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In Hinduism, Bhakti (Sanskrit: ?????

, literally meaning "portion, share", from t


he root bhaj- "to partake in, to receive one's share"[1]) refers to religious de
votion of a devotee in the worship of the divine. Within Hinduism, it is the lov
e felt by the worshipper towards their personal God, a concept expressed in Hind
u theology as I??a-devata.
The term "bhakti" can be used in any tradition of Hindu devotionalism, including
Shaivism ,Vaishnavism or Shaktism.[2] While bhakti as a designation of a religi
ous path is already found as a central concept in the Bhagavad Gita,[3] it rises
to importance in the medieval history of Hinduism, where the Bhakti movement sa
w a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in Southern India with the Vaisnava Alvars
(6th-9th century CE) and Shaiva Nayanars (5th-10th century CE), who spread bhakt
i poetry and devotion throughout India by the 12th-18th century CE.[4][5]
The Bhagavata Purana is a text associated with the Bhakti movement which elabora
tes the concept of bhakti as found in the Bhagavad Gita.[6]
The Bhakti movement reached North India in the Delhi Sultanate and throughout th
e Mughal era contributed significantly to the characteristics of Hinduism as the
religion of the general population under the rule of a Muslim elite. With the e
xpansion of Islam, the proponents of bhakti who were traditionally called Sants--"
saints" elaborated an egalitarian doctrine that transcended the caste system and e
ncouraged individuals to seek personal union with the divine."[7] Its influence
also spread to other religions during this period,[8][9][10][11] and became an i
ntegral aspect of Hindu culture and society in the modern era.[5]
Contents [hide]
1 Terminology
2 History
3 Types and classifications
3.1 Bhakti Yoga
3.2 Ramayana
3.3 Bhagavata Purana
3.4 Bhavas
4 Notable proponents
5 References
6 Sources
7 Further reading
8 External links
Terminology[edit]
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The Sanskrit and old Hindi noun bhakti is derived from the verb root bhaj, whose
meanings include "to belong to", and "to worship".[12] It also occurs in compou
nds where it means "being a part of" and "that which belongs to or is contained
in anything else."[13] The term Bhajan, or a form of devotional singing, is also
derived from the same root.[14] "Devotion" as an English translation for bhakti
doesn't fully convey two important aspects of bhakti the sense of participation t

hat is central to the relationship between the devotee and their deity, and the
intense feeling that is more typically associated with the word "love".[12] An a
dvaitic interpretation of bhakti goes beyond "devotion" to the realization of un
ion with the essential nature of reality as ananda, or divine bliss.[13] The ter
m bhakti is sometimes used in the broader sense of reverence toward a deity or t
eacher. Bhaktimarga is usually used to describe a path of bhakti focused on a co
mplete dedication to one's chosen deity.[12]
A more literal translation of bhakti would be "participation";[15] The sage Nara
da defines Bhakti as "intense love" for one's chosen deity.[16] Similarly Sage S
handilya defines Bhakti as "intense attraction" for the Divine.[17] One who prac
tices bhakti is called a bhakta,[18][19] while bhakti as a spiritual path is ref
erred to as bhakti marga, or the bhakti way.[20][21] Bhakti is an important comp
onent of many branches of Hinduism, defined differently by various sects and sch
ools.[12]