The Vaikhānasas are mentioned in many Vedic texts, and they maintain a close affiliation with the Taittirīya school of the Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda. Yet they are Vaiṣṇavas, monotheistic worshipers of Viṣṇu. Generally, Vaiṣnavism is held to be a post-Vedic development. Thus, the Vaikhānasas bridge two key ages in the history of South Asian religion. This text contains many quotations from ancient Vedic literature, and probably some other older original material, as well as architectural and iconographical data of the later first millennium CE. The Vaikhānasas remain relevant today. They are the chief priests (arcakas) in more than half of the Viṣṇu temples in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka—including the renowned Hindu pilgrimage center Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Howard Resnick has been a visiting scholar at the University of Florida and has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Graduate Theological Union.
7 x 10 inches
Harvard University Department of South Asian Studies