The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the Mahābhārata is an epic legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Ṛṣyasringa considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel compositional layers; the oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
The text reached its final form by the early Gupta period. According to the Mahābhārata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called Bhārata; the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines, long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Quran. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the Fifth Veda; the epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa, he describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.
The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Gaṇeśa who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works, it is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana, a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya, the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest; the text was described by some early 20th-century western Indologists as chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." Moritz Winternitz considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text.
Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times. The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian'empire' was to rise in the third century B. C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B. C." is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards, it is agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would conform to changes in language and style," so the earliest'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56. It is estimated that the Sanskrit text reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period. Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in a original shape, on the basis of an archetype and a stemma codicum.
What is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach on the basis of the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is extensive. The Mahābhārata itself distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are recognized: Jaya with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses. However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan; the redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18 and 12.
The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-parva and the Virāta parva from the "Spitzer manuscript". The oldest surviving
Rama or Ram known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being. Rama was born to Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala, his siblings included Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds; the entire life story of Rama and their companions allegorically discusses duties and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharmic living through model characters.
Rama is important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, his ancient legends have attracted bhasya and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India. Rama legends are found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, their details vary from the Hindu versions. Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Arthavaveda, states Monier Monier-Williams, it means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, charming, lovely".
The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: Parashu-rama, as the sixth avatar of Vishnu, he is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. Bala-rama called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism and Jainism; the name Rama appears in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. The word appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone, "charming, lovely" or "darkness, night".
The Vishnu avatar named Rama is known by other names. He is called Raghava. Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya, Phreah Ream, Phra Ram, Megat Seri Rama, Raja Bantugan, Ramar. In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman, the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight nondualistically; the root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rejoice, be pleased". According to Douglas Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident"; the sense of "dark, soot" appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci.
The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra, a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami; this coincides with one of the four Navratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navratri. The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River; the Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but pre-500 CE, most sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus, his mother's name Kaushalya implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists.
However, there is a schola
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
Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya or Sri Vaishnavism is a denomination within the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. The name is derived from Sri referring to goddess Lakshmi as well as a prefix that means "sacred, revered", god Vishnu who are together revered in this tradition; the tradition traces its roots to the ancient Vedas and Pancaratra texts and popularized by the Alvars with their Divya Prabandhams. The founder of Sri Vaishnavism is traditionally attributed as Nathamuni of the 10th century CE, its central philosopher has been Ramanuja of the 11th century who developed the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta sub-school of Hindu philosophy. Tradition is based on the Vishistadvaita vedanta philosophy derived from Vedas and Divya Prabandhams; the tradition split into two sub-traditions around the 16th-century called the Vadakalai and Thenkalai. 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, Bhaga, etc. to be same as their Puranic counterparts, Srivaishnavas consider these to be different names/roles/forms of Lord Narayan citing solid reasons thus claiming that the entire Veda is dedicated for Vishnu worship alone.
Srivaishnavas have remodelled Pancharatra homas like Sudarshana homa, etc. to include Vedic Suktas like Rudram in them, thus giving them a Vedic outlook. The name Srivaishnavism is derived from two words and Vaishnavism. In Sanskrit the word Sri refers to goddess Lakshmi as well as a prefix that means "sacred, revered", god Vishnu who are together revered in this tradition; the word Vaishnavism refers to a tradition. The followers of Srivaishnavism are known as Srivaishnava; the tradition traces its roots to the primordial start of the world through Vishnu, to the texts of Vedic era with both Sri and Vishnu found in ancient texts of the 1st millennium BCE to the puranas and the Bhagavad Gita. The historical basis of Sri Vaishnavism is in the syncretism of two developments; the first is Sanskrit traditions found in ancient texts such as the Vedas and the Agama, the second is the Tamil traditions found in early medieval texts and practices such as the emotional songs and music of Alvars that expressed spiritual ideas and loving devotion to god Vishnu.
The Sanskrit traditions represent the ideas shared in ancient times, from Ganga river plains of the northern Indian subcontinent, while the Tamil traditions have roots in the Kaveri river plains of southern India what in modern times are the coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu region. The tradition was founded by Nathamuni, who combined the two traditions, by drawing on Sanskrit philosophical tradition and combining it with the aesthetic and emotional appeal of the Bhakti movement pioneers called the Alvars. Sri Vaishnavism developed in Tamil Nadu in the 10th century, after Nathamuni returned from a pilgrimage to Vrindavan in north India. Nathamuni's ideas were continued by Yamunacharya, who maintained that the Vedas and Pancaratras are equal, devotional rituals and bhakti are important practices; the legacy of Yamunacharya was continued by Ramanuja. Ramanuja, a scholar who studied in an Advaita Vedanta monastery and disagreed with some of the ideas of Advaita, became the most influential leader of Sri Vaishnavism.
He developed the Visistadvaita philosophy. Around the 18th century, the Sri Vaishnava tradition split into the Tenkalai; the Vatakalai placed more emphasis on the Sanskrit traditions, while the Tenkalai relied more on the Tamil traditions. This theological dispute between the Vedic and Bhakti traditions traces it roots to the debate between Srirangam and Kanchipuram monasteries between the 13th and 15th century; the debate was on the nature of salvation and the role of grace. The Bhakti-favoring Tenkalai tradition asserted, states Patricia Mumme, that Vishnu saves the soul like "a mother cat carries her kitten", where the kitten just accepts the mother while she picks her up and carries. In contrast the Vedic-favoring Vatakalai tradition asserted that Vishnu saves the soul like "a mother monkey carries her baby", where the baby has to make an effort and hold on while the mother carries; this metaphorical description of the disagreement between the two sub-traditions, first appears in the 18th-century Tamil texts, but refers to the foundational ideas behind the karma-marga versus bhakti-marga traditions of Hinduism.
Along with Vishnu, like Shaivism, the ultimate reality and truth is considered in Sri Vaishnavism to be the divine sharing of the feminine and the masculine, the goddess and the god. Sri is regarded as the preceptor of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. Goddess Sri has been considered inseparable from god Vishnu, essential to each other, to the act of mutual loving devotion. Sri and Vishnu act and cooperate in the creation of everything that exists, redemption. According to some medieval scholars of Srivashnava theology, states John Carman and Vishnu do so using "divine knowledge, unsurpassed" and through "love, an erotic union", but Sri Vaishnavism differs from Shaivism, in that Vishnu is the sole creator and destroyer of the universe while Sri Lakshmi is the medium for salvation, the kind mother who recommends to Vishnu and thereby helps living beings in their desire for redemption and salvation. In co
Kurma is the second Avatar of Vishnu. Like other avatars of Vishnu, Kurma appears at a time of crisis to restore the cosmic equilibrium, his iconography is either a tortoise, or more as half man-half tortoise. These are found in many Vaishnava temple ceilings or wall reliefs; the earliest account of Kurma is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana, where he is a form of Prajapati-Brahma and helps with the samudra manthan. In the Epics and the Puranas, the legend expands and evolves into many versions, with Kurma becoming an avatar of Vishnu, he appears in the form of a tortoise or turtle to support the foundation for the cosmos and the cosmic churning stick. Together the gods and demons churn the ocean with divine serpent Vasuki as the rope, the churn skims out a combination of good and bad things. Along with other products, it produces poison which Shiva drinks and holds it in his throat, immortality nectar which the demons grab and run away with; the Kurma avatar, according to Hindu mythology transforms into a femme fatale named Mohini to seduce the demons.
They fall for her. They ask her to take the nectar, please be their wife and distribute it between them one by one. Mohini-Vishnu takes the pot of nectar and gives it to the gods, thus preventing evil from becoming eternal, preserving the good; the Kurma legend appears in the Vedic texts, a complete version is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajurveda. In the Vedic era, like Matsya and Varaha, Kurma is associated with Prajapati Brahma, is not related to Vishnu; the first hint of association of Kurma as an avatar of Vishnu is found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata. These links, are ambiguous as the Kurma is referred to by epithets such as Akupara, it is only in the Puranas, that both Kurma and Matsya are and linked to Vishnu. Kurma in the Vedic texts is a symbolic cosmogonic myth, he symbolizes support for any sustained creative activity. In sections 6.1.1 and 7.5.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana, Kurma's shape reflects the presumed hemispherical shape of the earth and this makes it part of the fire altar design.
He is considered the lord of the waters, thus symbolism for Varuna. In these early Hindu texts and goddess earth are considered husband and wife, a couple that depend on each other to create and nourish a myriad of life forms. Alternate names such as Kumma and Kacchapa abound in the Vedic literature, as well as early Buddhist mythologies such as those in Jataka Tales and Jain texts, which refer to tortoise or turtle; the Kurma legend is described in Vaishnava Puranas. In one version, sage Durvasa curses the Devas to lose their powers; the gods needed nectar of immortality to overcome this curse, they make a pact with the asuras to churn the cosmic ocean of milk, so as to extract the nectar, once it skims out they would share it. To churn the ocean of milk, they used Mount Mandara as the churning staff, the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope while the turtle Kurma, Vishnu bore the mountain on his back so that they could churn the waters so that the churning staff would not sink the cosmic waters.
The Asuras took the nectar, quarreled amongst themselves. Vishnu manifested himself as the beautiful Mohini and tricked the Asuras to retrieve the potion, which he distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realized the trick, it was too late—the Devas had regained their powers, were able to defeat their foes. There are four temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India: Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh, Gavirangapur in the Chitradurga District of Karnataka and Swarupnarayan of Goghat village in Hooghly district of West Bengal; the name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy, god in this village. The temple located in Srikurmam in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, is the Avatar of Kurma. Cultural depictions of turtles Kashyapa – a Vedic sage whose name means "tortoise, turtle" World Turtle Dashavatara Samudra manthan J. L. Brockington; the Sanskrit Epics.
BRILL Academic. ISBN 90-04-10260-4. Roshen Dalal. Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. Nanditha Krishna. Book Of Vishnu. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306762-7. Retrieved 5 January 2013. Nanditha Krishna. Sacred Animals of India. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306619-4. Rao, T. A. Gopinatha. Elements of Hindu iconography. 1: Part I. Madras: Law Printing House. Media related to Kurma at Wikimedia Commons
Vithoba known as Vitthal and Panduranga, is a Hindu deity predominantly worshipped in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He is considered a manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Vithoba is depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai. Vithoba is the focus of an monotheistic, non-ritualistic bhakti-driven Varkari faith of Maharashtra and the Haridasa faith. Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur is his main temple. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith; the Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the hymns of the Haridasa and the Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity; the most important festivals of Vithoba are held on Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.
The historiography of Vithoba and his cult is an area of continuing debate regarding his name. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously: a hero stone, a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva, a Jain saint, or all of these at various times for various devotees. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they existed by the 13th century. Vithoba is known by many names, including: Vitthala, Pandharinath and Narayan. There are several theories about the meanings of these names. Varkari tradition suggests that the name Vitthala is composed of two Sanskrit-Marathi words: viṭ, which means'brick'. Thus, Vitthala would mean'one standing on a brick'. William Crooke, supported this explanation; the prescribed iconography of Vithoba stipulates that he be shown standing arms-akimbo upon a brick, associated with the legend of the devotee Pundalik. However, the Varkari poet-saint Tukaram proposed a different etymology—that Vitthala is composed of the words vittha and la, thus meaning'one who accepts innocent people who are devoid of knowledge'.
Historian Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar offers yet another possibility—that Vitthu is a Kannada corruption of the name Vishnu adopted in Marathi. The suffixes -la and -ba were appended for reverence, producing the names Vitthala and Vithoba; this corruption of Vishnu to Vitthu could have been due to the tendency of Marathi and Kannada people to pronounce the Sanskrit ṣṇ as ṭṭh, attested since the 8th century. According to research scholar M. S. Mate of the Deccan College, Pundalik—who is assumed to be a historical figure—was instrumental in persuading the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana alias Bittidev to build the Pandharpur temple dedicated to Vishnu; the deity was subsequently named as a derivative of Bittidev, by the builder-king. Other variants of the name include Viṭhurāyā, Viṭhāī; the people of Gujarat add the suffix - nath to Vitthala. The additional honorific suffix -ji may be added, giving the name Vitthalnathji; this name is used in the Pushtimarg sect. Panduranga spelt as Pandurang and Pandaranga, is another popular epithet for Vithoba, which means'the white god' in Sanskrit.
The Jain author-saint Hemachandra notes it is used as an epithet for the god Rudra-Shiva. Though Vithoba is depicted with dark complexion, he is called a "white god". Bhandarkar explains this paradox, proposing that Panduranga may be an epithet for the form of Shiva worshipped in Pandharpur, whose temple still stands. With the increasing popularity of Vithoba's cult, this was transferred to Vithoba. Another theory suggests that Vithoba may have been a Shaiva god, only identified with Vishnu, thus explaining the usage of Panduranga for Vithoba. Crooke, proposed that Panduranga is a Sanskritised form of Pandaraga, referring to the old name of Pandharpur. Another name, Pandharinath refers to Vithoba as the lord of Pandhari. Vithoba is addressed by the names of Vishnu like Hari and Narayana, in the Vaishnava sect. Reconstruction of the historical development of Vithoba worship has been much debated. In particular, several alternative theories have been proposed regarding the earliest stages, as well as the point at which he came to be recognised as a distinct deity.
The Pandurangashtakam stotra, a hymn attributed to Adi Shankaracharya of the 8th century, indicates that Vithoba worship might have existed at an early date. According to Richard Maxwell Eaton, author of A Social History of the Deccan, Vithoba was first worshipped as a pastoral god as early as the 6th century. Vithoba's arms-akimbo iconography is similar to Bir Kuar, the cattle-god of the Ahirs of Bihar, now associated with Krishna. Vithoba was later assimilated into the Shaiva pantheon and identified with the god Shiva, like most other pastoral gods; this is backed by the facts that the temple at Pandharpur is surrounded by Shaiva temples (most notably of the dev
RadhaKrishn are collectively known within Hinduism as the combined forms of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Radha and Krishna are the primeval forms of God and His pleasure potency in the Vaishnava school of thought in Vedic culture. Krishna is referred to as svayam bhagavan in Vaishnavism theology and Radha is illustrated as the primeval potency of the three main potencies of God, Hladini and Samvit of which Radha is an embodiment of the feeling of love towards the almighty God Shree Krishna. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that Krishna or God is only satiated by devotional service in loving servitude and Radha is the personification of devotional service to the supreme, she is considered in Vaishnavism as the total feminine energy and as the Supreme Lakshmi. Various devotees worship her with the understanding of her merciful nature as the only way to attain Krishna. Radha is depicted to be Krishna himself, split into two, for the purpose of His enjoyment.
It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. RadhaKrishn". While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God, it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem Gita Govinda in the twelfth century of the Common Era, that the topic of the spiritual love between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha, became a theme celebrated throughout India, it is believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis, or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance. Vigneshwara cannot be broken into two – Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, his shakti Radha such was the love of Radha towards Krishna that they became one. Krishna in Vrindavana is depicted with Radha standing on his left; the common derivation of shakti and shaktiman, i.e. Female and male principle in a god implies that shakti and shaktiman are the same; each and every god has its partner,'betterhalf' or Shakti and without this Shakti, is sometimes viewed being without essential power.
It is a not uncommon feature of Hinduism when worship of a pair rather than one personality constitutes worship of God, such is worship of Radha Krishna. Traditions worshiping Krishna, as svayam bhagavan, male, include reference and veneration to his Radha, worshiped as supreme. A view that exists of orthodox Vaishnavism or Krishnaism is that Radha is shakti and Krishna is shaktiman and are always found without any tinge of materialistic attributes or cause. From the Vaishnava point of view the divine feminine energy implies a divine source of energy, God or shaktiman. "Sita relates to Rama. As Krishna is believed to be the source of all manifestations of God, "Shri Radha, His consort, is the original source of all shaktis" or feminine manifestation of divine energy. A number of interpretations according to traditions possess a common root of personalism in the understanding of worship. Caitanyaite Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and mission is fiercely "personalistic," proclaiming the supremacy of Krishna, the identification of Caitanya as Radha-Krishna, the reality and eternality of individual selves, a method for approaching the absolute reality and the Deity as a person first and foremost.
Jiva Goswami in his Priti Sandarbha states that each of the Gopis exhibits a different level of intensity of passion, among which Radha's is the greatest. In his famous dialogs Ramananda Raya describes Radha to Caitanya and quotes, among other texts, a verse from Chaitanya Charitamrta 2.8.100, before he goes on to describe her role in the pastimes of Vrindavana. The central pivot point of the theology is related to the word rasa; the theological use of the word can be found early, about two thousand years before the Nimbarka or Caitanya school, in a phrase that the tradition quotes: "Truly, the Lord is rasa" of Brahma sutras. This statement expresses the view that God is the one who enjoys the ultimate rasa or spiritual rapture, emotions. Radha Krishna are worshiped in the following traditions of Hinduism: King Gareeb Nivaz ruled from 1710 to 1734 and was initiated into Vaishnavism of the Chaitanya tradition, which worships Krishna as the supreme deity, Svayam bhagavan, he practiced this religion for nearly twenty years.
Preachers and pilgrims used to arrive in large numbers and cultural contact with Assam was maintained. The Manipuri Vaishnavas Radha-Krishna. With the spread of Vaishnavism the worship of Krishna and Radha became the dominant form in the Manipur region; every village there has a temple. Rasa and other dances are a feature of the regional folk and religious tradition and for example, a female dancer will portray both Krishna and his consort, Radha, in the same piece. In Vedic and Puranic literature and other forms of the root >rAdh have meaning of ‘perfection’, ‘success’ and ‘wealth’. Lord of Success, Indra was referred to as Radhaspati. In references to Mahavishnu as the Lord of Fortune and used by Jayadeva as Jaya Jayadeva Hare – the victorious Hari, ‘Radhaspati’ all found in many places; the word Radha occurs in Taittiriya BrAhmana and Taittiriya Samhita. Charlotte Vaudeville, in the article Evolution of Love Symbolism in Bhagavatism draws some parallel to Nappinnai, appearing in Godha's magnum opus Thiruppavai and in Nammalwar’s references to Nappinnani, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopa.
Nappinnai is believed to be the source of Radha’s conception in