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Kumara Sampradaya

Shankha-Chakra-Urdhvapundra of the Nimbarka Sampradaya
Shankha-Chakra-Urdhvapundra of the Nimbarka Sampradaya
Regions with significant populations
India & Nepal
Sanskrit , Hindi , Brajbhasha

The Kumāra Sampradāya, also known as the Hamsa Sampradāya, Nimbārka Sampradāya, Catuḥ Sana Sampradāya and Sanakādi Sampradāya, is one of the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas. It was founded by Nimbarka (c.7th century CE), a disciple of the Four Kumaras, and teaches the Vaishnava theology of Dvaitadvaita (dvaita-advaita), or "dualistic non-dualism." Dvaitadvaita states that humans are both different and non-different from Isvara, God or Supreme Being, and is also known as Bhedābheda (bheda-abheda) philosophy.

Guru Parampara

Śrī Haṃsa Bhagavān, the originator of the Śrī Nimbārka Sampradāya.

According to tradition, the Nimbarka Sampradaya Dvaita-advaita philosophy was revealed by Śrī Hansa Bhagavān to Sri Sankadi bhagwan, one of the Four Kumaras; who passed it to Sri Narada Muni; and then on to Nimbarka. The Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana, and Sanat Kumāra, are traditionally regarded as the four mind-born sons of Lord Brahmā. They were created by Brahmā in order to advance creation, but chose to undertake lifelong vows of celibacy (brahmacarya), becoming renowned yogis who requested from Brahma the boon of remaining perpetually five years old.[web 1] Śrī Sanat Kumāra Samhitā, a treatise on the worship of Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, is attributed to the brothers, just like the Śrī Sanat Kumāra Tantra, which is part of the Pancarātra literature.[1]

In the creation-myth of this universe, as narrated by the Paurāṇika literature, Śrī Nārada Muni is the younger brother of the Four Kumāras, who took initiation from his older brothers. Their discussions as guru and disciple are recorded in the Upaniṣads, with a famous conversation in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, and in the Śrī Nārada Purāṇa and the Pañcarātra literature.

Nārada Muni is recorded as main teacher in all four of the Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas. According to tradition, he initiated Śrī Nimbārkācārya into the sacred 18-syllabled Śrī Gopāla Mantra, and introduced him to the philosophy of the Yugala upāsana, the devotional worship of the divine couple Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa. According to tradition, this was the first time that Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa were worshipped together by anyone on Earth other than the Gopis of Vṛndāvana. Śrī Nārada Muni then taught Nimbarka the essence of devotional service in the Śrī Nārada Bhakti Sūtras.[2] Śrī Nimbārkācārya already knew the Vedas, Upaniṣads, and the rest of the scriptures, but perfection was found in the teachings of Śrī Nārada Muni.[3] Nimbarka is mentioned as the incarnation of Śudarśana, Lord Viṣṇu's disc weapon, by his disciple Śrīnivāsa in his commentary on Nimbarka's Vedānta-pārijāta-saurabha.[4]

The list of Gurus

The 17th century work Bhakti-ratnākara [5] by Narahari Cakravarti mentions the list of Gurus starting from the Narayana all the way to Kesava Kasmiri (15th Century) as follows:

  1. Śrī Nārāyaṇa
  2. Haṁsa
  3. Sanakādi (Catuḥ sana)
  4. Nārada Muni
  5. Nimbāditya
  6. Śrīnivāsa
  7. Śrī Viśvācārya
  8. Śrī Puruṣottamācārya
  9. Śrī Vilāsācārya
  10. Śrī Svarūpa Ācārya
  11. Śrī Mādhavācārya
  12. Śrīmad Balabhadrācārya
  13. Ācārya Gopāla
  14. Kṛpācārya
  15. Devācārya
  16. Śrī Sundara Bhaṭṭa
  17. Śrīmad Padmanābha Bhaṭṭa
  18. Upendra Bhaṭṭa
  19. Rāmacandra Bhaṭṭa
  20. Śrī Bhaṭṭa Vāmana
  21. Kṛṣṇa Bhaṭṭa
  22. Padmākāra Bhaṭṭa
  23. Bhaṭṭa Śrīśravaṇa
  24. Bhūribhaṭṭa
  25. Śrī Mādhava
  26. Śyāma Bhaṭṭa
  27. Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa
  28. Balabhadra Bhaṭṭa
  29. Gopīnātha Bhaṭṭa
  30. Śrī Keśava Bhaṭṭa
  31. Śrī Gokula Bhaṭṭa
  32. Keśava Kaśmīrī

Nimbarka Sampradaya Devacāryas

Svāmī Harivyāsa Devacārya (c.1470-1540 CE)

Svāmī Harivyāsa Devacārya (c.1470-1540 CE), the 35th leader, reformed the tradition. He was given the śālagrāma deity known as Śrī Sarveśvara that was handed down through time it is believed from Nimbārka himself. He anointed twelve of his senior disciples to lead missions throughout the land. The most famous are Svāmī Paraśurāma Devācārya (c.1525-1610 CE) and Svāmī Svabhūrāma Devācārya (fl. 16th century).[6]

Svāmī Svabhūrāma Devācārya (fl.16th century CE)

Svāmī Svabhūrāma Devācārya (fl.16th century CE) was born in Budhiya Village, outside Jagadhri and Yamunanagar near Kurukshetra in modern Haryana, India. He established over 52 temples in Punjab, Haryana, and Vraja during his lifetime; his current followers are found mostly in Vṛndāvana, Haryana, Punjab, Bengal, Rajasthan, Orissa, Assam, Sikkim, Bihar, other regions in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and also in significant numbers in Nepal.

In his sub-lineage, there are many branches. Notable saints of this sub-branch include:

  • Saint Swami Chatur Chintamani Nagaji Maharaj, who started the Vraja Parikrama. This tradition has been continuously maintained over 528 years by the Acharyas of the Svabhurāma-Dwara (sub-lineage).
  • Swami Sri Ramdas Kathiababa came to Vrindavan and made his first monastery there. He was succeeded by Swami Santadas Kathiababa and Swami Dhananjaya Das Kathia Babaji Maharaj. Swami Dhananjaya Das Kathia Babaji built several ashrams. This branch is currently led by Swami Rash Bihari Das Kathia Baba at Sri Kathia Baba Ka Sthan, Sridham Vrindavan, India. This ashram is known as the Gurugadi, or seat of the Guru, of this sub-branch. The present Acharya Swami Rash Bihari Dasji Kathia Baba has constructed 20 new temples and monasteries in India and abroad.
  • Swami Brindaban Bihari Das Mahanta Maharaj at Kathia Baba ka Ashram, Shivala, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and Sukhchar, 24-Parganas (North), West Bengal, who has undertaken projects for orphans and aged persons, building schools and elderly care homes. He travels relentlessly to spread Nimbarka Philosophy through world religion conferences held in US, UK, Sweden, Africa, Bangladesh and other different countries across the globe.
  • The Sukhchar Kathiababar Ashram was originally established by Swami Dhananjaydas Kathiababa and is presently headed by Swami Brindabanbiharidas Mahanta Maharaj.

Svāmī Haripriyā Śaraṇa Devācārya (19th century)

The famous teacher and leader Svāmī Haripriyā Śaraṇa Devācārya, founded the temple and monastery at Bihari Ji Ka Bageecha, Vṛndāvana, sponsored by his disciple, the philanthropic Shri Hargulal Beriwala and the Beriwala Trust in the 19th century.

Svāmī Lalitā Śaraṇa Devācārya (20th century)

The predecessor of the current successor was Svāmī Lalitā Śaraṇa Devācārya, who died in July 2005 at the age of 103. One of his other disciples is the world-renowned Svāmī Gopāla Śaraṇa Devācārya, who has founded the Monastery and temple known as the Shri Golok Dham Ashram in New Delhi and Vṛndāvana. He has also helped ordinary Hindus who are not Vaiṣṇava to establish temples overseas. Of note are the Glasgow Hindu Mandir, Scotland, UK: the Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Mandir, Bradford, UK; and the Valley Hindu Temple, Northridge, CA. He has also facilitated major festivals at the Hindu Sabha Mandir in Brampton, Canada.

Svāmī Rādhā Śarveshavara Śaraṇa Devācārya (21st century)

The 48th leader of the Nimbārka Sampradāya is H.D.H. Jagadguru Nimbārkācārya Svāmī Śrī Rādhā Śarveshavara Śaraṇa Devācārya, known in reverence as Śrī Śrījī Māhārāja by his followers. His followers are mainly in Rajasthan and Vṛndāvana, Mathura. He established the Mandir at the birth site of Śrī Nimbārkācārya in Mungi Village, Paithan, Maharashtra in 2005. In addition, he oversees the maintenance of thousands of temples, hundreds of monasteries, schools, hospitals, orphanages, cow-shelters, environmental projects, memorial shrines, etc., and arranges various scholarly conventions, religious conferences, medical camps & outreach, etc.

Śrī Śrījī Māhārāja (present)

The 49th and current leader of the entire Nimbārka Sampradāya is H.D.H. Jagadguru Nimbārkācārya Svāmī Śrī Shyām Śaraṇa Devācārya, known in reverence as Śrī Śrījī Māhārāja by his followers. He is based in Nimbārka Tīrtha Rajasthan, India. He is the current leader of the Sampradāya, who worships the śālagrāma deity known as Śrī Sarveśvara. His followers are mainly in Rajasthan and Vṛndāvana, Mathura.

See also


  1. ^ Sri Sarvesvara 1972.
  2. ^ Nārada-bhakti-sūtra: The secrets of transcendental love. Bhaktivednta Book Trust Publications. 1991. p. 7. ISBN 9789383095124.
  3. ^ Beck 2005.
  4. ^ Chaudari, Rome (2004). Vedānta-pārijāta-saurabha of Nimbārka and Vedānta-kaustubha of Śrīnivāsa: Commentaries on the Brahma-sutras. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 9788121511216.
  5. ^ Dasa, Kushakratha (2006). Bhakti-ratnākara. Ras Bihari Lal and Sons. ISBN 978-8184030006.
  6. ^ Ramnarace, V. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's Vedāntic Debut: Chronology and Rationalisation in the Nimbārka Sampradāya, doctoral thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2015, chapters 5-6


Printed sources
  1. ^ "Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 3.12". Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2012.

External links