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The Impact of the Bhakti Movement on Women

6 Pages 1565 Words February 2019

To understand how Bhakti and its interpretations impacted the society and the place of women in it, there are some core concepts that we need to understand first, like Bhakti. Through this essay, I will explore the aforesaid statement by exploring answers to questions like what is the origin of the word bhakti? What could have been some possible interpretations of this term? When and on what societal context have these interpretations been derived? What is the impact of such derivations on different genders? When and how did women gender suppression occur? What is the significance of Bhakti in it?
The term "Bhakti" was used in the Bhagavad Gita. However, a broader elaboration of it has been drawn in the Bhagavad Purana. Devotion and love are primary concepts that can be associated with this term from the Gita. The relevant timeline of this interpretation is 2nd century BCE to 2nd century CE. “Krishna, whose divine utterances to his mortal charioteer Arjuna make up the great bulk of the Gita, says that he accepts what by implication are the simplest offerings – “a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water” – if they are presented to him in a spirit of bhakti (bhaktyā, Bhagavad Gita 9.26)”1
In Indian theological context, Bhakti is represented as a way or path to attain salvation or nirvana. In some areas it is shown as an emotional connection of mortals (men) with God or the supreme power. The concept of Bhakti is rooted in the Upasanakandas of Vedas which shows the origin of Bhaktimarga or the path of Bhakti. A glimpse of the tradition of Upasana or meditation can be seen in the Aranyaka part of Veda which later develops into Bhakti cult. The word 'Bhakti' is derived from the Sanskrit root 'bhaj', accompanied by the suffix 'ktin' meaning seva or meditation. Literally the term expresses an action or a means like attachment, devotion, worship, homage, loyalty, service, etc. The same root of Bhaj gives rise to other words like Bhakta ...

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