Definition - What does Sampradaya mean?

Sampradaya is a Sanskrit term, meaning "tradition" or "religious system." It refers to a spiritual line of masters and their disciples that creates religious stability and integrity.

Sampradaya can also be described as a school of religious views, beliefs, attitudes and teachings passed on from one master to another. It is closely related to the term parampara referring to the lineage of the spiritual masters who carry and pass on the sampradaya.

Yogapedia explains Sampradaya

Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smarthaism are considered the main sampradayas of Hinduism, each having a different philosophy on achieving moksha (spiritual liberation). Within each system there are numerous sub-traditions, also called sampradayas, that form Hinduism as a whole.

There are great differences between the many sampradayas. Each have different views on gods, the soul and the world. Some of them are more spiritual, some more philosophical, some involve rituals, while others focus solely on the practice of yoga. Despite these differences, they have co-existed harmoniously within Hinduism for thousands of years. In fact, it is common for a Hindu of a particular school to take an attitude of a different school toward a specific matter.

One of the sampradayas that focuses on the practice of yoga is the Nandinatha sampradaya. Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras was one of the eight disciples initiated into this sampradaya. The Yoga Sutras is a crucial text on the practice of yoga. Nandinatha sampradaya is connected to the broader Nath sampradaya which was founded by Goraksha and Matsyendra, who were the original fathers of Hatha yoga.

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