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Thread: Vaishnava

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    Vaishnava

    Is there a clear definition for the label of Vaishnava? The standard definition of "Worshipper of Vishnu" appears to be incomplete as Smarthas who worship Krishna/Vishnu are not usually counted among Vaishnavas. So is there more to it - such as accepting a hierarchy which puts Hari/Narayana on the top?

    Backing up, is there consensus on the definition or is that controversial too?

    Thanks
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    Re: Vaishnava

    Namaste shiv.somashekhar

    A good definition of vaishnava could be one who belongs to one of the five main vaishnava sampradayas:


    Pranama,
    Bhakta Orlando.

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Namaste

    Quote Originally Posted by shiv.somashekhar View Post
    Is there a clear definition for the label of Vaishnava? The standard definition of "Worshipper of Vishnu" appears to be incomplete as Smarthas who worship Krishna/Vishnu are not usually counted among Vaishnavas. So is there more to it - such as accepting a hierarchy which puts Hari/Narayana on the top?

    Backing up, is there consensus on the definition or is that controversial too?

    Thanks
    I do not know whether the definition of "Vaishnava" is controversial or not, but I can give you a description of the term from Vaishnava point of view.

    First of all a Vaishnava means that one should have an idea of the Supreme or Brahman as the Supreme Person or Supreme God and not as something impersonal.
    There are also advaitins who would say that they are also vaishnavas because they think that to be a vaishnava simply means to be a worshiper of Lord Vishnu. However none of the Vaishnava sampradayas would agree that advaitins are true vaishnavas. Genuine vaishnava would never think that Lord Vishnu is a manifestation of maya or illusion, but rather he would think that Lord Vishnu as Supreme Lord or Supreme Person is the Supreme Brahman and ultimate truth or reality. Truth or reality is quite the opposite to illusion.
    True vaishnava would never want to merge into the Lord and thus become one with Him. This is said in the scriptures. See Bhāgavatam 3.25.34 ( http://vedabase.net/sb/3/25/34/ ):

    "A pure devotee, who is attached to the activities of devotional service and who always engages in the service of My lotus feet, never desires to become one with Me."

    A goal of a Vaishnava is not something impersonal, impersonal Brahman, but a person of Lord Vishnu.

    To be a Vaishnava means to be a devotee of Lord Vishnu or some of his personal forms known as Krishna, Narayana, Rama, Balarama, Narasimha etc.
    Further on to be a Vaishnava does not mean to be just "a worshiper" but a person totally dedicated to the Lord with bhakti. True vaishnava is rendering bhakti to the Lord according to the descriptions given in the scriptures. Bhakti that is performed contrary to the descriptions given in the scriptures is not credible. There are many descriptions in the scriptures how to perform bhakti. There is even a group of scriptures called Vaishnava Puranas dedicated to these topics.

    regards

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Quote Originally Posted by shiv.somashekhar View Post
    Is there a clear definition for the label of Vaishnava? The standard definition of "Worshipper of Vishnu" appears to be incomplete as Smarthas who worship Krishna/Vishnu are not usually counted among Vaishnavas. So is there more to it - such as accepting a hierarchy which puts Hari/Narayana on the top?

    Backing up, is there consensus on the definition or is that controversial too?

    Thanks
    Well, is there a consensus definition of "smArtha?" Technically, a "smArtha" is merely one who follows smRiti, and yet while most vaiShNavas follow smRiti, they are not called as smArthas.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Vannakkam: I would be incredibly surprised if a definition suitable to all would come out of any discussion.

    I do know there is a difference between a Vaishnava, and a Smarta with Vishnu as his ishta. I have net both.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Vaishnava

    A Vaishnava is one who accepts Vishnu/Krishna/Rama as the supreme among deities.

    If "Smarthas" are discounted from being Vaishnavas, it is most probably because they do not worship Him as supreme but tend to equate other deities as equal to Him.

    I have specifically heard some Sri Vaishnava scholars referring to Sri Adi Shankara as a Vaishnava and so Advaitis, too, can fall in this category if they regard Vishnu as the supreme among worshippable.

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Vannakkam: In my experience, I've more often hear Sankara portrayed as a Saivite, even as an avatar of Siva, most likely because of the ash.

    I think Smartas can generally be a 'Saiva' or a 'Vaishnava' or a 'Shakta' all depending on the moment.

    Sort of like the hired car drivers of India, who switch religions based on the faith of the passenger.

    I experienced a Smarta priest once, (we didn't know) who we'd invited to do a major festival for us. All went well until right before the final aarti, when he suddenly stopped and gave us all a personalised lesson on Vedanta that lasted nearly an hour. The entire shakti that had been built up by the devotees to that moment dissipated. Great fun.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Pranam



    Are there any references in the Puranas or Ithihas ?
    I would be interested if there was any.

    I guess such tags, as Vasihnava Shaiva, Sakta became prominent in medieval period or perhaps during Bhakti renascence
    traditionally i would like to think, it was all varnasharam and such tags, perhaps were not so important as people progressed from brahmachari to grahast to vanasprasat to Sanyas.


    So who is Vaisnava? Narsinh Mehta 15th century bhakta of Lord Krishna wrote poem in which he describes who truly is Vaishnava.

    Lyrics of the bhajan:

    Gujarati
    વૈષ્ણવ જન તો તેને કહિયે, જે પીડ પરાયી જાણે રે
    પર દુ:ખે ઉપકાર કરે તોયે, મન અભિમાન ન આણે રે. ॥ધૃ॥

    સકળ લોકમાં સહુને વંદે, નિંદા ન કરે કેની રે
    વાચ કાછ મન નિશ્છળ રાખે ધન ધન જનની તેની રે. ॥૧॥

    સમદૃષ્ટિ ને તૃષ્ણા ત્યાગી પરસ્ત્રી જેને માત રે
    જિહ્વા થકી અસત્ય ન બોલે પરધન નવ ઝાલે હાથ રે. ॥૨॥

    મોહ માયા વ્યાપે નહિ જેને દૃઢ વૈરાગ્ય જેના મનમાં રે
    રામ નામ શુ તાળી રે લાગી સકળ તીરથ તેના તનમાં રે. ॥૩॥

    વણ લોભી ને કપટ રહિત છે, કામ ક્રોધ નિવાર્યાં રે
    ભણે નરસૈયો તેનું દર્શન કરતાં કુળ એકોતેર તાર્યાં રે. ॥૪॥

    One who is a Vaishnav (one who is a devotee of Vishnu)
    Knows the pain of others
    Does good to others, especially to those ones who are in misery
    Does not let pride enter his mind

    A Vaishnav, Tolerates and praises the the entire world
    Does not say bad things about anyone
    Keeps his/her words, actions and thoughts pure
    O Vaishnav, your mother is blessed

    A Vaishnav sees everything equally, rejects greed and avarice
    Considers some one else's wife/daughter as his mother
    The toungue may get tired, but will never speak lies
    Does not even touch someone else's property

    A Vaishnav does not succumb to worldly attachments
    Who has devoted himself to staunch detachment to worldly pleasures
    Who has been addicted to the elixir coming by the name of Ram
    For whom all the religious sites are in the mind

    Who has no greed and deceit
    Who has renounced lust of all types and anger
    The poet Narsi will like to see such a person
    By who's virtue, the entire family gets salvation

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oatagIyRz0g

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Quote Originally Posted by orlando View Post
    Namaste shiv.somashekhar

    A good definition of vaishnava could be one who belongs to one of the five main vaishnava sampradayas:
    This is a bad definition of a Vaishnava in the same way that defining smartha as a follower of Shankaracharya is inaccurate. This is like saying that Hinduism didn't exist before medieval times. Before these five sampradayas became popular there were many other groups of Vaishnavas, like the vaikhanasa etc.
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 07 April 2013 at 01:17 PM.

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    Re: Vaishnava

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganeshprasad View Post
    Pranam

    Are there any references in the Puranas or Ithihas ?
    I would be interested if there was any.

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Yes, there are references in the Purana about who is a vaishnava and the definition is somewhat similar to the bhajan you have quoted.

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