Medieval History / Delhi Sultanate
Bhakti movement of medieval India is a religious reform movement of Hindu religion. It started in South India during the
reign of Delhi Sultanate and moved to North India. All
the Bhakti saints of India gave importance to Bhakti and were against rituals.
Features of Bhakti Movement
The mains features of Bhakti movement are
- Mysticism - It is unification in God through self surrender. It has personal loving relationship with the God.
- Monotheism - It is worshipping of one God. If one God is worshipped, his other incarnations will not be worshipped.
- Some saints accepted idolatry. Such saints are called Saguna Bhakti saints and the movement is called Saguna Bhakti Movement.
who worship the God in abstract form are called Nirguna Bhakti saints, who were radical in nature and the movement is called Nirguna Bhakti
Movement. They go against superstitious beliefs. They are not found among the Bhakti saints of South India.
- Bhakti saints promoted socio economic equality or egalitarian society. They declared Moksha for every person.
- The Bhakti saints preached their ideas in in regional languages, that is language of masses (vernacular languages). Bhakti saints were
List of Bhakti Saints and their Movement
Bhakti Saints of South India
The following is the list of Bhakti saints, who propagated Bhakti movement in South India.
Bhakti Saints of Maharashtra
Pandharpur or Pandaripuram is the headquarters of Bhakti Movement of Maharashtra. The following is the list of Bhakti saints, who propagated
Bhakti movement in Maharashtra.
- Jnana Deva (13th C) - He wrote Marathi Bhagavad Gita, which is known as Jnaneswari or Bhavartha Dipika.
- Namadev (14th C) - He promoted Nirguna Bhakti in Maharashtra. Most of his disciples were from untouchable community.
He is a robber turned monk.
- Eknath (16th C) - He wrote a book called Bhavartha Ramayana. He wrote quite a number of Abhangas
(Marathi poems or hymns in praise of God).
- Tukaram (17th C) - He founded Varkari sect (path of pilgrimages). Varkari sect promoted pilgrimages. It
recommended 2 pilgrimages per year to lead a humble life.
To get salvation, you have to make pilgrimages many times to Pandaripuram.
Vithoba or Vithala or Panduranga is the God at Pandharpur.
- Samarth Ramdas (17th C) - He belongs to Dharkari sect (in which God is omnipresent). Dharkari does not
promote pilgrimages and gave importance to harmonious relationship between the worldly life and spiritual life. Samarth Ramdas is the religious
guru of Shivaji. He was the writer of Dasbodh book.
Bhakti Saints of North India
The following is the list of Bhakti saints, who propagated Bhakti movement in North India.
- Ramananda (15th C) - He is the first Bhakti saint of North India. He was a worshipper of Lord Rama. There were 12
disciples of Ramananda known as Avadhutas.
Some of them are Pipa (A Rajput prince), Kabir (He is from weaver's community), Raidasa
(He is from Chamar community), etc.
- Kabir (15 - 16th C) - Kabir was born in Varanasi and was a Nirguna saint. He was radical in his philosophy but he
was an illiterate, who opposed Sanskrit.
It was Kabir who wrote Dohas in Hindi. He condemned idolatry, pilgrimages and fasting.
He strived for the Hindu-Muslim unity.
- Surdas (15 - 16th C) - He was a great scholar in Hindi. He was one of the disciples of Vallabhacharya. He wrote
Sursagar (Biography of Krishna), Sur Suravali, Sahitya Ratna. He was worshipper of only Krishna.
- Tulasidas (16 - 17th C) - Tulasidas wrote Ramcharitmanas (Hindi version of Ramayan), Kavitavali, Vinaya
Patrika. He was worshipper of only Rama.
- Meerabai - She was a Rajput princess and was a widow. She was worshipper of Lord Krishna.
- Guru Nanak (15 - 16th C) - He was born in Talwandi and died in Kartarpur (Both in Pakistan). He was a
Nirguna saint and was a great scholar.
He promoted a concept called Tauhid-i-wajudi which means unity of God and unity of human
being. That is one God for entire humanity.
He was influenced by Islam after he visited Mecca. He did not promote Idolatry. Guru Nanak
composed the hymns called Shabad.
Bhakti Saints of East India
The following is the list of Bhakti saints, who propagated Bhakti movement in East India.
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (15 - 16th C) - He was a saint of Bengal. He promoted Vaishnava Bhakti in Bengal and Odisha.
Because of him, reconversions from Islam to Hindu religion happened. His followers believed him as an incarnation of Vishnu.
- Shankaradasa (15 - 16th C) - He promoted Vaishnava Bhakti in Assam. He translated Ramayana into Assamese and almost
all the books are translated by him into Assamese. King Suhungmung of Ahom dynasty became Swarga Narayana.
Bhakti Saints of West India
The following is the list of Bhakti saints, who propagated Bhakti movement in West India.
- Dadu Dayal (17th C) - He came from untouchable community. He was influenced by Kabir. He promoted Nirguna Bhakti
in Rajasthan. His concept is low-born are by birth have no ego.
- Narsinh Mehta (15th C) - Narsinh Mehta was from Gujarat. He wrote a number of Bhajans which influenced
The term, Harijan (Children of God) was coined by Narsinh Mehta. It was the term used to give to the children of
Origin of Sikhism