Vaishnavism is quite a vibrant religious sect among Hindus in India and abroad. They are worshippers of Vishnu, whom they regard as their Ishta Deva. Vaishnava literature mainly comprises puranas and epics like Vishnu purana, Bhagavat purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, etc. They refer to Vishnu as the transcendent Lord , dwelling in the highest heaven called Vaikunthdf situated at the top of cosmos egg. His devotees can reach there only after they are liberated from the vicious cycle of birth and death. The Lord not only dwells in Vaikunth, but also manifests in the world in three ways_ as incarnations, as icons or images  in temples or shrines, and within the heart of all beings. Lord is the Supreme person (purushottam ) with personal qualities (Saguna) rather than an Abstract Absolute (Nirguna)Lord is the Creator, preserver and Destroyer of the Cosmos.

Vaishnavism is strongly associated with the householder, with life in the world and with the ideology of kingship. It philosophises different types of devotional attitudes to the personal Absolute (Ishta Deva 0, such as relationship between a master and a servant, between two friends.

A number of Sampradayas associated with individual saints as their founders, having different philosophical ideas or theogy, developed in Vaishnavism during the medieval period. Sampradaya refers to a tradition into which a disciple is initiated by a Guru. With the initiation, a  disciple undertakes to abide by the values of that tradition. He or she may receive a new name and a Mantra Particularly sacred to  that tradition. The four main Sampradayas that evolved during the medieval period are as follows:

a)      Sri Vaishnava

b)      Madhava

c)      Vallabha

d)      Nimbarka


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