CBSE Class 12 History Bhakti Sufi Traditions Notes

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Key concepts in nutshell

√ From 8th to 18th century striking feature was a visibility of wide range of gods & goddesses in sculpture & text.

√ There was integration of cults – composition, compilation & presentation of puranic texts in simple Sanskrit verses.

√ Tantric forms of worship – more prevalent among women.

√ Bhakti traditions classified into saguna (with athesist) and nirguna (without from attracts worship of abstract form)

√ The Alvars and Narayanars of Tamilnadu – The worshippers of Vishnu and Nayanars – devotees of Shiva – common features – traveled singing hymns in Tamil.

√ Alvars & nayanars initiated movement against caste system & dominance of Brahamans. Nalayiradivyaprabandanam – important composition of Alvars equal to four Vedas.

√ Status of women – composition of Andal (a women Alvar) popular, songs of Karaikkal Ammaiyar – were widely sung.

√ State patronage in south for Vedic gods rather than Jainism & Buddhisn, Cholas patronized brahamnical tradition, making land grant as to lord shiva at Gangaikonda Cholapuram bronze sculpture of shiva.

√ Singing of hymns under royal patronage were encountered – Chola ruler Parantaka I consecrated metal image of Appan, Sambandan and sundarar in Shiva temples.

√ Karnataka saw a new movement under basavanna a brahamana in court of Chalukyan ruler – his followers Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayatd (wearers of Linga) – important comminuty to this day – who worship shiva in form of a linga.

√ Lingayats challenged idea of caste and questiones the theory of rebirth. They encountered remarriage of widows.

√ North India saw the emergence of Rajput states which patronized Brahmans – performed secular & ritual function. The Naths, Jogis, siddhas also.

√ Through guided by ulema, rulers followed a flexible policy granting religious tax exemptions to non Muslims sometimes.

√ Those who accepted Islam in India accepted in principal the five pillars of faith but these were overlooked with diviation in practice derived from local customs & affiliations. (summi, shia) some like in Malabar court adopted local language

√ Sufism – Sufis were critical of dogmatic definitions & scholastic method of interpreting – Quran. They emphasized interpretation of Quran on basis of personal experiences.

√ Chishtis – were a part of Sufis – hospices of khangah were small roome & hall for students to live & pray. Life in chaisti khangah was like the life of a monastery & catered to all travellers rich or poor. Shaikh Nizamuddin chishti had many followers.

√ The practice of visits to dargas gained prominence by 14th century – shrines became very popular. Also music & dance & mystical chants were performed to evoke divine ecstasy.

√ The Bhakti movement saw the emergence of poet saint like kabir where poems written in form in which every meaning are inverted.

02 marks questions:

Q.1 What does Bhakti movement mean ? 2

Ans. A series of hindu saints& reformers started religious reform movements which adopted the method of devotion ( Bhakti ) to achievethe salvation their method of expression of devotion ranged from the routine worship of deities within temple & singing & chanting of devotional composition.

Q.2 Who were Alavars? 2

Ans. In southern India the devotees of Vishnu were called Alvars.

Q.3 Give the name of any four well known reformers of Bhakti movement ?

Ans. Ramanand swami, Kabir, Guru nanak dev, Mira Bai.

Q.4 What do you mean by Sufism? 

Ans. The sufis were muslim saints Who left a great impact on the Indian society Sufism originated in Persia.

Q.-5 What is the importance of Murshid in Sufi ideology? 

Ans. According to Sufism, an individual must have a religious guide (Murshid) through whom he can communicate with god. The pir is a ladder which enables a man to reach the goal of life Devotion to the Murshid is the worship of god.

Q.6 (a) Describe the causes of the rise of Bhakti movement? 

Ans. 1. Influence of Vaishnavism

2. Evil practices of the Hindues

3. Fear of sprit of Islam

4. Influence of sufi sects

5. Emergence of great reformers.

Q.6 (b) Describe the main Principal of Bhakti movement ? 

Ans. 1. Faith in god

2. Good deeds

3. Universal Brotherhood

4. Emotional worship

5. Condemned idol worship

6. Opposed to the rigidity of caste system

7. Guru Bhakti

Q.-6(c) Discuss the influences & importance of Bhakti movement? 


1. Saked Hinduism

2. Lowered the prestige of the Brahmins

3. Checked the propagation of Islam

4. Emergence of Sikhism

5. Setback back to Buddhism


(a) Improvement in the social relation between the Hindus & Muslims

(b) Uplift of lower class

(c) Promoted the spirit of social service

(d) Development of composite art in the society

(e) Enrichment of Literature.

Q.7 What were the main Principle of Sufism?

Ans. 1. Worship of God

2. Renunciation of wordly pleasure

3. Non violence & pacitism

4. Love of mankind

5. Importance of Murshid

6. Principle of Morality

7. Importance of singing & Dancing in worship of Allah

Q.-8 What were Attitude of the Nayanars & Alavars sects towards the cast?

Ans. Some historians are of the view that Alvars & Nayanaras started a movement of Protest against the cast system & the dominance of Brahmans are at least made effort to reform them. This view is supported by the fact, that these Bhakti reformers came from diverse social background some of the belonged to lower classes such as Cultivaters, Artism & untouchahable some of them Barman background. The Alvars & Nayanars claimed that their compositions were as important as the Vedas. The tamil song of the Alvars are marked by such depth of feeling & trupiety that they are looked upon as vaishnava Vedas. the nayanaras composed their devotional songs with the highest spiritual sentiments & set up shaivism on a strang tooting. these songs are still popular in south India.

Q.-9 Describe the teaching of Kabir? How does he describe the ultimate reality through the poems? 

Ans. (a) To achieve inward spiritual bliss

(b) Condemnation of empty ritual

(c) To faster harmony between Hinduism & Islam

(d) He believed in one formless God

(e) Rejected both Vedas & Kuran & the supremacy of the Brahmins & Mulas

(f) He opposed the caste system & image worship

(g) He taught the unity of god & the path of love & devotion

(h) He emphasized on bhakti to achieve salvation or Moksha.

Kabir gave different names of ultimate reality. In Islam these include Allah Hazrat, Khuda and pir. He also used terms taken from Vaedantic traditions like alakh, nirankar, brahman and atman.


Q10. Carefully read the following excerpts and answer the following questions : 

A Church in Khambat

This is an excerpt from a farman (imperial order) issued by Akbar in 1598. Whereas it reached our eminent and holy notice that the padres (father) of the holy society. Of Jesus wish to build a house of prayer ( church) in the city of Kambayat (Khambat in Gujrat) therefore an exalted mandate….. is being issued …. That the dignitaries of the city of Kambayat should in no case stand in their way but should allow them to build a church, so that they may engage themselves in their own worship it is necessary that the order of the emperor
should be obeyed in every way.

Q1. From where has this excerpt been taken? 

Ans. This excerpt has been taken from a farman (imperial order) issued by Akbar in 1598

Q2. What message did Akbar conveyed to the people of Gujrat through this order. 

Ans. Through this farman Akbar ordered to the people of Gujrat to allow the construction of a Church by the padries (fathers) of the holy society of Jesus.

Q3. which aspect of the religious nature of Akbar does this order indicate? 

Ans. This order indicates Akbar’s policy of religious toleration. We come to know that Akbar use to give equal respect to all the religions.

Q4. Who were the people from whom Akbar anticipated opposition to his order? 

Ans. Akbar anticipated opposition to his order from non-Christians

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