Religion in India: Woman on the Ganga bank offering food to the goddess. Typical Bhakti act

The Secret of Bhakti

Bhakti in India is a key concept to understand Hinduism the main religion in India

A couple offering sweets and flowers to a local deity in Darjeeling, West Bengal

The secret of Bhakti : Bhakti is all about love and devotion

Bhakti is a key term in understanding the Indian religious daily life. Bahkti lies at the heart of Hinduism which is the major religion in India and expresses some of the deepest relations between man and God. When travelling in India you can see and feel it all around you, in temples and on the sides of busy roads. It is a universal and limitless principle, and is not related to any specific region. The term stems from the Sanskrit root of the word, which means being part of, togetherness, communion, and trustiness.

Bhakti relates to the act of expressing devotion towards a personal god. It is a type of relationship, a connectedness, a complex bond between the Bhakta, the devoted person, and the subject of devotion that he or she chooses to have. This type of relationship can exist between a servant and a master, a child and his or her parent, two friends, two lovers or a person and one’s god.

The bhakti bond is active and dynamic, and takes place in an intimate sphere between the devotee and the subject of devotion. A sphere filled with unique interactions, emotional implications and has the potential to awaken an existential physical transformation. In relation to the Bhakta of the personal god, god is not transcendental and distant (as mostly it is in the Monotheistic religions).on the contrary, it is intimate and close. This god can be anything and can take form in any minor or seemingly insignificant thing. In fact, it is everything, the essence of the entire world.

Bhakti on India’s time line

Bhakti began to be conducted communally by the Tamil community during the first few hundred centuries AC. The phenomenon began to occur in the Tamil regions in the south of India in which saints retreated from household life, began to wander the land from one temple to the other and wrote songs of devotion for the local forms of gods, usually local manifestations of Shiva, Vishnu and the goddess.

This was the first display of this kind of warm, emotional Bhakti, which emphasised senses and feelings in the spiritual practice. Devotional acts were filled with passion, sensuality and lust. According to this, the presence of god could be felt at any given moment in reality.He becamepresent andmade it possible to have an intimate relationship with him, to love him, to be angry athim, to talk with him, to give him gestures, food, milk and a bed and to make him part of the family.

Religion in India: Bhaktas, Followers are Carrying the village deity in a religious procession

Carrying the village deity to the Kullu festival.Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Bhakti took India by a storm, and became a popular alternative in Hinduism against other religions and influences in the region. It also took out the religious practise from the exclusivity of the priests and made it accessible to all. The Bhakti movement positioned southern India as a central region of the Hindu culture and from there spread all over. It would be difficult to understand today’s India without understanding Bhakti. Within every region along the sub-continent, the universal Bhakti receives its own adaptations and it changes itsform. Still, in all its versatile forms it becomes the force which propels emotion, poetry, pilgrimages, prayer rituals, musical recitals, drawing, dramatic theatre, and many other acts demonstrating collective or personal devotion.

 

 

1 reply
  1. IndiaTravelz Team says:

    Hi There,
    Thanks so much for you comment! It feels good to know we can help by sharing our knowledge.
    We will be posting soon some really interesting posts about Indian culture and we hope you’d find them useful.
    By the way if there are certain topics that you would like us to write about please let us Know:)

    Reply

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