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Rāmānuja

(384 words)

Author(s): Hüsken, Ute
[German Version] (also Uṭaiyavar; traditional dates: 1017, Śrīperumputūr [Tamil Nadu] – 1137). In his commentary ( Śrībhāṣya) on the Brahma Sutras, Rāmānuja systematized the philosophical teachings of his predecessors Nāthamuni (10th cent.) and Yāmuna (11th cent.), thereby establishing the Viṣṇu-oriented philosophical direction of the Viśiṣṭādvaita (“qualified non-duality” [monism]; Hinduism: II, 2), in which non-duality (advaita) is qualified in the sense that the world and the ¶ individual soul each receive their own weight. This school teaches devoted…

Viṣṇu

(372 words)

Author(s): Hüsken, Ute
[German Version] (“Pervader”) is a Hindu god (God, Representations and symbols of: IV); he later became the primary deity of Vaiṣṇavism, though he does not play a major role in the Vedas. In the Upaniṣads we find the notion of a triad of Brahmā (creator; Brahman), Rudra (destroyer; Śiva), and Viṣṇu (maintainer). The epics and Purāṇas then emphasize the superiority of either Śiva or Viṣṇu. There, too, the gentle and preservative aspects of Viṣṇu are central. Viṣṇu has been worshiped in various forms and personalities at least since the 5th century ce; several local deities have…

Vaiṣṇavism

(686 words)

Author(s): Hüsken, Ute
[German Version] refers here to the organized and institutionalized forms of Hinduism in which a form of Viṣṇu represents the highest god, this particularly in demarcation from Śaivism and Śāktism. Vaiṣṇavism is not a monolithic religion with a homogeneous development and uniform beliefs. The most important texts are the Bhagavadgītā, the Rāmāyaṇa, and the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa (Purāṇas). The earliest form of Vaiṣṇavism combines Vedic elements with the veneration of Viṣṇu (as Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa…