- People who worship Lord Vishnu are known as Vaishnavs, Bhagvat or Panchratra Mat.
- Mention of this cult was first found in the Ghosundi inscription of 2nd century B.C situated in Rajasthan.
- Under it, the two prominent sects are Nimark and Radha Vallabh.
- Worshipers of Lord Rama as deity are known as Ramanandi.
- Two major seats of it are situated at Nathdwara and Kota.
- There is a temple of Gaurang Mahaprabhu in Jaipur which is another sect of this cult.
- It was founded by Jagannath Ji.
- This sect preaches relation of the creation and God, idea of the salvation and action, guidance of the Guru, worshiping the formless God.
- Most of its followers belong to the Jat caste.
- There are 36 rules laid down by the cult which followers have to observe. Some of them are wearing a black woollen thread in the neck, underground Samadhi, conduct havan, show kindness towards all creatures, perform aarti of the God, chant devotional songs, take morning bath and lead an ascetic life.
- The followers organise ‘Ratrijagan’ where they stay awake whole night and perform Agni dance on burning coals.
- Popular saints of this sect are Lalnath Ji, Choknath Ji, and Swamidas Ji.
- It was founded by Rajput Jambho Ji.
- He has written a religious book called as Jambh Sagar, which consists of 29 teachings and 120 Shabdas.
- It is known as ‘Bishnoi’ because of the 29 (20+9) principles.
- They suggest maintaining one’s character, sense of satisfaction, speaking truth, observe fast on ‘Amavasya’ (no moon day), worship Lord Vishnu, never cut trees.
- It emphasizes on the moral virtues rather than practicing ostentation as done in Hindu and Islam religion.
- It was founded by Saint Dadu Dayal.
- His teachings are prescribed in book ‘Daduvani’ comprising 5000 verses.
- It is divided into two sects namely Naga and Nihang.
- The main seat of this cult is in Naraina near Dudu.
- They believe in the formless God similar to that of other Nirguns panthis.
- It preaches the followers to believe in inner-self, trust in God and Guru, lead simple life and love everyone.
- The followers have certain rules to follow like
- They have to remain unmarried but they can adopt children and turn them into disciple.
- They are supposed to live in outskirts to remain unaffected by the city life.
- There is no caste system and religious bounds. They can worship their deity anywhere.
- They beg alms to survive.
- The funeral of the dead body is not conducted and rather it is left outside for carnivorous to eat it away.
- They are not allowed to apply ‘Tilak’ on the forehead and wear rosary in the neck. They keep the rosary in the hand and keep chanting ‘Satyaram’.
- The cult was founded by the Saint Ramcharan.
- Here, the name Ram denotes to the Nirgun Nirankar Brahma, not Lord Rama.
- The seat is situated in the Shahpura (Bhilwara).
- Like other cults, it also teaches to worship Guru, morality, seek truth, stay disciplined and spread Guru-Vani through kirtan.
- The temple is known as Ramdwara which has a portrait of Guru in it.
- Ramdwaras can be found in the Singhthal and Khedpa in Bikaner, Rein in Nagaur, and Shahpura in Bhilwara.
- Followers abide by certain principles:
- Idol worship is prohibited.
- They survive on alms leading austere life.
- They wear loin instead of clothes and cover themselves with chadar (a piece of cloth).
- They also adopt a child to make him disciple.
- They eat only vegetarian food.
- Unlike mantra and sacred books, they only have teachings and kirtan to worship God.
- It is a branch of Vaishanav cult which was established by Nathmuni.
- The main follower of this cult was the royal family of Jodhpur.
- It was formed to replace Shakt cult which was vilified because of the witchcraft practices and lewd character of the Siddhas.
- Various saints of this cult were Navnath, Nagnath, Gorakhnath, Karinnath, Charpathanath, Gahininath, Revannath, Jwalendranath, Bhartnath, and Gopichandra Nath.
- Gorakhnanth of this cult invented the ‘Hathyoga’ system. It helps the human being to purify his or her body by performing certain physical and religious acts with great concentration of mind.
- It is also known as Chaitanya cult and Achintya Bhedabhedvad.
- It was founded by Gaurang Mahaprabhu Chaitanya.
- Raja Man Singh -I met people of this cult in Vrindavan and got influenced and thus built the Govind Dev Ji temple in 1593.
- The idol of Govind Dev ji was later brought to Jaipur under the supervision of Roop Goswami who was a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
- Govind Dev ji is regarded as Deewan of Jaipur kingdom.
- Another name for thismajor vaishnav cult is Sanakadi cult.
- It was founded by Nimbark Acharya.
- The four manas sons Sanak, Sanandan, Sanatan and Sanat Kumar were born to Lord Brahma. These four are regarded as teachers of this cult.
- Parshuram Ji propagated this cult by composing an epic called ‘Parshuram Sagar’.
- This cult view Radha as wife of Lord Krishna and thus worship them together as a couple.
- The principal seat for this cult is located in Salemabad in Kishangarh and Udaipur of Rajasthan.
- It was founded by Ramanuj who wrote Shri-Bhashya and Vishishta-Adwaita in 12th century.
- During 16th century, wave of Rama Bhakti was promoted by Ramanand’s disciple Keelha Das in Jaipur.
- It is similar to Krishna Bhakti where Lord Rama is worshiped as lover chief.
- The principal seat of this cult is located at Shahpura in Bhilwara and Galata ji (Jaipur).
VALLABH CULT (KRISHNA BHAKTI)
- Vallabhacharya founded this cult.
- He made commentaries on Prakhyantrayi and Vedantsutra.
- Shuddhadwait, a philosophical doctrine written by him says that Path of Vallabh is path of worship.
- According to it, Bhakti (worship) is superior to Gyaan (knowledge) and it the end rather than means. A real devote must not desire for salvation but companion of Lord Krishna.
- Pushti is used for the grace of the God.
- Lord is worshipped eight number of times in a day.
- ‘Shri Krishna Sharnama Mama’ is the core mantra of this cult.
- When Aurangzeb attacked Indian temples, Goswami Damodar Ji and Govind Ji brought the idol of lord Srinath Ji from Govardhan (Giriraj ji) to a place called Sehad in Rajasthan. Today it is known as Nathdwara and is regarded as principal seat of this cult.
- There are seven temples under this sect which represents seven appearances of Lord Krishna. They are as follows:
- Vitthalnath Ji– Nathdwara (Rajsamand)
- Dwarkadhish Ji – Kankroli (Rajsamanad)
- Mathuresh Ji – Kota
- Gokulchandra Ji – Kanga (Bharatpur)
- Madanmohan Ji – Karoli
- Balakrishna Ji – Surat (Gujarat)
- Gokulnath Ji – (Uttar Pradesh)
- Acharya Vallabh’s son Vitthalnath, also known as Gusain, was a prominent poet as he established Ashtchhap Kavi Mandal with Surdas ji.
- Temples are called as Haveli Sthapatya in this cult and their music is called as Haveli Sangeet.
- It is mentioned in Rigveda in form of Rudra.
- The cult followers worship Lord Shiva as God.
- It was popular during the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata and got name ‘Maheshwar’.
- It was founded by Acharya Lakuleesh.
- The sages in the cult take bath and worship Ekling ji thrice a day, remains unmarried, wears loin and wooden footwear called ‘khadaun’ and keep a cudgel along with them.
- They worship Shiva in Linga form.
- Udaipur’s royal family is the major follower of this cult.
- It was founded by Ramanand who was the teacher of Saint Kabir.
- The followers are known as Kabirpanthis who believe in formless God.
- They live an ascetic life.
- They discard any social class or caste and oppose social evils such as untouchability
- This cult believes and worship shakti which means power of female deity.
- It also has mention in the scriptures.
- It is further divided into Dakshinachar and Vamachar.
- Many royal families worship female deities. Such as:
- Amber (Jaipur)– Shiladevi
- Bikaner – Karni Mata of Deshnok
- Sisodia Rulers – Nagnechi Mata
- Kachchawaha Rulers – Annapurna Mata
- A person called Laldasi of Mev caste founded this cult.
- It emphasis on unity of Hindu-Muslim and moral code of conduct. It opposes any orthodox belief.
- The teaching principles of this cult are given in a volume called ‘Vaani’.
- The principal seat of the cult is in Nagla, Bharatpur.
- People of this cult are usually found in Alwar and Bharatpur region.
- They are allowed to own a family and worship lord Ram.
- The founder Pran Nath originated this cult in Jamnagar of Gujarat.
- They worship Lord Krishna as their deity as formless God.
- All the teachings are mentioned in the sacred book called as ‘Kuljam Swaroop’.
- The principal seat is situated in Panna (Madhya Pradesh).
- There is a colony and a temple of Parnamis in Jaipur.