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Vaishnava-Sahajiya is a form of tantric Vaishnavism that centred in Bengal, India, that had bellwethers from the 14th century but originated proper from the 16th century. Vaishnava-Sahajiya is generally considered as a 'left-hand path' (Sanskrit: vāmācāra) and apostate (sanskrit: apasampradaya; see Sampradaya) from the "orthodox" or vedic/ Brahminical standpoint, though followers claim that this view stems from a superficial understanding. There are both right-handed and left-handed Vaishnava-Sahajiyas Dakshinachara may be rendered into English as "right (Dakshina) (path to) attainment (chara)", while Vamachara may be rendered into English as "left (vama) (path to) attainment (chara)". The Dakshinacharyas ("Right Attainers") are the ones that practice the Panchamakara ('Five Ms') symbolically or through substitutions, whilst the Vamacharyas ("Left Attainers") are the ones that practice it literally.


Shashibhusan Dasgupta (1946, 1962: p. 131) holds that there are two hundred and fifty "manuscripts of small texts" in the Calcutta University which are associated with the Sahajiya, and that there is a comparable number of manuscripts held in common with Calcutta University in the library of the Bangīya-sāhitya-pariṣad.Dasgupta, Shashibhusan (1946, 1962 revised). Obscure Religious Cults as a Background to Bengali Literature. NB: First edition entitled: Obscure religious cults as...
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