Pranami, also known as Dhami, is a Vaishnavism sub-tradition within Hinduism, focussed on god Krishna. The tradition emerged in the 17th-century in Western India, based on the teachings of Bhakti saints, Sri Devchandra Maharaj and his foremost disciple Sri Mehraj Thakur (also known as Mahamati Prannath or Prananath, which gives this tradition the name).
The tradition grew after Mughal Empire declined, in the wake of Aurangzeb's religious persecution of non-Muslims, when Hindu rebellion led to new kingdoms. King Chatrasal of one such kingdom of Bundelkhand patronized Prannath. The Pranami tradition welcomed Hindus and Muslims to join the Krishna worship tradition. At conversion initiation, Prannath would invite the new members to dine together regardless of whether they came from Hindu or Muslim background. He would also explain the Pranami ideas by citing Hindu and Muslim texts to make his teachings connect with the background of the converts.
The religious center of the Pranami tradition has been in northeast Madhya Pradesh, in the town of Panna. In the contemporary era, other major Pranami religious centers (gaddi) are in Jamnagar (Gujarat) and Phuguwa (south of Kathmandu, Nepal).
The Pranami worship Krishna as the god, and its theology holds nirguna Brahman (panentheistic) view of influenced by the Shuddhadvaita philosophy of Vallabhacharya. Its Hindu temples include idols, or sometimes just the texts. Its theology is contained in 14 religious texts attributed to Prannath, the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana. While the Hindu scriptures Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana are in Sanskrit, the 14 Prannath compositions contain 18,768 chaupai (verses), and is called Kuljam Svarup. It is, like in other Bhakti movement saint traditions, an eclectic mix of vernacular languages found in central, west and north India: Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Sindhi and Sanskrit. The Pranami devotees believe that Prannath taught with his text, the essence of all major religious texts of the world, including the Vedas, the Gita, the Quran and the Bible. The devotees believe in Hindu bhakti, but willingly accept or reject teachings found in other sources and texts.
The tradition is strictly vegetarian (ahimsa, non-violence to animals), non-caste tradition dedicated to Radha-Krishna. Dedicated Pranami temples exist such as in Kathiawar and Gulf of Kutch region, but followers of Pranami traditions substitute it by praying and spiritual pursuits in any nearby convenient Hindu Krishna temples. There are an estimated 5-10 million Pranamis found primarily throughout North India, particularly the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Assam, as well as the eastern half of Nepal.
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