Interpreting the Gopāla Mantra in the Pre-modern Nimbārka Sampradāya

How to Cite

Vijay Ramnarace. (2022). Interpreting the Gopāla Mantra in the Pre-modern Nimbārka Sampradāya: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 24(2), 95–119. Retrieved from


In certain Hindu religious traditions mantras exist in a hierarchy, at the apex of which sits the mantra that is transmitted during ritual of dīkṣā (initiation).1 The task of defining “mantra” in terms of linguistic meaning and ritual instrumentality has attracted the attention of many scholars.2 Additionally, Clooney (2007, p.27) has demonstrated that significant insight into the organizational mechanisms of specific Hindu communities can be gained from an understanding of the particular mantras of initiation used therein. An archetypical example would perhaps be the gāyatrī mantra and its relationship to the classical brāhmaṇa community. Passed down from instructor to student, the mantra was not simply a gateway to Vedic studies or a normal Vedic hymn: it was invested with power (Padoux 1989, pp.301-302).

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