Hindu Views on Monotheism
According to Rigveda 1.164.46,
Transl: Klaus Klostermaier
- Indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān,
- ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ
- “They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.
- To what is One, sages give many a title — they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.”
Krishnaism is a sub-tradition of Vaishnavism wherein Krishna is considered Svayam Bhagavan, meaning ‘Lord Himself’ and it is used exclusively to designate Krishna as the Supreme Lord. Krishna is considered as an avatar (manifestation) of Vishnu himself or to be the same as Narayana. Krishna is recognized to be Svayam Bhagavan in the belief of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and Dvaita sub-school of Hindu philosophy, the Vallabha Sampradaya, in the Nimbarka Sampradaya, where Krishna is accepted to be the source of all other avatars, and the source of Vishnu himself.
The theological interpretation of svayam bhagavān differs with each tradition and the 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.
Gaudiya Vaishnavas and followers of the Vallabha Sampradaya Nimbarka Sampradaya, use the Gopala Tapani Upanishad, and the Bhagavata Purana, to support their view that Krishna is indeed the Svayam Bhagavan. This belief was summarized by the 16th century author Jiva Goswami in some of his works, such as Krishna-sandarbha.
In other sub-traditions of Vaishnavism, Krishna is one of many aspects and avatars of Vishnu (Rama is another, for example), recognized and understood from an eclectic assortment of perspectives and viewpoints.
Vaishnavism is one of the earliest single God focussed traditions that derives its heritage from the Vedas.  Within Hinduism, Krishna is worshiped from a variety of perspectives.
A different Vaishnavism viewpoint, such as those in Sri Vaishnavism, opposing this theological concept is the concept of Krishna as one of the many avatar of Narayana or Vishnu. The Sri Vaishnavism sub-tradition reveres goddess Lakshmi with god Vishnu as equivalent, and traces it roots its roots to the ancient Vedas and Pancaratra texts in Sanskrit.
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[b] Lester Kurtz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, ISBN978-0123695031, Academic Press, 2008;
[c] 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.”
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Chakravarti, Sitansu (1991), Hinduism, a way of life, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., p. 71, ISBN978-81-208-0899-7
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John Bowker (1975). Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World. Cambridge University Press. pp. 194, 206–220. ISBN978-0-521-09903-5.;
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- See also, Griffith’s Rigveda translation: Wikisource
- Gupra, 2007, p.36 note 9.
- Bhagawan Swaminarayan bicentenary commemoration volume, 1781-1981.p. 154: …Shri Vallabhacharya [and] Shri Swaminarayan… Both of them designate the highest reality as Krishna, who is both the highest avatara and also the source of other avataras. To quote R. Kaladhar Bhatt in this context. “In this transcendental devotieon (Nirguna Bhakti), the sole Deity and only” is Krishna. New Dimensions in Vedanta Philosophy – Page 154, Sahajānanda, Vedanta. 1981
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- Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 341. ISBN978-0-521-43878-0. Retrieved 2008-04-21.“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.”
- Dalmia-luderitz, V. (1992). Hariscandra of Banaras and the reassessment of Vaisnava bhakti in the late nineteenth century. Devotional Literature in South Asia: Current Research, 1985-8. Cambridge University Press. ISBN978-0-521-41311-4. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
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- Knapp, S. (2005). The Heart of Hinduism: The Eastern Path to Freedom, Empowerment and Illumination –. iUniverse. “Krishna is the primeval Lord, the original Personality of Godhead, so He can expand Himself into unlimited forms with all potencies.” page 161
- Dr. Kim Knott (1993). “Contemporary Theological Trends In The Hare Krishna Movement: A Theology of Religions”. Retrieved 2008-04-12.…”Bhakti, the highest path, was that of surrender to Lord Krishna, the way of pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead”.
- K. Klostermaier (1997). The Charles Strong Trust Lectures, 1972-1984. Crotty, Robert B. Brill Academic Pub. p. 206. ISBN978-90-04-07863-5.
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”
- B. V. Tripurari (2004). Gopala-tapani Upanisad. Audarya Press. ISBN978-1-932771-12-1.
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- See McDaniel, June, “Folk Vaishnavism and Ṭhākur Pañcāyat: Life and status among village Krishna statues” in Beck 2005, p. 39
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- Matchett, Freda (2000), Krsna, Lord or Avatara? The relationship between Krsna and Visnu: in the context of the Avatara myth as presented by the Harivamsa, the Visnupurana and the Bhagavatapurana, Surrey: Routledge, pp. 4, 77, 200, ISBN978-0-7007-1281-6
- Lester, Robert C (1966). “Rāmānuja and Śrī-vaiṣṇavism: The Concept of Prapatti or Śaraṇāgati”. History of Religions. 5 (2): 266–269. doi:10.1086/462526. JSTOR1062115.
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