Bhakti Movement in Medieval India: A Study

Rakesh Kumar


Movements in Medieval India, attempts to explore the Bhakti movement in Medieval India. Beginning from the 7th century A.D. to the 18th century, Medieval India saw a phenomenal outpouring of religiosity in the vernacular oral traditions on themes ranging from dilemmas of everyday life to the mysteries of the Universe. Scholars have focused on the analysis of the texts, philosophic constructs of the social aspects enlightening us with many readings. While any one cannot be reduced to another the study of Bhakti demands a holistic an integrated approach drawing analytical tools from many disciplines. The 19th century saw a rediscovery of many sacred texts that contributed to the construction of Hinduism as a monolith. The process of reducing orality to textuality saw the whole sale standardization of very vibrant, dynamic and diverse religious practices. Historically the religious beliefs and practices of the Hindus were too divergent to constitute a coherent, monolith Religious system. A historical gaze at Hinduism clearly points out that to view this, as a single religious system is not correct and a distortion of the heterogeneous religious practices of its people. Throughout history alternate spaces have been created and bhakti was one such medium. The present paper is an attempt to explore this movement in its different dimensions in various regions of India. It also highlights the attitude of the male bhaktas towards women and the creation of an alternative space by women. Using a variety of Sources inscriptions and literary texts the author has traced the growth and Development of the Bhakti movement and shown how the ideologies, social bases and organisational structures in different parts of the country have given a distinct shape to this movement. This paper will be a useful supplement for scholars working in the social and religious history of medieval India. Scholars of religious study, sociology and women’s studies would find this paper of general interest in order to understand the religious traditions of south Asia in all its diversity.

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