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Worship of Vishnu as the supreme deity, as well as of his incarnations, mainly Rama and Krishna. Vaishnavism is one of the major forms of modern Hinduism, along with Shaivism and Shaktism, and is probably the most popular and most widely practiced. Characterized by an emphasis on bhakti, its goal is to escape from the cycle of birth and death in order to enjoy the presence of Vishnu. The philosophical schools into which Vaishnavism is divided are distinguished by their varying interpretations of the relationship between individual souls and God, and include aspects of monism and dualism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Vaishnavism, visit Britannica.com.