What's the etymological significance of the word "Gauḍīya" in Gauḍīya Vaiṣhṇavism?

Why is it specifically called Gauḍīya? Is it something specifically related to Śhrī Kriṣhṇa?
Is Gauḍīya Vaiṣhṇavism purely a Kriṣhṇaism sect, or one of its smaller subsets?

Please give the related historical, theological, ontological, (etc.)., significance of the word "Gauḍīya" and how it's interpreted by the relevant sect.

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    Gauda refers to the unified Bengal - Bardhman, Rarh, Banga. Basically to be understood as todays West Bengal and East Bengal.
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 8:30

3 Answers 3


From this blog which answers Who are Gaudiya Vaishnavas?

“Gauḍīya” indicates the part of India between the southern side of the Himalayan Mountains and the northern part of the Vindhyā Hills, which is called Āryāvarta, or the Land of the Āryans. This portion of India is divided into five parts or provinces (Pañca-gauḍadeśa): Sārasvata (Kashmir and Punjab),Kānyakubja (Uttar Pradesh, including the modern city of Lucknow), Madhya-gauḍa (Madhya Pradesh), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal) and Utkala (part of Bengal and the whole of Orissa). Bengal is sometimes called Gauḍadeśa, partly because it forms a portion of Maithila and partly because the capital of the Hindu king Rāja Lakṣmaṇa Sena was known as Gauḍa. This old capital later came to be known as Gauḍapura and gradually Māyāpur.

The devotees of Orissa are called Uḍiyās, the devotees of Bengal are called Gauḍīyas, and the devotees of southern India are known as Drāviḍa devotees.

So the word “Gauḍīya” in Gauḍīya Vaiṣhṇavism refers to a geographic area known as Gauḍadeśa.

Here is a map I found where kingdom of WB is known as Gauda Kingdom.

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Gaudiya indicates that they honour Radharani along with Sri Krishna

A Krishna centric devotee is technically called a ”Karshnav”

Someone who worships Radharani along with Krishna,is called a Gaudiya Vaishnav.

This is explained in a lecture by HG Amogh Lila Prabhu,6:10-6:49

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    "We're the true Shaktas", how haughtily he says that - What does that even mean IDK - this is exactly the kind of unbelievable nonsense which one can frequently hear from their discourses.
    – Vivikta
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 15:44
  • @Vivikta I don’t mean to denigrate or highlight anyone/any sect,but I thought it may answer the question.I think HG explains it further...,but does it answer your question,though??
    – Amethyst
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 16:16
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    No no, dw, I'm not offended by your answer. It's just what I felt for the "lecturer's choice of words". How can Bhakti for the sweetest deity within Hinduism (i.e., Krishna - reads Madhurashtkama) make someone so bitter and critical of other sects and deities? I have always wondered.
    – Vivikta
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 17:09
  • @Hmm.Bur does it answer your question though(or is there more)?(On a side note,most sects think that they are right,so it follows naturally for them too.)
    – Amethyst
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 17:24
  • @Vivikta I think HG’s intention was not a statement to degrade others though....
    – Amethyst
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 18:43

There are 2 reasons. Number 1 - Because Bengal is called Gauda Pradesh therefore the Sampradaya of Gauda is Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. North is Gauda and south in Dravida.

Number 2- Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya is a lineage of the Madhva Sampradaya, our Acharyas have explained that one name of Sripad Madhvacharya is Gaudaprajna therefore the Word Gaudiya Sampradaya is Very Appropriate.

Hare Krishna!

  • 2
    Welcome to Hinduism SE! Please add authentic sources to support your answer.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 16:59

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