Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hindu Sects of Today - 02 - Vaishanavism


Among Vaishnavism there are and have been many sub-sects. In some cases there is a lot of difference between the sects (especially in South India) whereas in others the difference is in form and not in spirit.

1. Vasudevism - The oldest among the Vaishnava sects. It had aquired porper shape by the time of the Bhagavad Gita. However, today there are no pure Vasudeva followers - at least I have not heard of any pure Vasudevites.

2. Krishna-ism - Which deals with the marvellous deeds of boy Krishna as well as adult Krishna

3. Iyengars - Or followers of Vishistadvaita in south India, especially Tamil Nadu. They again come in two varities - the Tenkalais and the Vadakalais, depending on the acceptance of the Azhwar doctrines along with the Vaidik doctrines.

4. Radha-ism - As propagated by Nimbarka up north

5. Madhvas - The followers of Dvaita as expounded by Madhvacharya and found mostly in Karnataka

6. Rama-ism - As expounded by Ramananda and later by Kabir in his monotheistic doctrine

7. Narayana-ites - Families like ours where shrI nArAyaNa is conceptualized as the abstract nirguNa brahman and worshipped as Shaligram Shila

8. Radha-Krishna-ism - Vallabha and Chaitanya


  1. Really laudable work sir, the precision & thorough research involved in writing these articles is truly commendable.

    However, I would like to point to the fact that still Vasudevism does exist in Sri Vaishnav Vishishtadvaitavaad in the form of the Pancharatric doctrine of Vyuhas, the foremost among which is Vasudeva(or Paravasudeva). In fact, Sri Vaishnavism has till date retained & nurtured every Hindu theological doctrine that is essentially "Vaishnav" by nature(including the worship of Sriman Narayana/Maha-Vishnu as Parabrahma) as opposed to the newfangled latter day Puran-centric Krishnaism and Ramaism which, although claiming the label of "Vaishnavism", actually view Vishnu as a separate and inferior demigod-like(mere "devata") entity arising from and eternally depending on Sri Krishna or Sri Ramchandra.

    1. Hi Debanjon,

      Thank you for the information on Vasudevism. I am glad that you enjoyed the writing.

      Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay