Brahmin is a varna in Hinduism specialising as priests and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest ranking of the four social classes. In practice, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were agriculturalists, warriors and have held a variety of other occupations in the Indian subcontinent; the earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge; this Purusha Sukta varna verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth. Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. The functions associated with the priests were: The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda; the Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations; the Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory and benediction hymns; the Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. According to Kulkarni, the Grhya-sutras state that Yajna, dana pratigraha are the "peculiar duties and privileges of brahmins"; the term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone, good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.
These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class; the Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, are directed at Brahmins; the Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54–9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: Be always truthful Teach his art only to virtuous men Follow rules of ritual purification Study Vedas with delight Never hurt any living creature Be gentle but steadfast Have self-control Be kind, liberal towards everyoneChapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas.
The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, lack of envy, tranquility, auspicious disposition and lack of greed, asserts in verse 9.24–9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation. The Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin; the Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, self-control, truthfulness, Vedic learning, erudition and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, their relationship with a king and warrior class. Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, it asserts, for example, A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era", when Buddhism dominated the land. "No Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind even once, is referred to" in any Indian texts between third century BCE and
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
Brahma is a creator god in Hinduism. He is known as Svayambhu or the creative aspect of Vishnu, Vāgīśa, the creator of the four Vedas, one from each of his mouths. Brahma is consort of Saraswati and he is the father of Four Kumaras, Daksha and many more. Brahma is sometimes identified with the Vedic god Prajapati, he is known as Vedanatha, Chaturmukha Svayambhu, etc, as well as linked to Kama and Hiranyagarbha, he is more prominently mentioned in the mythologies in the Puranas. In the epics, he is conflated with Purusha. Although, Brahma is part of the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva Trimurti, ancient Hindu scriptures mention multiple other trinities of gods or goddesses which do not include Brahma. Several Puranas describe him as emerging from a lotus, connected to the navel of Lord Vishnu. Other Puranas suggest that he is born from Shiva or his aspects, or he is a supreme god in diverse versions of Hindu mythology. Brahma, along with other deities, is sometimes viewed as a form of the otherwise formless Brahman, the ultimate metaphysical reality in Vedantic Hinduism.
In an alternate version, some Puranas state him to be the father of Prajapatis. According to some, Brahma does not enjoy popular worship in present-age Hinduism and has lesser importance than the other members of the Trimurti and Shiva. Brahma is revered in ancient texts, yet worshiped as a primary deity in India. Few temples dedicated to him exist in India. Brahma temples are found outside India, such as at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok; the origins of Brahma are uncertain, in part because several related words such as one for Ultimate Reality, priest are found in the Vedic literature. The existence of a distinct deity named. A distinction between spiritual concept of Brahman, deity Brahma, is that the former is a genderless abstract metaphysical concept in Hinduism, while the latter is one of the many masculine gods in Hindu tradition; the spiritual concept of Brahman is far older, some scholars suggest deity Brahma may have emerged as a personal conception and visible icon of the impersonal universal principle called Brahman.
In Sanskrit grammar, the noun stem. Contrasted to the neuter noun is the masculine noun brahmán, whose nominative singular form is Brahma; this singular form is used as the proper name of Brahma. One of the earliest mentions of Brahma with Vishnu and Shiva is in the fifth Prapathaka of the Maitrayaniya Upanishad composed in late 1st millennium BCE. Brahma is first discussed in verse 5,1 called the Kutsayana Hymn, expounded in verse 5,2. In the pantheistic Kutsayana Hymn, the Upanishad asserts that one's Soul is Brahman, this Ultimate Reality, Cosmic Universal or God is within each living being, it equates the Atman within to be Brahma and various alternate manifestations of Brahman, as follows, "Thou art Brahma, thou art Vishnu, thou art Rudra, thou art Agni, Vayu, thou art All."In the verse, Brahma and Shiva are mapped into the theory of Guṇa, qualities and innate tendencies the text describes can be found in all living beings. This chapter of the Maitri Upanishad asserts that the universe emerged from darkness, first as passion characterized by action qua action, which refined and differentiated into purity and goodness.
Of these three qualities, Rajas is mapped to Brahma, as follows: While the Maitri Upanishad maps Brahma with one of the elements of Guṇa theory of Hinduism, the text does not depict him as one of the trifunctional elements of the Hindu Trimurti idea found in Puranic literature. The post-Vedic texts of Hinduism offer multiple theories of cosmogony; these include Sarga and Visarga, ideas related to the Indian thought that there are two levels of reality, one primary, unchanging and other secondary, always changing, that all observed reality of the latter is in an endless repeating cycle of existence, that cosmos and life we experience is continually created, dissolved and re-created. The primary creator is extensively discussed in Vedic cosmogonies with Brahman or Purusha or Devi among the terms used for the primary creator, while the Vedic and post-Vedic texts name different gods and goddesses as secondary creators, in some cases a different god or goddess is the secondary creator at the start of each cosmic cycle.
Brahma is a "secondary creator" as described in the Mahabharata and Puranas, among the most studied and described. Born from a lotus emerging from the navel of Vishnu after emerging on order of Shiva, Brahma creates all the forms in the universe, but not the primordial universe itself. In contrast, the Shiva-focussed Puranas describe Brahma and Vishnu to have been created by Ardhanarishvara, half Shiva and half Parvati, thus in most Puranic texts, Brahma's creative activity depends on the presence and power of a higher god. In the Bhagavata Purana, Brahma is portrayed several times as the one who rises from the "Ocean of Causes
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, art and learning. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma and Shiva to create and regenerate-recycle the Universe, respectively; the earliest known mention of Saraswati as a goddess is in the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a goddess from the Vedic period through modern times of Hindu traditions; some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami in her honour, mark the day by helping young children learn how to write the letters of the alphabet on that day. The Goddess is revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India, as well as some Buddhist sects. Saraswati, is a Sanskrit fusion word of saras meaning "pooling water", but sometimes translated as "speech". Associated with the river or rivers known as Saraswati, this combination therefore means "she who has ponds and pooling water" or "she who possesses speech", it is a Sanskrit composite word of surasa-vati which means "one with plenty of water".
The word Saraswati appears both as a significant deity in the Rigveda. In initial passages, the word refers to the Sarasvati River and is mentioned as one among several northwestern Indian rivers such as the Drishadvati. Saraswati connotes a river deity. In Book 2, the Rigveda describes Saraswati as the best of mothers, of rivers, of goddesses. अम्बितमे नदीतमे देवितमे सरस्वति — Rigveda 2.41.16Best of mothers, best of rivers, best of goddesses, Sarasvatī. Saraswati is celebrated as a feminine deity with healing and purifying powers of abundant, flowing waters in Book 10 of the Rigveda, as follows: अपो अस्मान मातरः शुन्धयन्तु घर्तेन नो घर्तप्वः पुनन्तु | विश्वं हि रिप्रं परवहन्ति देविरुदिदाभ्यः शुचिरापूत एमि || — Rigveda 10.17May the waters, the mothers, cleanse us, may they who purify with butter, purify us with butter, for these goddesses bear away defilement, I come up out of them pure and cleansed. — translated by John Muir In Vedic literature, Saraswati acquires the same significance for early Indians as that accredited to the river Ganges by their modern descendants.
In hymns of Book 10 of Rigveda, she is declared to be the "possessor of knowledge". Her importance grows in Vedas composed after Rigveda and in Brahmanas, the word evolves in its meaning from "waters that purify", to "that which purifies", to "vach that purifies", to "knowledge that purifies", into a spiritual concept of a goddess that embodies knowledge, music, muse, rhetoric, creative work and anything whose flow purifies the essence and self of a person. In Upanishads and Dharma Sastras, Saraswati is invoked to remind the reader to meditate on virtue, virtuous emoluments, the meaning and the essence of one's activity, one's action. Saraswati is known by many names in ancient Hindu literature; some examples of synonyms for Saraswati include Brahmani, Bharadi and Vachi, Kavijihvagravasini. Goddess Saraswati is known as Vidyadatri, Pustakdharini, Veenapani and Vagdevi. In the Hindi language, her name is written Hindi: सरस्वती. In the Telugu, Sarasvati is known as Chaduvula Thalli and Shārada.
In Konkani, she is referred to as Shārada, Pustakadhārini, Vidyadāyini. In Kannada, variants of her name include Sharade, Sharadamba, Vāni, Veenapani in the famous Sringeri temple. In Tamil, she is known as Kalaimagal, Kalaivāni, Vāni and Bharathi, she is addressed as Sāradā, Shāradā, Veenā-pustaka-dhārini, Vāgdevi, Vāgishvari, Vāni, Varadhanāyaki, Sāvitri, Gāyatri. In India, she is locally spelled as ￼￼Assamese_language:সৰস্বতী,Saraswati, Bengali: সরস্বতী, Saraswati?, Malayalam: സരസ്വതി, Saraswati?, Tamil: சரஸ்வதி, Sarasvatī?. In Odia as ସରସ୍ଵତୀ Saraswati. Outside Nepal and India, she is known in Burmese as Thurathadi or Tipitaka Medaw, in Chinese as Biàncáitiān, in Japanese as Benzaiten and in Thai as Suratsawadi or Saratsawadi. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati has retained her significance as a goddess from the Vedic age up to the present day. In Shanti Parva of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Saraswati is called the mother of the Vedas, as the celestial creative symphony who appeared when Brahma created the universe.
In Book 2 of Taittiriya Brahmana, she is called “the mother of eloquent speech and melodious music”. Saraswati is the active power of Brahma, she is mentioned in many minor Sanskrit publications such as Sarada Tilaka of 8th century CE as follows, May the goddess of speech enable us to attain all possible eloquence, she who wears on her locks a young mo
Sita or Seeta, is the consort of Lord Rama and an avatar of Sri Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess that denotes good character, good fortune, prosperity and happiness. She is esteemed as the paragon of feminine virtues for all women. Sita is one of the central figures in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, she is described as the daughter of the earth goddess, Bhūmi and the adopted daughter of King Janaka of Videha and his wife, Queen Sunaina. She has a younger sister and the female cousins Mandavi and Shrutakirti. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice and purity. Sita, in her youth, marries the prince of Ayodhya. After marriage, she goes to exile with brother-in-law Lakshmana. While in exile, the trio settle in the Dandaka forest from where she is abducted by Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka, she is imprisoned in Ashoka Vatika in Lanka. After the war, Rama asks Sita to undergo Agni Pariksha by which she proves her purity before she is accepted by Rama, which for the first time makes his brother Lakshmana get angry at him.
In some versions of the epic, the fire-god Agni creates Maya Sita, who takes Sita's place and is abducted by Ravana and suffers his captivity, while the real Sita hides in the fire. During the Agni Pariksha, Maya Sita and the real Sita exchange places again. While some texts say that Maya Sita is destroyed in the flames of Agni Pariksha, others narrate how she is blessed and reborn as the epic heroine Draupadi or the goddess Padmavati; some scriptures mention her previous birth being Vedavati, a woman Ravana tries to molest. After proving her purity and Sita return to Ayodhya, where they are crowned as king and queen. After few months, Sita becomes pregnant. Rama sends Sita away on exile. Lakshmana is the one who leaves Sita in the forests near sage Valmiki's ashrama after Rama banishes her from the kingdom. Years Sita returns to the womb of her mother, the Earth, for release from a cruel world as a testimony of her purity after she reunites her two sons Kusha and Lava with their father Rama; the goddess is derived from the Sanskrit word sīta, furrow.
According to Ramayana, Janaka adopted her. The word Sīta was a poetic term, its imagery redolent of fecundity and the many blessings coming from settled agriculture; the Sita of the Ramayana may have been named after a more ancient Vedic goddess Sita, mentioned once in the Rigveda as an earth goddess who blesses the land with good crops. In the Vedic period, she was one of the goddesses associated with fertility. A Vedic hymn recites: In Harivamsa, Sita is invoked as one of the names of the goddess Arya: The Kausik-sutra and the Paraskara-sutra associate her as the wife of Parjanya and Indra. Sita is known by many epithets, she is called Jānaki as the daughter of Maithili as the princess of Mithila. As the wife of Rama, she is called Ramā, her father Janaka had earned the sobriquet Videha due to his ability to transcend body consciousness. Devi Sita while playing with her sisters in childhood had unknowingly lifted the table over which the bow had been placed; this incident was however observed by Janaka and he decided to make it a backdrop for Swayamvara because he wanted a son-in-law, as strong as his daughter.
The birthplace of Sita is disputed. The Sita Kund pilgrimage site, located in present-day Sitamarhi district,Bihar, India is viewed as the birthplace of Sita. Apart from Sitamarhi, Janakpur, located in the present-day Province No. 2, Nepal, is described as Sita's birthplace. Valmiki's Ramayana: In Valmiki's Ramayana and Kamban's Tamil epic Ramavataram, Sita is said to have been discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field, believed to be Sitamarhi in Mithila region of present-day Bihar, for that reason is regarded as a daughter of Bhūmi Devi, she was discovered and brought up by Janaka, king of Mithila and his wife Sunaina. Ramayana Manjari: In Ramayana Manjari, North-western and Bengal recensions of Valmiki Ramayana, it has been described as on hearing a voice from the sky and seeing Menaka, Janaka expresses his wish to obtain a child and when he finds the child, he hears the same voice again telling him the infant is his spiritual child, born of Menaka. Janka's real daughter: In Ramopkhyana of the Mahabharata and in Paumachariya of Vimala Suri, Sita has been depicted as Janaka's real daughter.
According to Rev. Fr. Camille Bulcke, this motif that Sita was the real daughter of Janaka, as described in Ramopkhyana Mahabharata was based on the authentic version of Valmiki Ramayana; the story of Sita miraculously appearing in a furrow was inserted in Valmiki Ramayana. Reincarnation of Vedavati: Some versions of the Ramayana suggest that Sita was a reincarnation of Vedavati. Ravana tried to molest Vedavati and her chastity was sullied beyond Ravana's redemption when she was performing penance to become consort of Vishnu. Vedavati immolated herself on a pyre to escape Ravana's lust, vowing to return in another age and be the cause of Ravana's destruction, she was duly reborn as Sita. Reincarnation of Manivati: According to Gunabhadra's Uttara Purana of the ninth century BCE, Ravana disturbs the asceticism of Manivati, daughter of Amitavega of Alkapuri and she pledges to take revenge on Ravana. Manivati is reborn as the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari. But, astrolo
Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Shiva and Brahma. Sometimes the term is used for sampradayas led by a particular guru with a particular philosophy. Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any particular denomination or tradition. Four major traditions are, used in scholarly studies: Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism; these are sometimes referred to as the denominations of Hinduism, they differ in the primary deity at the centre of the tradition. A notable feature of Hindu denominations is that they do not deny other concepts of the divine or deity, celebrate the other as henotheistic equivalent; the denominations of Hinduism, states Lipner, are unlike those found in major religions of the world, because Hindu denominations are fuzzy with individuals practising more than one, he suggests the term "Hindu polycentrism". Although Hinduism contains many denominations and philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites and the questioning of authority.
Hindus subscribe to a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but have no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Hinduism as it is known can be subdivided into a number of major currents. Of the historical division into six darsanas, two schools and Yoga, are the most prominent. Classified by primary deity or deities, four major Hinduism modern currents are Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism; these deity-centered denominations feature a synthesis of various philosophies such as Samkhya and Vedanta, as well as shared spiritual concepts such as moksha, karma, ethical precepts such as ahimsa, ritual grammar and rites of passage. McDaniel distinguishes six generic types of Hinduism, in an attempt to accommodate a variety of views on a rather complex subject: Folk Hinduism, based on local traditions and cults of local deities and extending back to prehistoric times, or at least prior to written Vedas. Shrauta or "Vedic" Hinduism as practised by traditionalist brahmins.
Vedantic Hinduism, including Advaita Vedanta, based on the philosophical approach of the Upanishads. Yogic Hinduism the sect based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. "Dharmic" Hinduism or "daily morality", based on Karma and upon societal norms such as Vivāha. Bhakti or devotionalist practices In Hinduism, a sampradaya is a denomination; these are teaching traditions with autonomous practices and monastic centers, with a guru lineage, with ideas developed and transmitted and reviewed by each successive generation of followers. A particular guru lineage is called parampara. By receiving diksha into the parampara of a living guru, one belongs to its proper sampradaya. Vaishnavism is a devotional sect of Hinduism; as well as Vishnu himself, followers of the sect worship Vishnu's ten incarnations. The two most-worshipped incarnations of Vishnu are Krishna and Rama, whose stories are told in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana respectively; the adherents of this sect are non-ascetic and devoted to meditative practice and ecstatic chanting.
Vaishnavites are devotional. Their religion is rich in saints and scriptures; the Vaishnava sampradayas include: Ramanandi Sampradaya known as the Ramayat Sampradaya or the Ramavat Sampradaya adheres to the teachings of the Advaita scholar Ramananda. This is the largest monastic group within Hinduism and in Asia, these Vaishnava monks are known as Ramanandis, Vairagis or Bairagis. Vishistadvaita includes Udhava Sampradaya to which the Swaminarayan Sampradaya belongs, they adhere to the teachings of Vishistadvaita scholar Ramanuja. Srivaishnavism /Srivaishnava/Sri Sampradaya/Iyengar is associated with Lakshmi; the principal acharyas are Vedanta Desikan. Swaminarayan Hinduism or Swaminarayanism, based on the teachings of Swaminarayan. Brahma Sampradaya is associated with Vishnu, the Para-Brahma, not to be confused with the Brahma deity; the founder of this sampradaya was the Dvaita Vedanta philosopher Madhvacharya. Gaudiya Vaishnavism is associated with Brahma Sampradaya, is associated with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness belongs to this sampradaya. Krishnaism or Bhagavatism. Rudra Sampradaya; the principal acharya is Vallabhacharya. Kumara Sampradaya is the tradition associated with Four Kumaras; the principal acharya is Nimbarka, hence Nimbarka Sampradaya. Other Vaishnava schools and the principal teachers connected with them are: Manavala Mamunigal's sect is the oldest Vaishnava sect in India; this sampraday was followed by Vyasa, Bodhayana. The lineage of Acharya is Lord Narayana, next Lakshmi and Vishweksenar, Nathamuni, Manakal Nambi, Periya Nambi and Vedanta Desikan as per the Vadagalai sampradaya. Thenacharya Sampradaya Vaikhanasa Sampradaya; the principal acharya is Vaikhanasa. Ekasaranism or Asomiya Vaishnavism, adheres to the teachings of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Krishna Pranami Sampradaya, adheres to the teachings of Devachandra Maharaj. Varkari Sampradaya, teaching of bhakti s
Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism and Shaktism. Shakti is the concept or personification of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as "The Great Divine Mother" in Hinduism; as a mother, she is known as "Adi Shakti" or "Adi Parashakti". On the earthly plane, Shakti most manifests herself through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is present in males in its potential, unmanifest form. Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force. In Shaktism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is synonymously identified with Tripura Sundari or Parvati. David Kinsley mentions the "shakti" of Lord Indra's as Sachi. Indrani is part of a group of seven or eight mother goddesses called the Matrikas, who are considered shaktis of major Hindu gods.
The Shakti goddess is known as Amma in south India in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. There are many temples devoted to various incarnations of the Shakti goddess in most of the villages in South India; the rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the curer of diseases, the one who gives welfare to the village. They celebrate Shakti Jataras with great interest once a year; some examples of Shakti incarnations are Mahalakshmi, Parvati, Bhuvaneshwari, Meenakshi, Yellamma and Perantalamma. One of the oldest representations of the goddess in India is in a triangular form; the Baghor stone, found in a Paleolithic context in the Son River valley and dating to 9,000–8,000 years BCE, is considered an early example of a yantra. Kenoyer, part of the team that excavated the stone, considered that it was probable that the stone is associated with Shakti. Shaktism regards Devi as the Supreme Brahman itself with all other forms of divinity considered to be Her diverse manifestations.
In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Shaivism. However, practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. Shiva, the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered transcendent, Shiva's worship is secondary. From Devi-Mahatmya: By you this universe is borne, By you this world is created, Oh Devi, by you it is protected. From Shaktisangama Tantra: Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form. In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the world. There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to that of a woman. Adi Parashakti, whose material manifestation is Parvati and Tripura Sundari, is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power inherent in all Creation; this is prevalent in the Shakta denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess Devi in all her manifestations. Her human or Shakti Svarūpa, was married to Shiva, while her Gyān Svarūpa, weds Brahma and her Dhan Svarūpa, becomes the consort of Vishnu.
In the Smarta Advaita sect of Hinduism, Shakti is considered to be one of five equal personal forms of God in the panchadeva system advocated by Adi Shankara. According to some schools, there are four Adi Shakti Pitha and 51 Shakti centers of worship located in South Asia, they can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. These are called Shakti Peethas; the list of locations varies. A accepted list of Shakti Peethas and their temple complexes includes: Hinglaj Mataji Balochistan Jwalaji Tara Tarini Katyayani Bhadrakali Kamakhya Kali at Kalighat Naina Devi Temple Guhyeshwari Temple Devi Ambaji Vishalakshi Temple Chandranath Temple Other pithas in Maharashtra are: Tuljapur Kolhapur vani-Nashik Mahurgadh There are many ancient Shakti devotional songs and vibrational chants in the Hindu and Sikh traditions; the recitation of the Sanskrit mantras is used to call upon the Divine Mother. Kundalini-Shakti-Bhakti Mantra Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo! Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo!
Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo! Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo! Translation: Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee! All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee! That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee! Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!"Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune; this will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it... When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way; this is not a religion, it is a real