Bhakti and the Narrative Traditions


I.  Bhakti: Hindu Devotionalism


1.    Rise of great theistic traditions associated particularly with Visnu but also with Siva and Devi the Goddess. 

a.    Beginnings of Hindu theism: Late Upanishads reflect the idea of a supreme, God or Goddess who generates cosmos, maintains it, destroys it.

 Devotees to Siva = Saivas.  Devotees to Visnu = Vaisnavas.  Devotees to Devi = Shaktas


II.  Three Narrative Traditions

1.    The growth of Hindu theism and devotionalism reflected in narrative traditions of:

a.    Itihasa: Mainly the Epics.  Sanskrit

b.    Puranas: Mythological and ritual treatises. Sanskrit.  18 major.

c.    Devotional poetry.  Vernacular languages (particularly Tamil).

III.  Vishnu


1.    Traditional representation with discus, lotus, mace, and conch shell

2.    10 Avatara, including:

a.    Krishna

                                     i.     As youth

                                    ii.     As child

b.    Rama: of the epic Ramayana

c.    Saving the world from disorder, maintaining dharma