Shuddhadvaita


Shuddhadvaita

Shuddadvaita (Sanskrit: IAST|śuddhādvaita; pure non-dualism ), also known as the IAST|Vallabhā sampradāya ("tradition of Vallabh") or IAST|Puśtimārg ("The path of grace"), is a Hindu Vaishnava tradition, established by Vallabhacharya in the fifteenth century. The tradition is focused on the worship of Krishna and preaches a pure form (nondualist) philosophy different from Advaita. The Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara, and compositions of eight poets ("IAST|aṣṭachap"), including Surdas, are central to the worship by the followers of the sect.Martin, Nancy M., "North Indian Hindi devotional literature" in Harvnb|Flood|2003|pp=182-198]

Though the tradition originated near Vrindavana in the current Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, in modern times followers of Shuddadvaita are concentrated in the states of Rajasthan and Gujurat.

Vallabhacharya

Vallabha was a Telugu brahmin from a region that is currently in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He won the title of acharya by traveling and debating advaita scholars from a young age. He is considered an avatar or Krishna's mouth ("IAST|mukhāvatāra") by the followers of the tradition.

In 1493-94 Vallabhacharya is said to have identified an image of Krishna at the Govardhan hill at Braj. This image, now called Shrinathji and located at Nathdwara, Rajasthan, is central to the worship by Vallabha followers. The bulk of his fame lies in the region that is currently in the state of Gujarat.

Initiating mantra

According to Vallabha tradition, one night in 1494, Vallabhacharya received the "Brahmasambandha mantra" (the mantra that binds one with Brahman, or Krishna) from Krishna himself (hence the name, IAST|mukhāvatāra) at Gokula. The eight-syllable mantra, "IAST|śri kṛṣṇaḥ śaraṇaṃ mama" (Lord Krishna is my refuge), is passed onto new initiates in Vallabh sampradaya, and the divine name is said to rid the recipient of all impurities of the soul (IAST|doṣas) .Harvnb|Beck|1993|pp=194-195] Colas, Gerard, "History of IAST|Vaiṣṇava traditions" in Harvnb|Flood|2003|pp=229-270]

Philosophy

The school of in-essence monism or purified non-dualism of Vallabha sees equality in "essence" of the individual self with God. There is no real difference between the two (like the analogy of sparks to fire). However, unlike Shankara's Advaita, Vallabha does not deny God as the whole and the individual as the part. The individual soul is not the Supreme (Satcitananda) clouded by the force of avidya, but is itself Brahman, with one attribute (ananda) rendered imperceptible. The soul is both a doer and enjoyer. It is atomic in size, but pervades the whole body through its essence of intelligence (like sandalwood makes its presence felt through its scent even if sandalwood can't be seen).

Unlike Advaita, the world of Maya is not regarded as unreal, since Maya is nothing else than a power of Ishvara. He is not only the creator of the universe but is the universe itself. Vallabha cites the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad account, that Brahman desired to become many, and he became the multitude of individual souls and the world. Although Brahman is not known, He is known when He manifests Himself through the world.

Bhakti is the means of salvation, though Jnana is also useful. Karmas precede knowledge of the Supreme, and are present even when this knowledge is gained. The liberated perform all karmas. The highest goal is not Mukti or liberation, but rather eternal service of Krishna and participation along with His activities in His Divine abode of Vrindavana. Vallabha distinguishes the transcendent consciousness of Brahman as Purushottama. Vallabha lays a great stress on a life of unqualified love and devotion towards God.

Everything is Krishna's Leela

According to the version of Vaishnava Theology Vallabhacharya espoused; the glorious Krishna in His "Satcitananda" form is the Absolute, Svayam bhagavan. He is permanently playing out His sport (leela) from His seat in the goloka which is even beyond the divine Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu and Satya-loka, the abode of Brahma the Creator, and Kailas, the abode of Shiva. Creation is His sport.

Path to bliss in the Kali Yuga

Followers of Vallabhacharya maintain that if one wants to obtain moksha and the bliss given by Krishna, the only path to do so is bhakti. In the Kali Yuga, it is believed that the forms of bhakti mentioned in the scriptures are nearly impossible to practice, so the followers of Vallabhacharya recommend "pushti bhakti" – obtaining the grace of God for seemingly no reason. This path is called "pushti-maarg".

Atma-nivedana

It is that bhakti which gives itself up body, heart and soul to the cause of God. It is considered to be the fullest expression of what is known as Atma-nivedana (= giving-up of oneself) among the nine forms of bhakti (Nava Vidha Bhakti). It is the bhakti of the devotee who worships God not for any reward or presents but for His own sake. Such a devotee goes to Goloka after leaving this body and lives in eternal bliss enjoying the sports of the Lord. The classical example of this complete self-effacement is that of the cow-herdesses towards Krishna. They spoke no word except prayer and they moved no step except towards Krishna. Their supreme-most meditation was on the lotus-feet of Krishna.Thus it is by God's grace alone that one can obtain release from bondage and attain Krishna's heaven, Goloka.

Ashta-chaap

Eight disciples of Vallabhacharya are called the ashta-chaap (eight reprints). Foremost among them was Surdas, the blind poet of Agra.

These are Surdas, Krushnadas, Paramanand, Kumbhandas, Chaturbhuj, Nanddas, Chhitswami, Govinddas.

Notes

References

*cite book
last=Beck
first = Guy L.
authorlink= Guy Beck
title=Sonic theology: Hinduism and sacred sound
publisher=University of South Carolina Press
location=Columbia, S.C
year=1993
pages=
isbn=0-87249-855-7

*Harvard reference
last=Flood
first=Gavin (Ed)
authorlink = Gavin Flood
year=2003
title=Blackwell companion to Hinduism
place=
publisher= Blackwell Publishing
edition=
isbn=0-631-21535-2

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