1. Sri Hansa (Narayan) Bhagvan

He was the first Acharya of Sampradaya. Though the Sampradaya has become popular as the Nimbarka Sampradaya, its original patriarch is undisputedly Sri Hamsa Bhagavan. Srimad Bhagawatam informs us that the descent of Sri Hamsa Bhagavan was occasioned by a prayer submitted by Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma, having failed to answer a query of his four sons (Sanaka, Sanandan, Sanatan and Sanat Kumar) pertaining to the deliverance of the human soul from the cycle of birth and death, invoked the Lord who then assumed the form of a Swan and imparted ‘Brahmagyan’ (Divine Knowledge) to the Sanakapli Quatunity. From him began the illustrious lineage of the Sampradaya. The fact that Sri Hamsa Bhagavan was an incarnation of the Lord Himself is amply borne out by texts, like “Sri Vishnu Namastak Stotra which says that Hansa is a special name accorded to the Supreme Lord and “Medini Kosha” where it is mentioned that the name Hansa refers to both Lord Vishnu and the Paramatma. The Mahabharata also tells us that before his death, Vishnu had prayed to the Lord referring to him as Hamsam: “Suching Suchipadang Hamsan”. Thus, it becomes evident that the Lord Himself in the guise of Hamsa Swan laid the foundation of the Nimbarka Sampradaya.