The cult of Krishna Vāsudeva (IAST kṛṣṇa vāsudeva "Krishna, son of Vasudeva") is historically one of the earliest forms of worship in Krishnaism and Vaishnavism. It is believed to be a significant tradition of the early history of the worship of Krishna in antiquity. This tradition is considered separately to other traditions that led to amalgamation at a later stage of the historical development. Other traditions are Bhagavatism and the Cult of Gopala, that along with the Cult of Bala-Krishna, form the basis of current tradition of monotheistic religion of Krishna.
Some early scholars equate it with Bhagavatism, and the founder of this religious tradition is believed to be Krishna, who is the son of Vasudeva, thus his name is Vāsudeva. Historically, he is believed to be part of the Satvata tribe, and according to them his followers called themselves Bhagavatas. This religion formed between the 4th century BC and the 2nd century BC (the time of Patanjali), according to evidence in Megasthenes and in the Arthashastra of Kautilya, when Vāsudeva was worshiped as supreme Deity in a strongly monotheistic format, where the supreme Being was perfect, eternal and full of grace.
The Harivamsa describes intricate relationships between Krishna Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha that would later form a Vaishnava concept of primary quadrupled expansion, or chatur vyuha.
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Present day Krishna worship is an amalgam of various elements. According to historical testimonies Krishna-Vasudeva worship already flourished in and around Mathura several centuries before Christ. A second important element is the cult of Krishna Govinda. Still later is the worship of Bala-Krishna, the Divine Child Krishna - a quite prominent feature of modern Krishnaism. The last element seems to have been Krishna Gopijanavallabha, Krishna the lover of the Gopis, among whom Radha occupies a special position. In some books Krishna is presented as the founder and first teacher of the Bhagavata religion.
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- "Chatur vyuha," article at Bhaktipedia (a Hare Krishna's site).
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