The Bhakti movement is a Hindu religious movement in which the main spiritual practice is loving devotion among the Shaivite and Vaishnava saints. The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu and began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic rule. The Islamic rulers were pressing public to convert religion from Hindu to Islam. The Bhakti movement was counter to the prevalent caste ideology which was dividing Hinduism. So, the Bhakti movement has its own importance to save 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 considered incarnations of Vishnu. Despite this, the sect of Shiva or of the Devi 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 royal patronage) it became 'orthodox' and continues to be one of the most important modes of religious expression in modern India.
During the 14th–17th centuries, a great Bhakti movement swept through central and northern India, initiated by a loosely associated group of teachers or sants. Ramananda, Ravidas, Srimanta Sankardeva, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vallabhacharya, Surdas, Meera Bai, Kabir, Tulsidas, Namdev, Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram and other mystics spearheaded the Bhakti movement in the North while Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Tyagaraja among others propagated Bhakti in the South. They taught that people could cast aside the heavy burdens of ritual and caste, and the subtle complexities of philosophy, and simply express their overwhelming love for God. This period was also characterized by a spate of devotional literature in vernacular prose and poetry in the ethnic languages of the various Indian states or provinces.
While many of the Bhakti mystics focused their attention on Krishna or Rama, it did not necessarily mean that the sect of Shiva was marginalized. In the twelfth century Basava founded the ViraShaiva school or Virashaivism. He rejected the caste system, denied the supremacy of the Brahmins, condemned ritual sacrifice and insisted on Bhakti and the worship of the one God, Shiva. His followers were called Vira-Shaivas, meaning "stalwart Shiva-worshipers".
The Saiva-Siddhanta school is a form of Shaivism found in the south and is of hoary antiquity. It incorporates the teachings of the Shaiva nayanars and espouses the belief that Shiva is Brahman and his infinite love is revealed in the divine acts of the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe, and in the liberation of the soul.
Seminal Bhakti works in Bengali include the many songs of Ramprasad Sen. His pieces are known as Shyama Sangeet. Coming from the 17th century, they cover an astonishing range of emotional responses to Ma Kali, detailing philosophical statements based on Vedanta teachings and more visceral pronouncements of his love of Devi. Using inventive allegory, Ramprasad had 'dialogues' with the Mother Goddess through his poetry, at times chiding her, adoring her, celebrating her as the Divine Mother, reckless consort of Shiva and capricious Shakti, the universal female creative energy, of the cosmos.
Other articles related to "bhakti movement, movements, bhakti, movement":
... The Bhakti movement began with the emphasis on the worship of God, regardless of one's status - whether priestly or laypeople, men or women, higher social status or lower social status ... The movements were mainly centered around the forms of Vishnu (Rama and Krishna) and Shiva ...
... The Bhakti movement also gained respect due mysticism popularity spreading through India ... The Bhakti movement was a regional revival of Hinduism linking language, geography, and cultural identities through devotional diety worship ... This concept of "Bhakti" appeared in the Bhagavad Gita and the first sects emerged from south India been the 7th and 10th century ...
... Beyond the confines of such formal schools and movements, however, the development of Bhakti as a major form of Hindu practice has left an indelible stamp on the faith ... In general a liberal movement, its denouncement of caste offered recourse for Hindus from the orthodox Brahaminical systems ... Of course Bhakti's message of tolerance and love was not often heeded by those ensconced in the societal construct of caste ...
... Bhakti or devotion has often remained an ignored aspect in Indian philosophy, hence its significance was lost to majority of the populace ... Things changed with the revival and reform movements in Hinduism which brought this aspect of Kripa into a new light and made the divine accessible to all, and not just the preserve of the priestly class ...
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