Shankha-Chakra-Urdhvapundra of the Nimbarka Sampradaya
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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.
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.
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. Śrī Nimbārkācārya already knew the Vedas, Upaniṣads, and the rest of the scriptures, but perfection was found in the teachings of Śrī Nārada Muni. 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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.