Origin of Bhakti Movement

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Origin of Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti movement originated as a reaction against caste division, untouchability and ritualism in India. Devotion was the pivotal point in the Bhakti cult in uniting human soul with god. The basic concepts of the Bhakti cult though present in the Vedas, the Gita and Vishnupuran were not practiced by the masses until the appearances of Vaishnava Alwar and Shaiva Nayanar saints of South India in the seventh and twelfth centuries.

The Bhakti saints and followers did not adhere to any religion, their customs or shastric orders. They believed in the worship of one God through devotion for salvation. A true guru is needed to realize God, to attain salvation. Rama and Krishna both were regarded as an incarnation on earth.

The Bhakti saints considered that all men were equal and denounced image worship, caste and class distinction. Blind faiths, some religious practices and useless ceremonies were severely attacked by them.

The Bhakti saints thus attempted to reform the Brahmanical caste and class divided society by adopting the Islamic concept of one God. Some scholars have advocated that the Bhakti cult owed its principal beliefs to Islam. This was however refuted by some scholars as they believe the cult grew out of deep and intricate philosophical evolution since the times of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita.

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