in Hinduism, a traditional school of religious teaching, transmitted from one teacher to another. From about the 11th century onward, several sects emerged out of Vaisnavism (worship of the god Vishnu). These sects continue to the present day. They include the Sanaka-sampradaya (also known as Nimbarkas, the followers of Nimbarka); the Sri-sampradaya (or Srivaisnavas, following the teaching of Ramanuja); the Brahma-sampradaya (or Madhvas, the followers of Madhva); and the Rudra-sampradaya (or Visnusvamins, the followers of Visnusvamin). In each case the school is named after a distant and perhaps mythological founder, such as Sri (the goddess Laksmi), from whom it has been transmitted through a succession of teachers to the earthly founders of the sects.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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