Sampradāya

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sampradaya, SampradAya, Sampradaaya


sampradāya (‘that which is given or handed over [in succession]’)

Sampradāya or tradition, wherein a knowledge or a way of life is handed over from a guru (teacher) to a disciple or a group of disciples has a very important place in Hinduism.

Many a time, a guru does not impart all that he knows, to his disciples. From among those who live with him and serve him, he may choose one or two as the fittest to receive that knowledge he has kept back. It is this that often matters, more than the open teaching or the books. Because of this reason, sampradāya is all important.

A peculiar trait of Hinduism is that all sciences and arts are often traced to God Himself as the originator. Sometimes it may be a great rsi or sage also.

‘Sampradāya’ may also mean the body of the founder-teachers and their immediate disciples.

There are different sampradāyas in each of the sciences or arts or fields of

wisdom.

It is strongly believed that those mantras which are not handed down

through a sampradāya, are useless and hence do not produce their results.

Some works like the Saktisañgama-tantra (1.8) give long lists of sampradāyas such as Vaikhāna, Rādhāvallabhī, Pāñca-rātra, Vīravaiṣṇava, Bhāgavata, Nimbārka and Vmdāvanī.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

sampradāya (‘that which is given or handed over [in succession]’) Sampradāya or tradition, wherein a knowledge or a way of life is handed over from a guru (teacher) to a disciple or a group of disciples has a very important place in Hinduism. Many a time, a guru does not impart all that he knows, to his disciples. From among those who live with him and serve him, he may choose one or two as the fittest to receive that knowledge he has kept back. It is this that often matters, more than the open teaching or the books. Because of this reason, sampradāya is all important. A peculiar trait of Hinduism is that all sciences and arts are often traced to God Himself as the originator. Sometimes it may be a great ṛṣi or sage also. ‘Sampradāya’ may also mean the body of the founder-teachers and their immediate disciples. There are different sampradāyas in each of the sciences or arts or fields of wisdom. It is strongly believed that those mantras which are not handed down through a sampradāya, are useless and hence do not produce their results. Some works like the Saktisañgama- tantra (1.8) give long lists of sampradāyas such as Vaikhāna, Rādhāvallabhī, Pāñca- rātra, Vīravaiṣṇava, Bhāgavata, Nimbārka and Vṛndāvanī.