The purpose of this web site is to explain and elucidate on the principles and the philosophy of the Nimbarka Sampradaya. Nimbarka sampradaya is one of the oldest sects of Vaishnavs. The term Vaishnava means the one who worships Lord Vishnu or any of his forms (Sri Ramchandra, Sri Krishna). Vishnu means the one who is permeated in the whole universe or the one who is omnipresent. The worshipers of Lord Vishnu are called Vaishnava. In the sadhu samaj they are also referred by the name Bairaagi. They are Nivritti Margis.The spiritual path which leads to self realisation frees the soul from the bondage of the material world is called – Nivritti Marg. According to the philosophical percepts of the Sanatana Dharma, God has created two pathways for the individual soul (Jivatma or Jiva), 1) Pravritti Marg, 2) Nivritti Marg. The Jiva who is motivated to do good deeds by the expectation of some sort of worldly or heavenly rewards is the one who is called a Pravritti Margi. Let me explain by an example.

There are people who desist from harming another being because they believe that by doing so they will suffer in the afterlife. A bad deed will beget pain and suffering in the next life or after life. This fear acts as a motivation for them and they refrain from sin or bad deeds. On the other hand, there are people who do virtuous deeds because they believe that those acts will bring them good rewards in the next life or the afterlife. All their philanthropy and other good deeds are motivated by the expectation of rewards, whether in this life or the afterlife it really does not matter. The expectation of fame as a reward consequence for a virtuous deed is also a strong motivating factor in the performance of good deeds. Heavenly reward is another powerful motivating factor for these people. The basic principle here is that the Jivatma who does his or her karma while being motivated by fear or reward in this life or the afterlife is called a Pravritti Margi.

On the other hand there are people who do not desire any worldly or heavenly reward for their good deeds. They perform their karma as instructed by the scriptures a duty. They realize that the sense gratification and the trappings of the material world are a bondage for the Jivatma and the highest duty of a human being is to free himself or herself from this bondage. They seek the refuge of a sadguru and practice the spiritual teachings of the guru in order to reach the goal of self-realisation. These individuals are called Nivritti Margis. They realize that the rewards of the material world are ephemeral and short lived. They are indifferent to these trappings of the material world and their aim is to attain Mukti or Moksha. The sadhus of the Vaishnava tradition are known as Bairagi and the sadhus of the Shankaracharya tradition are known as Sanyaasi. Traditionally all those who have been initiated into sanyaas ashrama are known as Sanyaasi. However, when the term Bairagi is used it generally refers to as a sadhu of the Vaishnava tradition and when the term Sanyaasi is used it refers to a sadhu of the Shankara school. Both are Nivritti Margi sadhus. Now let us understand about sampradaya in general with a special focus on the Nimbarka Sampradaya in particular.

सम्यक्प्रदीयते गुरुणा यत्र ज्ञानं स सम्प्रदायः।  which in essence means that, Sampradaya denotes a community or a group of people bound together by a unique philosophy or ideology. When used in conjunction with a spiritual context it usually connotes a group where spiritual knowledge is imparted by a sadguru through the guru-shishya tradition and the members of the group are instructed in the path to salvation or as we call it – Mukti or Moksha. It should be remembered that Mukti or Moksha cannot be achieved without receiving the grace of a sadguru. Anyone can perform penance by meditating on a mantra learned from books or scriptures however, if the mantra has not been physically received from a guru, it will not lead to salvation. Irrespective of the inherent power of the mantra, it will only come to fruition when it is passed on groom a guru to the disciple. It is this tradition which is the bedrock of any sampradaya.  The goal of the any sampradaya is to remove the obstacles like anger, desire, greed, jealousy etc from the mind of the seeker and guide him onto the path of realisation of God.

There are four sects of VaishnavsSri Sampradaya, Brahmn sampradaya, Rudra sampradaya, and Chatuhsan sampradaya. This Chatuhsan sampradaya is now known as Nimbarka sampradaya. It was earlier known as Hamsa sampradaya, and was named after the first preceptor of the sampradaya Sri Hamsa Bhagwaan. Later it came to be known as Chatuhsan sampradaya. This name is derived from the second preceptors of the sampradaya, namely -the four saints collectively known as Sanakadi Rishi. Their individual names are – Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatan, and Sanatkumar. However, the sampradaya derives its present name from the fourth preceptor Sri Nimbarka Bhagwaan. A brief history of the Nimbarka sampradaya is attempted in the following posts.

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