Bhakti Tradition and Poetics of Introspection
Keywords:Bhakti Movement, nirguna bhakti, saguna bhakti, Kabir, introspection
The bhakti movement is among the most forceful instruments of change in the Indian history.The movement signaled the end of a worn out epoch and did much to subvert hierarchies by substituting the concept of redemption through devotion in place of ritualistic orthodoxy. It carried sublime philosophy, to the common masses, of the so-called lower classes, in vernacular languages and open doors for women poets. The movement continues to inspire our generation and enjoys prominence in terms of its reach, magnitude, popularity and spacio-temporal significance. The poetic tradition of this school is marked by a distinctive proclivity for introspection; out of the two schools:nirguna and saguna; the nirguna school of bhakti poetry shows a greater tendency towards introspection. The nirguna group of poets led by Kabir, promote the technique of introspective reflectionas the key to self-realisation and godrealisation. This approach is significant as it breaks away from the convention of ritualistic orthodoxy, which exhibited a strong propensity for outward modes of realisation. Further, a key element of the movement was the popularisation of the percept of a ‘personal God’, which our mythological-fiction retains till date.
Kabir. One Hundred Poems of Kabir. trans. Rabindranath Tagore. London: MacMillan. 1915.
Tagore, Rabindranath. Gitanjali:Song Offerings. trans. William Radice. Penguin: U.K. Print.
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