/ CBSE News

History Crash Course on Bhakti Movement


Bhakti movement plays a very important role in the history of religious India. It is an important topic in history and CBSE board class 12 aspirants should learn about it.
The Bhakti movement was actually a revolution started by Hindu saints to bring a great reform in religious practices. It advocated the path of devotion to get salvation.
The Bhakti movement resulted in the introduction of various new rites in the practice of different rituals of devotion among the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in India. These religious saints used to sing devotional songs in the temples, gurudwaras and masjids.
How did Bhakti movement emerge?
Bhakti movement actually started in south India. It was led by Alvaras who were the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Nayanars who were the devotees of Lord Shiva. These saints travelled to distant places singing hymns in the praise of their Gods in Tamil. Later on, many temples were built and they became sacred pilgrimage centres. The songs or compositions sung by these saints became part of temple rituals and shrines. Some historians also believe that these Alvaras and Nayanars actually started a protest against the caste system and dominance of Brahmins. They tried to bring in reform in the practice of rituals.

The Causes for the rise of Bhakti movement and its most prominent leaders:

There were basically five main causes for the rise of the Bhakti movement. They were:

  1. The influence of Vaishnavism
  2. The evil practices of Hindus
  3. The increase in the fear of the spread of Islam
  4. The influence of Sufi sects
  5. The emergence of great reformers

There were a couple of leaders of Bhakti movement. They were

  1. Ramananda – People believe that he lived during the first half of the fifteenth century.
  2. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – He lived during the 16th century and was an ascetic Hindu monk and social reformer.
  3. Guru Nanak – He is the founder of Sikhism and the first Sikh Guru. He was also Nirguna Bhakti Saint and social reformer. He opposed the discrimination of people made on the basis of caste, religion, rituals, etc.
    Kabir Das – He lived in the 12th and 13th century. He was also the follower of the Bhakti movement. He laid more emphasis on singing devotional songs in praise of Lord through the singers’ own compositions.
    What changes did Bhakti movement bring in the society?

The bhakti movement influenced the society a lot. The following are the points that prove them.

  1. Reduced the pride of Brahmins
  2. Stopped the propagation of Islam
  3. Rise of Sikhism
  4. Setback to Buddhism
  5. Sacked Hinduism

The following are the points that talk about the social impact of the movement.

  1. There was a good improvement in social relations between Hindus and Muslims.
  2. The lower castes enjoyed a better social status.
  3. There was a good promotion of social service.
  4. It also led to the development of composite art in society.
  5. There was an enrichment of literature.