By Devakinanda Pasupuleti, MD

Ashtottaram 28



ॐ सम्प्रदायभूम्यै नमः

(Sampradāya:-That which is given or handed over, in succession, tradition).

Sampradaya is a body of practice, views, and attitudes, which are transmitted, redefined, and reviewed by each successive generation of followers.

Sampradāya or tradition, wherein knowledge or a way of life is handed over from a guru (teacher) to a disciple or a group of students, has a very important place in Hinduism. Many a time, a guru does not impart all that he knows to his disciples. From among those who live with him and serve him, he may choose one or two as the fittest to receive that knowledge he has kept back. It is this that often matters, more than the open teaching or the books. Because of this reason, sārasatva or sampradāya is all-important.

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A peculiar trait of Hinduism is that all sciences and arts are often traced to God Himself. Sometimes it may be a great ṛishi, seer, or sage also. Sampradāya may also mean the body of the founder-teachers and their immediate disciples. There are different sampradāyās and sārastvās in each of the sciences or arts or fields of wisdom. It is strongly believed that those Veda mantras which are not handed down through a sampradāya, are useless and hence do not produce results. Some works like the Śaktisangama-tantra give long lists of sampradāyās such as Vaikhāna, Rādhavallabhī, Pāncharātra, Virāvaishṇava, Bhāgavata, Nimbārka, and Vrundāvanī.

Picture of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. Wikimedia commons

Picture of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. Wikimedia commons

As time passed, there were many divisions in these traditions like Vaikhānasa, Vālakhilya, Samprakshālula, Marīchakula, Asmakuṭula, and so on…In the guruparampara tradition, in vaishṇava sampradāya the list of āchāryās start with Sri Ramānujāchārya to the current Tridandi Jeeyar Swamis; in Saiva and Advaita traditions- from Sri Ādi Śankarāchārya to the current pontiffs of the maṭhās. My guru, Late Shri Dayananda Saraswati belongs to this latter tradition.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: अहं ब्रह्मास्मि : रामायण और मानव शरीर क्रिया विज्ञान

We see the same traditions and āchāras including food habits, dressing, worship, and daily rituals, being handed down from family to family, generations to generation.

The land where for thousands of years practicing our daily rituals without giving a second thought is none other than- 'Sampradāya Bhūmi'.

(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)

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