NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 6: Bhakti – Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts

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    114. Explain with examples what historians mean by the integration of cults.

    Ans. During the medieval period the education became accessible to the women as well as Shudras due to the accessibility of the Puranic literature in simple Sanskrit language. The spreading of the Bhakti movement also led to the undermining of the supremacy of the Brahamanas. There was rise of devotional form of worship. There was routine worship of the deities in the temples and also the devotees showed ecstatic adoration towards God.

    This period also saw the revival of the traditional cults. One example can be seen of Lord Jagannath who is considered as the form of Vishnu.

    115. To what extent do you think the architecture of mosques in the subcontinent reflects a combination of universal ideals and local traditions?

    Ans. The Mosque build in India shows the unique blend of the diversity of the universal faith of Islam with unique local practices. Some features of the Mosque are:

    1. The orientation of almost every Mosque was towards Mecca.
    2. The roofs of the Mosque and their building materials were however different according to the place.

    116. What were the similarities and differences between the be-shari‘a and ba-shari‘a sufi traditions?

    Ans. Sharia is the Islamic law that contains the tenets of the Islamic religion. The origin of the Sharia is traced to the holy book of Quran, Hadis and teachings of the Prophet. The medieval age saw the rise of a great social movement that came to be known as the Sufi movement. There were Sufis who renounce the worldly pleasures and adopted the path of asceticism. These Sufis also neglected the Sharia and came to be known as the be-sharia. 

    Onthe otherhands there were Sufis who criticised the extravagant lifestyle of the Kings and other nobles but did not condemn the Sharia. These class of Sufis came to be known as the be-sharia.

    117. Discuss the ways in which the Alvars, Nayanars and Virashaivas expressed critiques of the caste system.

    Ans. The authority of the Brahamanas over religious matters kept several sections like women and Shudras away from religious practices. However, the rise of the poet-saints led to the accommodation of every section of the society in religious practices. The ordinary people got close to these poet-saints due to their liberal religious attitude. The poet-saints made the religion easy to preach. The bhaktas belonged to diverse social backgrounds including artisans, cultivators, and castes that were considered untouchables. Their compositions were sometimes claimed as important as the Vedas.

    118. Describe the major teachings of either Kabir or Baba Guru Nanak, and the ways in which these have been transmitted.

    Ans. Kabir is one of the most famous saints in the history of India. He is said to be raised by a poor Muslim weaving family. It is also said that Kabir entered the path of Bhakti due to the inspiration from his guru Ramananda. Some of the features of his religious ideology were:

    1. He has talked about the idea of Ultimate Reality on several occasions. He has compared the Ultimate Reality with Allah or God.
    2. His poems have diverse meanings and several conflicting ideas are expressed in his poems.
    3. Some of his poems that were based on Islamic ideas supported monotheism and opposed the polytheism and idol worship practices of the Hindus.
    4. He said that the union with God is possible by exhibiting love for him.
    5. The legacy of Kabir in the Bhakti traditions and history of India is significant and unmatchable.

    Baba Guru Nanak was born in the year 1469 in a village called Nankana Sahib which is situated on the river Ravi predominantly in Pakistan. He received training in accountancy and also learned Persian. Guru Nanak was married at a young age. However, most of his time was passed with the Sufis and Bhaktas. He was an extensive traveller.

    Some of the beliefs of Guru Nanak are:

    1. He was an advocate of Nirguna Bhakti and promoted the abstract worship of God.
    2. He was opposed to the ritualistic practices of the religion such as sacrifices, ritual baths, image worship, etc.
    3. He gave the idea that to reach the Divine one must take and repeat the name of divine.
    4. He composed hymns that came to be known as “Shabad” in Punjabi. Baba Nanak used to sing these compositions in several ragas and his disciples used to play rabab.
    5. Baba Guru Nanak organised his followers into a community. Rules were set for congregational worship and started the concept of collective recitation of prayers.

    119. Discuss the major beliefs and practices that characterised Sufism

    Ans. The Sufi saints maintained the principle of austerity and remained away from the political powers. However, they were not completely isolated from the political affiliations:

    1. The Sufis readily accepted donations and grants from the ruling classes of the society.
    2. The Sultans used to set up charitable trusts as endowments for the hospices established by the Sufi saints. They also used to grant lands to the Sufis.
    3. The Sufis used to receive donations in cash and kind which they utilised immediately for maintaining stocks of food, clothes, etc. in their centres.
    4. Shaikhs has great influence over the ruling elites which used to visit their centres of learning frequently.
    5. Shaikhs became successful in gaining legitimacy from the ruling elites as well as the common sections of the society.

    120. Examine how and why rulers tried to establish connections with the traditions of the Nayanars and the sufis.

    Ans. The Mughals followed a tolerant religious policy in India:

    1. They made grants and endowments to religious groups of Hindus, Christians, Jews and other communities.
    2. They gave respect to the religious leaders of the other communities on several occasions with few exceptions.

    Apart from Mughals Hindu rulers also gave patronage to the Alvars and Nayanars as these sects had high legitimacy from the common sections of the society. To gain the trust of the common people often the rulers had to show their respect to the saints. Apart from this these saints also accepted the authority of the rulers.

    121. Analyse, with illustrations, why bhakti and sufi thinkers adopted a variety of languages in which to express their opinions.

    Ans. The Sufi saints and Bhakti saints used to converse in the local languages with their disciples.

    1. Chisthi silsila used the language of Hindavi which was said to be the language of the people.
    2. SomeSufis likeBabaFaridmade compositions in the local languages that were incorporated in several religious texts.
    3. Local languages was used for conversation due to the reason that it established a direct contact between the people and the saints. The common people felt close to the teachings of the saints.

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