An Outline of the Religious Literature of India

By J. N. Farquhar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
BHAKTI
A.D. 900 TO 1350.

§ 258. The sects which ruled the development of Hinduism during these centuries received their inspiration in large measure from the enthusiastic bhakti of the wandering singers of the Tamil country described in our previous chapter. Much of the peculiar fervour and attractive power of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa comes from the devotion of the Alvars, and the introduction of their lyrics into the Śrī-Vaishṇava temples produced great changes and prepared the way for Rāmānuja. So the hymns of the Śaiva singers inspired Māņikka Vāckakar, while their introduction into the temples gave the community a splendid uplift and made possible the creation of the Tamil Śaiva Siddhānta. Rāmānuja’s influence, in turn, told powerfully on all the sects. The two greatest books of the period are his Srī-bhāshya and the Bhāgavata P. From them come two streams of bhakti characteristic of the period, the one quiet and meditative, the other explosive and emotional. The latter type of devotion can be felt in the atmosphere everywhere from the thirteenth century onward.

The Muhammadan conquest of North India (1193-1203) was an immeasurable disaster to Hinduism as well as to the Hindu people, and it gave Buddhism its death-wound.


i. HINDUISM.

A. The Philosophies.

a. The Karma Mīmāṁsā.

§ 259. The history of the Mīmāṁsā school during these centuries seems to be a blank until quite the end of the period. Then, probably about A. D. 1300, flourished Pārthasārathi

-220-

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