Bhakti Literature has its roots in the Bhakti movement, which was a spiritual revival movement that spread across India in the medieval period from 7th to 16th century. The movement was characterized by its focus on the personal devotion of the individual to the deity, as opposed to the ritualistic worship that was prevalent in the Hindu religion at the time.
The Bhakti movement was a response to the societal and religious tensions that existed in medieval India and was a way for people to express their devotion to a higher power in a way that was meaningful to them.
Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture.
1. Bhakti Literature was written in a variety of regional languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Sanskrit, making it accessible to a wide range of people. The accessibility allowed the Bhakti message of devotion and love to reach a large audience, and it helped to spread the Bhakti movement throughout India.
2. One of the key contributions of Bhakti Literature to Indian culture is its emphasis on the devotional experience. Bhakti Literature is filled with stories and poems that describe the intense love and devotion that the devotee feels for the deity. For instance, Bengali was used by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and by the poet Chandidas, who wrote extensively on the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna.
3. Bhakti Literature also played a role in promoting the idea of equality and inclusiveness in Indian society. The Bhakti movement was inclusive of people from all castes and social classes, and Bhakti Literature reflected this. The literature often featured stories of devotees from all walks of life, and it emphasized the idea that devotion to the deity was available to everyone, regardless of their social status or background. This emphasis on inclusiveness helped to challenge the caste system that was prevalent in India at the time and helped to promote the idea of equality.
4. Bhakti Literature promoted cultural synthesis. For instance Muslim poets Daulat Kazi and Sayed Alaoal wrote poems that were a cultural synthesis of Hinduism and Islam.
5. Another important contribution of Bhakti Literature to Indian culture is its influence on the arts. Bhakti Literature was often accompanied by music, and it played a role in the development of devotional music in India.
6. Bhakti Literature also influenced visual arts and many paintings and sculptures from the medieval period depict scenes from Bhakti Literature. For instance, Rajasthani school of painting dominated by the theme – love story of Radha and Krishna.
7. Bhakti Literature has had a lasting impact on Indian Literature as a whole. Bhakti Literature was written in a variety of regional languages, and it helped to preserve and promote these languages. It was also a Bhakti leader Shankaradeva, who popularized the use of the Assamese in the Brahmaputra valley in the 15th century. He used an entirely new medium to spread his ideas. In today’s Maharashtra, Marathi reached its apogee at the hands of saints like Eknath and Tukaram.
Finally other prominent saints like Kabir, Nanak, and Tulsidas contributed enormously to regional literature and language with their captivating verses and spiritual exposition.