Bhaktisiddhånta Sarasvatî: A Personalist View of Nature

How to Cite

Ferdinando Sardella. (2022). Bhaktisiddhånta Sarasvatî: A Personalist View of Nature: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 18(2), 47–70. Retrieved from


The Bengali revivalist Bhaktisiddhånta Sarasvatî (1874–1937) represented a medieval religious tradition claiming roots in classical Indic
thought. That tradition is known as Caitanya Vaishnavism, and its roots spring from bhakti, or devotional love. Among most of his middle-class bhadralok contemporaries in Bengal the primary tendencies were towards non-dualism, nationalism, humanitarianism, egalitarianism, rationalism, social consciousness, and the use of religion as a conceptual and practical partner in the achievement of these aims. These individuals were in search of new religious and cultural identities that could domesticate the ideas of the West, creating reform movements that were competitive with the more traditional strands of classical and medieval Indic thought. Being one of these more traditional strands, and beset with a number of other “unattractive” features, Caitanya Vaishnavism was generally absent from their selection list. Inaugurated in the 16th century, it is the tradition of bhakti to Krishna and His Consort, which arose from the life and teachings of Caitanya (1486–1534) and included approximately one-fifth of the Bengali population of the late 19th century.

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