As I discuss in my question here, Vishnu is said to have taught the principles of Vaishnavism to four disciples: Lakshmi, Brahma, Shiva and Sanatkumara. And in turn they started the four main Sampradayas or traditions of Vaishnavism: Sri Sampradayam, Brahma Sampradayam, Rudra Sampradayam, and Kumara Sampradayam. Almost all Vaishnava sects belong to one of these Sampradayas; for instance the Sri Vaishnava sect (which I belong to), the Ramanandi sect (which I discuss here), and the Swaminarayan sect (which I discuss here) associate themselves with the Sri Sampradayam. And the Madhvacharya sect and the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect (which ISKCON belongs to) associate themselves with the Brahma Sampradayam. But my question is about the Rudra Sampradayam, the one founded by Shiva.

The most famous Acharya associated with the Rudra Sampradayam is Vallabhacharya, the founder of the Pushtimarg sect which worships the Srinathji form of Krishna (which I discuss here). The reason that Vallabhacharya's followers consider themselves part of the Rudra Sampradayam is they believe that Vallabhacharya was in the disciplic succession of Vishnusvami, an earlier Vaishnava Acharya associated with the Rudra Sampradayam. But in this journal paper, G. H. Bhatt argues that Vallabacharya did not actually belong to the disciplic succession of Vishnusvami, and that Vishnusvami believed in a dualistic philosophy that has no connection to Vallabacharya's philosophy of Shuddhadvaita.

But my question isn't about Bhatt's claim, but about one of the pieces of evidence that he uses to support his claim. He quotes the Ramapatala, a purportedly centuries-old work from the Ramanandi sect which gives some information about Vishnusvami's sect.

[I]n the school of Vishnusvami, Vishnukanchi is the Dharma-Shala, Markanda is the Kshetra, Indradyumna is the Vilasa, Sayujya is the Mukti, Jagannatha is the deity to be worshipped, and so also Kamala, Tulasi is the mantra, Tripurari is the Shakha, Vamadeva is the Acharya, Nayana is the Dvara, Puroshottama is the Dhama, Harinama is the food, Sunanda is the Parshada, Yajus is the Veda, Shukla is the Varna, Achyuta is the Gotra, Krishnaparibhrama near the Vata, Jalabimba is the rishi, and Nandika is the deity.

Now some of these are understandable; Vishnukanchi is a reference to the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, which as I discuss here is the home to the Varadaraja temple, and Vishnusvami is said to have some connection to the building of the Varadaraja temple. Markanda, Indradyumna, Jagannatha, Kamala, and Puroshatthama are all references to the Puri Jagannath temple, which is where Vishnusvami is said to have established a Vaishnava Matha, now controlled by Vallabhacharya's followers. Tripurari and Vamadeva are things associated with Shiva, which makes sense considering that Vishnusvami was in the Rudra Sampradayam. Sayujya is a reference to the form of liberation which I discuss here. And Yajur and Shukla may be references to the origin of the Pancharatra tradition from the Shukla Yajur Veda, which I discuss here.

But my question is, why does the Ramapatala say "Jalabimba is the rishi"? Who is the sage Jalabimba and what is his connection to the Vishnusvami sect? His name means "reflection in the water" if that helps. Is it possible that Jalabimba is one of the gurus in the disciple succession between Shiva and Vishnusvami? Does anyone know anything about the Parampara of the Rudra Sampradayam before Vishnusvami?

By the way, on a side note the Ramapatala should be taken with a grain of salt, because it was published by the Ramanandi sect Acharya Bhagavadacharya, and as I discuss in this question Bhagavadacharya published other documents of dubious authenticity.


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .