Bhakti-sufi Traditions Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Exercises
Question 1.

Explain with examples what historians mean by the integration of cults.


Answer:

During the period from 8th to 18th century in India, we come across a wide range of gods and goddesses in sculpture and texts, at one level this indicates the extended worship of major deities – Vishnu and Shiva and mother goddess, each of whom was visualised in a variety of forms.

In this complex situation, an attempt was made for the integration of various cults, which included two processes:


1. Process of dissemination Brahmanical ideas – This is exemplified by the composition, compilation and preservation of puranic texts in simple Sanskrit verse, clearly meant to be accessible to Shudras and Women, who were generally excluded from Vedic learning.


2. Process of Brahmanas accepting and reworking the practices of other Social categories – It was done through a system of continuous dialogue between what Sociologist have described as the “Great Sanskritic” Puranic traditions and “Little Traditions”.


Examples:


a. One of the most striking examples of this process is evident at Puri, Orisa, where the Principal deity was identified as JAGANNATH a form of Vishnu.


b. In another instance, worship of the mother goddess, which was simply in the form of a stone smeared with Ochre was also incorporated within the Puranic framework they were identified with the wife of principal male deities – with Laxmi (wife of Vishnu) or Parvati (wife of Shiva).


c. In another instance, a local deity whose image was made of wood by local tribal was also indentified as Vishnu.



Question 2.

To what extent do you think the architecture of mosques in the subcontinent reflects a combination of universal ideals and local traditions?


Answer:

The architecture of mosques in the subcontinent reflects a combination of universal idea and local traditions to a great extent. Islam brought a new wave of architecture with its arrival. The architecture of mosque gives the best blend of faith and traditional.

Some architectural features of mosque are universal like the orientation of the Mosque is always towards Mecca, evidently manifested in the Mihrab and the Minbar within a mosque


However, there are several features that show variations in its construction such as roofs and the building material. For example a mosque was built in Kerala in 13th century. Its roof resembled the shikhar of the temple. Contrary to it, the roof of the Atia Mosque in Bangladesh is round; this mosque was made of bricks.


Thus, we can see that the architecture of mosque is that of fusion.



Question 3.

What were the similarities and differences between the be-shari‘a and ba-sharia sufi traditions?


Answer:

Shari’a is the Islamic Law that is applied in a truthful Islamic country; it is the law which governs the Muslim community. It is based on the Quran and the Hadis. In the medieval ages Sufi movement emerged and took an important and influential space in the Islamic world. Sufi movement was more of people-centric than being a God-centric movement.

Some Mystics initiated movements based on deep-seated interpretations of Sufi ideals. They ignored rituals and observed celibacy. They ignored rituals and observed extreme forms of asceticism. Because of their conscious insolence of the Sharia they were often referred as be-sharia. In contrast to the ba-sharia sufis who complied with it.


The sufis sought an interpretation of the holy Quran on the basis of their personal experience. The sufis traditions which were anti-sharia are called be-sharia while the traditions of Sufi which are in favour of sharia were called ba-sharia.


Both be-sharia and ba-sharia Sufi tradition are same, they are critical to definitions and methods by theologians. They seek salvation and sought to interpret the Quran on the basis of their personal experience.



Question 4.

Discuss the ways in which the Alvars, Nayanars and Virashaivas expressed critiques of the caste system.


Answer:

The Bhakti movement was led by Alvars and Nayanars. Alvars are those who worshipped lord Vishnu and Nayanars are those who claimed to be the followers of Lord Shiva. They extensively travelled singing devotional song in the name of their gods. These sects gave a blow to the caste system and Brahminism by their beliefs and practices.

1. Alvars, Nayanars and Virashaivas initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of brahmanas and attempted to reform the system.


2. Their followers (Bhaktas) came from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even the women and “Untouchables”.


EXAMPLES:


a. An Alvar saint, “TONDARA DI PODDI” who was a Brahmana said that even an outcaste, who expresses love for the feet of Vishnu, is more likely, closer to God who is without allegiance to God.


b. NAYANAR: - Appar a nayanar saint said that knowledge of shastras, higher kula or Gotra are of no use. Anyone who shows devotion to Shiva will achieve salvation.


c. VIRASHAIVAS: - Basavanna, who initiated the Varashaiva tradition, challenged the idea of caste and the “Pollution” attributed to certain groups by Brahmanas they also accepted the marginalized groups into their fold.



Question 5.

Describe the major teachings of either Kabir or Baba Guru Nanak, and the ways in which these have been transmitted.


Answer:

Baba Guru Nanak, a great leader and saint in the Bhakti tradition had some major teachings which were performed and transmitted in different ways.

1. Baba Guru Nanak advocated a form of “Nirguna Bhakti”.


2. He rejected sacrifices, ritual baths, image worship and the scriptures of both hindu and Muslims.


3. According to him, the ‘Absolute’ or Rab had no gender or form. He proposed a single way to connect to the divine by singing the hymns called “Shabad”.


4. He would sing these compositions in various ragas while he attendant Mardana played by the ‘Rabab’.


5. He organizwd his followers into a community and and set up rules for community worship.


6. He appointed one of his disciples Angad as his successor and this practice continued for nearly 200 years.


7. Although Guru-Nanak did not wish to establish a new religion, but after his death, his followers consolidated their own practices and disntinguised theselves from Hindus and Muslims.


His teachings are relevant in the 21st century because of the simplicity, practability and feeling of community.



Question 6.

Discuss the major beliefs and practices that characterised Sufism.


Answer:

In the early centuries of Islam, a group of religious minded people called sufis turned to asceticism and mysticism who seeks to god through prayer protest against the growing materialism of the caliphate for god and by following his commands.

Major belives and practices of suifsm are given below:-


1. Suifs criticized the rigid definitions and scholastic methods of interpretating the Quran and Sunna. Sufis interpretated the Quran on the basis of their personal experiences.


2. They gave emphasis on seeking salvation through their devotion and bhakti of god.


3. They regarded Prophet Muhammad as perfect human beings and preached to follow him.


4. KHANQAHS AND SILSILAS:-


a. The sufis began to arganise communities around the hospice or khanqahs


b. It was controlled by a teaching master known as Shaikh, pir or Murshid.


c. He enrolled disciples and appointed a successor – Khalipha.


d. He established rules for interaction between imamates, as well as between lay persons and master.


e. The reason behind appointing a successor was to transmit the spiritual power from Prophet Muhammed to master (Pir) and then to disciples, reunifying a continuous Link or silsila.


5. SUFI SHRINES


a. When the Shaikh died, his tomb – shrine (dargah) became the centre of devotion for his followers.


b. This led to the practice of pilgrimage or “Zujarat” to his grave, particularly or his death anniversary or use, because it signified their union with God.


c. People visited the shrine to seek material and spiritual blessings, thus evolved the cult of the Shaikh revered as “WALI”


6. SOCIAL LIFE IN THE KHANQAH


a. The khanqah was the centre of social life.


b. It comprised of several rooms and a hall or ‘Jamaat Khana’ where the inmates and visitors lived and prayed.


c. From morning onwards people from all walks of life – soldiers, slaves merchants travellers, hindu jogis – came seeking discipleship, amulets for heading and the intercession of the Shaikh in various matters.


d. In an attempt to assimilate local traditions, practices like bowing before the Shaikh, doing yogic exercises etc were incorporated in the Khanqah.


e. There was an open kitchen – langar; which was seen on ‘Futuh’ unasked for charity.


7. METHODS OF WORSHIP


a. Ziyarat – Making pilgrimage to the tombs of saints to seek blessings was practiced.


b. Zikr – The sufis remember god by reciting the divine name or Zikr to evoke the high presence.


c. Sama – They also evoke the presence of god through sama or performance by Qawwals-Quawalis of mystical music by trained music or qawwals. They used music and mystical chants to evoke divine ecstasy.


8. MODES OF COMMUNICATION - Sufi saints adopted local languages to converse with their disciples.


9. SUFI AND THE STATE – although the sufis believed in simple and avoidance of wordly powers, they expected unsolicited grants and donations from political elites.



Question 7.

Examine how and why rulers tried to establish connections with the traditions of the Nayanars and the sufis.


Answer:

BHAKTI AND THE STATE

1. In the 6th century BCE, there evolved a new form of worship in South India – the bhakti movement. They Focussed on the worship of specific deities such as Shiva and Vishnu and were known as Alvars and Nayannars.


2. The Bhakti Saints in their compositions opposed Jainisim and Buddhism; As a result, some of the rulers of Southern kingdoms like the Cholas, who supported the earlier Brahmanical traditions, supported Bhakti traditions.


3. They made land grants.


4. Some of the most magnificent temples were constructed under the patronage of the Chola rulers at Chidambaram, Tanjavur, and Gangaikondacholapuram.


5. Bronze sculpture of Shiva, one of the finest specimens of Indian art was also made during this period.


6. The Chola kings in order to claim divine support, built temples adored with the image of the Saints.


7. The kings also introduced the singing of Tamil Shiva hymns in temples under royal patronage and took the initiative to collect and organise them into a text.


8. The Chola ruler, Parantaka I had consecrated metal images of Appar, Sambandar (Bhakti Saints) in a Shiva temple.


Since both Alvars and Nayanass were revered by rich Vellala peasants and common people as well, so the Chola rulers tried to claim divine status.


SUFI AND THE STATE


1. The sufis accepted unsolicited grants and donations from the political elites and the Sultans in turn set up charitable trust and granted tax free land.


2. The donations were used to meet the immediate requirements such as food, clothing etc for the disciples.


3. The moral high status of the sufis attracted people from all walks of life. So the kings wished to secure their support.


4. The Turkish sultans not only associated themselves with the sufis but also sought their legitimating especially because the majority of their subjects were non-Muslims.


5. The sultans also depended on sufis to interpret the Sharia.


6. Besides, it was believed that the Auliya could intercede with god to improve the materials and spiritual conditions of ordinary human beings. As a result the kings often wanted their tombs to be in the vicinity of Sufi shrines.


7. There were also instances of conflict between the sufis and the sultans.


8. To assert their authority both expected certain rituals to be performed such as prostration and kissing of the feet etc.


9. Occasionally the Sufi saint was addressed with high sounding titles. For example: the disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya addressed him as “Sultan-a-Mashaikh”. (Sultan among Shaikhs)



Question 8.

Analyse, with illustrations, why bhakti and Sufi thinkers adopted a variety of languages in which to express their opinions.


Answer:

In Medieval India, Sanskrit and Persian was the language of the educated people or that of the court, the vast number of people living in villages conversed in their local and regional languages. It was, therefore needed that the Bhakti and Sufi saints preached in the languages of the common people to preach in close proximity and also to make these movement truly popular. This is manifested in the examples below:-

1. Traditional Bhakti saints composed the hymns in Sanskrit. Such hymns were sung on special occasions often within temples, these hymns attracted many people and few would dance and sing with them.


2. The Nayanars and the Alvars used to wonder in different states to preach their bhakti and Love towards god. They travelled far and wide. They met people of different villages. They would sing the verses in praise of god all in the local language associated with the people. Tamil was the wide spoken language. These saints established temples where prayers took place and devotional songs were composed by the Bhakti saints.


3. In the North India the language was different; they too took the language of common people. Guru Nanak created Shabad all in Punjabi; various other saints used their own language to express their thoughts and views.


4. Kabir Das who lived in Banaras, wrote in the local language which was close to Hindustani, he mostly used the words of the local dialect.


5. The Sufi tradition of singing on tombs carried on in the language of the local people only. The Shrines were the place of the Sama Sung in Hindustani or Hindavi.


6. Some other saints wrote in Kannada, Tamil and other languages too, the only motive was to gather and attract more and more people from different communities.


Thus, we are inclined to agree with the view that the saints of Bhakti and Sufi movement in many languages and the languages of the common people to connect with them.



Question 9.

Read any five of the sources included in this chapter and discuss the social and religious ideas that are expressed in them.


Answer:

The period of the Bhakti movement and Sufi movement has been a very important an powerful moment to study the society and the religious practices of that time. There are many sources that contribute to the history of those days. Some of the major social and religious ideas expressed in the various sources of history are as follows:-

1. Architecture- there were different types of Stupas, temples, monasteries that were build in that period and of all of them symbolizes different types of religious belief, system and practices. Some of them exist as it is and enable us to look into the annals of history of those days with its beautiful architecture and history behind it. Some of them are in the form of ruins but they also throw light on the religion and society.


2. Composition of the Saints- Both Bhakti and Sufi compiled their song and hymns in various languages. The compilation throws light on the life on common men and village lifestyle they also impact the music and art of those days. They disregarded the social norms and were liberal with the unconventional ideas of the society and religion.


3. Biographies of the Saints- The biographies include the description of the society and prevalent believes and practices with their personal stories and believes. It is notable that such biographies may not be written form still they can give insight into the life of those days. Biographies of Kabir, Mirabai, Guru Nanak dev helps us to know the social and religious ideas that were practiced and believed by them. Most importantly their teachings and ideas are still widespread in the society.


4. Rise of the religious leaders- This period was also a boost for the people who were intermediaries between common man and god. Earlier it was only the Brahmins who got this role. Now many people from other background also joined in. To some extent it acted as a force that idealized equality and fraternity and opening doors to more people who broadly accepted the idea of religion and its practices.


5. Folklore- They are described in our art forms. It may be dance, painting, and sculptures. They all talk about the universal brotherhood of mankind and love for one and all. These folklores would originate in different in different language and theme it has its own morals which was celebrated in that area.


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