Devotional Hinduism

1.      Bhakti

a.       Bhakti: loving devotion and service to a god

b.      Early dev in 4th cent Tamil, flourished from 12-18th century in all regions and languages

c.       Exterior manifestation in temples, images, processions, feasts, popular gurus

d.      General Characteristics: Populist, Vernacular Poor, dispossessed and oppresses linked in their religious attitudes with orthodox, upper class devotees.

e.       The Puranas (“stories of old”): 18 major


Central Features of Hindu Worship

2.      Darsan: auspicious seeing

a.       The prominent role of the eyes in apprehending the sacred

b.      Giving and taking darsan

c.       Iconic and aniconic images

3.      Murti: iconic images of the gods

a.       Divine descent

b.      Embodiment of the deity: from formlessness to form

4.      Puja: rites of worship and honor

a.       Divine-human reciprocity

5.      Prasad: offerings of food

6.      Nirguna and Saguna

a.       Saguna:  Ascribes qualities to god.

b.      Nirguna:

                                                  i.       Immediate apprehension of god in meditation on divine name as the expression n the world of the divine reality. 

                                                ii.      Rejected all familiar external forms of practice, like pilgrimage, ritual bathing, idol worship. 

                                              iii.      Rejection of caste and caste restrictions, denial of role of Brahmins as priests.