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Sunday, October 5, 2008


The following is a list of some of the important saints and teachers of the Bhakti movement.

  • Shankara (c 788 - 820 AD.,): gave new interpretations to the ancient vedic religion, and integrated essence of Buddhism in Hindu thought. He preached Advaita
  • Ramanuja (1017-1137 A.D.,): wrote commentaries on Brahma Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishad; expounded Visishtadvaita or qualified monism
  • Basava (12th Century), treasurer turned saint of Karnataka preached equality to all and taught the way to reach God through one's vocation; his followers constitute the Lingayat or the Veerashaiva cult. His promise poems known as the Vachanas preached devotion to Lord Shiva as the means of salvation. He preached shakthi Visishtadvaita
  • Madhva (1238-1319): broke away from the doctrine of unity of God and the human soul prevalent at the time. He preached "Dvaita" or dualism, where the divinity was separate from the human conscience.
  • Ramanada (15th century): A disciple of Ramunuja, he was a worshipper of Lord Rama. He taught perfect love for God and human brotherhood.
  • Kabir (1440-1510, picture, biography): Disciple of Ramananda, he believed in formless God. He was the first to reconcile Hinduism and Islam.
  • Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1538): He was the founder of Sikh religion. He preached against idol worship and caste system, and taught worship of one God through prayer and meditation.
  • Purandara (15th century) A singer-saint of Karnataka who sang the praises of Lord Krishna; among the greatest composers of South Indian ( Carnatic) classical music. He is often quoted as Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha
  • Dadu Dayal (1544-1603) A disciple of Kabir, he was a supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity. His followers were known as Dadu Panthis.
  • Chaitanya (1468-1533): A devotee of Lord Krishna, he was the founder of modern Vaishnavism in Bengal. He popularized Kirtan.
  • Shankaradeva (1499-1569): Spread the Bhakti cult in Assam.
  • Vallabhacharya (1479-1531): Exponent of Krishna cult. He worshipped. Krishna under the title "Srinathji."
  • Surdas (1483-1563): A disciple of Vallabhacharya, he showed intense devotion to Radha and Krishna.
  • Mirabai (1498-1563): Staunch devotee of Lord Krishna, she composed number of songs and poems in honor of Krishna.
  • Haridas (1478-1573,): a great musician saint who sang the glories of Lord Vishnu.
  • Tulasidas (1532-1623): Depicted Rama as the incarnation. He wrote Ramcharitmanas.
  • Namdeva (1270-1309) (Maharashtra): A disciple of Vishoba Khechar, he was a devotee of Vittoba (Vishnu).
  • Jnanesvar (1275-1296): Wrote "Jnaneswari", a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita.
  • Eknath: Wrote commentary on verses of the Bhagavad-Gita: A devotee of Vithoba.
  • Tukaram : Contempotary of Maratha king Shivaji; a devotee of Vithal he founded the Varkau sect. His teachings are contained in Abhangas.
  • Ram Das: Author of Dasabodh, his teachings inspired Shivaji to establish an independent kingdom in Maharashtra.


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