God in Hinduism
The concept of God in Hinduism varies in its diverse traditions. Hinduism spans a wide range of beliefs such as henotheism, monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, pandeism, monism, atheism and nontheism.
Forms of theism find mention in the Bhagavad Gita. Emotional or loving devotion (bhakti) to a primary god such as avatars of Vishnu (Krishna for example), Shiva and Devi emerged in the early medieval period, and is now known as Bhakti movement.
Hindus following Advaita Vedanta consider Ātman within every living being to be the same as Vishnu or Shiva or Devi, or alternatively identical to the eternal metaphysical Absolute called Brahman in Hinduism. Such a philosophical system of Advaita or non-dualism as it developed in the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, especially as set out in the Upanishads and popularised by Adi Shankara in the 9th century has been influential on Hinduism.
Hindus following Dvaita Vedanta consider that the individual souls, known as jīvātmans, and the eternal metaphysical Absolute called Bramh in Hinduism exist as independent realities, and that these are distinct. Such a philosophical system of Dvaita or dualism as it developed in the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, especially as set out in the Vedas and popularised by Madhvacharya in the 13th century has been influential on Hinduism. Especially the influence of Madhva's philosophy has been most prominent and pronounced on the Chaitanya school of Bengal Vaishnavism. Madhva says that in the beginning there was only one God and that was Narayana or Vishnu and refused to accept any claims that other Hindu deities, such as Brahma or Shiva, might be equally the highest.
It has been claimed by some scholars that the Dvaita tradition founded by Madhvacharya in 13th century is based on a concept similar to God in other major world religions. Their writings also led some early colonial-era Indologists such as George Abraham Grierson to suggest Madhvacharya was influenced by Christianity, but later scholarship has rejected this theory. Madhva's historical influence in Hinduism, state Kulandran and Kraemer, has been salutary, but not extensive.
Henotheism, kathenotheism, equitheism and non-theismEdit
They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni,
and he is heavenly-winged Garutman.
To what is One, sages give many a title.
Henotheism was the term used by scholars such as Max Müller to describe the theology of Vedic religion. Müller noted that the hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest scripture of Hinduism, mention many deities, but praises them successively as the "one ultimate, supreme God", alternatively as "one supreme Goddess", thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary (ekam), and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).
The idea that there can be and are plural perspectives for the same divine or spiritual principle repeats in the Vedic texts. For example, other than hymn 1.164 with this teaching, the more ancient hymn 5.3 of the Rigveda states:
You at your birth are Varuna, O Agni. When you are kindled, you are Mitra. In you, O son of strength, all gods are centered. You are Indra to the mortal who brings oblation. You are Aryaman, when you are regarded as having the mysterious names of maidens, O Self-sustainer.
Related terms to henotheism are monolatrism and kathenotheism. The latter term is an extension of "henotheism", from καθ' ἕνα θεόν (kath' hena theon) — "one god at a time". Henotheism refers to a pluralistic theology wherein different deities are viewed to be of a unitary, equivalent divine essence. Some scholars prefer the term monolatry to henotheism, to discuss religions where a single god is central, but the existence or the position of other gods is not denied. Another term related to henotheism is "equitheism", referring to the belief that all gods are equal.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
The Vedic era conceptualization of the divine or the One, states Jeaneane Fowler, is more abstract than a monotheistic God, it is the Reality behind and of the phenomenal universe. The Vedic hymns treat it as "limitless, indescribable, absolute principle", thus the Vedic divine is something of a panentheism rather than simple henotheism. In late Vedic era, around the start of Upanishadic age (c. 800 BCE), theosophical speculations emerge that develop concepts which scholars variously call nondualism or monism, as well as forms of non-theism and pantheism. An example of the questioning of the concept of God, in addition to henotheistic hymns found therein, are in later portions of the Rigveda, such as the Nasadiya Sukta. Hinduism calls the metaphysical absolute concept as Brahman, incorporating within it the transcendent and immanent reality. Different schools of thought interpret Brahman as either personal, impersonal or transpersonal. Ishwar Chandra Sharma describes it as "Absolute Reality, beyond all dualities of existence and non-existence, light and darkness, and of time, space and cause".
Influential ancient and medieval Hindu philosophers, states philosophy professor Roy Perrett, teach their spiritual ideas with a world created ex nihilo and "effectively manage without God altogether".
In Hinduism, Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe.
Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, and it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas, and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads. The Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda (truth-consciousness-bliss) and as the unchanging, permanent, highest reality.[note 1][note 2]
Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman (Soul, Self), personal,[note 3] impersonal[note 4] or Para Brahman,[note 5] or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school. In dualistic schools of Hinduism such as the theistic Dvaita Vedanta, Brahman is different from Atman (soul) in each being, and therein it shares conceptual framework of God in major world religions. In non-dual schools of Hinduism such as the monist Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, Brahman is everywhere and inside each living being, and there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence.
The Upanishads contain several mahā-vākyas or "Great Sayings" on the concept of Brahman:
|अहं ब्रह्म अस्मि
|Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10||"I am Brahman"|||
|अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म
ayam ātmā brahma
|Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5||"The Self is Brahman"|||
|सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म
sarvam khalvidam brahma
|Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1||"All this is Brahman"|||
|Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1||"That [Brahman] is one, without a second"|||
tat tvam asi
|Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 et seq.||"Thou art that" ("You are Brahman")|||
|Aitareya Upanishad 3.3.7||"Knowledge is Brahman"|||
Nirguna and SagunaEdit
While Hinduism sub-schools such as Advaita Vedanta emphasize the complete equivalence of Brahman and Atman, they also expound on Brahman as saguna Brahman—the Brahman with attributes, and nirguna Brahman—the Brahman without attributes. The nirguna Brahman is the Brahman as it really is, however, the saguna Brahman is posited as a means to realizing nirguna Brahman, but the Hinduism schools declare saguna Brahman to be ultimately illusory. The concept of the saguna Brahman, such as in the form of avatars, is considered in these schools of Hinduism to be a useful symbolism, path and tool for those who are still on their spiritual journey, but the concept is finally cast aside by the fully enlightened.
The Bhakti movement of Hinduism built its theosophy around two concepts of Brahman—Nirguna and Saguna. Nirguna Brahman was the concept of the Ultimate Reality as formless, without attributes or quality. Saguna Brahman, in contrast, was envisioned and developed as with form, attributes and quality. The two had parallels in the ancient pantheistic unmanifest and theistic manifest traditions, respectively, and traceable to Arjuna-Krishna dialogue in the Bhagavad Gita. It is the same Brahman, but viewed from two perspectives: one from Nirguni knowledge-focus and other from Saguni love-focus, united as Krishna in the Gita. Nirguna bhakta's poetry were Jnana-shrayi, or had roots in knowledge. Saguna bhakta's poetry were Prema-shrayi, or with roots in love. In Bhakti, the emphasis is reciprocal love and devotion, where the devotee loves God, and God loves the devotee.
Nirguna and Saguna Brahman concepts of the Bhakti movement has been a baffling one to scholars, particularly the Nirguni tradition because it offers, states David Lorenzen, "heart-felt devotion to a God without attributes, without even any definable personality". Yet given the "mountains of Nirguni bhakti literature", adds Lorenzen, bhakti for Nirguna Brahman has been a part of the reality of the Hindu tradition along with the bhakti for Saguna Brahman. These were two alternate ways of imagining God during the bhakti movement.
The Yogasutras of Patanjali use the term Ishvara in 11 verses: I.23 through I.29, II.1, II.2, II.32 and II.45. Ever since the Sutra's release, Hindu scholars have debated and commented on who or what is Isvara? These commentaries range from defining Isvara from a "personal god" to "special self" to "anything that has spiritual significance to the individual". Whicher explains that while Patanjali's terse verses can be interpreted both as theistic or non-theistic, Patanjali's concept of Isvara in Yoga philosophy functions as a "transformative catalyst or guide for aiding the yogin on the path to spiritual emancipation".
Patanjali defines Isvara (Sanskrit: ईश्वर) in verse 24 of Book 1, as "a special Self (पुरुषविशेष, puruṣa-viśeṣa)",
Sanskrit: क्लेश कर्म विपाकाशयैःपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः ॥२४॥
– Yoga Sutras I.24
This sutra of Yoga philosophy of Hinduism adds the characteristics of Isvara as that special Self which is unaffected (अपरामृष्ट, aparamrsta) by one's obstacles/hardships (क्लेश, klesha), one's circumstances created by past or one's current actions (कर्म, karma), one's life fruits (विपाक, vipâka), and one's psychological dispositions/intentions (आशय, ashaya).
Among various Bhakti path practicing sects of Hinduism, which built upon the Yoga school of Hinduism, Isvara can also mean a specific deity such as Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Lakshmi, Parvati and others.
Madhvacharya's monotheistic GodEdit
Madhvacharya (1238–1317 CE) developed the Dvaita theology wherein Vishnu was presented as a monotheistic God, similar to major world religions. His writings led some such as George Abraham Grierson to suggest he was influenced by Christianity.
Madhvacharya was misperceived and misrepresented by both Christian missionaries and Hindu writers during the colonial era scholarship. The similarities in the primacy of one God, dualism and distinction between man and God, devotion to God, the son of God as the intermediary, predestination, the role of grace in salvation, as well as the similarities in the legends of miracles in Christianity and Madhvacharya's Dvaita tradition fed these stories. Among Christian writers, G. A. Grierson creatively asserted that Madhva's ideas evidently were "borrowed from Christianity, quite possibly promulgated as a rival to the central doctrine of that faith". Among Hindu writers, according to Sarma, S. C. Vasu creatively translated Madhvacharya's works to identify Madhvacharya with Christ, rather than compare their ideas.
Modern scholarship rules out the influence of Christianity on Madhvacharya, as there is no evidence that there ever was a Christian settlement where Madhvacharya grew up and lived, or that there was a sharing or discussion of ideas between someone with knowledge of the Bible and Christian narratives, and him.
It is most often used in Gaudiya Vaishnava Krishna-centered theology as referring to Krishna. The title Svayam Bhagavan is used exclusively to designate Krishna. Certain other traditions of Hinduism consider him to be the source of all avatars, and the source of Vishnu himself, or to be the same as Narayana. As such, he is therefore regarded as Svayam Bhagavan.
When Krishna is recognized to be Svayam Bhagavan, it can be understood that this is the belief of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the Vallabha Sampradaya, and the Nimbarka Sampradaya, where Krishna is accepted to be the source of all other avatars, and the source of Vishnu himself. This belief is drawn primarily "from the famous statement of the Bhagavatam"(1.3.28).
A different viewpoint, opposing this theological concept is the concept of Krishna as an avatar of Narayana or Vishnu. It should be however noted that although it is usual to speak of Vishnu as the source of the avataras, this is only one of the names of god of Vaishnavism, who is also known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Krishna and behind each of those names there is a divine figure with attributed supremacy in Vaishnavism.
The theological interpretation of Svayam Bhagavān differs with each tradition and the literal translation of the term has been understood in several distinct ways. Translated from the Sanskrit language, the term literary means "Bhagavan Himself" or "directly Bhagavan". Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition often translates it within its perspective as primeval Lord or original Personality of Godhead, but also considers the terms such as Supreme Personality of Godhead and Supreme God as an equivalent to the term Svayam Bhagavan, and may also choose to apply these terms to Vishnu, Narayana and many of their associated Avatars.
Earlier commentators such as Madhvacharya translated the term Svayam Bhagavan as "he who has bhagavatta"; meaning "he who has the quality of possessing all good qualities". Others have translated it simply as "the Lord Himself". Followers of Vishnu-centered sampradayas of Vaishnavism rarely address this term, but believe that it refers to their belief that Krishna is among the highest and fullest of all Avatars and is considered to be the "paripurna Avatara", complete in all respects and the same as the original. According to them Krishna is described in the Bhagavata Purana as the Purnavatara (or complete manifestation) of the Bhagavan, while other incarnations are called partial.
- "not sublatable", the final element in a dialectical process which cannot be eliminated or annihilated (German: "aufheben").
- It is also defined as:
- The unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe; that is the one supreme, universal spirit.
- The one supreme, all pervading Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe.
- Saguna Brahman, with qualities
- Nirguna Brahman, without qualities
- Narayanan, Vasudha (2018) . "Gods, Goddesses, and Divine Powers (overview article)". In Basu, Helene; Jacobsen, Knut A.; Malinar, Angelika; Narayanan, Vasudha (eds.). Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. 1. Leiden: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/2212-5019_BEH_COM_103. ISBN 978-90-04-17641-6. ISSN 2212-5019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Lipner, Julius J. (2010) . Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (Second ed.). London and New York: Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-415-45677-7. OCLC 698586925.
[...] one need not be religious in the minimal sense described to be accepted as a Hindu by Hindus, or describe oneself perfectly validly as Hindu. One may be polytheistic or monotheistic, monistic or pantheistic, even an agnostic, humanist or atheist, and still be considered a Hindu.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Lester Kurtz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, ISBN 978-0123695031, Academic Press, 2008
- MK Gandhi, The Essence of Hinduism, Editor: VB Kher, Navajivan Publishing, see page 3; According to Gandhi, "a man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu."
- Chakravarti, Sitansu S. (1991). "The Hindu Perspective". Hinduism, a Way of Life. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-81-208-0899-7. OCLC 925707936.
According to Hinduism, different religions are but alternate ways toward the same spiritual goal. Thus, although spirituality is a necessary quest for human beings, the religion one follows does not have to be the same for everyone. [...] The first Hindu scripture, the Rigveda, dating back to at least 4.000 years, says: "Truth is one, though the wise call it by different names." The Mahabharata, which includes the Gita, is replete with sayings meaning that religious streams, though separate, head toward the same ocean of divinity.
- Smart, Ninian (10 November 2020) [26 July 1999]. "Polytheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Edinburgh: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- June McDaniel Hinduism, in John Corrigan, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, (2007) Oxford University Press, 544 pages, pp. 52-53 ISBN 0-19-517021-0
- Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 3-4, 15-28
- Mariasusai Dhavamony (1999), Hindu Spirituality, GB Press, ISBN 978-8876528187, page 129
- Olivelle 1992, pp. 80-81, 210 with footnotes.
- Ganesh Tagare (2002), The Pratyabhijñā Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120818927, pages 16–19
- Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi (2018) . "Brahman". In Basu, Helene; Jacobsen, Knut A.; Malinar, Angelika; Narayanan, Vasudha (eds.). Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. 2. Leiden: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/2212-5019_BEH_COM_2050070. ISBN 978-90-04-17893-9. ISSN 2212-5019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- William Wainwright (2012), Concepts of God, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University
- U Murthy (1979), Samskara, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195610796, page 150
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The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self. [...] If we adhere to the thought that the Brahman is the cosmic principle governing the universe and Atman as its physical correlate, the essence of Upanishadic thought can be succinctly stated in the formula Brahman = Atman.
- Indich 2000, p. vii.
- Fowler 2002, pp. 240-243.
- Brannigan 2009, p. 19, Quote: "Advaita Vedanta is the most influential philosophical system in Hindu thought.".
- Ignatius Puthiadam (1985). Viṣṇu, the Ever Free: A Study of the Mādhva Concept of God. Dialogue Series. p. 227.
- Bryant, Edwin (2007). Krishna : A Sourcebook (Chapter 15 by Deepak Sarma). Oxford University Press. p. 358. ISBN 978-0195148923.
- N. V. Isaeva (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. SUNY Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0791412817.
- B. N. Krishnamurti Sharma (1986). Philosophy of Śrī Madhvācārya. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 22. ISBN 9788120800687.
- Vivek Ranjan Bhattacharya (1982). Famous Indian sages: their immortal messages. Sagar Publications. p. 356.
- Michael Myers (2000), Brahman: A Comparative Theology, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700712571, pages 124-127
- Sharma 1962, p. 7.
- Sabapathy Kulandran and Hendrik Kraemer (2004), Grace in Christianity and Hinduism, James Clarke, ISBN 978-0227172360, pages 177-179
- Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 266.
- Sarma 2000, pp. 19-21.
- Klaus K. Klostermaier (2010). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition. State University of New York Press. pp. 103 with footnote 10 on page 529. ISBN 978-0-7914-8011-3.
- See also, Griffith's Rigveda translation: Wikisource
- Sugirtharajah, Sharada, Imagining Hinduism: A Postcolonial Perspective, Routledge, 2004, p.44;
- Charles Taliaferro; Victoria S. Harrison; Stewart Goetz (2012). The Routledge Companion to Theism. Routledge. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-136-33823-6.
- William A. Graham (1993). Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion. Cambridge University Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-521-44820-8.
- Ilai Alon; Ithamar Gruenwald; Itamar Singer (1994). Concepts of the Other in Near Eastern Religions. BRILL Academic. pp. 370–371. ISBN 978-9004102200.
- Christoph Elsas (1999). Erwin Fahlbusch (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 524. ISBN 978-90-04-11695-5.
- Hermann Oldenberg (1988). The Religion of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-208-0392-3.
- See also, Griffith's translation of this hymn: Wikisource
- Monotheism and Polytheism, Encyclopædia Britannica (2014)
- Online Etymology Dictionary: kathenotheism
- Carl Olson (2007). The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction. Rutgers University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-0-8135-4068-9.
- Kenneth Kramer (January 1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-8091-2781-8.
- David Christian (1 September 2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. University of California Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2.
- Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
- Jeaneane D. Fowler (2002). Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-1-898723-93-6.
- James L. Ford (2016). The Divine Quest, East and West: A Comparative Study of Ultimate Realities. State University of New York Press. pp. 308–309. ISBN 978-1-4384-6055-0.
- Ninian Smart (2013). The Yogi and the Devotee (Routledge Revivals): The Interplay Between the Upanishads and Catholic Theology. Routledge. pp. 46–47, 117. ISBN 978-1-136-62933-4.
- Jessica Frazier (2013). Russell Re Manning (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology. Oxford University Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 978-0-19-161171-1.
- PT Raju (2006), Idealistic Thought of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-1406732627, page 426 and Conclusion chapter part XII
- Jeffrey Brodd (2003). World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery. Saint Mary's Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5.
- Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, page 91
- Ishwar Chandra Sharma, Ethical Philosophies of India, Harper & Row, 1970, p.75.
- Roy W. Perrett (2013). Philosophy of Religion: Indian Philosophy. Routledge. pp. xiii–xiv. ISBN 978-1-135-70322-6.
- Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism. 1. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 122. ISBN 978-0823931798.
- P. T. Raju (2006), Idealistic Thought of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-1406732627, page 426 and Conclusion chapter part XII
- Fowler 2002, pp. 49–55 (in Upanishads), 318–319 (in Vishistadvaita), 246–248 and 252–255 (in Advaita), 342–343 (in Dvaita), 175–176 (in Samkhya-Yoga).
- Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives, Rodopi Press, ISBN 978-9042015104, pages 43–44
- For dualism school of Hinduism, see: Francis X. Clooney (2010), Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199738724, pages 51–58, 111–115;
For monist school of Hinduism, see: B. Martinez-Bedard (2006), Types of Causes in Aristotle and Sankara, Thesis – Department of Religious Studies (Advisors: Kathryn McClymond and Sandra Dwyer), Georgia State University, pages 18–35
- Fowler 2002, pp. 53–55.
- Brodd, Jeffrey (2009). World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery (3rd ed.). Saint Mary's Press. pp. 43–47. ISBN 978-0884899976.
- Fowler 2002, pp. 50–53.
- Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, page 91
- Stephen Philips (1998), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Brahman to Derrida (Editor; Edward Craig), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415187077, pages 1–4
- Goodman, Hananya (1994). Between Jerusalem and Benares: Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism. State University of New York Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0791417164.
- Raju 1992, p. 228.
- Eliot Deutsch (1980), Advaita Vedanta : A Philosophical Reconstruction, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824802714, Chapter 1
- Potter 2008, pp. 6–7.
- Brodd, Jeffrey (2003). World Religions. Winona, Minnesota: Saint Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5.
- John Bowker (ed.)(2012), The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press.
- Fowler 2002, pp. 49–53.
- Klaus K. Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470824, Chapter 12: Atman and Brahman – Self and All
- Michael Myers (2000), Brahman: A Comparative Theology, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700712571, pages 124–127
- Thomas Padiyath (2014), The Metaphysics of Becoming, De Gruyter, ISBN 978-3110342550, pages 155–157
- Arvind Sharma (2007), Advaita Vedānta: An Introduction, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120820272, pages 19–40, 53–58, 79–86
- John E. Welshons (2009), One Soul, One Love, One Heart, New World Library, ISBN 978-1577315889, pages 17–18
- Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 270. ISBN 978-0816073368.
- Sanskrit and English Translation: S. Madhavananda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad – Shankara Bhashya, page 145
- Sanskrit and English Translation: S. Madhavananda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad – Shankara Bhashya, pages 711–712
- Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.१ ॥तृतीयॊऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource
English Translation:Max Muller, Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1 Oxford University Press, page 48;
Max Muller, The Upanisads at Google Books, Routledge, pages xviii–xix
- Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.२ ॥षष्ठोऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource
English Translation:Max Muller, Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1 Oxford University Press, page 93;
Max Muller, The Upanisads at Google Books, Routledge, pages xviii–xix
- Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.२ ॥षष्ठोऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource
English Translation:Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad 6.8, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pages 246–250
- A. S. Gupta, The Meanings of "That Thou Art", Philosophy East and West, Vol. 12, No. 2, pages 125–134
- Sanskrit: ऐतरेयोपनिषद् Wikisource
English Translation:Max Muller, Aitareya Upanishad 3.3.7, also known as Aitareya Aranyaka 188.8.131.52 Oxford University Press, page 246
- Anantanand Rambachan (2001), Heirarchies in the Nature of God? Questioning The "Saguna-Nirguna" Distinction in Advaita Vedanta, Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 7, pages 1–6
- William Wainwright (2012), Concepts of God, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, (Accessed on: 13 June 2015)
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, page 21
- Jeaneane D. Fowler (2012), The Bhagavad Gita, Sussex Academic Press, ISBN 978-1845193461, pages xxvii–xxxiv
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- aparAmRSTa, kleza, karma, vipaka and ashaya Archived 17 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine; Sanskrit English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany
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gavin flood."Early Vaishnava worship focuses on three deities who become fused together, namely Vasudeva-Krishna, Krishna-Gopala and Narayana, who in turn all become identified with Vishnu. Put simply, Vasudeva-Krishna and Krishna-Gopala were worshiped by groups generally referred to as Bhagavatas, while Narayana was worshipped by the Pancaratra sect."
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|journal=(help)..."Bhakti, the highest path, was that of surrender to Lord Krishna, the way of pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead".
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For his worshippers he is not an avatara in the usual sense, but Svayam Bhagavan, the Lord himself.p.109 Klaus Klostermaier translates it simply as "the Lord Himself"
- "Sapthagiri". tirumala.org. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008. Parashara Maharishi, Vyasa's father had devoted the largest Amsa (part) in Vishnu Purana to the description of Sri Krishna Avatara the Paripoorna Avatara. And according to Lord Krishna's own (instructions) upadesha, "he who knows (the secrets of) His (Krishna's) Janma (birth) and Karma (actions) will not remain in samsara (punar janma naiti- maam eti) and attain Him after leaving the mortal coil." (BG 4.9). Parasara Maharishi ends up Amsa 5 with a phalashruti in an identical vein (Vishnu Purana .5.38.94)
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