History of Bhakti Movement

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  • Topic: Hinduism, Vaishnavism, Kabir
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  • Published : May 19, 2013
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HISTORY OF BHAKTI MOVEMENT
The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu. The Nayanmars and the Alvars played a major role in the Bhakti movement. It began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic rule. The Hindus were converting in large numbers, especially the lower castes. The reason for this was that Hinduism had no solution for the centuries old caste system which had become stagnant and exploitative over the time.[1] The Bhakti movement was counter to the prevalent caste ideology which was dividing Hindus. So, the Bhakti movement has its own importance in saving Hinduism. There was no grouping of the mystics into Shaiva and Vaishnava devotees as in the south. The movement was spontaneous and the mystics had their own versions of devotional expression. Unlike in the south, where devotion was centered on both Shiva and Vishnu (in all his forms), the northern devotional movement was centered on Rama and Krishna, both of whom are believed to be incarnations of Vishnu. Despite this, the sects of Shiva or of Vishnu did not go into decline. In fact for all of its history the Bhakti movement co-existed peacefully with the other movements in Hinduism. It was initially considered unorthodox, as it rebelled against caste distinctions and disregarded Brahmanic rituals, which according to Bhakti saints were not necessary for salvation. In the course of time, however, owing to its immense popularity among the masses (and even gaining royal patronage) it became 'orthodox' and continues to be one of the most important modes of religious expression in modern India. IMPACT OF BHAKTI MOVEMENT Bhakti movement helped in decreasing the bitterness among the muslims and hindus.It helped in the rise of vernacular literature.For example Punjabi in the north and Bengali in the south.It helped the common men to fight against the rigidity of the caste system.The Bhakti Movement led to significant results. Firstly, it was as widespread religious upheaval. However, Kabir, Nanak and Chaitanya were its chief exponents; there were several other preachers to play part in it. Saints like Ramananda, Vallabhacharya, and Namadeva left large following. The movement covered all parts of India, north and south. Thus it developed and all-India base. Secondly, the Bhakti Movement was not as movement of the wise few, but of the wider mass. It is said that after Buddhism, the Bhakti cult saw the next most popular religious awakening. Since it touched the people of all sections, its effect was lasting. The most ignorant could think of getting God by uttering His Name. Thirdly, the movement supplied incentive of social reforms in Hindu society. The caste system became less rigid. Social differences got reduced. Hatred of man for man received a sever blow. A sense of social unity developed. Orthodox religious practices lost merit. Religious received as simpler form. Devotion gave an easier meaning to it. Fourthly, the distance between Islam and Hinduism got reduced. Instead of quarreling over outer things, Hindu and Muslims understood the inner meaning of their religions. While the Hindus paid respect to the Muslim Saints, the Muslims enjoyed the Hindu ceremonies. A new cult, famous as the cult of Satya Pir, appeared. It was founded by King Husain Shah of Jaunpur. Both Hindus and Muslims worshiped the Satya Pir. This kind of harmony and Hindu-Muslim unity prepared ground for as liberal political era under the great Mughals. Finally, the Bhakti Movement resulted in as great literary wave. The preachers did not preach in Sanskrit, but in the mother tongues of the common people. Thus, everywhere local languages began to develop. New devotional books were written in local languages. Ramananda and Kabir preached and wrote in Hindi.Nanak and his followers taught and wrote in the Punjabi. Chaitanya disciples developed the Bengali literature. Similarly, other preachers...
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