An icon of Nimbarkacharya
An icon of Nimbarkacharya at Ukhra Mahanta Asthal, West Bengal.
Niyamananda or Bhaskara

Nimbapura, India[1]
  • Jagannath (father)
  • Sarasvati (mother)
Founder ofNimbarka Sampradaya
PhilosophyDvaitadvaita Vedanta
Religious career

To the left hand side of Goloka Bihari is the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, Sri Radha, who is as beautiful as the Lord and is worshipped by thousands of handmaidens. She fulfills the wishes of all. Sri Kishori is eternally remembered as Sri Ji.

Nimbarkacharya (Sanskrit: निम्बार्काचार्य, romanizedNimbārkāchārya) (c. 12th century[1]), also known as Nimbarka, Nimbaditya or Niyamananda, was a Hindu philosopher, theologian and the chief proponent of the theology of Dvaitadvaita (dvaita–advaita) or dualistic–non-dualistic sometimes known as svabhavika bhedabheda. He played a major role in spreading the worship of the divine couple Radha and Krishna, and founded Nimbarka Sampradaya, one of four main traditions of Hindu sect Vaishnavism.[3][4]

Nimbarka is believed to have lived around the 12th century,[1] but this dating has been questioned, suggesting that he lived somewhat earlier than Shankaracharya, in the 6th or 7th century CE.[5] Born in Southern India in a Telugu Brahmin family,[4] he spent most of his life in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. He is sometimes identified with another philosopher named Bhaskara,[6] but this is considered to be a misconception due to the differences between the spiritual views of the two saints.[2][7][8]

Etymology and epithets

The word 'Nimbārka' (निंबार्क) is derived from two Sanskrit words — nimba (निम्ब) and arka (अर्क). It is believed that Nimbarka was given the name 'Niyamananda' at his birth. According to a folk tale, Niyamananda achieve the name Nimbarka because he trapped some rays of sunlight (arka) in the leaves of Neem (nimba). He was also referred as Nimbaditya by his followers.[9] Sometimes Bhaskara is also considered his epithet because of the identification of Nimbarka with the philosopher Bhaskara.[10] The tradition which he founded is named after him.


Nimbarka's traditional followers believe that he appeared in 3096 BCE, but this dating is controversial as historians believe that he lived between 7th and 11th century CE.[9] According to Roma Bose, Nimbarka lived in the 13th century, on the presupposition that Śrī Nimbārkāchārya was the author of the work Madhvamukhamardana.[7] Bhandarkar has placed him after Ramanuja, suggesting 1162 CE as the date of his demise.[11] S. N. Dasgupta dated Nimbarka to around middle of 14th century,[12] while S. A. A. Rizvi assigns a date of c.1130–1200 CE.[13]

According to Satyanand, Bose's dating of the 13th century is an erroneous attribution.[14] Malkovsky, following Satyanand, notes that in Bhandarkar's own work it is clearly stated that his dating of Nimbarka was an approximation based on an extremely flimsy calculation; yet most scholars chose to honour his suggested date, even until modern times.[3] According to Malkovsky, Satyanand has convincingly demonstrated that Nimbarka and his immediate disciple Shrinivasa flourished well before Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE), arguing that Shrinivasa was a contemporary, or just after Sankaracarya (early 8th century).[3] According to Ramnarace, summarising the available research, Nimbarka must be dated in the 7th century CE.[15]


Little is known about Nimbarka's life. He is said to have been born into a Telugu Brahmin family[4] on the 3rd bright half of the month Vaisakha and his parents were Jagannath, a Bhagavata saint, and his wife Sarasvati, who lived in Nimbapuri, which is in present-day Bellary district, Karnataka.[11][16] However, some other versions suggest that the name of his parents were Aruna Muni and Jayanti Devi, who lived in a place near the river Godavari, which may be in Andhra Pradesh. Nimbarka's followers believe him as the incarnation of Vishnu's weapon, Sudarshana Chakra.[9][11]

It is believed that Nimbarka was given the name Niyamananda at his birth, but sometimes Bhaskara is considered as his birth name.[10][17] During Nimbarka's early years, it is described that his family moved to Vrindavan, but there is no historical recorded account.[16]


According to Nimbarka, the ultimate reality or Brahman is Krishna, recognized by various names such as Purushottama, Hari, and Bhagavan. He is accompanied by Radha. Brahman, as described by Nimbarka, is flawless, possessing auspicious qualities and transcending the influence of karma, and with attributes such as knowledge, power, and compassion; Brahman is also both the material and efficient cause of creation, likened to a sovereign emperor engaging in playful activities without specific outcomes in mind.[18]

Nimbarka considered the jiva to possess inherent knowledge (jnana), which distinguishes it from non-sentient elements such as the body, sense organs, and mind. This inherent knowledge permeates every state of the jiva, including waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Nimbarka explains that the jiva is both knowledge and knower, likening their relationship to that of a gem and its radiance, where they are distinct yet inseparable, existing in a relationship of substrate and attribute.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 312.
  2. ^ a b Dalal 2010, p. 129.
  3. ^ a b c Malkovsky 2001, p. 118.
  4. ^ a b c "Nimbarka | Indian philosopher | Britannica". Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  5. ^ Ramnarace 2014, p. 113.
  6. ^ Hoiberg 2000.
  7. ^ a b Bose 1940.
  8. ^ Raju 2013, p. 158.
  9. ^ a b c Mukundananda 2014.
  10. ^ a b Ph.D 2016, p. 194.
  11. ^ a b c Bhandarkar 1987.
  12. ^ A History of Indian Philosophy (Vol. 3) by Surendranath Dasgupta, (Cambridge: 1921) page 420
  13. ^ Saiyed A A Rizvi- A history of Sufism in India, Vol.1 (Munshi Ram Manoharlal Publishing Private Limited: 1978), page 355
  14. ^ Satyanand, J. Nimbārka: A Pre-Śaṅkara Vedāntin and his philosophy, Varanasi, 1997
  15. ^ Ramnarace 2014, p. 180.
  16. ^ a b Dalal 2010.
  17. ^ Pandey 2008.
  18. ^ Agraeal 1957, p. 110-111.
  19. ^ Agraeal 1957, p. 100-101.