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An Historical Sketch

Part 2

The sect[1] founded by Nimbârka or Nimbâditya has some connection with this poem. Its chief doctrine is known as dvaitâdvaitamata, or dualistic non-duality, which is explained as meaning that, though the soul and matter are distinct from God, they are yet as intimately connected with him as waves with water or the coils of a rope with the rope itself. This doctrine is referred to in the religious drama called Prabodhacandrodaya, probably composed at the end of the eleventh century.

The Nimâvats, as the adherents of the sect are called, are found near Muttra and in Bengal. It is noticeable that this sect, which had its origin in northern India, is said to have been persecuted by the Jains[2] and to have been subsequently revived by a teacher called Nivâsa. This may explain why in the twelfth century Vishnuism flourished in the south rather than in the north.[3]

Less is known of the Nimbârkas than of the other sects. They worship Kṛishṇa and Râdhâ and faith in Kṛishṇa is said to be the only way to salvation. Kṛishṇa was the deity of the earliest bhakti-sects. Then in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there was a reaction in favour of Râma as a more spiritual deity, but subsequently Vallabha and Caitanya again made the worship of Kṛishṇa popular. Nimbârka expressed his views in a short commentary on the Vedânta Sûtras and also in ten verses containing a compendium of doctrine.[4]

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- Footnotes:


It has been described as the earliest of the Vishnuite Churches and it would be so if we could be sure that the existence of the doctrine called Dvaitâdvaita was equivalent to the existence of the sect. But Bhandarkar has shown some reason for thinking that Nimbâditya lived after Râmânuja. It must be admitted that the worship of Râdhâ and the doctrine of self-surrender or prapatti, both found in the Daśaśloki, are probably late.


See Grierson in E.R.E. vol. II. p. 457.


The Church of the Nimavats is also called Sanakâdi-sampradâya because it professes to derive its doctrine from Sanaka and his brethren who taught Nârada, who taught Nimbârka. At least one sub-sect founded by Harivamsa (born 1559) adopts a doctrine analogous to Saktism and worships Râdhâ as the manifestation of Kṛishṇa's energy.


Called the Daśaśloki. It is translated in Bhandarkar's Vaishṇ and Śaivism, pp. 63-5.

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