What pushed Vaishnavism down from 2000 BC to 1000 AD?
History of India is very less known from 2000BC to 1000AD. What happened in this time? Especially what pushed Vaishnavism down….
(Transcript by Rupak Panigrahy Prabhu)
Q> Very little is known about the spiritual history of India from 2000 BC to 1000 AD. What happened in this time, especially what pushed vaishnavism down.
A> The main factor that pushed vaishnavism down from the spiritual point of view is the advent of kaliyuga. And from the historical point of view the advent of kaliyuga as we know from the scripture, started with a brahmana misusing his power, shringi abusing his power to curse a kshyatriya. So in general as the caste system became more and more stratified and became more rigid and the overall effect of kaliyuga is an overdose of excessive materialism. The brahmanas are ideally speaking are meant to be religious, not just religious but spiritual. But unfortunately when the brahmanas became less spiritual and more materialistically religious then they started using the influence and prestige they had because of their brahminical postion, to sort of push down or discriminate against and even sometimes oppress the lower castes. And because of this the foundation of the brahminical culture started weakening more and more. And along with that of course the kshyatriyas also became corrupted. We know that the 12th canto of shrimad bhagavatam talks about the symptoms of kaliyuga. And those symptoms are not something which suddenly appeared overnight. They are gradually in the state of decline. Even the kshyatriyas became more power hungry and they had some nominal religious motivation but deeply they were more hungry for power and wealth and material trappings of royalty. Because these two kshyatriyas and brahmanas are meant to protect the society materially and spiritually, when the two became disconnected from the spiritual purpose of life then the varnashrama became what we know as caste system. Became oppressive and suppressive. And that’s what led to the overall decline of vedic culture and the spreading of nonvedic religions like Buddhism, Jainism. Charvakism never really spread very far widely in India, because the religious instinct was deeply rooted in the religious instinct was deeply rooted in the indian psyche. Now one thing we need to understand is that even when the vedic culture was widespread, its not necessary that vaishnav culture was widespread. If you look at mahabharat and ramayan, even at those times there were vaishnavas and Lord Vishnu was understood to be supreme, but there were other deities also who were worshipped, so as I mentioned that vedic culture was conclusively monotheistic not exclusively monotheistic. That people understood the conclusion that there is one supreme god, but not that that god’s worship is the only way and all other god are false gods and whose worship will take one to hell. That is the conception of the abrahamic religions. But over a period of time the conclusive monotheism which was there that there are many gods that can worship for specific material desires but the highest god is Vishnu and his forms need to worshipped to get the highest gain. Gradually as the kaliyuga spread the philosophical clarity in understanding the multilevel system of worship got lost and then different sects started claiming their own deities to be supreme and that also led to a sort of confusion and disruption to some extent. So even in vedic culture vaishnavism was not necessarily universal form of worship. Because vedic culture became oppressive so gradually vedic culture went down and other cultures came up.
So there are two factors. From historical point of view, one is the uprising of the other religions and from the spiritual point of view, other religions arose because the vedic culture became less and less spiritual and became more and more materialistic because of the materialism that enveloped the brahmanas and kshyatriyas. Thank you.
hare krishna !
very well explained thank you !
You have mentioned about caste system and its effects on Vaishnavism. However it was the works of Vaishnav saints in the middle ages which eventually stopped the bad effects of casteism in Hindu society which was under Bramhinical influence and made Vaishnav ideals of devotion to Lord Krishna or Vishnu irrespective of caste and social status. I am mentioning a short history of Vaishnavism during 2000 BC to 1000 AD for all the readers. Please send me your feedback.
The Gupta period is considered the golden period in Hindu history. It was during the Gupta period that most of the 18 Puranas chief among them SrimadBhagvat Purana was finally compiled and written in classical Sanskrit by the followers or worshippers of Lord Krishna and the worshippers of many Vishnu incarnations like Rama, Narsimha, Parshuram etc, namely the Vaishnav schools of thought to promote Bhagvat Dharma throughout India which was first recited by Shukadeo Goswami to King Parikshit at Naimisharanya in the assembly of sages prior to the Gupta period some 3715 years ago at the start of Kaliyuga or at the beginning of the Latter Vedic age. At present we are staying in Yugabdha 5115 Kaliyuga year and the glorious Gupta dynasty ruled India 1400 years prior to our 21st century. Similarly it was during the Gupta period that the 72 classical Puranic literatures were finally written, compiled and spread amongst the masses when the Puranics rose to prominence after the disappearance of Krishna avatar in 3075 BC at the beginning of Kaliyuga during the Latter Vedic age to spread devotion and faith amongst the common masses. The Puranics believed more in temple or deity worship and people from all the 4 social and life orders in Varnashram Dharma could participate and worship the deity with devotion in temples irrespective of their social orders and also in their homes by establishing a deity altar for worship. However, the Bramhins, the priestly class due to their knowledge in Vedic rituals and purity were ordained by the Vedic Shastras, especially the Agama sutras to officiate as pujaris (chief worshippers in the temples) for worshipping a particular deity for eg. in Narada Pancharatra which is considered a standard Agama literature in Vaishnavism, rules and regulations of doing deity and temple worship is given for worshipping Lord Vishnu or Krishna. The Puranics did not lay stress upon the ritualistic Vedic worship of chanting mantras that needed the presence of well-qualified priests (Bramhins) for officiating the elaborate fire sacrifices as like the Vedics. However, both the Puranics and Vedics challenged the atheistic philosophies of Kapila, Charvaka and the anti-Vedic movements like Jainism and Buddhism that originated or rebelled against the Vedic religion in the Latter Vedic age.
Thus during the Latter Vedic age which started after the Mahabharat War in 3105 BC until the Gupta period in 5th cent AD there were 2 types of followers in Sanatan Vedic Dharma, one who adhered to the Vedic knowledges and literatures and followed the Bramhinical culture were called the Vedics which followed the Vedic path of fire sacrifices that needed the presence of priests or well qualified Bramhins and the second who were more secular in their approach were called the Puranics which stressed more upon deity worship with devotion and faith and constructed temples for the respective devotees of Krishna and its Vishnu incarnations, Shiva, Ganesh, Skanda and Shakti (feminine deities) and gave less importance to Vedic fire sacrifices and Vedic gods such as Indra, Agni, Vayu, Aditya etc.
The Puranics gave birth to modern Hinduism who considered the supreme truth in its 3 aspects as Bramha the creator of the universe, Vishnu as the preserver or sustainer of the universe and Shiva as the destroyer or annihilator of the universe and the stories associated with them along with the feminine deities (Shakti). The Puranics considered the 33 crore Vedic gods such as Indra, Vayu, Agni, Surya as administrative demigods maintaining the cosmic creation under the directions of the 3 principal Gods namely Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva and also considered them as parts and parcels of one supreme God who is omnipotent, omnipresent and all-pervading and cause of all causes. The Upanishads including the Bhagvad-Gita himself spoken by the Supreme Bhagvan Krishna confirms this statement. The 4 Vedas and the 18 puranas confirms this fact that during the previous 3 ages people use to worship the Supreme God in the form of penance during Satyayuga, Vedic fire sacrifices during Tretayuga and Deity worship (Sakar, Saguna form) during Dwaparyuga. Thus at the beginning of Kaliyuga there were 2 types of followers in the Vedic religion the Vedics observed Vedic fire sacrifices in their daily worship and the Puranics observed deity worship in their daily worship. However, the puranics laid more stress on devotional service. Agni Purana, Vayu Purana were the names of some of the principal puranas dedicated to Vedic gods. However, most of the 72 Puranas gave more importance to stories associated with the various Gods and Goddesses chief being Vishnu, Krishna, Shiva, Bramha, Skanda, and the feminine deities and attracted large number of devotees or followers to them giving birth to 3 prominent sects in present day Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma namely Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism.
Latter Vedic age was a period in ancient Indian history that started after the Mahabharat War which occurred in BC 3105 until the glorious Gupta period during the 3rd to 5th cent AD. It was also the time when the Puranics composed or wrote 72 Puranic literatures in all based on the category of 18 Mahapuranas, 18 Upamahapuranas, 18 Puranas and 18 Upapuranas. Sage Vedvyas first wrote SrimadBhagvatam Mahapuran dedicated to Lord Krishna and its Vishnu incarnations to promote Vaishnavism or Krishna Bhakti on the orders of his spiritual master Narada Muni and transmitted on to his son Shukadeo Goswami and then it was recited by Suta goswami at Naimisharanya on the banks of the river Ganga when Parikshit was about to be killed by the serpent Naga king Takshaka.
Vaishnavism flourished and spread during the period of 16 Mahajanapadas (kingdoms) which ruled India after the disintegration of Pandava Empire under the last Kuru ruler Janmejaya till the invasion of the Greeks under Alexander over the borders of north-west India in 326 BC. The Greeks were defeated and stopped from further advancing by the Mauryan Empire which was established in 3rd cent. BC by Chandragupta who was helped by Chanakya the author of the famous treatise (Arthashastra – law of governance) in overthrowing the Nanda Empire.
However, prior to the existence of the 16 Mahajanpadas (kingdoms) when northern India faced severe drought during the desertification of Saraswati river Valley between BC 3000 to BC 2500 the civilized Indic Aryans were forced to settle or migrate to other parts of the world and settled in Persia, West Asia, Asia Minor, and Europe and spread Sanatan dharma to South-east Asia, Central Asia, Tibet and settled as far as Japan. It was due to the spread of Indic Aryans that Vedic culture once again spread to many parts of the globe after the disastrous Mahabharat war in which many civilized Aryan kings, clan-chiefs and emperors who assembled in the battlefield of Kurukshetra in 3105 BC from all the known Aryan lands of settlement throughout the world were wiped out and Vedic culture suffered a serious setback and many new Aryan kings, clans, emperors found their new dynasties in the present Kaliyuga because of there isolation with the Vedic culture and civilization of India from where it had spread in the previous 3 ages namely Satya, Treta and Dwapar and completely forgot their relationship with Indian Subcontinent and Sanatan Dharma or the religion followed by their Vedic ancestors which they followed until the Mahabharat War. However, once again at the start of Kaliyuga, some Aryan clans like the Kurus, Yadus and the rebellious Nagas after the Mahabharat War left the borders of India, overpowered the weaker kings in those lands and became the rulers of Central Asia, Persia, Middle east, Asia Minor and finally some Indo-European settlements that spread all over the Mediterranean like the Greeks, Trojans, Phoenicians and other Hellenics were civilized by the Aryan migrations which occurred from 3000 BC onwards to these lands from northern India. Hence the languages of Europe, Persia, Central Asia, Indian Subcontinent and the languages spoken in South east Asia as far as the islands of Indonesia are all influenced from Vedic or Classical Sanskrit – the language of the original Indic Aryans and have borrowed words, share grammatical sentence formation structure or such type of linguistic identities from their mother language- Sanskrit spoken in the previous 3 ages by Vedic Aryans which is the religious, spiritual and literary language of Sanatan Dharma.
Thus there were many Indic Aryan migrations from India after the Mahabharat War and the desertification of Saraswati river valley during BC 3000 to BC 2500 completely denies the British colonial influenced, created and postulated Aryan invasion theory which was given confirmation and spread amongst the Indian masses by the Western Indologists and academicians like Lord Macaulay, Max Mueller from 18th cent onwards and we as Indians are still learning the false Aryan invasion theory in our educational institutes till the present time without challenging it is really shameful and embarrassing for the very existence of our past culture and civilization and we should negate the Aryan invasion theory by proofs, arguments and logic and completely defeat the mindset of those people – Indians and westerners alike who believe and support the British Raj created Aryan invasion theory in which they called the civilized Vedic Aryans as nomadic invaders on India. Infact, the original civilized Aryans of India conceived Sanatan Vedic Varnashram dharma during Satyayuga and eventually it was from India that the Vedic Aryans spread Vedic civilization elsewhere in the world. The Aryan invasion theory was purposely conceived by the British colonial western power who had no knowledge of Vedic and Puranic scriptures and created this wrong, illogical and false Aryan invasion theory to create delusion in the minds of Indians and inundate Indians and their minds with western knowledges, cultural values and civilization and who considered all Indian knowledges as mythological or studied them for the matter of religious conversion to Christianity. On the contrary, the Indus Valley civilization suffered due to incessant flooding or due to the geographical and climatic changes that occurred in northern India due to the complete desertification of Saraswati river basin which is called the birthplace of many Vedic literatures and is mentioned in Rigveda and Yajurveda many times along with Ganga and its tributaries which flowed eastwards on north Indian plains.
Thus the Indus valley civilization was never attacked by the Aryan invaders from the north-west nor there was any time-gap between the demise of Indus valley culture and the invading Aryan nomadic tribes who came from the area around the Caucasus mountains located in Southern Russian steppes near the Black Sea which started the beginning of the Vedic period in ancient Indian history from 2500 BC onwards and the creation of Vedic literatures from then on till the subsequent Epic and Upanishadic period which followed in 1000 BC until the advent of Buddha in 6th cent BC as is postulated by the cunning Western indologists during the British rule period to undermine the greatness of Vedic culture and civilization.
The real history is due to the desertification of Saraswati river valley between 3000 BC – 2500 BC which was spread over a huge area of the modern day Indian states of Haryana, western Rajasthan, Kutch and some parts of modern day Punjab west of river Sutlej and in Sindh province west of river Sindhu (Indus) of modern day Pakistan completely dried up and transformed into the present day Thar desert. The original Vedic Indic Aryans were not invaders from any foreign land like Europe or near the Black sea as is postulated in the Aryan invasion theory and as a matter of fact were the settlers on the agriculturally rich land of the mighty Vedic Saraswati river which helped in flowering and sustaining the original Vedic civilization from the start of Satyayuga until its demise in the beginning of the present Kaliyuga. Almost parallel to it was another mighty Vedic river namely Sindhu (Indus) and its other tributaries like Sutlej, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas from whom Indus Valley civilization or the land of seven rivers (Saptasindhu) has been derived. The Indus river although flowing westwards in the Arabian sea had to bear geographical, climatic and topographical consequences due to the desertification of its sister river namely Saraswati and the whole Indus valley or Saraswati river valley civilization was affected by this natural catastrophe which also eventually affected its settlers namely Vedic Indic Aryans.
Harappan civilization or upper Indus valley (Punjab) remained unaffected but suffered serious setbacks towards the end period of the demise of Indus valley civilization in BC 2500 and soon many people migrated from Punjab either to northern India, Kashmir, Gandhar (Afghanistan) and went as far as Central Asia or settled in Persia, West Asia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and the Meditteranean world in Europe and shared their cultural ideas and assimilated with the settlers of these lands and thus Vedic culture and civilization spread to these lands.
However, the Indus valley civilization in Sindh suffered a major setback due to the desertification of Saraswati river valley as the Saraswati river basin completely dried immediately after the Mahabharat War after the disappearance of Lord Krishna and it is described in the epic Mahabharat that many Saraswatas or the settlers on the banks of the river Saraswati migrated throughout the Indian subcontinent from Kashmir to Bengal and Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu. Present day Indian castes such as Gaud Saraswat Bramhins of Bengal and of the western coast of India, Kashmiri Saraswats, other Saraswat Bramhins, Chettiyar of Tamil Nadu trace their lineage from the ancestors of Saraswati river valley. All these major events such as the mass migrations of Indic Aryans occurred in ancient Indian history during Latter Vedic age due to the desertification of the most important Vedic river namely Saraswati in the Indus river valley basin and it also completely changed the geography and the climatic condition of northern India and affected the lives of the settlers in northern India at that time.
Vaishnavism faced bitter competition by some atheistic philosophers like Kapila, Charvaka and their disciples and also by the missionary activities done by 24 Tirthankars in Jainism and by Lord Buddha, who appeared in 6th cent BC, though regarded as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu purposely propagated a voidistic and nihilistic philosophy amongst the masses and attracted many people from all the Varnas in the Vedic religion and roamed northern India and spread his teachings by establishing sangha or disciples. His disciples (sangha) spread Buddhism under Hinayana and Mahayana sects throughout India and also to foreign lands under Emperor Ashoka during Maurya rule in 2nd cent BC and also received royal patronage from emperor Ashoka in propagating Buddhism as he established Buddhist schools and monasteries (Viharas), Chaityas (places of worship). The Vedic religion under the Vedics and Puranics however could withstand the Buddhist onslaught and propaganda until the invasion of the Huns from 5th cent. onwards until the 7th cent when eventually Buddhism became less popular amongst the masses and totally vanished from India when the Advaitas (monotheistic followers under Shankaracharya) converted many Buddhists once again to Vedic religion based on monotheistic Vedic logic and argument in the 8th cent AD. The Advaitas under Shankarcharya established 4 mathas (monasteries) to propagate and protect Vedic religion. Eventually many Advaitas or followers of Shankara were further converted to Vaishnavism during the Bhakti movement between the 11th to 16th cent AD under the 4 bonafide Vaishnav sects which is mentioned below in this article.
The 18 Mahapuranas were written until the Gupta period of which 6 are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, 6 are dedicated to Lord Shiva and 6 are dedicated to Lord Bramha. The glorious Gupta period was also the end of the Latter Vedic age period and slowly Sanskrit ceased to be the language of the common person from 7th century onwards and was only confined within the realms of intellectual and scholarly class (Bramhins and their gurukuls) who could understand and impart Vedic and Puranic knowleges as they knew Sanskrit language and grammar. Students use to learn in the universities of Nalanda, Takshashila, Paithan, Kashi, Kanchi, Ujjain which were considered as Sanskrit and Buddhist seats of learning education as Buddhism had a large number of following until the 8th cent AD along with the followers of Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) and Jainism.
The foundation stone of modern Hinduism was thus in the Latter Vedic age during the Puranic period which began with the start of Kaliyuga or after the Mahabharat War and the disappearance of Bhagvan ShriKrishna to his heavenly abode after he performed his earthly Leelas (pastimes) for 125 years. Lord Krishna appeared towards the end of 28th Mahayuga’s Dwaparyuga in 7th Vivasvan Manvantar (Epoch). SrimadBhagvatam was written after the disappearance of Lord Krishna by Sage Vedvyas who was himself present during Lord Krishna’s time on the material world and is considered as the literary incarnation of Bhagvan Krishna some 5115 years ago. Sage Vedvyas is also responsible for dividing the Vedic literatures into 4 divisions namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva and passed the various branches of Vedic literatures on to his disciples namely Vaishampayana, Yadnyavalkya, Jaimini, Sumanta, Paila, Romaharshana, Suta and Shukadeo Goswami.
SrimadBhagvat Purana is a philosophical and enlightening discussion between Parikshit Maharaj and Shukadeo Goswami who describes the activities of the Supreme Lord, the description of spiritual and the material world, why the supreme Lord creates this illusory material world for the jivatmas and also appears in many incarnations to deliver them and destroy the miscreants, principles of devotional service and the ways to reach the supreme destination (Spiritual world) for every living entity. It contains the history of the entire cosmic creation and describes the various Vishnu incarnations that occurred from the beginning of Bramha’s day (Kalpa) in which the various Manvantar epochs rule over the earthly planet, the various dynasties that rule over the earthly planet in the various Yugas (ages) therein and describes the exemplary life of the various devotees of the Supreme Lord and gives more importance on Bhagvat Bhakti or devotional service unto the Supreme Lord Bhagvan Vishnu or Krishna by giving descriptions of the devotees of the Supreme Lord and from the exemplary life of the various Vishnu incarnations that occured including Bhagvan Krishna who incarnated himself on mother earth to destroy irreligion and establish the principles of Dharma, high human values, ideals and ethics. SrimadBhagvatam inspires devotees to follow in the footsteps of the great devotees of the Supreme Lord and also by the activities and the message given to us by the Supreme Lord who once again established the real principles of religion and devotion in human society in the form of SrimadBhagvat Purana so that we can gain liberation from material existence by the supreme Lord’s mercy by doing devotional service and attain our supreme destination by going home back to spiritual world (Vaikuntha).
Thus Vaishnavism is a prominent sect in Sanatan Dharma which had its origin during the Latter Vedic age after the disappearance of Lord Krishna at the start of Kaliyuga some 5115 years ago and modern day Hinduism had its roots during the glorious Gupta period because it is considered as the end of the Latter Vedic age. A new movement known as Bhagvat Dharma started in Sanatan Dharma to propagate Vaishnavism amongst the common masses that stressed upon devotional service to Krishna or Vishnu during the Gupta period based upon the teachings of Lord Krishna in Bhagvad Gita and SrimadBhagvatam written by Vedvyas. After the decline of the glorious Guptas in northern India Vaishnavism spread rapidly throughout India and was given royal protection by the various Hindu Rajput dynasties. The Rajputs or Kshatriyas of Northern India such as Gujjar Pratiharas, Chandelas, Tomars, Chauhans had their roots in the various ruling dynasties of northern India after the fall of the glorious Guptas owing to their assimilation with the various invading Huna clans that invaded India from Central Asia from 5th century onwards and got assimilated in Hindu culture. Thus the Rajput chieftains were an assimilation of the defeated Gupta dynasty kings after the fall of Harsha’s Empire in 6th century AD and the invading Huna clans which got assimilated in Hindu culture which preferred Hinduism rather then Buddhism and called themselves Kshatriyas from 8th century onwards after the decline of Buddhism in northern India. Vaishnavism also spread to east India under the Pala, Sena and Ganga dynasties that ruled Bengal, Bihar and Orrisa.
However, Bhagvat Dharma, philosophy and Bhakti movement received royal patronage the most in Southern India during the rule of Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Pallava, Chola, Hoyashala, Kakatiya, Pandya and Yadava dynasties between 6th century to 13th century AD which assisted in building huge temple complexes and giving further boost to devotional service before the invasion of Islam to Southern India prior to the 13th century. They not only gave royal patronage to Vaishnavas but also gave royal patronage and constructed temples dedicated to the followers of the other 2 main sects in Hinduism namely Shaivism – worshippers of Shiva, Lingam and associate demigods namely Ganesha, Skanda and Shaktism – worshippers of Durga, Kali and feminine deities.
Bhakti movement in Vaishnavism began in Southern India during the rule of Pallava dynasty in Tamil Nadu by the 11 Alwar saints who appeared from 5th century onwards in succession until the Chola dynastic rulers of 9th century. The precise period of the Alvars has been an object of controversy; but we can also suspect that many of these mystic poets lived in different times. Medieval India experienced a cultural renaissance under the Bhakti sampradaya which was propagated by 4 Vaishnav bonafide sects from 11th century onwards until the 16th century and protected Hindu culture and civilization from Islamic conversions and reduced the tensions between the various castes in the Hindu fold until the advent of Europeans and the subsequent British conquering of the Indian Sub-continent in the 18th century.
The 4 bonafide Vaishnav sects have a large number of followers even in the 21st century including the Gaudiya Vaishnavism branch of Bramha Madhva sampradaya which was established on the teachings of ShriChaitanya Mahaprabhu (incarnation of Krishna in the form of devotee) who appeared in Bengal province some 500 years ago and established the Achintyabhedabheda philosophy based on Vedanta sutra of Vedvyas. His disciples – the 6 Goswamis of Vrindavan made Krishna Bhakti popular amongst the masses especially in northern and eastern India.
The 4 bonafide Vaishnav sects are based on the theistic Vedanta philosophy of VedVyasa and are opposed to the monotheistic philosophy of Advaita Shankaracharya and are known as Sri sampradaya of Ramanuja who established Vishistadvaita philosophy in the 11th century and spread Vishnu Bhakti in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and till this date the deity worship is being followed by the successors of Ramanuja in Tirupati, Srirangam and elsewhere throughout the world, Madhvacharya who appeared in Udipi, Karnataka in the 12th century is the founder of Madhva sampradaya, established Dwaita philosophy and spread Krishna Bhakti amongst the masses. His successors especially spread it to Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra. In Maharashtra the worshippers of Vitthala (Krishna) are known as Warkari sampradaya. Warkari sect though being different from the Madhva sect is very much similar in philosophy and is a Vaishnav sect that has its origin and trace its lineage from the spread of Bhakti movement done by the 12th century saint Dnyneshwar who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna himself and wrote Dnyaneshwari (commentary on Bhagvad Gita in Marathi) when Madhvacharya was present in Karnataka. Since then Warkari sect made great contributions in spreading Vaishnavism and protecting Sanatan dharma in Maharashtra under tyrannical Islamic rule of religious conversion and had a succession of saints such as Eknath, saints from the 18 chief castes of Maharashtra and finally saint Tukaram in the 16th cent. Saint Tukaram was contemporary to Shivaji, the founder ruler of the Hindu Maratha kingdom who established Hindavi Swaraj in AD 1674. During this period of 4 centuries, Maharashtra was being ruled by Islamic rulers after the defeat of Yadavas of Deogiri by the Delhi Sultanate towards the end of 12th cent. The other 2 bonafide Vaishnav sects being Vishnuswami’s Rudra sampradaya who appeared in the Pandya kingdom during 10th century and established the Shuddhadwaita philosophy and the 4th prominent Vaishnav sect being Nimbarkacharya’s Kumar sampradaya who established the philosophy of Dwaitadwaita in South India. Kumar sampradaya in north India is known as Vallabh sect based on the teachings of Vallabhacharya and has a large number of adherents in western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan and worship Lord Krishna as Srinathji.
Thus Vaishnavism has a continous history since Mahabharat period till the present day.
Your comment is an interesting blend of history as it is understood by the tradition and as it is speculated by academia. Do you have any references for these details?
Vaishnavism was always existent, but it was not always prevalent in the last 5000 years of Indian history.
The point my answer makes is undeniable from both traditional and modern historical perspectives: as compared to at the time of the Mahabharata, Vaishnavism did go down, especially during the period when Buddhism and Jainism ruled India – just before the Gupta empire.
Hare Krishna! Thank you for explanation.