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In many questions asked on this site, I frequently see a line about Vishnu teaching principles of Vaishnavism to his four disciples:

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.

So, I want to know which scriptures mention this thing? I know it's not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana and Mahabharata of Vyasa. Neither it's mentioned in Srimad Bhagavata, Vishnu and Padma Purana as far as I know There is possibility that it's mentioned in other Puranas like Varaha and Narada.

Most probably it's mentioned in Pancharatra Agamas. If it's mentioned, I want to know which Samhita and Chapter of Pancharatra Agamas mention it? Also when did Lord Vishnu do this teaching?

  • According to this article it's mentioned in Padmapurana but I'm not sure. – Pandya May 20 at 2:52
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It is mentioned in the Garga Samhita. This is what I found:

Garga Samhita, Canto 10, chapter 61, verses 23, 24, 25, 26:

vamanas ca vidih sesah sanako visnu-vakyatah dharmartha-hetave caite bhavisyanti dvijah kalau

visnusvami vamnangsa-statha madhvastu brahmanah ramanujastu sesanga nimbaditya sanakasya ca

ete kalau yuge bhavyah sampradaya-pravartakah samvatsare vikramasya catvarah ksiti-pavanah

sampradaya-vihina ye mantraste nisphalah smritah tasmacca gamanang hyasti sampradaye narairapi

TRANSLATION Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesha and Sanaka Kumara will appear as brahmanas by the order of Visnu, for the preservation of eternal righteousness in kali yuga.

Visnu Swami, Madhvacarya, Ramanuja and Nimbaditya will appear respectively as a portion of Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesha and Sanaka Kumara.

These saviours will be the establishers of the four authorised and empowered spiritual channels of disciplic succession in the period calculated from the reign of King Vikrama in 54 B.C. subsequently through the present era of kali yuga.

These four authorised and empowered spiritual channels of disciplic succession are to be fully accepted by all beings; as any word, combination of words or formulation of sounds frequencies, invoked or addressed, audible or inaudible, secret or revealed, ancient or contemporary, outside their auspices prove to have absolutely no efficacy.

The fact that they appeared "by the order of Vishnu", and the fact that only mantras taught in their Sampradayas have any effectiveness, clearly implies that what they taught was taught to them by Vishnu.

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    Thanks for your attempt to answer the question... But this doesn't answer the question... – Tejaswee Jun 15 '17 at 0:53
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    How does this answer the Q? – Rickross Jun 16 '17 at 5:34
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    And what about Lord Shiva and Lakshmi? – Rickross Jun 16 '17 at 5:39
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    Your answer is good but, some sceptic people won't believe this unless it is mentioned clearly that they were directly linked to Bhagwan with their respective guru parampara. – Yogi Jun 18 '17 at 5:12
  • Apologize for not answering the actual question. Vishnu teaching Brahma is discussed in Chap 2.5 of Bhagavata Purana, VIshnu teaching Lakshmi is likely discussed in Lakshmi Tantra (have read a while ago, need to check), Vishnu teaching Rudra is likely discussed in Vishnu Purana (again need to check), Vishnu teaching the Kumaras is likely the Hamsa avatara - there is a mention of this in the 11th canto of Bhagavatha Purana. I will provide references once I get time to go through them. – rk567 Jan 19 at 3:15

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