Bhakti Movement: Notes for IAS Exam

The Bhakti movement started in the 7th Century-8th Century in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Later it spread to Karnataka, Maharashtra, and it reached North India in the 15th Century. The Bhakti movement reached its peak in the 15th Century and 17th Century. The following people were pioneers of the Bhakti movement in their respective states.

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Founders of the Bhakti Movement

Below table gives a list of famous proponents of Bhakti Movement

Tamil Nadu & Kerala Alvaras (devotees of Vishnu) and Nayanars (devotees of Shiva)
Karnataka Basavanna, Akkamahadevi, Allama Prabhu
Maharashtra Jnanadev, Namdev, and Tukaram
Northern India Ramananda, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Guru Nanak, Kabir Das, Ravi Das, Nanak, Meerabai

How did the Bhakti Movement start?

Bhakti Movement started from South India, by Alvaras and Nayanars. Alvaras are the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Nayanars are devotees of Lord Shiva. These devotees travelled to various places singing hymns in praise of their Gods. Many temples were built that became sacred places of pilgrimage. Some of the causes of the rise in the Bhakti movement are given below.

  1. Evil practices in Hinduism
  2. Fear of spread of Islam
  3. Caste systems
  4. Complicated ritualism
  5. Need for fulfilling method of worship and salvation.

What was the main principle of Bhakti Movement?

Some of the main principles of Bhakti Movement are given below

  1. God is one
  2. All men are equal
  3. Give up caste practices
  4. Devotion is more important than rituals.

What are the effects of the Bhakti Movement?

  1. Introduced Social giving like Seva
  2. Introduced dana (charity)
  3. Community kitchens with free food.
  4. Believed in Non-violence (Ahimsa)
  5. Helping poor farmers and feeding poor people.
  6. Providing free hostels for poor people
  7. Promoting folk culture.

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