There are many schools of thought like VisistAdvaita, Achintya Bheda Abheda and Dvaita which are followed by different sects of Vaishnavites. Most of these Vaishnava sects seem to be very critical of Advaita as they see it alien to their beliefs. However, I am a Vaishnava myself and attracted to Advaita Vedanta. Can I be both an Advaitin and Vaishnava?

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    Your observation is mostly correct. Being a Vaishnav myself, it seems strictly "no-no" for a Vaishnav to be in believing Advaita. Many Vaishnava are leaned towards celebrating colorful life of Shri Krishna. For them Advaita will be too bland. My personal opinion is that Advaita is the highest state towards realisation. It's a "state" rather than a "philosophy".
    – iammilind
    Aug 20, 2017 at 17:47
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    Not all Vaishnavas are dualistic i.e., follow Dvaita. For instance, SriVaishnavas are proponents of VisistAdvaita. Aug 20, 2017 at 19:21
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    @user1952500 Why do you say that? It is patent that SriVaishnavas are part of the larger category of Vaishnavas. Aug 20, 2017 at 19:38
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    there is a quote from Sankara or Gaudapada that says the advaita has no argument with dvaita, it is only followers of dvaita that have a problem with advaita. I am traveling for the next week and don't have access to my books so can't find for another week. Aug 20, 2017 at 23:24
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    @SwamiVishwananda yeah, Gaudapada karika on Mandukya Upanishad has those verses.
    – Pandya
    Aug 21, 2017 at 0:04

3 Answers 3


Yes, Advaitha is too generic, you can be almost anything, when you are an Advaithi.

Besides, Adi Shankaracharya himself was a Vaishnava, he composed many stotrams on the highest Lord as Vishnu. And confusingly enough he was also a Shaktha, Shaiva etc.

Because one of the core philosophies of Advaitha is that the same ethereal Brahman underlies all existence and all forms. So yes, you can be an Advaithi and a Vaishnava.

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    a vishnu devotee is not necessarily a vaishnavite. a vaishnavite believes vishnu alone is the supreme deity. a false idea has been spread by vaishnavites about adi sankara that he was a vaishnavite. some people say that vishnu was his ista-devata which is not the same as his being a vaishnavite. sankara didn't agree with pancharatra agamas- hardly a vaishnavite position.
    – S K
    Jan 25, 2018 at 14:47

Who says that one can't be a Advaitavadin & a Vaishnava together ?

Âdi Shankaracharya had written commentaries of Vishnu Sahasranâma & Bhagavadgîtâ.

Srîdhara Svami, the first commentator of the Srimad Bhâgavatam & Vishnu Purâna, was the disciple of an Advaita monk named Paramânanda Purî.

Madhusûdana Sarasvatî, a renowned Advaita scholar who composed a text named 'Advaitasiddhi' aline-by-line refutal of an Dvaita text named 'Nyayâmruta' composed by Madhva-scholar Vyasatirtha, who had close connections with the Vijayanagara emperors, along with other works defending Advaita philosophy from criticism like 'Advaitamanjarî', 'Advaitaratnarakshana'; had also composed commentaries on the Shandilya Bhaktisutra & Shivamahimna stotra along with works like 'Krishna kutuhala nataka', 'Bhakti sâmânya nirûpana', 'Hari lîlâ vyâkhyâ' & 'Ânandamandakinî' which exposes his deep devotion to Sri Krishna.

The animosity of almost all schools of Vaishnava theology towards Advaita philosophy arises from the fact that Ramanuja & Madhva had decried Shaiva doctrines as heresy & Adi Shankara, who is regarded to be an incarnation of Bhagavâna Shiva in Advaita circles, to be a crypto-Buddhist.

In order to be Vaishnava as well as an Advaitavâdin, it is better to study the Srimad Bhâgavatam along with the commentary of Sridhara Svami & the Bhagavadgîta along with the commentary of Madhusûdana Sarasvati.

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    Very interesting, I never knew famous acharyas thought Shankara to be a crypto-Buddhist, especially since he toured throughout the country, debating and defeating Buddhists, and establishing the Hindu philosophy and way of life everywhere he went. Could you please add some references/links? I am interested in knowing more about this topic.
    – user22892
    Jan 30, 2021 at 15:49
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  • Thanks for the links. Good Answer. Upvoted.
    – user22892
    Jan 30, 2021 at 18:25
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    That's a problem with some people nowadays. They are never interested in researching their own religion but if any foreigner does it, then that person is damned without even reading his/her works because that person is a foreigner. Not all people all like Wendy Doniger, there are also people like Sir John Woodroffe but these people will damn both of them because they are mlecchas. Scondly arthasastra isn't a religious text, so it's reference is invalid while discussing religious matters.
    – অনু
    Jan 31, 2021 at 4:43
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    What problem do you have if Adi Shankara borrowed concepts for elsewhere(like Mandukya Karika). Knowledge is not the paternal property of any particular person or sect.
    – অনু
    Jan 31, 2021 at 4:47

Warakari sampradaya of Maharashtra, who are devotee of Vitthal ( Krishna ) follows advait philosophy with bhakti of krishna. They are biggest vaishnavas in Maharashtra and one of the biggest Vaishnava sect overall.

There are lot of Vaishnavas who are philosophically inclined towards advait nature of Paramtatva.

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