Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu appellations along with Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. It's also called Vishnuism since it considers Vishnu as the sole supreme being leading all other Hindu divinities, i.e. Mahavishnu. Its followers are called Vaishnavites or Vaishnavas, and it includessub-sects like Krishnaism and Ramaism, which consider Krishna and Rama as supreme beings independently. According to a 2010 estimate by Johnson and Grim, Vaishnavism is the largest Hindu side, constituting about 641 million or 67.6 of Hindus.
The ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear and astronomically hypothecated as a emulsion of colorful indigenousnon-Vedic persuasions with Vishnu. A junction of several popularnon-Vedic theistic traditions, particularly the Bhagavata religions of Vāsudeva- krishna and Gopala- Krishna, and Narayana, developed in the 7th to 4th century BCE. It was integrated with the Vedic God Vishnu in the early centuries CE and perfected as Vaishnavism, when it developed the icon doctrine, wherein the colorfulnon-Vedic divinities are deified as distinct embodiers of the supreme God Vishnu. Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Kalki, Hari, Vithoba, Venkateshvara, Shrinathji, and Jagannath are among the names of popular incorporations all seen as different aspects of the same supreme being.
The Vaishnavite tradition is known for the loving devotion to an icon of Vishnu( frequently Krishna), and as similar was crucial to the spread of the Bhakti movement in Indian key in the 2nd renaissance CE. It has four main orders of sampradayas( appellations,sub-schools) the medieval-period Vishishtadvaita academy of Ramanuja, the Dvaita academy( Tattvavada) of Madhvacharya, the Dvaitadvaita academy of Nimbarkacharya, and the Pushtimarg of Vallabhacharya. Ramananda( 14th century) created a Rama- acquainted movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia. crucial textbooks in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra( Agama) textbooks, Naalayira Divya Prabhandham, and the Bhagavata Purana.
Sri Vaishnavism is a major denotation within Vaishnavism that began in South India, espousing the prefix Sri as an homage to Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi. The Sri Vaishnava community consists of both Brahmans andnon-Brahmans. It was along with a larger Purana- grounded Brahamanical worshippers of Vishnu, andnon-Brahmanical groups who worshipped and also stuck bynon-Vishnu vill divinities. The Sri Vaishnavism movement grew with its social inclusiveness, where emotional devotion to the particular god( Vishnu) has been open without limitation to gender or estate.
The most striking difference between Sri Vaishnavas and other Vaishnava groups lies in their interpretation of Vedas. While other Vaishnava groups interpret Vedic divinities like Indra, Savitar, Bhaga, Rudra,etc. to be same as their Puranic counterparts, Sri Vaishnavas consider these to be different names places forms of Narayana, claiming that the entire Veda is devoted for Vishnu- deification alone. Sri Vaishnavas have recast Pancharatra homas like the Sudarshana homa to include Vedic Suktas in them, therefore giving them a Vedic outlook.( citation demanded)
Sri Vaishnavism developed in Tamilakam in the 10th century. It incorporated two different traditions, videlicet the tantric Pancaratra tradition, and the Puranic Vishnu deification of northern India with their abstract Vedantic theology, and the southern bhakti tradition of the Alvars of Tamil Nadu with their particular devotion. The tradition was innovated by Nathamuni( 10th century), who along with Yamunacharya, combined the two traditions and gave the tradition legality by drawing on the Alvars. Its most influential leader was Ramanuja( 1017- 1137), who developed the Vishistadvaita(" goodnon-dualism") gospel.( 261) Ramanuja challenged the also dominant Advaita Vedanta interpretation of the Upanishads and Vedas, by formulating the Vishishtadvaita gospel foundations for Sri Vaishnavism from Vedanta.
Sri Vaishnava includes the ritual and tabernacle life in the tantra traditions of Pancharatra, emotional devotion to Vishnu, and the reflective form bhakti, in the environment of householder social and religious duties. The tantric rituals refers to ways and textbooks recited during deification, and these include Sanskrit and Tamil textbooks in South Indian Sri Vaishnava tradition. According to Sri Vaishnavism theology, moksha can be reached by devotion and service to the Lord and detachment from the world. When moksha is reached, the cycle of reincarnation is broken and the soul is united with Vishnu after death, though maintaining their distinctions in Vaikuntha, Vishnu's residence. Moksha can also be reached by total rendition and saranagati, an act of grace by the Lord. Ramanuja's Sri Vaishnavism subscribes to videhamukti( emancipation in afterlife), in discrepancy to jivanmukti( emancipation in this life) set up in other traditions within Hinduism, similar as the Smarta and Shaiva traditions.
Two hundred times after Ramanuja, the Sri Vaishnava tradition resolve into the Vadakalai( northern art) and Tenkalai( southern art) sets. The Vadakalai regard the Vedas as the topmost source of religious authority, emphasising bhakti through devotion to tabernacle- icons, while the Tenkalai calculate more on Tamil Holy Writ and total rendition to God. The gospel of Sri Vaishnavism is stuck to and circulated by the Iyengar community.
Sadh Vaishnavism is a major denomination within Vaishnavism that originated in Karnataka, South India, adopting the prefix Sadh which means 'true'. Madhvacharya named his Vaishnavism as Sadh Vaishnavism in order to distinguish it from the Sri Vaishnavism of Ramanuja. Sadh Vaishnavism was founded by the thirteenth century philosopher Madhvacharya. It is a movement in Hinduism that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era. Philosophically, Sadh Vaishnavism is aligned with Dvaita Vedanta, and regards Madhvacharya as its founder or reformer. The tradition traces its roots to the ancient Vedas and Pancharatra texts. The Sadh Vaishnavism or Madhva Sampradaya is also referred to as the Brahma Sampradaya, referring to its traditional origins in the succession of spiritual masters (gurus) have originated from Brahma.
In Sadh Vaishnavism, the creator is superior to the creation, and hence moksha comes only from the grace of Vishnu, but not from effort alone. Compared to other Vaishnava schools which emphasize only on Bhakti, Sadh Vaishnavism regards Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya as necessary steps for moksha. So in Sadh Vaishnavism — Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga are equally important in order to attain liberation. The Haridasa movement, a bhakti movement originated from Karnataka is a sub-branch of Sadh Vaishnavism. Sadh Vaishnavism worships Vishnu as the highest Hindu deity and regards Madhva, whom they consider to be an incarnation of Vishnu's son, Vayu, as an incarnate saviour. Madhvism regards Vayu as Vishnu's agent in this world, and Hanuman, Bhima, and Madhvacharya to be his three incarnations; for this reason, the roles of Hanuman in the Ramayana and Bhima in the Mahabharata are emphasised, and Madhvacharya is particularly held in high esteem. Vayu is prominently shown by Madhva in countless texts.
The most striking difference between Sadh Vaishnavas and other Vaishnava groups lies in their interpretation of Vedas and their way of worship. While other Vaishnava groups deny the worship of Vedic deities such as Rudra, Indra etc., Sadh Vaishnavas worship all devatas including Lakshmi, Brahma, Vayu, Saraswati, Shiva (Rudra), Parvati, Indra, Subrahmanya and Ganesha as per "Taratamya". In fact, Madhvacharya in his Tantra Sara Sangraha clearly explained how to worship all devatas. In many of his works Madhvacharya also explained the Shiva Tattva, the procedure to worship Panchamukha Shiva (Rudra), the Panchakshari Mantra and even clearly explained why everyone should worship Shiva. Many prominent saints and scholars of Sadh Vaishnavism such as Vyasatirtha composed "Laghu Shiva Stuti", Narayana Panditacharya composed Shiva Stuti and Satyadharma Tirtha wrote a commentary on Sri Rudram (Namaka Chamaka) in praise of Shiva. Indologist B. N. K. Sharma says These are positive proofs of the fact that Madhvas are not bigots opposed to the worship of Shiva. Sharma says, Sadh Vaishnavism is more tolerant and accommodative of the worship of other gods such as Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Subrahmanya and others of the Hindu pantheon compared to other Vaishnava traditions. This is the reason why Kanaka Dasa though under the influence of Tathacharya in his early life did not subscribe wholly to the dogmas of Sri Vaishnavism against the worship of Shiva etc., and later became the disciple of Vyasatirtha.
The influence of Sadh Vaishnavism was most prominent on the Chaitanya school of Bengal Vaishnavism, whose devotees later started the devotional movement on the worship of Krishna as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) - known colloquially as the Hare Krishna Movement. It is stated that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1496–1534) was a disciple of Isvara Puri, who was a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, who was a disciple of Lakshmipati Tirtha, was a disciple of Vyasatirtha (1469–1539), of the Sadh Vaishnava Sampradaya of Madhvacharya. The Madhva school of thought also had a huge impact on Gujarat Vaishnava culture. The famous bhakti saint of Vallabha Sampradaya, Swami Haridas was a direct disciple of Purandara Dasa of Madhva Vaishnavism. Hence Sadh Vaishnavism also have some influence on Vallabha's Vaishnavism as well.
Gaudiya Vaishnavism, also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism and Hare Krishna, was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1533) in India. "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region (present day Bengal/Bangladesh) with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu or Krishna". Its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana.
The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (bhakti) of Radha and Krishna, and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, Svayam Bhagavan. Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna's holy names, such as "Hare", "Krishna" and "Rama", most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna (mantra), also known as kirtan. It sees the many forms of Vishnu or Krishna as expansions or incarnations of the one Supreme God, adipurusha.
After its decline in the 18-19th century, it was revived in the beginning of the 20th century due to the efforts of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. His son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura founded sixty-four Gaudiya Matha monasteries in India, Burma and Europe. Thakura's disciple Srila Prabhupada went to the west and spread Gaudiya Vaishnavism by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
The Manipuri Vaishnavism is a regional variant of Gaudiya Vaishnavism with a culture-forming role among the Meitei people in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur. There, after a short period of Ramaism penetration, Gaudiya Vaishnavism spread in the early 18th century, especially from beginning its second quarter. Raja Gharib Nawaz (Pamheiba) was initiated into the Chaitanya tradition. Most devotee ruler and propagandist of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, under the influence of Natottama Thakura's disciples, was raja Bhagyachandra, who has visited the holy for the Chaytanyaits Nabadwip.
The Warkari sampradaya is a non-Brahamanical bhakti tradition which worships Vithoba, also known as Vitthal, who is regarded as a form of Krishna/Vishnu. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai (a regional name of Krishna's wife Rukmini). The Warkari-tradition is geographically associated with the Indian state of Maharashtra.
The Warkari movement includes a duty-based approach towards life, emphasizing moral behavior and strict avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, the adoption of a strict lacto-vegetarian diet and fasting on Ekadashi day (twice a month), self-restraint (brahmacharya) during student life, equality and humanity for all rejecting discrimination based on the caste system or wealth, the reading of Hindu texts, the recitation of the Haripath every day and the regular practice of bhajan and kirtan. The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on the eleventh (Ekadashi) day of the lunar months" Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.
The Warkari poet-saints are known for their devotional lyrics, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Notable saints and gurus of the Warkaris include Jñāneśvar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath, and Tukaram, all of whom are accorded the title of Sant.
Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century. 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 even all of these at various times for various devotees.
source : wikipedia.org