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Bhakti Motion (Half – 2)


His birthplace was Runakta (Agra). He was a blind Hindu devotional poet and vocalist from the 16th century who was famed for his poems in adoration of Krishna. They are usually written in Braj Bhasha, one of the two literary dialects of Hindi. His guru was Vallabhacharya. Surdas is credited for writing Sur Sagar (Sur’s Ocean). He is reported to have risen to the top of the VallabhaSampradaya’s Aachp (8 seals) list, following the tradition of each poet affixing his vocal signature, known as chap, at the end of each piece.


Allahabad was his birthplace. He was once a Ramanuja disciple. He afterwards started his own sect. He was the first to use a vernacular language (Hindi) to spread his thoughts. His two major contributions to the Bhakti movement were the simplification of devotion and the liberation of individuals from old caste norms. He was against the caste system.

His Important Disciples were a) Kabir, Muslim weaver; b) Raidasa, cobbler; c) Sena, a barber; d) Sadhana, butcher; e) Dhanna, Jat farmer; f) Naraharai, goldsmith ) Pipa, Rajput prince. His verse is mentioned in the Sikh scripture Adi Granth.


He was born near Banaras to a Brahmin widow but bought up by Muslim couples. He was a disciple of Ramananda whose object was to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. He denounced idolatry and rituals. He Signifies the oneness of all religions by describing Hindus & Muslims ‘as pots of same clay’. He said that devotion to God is an effective means of salvation & urged that to achieve this one must have a pure heart, free from cruelty, dishonesty & insincerity. His followers are called Kabirpanthis. His verses are found in the Sikhs scripture Guru Granth Sahib.

Dadu Dayal (1544-603 AD):

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) is the place where he was born. He was a Kabir devotee who thought that God is not bound by any religion or group.
Kamal was his guru (Son of Kabir). He lived at the same time as Mughal Emperor Akbar. He belonged to the Dadupanth sect, which was founded in Naraina, near Jaipur. Dadupanthis are one of the Vaishnavite Sampradaya’s seven martial akharas.

Vaishnavism has 4 major sects:

Founders and Sects-

Sri Ramananda
Brahma Madhava
Rudra Vishnusuvamin
Sanakadi Nimbarka

Vaishnavism adherents are also known as Bairagi or Vairagi. Each akhara admitted members from all four Vaishnavism sects.

Guru Nanak:

He was born in Talwandi, Pakistan, not far from Lahore. He had been Kabir’s follower. He condemned caste divisions and customs such as bathing in sacred rivers. One of his renowned sayings was, “Abide pure amidst the impurities of the world.” He was also the creator of the Sikh religion, with Sikhs as his followers. He founded the Dera Baba Nanak centre on the Ravi River in Kartarpur.

Guru Nanak appointed Guru Angad, also known as Lehna, as his successor before his death. He gathered Guru Nanak’s works in a new script known as Gurumukhi, as well as added his own. Guru Arjan was the fifth guru of the Sikhs. He collated the writings of three Guru Angad’s successors who wrote under the name ‘Nana’ and were executed by Jahangir. The tenth Guru was Guru Gobind Singh. He approved the collection, which included writings by Sheikh Farid, Kabir, Namdev, and Guru Tegh Bahadur and is today known as Guru Granth Sahib.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

Bengal was his birthplace. Vishwambhar was his birth name, and Nimai was his childhood nickname. Keshav Bharti was his mentor. He gave up the world. He dispatched six Goswamis to build Vrindavan as a pilgrimage centre. Proclaimed human brotherhood and opposed all forms of discrimination based on religion and caste. He believes that a devotee can sense God’s presence via love and devotion, singing, and dancing. He is a member of the Vaishnav sect’s Krishna devotee branch. He popularised the Kirtan devotional system. Achintya Bhedabheda is the name of his philosophical doctrine.


He was also known as Jnaneshwar, Dnyaneshwar. He was the founder of the Bhakti Movement in Maharasthra in the 13th century. It was called Maharashtra dharma. He wrote a commentary on Bhagavata Gita called Gnaneswari and Amrutanubhava. He lived a short life of 21 years.


He is a Narsi-based Hingoli poet and saint (Maharashtra). He opposed idol worship, priesthood supremacy, and the caste system. He was known for his devotional songs and was Vaishnavism-influenced. Namdeva, along with Jnaneswar, Eknath, and Tukaram, laid the groundwork for the Varkari sect’s Hinduism. Varkaris revere Pandharpur’s patron god, Vitthal (Krishna). His writings (devotional poetry Abhanga) are incorporated in the Sikhism holy book (Guru Granth Sahib). He is one of Guru Nanak’s 15 holy men whose poems were recorded in the Adi Granth.


He was sympathetic towards the lower castes. He composed many lyrics and his bhajan and kirtan. He was influenced by Sufi mysticism & Vedanta philosophy. His renowned work is ‘Eknathi Bhagavata’, a commentary on Bhagavata Purana.


He was Sivaji’s contemporary. He was in charge of setting the stage for Maratha nationalism. Varkari devotional was personalised by him. Varkari, which means “pilgrim,” is a Vaishnavite Hindu sampradaya (religious movement) affiliated with Maharashtra. Vitthal (or Vithoba), the presiding god of Pandharpur and a form of Krishna, is worshipped by Varkaris. Janesvar, Namadev, Chokhamela, Eknath, Tukaram, and Gadge Maharaj are some of the saints affiliated with Varkaris. Tukaram is well known for his devotional poetry, known as Abhanga, and community-based worship, known as kirtan.

Nathpanthis, Siddhas & Yogis: 

Nath Panth has its origins in the Siddha tradition. However, Shaivism has affected Nath Panth’s traditional lit. Nath Panth is notable for its usage of Hatha Yoga, which transforms the human body into a state of enlightenment. Nath Panth is supposed to have influenced mediaeval saints such as Kabir and Namdev. Both monks and normal married people comprise two branches of Nath practice, both of which can be found in India and Nepal. Monks never dwell in one spot for long periods of time. They congregate for festivities like Kumbh and then disperse. The Barah Panthi Yogi Mahasabha (established in 1906) is a Haridwar-based Nath Panth. They criticised religious rituals and orthodoxy and urged renunciation of the world. To them, the path of salvation lay in meditation (Hathyoga). They are popular among low caste.


Tyagaraja, also known as Tyagayya, was a well-known Carnatic music composer and Bhakti movement saint. Sonti Venkataramayya was Tyagaraja’s music teacher. He was a devout follower of Rama. He wrote multiple musical operas and around 24000 songs in his praise and honour, according to music historians.


Tallapaka Annamacarya (or Annamayya) was a Hindu saint from the 15th century who is credited with being the first Indian musician to create sankirtanas in the worship of the god Venkateswara, a manifestation of Vishnu. He performs with the Tambura instrument. He is the earliest known Carnatic music, composer. Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa are claimed to have followed him as Carnatic music composers. He is thought to be the creator incarnation of Nandaka, Vishnu’s sword. He is known as Andhra Pada kavit Pitmaha in Andhra Pradesh (Grandfather of Telugu song-writing).

Famous saints and related sects:

Ramanujacharya Shri  sect
Madhavacharya Brahman sect
Vallabhacharya Rudra sect
Tukaram Barkari Sect
Ramdas Dharkrai sect
Madhvacharya Hariyali sect
Bhedabheda vada Bhaskaracharya
Shaivism  Mr Kanth
Nimbark Sanak sect
Gurunanak Sikh sect
Jagjivan Sahab Satnami sect
Shankaracharya Smriti sect


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