NCERT Solutions Class 7 History Social Science Devotional Paths To The Divine – Chapter 9 – In the eighth century, two new religious movements Sufism and Bhakti emerged who believed that devotion to God without discrimination on the basis of caste. Questions and answers, notes and pdf have been provided below.
Summary – Devotional Paths To The Divine
A supreme god
Different communities of people worshipped their own Gods and Goddesses before massive kingdoms arose. New theories emerged due to the growth of trade and commerce.
During this time, the notion that all human beings are not equal at birth gained ground. The notion of a Supreme God who, through devotion or bhakti, could free humans from slavery arose.
New Bhakti in South India
A new religious trend, headed by Nayanars (saints devoted to Shiva) and Alvars (saints devoted to Vishnu), originated in the seventh to ninth centuries. However, the Buddhists and Jainas were strongly critical of them and preached ardent love to Shiva or Vishnu as the path to salvation.
From place to place, the Nayanars and Alvars went to write beautiful poetry of praise for the deities enshrined in the village they visited and set them to music. Further, the Chola and Pandya kings built elaborate temples around many of the shrines.
Philosophy and Bhakti
Shankara, a philosopher, of Kerala advocated Advaita or the doctrine of the oneness of the individual soul and the Supreme God which is the ultimate reality. Further, Ramanuja of Tamil Nadu advocated that the best means of attaining salvation was through intense devotion to Vishnu.
Virashaivism movement was initiated by Basavanna and his companions Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi in Karnataka in the mid-12 century and they argued strongly for equality of all human beings, opposed Brahmanical ideas on caste and treatment of women.
The Saints of Maharashtra
Jnaneshwar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, Sakkubai and the family of Chokhamela focused on the bhakti of Vitthala (a form of Vishnu). Some of these belonged to lower castes. However, they rejected all forms of ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth.
Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis
A number of religious groups that emerged during this period criticized the ritual and other aspects of conventional religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. Among them were the Nathpanthis, Siddhcharas and Yogis.
Islam and Sufism
Islam propagated monotheism or one god’s submission. It opposed idol worship as well and a holy law named Shariat was established by Muslim scholars. The Sufis opposed the extensive codes of ethics that Muslim religious scholars demanded. Ghazzali, Rumi and Sadi were amongst the great Sufis of Central Asia. Sufism founded several common orders or silsilas, of which the Shariat and Chisti Silsilas were the most widespread.
New Religious Developments in North India
- The period after the 13th century saw a new wave of bhakti movement in North India which was led by scholars like Tulsidas, Surdas, Kabir and Baba Guru Nanak
- This tradition also included saints like Dadu Dayal, Ravidas and Mirabai.
- Further, A unique feature of most of these saints is that their works were composed in regional languages and could be sung.
- Kabir ridiculed idol worship and believed in one formless Supreme God with devotion as the path of salvation.
- Moreover, Guru Nanak emphasized on the importance of one God and nam-japna, kirti-kama and vand- chhakna and his followers increased through the 16th century under his successors.
- Shankara was an advocate of Advaita or the doctrine of the oneness of the individual soul and the Supreme God.
Conclusion – Devotional Paths To The Divine
NCERT Solutions Class 7 History Social Science Devotional
Paths To The Divine – Chapter 9 – Therefore, from this lesson we learn the different schools of thought that existed and enabled different religions to emerge. It is important to keep all of this in mind as it adds to the rich cultural diversity of our country.
Questions and Answers – Devotional Paths To The Divine
1. Match the following:
|Shankaradeva||Worship of Vishnu|
|Nizamuddin Auliya||questioned social differences|
|Alvars||Worship of Shiva|
|The Buddha||questioned social differences|
|Nizamuddin Auliya||Sufi saint|
|Nayanars||Worship of Shiva|
|Alvars||Worship of Vishnu|
2. Fill in the blanks:
(a) Shankara was an advocate of ————-.
(b) Ramanuja was influenced by the —————.
(c) ————, ———— and ———— were advocates of Virashaivism.
(d) ———————— was an important centre of the Bhakti tradition in Maharashtra.
Answer: (a) Shankara was an advocate of Advaita.
(b) Ramanuja was influenced by the Alvars.
(c) Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi were advocates of Virashaivism.
(d) Vitthala temple was an important centre of the Bhakti tradition in Maharashtra.
3. Why do you think many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices?
Answer: Many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices because such beliefs advocated social differences, where the lower castes were oppressed by the upper castes. Further, they believed in the power of personal devotion and felt attracted by the idea of a Supreme God which believed that the only path to salvation was through bhakti or devotion.
Short answer questions – Devotional Paths To The Divine
4. For either the Virashaivas or the saints of Maharashtra, discuss their attitude towards caste.
Answer: The Virashaivas argued strongly for the equality of all human beings and against Brahmanical ideas about caste and the treatment of women. They were also against all forms of ritual and idol worship. During the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, Maharashtra saw a great number of saint-poets who rejected all forms of ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth. They even rejected the idea of renunciation and preferred to live with their families, earning their livelihood like any other person, while humbly serving fellow human beings in need and believed that bhakti lies in sharing others’ pain.
5. Describe the beliefs and practices of the Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis.
Answer: Most of the religious groups that emerged during this period criticised the rituals, conventional religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. Among them were the Nathpanthis, Siddhacharas and Yogis who advocated renunciation of the world. Further, they believed that the path to salvation lies in meditation. Therefore, they advocated intense training of the mind and body through practices like Yogasanas, breathing exercises and meditation. The Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis became popular among “low” castes and their criticism of conventional religion created the ground for devotional religion to become a popular force in Northern India.
Long Answer questions – Devotional Paths To The Divine
6. What were the major ideas expressed by Kabir? How did he express these?
Answer: Kabir, who probably lived in the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries, was one of the most influential saints whose teachings were based on a complete, indeed vehement, rejection of the major religious traditions. Kabir believed in a formless Supreme God and believed that the only path to salvation was through bhakti or devotion and drew his followers from among both Hindus and Muslims.
His teachings openly ridiculed all forms of external worship in both Brahmanical Hinduism and Islam. He also ridiculed the pre-eminence of the priestly classes and the caste system. He sometimes used cryptic language, which is difficult to follow. We get to know of his ideas from a vast collection of verses called sakhis and pads which are composed by him and sung by wandering bhajan singers. Some of these were later collected and preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib, Panch Vani and Bijak.
7. What were the major beliefs and practices of the Sufis?
Answer: The Sufis were Muslim mystics who rejected outward religiosity and emphasised love and devotion to God and compassion towards all fellow human beings and they often rejected the elaborate rituals and codes of behaviour demanded by Muslim religious scholars. Further, they sought union with God much as a lover seeks his beloved with a disregard for the world. The Sufis composed poems expressing their feelings and a rich literature in prose. Anecdotes and fables developed around them. Further, they developed elaborate methods of training using ‘Zikr'(chanting of a name or sacred formula), contemplation, sama (singing), raqs (dancing), discussion of parables, breath control, etc. under the guidance of a master or pir. It led to the emergence of the ‘Silsilas’, each following a slightly different method of instruction and ritual practice.
Long Answer questions
8. What were the major teachings of Baba Guru Nanak?
Answer: Baba Guru Nanak (1469-1539) was born at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib in Pakistan). He established a centre at Kartarpur (Dera Baba Nanak on the river Ravi) for regular worship that consisted of the singing of his own hymns. Irrespective of their former creed, caste or gender, his followers ate together in the common kitchen (langar). The sacred space thus created by Baba Guru Nanak was known as ‘Dharmsal’ is now known as Gurdwara. The number of Baba Guru Nanak’s followers increased through the sixteenth century under his successors. The changing historical situation during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries influenced the development of the Sikh movement.
The ideas of Baba Guru Nanak had a huge impact on this development from the very beginning. He emphasized the importance of the worship of one God. He insisted that caste, creed or gender was irrelevant for attaining liberation. His idea of liberation was not that of a state of inert bliss, but rather the pursuit of active life with a strong sense of social commitment. He himself used the terms ‘nam’, ‘dan’ and ‘isnan’ for the essence of his teaching, which actually meant right worship, the welfare of others and purity of conduct. His teachings are now remembered as nam-japna, kirt-karna and vandchhakna, which also underline the importance of right belief and worship, honest living, and helping others. Thus, Baba Guru Nanak’s idea of equality had social and political implications.