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The Bhakti Movement an Interpretation

  • Henry Martin Inst International Centre for Research, Interfaith Relations and Reconciliation, Hyderabad Former Head Department of History and Former Head Centre for Women's Studies University of Hyderabad
... This shift was accompanied by internal conflicts among feudal lords, rebellions by vassal chieftains, and growing discontent among the peasant class, which undermined the authority of the Sultanate. 2 According to Rekha Pande, the Bhakti movement responded to this changing society, and its ideology served a particular purpose. Its saints were not idle philosophers or armchair reformers but were mainly from the lower sections of society who worked for a living. ...
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Language plays a critical role in conferring power, and it is essential to consider who benefits from this power. Bhakti, a form of devotion in Indian religious traditions, can reinforce existing social norms while empowering non-normative or counter-normative individuals or groups. Bhakti is a symbolic system that requires a set of interlocutors and has a dictionary, and its social component is vital to its classification as a language. The paper discusses the role of Bhakti in challenging Brahminical cultural hegemony and promoting the Marathi language and identity, contributing to the emergence of nationalism in seventeenth-century Maharashtra. It also examines Bhakti’s transformative potential in creating a political and nationalist movement transcending caste, class, and gender divisions.
Spiritual leaders and social reformers have contributed greatly toward creating positive experiences, positive individual traits, and in building positive institutions that have supported healthy and thriving life for the self and others. Social well-being, which encompasses the extent to which individuals view society as meaningful and just, experience of a sense of social belonging, and positive attitudes toward others facilitates healthy functioning of society. However, India’s history is marked by grips of the social inequalities arising from religious dogmas, caste system, grossly unequal distribution of land rights, inferior status of women, and inequalities in access to education that hindered flourishing of the society. The social stratification, as well as the contempt, deprivation, discrimination, prejudice, rejection affected the self-esteem, quality of life, intellectual growth, and overall well-being of the oppressed and hindered the peace and harmony of the society. With the rise of the socio-spiritual awakening, Indian society saw a beginning of a powerful social change movement that worked toward empowering each member of the society, especially the underprivileged. This chapter discusses the implicit connections between some of the most prominent spiritual as well as social reforms, positive psychological practices, and their role in enhancing social well-being. The chapter ends by highlighting the unexplored connecting links between the socio-spiritual awakenings, social upliftment, and social well-being.KeywordsSocial reformsSpiritual movementsMental healthSocial well-beingSociocultural factor
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