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Vaishnavism

From Academic Kids

Vaishnavism is the branch of Hinduism in which Vishnu or one of his avatars (Catursana, Narad, Varaha, Matsya, Yajna, Nara-Narayana, Kapila, Dattatreya, Hayasirsa, Hamsa, Prsnigarbha, Rsabha, Prithu, Narasimha , Kurma, Dhanvantari, Mohini, Vamana, Parasurama, Raghavendra, Vyasa, Balarama, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki) is worshipped as the supreme God and is a monotheistic faith. Followers of Vaishnavism are called Vaishnavites.

Branches

Major Vaishnava schools of thought:

The distinction between this branch and others is made by those who study religion. However it may not always be clear to practising Hindus, who, under the influence of Smartism, often take freely from the practices of the different branches. It is likely that a majority (75-80%) of today's Hindus would consider themselves Vaishnava, if pressed to make a distinction. Of the remainder, most would probably consider themselves Saivites.

Vaishnavites, like Saivites, believe that there is only one God, who simultaneously permeates all creation and exists beyond it, being both immanent and transcendent. The concept is in contrast with many Semitic religious traditions, where God is seen as transcendent only. As all other Hindu denominations, Vaishnavism acknowledges the existence of many lower Gods under the Supreme One. These Gods are encompassed by Him, seen as either as manifestations of the Supreme Being or as powerful entities who are permeated by Him, as is all Creation.

Vishnu and Shiva are sometimes visualized as a single divinity named Harihara.

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