Nimbārka

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Nimbarka, NimbArka, Nimbaarka


Nimbārka lived in 12th cent. A. D. He was a well-known teacher of Vedānta who advocated a balanced combination of bhakti[1] and jñāna[2] like Rāmānuja[3] and Madhva.[4] Though his date of birth is not known, he is known to have passed away in A. D. 1162.

He was born of Jagannātha and Sarasvatī, a Telugu-speaking couple who lived at Nimbāpura[5] in the Bellary district of Karnataka State. His original name was Niyamānanda. His followers consider him as the incarnation of Sudarśana.[6] According to one legend, he was given the name ‘Nimbārka’ by a sanyāsin who accepted food in his house after sunset, thinking it was still daytime, since Nimbārka through his devotion and prayers to Lord Śrīkṛṣṇa had created that illusion through the Sudarśana discus which shone in the western horizon like the sun. The sanyāsin was able to see the sun[7] from atop nimba.[8] After learning the truth, the sanyāsin gave him the name ‘Nimbārka’.

He migrated to Vṛndāban[9] and lived the rest of his life there. He had many disciples and followers, both ascetics and householders. Out of them Harivyāsadeva[10] and Keśava Kāśmīri were more well-known. His magnum opus is Vedāntapārijāta Kaustubha, a brief and clear commentary on the Brahmasutras. The Daśaśloki,[11] a small work of ten verses expounding the author’s doctrine for the tyros, is also attributed to him. Wearing of the gopīcandana as two perpendicular lines on the forehead with a dark dot in the center and also carrying a rosary of tulasī beads is the hallmark of Nimbārka’s followers. His philosophy is now well-known as Dvaitādvaita.


References

  1. Bhakti means the devotion to God.
  2. Jñāna means knowledge.
  3. He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.
  4. He lived in A.D. 1238-1317.
  5. Nimbāpura is now identified with Naidu Pattana.
  6. Sudarśana means discus of Lord Viṣṇu.
  7. Sun means arka.
  8. Nimba means neem tree.
  9. Vṛndāban is in the Mathurā district of Uttar Pradesh.
  10. Harivyāsadeva is in 15th cent. A. D.
  11. Daśaśloki is also called Siddhāntaratna.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore