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These terms were used in the reference of Sufis. Ba shara were those sufi saints who adhere with the Shariat and Be- shara were those who ignored shariat completely. Which sufi sect was the first to get establish in India and who was the founder? Muinud din Chishti founded the first sufi sect in India. He established the Chishti silsilah. Who was the founder of Lingayat movement in Karnataka? Basavan was the founder of Lingayat movement. Who conquered Sind? Muhammad Bin Kasim conquered the Sind in year A.D 711. Who were called Jangama in southern India? Jangamas were the wandering monks of Lingayat sect. 2 marks Mention the name of heterodox sects that made their ground in medieval period? The name of the heterodox sects is Shaivism and Vaishnavism. The Shaivaite were the devotees of Shiva whereas Vaishnavite were the devotees of Vishnu. What was the work area of the new religious leaders? How they have communicated with the people? What was their contribution to present society? Why they failed to win the support of ruling elites? The new religious leader concentrated on the upliftment of the untouchables and of women. These new religious leaders were classified as nath, jogis and siddhas. Many of these belonged to artisanal class. They questioned the authority of vedas and communicated with people in the common language spoken by the people. They failed to enjoy the support of elite/ ruling class because politically India was in transitionary phase and Rajput rulers were strengthening their position for that they seek the help of brahmins and therefore ignored the new religious leaders and sects. What changes were brought by the Turkish conquest of India? Turkish conquest culminated in the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. The power of many Rajput rulers was thus undermined and also of the brahmanas who were patronized by these rulers. The conquest also resulted in the migration of sufis in India. This brought Hinduism and Islam closer to each other. How the faith of rulers affected the faith of their subjects? The people adopted the religion of the rulers to get some advantages from them and also to get high seats in the administration. “Religious policy tends to change in India as per the preferences of the ruler”. Examine the statement. The religious policy of the empire was totally depending upon the ruler if he is a bigot then he uses to prefer his own religion great. And a liberal monarch gives respect to each and every religion. Who were Ulema? What was their function in the Kingdom?
Ulemas were the expert of Islamic law and jurisprudence. Ulemas guided the rulers for ensuring that everything will go on as per the shariat. As the populace was nonIslamic therefore it became important for them to ensure the practice of shariat. Why the Bhakti movement failed to make its profound influence in Northern India? Bhakti movement failed to make its profound influence in Northern India because at that time northern India was in transitionary phase. There was a political uncertainty and Rajputs were gradually asserting their authority for which they seeked the support of Brahmins. Hence the new rulers were the supporter of Brahmin religion. Therefore the Bhakti movement failed to register the support of ruling elites and thus failed to make any significant mark in northern India. What was the view of lingayats on the various traditions of Hinduism? Lingayats criticized the concept of pollution and they had promoted widow remarriage and also promoted untouchables to read Vedas and other sacred books. Enumerate various practices of Lingayats. The various practices of Lingayats are as follows: • They wore a small Linga in a silver case • They believes that after death, devotee is dissolved in the Shiva. What do you mean by the idea of ‘pollution’? In the early medieval period Brahmins popularized the notion of pollution. By pollution, they mean that if a person of higher caste or varna comes in the contact of shudra or untouchable he will loose his caste. List the practices that were adopted by Chistis in their Khanqah to show respect to the Shaikh and adoption of local customs. Practices adopted by the Chistis were as follows:• Offering Sijda i.e bowing before the sheikh • Offering water to visitors • Shaving the heads of initiates • Yogic exercises Why the Chishtis became so much prominent and successful in India? Give any two reasons. The reasons for the success of Chishtis in India were as follows: • Chishtis successfully adapted themselves to the Indian conditions and local environment both physical and social. • Chishtis did not keep themselves aloof from the masses and freely adopted Indian devotional practices, which they felt, were good. What led to the increase in the number of deities in the post Gupta and Early Medieval period? Many tribal and lesser important deities were given importance in this period and were came to be regarded as the incarnation of Vedic deities. This led to the increase in the number of deities in the early medieval period. What was the striking feature regarding religion, during the period between eighth to eighteenth centuries?
During the period between eighth and eighteenth century, a number of gods and goddesses in sculpture as well as in texts appeared. According to historians, it indicated the continued and extended worship of the major deities such as Vishnu, Shiva and the goddesses, visualised in a variety of forms. Who coined the sociological terms “great” and “little” traditions? Robert Redfield coined the terms “great” and “little” traditions in the twentieth century to describe the cultural practices of peasant societies. Those rituals and customs which were followed by the peasants as they originated from superior classes were termed as ‘great’ while which were different from great tradition and followed by the peasants, termed them as ‘little’ by Robert Redfield. What is the meaning of “Tantric”? The forms of worship often associated with goddess were classified as Tantric during the period of Bhakti movement. Tantric worship was widespread in the subcontinent. It was open to women and men. The people who followed Tantric rejected the caste and class within the ritual context. Many of these ideas influenced Shaivism and the Buddhism. What were the conflicts that arose during the Bhakti Movement? There were sometimes conflicts between those who followed the Vedic methods of worship and those who practiced the Tantric way of worshipping deities. Those who valued the Vedic tradition often condemned the practices that went beyond the performances of sacrifices and chanting of mantras. On the other hand those who engaged in Tantric practices ignored the authority of the Vedas. How do the historians of religion classify bhakti traditions? The historians of religion classified bhakti traditions into two broad categories: • Saguna, (with attributes): Saguna included traditions that focused on the worship of specific deities such as Shiva, Vishnu and his avatars (incarnations) and forms of the goddess or Devi. • Nirguna (without attributes): Nirguna bhakti on the other hand was worship of an abstract form of god. Why were the Alvars and the Nayanars in conflict with Buddhism and Jainism? According to the historians, the saint-poets the Alvars and the Nayanars were opposed to Buddhism and Jainism. This conflict is well marked in their compositions and especially of the Nayanars. Scholars say that this conflict was due to competition between members of different religious traditions for royal patronage. Who were Ulama? Ulama are plural for alim which means one who knows. Ulama are scholars of Islamic studies. As preservers of this tradition they perform various religious, juridical and teaching functions. Muslim rulers were to be guided by the ulama, which were anticipated to make sure that they ruled according to the shari'a. What is Shari’a? The Shari’a is the law governing the Muslim community. It is based on the Qur’an and the hadis, traditions of the Prophet including a record of his remembered words and deeds. With the spreading out of Islam in areas with different customs and rituals, the qiyas (analysis by comparison) and ijma (consent of community) were recognised as two sources of legislation and part of shari'a.
Define the term zimmi? The zimmi means “protected” and is derived from the Arabic word zimma, protection. It was developed for people who followed revealed scriptures, such as the Jews and Christians, and lived under Muslim rule. They paid a tax called jizya and got the protection from Muslims. In India this status was extended to Hindus as well. What are the five pillars of faith in Islam? How the universal features of Islam were declined with the passing of time? • The followers of Islam follow five "pillars" of faith: • There is one god, Allah, and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger (shahada). • Offering prayers five times a day (namaz / salat). • Giving alms (zakat). • Fasting during the month of Ramzan (sawm). • Performing the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). The universal feature of islam declined beacuse of the sectarian practices and due to the influence of local customary paractices in Islam. What is the meaning of the word Sufism? Sufism is an English word coined in the nineteenth century. The word used for Sufism in Islamic texts is tasawwuf. Historians have interpreted the meaning of this term in many ways. Some scholars say that it is derived from suf, meaning wool. Others derive it from safa, meaning purity. It may also derive from suffa, the platform outside the Prophet's mosque, where a group of close followers assembled to learn about the faith. How were the Sufi lineages named? Most Sufi lineages were named after a founding figure, for example, the Qadiri order was named after Shaikh Abd’ul Jilani. However, some like the Chishti order were named after their place of origin, in this case the town of Chishti incentral Afghanistan. What were silsilas? Silsila literally meaning a chain signifies a continuous link between master and disciple, stretching as an unbroken spiritual genealogy to the Prophet Muhammad. Sufi silsilas began to appear in different parts of the Islamic world around the twelfth century. What is the meaning of dargah? Dargah is a Persian term. Its meaning is tomb-shrine. When the shaikh died, his tomb shrine became the centre of devotion for his followers. This encouraged the practice of pilgrimage or ziayarat to his grave, particularly on his death anniversary. Who wrote the Kashful-Mahjub? In 1039 Abu’l Hasan al Hujwiri was a native of Hujwir near Ghazni in Afghanistan. He wrote the Kashful-Mahjub (Unveiling of the Veiled) in Persian language to explain the meaning of tasawwuf and those who followed it i.e. the Sufi. Who was Shankaradeva and what were his teachings? Shankaradeva was one of the leading proponents of Vaishnavism in Assam. His teachings often are known as the Bhagavati dharma because they were based on
the Bhagavat Gita and the Bhagavata Purana. He emphasised the need for recitation of the name of the lord in sat sanga or congregations of pious devotees. What step was taken by Shaikh Nizamuddin to popularized Chishtis in the Indian sub- continent? Shaikh Nizamuddin appointed his disciple to set up rest houses/ hospices in various parts of the subcontinent. In this way they came in direct contact with the populace informally which led to popularization of chishti practices, teachings and also the fme of Shaikh. Define Ziyarat. What was its importance? Ziyarat was the visit to grave/ tomb of a Shaikh in order to evoke his spiritual grace on oneself. It was believed that, after the death the soul of shaikh get united with the souk of Allah. Therefore, he served the purpose of mediator between the God and people. Why the Dargah at Ajmer became so popular? Give any two reasons. The dargah of Shaikh Muinuddin Chishti became so popular because of the following reasons: • The shaikh was known for his generiosity, simplicity, and piousness. All this qualities of shaikh impressed the people and they started visiting to seek blessings from him. • Location of the Ajmer was the second important reason for its popularity. As it was located on the route of Gujarat and Delhi and both these places were important economic and political centre. What was the motive of Akbar in visiting the Sufi shrine? Akbar (A.D 1556-1605) the mughal emperor visited dargah at Ajmer fourteen times in his life and these visits were aimed at seeking blessings for new conquets, for fulfilling his vows, and to get a son. How the development of Chishti movement affected the life of the people of Southern India? In southern India sufi poetry was composed in the Dakhani language around the Bijapur and Karnataka region. Women while performing household chores sang these poems. Other compositions were in the form of lurinama and wedding songs. 5 marks What do you mean by Khanqah? Give a sketch of life in Khanqah. Khanqahs were primarily founded as the resting place for Sufi saints but gradually they became the center of sufi learning. A Khanqah is comprised of many small rooms and there was a big hall, which was called jama’at e khana in that big hall the disciples and visitors use to stay and offer prayers. Other peoples who live in the Khanqah were shaikh and his family members and attendants of shaikh. Shaikh meet with people in morning and in afternoons. Shaikh lives in the small room built on the roof of the hall. There run an open kitchen (langar) on charity and people from all the fields were offered meals there. People from all the walks of life came to interact with shaikh. Write a note on the two processes at work during the period of Bhakti movement. According to historians, for the development of Bhakti movement there were two processes at work.
One was the process of circulating or fusing of Brahmanical ideas. It was reflected in the composition, compilation and preservation of Puranic texts in simple Sanskrit verse, so that women and Shudras who had been excluded could now be accessible to the texts. The second process at work was the recognition of the beliefs and practices of nonBrahmanical social categories. During this period many beliefs and practices were fashioned through a continuous dialogue between “great” Sanskritic Puranic traditions and “little” traditions throughout the land. For example at Puri in Orissa, before the twelfth century the local deity was made of wood by local tribal specialists, later it was renowned as a form of Vishnu. What were the contributions of the Chola rulers to the Bhakti traditions? • The Chola rulers supported the Brahmanas and the bhakti traditions and made land donations, constructed temples for Vishnu and Shiva. Some of the magnificent temples for Shiva such as temples in Chidambaram, Thanjavur, and Gangaikondacholapuram were constructed under their patronage. • The Chola rulers constructed temples often to claim supreme divine and proclaim their own power and status and adorned those temples with stone and metal sculpture to represent the visions of the popular saints. They made the most spectacular representations of Shiva in bronze sculpture. • The Chola kings introduced in temples singing of Tamil Shaiva hymns under royal patronage, taking the initiative to collect and organise them into a text. • According to inscriptional evidence, the Chola King Parantaka I had produced the metal images of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar in a Shiva temple and these were carried in procession during the festivals of these saints. Write a note on the religious conditions in north India on the eve of Bhakti movement. According to historians, in north India there was a period when several Rajput states emerged and in most of these states Brahmanas gained very important place by performing rituals. There was nobody to challenge them directly. At the same time there were other religious leaders who were out of the orthodox Brahmanical systems, and were gaining ground. These included the Naths, Jogis and Siddhas. Many of them came from artisanal groups such as weavers who were well organised. These religious leaders questioned the authority of the Vedas, but they were unable to win the support of the ruling elites. The arrival of the Turks undermined the Rajput states and the Brahmanas who were attached with those states. When did Sufism evolve into a well developed movement? By the eleventh century Sufism evolved into a well developed movement with a body of literature on Quranic studies and Sufi practices. Sufism was organised in an institution around the hospice or khanqah controlled by a teaching master known as sheikh, pir or murshid. He enrolled disciples and appointed a successor. He established rules for spiritual conduct and interaction between inmates as well as between laypersons and the master. How was the life in the Chishti khanqah? • The khanqah was the centre of social life. It comprised several small rooms and a big hall where the inmates and visitors lived and prayed. • The Shaikh lived in a small room on the roof of the hall where he met visitors in the morning and evening.
• There was an open kitchen (langar). • From morning till evening people from all walks of life, came to seek the blessings from the Shaikh in various matters. • Other visitors included poets such as Amir Hasan Sijzi and Amir Khusrau and the court historian Ziyauddin Barani and all of them wrote about the Shaikh. Write a note on the Chishti devotionalism. • Pilgrimage called ziyarat tombs of Sufi saints is prevalent all over the Muslim world. • This practice is an occasion for seeking the Sufi’s spiritual grace (barakat). • For more than seven centuries people from the different walks expressed their devotion at the dargahs of the five. • The use of music and dance including mystical chants performed by specially trained musicians or qawwals to evoke divine ecstasy is also the part of ziyarat. • The sufis remember God either by reciting the zikr (the Divine Names) or evoking His presence through Sama or performance of mystical music known as qawwali. Write a note on Mirabai. Mirabai was the best known woman poet within the bhakti tradition. She was a Rajput princess from Merta in Marwar. She was married to a prince of the Sisodiya against her wishes. She defied her husband and did not submit to the traditional role of wife and mother. She recognised Krishna, the avatar of Vishnu as her lover. Her in–laws tried to poison her, but she escaped and lived as a wandering singer composing songs with intensive expressions of emotion. Her most famous follower was Raidas, a leather worker. It shows her defiance of the norms of caste society. She had donned the white robes of a widow or the saffron robe of the renouncer. Although she did not attract a sect or group of followers, she has been recognised as a source of inspiration for centuries. We get information about her from the bhajnas attributed to her. Write a note on Guru Nanak and his teachings. Guru Nanak was born in a village called Nankana Sahib near the river Ravi in Punjab in 1469.He renounced the routine life and travelled widely. His teachings are well reflected in his hymns. These hymns suggest that he advocated a form of nirguna bhakti. He rejected rituals and sacrifices, image worship and the scriptures of Hindus and Muslims. According to him, the Absolute (God) had no gender or form. He propagated a simple way to connect to the divine by remembering the Divine name. He expressed his ideas through hymns called “shabad” in Punjabi, the language of the region and sang with different ragas. He organised his followers in a community and set up rules for congregational worship (sangat). He appointed one of his disciples, Angad, to succeed him as the preceptor (guru). Write a note on Kabir and his teachings. During the fourteenth centuries, Kabir was one of the most outstanding examples of a poet–saint. Verses ascribed to Kabir have been compiled in three distinct traditions. Sources to know Kabir - The Kabir Bijak is preserved by Kabirpanth (the path or sect of Kabir) in Varanasi and in Uttar Pradesh. The Kabir Granthavali is associated with the Dadupanth in Rajasthan and many of his compositions are found in the Adi Granth Sahib. All these compilations were made after the death of Kabir. Kabir’s poems have survived in several languages and dialects and sometimes with special language of nirguna poets and others known as ulat bansi.
Kabir’s teachings - Kabir tried to describe the Ultimate Reality including Islam. According to him the Ultimate Reality was Allah, Khuda, Hazarat and Pir. He also used some Vedic terms such as Brahman and Atman. He also used some yogic traditional terms such as shabda (sound) or shunya (emptiness). Mention about the Sufis’ relationship with the state. • The striking feature of the Chishti tradition was austerity maintaining distance from worldly power. But the Sufis accepted unsolicited grants and donations from the political elites. • The Sultans set up charitable trusts (auqaf) as endowments for hospices and granted tax-free land (inam). • The Chishti accepted donations in cash and kind and used for their immediate needs such as food, clothes, living quarters and ritual needs such as Sama. • Kings simply did not need to show their association with Sufis and also required legitimating from them. When the Turks set up the Delhi Sultanate, Sufis resisted the insistence of the ulama on imposing shari’a as state law because they anticipated opposition from their subject. 8 marks Here is a Vachana composed by Basavanna: When they see a serpent carved in stone they pour milk on it. If a real serpent comes they say: “Kill. Kill.” To the servant of the god who could eat if served they say: “Go away! Go away!” But to the image of the god which cannot eat they offer dishes of food. Who was Basavanna? He was associated with which reform movement? Basavanna was a profound thinker, a great social reformer and a great religious teacher. Basavanna though born Brahmin rebelled against the rigid practices of the caste system then prevalent and eventually began expounding his own theosophy with a casteless society at its core. He is regarded as the founder of Lingayatism or the Virashaiva tradition. His followers were known as Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayats (wearers of the linga). What were the main features of the followers of the Virashaiva traditions? Main features of the followers of the Virashaiva traditions are: • Lingayats believe in a monotheistic world where Shiva the supreme God and self are one and the same. Lingayats believe that on death the devotee will be united with Shiva and will not return to this world. • They worship Shiva in his manifestation as a linga and men usually wear a small linga in a silver case on a loop strung over the left shoulder. • The Lingayats also encouraged certain practices disapproved in the Dharmashastras, such as post-puberty marriage and the remarriage of widows. What was the contribution of Virashaivism to Kannada literature? The rise of Virashaivism heralded a new and glorious chapter in the annals of Kannada literature. Vachanas composed in Kannada by men and women who joined the Virashaiva movement introduced a new era in the Kannada literature. These Vachanas had the Virashaiva philosophy at its core. The Vachanas were brief poems of devotional nature. These poems expounded the ideals of Veerashaivism. The Vachanas were also primarily targeted at the common man and criticised the rituals
performed in Hindu religion. The Jangama played a central role in the propagation of the Vachanas. This is a verse composed by Appar, a Nayanar saint: O rogues who quote the law books, Of what use are your gotra and kula? Just bow to Marperu’s lord (Shiva who resides in Marperu, in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu) as your sole refuge. Who were Nayanars? During the sixth century, some of the Bhakti movements were led by the Alvars and the Nayanars. The meaning of the word Nayanars is those who were devotees of Shiva. During their travels, the Nayanars identified certain shrines as abodes of their chosen deities and later big temples were built at those places and developed as pilgrimage centres. What is Tevaram? Tevaram is a collection of poems. They have been composed by the three primary Nayanars (Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar) of the 63 Saivite Saints who led the Bhakti movement of the 1st millennium CE. These poems were compiled and classified in the tenth century on the basis of the music of the songs. What was the role of women in the early Bhakti movements led by Nayanars? One of the most striking features of these traditions was the presence of women. These women renounced their social obligations, but did not join an alternative order or become nuns. Their very existence and compositions posed a challenge to patriarchal norms. Karaikkal Ammaiyar, one of the few women amongst the sixty three Nayanars, is one of the greatest figures of early Tamil literature. She adopted the path of extreme asceticism in order to attain her goal. Her compositions were preserved within the Nayanar tradition. This is an excerpt from a composition of an Alvar named Tondaradippodi, who was a Brahmana: You (Vishnu) manifestly like those “servants” who express their love for your feet, though they may be born outcastes, more than the Chaturvedins who are strangers and without allegiance to your service. Who were Alvars? The literal meaning of the Alvars is those who are immersed in devotion to Vishnu. They travelled from place to place singing hymns in Tamil in praise of their gods. What was the attitude of the Alvars towards the Caste system? The Alvars opposed the caste system. They initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of the Brahmanas. They made attempts to reform the system also. This can be confirmed from the fact that bhaktas hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered “untouchable”. How can we say that the Alvar traditions were considered important?
The importance of the traditions of the Alvars was sometimes indicated by the claim that their compositions were as important as the Vedas. For instance, one of the major anthologies of compositions by the Alvars, the Nalayira Divyaprabandham, was frequently described as the Tamil Veda; thus, claiming that the text was as significant as the four Vedas in Sanskrit that were cherished by the Brahmanas. Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follows: The pilgrimage of the Mughal princess Jahanara, 1643 The following is an excerpt from Jahanara’s biography of shaikh Muinuddin Chishti, titled Munis al Arwah (The Confidant of Spirits): After praising the one God … this lowly faqira (humble soul) Jahanara ... went from the capital Agra in the company of my great father (Emperor Shah Jahan) towards the pure region of incomparable Ajmer … I was committed to this idea, that every day in every station I would perform two cycles of optional prayer … For several days ... I did not sleep on a leopard skin at night, I did not extend my feet in the direction of the blessed sanctuary of the revered saving master, and I did not turn my back towards him. I passed the days beneath the trees. On Thursday, the fourth of the blessed month of Ramzan, I attained the happiness of pilgrimage to the illuminated and the perfumed tomb … With an hour of daylight remaining, I went to the holy sanctuary and rubbed my pale face with the dust of that threshold. From the doorway to the blessed tomb I went barefoot, kissing the ground. Having entered the dome, I went around the lightfilled tomb of my master seven times … Finally, with my own hand I put the finest quality of itar on the perfumed tomb of the revered one, and having taken off the rose scarf that I had on my head, I placed it on the top of the blessed tomb ... What were the gestures that show Jahanara’s devotion for the Shaikh? Jahanara the mughal princess has not slept on the leopard skin and had not extended her feets in the direction of the dargah, and she offered prayers twice a day. After reaching to the shrine, she kissed the ground and rubbed the dust of the dargah on her face. How does she suggest that the dargah was a special place? She has described that the dargah was illuminated and there was a nice fragrance all around, this shows that dargah was a special place. Who is the author of the text from which this excerpt has been taken? The author of the text was Jahanara and the name of the text is Munis al Arwah Read the following passage carefully and answer the following questions: Declining the royal gift This excerpt from a sufi text describes the proceedings at Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya’s hospice in 1313: I (the author, Amir Hasan Sijzi) had the good fortune of kissing his (Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya’s) feet … At this time a local ruler had sent him the deed of ownership to two gardens and much land, along with the provisions and tools for their maintenance. The ruler had also made it clear that he was relinquishing all his rights to both the gardens and land. The master … had not accepted that gift. Instead, he had lamented: “What have I to do with gardens and fields and lands? … None of … our spiritual masters had engaged in such activity.” Then he told an appropriate story: “… Sultan Ghiyasuddin, who at that time was still
known as Ulugh Khan, came to visit Shaikh Fariduddin (and) offered some money and ownership deeds for four villages to the Shaikh, the money being for the benefit of the dervishes (sufis), and the land for his use. Smiling, Shaikh al Islam (Fariduddin) said: ‘Give me the money. I will dispense it to the dervishes. But as for those land deeds, keep them. There are many who long for them. Give them away to such persons.’” Discuss the kind of relationship expressed in the passage above between king and sufi. The relationship expressed in this excerpt is that the kings use to give grants of land and donations in cash or kind to the Sufis as a homage to them but as the Chishti saints believed in simplicity and pious life therefore they continued to deny the material gifts given to them How the shaikh communicated with his disciples? Shaikhs communicated with the help of stories of the previous sufi saints. Who is the author of the text? Author of the text is Amir Hasan Sijzi. Write a detailed note on the Alvars and Nayanars of Tamil Nadu. During the sixth century, some of the Bhakti movements were led by the Alvars and the Nayanars. The meaning of the word Alvars is those who were “immersed” in devotion to Vishnu and the meaning of the word Nayanars is those who were devotees of Shiva. They travelled from place to place singing hymns in Tamil in praise of their gods. During their travels the Alvars and the Nayanars identified certain shrines as abodes of their chosen deities and later big temples were built at those places and developed as pilgrimage centres. • The Alvars and the Nayanars and their approach towards the caste: According to some historians, the Alvars and the Nayanars started a movement of protest against the caste system and the Brahmanas and tried to reform the system. The devotees came from the different social backgrounds such as artisans, cultivators and even from the caste that were considered “untouchable”. • Compositions of the Alvars and the Nayanars: The compositions of the Alvars and the Nayanars are considered to be as important as the Vedas. For example, one of the anthologies of compositions of the Alvars, the Nalayira Divyaprabandham (Four Thousand Sacred Compositions) was described as the Tamil Veda and the text was significant like the Vedas that were used by the Brahmanas. • Women devotees: According to historians one of the striking features of these traditions was the presence of women. For example there was a saint-poet called Andal, a woman Alvar. Her compositions were sung and are sung even today in many parts of the country. Another woman Karaikkal Ammaiyar, a devotee of Shiva followed the path of extreme asceticism to attain her goal. Her compositions were preserved within the Nayanar tradition. These women renounced their social obligations, but did not become nuns. Their presence in these traditions was a challenge to patriarchal norms. Write a note on the Virashaiva tradition in Karnataka.
In the twelfth century, The Virashaiva movement was started by a Brahmana named Basavanna (1106-68). He was initially a Jaina and a minister in the court of a Chalukya king. His followers were called as Virashaivas (heroes of Shiva) or Lingayats (wearers of the linga). • Lingayats and their beliefs: Even today Lingayats are an important community in Karnataka. They worship Shiva in the form of linga. They wear a small linga in a silver case over the left shoulder. Jangama or wandering monks are revered. Lingayats believe that after the death, the devotee will be united with Shiva and will not return to this world. Therefore they do not practice funerary rituals such as cremation as prescribed in the Dharmashastras, but bury the dead body. • Challenge to the caste system: The Lingayats strongly challenged the idea of caste and notion of “pollution” as propagated by Brahmanas. They also questioned the theory of rebirth. Their critical approach towards the caste won them number of followers who were marginalised by the Brahmanical social order. The Lingayats also practiced certain approvals that were rejected by the Dharmashastras such as postpuberty marriage and the remarriage of widows. We get more information about the Virashaiva from vachanas (literally, sayings) composed in Kannada by the people who joined the movement. What do you mean by Khanqahs and silsilas? Khanqahs were primarily founded as the resting place for Sufi saints but gradually they became the centre of Sufi learning. The khanqah was the centre of social life. A Khanqah comprised of several small rooms and a big hall (jama’at khana) where the inmates and visitors lived and prayed. The inmates included family members of the Shaikh, his attendants and disciples. The Shaikh lived in a small room on the roof of the hall where he met visitors in the morning and evening. A veranda surrounded the courtyard, and a boundary wall ran around the complex. There was an open kitchen (langar), run on futuh (unasked-for charity). From morning till late night people from all walks of life – soldiers, slaves, singers, merchants, poets, travellers, rich and poor, Hindu jogis (yogi) and qalandars – came seeking discipleship, amulets for healing, and the intercession of the Shaikh in various matters. Sufi silsilas began to crystallise in different parts of the Islamic world around the twelfth century. The word silsilaliterally means a chain, signifying a continuous link between master and disciple, stretching as an unbroken spiritual genealogy to the Prophet Muhammad. It was through this channel that spiritual power and blessings were transmitted to devotees. Special rituals of initiation were developed in which initiates took an oath of allegiance, wore a patched garment, and shaved their hair. Discuss the ways in which the Alwars, Nayanars and Virashaivas expressed critiques of the caste systems. Some historians suggest that the Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system. To some extent this is corroborated by the fact that bhaktas hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered "untouchable".
• The twelfth century witnessed the emergence of a new movement in Karnataka, led by a Brahmana named Basavanna (1106-08). His followers were known as Virashaivas or Lingayats (Wearers of the linga). • The Lingayats challenged the idea of caste and the pollution attributed to certain groups by Brahmanas. They also questioned the theory of rebirth. These won them followers amongst those who were marginalised within the Brahmanical social order. • The Lingayats also encouraged certain practices disapproved in the Dharmashastras, such as post puberty marriage and the remarriage of widows. Analyse, with illustrations, why bhakti and sufi thinkers adopted a variety of languages in which to express their opinions. Bhakti thinkers and different languages which were adopted by them to express their opinion. • Early Bhakti Saints Pali, Prakarat Tamil and Malyalam etc. languages. • The Brahmans of South Indian put his views and ideas in Sanskrit and local languages. • Kabir's poems have survived in several languages and dialects, and some are composed the special languages of nirguna poets. • Baba Guru Nanak, Ravidas etc. composed their hymns in various languages such as Punjabi and Hindi etc. • Mirabai compose her Bhajans in Rajsthani and Hindi. • Some saint of Maharastra and Gujarati uses Marathi and Gujarati language. According to Sufi thinkers • Sufi thinkers also live with peoples. They use several languages. They use Hindvi or Persian language. • Baba Farid used local language. Hindvi persian, Panjabi, Urdu and some other form of languages are also seen. • A different genre of Sufi poetry was composed in an around the town of Bijapur, Karnataka. These were short poems in Dakhani (a variant of Urdu) attributed to Chisthi Sufis who lived in this region during the 17th and 18th centuries. • Some Sufi saints give their pledge in Telgu, Malayalam languages. "Kabir was a famous saint of Bhakti period". Examine that statement. Kabir was a famous saint of Bhakti period. That fact is examined by the following points: Kabir's Teachings: • Kabir did not accept the caste distinction. He believed that none could be high or low on the score of caste. • Kabir was opposed to customs and rituals. He has opposed worship, roja-namaj, pilgrimage and haj etc. • Kabir believed in the unity of all religions according to him, there is no distinction between Hindu-Muslim. The destination of both is the same only the paths are different. • His teachings openly ridiculed all forms of external worship of both Brahmanical Hinduism and Islam the pre-eminence of the priestly classes and the caste system. • Kabir opposed caste distinction, condemned bad company, stressed upon meditation and love. He identified the teacher with God. Explain with examples what historians mean by the integration of cults.
From tenth to 17th century the most striking religious features is the increasing visibility of a wide range god and goddess in sculpture as well as in religious books at one level, this indicates the continued and extended worship major deities Vishnu, Shiva and goodness like Durga, Laxmi – Historians who have tried to understand these developments suggest that there were at least two processes at work. One was a process of disseminating Brahmanical ideas. This is exemplified by the composition, compilation and preservation of puranic texts in simple Sanskrit verse, explicitly meant to be accessible to women and Shudras, who were generally excluded from Vedic learning. At the same time there was a second process at work that of the Brahmanas accepting and reworking the beliefs and practices of these and other social categories. Example - Through an instance we can say that a local deity whose image was and continues to be made of wood by local tribal specialists, was recognised as a form of Vishnu. These local deities were often incorporated within the Puranic framework by providing them with an identity as a wife of the principal male deities - sometimes they were equated with Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu.
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