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Question :
What is a Sampradaya?
Category Hinduism Interview Questions
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Added on 3/18/2008
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Answers:

A Sampradaya is the name given to a Spiritual succession or lineage within a particular Hindu denomination.

To recieve initiation (Diksha) into a Parampara or Guru lineage allows one to be officially made a member of that Sampradaya to which his or her guru lineage belongs.

Each Sampradaya has its own spiritual lineage, philosophy, monastic communities, literature, pilgrimage places and temples etc although sharing a wealth of heritage, culture and belief with other schools which under a Sect they find their greater expression of tradition and ideologies.
In order to help elucidate the concept of Sampradaya there are four main denominations within the Hindu Religion:

Vaishnavism - who worship the Supreme God as Vishnu (also called Narayana)

Shaivism - who worship the Supreme God as Lord Shiva (also spelt Siva)

Saktism - who worship the Supreme as the Divine Mother, Sakti or Devi.

Smartism - Liberal Hindus who worship all other Hindu Gods as valid manifestations of the Divine.

Within each denomination there are numerous sub-sects or schools called Sampradayas.


Within Vaishnavism these Sampradayas include:

Sri Vaishnavism Sampradaya - Whose members adhere to the teachings and lineage of Ramanuja

Dvaita or Brahma Sampradaya - who follow Madhva

Ramanandi Sampradaya - Who follow Ramananda

Sri Swaminarayan Sampradaya - who follow Swaminarayan

Pushtimarg Sampradaya (Rudra Sampradaya) - who follow Vallabhacharya

Kumara Sampradaya - who follow Nimbaraka

Gaudiya Vaishnavism (which includes the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or Hare Krishna Movement) - follow Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Mahapuruxiya Dharma (Asomiya Vaishnavism) - follow Srimata Sankaradev

Krishna Pranami Sampradaya - follow Devachandra Maharaj


Within Shaivism these are six main schools or Sampradayas:

Saiva Siddhanta - follow Tirmular (Sundaranatha) or Meykanadev depending upon the specific school ie Nandinatha Sampradaya (Monistic school) and Meykandar Sampradaya (Dualistic school).

Adinath Sampradaya (Siddha Sampradaya) - follow Gorakhnath and Matsyendranath

Siva Advaita - follow Nilakantha and Appayya Dikshitar

Kashmir Shaivism - follow Vasugupta and his disciplic lineage

Pasupata Shaivism (Pasupatism)- follow Lakulisa

Veera Shaivism (Vira Shavism)- follow Basavanna


Within Saktism and Smartism there are numerous sects, organisations and groups throughout the world although not officially reffered to as Sampradayas.



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