RELIGIOCTS IDEAS AND
MOVEMENTS
Structure I
29.0 Objectives
29.1 Introduction
29.2 Bhakti Movement
29.2.1 Ideology
29.2.2 M...
Vaishnavism and the cult of Shakti. But there were intellectuals who had no faith in - - R C I ~I- and ~ovementa
the presc...
Sockty ~d Cukre-1 Ramananda's teachnigsproduced two distinct schoolsof thought among the Hindus:
Saguna and Nirguna To the...
Check Your Progress 1 Rtlighw Id- .ad MovCmcn~
1) Identify the two major schools of the Bhakti movement.
....................
the Gatha. It is an important source for the study of the Maratha Vaishnavism. The
'
Varkari Maratha s~intsdeveloped a new...
Check Your Progress 2
1) What was the impact of the Bhakti movement on contemporary society and
literature?
.................
ouring this period exclusively devoted themselves to prayer (namaz), fasting (rozah)
and invoking God's names (zikr). Duri...
of devotion to the saint. Born in Seistan in 1143,he reached India a little before the Religious Ideas and Movemenls
invas...
Central Asia. In India, it was introduced by Shah ~iamatullahand Makhdum
Mohammad Jilani towards the middle of the 15th ce...
which deterioration set in but even in the 18thcentury,some of these Khanqahswere R~~I~IOIII ~ d c ~and ~ o v e d w ~ r r
...
Sociely and Cullurr-l revivalism: the modernism of Sayyid Ahmed Khan and the Aligarh Movement, the
traditionalist theologi...
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Unit 29 religious ideas and movement

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Unit 29 religious ideas and movement

  1. 1. RELIGIOCTS IDEAS AND MOVEMENTS Structure I 29.0 Objectives 29.1 Introduction 29.2 Bhakti Movement 29.2.1 Ideology 29.2.2 Major Schools 29.2.3 Impact of the Bhakti Movement 29.3 Mysticism 29.3.1 Sun Philosophy 29.3.2 Doctrinal Texts 29.3.3 Major Silsilas 29.3.4 Mahdavi Movement 29.4 Islamic Revivalist Movement in the Eighteenth Century 29.5 Let Us Sum Up 29.6 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises After reading this. unit you will be able to know about : the ideology of the Bhakti movement; the major schools of the Bhakti movement; the impact of the Bhakti movement on society, literature, etc.; Islamic mysticism. Sufi philosophy and the major sufi-Silsilas, the character and philosophy of the Mahdavi movement, and the nature of revivalist movements in the 18th century. 29.1 INTRODUCTION The religious, milieu of India when Isiam reached this subcontinent, presents a phase where Buddhism had lost its supremacy, Brahmanism was trying to consolidate its position by compromising with Buddhist doctrines as well as with pre-Aryan practices. Islam though altogether a new thing, had exercised an influence upon the Indians with its principles of universal brotherhood and human equality. In the words of Tarachand "Not only did Hindu religion, Hindu art, Hindu literature and Hindu Science, absorb Muslim elements, but the very spirit of Hindu culture and the very stuff of Hindu mind were also altered, and the Muslim reciprocated by responding to the change in every development of life". An everlasting process of give and take, thus began. Among the Muslims, Al-Biruni, Amir Khusrau, Abul Fazl, Dara Shikoh, etc., tried to understand Hinduism and made valuable attempts to enhance Muslim understanding of Hinduism by their own works and by translating Sanskrit works into Persian. Rulers like Feroze Shah Tughlaq, Zainul Abidin of Kashmir, Sikandar Lodi, Akbar, Jahangir etc. encouraged this trend with the result that scholars like Mirza Jan Janan rose in the 18th century to declare that both Rama and Krishna were prophets. During this period one can identify two significant trends in the realm of' religion, mainly Bhakti and Sufi, a detailed discussion on which follows in the subsequent sections. 29.2 BHAKTI MOVEMENT In spite of the pantheistic philosophy of Shankaracharya, at the time of the arrival of the Muslims in India, the Hindu society. comprised the followers of Saivism,
  2. 2. Vaishnavism and the cult of Shakti. But there were intellectuals who had no faith in - - R C I ~I- and ~ovementa the prescribed path of action (karma marg), but who regarded the path of knowledge (gyan marg) to be the appropriate method for attaining salvaticn. The disputes between the upholders of these views totally ignored the actual ethical behaviour of man, improvement of his status in life and fulfilment of his destiny on earth. Brahmanism with all its philosophical and ritualistic progress, had thus become an essentially intellectual doctrine. It ignored the personal religious aspirations of the people. The fundamental principles which it taught were impersonal and speculative. The people who were always in need of an ethical and emotional cult in which it was possible to find both satisfaction of the heart and moral guidance, understood nothing of it. It was in these circumstances that the path of Bhakti, devotion blended with love of God, found a favourable atmosphere. 29.2.1 Ideology The chief mark of this trend of thought is the relation of the soul w~ththe Supreme Being. The word Bhakti in the Pali literature takes its origin back to the 8th century B.C. The Bhagavadgita, pre-Buddhist texts and Chhandogya Upanishad, contain some references which underline the emergence of devotion to a ingle personal God. This reaction ofthe heart against rigid intellectualism is Bhakti. So, it is slightly harsh to gulp the suggestion of some scholars like Weber who argue that Bhakti was a foreign idea which reached India through Christianity. Scholars like Barth and Senart also maintain that Bhakti, in the sense understood in Indis and the tradition by which it is inspired, belongs to Indian thought. However, this does not mean that in the process of evolution, Bhakti did not accept any external influences especially after the arrival of Islam in India. The religious point of view of the Hindus, though always based upon old foundation, became considerably modified. From the time of the Bhagavadgita to the 13th century, the concept of Bhakti evolved with a process of compromise between the traditional classical philosophy of the Upanishads and the urge for a personal God. The object of the authors of the Bhagavadgita was not to contribute a difinite philosophy but only to establish a compromise between the different schools of Hindu philosophy. Monotheism and pantheism were clubbed together with the warmth of Bhakti in the Bhagavadgita. if Thus, up to the 13th century, the period when Islam penetrated into the interior of 3; India, Bhakti to a greater extent ramailled within the folds of Vedic intellectualism. [: This is evident from the fact that caste division is recognized in the Bhagavadgita. 9 $# 29.2.2 Major Schools The concept of Bhakti was defined and analyzed in different ways and under various shades of opinion at many stages. Shankara, a South Indian Shaivite Brahman, gave the doctrine of Advaita (allowing no second, i.e., monism) and assiduously preached Upanishad doctrine of salvation through Knowledge. Ramanuja, another South Indian Brahman, though a monist did not accept that God may be exempt from form and qualities. Salvation could be attained through devotion and Bhakti. Yoga was ! the best mystical training. Mutual relationship between the devotee and God was that of a fragment of the totality. Prapti (attainment) was the second means of salvation. Ramanuja's God was a personal Being. He argued that as people need God, God I too needs people. The individual soul created by God out of his own essence, returns to its maker and lives with Him forever, but it is always distinct. It was one with God, and yet separate. This system of Ramanuja is called visistadvaita (qualified monism). ty The translation of the Bhagavata Puran from Sanskrit into Indian regional languages made the Bhakti concept predominant in Hinduism. The most important movement in the religiolrs history of Medieval India was the I creation of a new sect by Ramananda (c. 13W-1470),a disciple of Ramanuja. He had I a better idea of the progress of Islam in North India under the Tughlaqs. By travelling all over India, he gathered ideas and made careful observations. He renounced the I rigidity of the Hindu ritual and his disciples took the name of Advadhuta (the I detached) and regarded themselves free from all sorts of religious and social customs. I But he was not prepared to go very far from the past. That is why in his Anand Bhashya he did not recognize the right of a Sudra to read the Vedas. One, therefore, should not expect social equality from Ramananda. Yet, Raidas and Kabir were among his disciples.
  3. 3. Sockty ~d Cukre-1 Ramananda's teachnigsproduced two distinct schoolsof thought among the Hindus: Saguna and Nirguna To the first belonged the noted Tulsidaswho gave literary form to the religious Bhakti. In worshipping Rama as the personal incarnation of the Supreme God, this school raised the popularity of Rama, besides preserving the authority of the Vedas. . Another school was represented by Kabir who preached a religious system strictly . monotheistic advocating abolition of Varnaashrama, and casting doubt on the authority of the Vedas and other sacred books. The school of Kabir sought to understand Islam andwas sufficientlybroad minded to incorporate some of its basic principles.That iswhy his references are available in the Sufiliterature aswell. In a 17thcentury account,the Mirat ul mar, he is called a Firdausiya sun. The Dabistan-i Mazahib places Kabir againstthe background of the Vaishnavite vairagis. Abul Fazl .called Kabir a rnuwabhM (monotheist). On the authotity of the BiJak,the authoritative account of Kabir's philosophy, it may be said that he never thought of foundinga religion ashappened after his death. He simplywished to give an effect of fullnessto the reconcilingtrend introduced by way of Bhakti and welcomed allwho were willing to join him. Belief in a Supreme Being is the foundation of his preaching. He believed that salvation is possible not by knowledge or action but by devotion (Bhakti). He neither favoured Hindus nor Muslims, but admired all that was good in them. Sikhism The teachings and philosophyof Guru Nanak constitute an important component of Indian philosophy and thought. His philosophy comprised three basic elements: a leading charismatic personality (the uru), ideology (Shabad) and organisation (Sangat). Nanak evaluated and critic7sfd the prevailing religious beliefs and attempted to establish a true religion tvhich could lead to salvation. He repudiated idol worship and did not favour pilgrimage nor accepted the theory of incarnation. He condemned formalism and ritualism. He believed in the unity of God and laid emphasis on having a true Guru for revelation. He advised people to follow the principlesof conduct and worship: sach (truth), halal (lawfulearning), Khair (wishing well'of others), nlyat (right intention) and serviceof the lord. Nanak denounced the caste system and the inequaiity which it perpetrakd. He said that caste and honour should be judged by the acts or deeds of the individuals. He believed in Universal brotherhood of man and equality of men and women. He championed the cause of women's emancipation and condemned the sati pratha. Nanak did not propound celibacy or vegetarianism. He laid stress on concepts like justice, righteousness and liberty. Nanak's verses mainly consist of two basicconcepts: (i) Sach (truth) andNam (Name). Sabad (the word), Guru (the divineprecept) and Hukam (the divineorder) form the basis of divineself-expression.He laid emphasison kirtan and satsang. He introduced communitylunch (langar). Tarachand regards the influenceof sufb upon the religiousthought of Nanak of fundamentalimportance. The similarityof thought in the verses of Nanak and Baba Farid consisted of the following : the sincere devotion and surrender before one God. But at the same time Nanak did not hesitite in criticising the s u f ~for leading a luxurious life. Nanak made an attempt to unify the Hindus and Muslims and certainly succeeded in synthesizingwithin his own teachings the essential concepts of Hinduism and Islam. The religious book of the Sikhs the Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by Guru Arjan. After the death of the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh the divine spirit did not pass on to another Guru but remalned in the Granth and the community of the Guru's followers. The Gurus mostly belonged to the Khatri mercantile caste whereas tbeir followers were mostly rural Jats. It was Guru Gobind Singh who inaugurated the Khalsa (brotherhood) among the Sikhs. The Khatris and Aroras as well as Jats constituted important groups within the Sikhcommunity. The artisan castes known as Ramgarhia Sikhsand converts to Sikhismfrom scheduled castes represented other groups within the Sikh panth. Caste consciousnessdid exist in the Sikh panth but was not so prominant. Dadu (c. 1544-1603)was also inspired by Kabir's doctrine. In his Bani, a collection of his hymnsand poems, he regards Allah, Ram and Govind as his spiritual teachers. Dadu's cosmologyand the stagesof the soul's pilgrimagecarry sufi influence. In the 18thcentury, with the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Dadu Panth got transformed into Naeas or ~rofessionalfiehters.
  4. 4. Check Your Progress 1 Rtlighw Id- .ad MovCmcn~ 1) Identify the two major schools of the Bhakti movement. ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 2) Discuss briefly the ideology of the Bhakti movement. ......................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................- ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 3) What were the chief tenets of Sikhism? ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... Maratha Vaishnavism The Maratha school of Vaishnavism or the BhagavataDharma has a long history. By the close of the 13th century, steady enrichment and vigour was imparted to the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra by a number of poet-saints. The most outstanding of these was Gyaneshwara a Brahmin who is considered to be the greatest exponent of the Maratha Vaishnavism. He wrote a Marathi commentary on the Bhagavadgita called BhavarthaDipikaor Jnanesvari.The main centre of the movement started by him was Pandarpur. The shrine of Vithoba of Pandarpur later became the mainstay of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra. The Krishna Bhakti movement of Pandarpur was intimately linked to a temple and a deity, but it was not idolatrous in nature. Vithoba was more than a simple deity: its importance lay in its symbolism. The main features of the Vaishnava religious devotion-anti-ritualism and anti-casteism in Maharashtra-were similar to those of other non-conformist movements in the North. The poet-saints tried to bring religion to the lowest strata of the society. By interpreting the Bhagavatgitain melodious Marathi tunes, Gyaneshwar laid the basis of the BhagavataDharma in Maharashtra by giving a fillip to the Varkari sect which had initiated and instituted regular popular pilgrimage to the shrine of Vithoba (the form of the great God Vishnu) at Pandarpur. Vithoba was the god of the Varkari sect. Its followers were householders who performed pilgrimage twice a year to the temple. Its membership cut across caste boundaries. The movement in Maharashtra witnessed mass participation by different social groups such as sudras, Atisudras, Kumbhera (potter) mali, mahar (outcaste) and Alute balutedars. Some of the saints belonging to lower strata of society were Harijan Saint Choka, Gora Kumbhar, Narahari Sonara, Banka Mahara, etc. In the post-Gyaneshwar period, Namdeva (a tailor by caste), Tukaram, and Ramdas, were important Marathi saints. Eknath (a Brahman) furthered the tradition laid down by Gyaneshwar. Tukaram and Ramdas (Shivaji's teacher) also raised anti-caste and anti-ritual slogans. Eknath's teachings were in vernacular Marathi. He shifted the emphasis of Marathi literature from spiritual text to narrative compositions. Tukaram's teachings are in the form of ~ i a n ~ a sor verses (dohas) which constitute
  5. 5. the Gatha. It is an important source for the study of the Maratha Vaishnavism. The ' Varkari Maratha s~intsdeveloped a new method of religious instruction, i.e. Kirtan and the Nirupana. The Maratha movement contributed to the flowering of Marathi literature. These saints used popular dialect which paved the way for transformation of Marathi into a literary language. The literature of the Varkari school gives us some idea about the plebeian character of the movement. It addressed itself to the problems of the Kunbis (farmers), Vanis (traders) and the artisans, etc. M.G. Ranade points out that this movement led to the development of vernacular literature and upliftment of lower castes, etc. Gaudia VPishaavism The Gaudia Vaishnav movement and the Chaitanya movement (neo-Vaishnav movement) which derived its inspiration from the life and teachings of Chaitanya had a tremendous impact on the social, religious and cultural life of the people of Assam, Bengal and Orissa. The people were not only influenced by his message but began to regard him as an incarnation of God. Let us survey the social and religious conditions in the pre-Chaitanya Bengal and Orissa. The social structure was based on Varnashrama. The Sudras and the lower castes suffered from various disabilities. Among the religious systems the Sakta-tantric creed predominated. The medieval Bhakti in Bengal was influenced by two streams-Vaishnav and non-Vaishnava (Buddhism and Hinduism). Jayadeva's Gita Govinda written during the time of the ~ a i a sprovided an erotic-mysticism to the love of Radha and Krishna. Buddhism was also on the decline and this decadent form of Buddhism influenced Vaishnavism which in turn affected the Bengali Bhakti movement. The emphasis was on eroticism, female form and sensuousness. In the pre-Chaitanya Bengal and Orissa, oppression of lower castes by the Brahmins was rampant. Moral decadence was the order of the day. Chandidas, a Bhakti poet, was influenced by Gita Govinda and Sahajiya doctrines (Buddhism). It was in the midst of social and religious conservatism and moral decadence that the Chaitanya movement dawned and brought far-reaching changes. Chaitanjfa,the founder of the movement, himself ramained free from all sorts of social and religious conservatism. It was basically not a social reform movement, though it rejected caste barriers. Although a Brahmin, Chaitanya had no respect for the idea of the superiority of Brahmins. He openly violated caste rules and used to mix up with the members of the low occupational castes. Vrindavan Das the author of the Chaitanya Bhagavat mentions how he socialised with the lower castes. He discarded the symbols of Brahminism. The Neo-Vaishnavite movement found its adherants in such disparate social groups-untouchables to scholars. The influence of Bhakti doctrine made Mira a distinguished poet and a symbol of love and attachment to Lord Krishna. In her poem called Padavali, she speaks of herself as a Virgin and her fervent devotion to Lord Krishna seems to have made her totally indifferent to wordly life. Mira advocates image-worship and the observance of special fasts. 29.2.3 Impact of the Bhakti Movement The doctrine.of Bhakti helped the uplift of the contemporary society in-many ways. The Indo-Aryan dialects such as Bhojpuri, Magadhi and Maithili of modern Bihar, Avadhi of Avadh region, Braj Bhasha of Mathura region and Rajasthani, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi and Gujarati, also assumed new forms and meaning through Bhakti poetry. Notable progress in Tamil and Marathi literature during medieval times, was made through the writings of famous saints of the Bhakti order. The hymns, ballads, legends and dramas centring around Chaitanya's interpretation of Krishna, made valuable contribution to the Bengali literature. (See Unit-31). Besides literature, the Bhakti doctrine and its practice by the saints of this order, had an impact upon socio-religious concepts which prepared the ground for improved social conditions in medieval times. It is true that the Bhakti Cult was essentially indigenous, but it received a great impetus from the presence of Muslims in this country. It not only prepared a meeting ground for the devout men of both creeds, it also preached human equality and openly condemned ritualism and casteism. It was radically new, basically different from the old traditions and ideas of religious authorities. It sought to refashion the collective life on a new basis. It cherished the dream of a society based on justice and equality in which men of all creeds would be able to develop their full moral and spiritual stature.
  6. 6. Check Your Progress 2 1) What was the impact of the Bhakti movement on contemporary society and literature? ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 2) What were the main features of the Maratha Vaishnavism? ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................ ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 3) Discuss the background against which the Gaudia Vaishnav mctement developed. What were its chief characteristics? ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 29.3 MYSTICISM Mysticism is an offshoot of religion. All Islamic religious movements arose out of controversies about God's attributes and decrees and their impact on the universe. Religious and spiritual movements in Islam contain an element of political implication. Various founders of religious movements, therefore, sgught state support to strengthen their ideologies. There had been from the very early days a close combat between the upholders of Ilm ul-kalam (the science of defending orthodoxy by rational arguments) and the philosophers, who absorbed a lot from the Greek philosophy and laid more emphasis upon the identification of the Being. The orthodox theologians in spite of all their efforts neither wuld stop studies in philosophy nor could persuade the rulers to abstain from extending patronage to the philosophers. Sufi doctrine was the third element which presented yet another viewpoint of Islamic philosophy. 29.3.1 Sufi Philomphy Unlike the philosophers who were trying to rationalize the nature of the Necessary Being, and the scholars of Kalam who were mainly concerned with the defence of the divine transcendence (i.e., God is above His creation and not one with it), Sufism sought to achieve the inner realization of divine unity by arousing intuitive and spiritual faculties. Rejecting rational arguments, the Sufis advocated contemplation and meditation. According to the analysis of Shah Waliullah, an eighteenth century scholar of India, Sufism finds justification in the esoteric aspects of Islam, which involves the purification of the heart through ethical regeneration. This aspect is defined in the Islamic doctrine: that Allah should be worshipped with the certainty that the worshipper is watching Allah or He is watching the worshipper. ! Sufism is divided into fou; phases. The first began with the Prophet Muhammad and his companions and extended to the time of Junaid of Baghdad (d. 910). The Sufis
  7. 7. ouring this period exclusively devoted themselves to prayer (namaz), fasting (rozah) and invoking God's names (zikr). During Junaid's time, the Sufis lived in a state of continued meditation and contemplation. This resulted in extensive spiritual experiences which could be explained only symbolically or in unusual phrases. Emotional effect of sama (religiousmusic) upon the Sufisincreased during this phase. The practice of self-mortificationwas started by the Sufisin order to save themselves from material desires. Many lived in mountains and jungles far away from the shadow of the devil believed to be resting within the folds of worldly settlements. With Shaikh Abu Said bin Abul Khair (d. 1049) began the third phase. Now the emphasis was laid upon the state of ecstasy which led to spiritual telepathy. In contemplating the union of temporal and eternal, their individuality dissolved and the Sufis even ignored their regular prayers and fasting, etc. In the fourth phase, tht Sufisdiscovered the theory of the five stages of the descent from Necessary Being(wajib-ul-wujud). It is from here that the problem of Wahdat- ul-wujud began. The man who played an important and decisive role in the history of Sufism was an Irani, Bayazid Bustani (d. 874 or 877-78). He evolved the concept of fana (annihilation). It implies that human attributes are annihilated through union with God, a state in which the mystic finds eternal life (baga). Bayazid's line of thought was further developed by Husain Ibn Mansur Al-Hallaj, a disciple of Junaid. His mysticalformula ma-a1Haq (I am the Truth or God) became an important factor in the evolution of the mystical ideas in Persia and then in India. Many silsilas were formulated and the practice of deputing disciples to distant lands began. This tendency increased in the Third phase and some eminent Sufis also moved to India. Shaikh Safiuddin ~ A i r u n iand Abul Hasan Ali bin Usmani-al-Hujwari were among the noted immigrants. 29.3.2 Doctrinal Texts The Sufi doctrines in India are based upon some well known works such as the Kashf-ul-Mahjub of Hujwiri, which gives biographical details and other aspects of their thought from the days of Prophet. Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi's Awarif-ul Maarifis the secpnd such work. Both of them accepted the superiority of the Shariat (Islamic Code)'. They argued that Sufis must obey the Sharia. To them Sharia, Marifat (gnosis) and Haqlqat (reality) were interdependent. 29.3.3 Major Silsilas By the 13th century, the division of the Sufis into fourteen orders (Sbilas) had already crystallized. Some disciples of Shaikh Shihabuddin migrated to India, but Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria was the real founder of the Suhrawardi order in India. He associated himself with the court and in 1228 Iltutmish appointed him the S h W - u l Islam. The saints of the Suhrawardiorder hereafter remained in touch with the establishment and actively participated in political activities. Shaikh Ruknuddin was another saint of this order greatlyvenerated by the Sultansof Delhi. According to him, a Sufi should possess three attributes. Property (to satisfy the Qalandar's physical demand), knowledge (to discussscholarlyquestions with the Ulema) and Hal (mystical enlightenment) to impres other Sufis. After his death (1334-35), the Suhrawardi order made progress in provinces other than Multan and spread from Uch to Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir and even Delhi. Under Firoz Shah Tughlaq, !his order was revitalizedby SyedJalaluddin Bukhari. He was a very staunch and puritan Muslim and objected to the growing Hindu influence on the Muslim social and religious practices. Other saints of this order like Qutab-Alam and Shah-Alam, exercised tremendous influence upon the political personalities of their time. Side by side in the 14th century, there developed another order called Firdausiya. Shaikh Sharfuddin Ahmad Yahya was the leadingsaint of this time. He was an ardent believer in Wahdat-ul Wujud. The order which retained its popularity among the people and contributed in strengthening the cause of Sufism in India, was the Chishti Silsilah. Founded by Khwaja Chishti (d. 966) it was introduced into India by Khwaja Muinuddin, the disciple of Khwaja Usman Haruni. Unfortunately, we have no authenticrecord of his life and career. Whatever has reached us is based upon legendscompiled as a token
  8. 8. of devotion to the saint. Born in Seistan in 1143,he reached India a little before the Religious Ideas and Movemenls invasion of Muhammad Ghori. On the advice of his guide, he reached India in 1190 and consequently settled at Ajmer. He is said to have died in 1234. The sayings of Muinuddin show that his life's mission was to inculcate piety, humility and devotion to God. According to him, those who know God avoid mixing with other people and keep silent on matters relating to divine knowledge. After his death, the sUsilah made notable progress under his able disciples. The Chishti mystics believed in the spiritual value of music. The disciple of Muinuddin, Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki died in a state of ecstasy under the spell of music. He stayed at Delhi and exercised tremendous influence upon the people. Khwaja Fariduddin Masud was the Khalifa (successor) of Qutbuddin. He kept himself far away from political personalities and avoided contact with rich and powerful people. He advised his disciple Syedi Maula: "Do not make friends with kings and nobles. Consider their visits to your home as fatal (for your spirit). Every darwesh who makes friends with kings and nobles, will end badly." Almost the same was his message to his Chief disciple Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya i.e., he emphasised dissociation with kings. Baba Farid died at the age of 93 in 1265. Shaikh Nizamuddin was his Chief disciple. Though he saw the reigns of seven Sultans of Delhi, he never visited the court of any one of them. The liberal outlook of the Shaikh as well as his delight in music caused him to be denounced by the orthodox Ulema. Even after his death in 1325, the Shaikh commanded tremendous respect, and even now he is regarded to be a great spiritual force. He inspired men with the love of God and helped them to get rid of their attachment to worldly affairs. Stress on the motive of love which leads to the realization of God, was the main feature of his teachings. He preached that without the love of humanity, love of God will be incomplete. He stated that social justice and benevolence are parts of Islam. The message of love imparted by Shaikh Nizamuddin was carried to different parts of the country by his disciples. Shaikh Sirajuddin Usmani took the message to Bengal. He was succeeded by Shaikh-Alaudin Ala-ul Haq who continued the work of his master in the eastern parts of India. Shaikh Burhanuddin, another disciple of Shaikh Nizamuddin, settled at Daultabad and his message was preached there by his disciple, Shaikh Zainuddin. In Gujarat Shaikh Syed Hussain, Shaikh Husamuddin and Shah Brakatullah, spread the message of equality and humanitarianism. They were exponents of the doctrine of the inner light and the theology of the heart. It is to be noted that the Muslim mystics, in spite of their speculative leanings, did not lose touch with the realities of life. They were not prepared to give up the socio-moral aspects of life in the interest of spiritual exaltation and ecstasy. That is why they demanded justice and benevolence. In the Quranic teachings also, prayer is correlated with charity towards fellowmen, the implication being that without the latter the former would be incomplete and ineffective. Whenever there was any deviation from this injunction, some of them boldly criticized the authorities. That is one of the reasons why they were not keen to be the beneficiaries of the state as it would have compromised their independence of mind and action. The Music party (sama) of the Sufis was justified by pointing out that a Sufi is a lover of God and, as such he stands in a different relation to God from others who are merely 'abd' or slaves. As music inflames the fire of love and helps in creating the supreme state of ecstasy, it was permissible. After the death of Baba Farid, the Chishti order was divided into two main subdivisions-Nezamia and Sabiria. f i e latter was founded by Makhdum Alauddin Ali Sabri who isolated himself from the world and lived the life of a.recluse. Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi (d. 1537) was a mystic of the Sabiria order. He was an exponent of the doctrine of the "Unity of Being" (Wahdat-ul Wujud), a concept which had become very popular in India among the masses as well as the intelligentsia. Now we turn to the contribution of other important Silsilahs like the Qadiri and Naqshbandi. The founderof the Qadiri order was Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad (d. 1166). - This order played an important role in the spread of I s l ~ ..A Western Africa and
  9. 9. Central Asia. In India, it was introduced by Shah ~iamatullahand Makhdum Mohammad Jilani towards the middle of the 15th century. Shaikh Musa, a member of this family, had joined Akbar's service but his brother Shaikh Abdul Qadir did not associate himself with the government. The QldM order found a great devotee in Prince Dara Shukoh who visited a saint of this order, Miyan Mir (1550-1635), at Lahcre along with ShahJahan and was much impressed by his saintly personality. After the Shaikh's death, Dara became the disciple of his successor, Mulla Shah Badakhshi. The influence of the Wahdat-ul Wujud concept is evident in the mystic works of the prince, namely the Saflnat-ul ' Aullya, Saklnat-ul Aullya, Rlsala-I-Haq Numa, Murrla-ul Bahraln, etc. During Akbar's period the Chishti order again rose to prominence, precisely due to the Emperor's devotion to Salim Chishti of Fatehpur. Bairam Khan, a prominent figure of this time, kept Aziz Chishti in high esteem. In the 18thcentury, Shalkh Kalimullah of Delhi and his disciple Shaikh Nizamuddin Chishti emerged as prominent personalities of the time. The Naqrhbandl order was introduced into India by Khwaja Baqi Billah (1563-1603), the seventh in succession to Khawaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi (1317-1389), the founder of this order. From the beginning, the mystics of this order laid stress upon observance of the law (Shulst) and had emphatically denounced all Mddat (innovations) which ilad spoiled the purity of Islam. Thus, it may be regarded as a reaction to the challenging ideas of the uphoiders of Wahdat-ul Wujud. This doctrine was furiously attacked by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, the chief disciple of Khwaja Baqi Billah. He wrote and circulated that God who created the world could not be identified with his creatures. Rejecting, Wahdat-ul Wujud, he expounded the doctrine of Wahdat-ul Shuhud ("apparentism") to serve as a corrective to the prevailing tendency. According to him, the "unity of Being" is not an objective but subjective experience. It appears to the mystic that he is idkntified with God, but in reality it is not so. In his rapturous ecstasy he gets lost in the object of his love and adoration and begins to feel as if his self was completely annihilated. But this is a temporary feeling and the mystic comes back to the stage of Abdiyat (servitude). The Shaikh maintained that the relation between man and God is that of slave and master or that of a worshipper and the worshipped. It is not the relation of lover and beloved as the Sufis generally hold. He emphasized the individual's unique relation of faith and responsibility to God as his Creator. It is the obedience to the Divine will which establishes the right re:..ltion between the human will in its fitness and the World Order ruled by God. Only through the Shariat one can realize the mystery of the Divine Existence. Thus Shaikh Ahmad tried to harmonize the doctrines of mysticism with the teachings of Orthodox Islam. That is why he is called Mujaddid (the renovator) of Islam. Aurangzeb was the disciple of Khwaja Mohammad Masum, the son of the Mujaddid. Shah Waliullah (1702-1762)was a noted scholar and a saint of the Naqshbandi order. He tried to reconcile the two doctrines of Wahdat-ul Wujud and Wahdat-ul Shuhud, . his contention being that there is no fundamental difference between the two theories. He pointed out that in both these views the real existence belongs to God and that he alone has actual independelit existence. The existence of the world is not real, and yet it can not be called imaginary either. To maintain that there is one reality which manifests itself in an infinityof forms and pluralities is the same as to hold that contingent beings are the reflection of the names and attributes of the necessary being. If at all there is any difference between the two positions, it is insignificant. Khwaja Mir Dard, the famous Urdu poet, was another mystic of the Naqshbandi order and a contemporary of Shah Waliullah. Fie also criticised Wahdat-ul Wujud in the light of his inner experience. According to him, this doctrine was expounded by the Sufisin a state of ecstatic intoxication. So to give expression to such thoughts was highly injudicious. He condemned the believers in Wahdat-ul Wujud as those who have no knowledge of Reality. He was of the view that only through slavery to God one can attain closeness to Him. In almost all parts of India, the Sufishad established their centres (Khanqahs)where spiritual discussions were held under the s~upervisionof the mystic preceptor (Pir).
  10. 10. which deterioration set in but even in the 18thcentury,some of these Khanqahswere R~~I~IOIII ~ d c ~and ~ o v e d w ~ r r the centres of spiritual culture. Khwaja Mir Dard's Khanqah was one such in~portant centre, which was often visited by Emperor Shah Alam. Check Your Rogreus 3 1) What were the main tenets of the Sufi philosophy'! ......................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................ ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................... 2) Enumerate the major Sufi silsilas. ......................................................................................................... 29.3.4 Mahdavi Movement The hope of the advent 0f.a deliverer goes back to the traditions of Prophet Muhammad or his companions. The first person to lay claim to being a deliverer (a Mahdi)-in the history of Islam was Muhammad a1 Harafia, a son of Ali. Many Mahdis came after him who were mainly concerned with the economic and political movements. Syed Mohammad of Jaunpur was the only Mahdi who did not crave political power but was mainly interested in spiritualism and purifying Islam. He proclaimed himself Mahdi at Mecca. On returning to India, he was heckled by the ulema who were antagonistic towards him. However, he did manage to win a few converts some of whom belonged to the ulemagroup. The Mahdis enjoined worship of God according to the strict laws of Shariat: God, His Prophet and His Book were the only guides. The Mahdavis lived in Daeras where they practised the laws of the Shariat.For the Mahdavis the ordinance of the Quran was divided into two groups: commandments explained by the last of the Prophets associated with the Shariatand commandments of the last of the walis, i.e., Mahdi. The latter comprised the following: Renunciation of the world, company of the truthful, seclusion from mankind, resignation to the Divine will, quest of the vision of God, distribution of one tenth of the income, constact Zikr and migration (hijrat). The Mahdavis abjuied politics. After the death of Syed Muhammad of Jaunpur, several Daeras sprang up to disseminate the teachings of Mahdi. The preachers in these Daeras were called Khalifas. They used local dialect for preaching. The Daeras attracted the masses because of the piety and simplicity of the Mahdavis. They were established in the North as well as South i.e. Gujarat. Chandigarh, Ahmednagar, Bayana, etc.. 29.4 ISLAMIC REVIVALIST MOVEMENT IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY The Mughal Empire declined rapidly after the death of Aurangzeb. The Hindu groups such as the Marathas, Jats and Sikhs posed a serious threat to the Muslim power. Against this backdrop, Islamic revivalist movement which was religio-political in nature developed and found expression in the writings of Shah Waliullah (1703-62). He was basically a theologian who laid stress on fundamentalism and rejected innovations in Islam. The Shah considered himself a reformer of the Muslim society. He aimed to revert back to the Prophetic traditions. His religious and political thought influenced a group of religious reformers called Mujahidin (holy warriors). Tn thn nrat-Nlnnt;n.r are h;o rnl;n;rl.a thnnnnht ;nfl~.onrs=A t h ~~ , a r ; n n n r c ~ h n n l cnf I c l o m i r
  11. 11. Sociely and Cullurr-l revivalism: the modernism of Sayyid Ahmed Khan and the Aligarh Movement, the traditionalist theologians of the Deoband school and the neo-traditional ah1 hadith (followers of Muhammad's traditions). Check Your Progress 4 1) What were the chief charasteristics of the Mahdavi movement? 2) Discuss the nature of Islamic revivalist movement in the 18th century. 29.5 LET US SUM UP In this unit we have read how the Bhakti movement developed in India. Its ideology, the major schools of thought and its impact on the social and literary spheres has been taken into account. The chid characteristics of Islamic mysticism have been outlined. The nature of the Sufi philosophy, its major silsilahsand doctrinal texts as well as the nature of the Mahdavi movement have been highlighted. Finally, the unit deals with nature of the Islamic revivalist movement in the 18th century. 29.6 ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR.PROGRESS EXERCISES Check Your Progress 1 1) See Section 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.3 2) See Secti6n 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.2 3) See Section 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.3 Check Your Progress 2 1) See Section 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.4 2) See Section 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.2 3) See Section 29.2 and Sub-sec. 29.2.3 Check Your 'Progress3 1) See Section 29.3 and Sub-sec. 29.3.1 2) See Section 29.3 and Sub-sec. 29.3.3 Check Your Progress 4 1) See Section 29.3 and Sub-sec. 29.3.4 2) See Section 29.4

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