepts in the Upanishads and major western philosophers. The Sanskrit term Upaniṣad translates to "sitting down near", referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving spiritual knowledge. Other dictionary meanings include "esoteric doctrine" and "secret doctrine". Monier-Williams' Sanskrit Dictionary notes – "According to native authorities, Upanishad means setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit."Adi Shankaracharya explains in his commentary on the Kaṭha and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that the word means Ātmavidyā, that is, "knowledge of the self", or Brahmavidyā "knowledge of Brahma". The word appears in the verses of many Upanishads, such as the fourth verse of the 13th volume in first chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad. Max Müller as well as Paul Deussen translate the word Upanishad in these verses as "secret doctrine", Robert Hume translates it as "mystic meaning", while Patrick Olivelle translates it as "hidden connections".
The authorship of most Upanishads is unknown. Radhakrishnan states, "almost all the early literature of India was anonymous, we do not know the names of the authors of the Upanishads"; the ancient Upanishads are embedded in the Vedas, the oldest of Hinduism's religious scriptures, which some traditionally consider to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". The Vedic texts assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot; the various philosophical theories in the early Upanishads have been attributed to famous sages such as Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka Aruni, Shandilya, Balaki and Sanatkumara. Women, such as Maitreyi and Gargi participate in the dialogues and are credited in the early Upanishads. There are some exceptions to the anonymous tradition of the Upanishads; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, for example, includes closing credits to sage Shvetashvatara, he is considered the author of the Upanishad.
Many scholars believe that early Upanishads were expanded over time. There are differences within manuscripts of the same Upanishad discovered in different parts of South Asia, differences in non-Sanskrit version of the texts that have survived, differences within each text in terms of meter, style and structure; the existing texts are believed to be the work of many authors. Scholars are uncertain about; the chronology of the early Upanishads is difficult to resolve, states philosopher and Sanskritist Stephen Phillips, because all opinions rest on scanty evidence and analysis of archaism and repetitions across texts, are driven by assumptions about evolution of ideas, presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies. Indologist Patrick Olivelle says that "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards"; some scholars have tried to analyse similarities between Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist literature to establish chronology for the Upanishads.
Patrick Olivelle gives the following chronology for the early Upanishads called the Principal Upanishads: The Brhadaranyaka and the Chandogya are the two earliest Upanishads. They are edited texts; the two texts are pre-B
In Hinduism, Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman, known as the Lord of Celibacy was an ideal "Brahmachari" or called Naistika Brahmachari in Sanskrit and is one of the central characters of the Indian Epic ￼￼Ramayana￼￼. ￼￼As one of the Chiranjivi, he is mentioned in several other texts, such as the Mahabharata and the various Puranas. Hanuman is the son of Anjani and Kesari and is son of the wind-god Vayu, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth. If yoga is the ability to control one's mind Hanuman is the quintessential yogi having a perfect mastery over his senses, achieved through a disciplined lifestyle tempered by the twin streams of celibacy and selfless devotion. In fact, Hanuman is the ideal Brahmachari, if there was one, he is a perfect karma yogi since he performs his actions with detachment, acting as an instrument of destiny rather than being impelled by any selfish motive. While Hanuman is one of the central characters in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, the evidence of devotional worship to him is missing in the texts and archeological sites of ancient and most of the medieval period.
According to Philip Lutgendorf, an American Indologist known for his studies on Hanuman, the theological significance and devotional dedication to Hanuman emerged about 1,000 years after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE, after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. Bhakti movement saints such as Samarth Ramdas expressed Hanuman as a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution. In the modern era, his iconography and temples have been common, he is viewed as the ideal combination of "strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama", as Shakti and Bhakti. In literature, he has been the patron god of martial arts such as wrestling, acrobatics, as well as meditation and diligent scholarship, he symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control and service to a cause, hidden behind the first impressions of a being who looks like an Ape-Man Vanara. Hanuman is stated by scholars to be the inspiration for the allegory-filled adventures of a monkey hero in the Xiyouji – the great Chinese poetic novel influenced by the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang to India.
The meaning or the origin of word "Hanuman" is unclear. In the Hindu pantheon, deities have many synonymous names, each based on the noble characteristic or attribute or reminder of that deity's mythical deed. Hanuman has many names like Maruti, Bajrangbali, Mangalmurti but these names are used. Hanuman is the common name of the vaanar god. One interpretation of the term is that it means "one having a jaw, prominent"; this version is supported by a Puranic legend wherein baby Hanuman mistakes the sun for a fruit, attempts to heroically reach it, is wounded and gets a disfigured jaw."Hanuman": the name derives from the Sanskrit words Han and maana. This epithet resonates with the story in the Ramayana about his emotional devotion to Sita, he combines two of the most cherished traits in the Hindu bhakti-shakti worship traditions: "heroic, assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to personal god". Linguistic variations of "Hanuman" include Hanumat, Hanumantha, Hanumanthudu. Other names of Hanuman include: Anjaneya, Anjaneyar, Anjanisuta all meaning "the son of Hanuman's mother Anjana".
Kesari Nandan, based on his father, which means "son of Kesari" Maruti, or the son of the wind god. Sankata Mochana, the remover of dangers The earliest mention of a divine monkey, interpreted by some scholars as the proto-Hanuman, is in hymn 10.86 of the Rigveda, dated to between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The twenty-three verses of the hymn are a riddle-filled legend, it is presented as a dialogue between multiple characters: the god Indra, his wife Indrani and an energetic monkey it refers to as Vrisakapi and his wife Kapi. The hymn opens with Indrani complaining to Indra that some of the soma offerings for Indra have been allocated to the energetic and strong monkey, the people are forgetting Indra; the king of the gods Indra responds by telling his wife that the living being that bothers her is to be seen as a friend, that they should make an effort to coexist peacefully. The hymn closes with all agreeing that they should come together in Indra's house and share the wealth of the offerings; the orientalist F. E. Pargiter theorized.
According to this theory, the name "Hanuman" derives from the Tamil word for male monkey, first transformed to "Anumant" – a name which remains in use. "Anumant", according to this hypothesis, was Sanskritized to "Hanuman" because the ancient Aryans confronted with a popular monkey deity of ancient Dravidians coopted the concept and Sanskritized it. According to Murray Emeneau, known for his Tamil linguistic studies, this theory does not make sense because the Old Tamil word mandi in Caṅkam literature can only mean "female monkey", Hanuman is male. Further, adds Emeneau, the compound ana-mandi makes no semantic sense in Tamil, which has well developed and sophisticated grammar and semantic rules; the "prominent jaw" etymology, according to Emeneau, is therefore plausible. Hanuman is mentioned in both the
Vamana, is the fifth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu. He incarnates in a time of crisis to restore cosmic balance by creatively defeating the Asura king Mahabali, who had acquired disproportionate power over the universe. According to Hindu mythology, the noble demon king sponsors a sacrifice and gift giving ceremony to consolidate his power, Vishnu appears at this ceremony as a dwarf mendicant Brahmin called Vamana; when Vamana's turn comes to receive a gift, Mahabali offers him whatever riches and material wealth he would like, but Vamana refuses everything and states he would just like three paces of land. Mahabali irrevocably grants it. Vamana grows into a giant of cosmic proportions. In one step he covers the earth, in another the heavens, for the third, Mahabali offers his head on which Vamana steps, sending the demon king to the Patala; the Vamana avatar has roots in Vedic texts of Hinduism. The hymns of the Rigveda describes Vishnu as that benevolent god who in three steps defined all there is in the universe.
The giant form of Vamana is known as Trivikrama. The Vamana legend has been a popular one, inspiring icons found in Hindu temples and sections in Hindu texts such as the Puranas and the epics. About thirty different versions of his mythology are found in these texts.. The Sanskrit word Vamana means "dwarf", he is known as Trivikrama means the three steps, representing the Svarga, the earth, the Patala. The legend of Vishnu covering the universe in three steps is found in Vedic texts. For example, hymns, 1.22 and 1.154 of the Rigveda describe Vishnu as that bountiful, just god in three steps defined all there is in the universe. Other Rigvedic hymns that mention three steps of Vishnu include 1.154, 6.49, 7.100 and 8.29, in these the context is of a benevolent god who protects the oppressed humanity by his creative acts against the evil. Aditi took Payovrata to propitiate Lord Vishnu; as a result, Vamana was born to Kashyapa. He is the twelfth of the Adityas; the Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by a benevolent Asura King Mahabali.
Bali was the grand son of Prahlada and son of Virochana. Vamana, as a dwarf Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request for land that he could set his foot upon for three paces. Mahabali consented against the warning of his guru, having underestimated the nature of the request. Vamana enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. With the first step he covered the space from heaven to earth, with the second from earth to the netherworld. King Mahabali's realms were exhausted, there was no space for the third step. Unable to fulfill his promise, Mahabali offered his head for the third. Vamana placed his foot on Mahabali's head, granted the king immortality for his humility, he was allowed to return every year to see the citizens of his country. The festival of Onam for some and first day of Diwali for some is related to this return of Mahabali to a visit to earth once every year in August-September; some texts state. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama.
According to another but similar version, Prahlada's grandson Mahabali came to power by defeating the gods, taking over the three worlds. According to Vaishnavism mythology, the defeated Devas approached Vishnu for help in their battle with Mahabali. Vishnu refused to join the gods in violence against Mahabali, because Mahabali was a good ruler and his own devotee. He, decided to test Mahabali's devotion at an opportune moment. Mahabali, after his victory over the gods, declared that he will perform Yajna and grant anyone any request during the Yajna. Vishnu took the avatar of a dwarf boy approached Mahabali; the king offered anything to the boy – gold, elephants, food, whatever he wished. The boy said that one must not seek more than one needs, all he needs is the property right over a piece of land that measures "three paces". Mahabali agreed; the Vamana covered everything Mahabali ruled over in just two paces. For the third pace, Mahabali offered himself to the Vamana. Mahabali symbolizes Samridhi, the three feet symbolizes the three states of existence (Jagrat and Sushupti and final step is on his head which elevates from these three states, unto moksha.
In one version of the Vamana legend, when Mahabali offered himself for Vishnu's third step, it was an act of Mahabali's devotion. Vishnu granted him a boon. Mahabali chose to revisit earth, once every year, the lands and people he ruled; this revisit marks the festival of Onam, as reminder of the virtuous rule and his humility in keeping his promise before Vishnu. According to Nanditha Krishna, a simpler form of this legend, one without Mahabali, is found in the Rigveda and the Vedic text Shatapatha Brahmana where a solar deity is described with powers of Vishnu; this story grew over time, is in part allegorical, where Bali is a metaphor for thanksgiving offering after a bounty of rice harvest during monsoon, Vishnu is the metaphor of the Kerala sun and summer that precedes the Onam. According to Roshen Dalal, the story of Mahabali is important to Onam in Kerala, but similar Mahabali legends are significant in the region of Balia in Uttar Pradesh, Bawan in the same state, Bharuch in Gujarat, Mahabaleshwar in Maha
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad that includes Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil and destructive forces, his avatars most notably include Rama in the Krishna in the Mahabharata. He is known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Hari, he is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism. In Hindu iconography, Vishnu is depicted as having a pale or dark blue complexion and having four arms, he holds a padma in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".
Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga scholar, in his Nirukta, defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that, free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu"; the medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one, everything and inside everything". Vishnu means "all pervasive". Vishnu is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu text, are dedicated to Vishnu, he finds minor mention in the other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the Brahmana layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3.
In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed Atman reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu soteriology. He is described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra, his distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is Surya or Savitr, who bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.
In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra. Elsewhere in Rigveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka, Narayana sukta, Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being; the first verse of Narayana Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 mentions the same paramam padam. In the Atharvaveda, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names.
In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the Varaha legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu. Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the Trivikrama, one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times, it is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Trivikrama refers to "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, the third entire heaven; the Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that, freedom and life; the Shatapatha Brahmana elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, thus Vishnu is the savior of the mortals and
Krishna is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and as the supreme God in his own right, he is the god of compassion and love in Hinduism, is one of the most popular and revered among Indian divinities. Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar; the anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical and mythological texts, they portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, as the universal supreme being. His iconography reflects these legends, shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young man with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.
The synonyms of Krishna have been traced to 1st millennium BCE literature. In some sub-traditions, Krishna is worshipped as Svayam Bhagavan, this is sometimes referred to as Krishnaism; these sub-traditions arose in the context of the medieval era Bhakti movement. Krishna-related literature has inspired numerous performance arts such as Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Manipuri dance, he is a pan-Hindu god, but is revered in some locations such as Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the Jagannatha aspect in Odisha, Mayapur in West Bengal and Junagadh in Gujarat, in the form of Vithoba in Pandharpur, Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Guruvayur in Kerala. Since the 1960s, the worship of Krishna has spread to the Western world and to Africa due to the work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness; the name "Krishna" originates from the Sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, an adjective meaning "black", "dark", or "dark blue". The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective meaning "darkening"; the name is interpreted sometimes as "all-attractive".
As a name of Vishnu, Krishna is listed as the 57th name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on his name, Krishna is depicted in idols as black- or blue-skinned. Krishna is known by various other names and titles that reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Mohan "enchanter"; some names for Krishna hold regional importance. Krishna is with some common features, his iconography depicts him with black, dark, or blue skin, like Vishnu. However and medieval reliefs and stone-based arts depict him in the natural color of the material out of which he is formed, both in India and in southeast Asia. In some texts, his skin is poetically described as the color of Jambul. Krishna is depicted wearing a peacock-feather wreath or crown, playing the bansuri. In this form, he is shown standing with one leg bent in front of the other in the Tribhanga posture, he is sometimes accompanied by a calf, which symbolise the divine herdsman Govinda. Alternatively, he is shown as a romantic and seductive man with the gopis making music or playing pranks.
In other icons, he is a part of battlefield scenes of the epic Mahabharata. He is shown as a charioteer, notably when he is addressing the Pandava prince Arjuna character, symbolically reflecting the events that led to the Bhagavad Gita – a scripture of Hinduism. In these popular depictions, Krishna appears in the front as the charioteer, either as a counsel listening to Arjuna, or as the driver of the chariot while Arjuna aims his arrows in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Alternate icons of Krishna show him as a baby, a toddler crawling on his hands and knees, a dancing child, or an innocent-looking child playfully stealing or consuming butter, holding Laddu in his hand or as a cosmic infant sucking his toe while floating on a banyan leaf during the Pralaya observed by sage Markandeya. Regional variations in the iconography of Krishna are seen in his different forms, such as Jaganatha in Odisha, Vithoba in Maharashtra, Shrinathji in Rajasthan and Guruvayoorappan in Kerala. Guidelines for the preparation of Krishna icons in design and architecture are described in medieval-era Sanskrit texts on Hindu temple arts such as Vaikhanasa agama, Vishnu dharmottara, Brihat samhita, Agni Purana.
Early medieval-era Tamil texts contain guidelines for sculpting Krishna and Rukmini. Several statues made according to these guidelines are in the collections of the Government Museum, Chennai; the earliest text containing detailed descriptions of Krishna as a personality is the epic Mahabharata, which depicts Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna is central to many of the main stories of the epic; the eighteen chapters of the sixth book of the epic that constitute the Bhagavad Gita contain the advice of Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield. The Harivamsa, a appendix to the Mahabharata contains a detailed version of Krishna's childhood and youth; the Chandogya Upanishad, estimated to have been composed sometime between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE, has been another source of speculation regarding Krishna in ancient India. The
The Ramanandi known as the Ramayats or the Ramavats, are a branch of the Vaishnava Sri Sampradaya of Hinduism. People of this caste are known as Vaishnav Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh And Rajasthan. At the beginning of the 20th century, this sect declared to be the descendants of Rāma's sons and Lava. Surnames includes Agravat Divakar Sharma Pipavat Ramanandi Vaishnav Sadhu acharya Ramanuj Nimavat Kubavat Yoganandi Devmurari Sukhanandi Nainuji Tilavat The Ramanandi Sampradaya is one of the largest and most egalitarian Hindu sects India, around the Ganges Plain, Nepal today, it emphasizes the worship of Rāma, as well as Vishnu directly and other incarnations. While considered Vaiṣṇava, the Ramanandi are the largest ascetic group that celebrates the Śivarātri festival, dedicated to Shiva. Rāmānandī ascetics rely upon meditation and strict ascetic practices, but believe that the grace of god is required for them to achieve liberation. For that reason, the Tyāga section of the Rāmānandī ascetics, unlike some Śaiva ascetics, do not cut the sacred thread.
Their reasoning for this is that only Rāma can grant liberation. Most Ramanandis consider themselves to be the followers of Ramananda, a Vaishnava saint in medieval India. Philosophically, they are in the Vishishtadvaita tradition, its ascetic wing constitutes the largest Vaishnava monastic order and may be the largest monastic order in all of India. There are two major subgroups of Ramanandi ascetics: the Tyagi, who use ash for initiation, the Naga, who are the militant wing. Bhaktamal, a gigantic hagiographic work on Hindu saints and devotees written by Raghavadas in 1660, was a core text for all Vaishnavas including Ramanandis; this text lists Ramanuja, expounder of Vishishtadvaita school of Vedanta, Ramananda as saints of the Ramanuja Sampradaya but Galta peeth of Ramanandi Vaishnavas have ruled out this by prohibiting Ramanuja Vaishnavas from taking Shahi snan in Kumbh Mela. Many localized commentaries of Bhaktakamal were taught to young Vaishnavas across India. In the 19th century, proliferation of the printing press in the Gangetic plains of North India allowed various commentaries of the text to be distributed.
Of these, Bhagavan Prasad's Shri Bhaktamal: Tika, aur Namvali Sahit was considered to be the most authoritative. In this text, Bhagvan Prasad lists 108 prominent Vaishnavas starting with Ramanuja and ending with Ramananda. Ramananda's guru Raghavananda is described as an egalitarian guru. Ramananda himself is described as an avatar of Rama, a humble student with great yogic talents, asked to form his own sampradaya as a punishment by his guru; the text located his birth in Prayag in c. 1300 CE. J. N. Farquhar, a noted missionary and indologist, published his own work on the Ramanandi Sampradaya based on his interaction with various Ramanandis at the Kumbh Mela of 1918. Farquhar credits Ramananda and his followers as the origin of the North Indian practice of using Ram to refer to the Absolute. Based on the textual evidence and similarity of sect marks between Ramanandis and Sri Vaishnavas, Farquhar concludes that Ramananda migrated to Benares from Tamil Nadu, he acknowledges that Ramananda accepted disciples from all castes and did not observe the restrictions in matters of food.
However, Farquhar finds no evidence to show that Ramananda endeavoured to "overturn caste as a social institution". On the other hand, Sita Ram, author of the Vaishnava history of Ayodhya, George Grierson, eminent linguist and Indologist, represent Ramananda as saint who tried to transcend caste divisions of medieval India through the message of love and equality; the scholars disagree on Ramananda's connection with Ramanuja. While Farquhar finds them unconnected, Sita Ram and Grierson place Ramananda within the Ramanuja tradition. Up to the nineteenth century, many of the trade routes in northern India were guarded by groups of warrior-ascetics, including the Nāgā sections of the Rāmānandīs, who were feared because of their strength and fearlessness; the British took steps to disarm these militant groups of ascetics, but today the sects still retain their heroic traditions. Ramanandi live chiefly in the northern part of India. Ramanandi monasteries are found throughout western and central India, the Ganges basin, the Nepalese Terai, the Himalayan foothills.
Ramanandis are spread across India in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The majority of Hindu immigrants to Trinidad and Tobago belonged to Vaishnava sects such as the Ramanandi. Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago practice based on the teachings of Ramananda. Saints Dhanna and Pipa were among the immediate disciples of Ramananda. Hymns written by them find mention in holy scripture of the Sikhs. Sects founded by saints Raidas and Maluk Das are of a direct Ramanandi origin; the poet-saint Tulsidas, who composed the Ramcharitmanas, was a member of this sect. His writings made Vishnu and Shiva devotees of each other and thereby bridged the gap between Vaishnavas and Shaivites; because Tulsidas attempted to reconcile various theologies scholars like Ramchandra Shukla do not agree that he can considered to be a Ramanandi exclusively. Some sources say Jayadeva, who composed the Gita Govinda, was a member of this sect. Other sources classify Jayadeva as a Bengal Vaishnava; some sources say. Other sources say.
Kabir founded a separate sect, now known as the Kabirpanthi. Rambhadracharya Balmiki sect Hindu denominations Ramavats, Division of Religion and Philosophy, University of Cumbria
The Bhagavad Gita referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture, part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. At the start of the Dharma Yudhha between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is filled with moral dilemma and despair about the violence and death the war will cause, he wonders if he should renounce and seeks Krishna's counsel, whose answers and discourse constitute the Bhagadvad Gita. Krishna counsels Arjuna to "fulfill his Kshatriya duty to uphold the Dharma" through "selfless action"; the Krishna–Arjuna dialogue cover a broad range of spiritual topics, touching upon ethical dilemmas and philosophical issues that go far beyond the war Arjuna faces. The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of Hindu ideas about dharma, theistic bhakti, the yogic paths to moksha; the synthesis presents four paths to spirituality – jnana, bhakti and raja yogas. These incorporate ideas from the Vedanta philosophies.
Numerous commentaries have been written on the Bhagavad Gita with differing views on the essentials. Vedanta commentators read varying relations between Self and Brahman in the text: Advaita Vedanta sees the non-dualism of Atman and Brahman as its essence, whereas Bhedabheda and Vishishtadvaita see Atman and Brahman as both different and non-different, Dvaita sees them as different; the setting of the Gita in a battlefield has been interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. The Bhagavad Gita is the best known and most famous of Hindu texts, with a unique pan-Hindu influence; the Gita's call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi. The Gita in the title of the text "Bhagavad Gita" means "song". Religious leaders and scholars interpret the word "Bhagavad" in a number of ways. Accordingly, the title has been interpreted as "the Song of God" by the theistic schools, "the Song of the Lord", "the Divine Song", "the Celestial Song" by others.
The Bhagavad Gita is known as the Isvara Gita, the Ananta Gita, the Hari Gita, the Vyasa Gita, or as the Gita. In the Indian tradition, the Bhagavad Gita, as well as the epic Mahabharata of which it is a part, is attributed to sage Vyasa, whose full name was Krishna Dvaipayana called Veda-Vyasa. Another Hindu legend states that Vyasa narrated it while the elephant-headed deity Ganesha broke one of his tusks and wrote down the Mahabharata along with the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars consider Vyasa to be a mythical or symbolic author, in part because Vyasa is the traditional compiler of the Vedas and the Puranas, texts dated to be from different millennia; the word Vyasa means "arranger, compiler", is a surname in India. According to Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, a Gita scholar, it is possible that a number of different individuals with the same name compiled different texts. Swami Vivekananda, the 19th-century Hindu monk and Vedantist, stated that the Bhagavad Gita may be old but it was unknown in the Indian history till early 8th-century when Adi Shankara made it famous by writing his much-followed commentary on it.
Some infer, states Vivekananda, that "Shankaracharya was the author of Gita, that it was he who foisted it into the body of the Mahabharata." This attribution to Adi Shankara is unlikely in part because Shankara himself refers to the earlier commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, because other Hindu texts and traditions that compete with the ideas of Shankara refer to much older literature referencing the Bhagavad Gita, though much of this ancient secondary literature has not survived into the modern era. According to J. A. B. van Buitenen, an Indologist known for his translations and scholarship on Mahabharata, the Gita is so contextually and philosophically well knit with the Mahabharata that it was not an independent text that "somehow wandered into the epic". The Gita, states van Buitenen, was conceived and developed by the Mahabharata authors to "bring to a climax and solution the dharmic dilemma of a war". According to Alexus McLeod, a scholar of Philosophy and Asian Studies, it is "impossible to link the Bhagavad Gita to a single author", it may be the work of many authors.
This view is shared by the Indologist Arthur Basham, who states that there were three or more authors or compilers of Bhagavad Gita. This is evidenced by the discontinuous intermixing of philosophical verses with theistic or passionately theistic verses, according to Basham. Theories on the date of the composition of the Gita vary considerably. Scholars accept dates from the fifth century to the second century BCE as the probable range, the latter likely; the Hinduism scholar Jeaneane Fowler, in her commentary on the Gita, considers second century BCE to be the probable date of composition. J. A. B. van Buitenen too states that the Gita was composed about 200 BCE. According to the Indologist Arvind Sharma, the Gita is accepted to be a 2nd-century BCE text. Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, in contrast, dates it a bit earlier, he states that the Gita was always a part of the Mahabharata, dating the latter suffices in dating the Gita. On the basis of the estimated dates of Mahabharata as evidenced by exact quotes of it in the Buddhist literature by Asvaghosa, Upadhyaya states that the Mahabharata, therefore Gita, must have been well known by for a Buddhist to be quoting it.
This suggests a terminus ante quem of the Gita to be sometime prior to the 1st-century CE. He c