Śrī-Vaiṣṇavism

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Śrī-Vaiṣṇavism. Hindu devotion to Viṣṇu with his consort Śrī, one of the six major movements devoted to Viṣṇu. In early sources, there is no mention of Śrī as the consort of Viṣṇu, and indeed it seems clear that there was originally an independent cult of Śrī, which was absorbed into the worship of Viṣṇu. Once the cults were united, Śrī became inseparable from Viṣṇu, who now wears on his body the mark of Śrī (śrīvatsa). Not surprisingly, Śrī became identified with Rādhā. The particular cult of Śrī-Vaiṣṇavism is strong in S. India, where it draws on the traditions of the Āḻvārs. Thus they adhere to ‘the theology of the two scriptures’, i.e. Vedānta and the Aḻvār hymns, especially Tiruvāmoḻi, which is held to be equal to the Upaniṣads. It is characteristic of Śrī-Vaiṣṇavas that having made a ritual act of total surrender to God, they ask for nothing more. They practise darśana, the ‘seeing’ of the Lord through or in his image. Among major teachers, Puruṣottamācārya emphasized the ethical consequences of this bhakti.