Sant Mat
   The Sant Mat (View of the Saints) was a het-erogeneous group of travelling poet-saints dat-ing from the 14th to 17th centuries who had a profound impact on the religion of northern and central India. These poets included KABIR, Surdas, TUKARAM, and Ravidas. Their most important characteristics were a desire for social reform and a criticism of ritualism and caste. They stressed that the pursuit of spirituality was not limited to religion. The search for truth could be guided by any authentic experience of the One, however defined.
   These teachers often ignored religious bound-aries and mingled easily with Muslim Sufis. The Sant spirit was carried forward in the Sikh tradi-tion by GURU NANAK, who had gone on pilgrim-age and on the Hajj to show that the true God belonged to no particular religion. The Kabir tra-dition, in particular, has survived to the present, although it does not have the creative vigor and openness it once had; it seems to have become another sect of Hinduism.
   Further reading: Daniel Gold, The Lord as Guru: Hindi Saints in North Indian Tradition (New York: Oxford Uni-versity Press, 1987); David N. Lorenzen, ed., Religious Movements in South Asia 600–1800 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Karine Schomer and W. H. McCleod, eds., The Sant Tradition of India (Berkeley: Berkeley Religious Studies Series and Motilal Banarsi-dass, 1987).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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