bhakti
   Bhakti (SANSKRIT bhaj, to adore, honor, worship) is a central spiritual path in Hinduism, involving devotion to and service of the chosen deity.Vedic tradition, the chief religious practice of Hinduism from around 1500 B.C.E. to roughly Devotional practice bhakti is a central feature of Hinduism. Here a Brahmin priest and devotees are at worship in Belur, Bengal. (Gustap Irani)the start of the Common Era, relied on a ritual process of chanting and making offerings to vari-ous divinities. Compared with the later practice of bhakti, these divinities were not addressed with intimacy and a sense of connection; furthermore, they were never iconographically represented and were not generally visualized in human form; the humanity of the divinity became a very important element in later bhakti.
   The devotional practices of bhakti are very old, probably originating with the non-ARYAN (thus non-Vedic) population. As the Aryans gradually spread beyond their original settlement in North-west India and established cultural dominance over the indigenous peoples of India, they rather freely incorporated values and traditions from the local substratum. This influence began to show an obvious impact in the development of the bhakti path within Hinduism.
   The Sanskrit text the BHAGAVAD GITA, written around 200 B.C.E., was the first true bhakti text in the Indian tradition, in that case focusing on the worship of KRISHNA. It depicts a very close, personal relationship with God, one with a human form and personality. However, bhakti is still seen as a restrained, austere practice that takes the form of a YOGA.
   As bhakti began to emerge with full force in the extreme south of India beginning in the third century, the devotion to the gods VISHNU and SHIVA and to the Goddess became a passionate, emotional experience. Devotees such as the poet-saints who periodically emerged until the 17th or 18th century threw themselves into bhakti with complete abandon. The quintessential devotee took pride in being considered a mad person and would be often completely lost in ecstatic song and trance. One important reason why the bhakti movement eventually swept all India and trans-formed the face of Hinduism was that the songs of the saints were all in the local dialects and lan-guages, not in the Sanskrit language of the priestly elite. These works were lovingly remembered and compiled by their followers.
   Bhakti often involved PILGRIMAGE to and wor-ship at sacred places where ICONS of the chosen deity could be found. The temple tradition of India developed on the basis of devotion to dei-ties who took iconic shape in stone in temples the length and breadth of the country. Devotees yearned to see the deity and to have audience with him or her. This audience is referred to as DARSHAN, or “viewing,” and is the most special and intimate aspect of the temple visit.
   Further reading: Stephen P. Huyler, Meeting God: Ele-ments of Hindu Devotion (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Uni-versity Press, 1999); Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989); Donald S. Lopez, Religions of India in Practice (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995); Donald N. Lorenzen, ed., Bhakti Religion in North India: Community, Identity and Political Action (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995); A. C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada, The Nectar of Devotion: The Complete Science of Bhakti (Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1982); Karine Schomer and W. H. McLeod, ed., Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987); Karel Werner, Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism (Rich-mond, England: Curzon Press, 1993).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bhakti — (Sanskrit, f., भक्ति, bhakti, Hingabe, Liebe) bezeichnet im Hinduismus im weiteren Sinne Liebe zu einem personalen Gott (Ishtadevata), und im engeren Sinne die Andachtspraxis einer betont emotionalen Hinwendung zu einem personalen Gott. Seit dem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BHAKTI — Dérivé de la racine bhaj , partager, bhakti désigne en Inde la sorte de dévotion qui fait participer le fidèle à la personne et à l’essence de la divinité qu’il adore. Une amitié caractérise, dans cette atmosphère, les rapports du dieu et de ses… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bhakti — [buk′tē] n. [Sans bhaktí , lit., a share < bhájati, (he) distributes < IE base * bhag , to allot: see PHAGOUS] Hinduism personal devotion to a particular deity …   English World dictionary

  • Bhakti — …   Wikipedia

  • Bhakti — El bhakti es un movimiento religioso hinduista que enfatiza el amor de un devoto por su Dios. A diferencia de la doctrina advaita (Dios es ‘no diferente’ de las almas), el bhakti es dualista: supone una relación dual entre el creyente y la deidad …   Wikipedia Español

  • bhakti — /buk tee/, n. Hinduism. 1. selfless devotion as a means of reaching Brahman. Cf. jnana, karma (def. 1). 2. (cap.) a popular religious movement centered around the personal worship of gods, esp. Vishnu and Shiva. Cf. Saiva, Vaishnava. [1825 35; <… …   Universalium

  • bhakti — loving devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The word bhakti comes from the root bhaj, which means to serve (see bhajana); therefore the primary meaning of the word bhakti is to render service. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has described the intrinsic… …   The Bhaktivedanta encyclopedia

  • Bhakti — La Bhakti (devanāgarī: भक्ति)[1], l adoration, l Amour de Dieu ou piété, la dévotion ou le service de pur amour envers Īśvara (le seigneur suprême en sanskrit), est l une des composantes essentielles de l hindouisme. Le bhakti yoga (la voie de l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bhakti — Movimiento devocional de Asia meridional, sobre todo en el hinduismo, que enfatiza el amor de un devoto a su dios personal. En contraste con el advaita, el bhakti asume una relación dual entre el devoto y su deidad. A pesar de que Visnú, Shiva y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bhakti — Bhạkti   [Sanskrit »Liebeshingabe (an Gott)«] die, , seit der Bhagavadgita ein Zentralbegriff der vishnuitischen Theologie: Bhakti ist neben den Erlösungswegen durch Werke (»karma marga«) und durch selbst gewonnene Erkenntnis (»jnana marga«) ein …   Universal-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”