With the coming of the Mughals in India and the Turkish rule, there were many developments and changes in the Indian culture and religion. The Sultans of Delhi and Mughal tolerated different religions, especially Hinduism, though they were followers of Islam. This lead to the beggining of indo-islamic culture. Since dawn of history, India has been the cradle of religious developments. In the early medival period, two parrelel movements in Hinduism and Islam representing the Bhakti and Sufi movements emerged in India.
The Indo-Islamic strands have been woven into the texture of India by intertwining Bhakti and Sufi traditions. Bhakti movement The Bhakti movement is a Hindu religious movement in which the main spiritual practice is loving devotion towards Shiva or Vishnu. Bhakti movement is also closely related to Sufism of Islam which rose in the same time period and both advocated ‘love of God’ as the easiest way to attain God. The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu. The Nayanmars and the Alvars played a major role in the Bhakti movement.
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 it became ‘orthodox’ and continues to be one of the most important modes of religious expression in modern India. The world ‘Bhakti’ means devotion to God. The Bhakti movement had its origin in the Bhagavadgita and the Upanishads.
The Bhaktas of God did not believe in any sort of caste distinctions. They advocated love and devotion to God and discarded all sorts of rituals and ceremonies. They preached oneness of God and “that all religions were but roads leading to the same goal”. Chief Principles of Bhakti Movement: The chief principles of the Bhakti movement were as follows: 1. It is Bhakti or devotion to God alone that can help man attain salvation. 2. It is important to follow a true guru for realizing God. 3. All men are equal and no one is superior or inferior. 4. Caste distinctions, rituals, fasts, etc.
, are useless and lead to nowhere. 5. All men should be tolerant. Effects of the Bhakti Movement: The Bhakti movement had far-reaching effects on the people. Firstly, it helped a lot in removing the existing bitterness between the Hindus and the Muslims. Both became more tolerant towards each other. Secondly, the Bhaktas exposed the hollowness of empty rituals and ceremonies and taught the people to give up evils like belief in superstitions etc. This movement delta a blow to the superiority of the Brahmins, for it propagated the equality of all men. This also helped in checking conversions.
Thirdly, the Bhakti reformers preached in the common language of the people, which gave rise to the vernacular languages such as Bengali in the east, Gujarati and Marathi in the west and Punjabi in the north. Important Bhakti Reformers Ramanuja : Ramanuja was one of the earliest reformers. His teachings were based on the Upanishads and Bhagwad Gita. he had taught in the language of the common man. Soon a large number of people became his followers. Ramananda was his disciple. Ramananda : Ramananda was the first reformer to preach in Hindi, the main language spoken by the people of the North.
He was educated at Benaras. He preached that there is nothing high or low. He was an ardent worshipper of Rama. He considered God as a loving father. He lived in the 14th century A. D. Kabir : Kabir was an ardent disciple of Ramananda. He wanted unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. He preached that both the Hindus and the Muslims are the children of a single God. He had no faith in idol worship, religious rituals and ceremonies. The devotees of Kabir were known as Kabir Panthis. Chaitanya : Chaitanya, a great devotee of Lord Krishna, was a saint from Bengal.
From his very childhood, he had showed great interest in education and studied Sanskrit. He married the daughter of a Saintly person. Later at the age of 24, he renounced the worldly life and became a sanyasin. His followers regarded him as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He helped the old and the needy. He was opposed to the inequalities of the caste system. He emphasised the need for tolerance, humanity and love. He spread the message of Bhakti in Bengal. He popularised ‘Sankritan’or public singing of God’s name. He was addressed `Mahaprabhu’ by his followers.
Meera Bai : Meerabai was a Rajput princess. She married the Rana of Mewar. She was a pious devotee of Lord Krishna. Her songs or hymns are even today sung all over India. Her palace was kept open to people of all castes to join her Bhajans of Lord Krishna. She had lived for the most part of her life in Mathura, the birth place of Krishna and Vrindaban. There is a temple dedicated to Meerabai in Chittor, the capital of Mewar. Sufi movement Sufism was a reform movement within Islam which applies greater stress on free thinking, liberal ideas and toleration.
The Sufis believed in the equality of all human beings and brotherhood mankind. The Sufi movement started in Persia. Some of the Sufi saints also came to India. They began to preach their liberal ideas and to remove the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims and join them together. The word Sufi has been taken from the Arabic word ‘Suf’ which means wool. The movement may have been given the name Sufism because of the course wool garments they wore as a mark of their rejection of worldly things. Sufis have traditionally taken vows of poverty and celibacy.
Sufism developed religious practices focusing on strict self-control that enable both psychological and mystical insights as well as a loss of self, with the ultimate goal of mystical union with God. The Sufi movement consists of fraternal orders in which leaders train and assist disciples in the mastery of Sufism’s philosophical principles and ritual practices. Such rituals and practices include writing and reciting poetry and hymns; some of the most famous and beautiful literature of the Islamic world has been written by Sufis.
Sufis engage in a variety of ritual practices intended to help them realize union with God, such as distinct forms of ritual prayer including the recitation of God’s names, as well as bodily rituals such as those practices by the so-called “Whirling Dervishes,” a Turkish Sufi order that practices meditation and contemplation of God through spinning. Teaching of Sufism: 1. There is one God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none else exists save He. 2. There is only one Master, the Guiding Spirit of all souls, who constantly leads his followers towards the light. 3.
There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature: the only scripture, which can enlighten the reader. 4. There is one Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfills the life’s purpose of every soul. 5. There is one Law, the Law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice. 6. There is one Brotherhood, the human brotherhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the fatherhood of God. 7. There is one Moral Principle, the love which springs forth from self-denial, and blooms in deeds of beneficence.
8. There is one Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipper through all aspects from the seen to the Unseen. 9. There is one Truth, the true knowledge of our being within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom. 10. There is one Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality and in which resides all perfection. The Sufi Movement there is no priesthood in the ordinary sense, the priesthood is only to conduct the service and to answer the need of a priest which always exists in our everyday life.
Those ordained in the Sufi Movement are called Sirajs and Cherags. There is no distinction between women and men. The worthy soul is ordained; this gives an example to the world that in all places – in the church, in the school, in parliament, in court – it is woman and man together who make evolution complete. But at the same time every Sufi is a priest, a preacher, a teacher, and a pupil of every soul that he meets in the world. The Sufi prayers such as Saum and Salat are not man-made prayers. They have descended from above, just as in every period of spiritual reconstruction prayers were given.
And there is every power and blessing in them, especially for those who believe. Sikhism Guru Nanak is the founder of the religion of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak, October-November. Guru Nanak travelled to places far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of God’s creations and constitutes the eternal Truth. He setup a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternity love, goodness,
and virtue. Nanak was born on 15 April 1469, now celebrated as Guru Nanak Gurpurab. Today, his birthplace is marked by Gurdwara Janam Asthan. His parents were Kalyan Chand Das Bedi and Mata Tripta. His father was a patwari (accountant) for crop revenue in the village of Talwandi, employed by a Muslim landlord of that area, Rai Bular Bhatti. He had one sister, Bibi Nanaki, who was five years older than him and became a spiritual figure in her own right. Nanak also found work with Daulat Khan, when he was around 16 years old.
On 24 September 1487 Nanak married Mata Sulakkhani, daughter of Mul Chand and Chando Ra? i, in the town of Batala. The couple had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Chand. Inspite of his married life, he spent most of his time in the company of holy men. At the age of 29, he left his home to spread the message of faith far and wide. Sikh teaching emphasizes the principle of equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and gender. Sikh principles encourage living life as a householder Sikh Religion and Worship: 1)A Sikh believes in, and worships only one God.
2)A Sikh regards the succession of ten gurus, and the written word of the Guru Granth, a channel through which divine light manifests as salvation. 3)Sikhs worship in the gurdwara, congregating with spiritual companions, and communing with God, by singing divine hymns selected from the Guru Granth. 4)Sikhs perform ardas, a formal prayer, and read from Guru Granth before embarking on important endeavors. 5)The uniqueness of Sikhism is upheld without any derogatory attitude towards others, or belittling of others faith. . A brief of the next 9 Gurus: http://www. sarabsanjhigurbani. com/ten-guru. asp
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