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Sufi & Bhakti

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Rebel Sufis of the Punjab
The Sufi brotherhoods that arrived in South Asia from the Middle East and Central Asia had already been influenced by the pantheistic traditions of South Asia, and in some cases the result was theist fusions or unitarian views of God. It is, however, important to point out that some Sufi orders were quite conservative such as the Suhrawardia and Naqshbandia. They had a strong presence in the Punjab. The Naqshbandi Sufi, Ahmed Sirhindi or Mujadid Alf-Sani, who lived during the 16th century and is buried at Sirhind, played an important role in the revival of strict Islam in the Mughal Empire and, indeed, in the Punjab.

Kabir- Born around 1440 at Varanasi, a medieval mystic poet and religious synthesist, Kabir was the link between Hindu Bhakti and Islamic Sufism (mysticism), which had gained a large following among Indian Muslims. Sufis (mystics) also believed in singing hymns and in meditation under guidance of a leader. They welcomed non-Muslims in their hospices. Sikhism drew inspiration from both Bhaktas and Sufis.

Baba Sheikh Farid Shakarganj 1173 A.D. - 1266 A.D.
Baba Sheikh Farid as he is called all over Punjab, India, and Pakistan was born at the time when Punjab was going through great crossroads. Tamur the Lame, Halaku (Son of Chengez Khan), etc ravaged Punjab about 100 to 200 years before he was born.

Baba Sheikh Farid

Saint Namdev 1270 A.D - 1350 A.D. 
Guru Granth Sahib recognizes many saints of the Bhakti movement of medieval India. Kabir, Farid, Namdev are the saints belonging to this movement which swept across the North India from 1100 A.D. till 1600 A.D. When Fifth Guru Guru Arjan dev ji compiled Guru Granth Sahib, he decided to give some recognition to the saints of Bhakti movement, that is the reason that Guru Granth Sahib contains verses of such saints. In some cases Guru Granth Sahib is the only voice remained for such saints over the years.

Saint Kabir 1398 A.D - 1448 A.D.
Saint Kabir Das (kabir, Arabic for "great", dasa, Sanskrit for "slave" or "servant"), is widely acknowledged as one of the great personality of the Bhakti movement in North India. He was as is widely acknowledged born in Year 1398 A.D.(71 years before Guru Nanak). Kabirpanthis (followers of Kabir) say that he lived upto the age of 120 years and give date of his death as 1518, but relying on the research of Hazari Prased Trivedi, a British Scholar Charlotte Vaudenville is inclined to lend credence to these dates and has prooven that 1448 is probably the correct date of Saint Kabir's demise. 

The Bhakti Movement 800 A.D - 1700 A.D. 
Bhakti movement in Medieval India is responsible for the many rites and rituals associated with the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of Indian subcontinent. For example, Kirtan at a Hindu Temple, Qawalli at a Dargah (by Muslims), and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India (800-1700). "The word bhakti is derived from Bhakta meaning to serve, honour, revere, love and adore. In the religious idiom, it is attachment or fervent devotion to God and is defined as "that particular affection which is generated by the knowledge of the attributes of the Adorable One." 

A Tale of Mystical Love
At the height of Mughal power, India saw a remarkable fusion of Islamic and indigenous traditions, giving rise to a rich composite culture. This was reflected in all fields, including art and architecture, dress and food habits and even in religious forms and beliefs. One of the best representatives of this confluence of traditions is the Sufi-Bhakti movement, a form of personal piety that challenged the hegemony of the religious orthodoxy and crusaded against caste and community divisions and meaningless ritualism.

Sufi Links

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