Gaudiya Vaishnava

Definition - What does Gaudiya Vaishnava mean?

Gaudiya Vaishnava is a religious movement within Vaishnavism, one of the main Hindu schools of thought. It is also known as Bengali Vaishnavism or Chaitanya Vaishnavism. This movement originated with the mystic Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), who is believed by Gaudiya Vaishnavas to be an incarnation of the Hindu god Krishna. The Hare Krishna movement, or ISKON, is a branch of Gaudiya Vaishnava.

Belief in one supreme god is one of the core beliefs of Gaudiya Vaishnava, with that deity's ultimate manifestation being Krishna, along with the female form, Radha.

Yogapedia explains Gaudiya Vaishnava

Chaitanya promoted kirtan, or the practice of chanting the names of God. The Hare Krishna mantra – popularized in the West by George Harrison's song “My Sweet Lord” – is one of the most common methods of practicing kirtan.

Worship of God in Gaudiya Vaishnava is through Bhakti yoga, or devotional service. In the movement's philosophy, the jiva (self or soul) is identical to God and at the same time different. This concept is called achintya bheda abheda, or “inconceivable oneness and difference.” The human mind cannot understand this concept, but it can be experienced in Bhakti yoga.

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