Shri Nimbarkacharya, Nimbarka, Nimbarkacharya
Period : 12th or 13th century
Shri Nimbark was the founder saint of “Nimbark Sampraday” (sect). His sect also became famous in the name of “Sankadi Sampraday”. Shri Nimbark is believed to be the incarnation of Surya Dev. Few people believe him to be the incarnation of lord’s favourite weapon Sudarshan Chakra (rotating magical disc that Vishnu adorns on his right index finger, which is used as a weapon).
Just like that of the other great saints of Vedic religion, there is a difference of opinion for the lifespan of Shri Nimbarkacharya also. According to his devotees he was born in the Dwapar Yug. Some of the scholars also say that he was born in the 5th century AD. But modern scholars have proved with evidence his lifetime in 11th century. According to Dr.G.R.Bhandarkar, he had died in 1162, which is 25 years after the death of Shri Ramanuj. It is believed that in the 12th century, there was a culmination of his views. In his times he had criticized Shri Ramanuj’s views and this is possible only when his views would have come after Shri Ramanuj’s views. He is believed to have born after Shri Ramanuj and before Shri Madhavacharya.
Shri Nimbarkacharya is believed to be the incarnation of Surya Dev.
Shri Nimbarkacharya was born at Nimbapur in Andhra Pradesh, which is known as Naiyadupattan in present day. At present, Naiyadupattan comes under Bellari district. His mother’s name was Saraswati and father’s name was Jagannath. Some people say that his father’s name was Shri Arun Muni and mother’s name was Jayanthi Devi.
It is believed that since the name of his birthplace was Nimbapur, people used to call him Nimbarka. But there is a mention of a wonderful incident behind his name, which authentically proves the extremity of his devotion.
It is said that formerly his name was Niyamanand. One day, when he was at Dhruv- kshetra on the banks of river Yamuna near Mathura where there is the seat of his sect, one day a Dandi (an ascetic who carries a staff in his hand) or some say a Jain Monk came to his ashram. Both of them started religious talks and became so engrossed that they did not realize that it was already sunset. After sunset when Acharya invited the guest for dinner he refused because according to their belief they do not eat after sunset (Dandi and Jains both do not eat after sunset). Acharya felt very bad athat the guest at his ashram will go away without having food. Seeing his devotee in pain, god created such a situation where in the guest/saint and everyone else near the ashram experienced as though the sun had not yet set. The sun was shining harsly onto the neem tree and its light spreading all over. Everyone was surprised thinking that how is it possible that after the sunset the sun is rising again. But it did not take time for Acharya to understand that it was by the grace of god and he understood that to relieve his heart of pain, his lord Krishna himself had taken the form of Surya (sun) and was spreading the sunlight. His heart was delighted with the love of lord for his devotee. He was thrilled. He bowed to lord with tears in his eyes and offered food to his guests. As soon as dinner was over, the Sun set again and it became
It is believed that since the name of his birthplace was Nimbapur, people used to call him Nimbarka.
People took this incident as the realization of Acharya’s mystical powers and ever since because of the power of Acharya, the Sun light could be seen over the neem tree, he was named Nimbaditya or Nimbark.
Nimbarka was a great devotee of Lord Krishna that is why he spent most of the time of his life in Mathura, birthplace of Shri Krishna. There is not much information available on his life. Just like the acharyas before him, Shri Nimbarkacharya has interpreted his theory on the basis of Brahma-sutra (lines compiled by Ved Vyas) and Bhagvad-Gita. But compared to the bigger annotation written by other Acharyas on basis of Brahma-sutra, Nimbark’s annotation is smaller but very clear. He has also written “dasshloki” out of ten shlokas which gives primary introduction of his theory.
The theory that Shri Nimbarkacharya ascertained is also known as the theory of “Dvaitadvait”. The meaning of Dvaitadvait is Dvait (duality) in Advait (single). According to him, the soul and universe is separate from God and also is one. His theory is established on this principle. This is not a new theory but comes down since very old time. Before him, Bhaskar had interpreted the theory of “Bhedabhed” which meant there is “Bhed”(variance) in “Abhed” (identity). This theory of Bahskar is considered to be original and it is believed that Shri Nimbarkacharya moulded this theory suitable to Vaishnav theory and introduced his Dvaitadvait theory.
The theory that Shri Nimbarkacharya ascertained is also known as the theory of “Dvaitadvait”.
Shri Nimbarkacharya has written many religious books but now, apart from “Vedant Sutron ke Bhasya” and “Vedant parijat Saurabh” none of his books are available. He had many disciples who wrote many books based on Nimbarkarya’s teachings. Of this, the main one is Shri Keshav kashmiri who has also written many other books along with commentary on Brahma-sutra and Bhagvad –gita.
Of the followers of Shri Nimbarkacharya, Keshav Bhatt’s followers are without attachment and Hari Vyas’s followers are householders. In his sect Shri Radha-Krishna is worshipped and people put a tilak (a mark made on the forehead either as an emblem of sect or ornamentation) of Gopi-chandan (a kind of yellow earth).
“Shri Madbhagvat” is believed to be the main granth of this sect. There are many followers of this sect in Mathura and Vrindavan region. The Sriji Mandir near the Loi bazaar in Vrindavan is the chief centre of Nimbark sect. There are many temples of this sect in Vraj region. This sect is also known as Kumara Sampraday (sect).
In his sect Shri Radha-Krishna is worshipped and people put a tilak (a mark made on the forehead either as an emblem of sect or ornamentation) of Gopi-chandan (a kind of yellow earth).