The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev

History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

Created by: Mn M Wonder Series

UPSC : The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev

The document The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC

The Bhakti Movement 

  • The seeds of Bhakti can be founded in the Vedas, but it was not emphasized during the early period. 
  • The idea of the adoration of a personal God seems to have developed with the growing popularity of Buddhism. 
  • Bhakti was accepted, along with jana and karma, as one of the recognised roads of salvation.
  • Perhaps the greatest event that took place in the cultural history of India in the medieval ages was the silent revolution in our society brought about by a galaxy of socio-religious reformers. 
  • This revolution is known as the Bhakti Movement in the history. 
  • The Bhakti cult cut across distinctions of high and low birth, the learned and the unlettered, and opened the gateway of spiritual realization to one and all.
  • About this time Islam made its appearance in India, a religious upheaval was in the offing. 
  • The leader of this Hindu revivalist movement was Shankaracharya. He gave a new orientation to Hinduism and was largely instrumental in extinguishing the last flicker of Buddhism. 
  • Shankar was a great thinker and a distinguished philosopher. But his preachings of the doctrine of pure monism (Advaitawad) were beyond the intelligence of the common people.
  • It was, therefore, left to Ramanuja to revive Hinduism  after the decline of Buddhism by preaching Bhakti as a means of salvation.
  • The Bhakti movement may be said to have originated in the south in the teachings of the Tamilian mystic saints of the 7th-9th centuries A.D. It was systematized by Ramanuja in the 12th century A.D. and propagated throughout India. 
  • Kanchi and Srirangam were the chief centres of his activity but due to the hostility of the Chola government to his teachings, he had to leave that place and establish a new ‘matha’ at Mulukote in Mysore. 
  • Ramanuja built up the philosophy of qualified monism (Vishistadvaita), which reconciled devotion to a personal God with the philosophy of vedanta.
  • Ramananda brought to northern India the religious revival which Ramanuja had initiated in the south. 
  • He raised his voice against the increasing formalism of the orthodox cult and founded a new school of Vaishnavism based on the gospel of love and devotion. 
  • His most outstanding contribution is the abolition of distinctions of caste among his followers. 
  • He had, among his disciples, Raidasa, the cobbler, Kabir, the weaver, Dhanna, the Jat farmer, Sena the barber, and Pipa, the Rajput. 
  • He popularised the cult of Rama and Sita in place of the worship of Krishna and Radha. He gave his teachings through Hindi, the language of the common people.
  • Vallabhacharrya was the worshipper of Krishna. He was born of Telugu parents in 1479 A.D. near Banaras. He was a genius from his very early life and is credited to have visited the court of Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar where he defeated some Shaiva pandits in a public discussion. 
  • He preached renunciation of the world and insisted on complete identity of both soul and world with the supreme spirit. His monism was known as “Suddha-advaita” (Pure non-duality). 
  • According to him `Bhakti’ was both the means and the end. It was given by God. An individual could become a devotee only through the grace of the Almighty. 
  • The Guru was to be considered as divine on earth. In essence, the teaching of Vallabhacharya were quite good but in practice, they become too much worldly the epicureanism of the East.
  • Among various disciples of Ramananda, Kabira (1398-1518 A.D.) was the greatest. 
  • He was brought up by a Muslim couple of weavers, although tradition says that he was the offspring of a Brahmana widow who threw him near a tank to escape social disgrace. 
  • His songs are noted for their literary excellence, besides conveying a great spiritual and moral message to the world. 
  • There is in them a renunciation of worldliness, the life of senseless pleasures, sectarianism, formal religious practices and unrighteous conduct. The God, he worshipped, was formless one; he called him by many names, both Rama and Rahim. 
  • He sharply condemned caste and religious distinctions and taught the brotherhood of man. He appealed to the conscience, the inner voice of man, and not to scriptures, Hindu and Muslim. He believed that the ultimate goal of the human soul was unity with God. He had both Hindus and Muslims as his followers. 
  • One of his leading followers Dharanidasa formed the Dharnadasi branch of the Kabir Pantha in the Chhatisgarh region of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Raidasa, a contemporary of Kabir and a fellow-disciple of Ramananda, was a cobbler of Varanasi. He composed songs brimming with love and devotion. 
  • Some of them are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred text of the Sikhs.
  • Another great exponent of the Nirguna school was Dadu (1544-1603 A.D.), a native of Ahmadabad and of uncertain parentage and social status, he was spiritually inclined from his boyhood. 
  • He practised the teachings of Kabir, discarded the limitations of caste and creed, and exhorted his followers not to distinguish between Hindu and Muslims. Sundaradasa was a great disciple of Dadu.
  • A century later came Jagajivanadasa of Barabanki district. (Uttar Pradesh), the founder of the Satnami sect. 
  • Charandasa of  Rajputana was a Nirguna-upasaka and practised Yoga, but he was a great devotee of Sri Krishna of Vrindavan.
  • Chaitanya (1485-1533 A.D.) was the most popular among the Vaishnava saints. His name is a household word in Bengal and there are a large number of devotees who still worship as an incarnation of Sri Krishna and recite his name with feelings of devotion and love. 
  • Chaitanya emphasized universal love and brotherhood as the first step to the love of God. He was against ritualism and casteism. 
  • The assence of his teachings is summed up thus, “If a creature adores Krishna and serves the Guru, he is released from the meshes of illusion and attains to Krishna’s feet.” 
  • But he did not advocate asceticism or renunciation. He was an optimist and did not consider human existence as an illusion. 
  • For him, life was a play and the world was the abode of his play. 
  • Human beings are participants in this divine play. The disciples of Chaitanya passed through five stages of their devotion of God for reaching their goal of salvation. 
  • These are santi (resigned contemplation), dasya (service to the Lord), sakhya (friendship to God), Vatsalya (love of God as a child to his parents), and madhurya (earnest and all engrossing love of a woman for her lover).
  • Guru Nanak (1469-1539 A.D.) the founder of Sikhism, was a mystic of the Nirguna school, but his followers branched off from Hinduism and founded a separate religious system. Nanak declared, “There is no Hindu, there is no Musalman”.
  • His gospal was that of universal toleration based on all that was good in Islam or Hinduism. He advised his followers to give up hypocrisy, selfishness, falsehood and worldliness. 
  • Nine Gurus followed in succession to Nanak and gave the sect a stability and distinctness which other sects failed to achieve. 
  • Guru Angad (1539-1552 A.D.), the immediate successor of Nanak collected the letter’s oral teachings and put them down in a new script, the Gurmukhi. 
  • Guru Arjun (1581-1606 A.D.), the fifth Guru, constructed the Harimandir Sahib at Amritsar. He had the vanis (words) of the previous Sikh Gurus and other saints like Kabir, Namadeva, and Raidasa brought together to form the Guru Granth Sahib, the Bible of the Sikhs. 
  • Guru Govind Singh, the last of the Gurus, organized them into a military sect.
  • As regards the Saguna school of the Hindu mystics in north India, Tulasidasa, Suradasa, Mira Bai were the most important. 
  • Tulasidasa (1532-1623 A.D.) was Brahmana born in Rajapur village in Banda district. He composed the famous Ramacharitamanasa in Hindi. It expounds the different aspects of Hindu dharma in the form of narrative to Rama’s deeds. He also wrote Vinaypatrika and several other books. 
  • Surdasa (1483-1563 A.D.) was a disciple of Vallabhacharya. Living in the land of Vraja, he sang the glories of Krishna’s childhood any youth in his Surasagara. 
  • Mira Bai (1498-1546 A.D.) was deeply religious and devoted to Krishna even in her teens, and blossomed into a great saint and poetess, whose songs are as popular as those of Tulasidasa or Suradasa. Her form of worship was to regard Krishna as her lover and real husband.
  • The Bhakti movement in Maharashtra ran parallel to that in the North and its centre was Pandharpu with its famous temple of Vitthal or Vithoba. 
  • The leaders of the movement were Jnanadeva, Namadeva, Ekanatha and Tukarama of the Varakari group. 
  • Jnanadeva was the progenitor of the movement in Maharashtra. 
  • At the age of 15 he wrote Jnaneswari, a famous commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita and later Amritanubhava. 
  • Namadeva, while young, was robber and murderer, but the sight of the bewailing wives of the victims made him take to religion. He was noted for his saintliness, and is referred to by Kabir. Some of his abhangas are included in the Guru Granth Sahib. 
  • Ekanath (1548 A.D.) was the grandsom of the well-known Maharashtrian saint Bhanudasa. 
  • He was opposed to caste distinctions and envinced the greatest sympathy for men of low castes. 
  • He wrote a voluminous commentary on the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita.
  • In south India, the Bhakti movement originated in Tamil and sometimes after 7th century A.D. The Saiva nayanars and the Vaishnavite alvars disregarded the austerities preached by the Jains and Buddhists and preached personal devotion to God as a means of salvation. 
  • Many saint-philosophers followed who combined erudite scholarship with abiding faith in the prapattimarga (path of self surrender to God), and of them mention may be made of Pillai Lokacharya, Manavala Mahamuni, and Vedanta Desika. 
  • In Karnataka, the fountain-head of Bhakti movement was Madhavacharaya, the founder of the Dvaita school of philosophy.
Offer running on EduRev: Apply code STAYHOME200 to get INR 200 off on our premium plan EduRev Infinity!

Complete Syllabus of UPSC

Dynamic Test

Content Category

Related Searches

Exam

,

MCQs

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

past year papers

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

Free

,

The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev

,

pdf

,

ppt

,

Summary

,

The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev

,

Sample Paper

,

The Bhakti Movement - The Religious Movements in The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries Notes | EduRev

,

mock tests for examination

,

practice quizzes

,

study material

,

Semester Notes

,

Important questions

,

Viva Questions

,

Objective type Questions

,

Extra Questions

,

video lectures

;