• It was a religious reform movement during medieval times which emphasized single-minded intense devotion to God. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
  • Bhakti movement was based on the doctrine that the relationship between god and man is through love and worship rather than through performing any ritual or religious ceremonies.
  • The origin of Bhakti is traced in Vedas, but its real development took place after the 7th
  • It was initiated by Shaiva Nayanars & Vaishnavite Alwars in south India, later spread to all regions.
  • Emotional Side of Vaishnavism represented by: Alvars through collective songs – “Prabhandas”.
  • Intellectual side of Vaishnavism represented by: “Acharyas”
Devotees of  ShivaDevotees of Vishnu
Tirumarai – Compilation of  hymns of Nayanars by the highest priest of Raja RajaCholaI, Nambiyandar Nambi. The details of the lives and of the saints are described in the work ‘Tevaram’ which is also called the Dravida Veda.Divya Prabandha– Compilation of the hymns of the Alvars saints – poets.
Imp saints –          Tiru Neelakanta,         Meiporul,          Viralminda,          Amaraneedi,         Karaikkal Ammaiyar (woman)Imp saints –          Andal (only female Alwar saint who is referred to as the ‘Meera of the South’)          Thirumazhisai Alvar          Thiruppaan Alvar          Nammalwar          Kulasekara

The Bhakti saints were divided into two schools depending on the way they imagined God:

  Nirgun        Believe invisible formless god, without attributes.         Nirguna bhakta’s poetry was Jnana-shrayi or had roots in knowledge.          Nirgun Saints: 1.       Guru Nanak 2.       Ravidas 3.      Kabir
    Sagun         Believe God with form & attributes.          Saguna bhakta’s poetry was Prema-shrayi, or with roots in love.[          Saguna Saints: 1.       Tulsidas 2.       Surdas 3.       Meerabai
  • Unity of God or one God though known by different names.
  • Condemnation of rituals, ceremonies and blind faith.
  • Rejection of idol worship.
  • Surrender of oneself to God.
  • Emphasized both Nirguna and Saguna bhakti.
  • Salvation through Bhakti.
  • Open-mindedness about religious matters.
  • Rejected castes distinctions & believed in equality of all humans.
  • Rebelled against the upper caste’s domination and the Sanskrit language.
  • Use of local or regional languages for Preaching.
  • Creation of literature in local language.

Causes for the emergence of Bhakti Movement:

  • Influence of Vaishnavism
  • Evil practices of the Hindus
  • Fear of spread of Islam
  • Influence of Sufi sects
  • The emergence of great reformers.
  Shankararcharya  (788 – 820 AD         Birth- Kelara, Death- Uttarakhanda (Kedarnath)          Guru – Govidhabhagavath pada         Integrated the essence of Buddhism in Hindu thought and interpreted the ancient Vedic religion Consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedant (Non-Dualism)- God & created world is one and The individual soul is not different from Brahman.         Organizer of the Dashanami monastic order and unified the Shanmata tradition of worship.          Brhat-Sankara-Vijaya by Citsukha is the oldest biography of Adiushankara
Ramanujarcharya (1017-1137 A.D)         Birth – Tamilandu          Guru – yadavapreksha          Propagator of Vishishtadvaita Vedanta or qualified monism – There exists a plurality and distinction between Ātman (soul) & Brahman (metaphysical, ultimate reality).         Exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism          Literary works:  Vedartha Sangraham, Sri Bhashyam, Gita Bhashyam
  Nimbarka        He was contemporary of Ramanuja.          He propounded the philosophy of ‘bheda-bheda’ -the God, the soul and the world were identical yet distinct
  Madhvarchaya (1238-1319 AD)         Was critic of Adi Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta and Ramanuja’s Vishishtadvaita Vedanta teachings.          He preached “Dvaitaor dualism, where the divinity was separate from the human conscience/soul.          Liberation- only through the grace of God          Book – Anuvyakhyana.
Nathpanthis, Siddhas, and Yogis          Criticised the ritual and other aspects of conventional religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments.         They advocated renunciation of the world.          To them, the path to salvation lay in meditation on the formless god.          To achieve this they advocated intense training of the mind and body through practices like yogasanas, breathing exercises and meditation.          These groups became particularly popular among “low” castes.
  • The Virashaiva movement began in Karnataka in the mid-twelfth century.
  • It was initiated by Basavanna and other virshaivas like Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi.
  • They fought for the equality of all human beings and against the Brahmanical ideas of caste and poor treatment of women.
  • They were also against religious rituals and idol worship.
  • Challanged caste system, questioned the theory of rebirth
  • Encouraged post puberty marriage & widow remarriage.
  • Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
  • He established Anubhava Mantapa– academy of mystics, saints and philosophers of the ‘Lingayath’s’ faith.
      Ramanada (14-15th century]He was a follower of Ramanuja. Founder of Sant-parampara (literally, the tradition of bhakti saints) in north India. Substitute the worship of Rama in place of Krishna. He has 12 disciples – “Avadutas”. Disciple(s):  Kabir, Ravidas, Bhagat Pipa, Sukhanand, sena &sudhana. Literary works: Gyan-lila and Yog-cintamani (Hindi), Vaisnava Mata Bhajabhaskara and Ramarcanapaddhati (Sanskrit). His verse mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib.
    Kabir Das (1440-1510 AD)Disciple of Ramananda He was the first to reconcile Hinduism and Islam. He was a Nirguna saint and openly criticised the orthodox ideas of major religions like Hinduism and Islam.         Denounced idol-worship, fastings, pilgrimages and religious superstitious beliefs, bathing in holy rivers, formal worship like nama. His poems are called “Banis” (utterances) or ‘Dohe’. His works are compiled in the famous book “Bijak”. Kabir says: “Ram Rahim are same”.
Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1538 AD)Birth – Talvandi Viilage & Death Kartarpur ( Both are in Pakistan) Founder of Sikh religion & the first Guru of ten Sikh Gurus. Intially worked as Accountant. Preached middle path & need of Guru for liberation. He composed hymnes and sang along with the help of instrument called ”Rabab” played by his attendant “Mardana”. Travelled across the Asia including Mecca & Baghdad and spread the message of “Ik Onkar” – One God. Opposes idol worship, pilgrimage and caste system, and emphasized purity of character and conduct. Called God as “Waheguru” that is shapeless, timeless, omnipresent & invisible ( Nirgun Bhakti ) He started Guru-Ka-langer (Community Kitchen) He promoted “Tauhid-e-wazidi”
Purandar Das (1483-1564)One of the chief founding-proponents of the South Indian classical music (Carnatic Music).         He is often quoted as Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha
Dadu Dayal (1544-1603 AD)Disciple of Kabir He was a supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity His followers were called Dadu Panthis
 Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1533 AD)Founder of modern Vaishnavism in Bengal. He was a Saguna and popularized “Kirtans” (religious songs) as a form of worshipping God. Popularized the chanting of “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna”. He made famous the practice of worshipping Radha and Krishna together. He gave the “Achintaya Bheda-Abheda” philosophy. Didn’t reject scriptures or idol worship called god as Hari. He wrote “Siksastakam”, a text in Sanskrit, where he elaborated his philosophy.          He is the inspiration behind the world renowned ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) that was founded in the 20th century.
 Shankaradeva  (1499-1569 AD)Spread the Bhakti cult in Assam Translated Ramayana & Mahabharat into Assamese, He started the Ekasarana movement (Neo-Vaishnavite movement). He believed in the worship of ‘Ekasarana’ (One God) in the form of Krishna. He also called Krishna by different names like Hari, Narayan and Rama. His most famous work is “Kirtana Ghosha”, written in a simple language understood by the masses. He wrote in Assamese and Brajavali (mixture of Maithili and Assamese).
  Vallabhacharya (1479-1531 AD)Exponent of Krishna cult Founded philosophy of “Suddhadvaita” (Pure Non dualism) and his philosophy is known as ‘Pushti Marg’. He worshipped Krishna under the title “Srinathji
  Guru Ghasidas (1756-1836 AD)He was a famous saint from Chhattisgarh and he established the “Satnami Community” there.   He strongly believed in equality and criticized the oppressive caste system.         He was a monotheist and was against idol worship.
  Surdas (1483-1563 AD)Disciple of Vallabhachary He wrote “Sursagar” and “Sursurvali”. Showed intense devotion to Radha and Krishna Regarded as the outstanding devotional poet in Brajbhasha
Mirabai (1498-1546 AD)Staunch devotee of Lord Krishna Composed number of songs and poems in honor of Krishna.     She composed ‘bhajans’ (short religious songs) which are sung even today.
Haridas (1478-1573 AD)A great musician saint who sang the glories of Lord Vishnu
Tulsidas (1532-1623 AD)Depicted Rama as the incarnation Wrote “Ramcharitmanas”          He was Varkari
  Namdeva (1270-1350AD)Disciple of Vishoba Khechar He was a devotee of Vittoba (Vishnu) Opposed Caste system          Only Nirguna saint in Maharasthra. He belongs to Varkari tradition.
  Dnyanesvar (1275-1296 AD)He was founder of the Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra in the 13th century.          Wrote “Dnyaneswari“, a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita. His other work is “Amrutanubhav “ on Yoga and philosophy. He was a worshipper of Vithoba (Vitthala) who is considered a manifestation of Vishnu. He was a follower of Nath Yogi Tradition. He also drew inspiration from the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
Eknath (1533-1599)Wrote commentary on verses of the Bhagavad-Gita  Devotee of Vithoba. He criticized the Caste distinctions.
 Tukaram (1598-1650)Contemporary of Maratha king Shivaji Devotee of Vithal He founded the Varkau sect His teachings are contained in Abhangas.
Ram Das (1608-1681)Author of “Dasabodh” His teachings inspired Shivaji to establish an independent kingdom in Maharashtra.
HindiKabir, Surdas, Tulsidas, etc.
MarathiJnandeva, Namdev, Eknath, etc.
BengaliChaitanya Mahaprabhu and Chandidas
Rajasthani (Braj)Meerabai, Bihari, etc.
PunjabiGuru Nanak
  • The Bhakti saints were social reformers The evil practice of Sati and caste rigidities received some set back.
  • Women were encouraged to join kirtans. Mirabai, Laila (Kashmir) and Andal composed verses that are popular even today.
  • In place of Sanskrit, Bhakti saints preached through the medium of local languages which could be understood very easily. Surdas used ‘Brij’ Tulsi Das composed his works in ‘Awadhi’. Shankaradeva popularizing Assamese, Chaitanya spreading their message in Bengali, Mirabai in Hindi and Rajasthani.
  • Kirtan at a Hindu Temple, Qawaali at a Dargah (by Muslims), and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India (800-1700).
  • It popularized idea of equality & brotherhood.
  • Preached inclusive path to spiritual salvation.
  • Rulers adopted liberal religious policies under the impact of the Bhakti movement. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
  • In beginning of 12 AD, some religious people in Persia turned to asceticism due to the increasing materialism of the Caliphate. They came to be called the ‘Sufis’.
  • In India, Sufi movement began in 1300 A.D & came to South India in 15th century.
  • Sufism is the mystical arm of Islam. Sufis represent the inner side of the Islam creed (tasawwuf).
  • Sufism(tasawwuf) is the name given to mysticism in Islam.
  • Sufi means wool: People who wear long woolen clothes were called as sufis.
  • It was a liberal reform movement within Islam. It stressed the elements of love and devotion as an effective means of the realization of God.
  • It is based on Pir-Murid (Teacher- student)
  • Sufism sprang from the doctrine of Wahadut-ul-wajud (unity of being) propounded by Ibn-ul-Arabi [1165-1240 AD].
  • Early Sufi saints – Rabia, Mansur bin hallal.
  • Sufi orders are broadly divided in two : Ba-sara– Those followed Islamic law & Be-shara– who did followed Islamic law.
  • In Sufism, self-discipline was considered an essential condition to gain knowledge of God. While orthodox Muslims emphasise external conduct, the Sufis lay stress on inner purity.
  • Sufism entered in India between 11thand 12th  Al-Hujwari was first Sufis who settled in India and died in 1089 AD who is popularly known as Data Ganj Naksh (Distributor of unlimited treasure).
  • Multan and Punjab were the early centre and later on, it spread to Kashmir, Bihar, Bengal and the Deccan. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
  • Fana: Spiritual merger of devotee with Allah
  • Insan-e-kamil: Perfect human with all good virtues,
  • Zikr-tauba: remembrance of god all the time(zikr),
  • Wahadatul-wazudi: one god for entire universe; unity of god and being.
  • Sama: spiritual dance and music to promote their concepts, though music is un-Islamic. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
1st Stage: Khanqah10th centuryAlso called the age of Golden Mysticism
2nd Stage: Tariqa11-14th century  When Sufism was being institutionalised and traditions and symbols started being attached to it.
3rd Stage: Tarifa15th century onwardsThe stage when Sufism became a popular movement.
  • Sufism encourages music as a way of deepening one’s relation with God, remembering God by zikr (reciting name) sama or performance of mystical music.
  • Sufis too composed poems and a rich literature in prose, including anecdotes and fables, The most notable writer of this period was Amir Khusrau the follower of Nizamuddin Auliya.
  • Sufi saints are credited with invention of sitar and tabla.
  • It contributed to evolution of classical music. Khayal style owes a lot to sufism.
  • Amir Khusro was disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. He give unique form to sama.
  • Khusrow is sometimes referred to as the “Parrot of India”. His songs are sung in several dargahs across the country. Khusrow is regarded as the “Father of Qawwali”. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
  • The Sufis rejected the elaborate rituals and codes of behaviour demanded by Muslim religious scholars.
  • They believed that God is ‘Mashuq‘ and Sufis are the ‘Ashiqs’.
  • Sufism was divided into 12 orders (Silsila) and each under a mystic Sufi saint of which 4 most popular ones were Chistis, Suhrawardis, Qadiriyahs and Naqshbandis.
  • Silsila is continuous link between Murshid (teacher) and Murid (student). They lived in Khanqah -hospice of worship. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
  • Names of Silsila were based on name of founding figure E.g. – Qadri Silsila based on name of Shaikh Abdul Qadri & Place of origin E.g. – Chishti (place in Afghanistan).
  • Sufism took roots in both rural and urban areas and exercised a deep social, political and cultural influence on the masses.
  • Sufism believes that devotionis more important than fast (Roza) or prayer (Namaz).
  • Sufism discards caste system.
  • Sufism has adapted extensively from the Vedanta school of the Hindu philosophy.
  • The cardinal doctrines of the Sufism include: Complete surrender to the will of God; Annihilation of the self; Becoming a perfect person
  • These three cardinal principles altogether make the Doctrine of Fana which means annihilation of human attributes through Union with God.
  • In Sufism, a perfect being is also called a Wali (saint), a word that literally means ‘sincere friend’. BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENT
    ChistiFounder -Kwaja Abdul Chisti. Originated in Persia and Central Asia. Moinuddin Chishti introduced Chisti order in India. Baba Farid (Farīduddīn Ganjshakar)  was disciple of Moinuddin & his poems included in Guru granthsahib. Nizamuddin Auliya was called sidh/perfect due to yogi breathing exercises. Sama was mostly associated with Chisti. Belong to Ba sharia.
  SuhravardiFounder – Shaikh Shihabuddin Surhavardi. Main centre was Multan. Saints of this order were also rich and held important government positions. Associated with Delhi Sultanate. A famous saint is Bahauddin Zachariah. Belong to Ba-sharia
    NakshabadiFounder – Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, Khwaja pir mohammad introduced Nakshabadi order in India during Akbar reign. Orthodox Sect. Mujaddid opposed Shia, philosophy of Wahadat-ul-Shahdud , wrote ‘Red-i-Khafid’ arrested by Jhangir



Click Here to Give Free Online Test For UPSC IAS 2021

UPSC Top 10 Repeatedly Asked Prelims Question Topics

Indian History Chronology: Ancient India to Modern India For UPSC IAS

Caste System in India a Brief History of Indian Culture