Class 12 history chapter 6 notes, Bhakti Sufi traditions notes

Bhakti Sufi traditions notes: Class 12 history chapter 6 notes

ClassClass 12
ChapterChapter 6
Chapter NameBhakti Sufi traditions notes
CategoryHistory Notes

Class 12 history chapter 6 notes, Bhakti Sufi traditions notes here we will learn about the Bhakti movement and Sufi movement.

The striking feature during the period between eighth to eighteenth centuries : –

🔹 The most important feature of eighth to eighteenth century was that many new gods and goddesses were visible in sculpture and texts.

🔹 Another important thing was the worship of the major deities like Vishnu, Shiva and the Goddess which were visualised or depicted in various forms.

Meaning of Bhakti : –

🔹 The word Bhakti is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Bhanj’, which means coordination and charity. The roots of Bhakti first found in the Vedas. It stresses the Union of the individual with God as well as one’s personal devotion to God.

What is Cult?

🔹 Cult was a relatively small groups of people having religious beliefs or practices different from the major religion.

What is meant by integration of cults?

🔹 The integration of cults that historians were speaking about was removing the boundaries between different groups and intermixing them.

The integration of cults ( Religious processes ) : –

🔹 Historians have described two processes regarding the coordination of religious processes.

🔸 1. The first process was related to disseminating of Brahmanical ideas. The main objective behind the disseminating of this idea was composition, compilation and preservation of Puranic texts. These texts were written in simple Sanskrit verse, which were easily accessible by women and Shudras who were generally excluded from the Vedic learning.

🔸 2. The second process was that, the Brahmanas started accepting and reworking the beliefs and practices of these and other social categories.

Worship of Vishnu ( Example of Second Process ) : –

🔹 The most striking example of the second process was evident at Puri, Orissa, where the principal deity was identified, by the twelfth century, as Jagannatha a form of Vishnu. The literal meaning of Jagannath is : – the lord of the world.

🔹 The local tribal specialists made the image of deity using wood and this deity was recognised as a form of Vishnu. But the Vishnu visualised here was very different from that in other parts of the country.

“Great” and “little” traditions : –

🔹 The terms great and little traditions were coined by a sociologist named Robert Redfield in the twentieth century to describe the cultural practices of peasant societies.

🔸 Great tradition : – Robert Redfield found that peasants observed rituals and customs that emanated from dominant social categories, including priests and rulers. These he classified as part of a great tradition.

🔸 little tradition : – At the same time, peasants also followed local practices that did not necessarily correspond with those of the great tradition. These he included within the category of little tradition.

🔹 He also noticed that both great and little traditions changed over time, through a process of interaction.

Many Religious Ideologies : –

🔹 In fact, many beliefs and practices were shaped through a continuous dialogue between what sociologists have described as “great” Sanskritic Puranic traditions and “little” traditions throughout the land.

Worship of the goddess : –

🔹 Worship of the goddess, often simply in the form of a stone smeared with ochre, was evidently widespread.

🔹 These local deities were often incorporated within the Puranic framework by providing them with an identity as a wife of the principal male deities sometimes they were equated with Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, in other instances, with Parvati, the wife of Shiva.

Tantric worship : –

🔹 The forms of worship often associated with goddess were classified as Tantric. In many parts of the Indian subcontinent, the worship of the Goddess was prevalent in the form of Tantric worship, in which both men and women participated.

🔹 Those who followed Tantric rejected the caste and class within the ritual context. The ideas of Tantric worship also influenced Shaivism as well as Buddhism, especially in the eastern, northern and southern parts of the subcontinent.

Conflicts that arose during the Bhakti movement : –

🔹 There were conflicts between those who followed the Vedic tradition and those who practiced the Tantric way of worshipping deities.

🔹 Those who valued Vedic tradition often condemned the practices that went beyond the performance of sacrifices and chanting of mantras.

🔹 On the other hand those who engaged in Tantric practices ignored the authority of the Vedas.

Early Traditions of Bhakti : –

🔹 During this period in many of the bhakti traditions the brahmanas remained as mediators between the god new the devotees.

🔹 The historians of religious after classify bhakti traditions into two broad catagories: saguna (with attributes) and nirguna (without attributes).

  • Saguna : – worship of deities such as Shiva, Vishnu and his avtaars incarnations and form of goddess or devi is done.
  • Nirguna : – worship of an abstract form of god.

Definition of Saguna Tradition : –

🔹 The saguna traditions focused on the worship of specific deities such as Shiva, Vishnu and his avatars or incarnations and forms of the goddess or Devi which were conceptualised as having human forms.

Definition of Nirguna Tradition : –

🔹 Nirguna bhakti on the other hand, was worship of an abstract form i.e. existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence of God.

Alvars : –

🔹 Those who are immersed in the devotion to Vishnu.

Nayanars : –

🔹 These were leaders who were devotees of Shiva.

Earliest Bhakti Movements ( Alvars and Nayanars ) : –

🔹 Earliest Bhakti movements around sixth century were led by the Alvars and Nayanars. Alvars were devotees of Vishnu and Nayanars were the devotees of Shiva. They sang hymns in Tamil in praise of their Gods and travelled from once place to another.

🔹 During their travels, the Alvars and Nayanars identified some shrines as residences of their chosen deities. Later, very large temples were built at these sacred places which were developed as centres of pilgrimage.

🔹 Singing compositions of these poet-saints became a part of temple rituals in these shrines and also saint’s images were worshipped.

Attitudes towards Caste : –

🔹 According to some historians, the Alvars and the Nayanars started a movement of protest against the caste system and the Brahmanas and attempted to reform the system.

🔹 The devotees came from the different social backgrounds such as artisans, cultivators and even from the caste that were considered “untouchable”

Compositions of the Alvars and Nayanars : –

🔹 The compositions of the Alvars and the Nayanars are considered to be as important as the Vedas.

🔹 For instance, one of the major anthologies of compositions by the Alvars, the Nalayira Divyaprabandham, was frequently described as the Tamil Veda, thus claiming that the text was as significant as the four Vedas in Sanskrit that were cherished by the Brahmanas.

Contribution of Woman saint in Bhakti tradition: –

🔸 Mirabai :- 15th century best known woman Poet. She was Rajput Princess, defied her husband and did not submit to the traditional role o wife and mother. Recognised Krishna, the avtar of Vishnu, as her lover. After rejecting the comfort of her husband of palace she followed the path of Bhakts.

🔸 Andal : – She saw herself as a beloved of vishnu, Her verses expresses love for the deity. She was an Alwar saint.

🔸 Karaikkal Ammaiyar : – She was a Nainar Woman saint. She was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She adopted a path of extreme asceticism in order to attain her goal.

🔹 These women renounced their social obligations. Their very existance and their composstions posed a challange to patriarchal norms

Women Devotees : –

🔹 Perhaps one of the most striking features of these traditions was the presence of women.

🔸 Andal : –

  • The compositions of Andal, a woman Alvar, were widely sung and even now they are continued to be sung.
  • She saw herself as the beloved of Vishnu and her verses expressed her love for the deity.

🔸 Karaikkal : –

  • Karaikkal Ammaiyar was another woman who was a devotee of Shiva, adopted the path of extreme self- discipline in order to attain her goal.
  • Her compositions were preserved within the Nayanar tradition.

🔹 These women renounced their social of obligations and posed a challenge to patriarchal norms.

Compilations of devotional literature : –

🔹 By the tenth century the compositions of the 12 Alvars were compiled in an anthology known as the Nalayira Divyaprabandham (“Four Thousand Sacred Compositions”).

🔹 The poems of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar form the Tevaram, a collection that was compiled and classified in the tenth century on the basis of the music of the songs.

Opposition to Buddhism and Jainism : –

🔹 The saint-poets the Alvars and the Nayanars were opposed to Buddhism and Jainism. This hostility is well marked in their compositions particularly of the Nayanars.

🔹 Historians say that his conflict was due to competition between members of different religious traditions for royal patronage.

Relation with the state ( Relationship of Chola rulers with Bhakti ) : –

  • The Chola rulers supported the bhakti traditions and built temples for Shiva and Vishnu.
  • Some of the magnificent temples for Shiva such as temples in Chidambaram, Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholpuram were constructed under their patronage.
  • The Chola rulers built temples often to claim divine support and proclaim their own power and status and adorned those temples with stone and metal sculpture to represent the visions of the popular saints.
  • They made the spectacular representations of Shiva in bronze sculpture.
  • The Chola kings introduced the singing of Tamil Shaiva hymns under royal patronage, taking the initiative to collect and organize them into a text (Tevaram).
  • According to Inscriptional evidence, the Chola king Parantaka I had constructed the metal images of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar in a Shiva temple.
  • These were carried in procession during the festivals of these saints.

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