Bhakti, aka: Bhaktī; 17 Definition(s)

Introduction

Bhakti means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Bhakti (भक्ति) is also described as being itself the emancipation (mukti). True philosophic knowledge (tattva-jñāna) is the secondary effect of bhakti. True tattva-jñāna consists in the realization of God in His three-fold form, as Brahman, Paramātman and Bhagavān in relation to His threefold powers, with which He is both identical and different. This reality of God can only be properly realized and apperceived through bhakti. Knowledge is more remote than realization. Bhakti brings not only knowledge, but also realization; it is therefore held that bhakti is much higher than philosophic knowledge, which is regarded as the secondary effect of it.

Source: archive.org: A History of Indian Philosophy (vaishnavism)
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Bhakti in Purana glossary... « previous · [B] · next »

Bhakti (भक्ति) refers to one of the various systems of belief and worship that once existed in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—As regards the cult of Bhakti, the Nīlamata introduces personal deities who are always ready to help their worshippers. The devotee surrenders himself wholly to the hands of God Who destroys his sufferings. Vāsuki, Kaśyapa, Nīla, Paraśurāma, all approach Viṣṇu as humble devotees and get the fulfilment of their desires. Śiva himself goes to Kālodaka lake to endow Nandī with a boon. The Nāga deity Nīla is described as compassionate for the devotees and performer of their deeds. The only condition is that the worshipper must approach the deity with true devotion and feeling of submission. One thing notable is that the devotion in the Nīlamata does not contain the erotic element.

Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Bhakti (भक्ति).—A Devī born in Drāviḍa deśa (Southern India). Once Devī, along with her two sons, Jñāna and Vairāgya, started on a walking tour to Gokula and Vṛndāvana via Karṇāṭaka, Mahārāṣṭra and Gurjara (Gujarat). During the long tour the mother and her sons became aged. But, as soon as they set foot on Gokula and Vṛndāvana old age quitted Bhakti and she became young again. But, her sons remained old. So the mother requested Nārada to turn them young again. Nārada read out to them the Vedas, the Vedānta (Upaniṣads) and the Bhagavad Gītā, all to no purpose. Bhakti’s sons still remained old. Then Sanaka, Sananda and Sanatkumāra asked Nārada to read out the Bhāgavata to them. Nārada did so, and the sons of Bhaktī Devī became young again. (Padma Purāṇa).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Bhakti (भक्ति).—Selfless devotion; leads one to self-realisation; methods and results of; destroys rajas and tamas qualities; roots out sorrow, illusion and fear; redeems the sinners;1 superior to karma;2 one of the five means of concentrating the mind on Hari, (i.e.) (1) kāma as in the case of the Gopis; (2) fear and hatred as in the case of Kaṃsa and Śiśupāla; (3) relationship as in the case of the Vṛṣṇis; (4) friendship as in the case of Yudhiṣṭhira and (5) devotion as in the case of Nārada; vena does not come under any of these heads;3 but nine-fold according to Prahlāda: hearing of Hari, praising of, remembering, serving His holy feet, arcana, prostrating, service, friendship and surrender of self;4 women more devout than men.5 Three-fold—uttama as that of Nārada and Śuka: middling as that of Vasiṣṭha, and inferior;6 another classification: three-fold, śāṅkhya, yoga, and jñāna; a pure man can meditate on the Supreme Being by means of pratyāhāra finally leading to the supreme knowledge;7 mārga to.8

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 2. 12-21; 5. 28; 7. 7; VI. 1. 15.
  • 2) Ib. X. 23. 39-50
  • 3) Ib. VII. 1. 29-31.
  • 4) Ib. VII. 5. 23.
  • 5) Ib. X. 23. 38, 41-43.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 34. 37-8; 36. 3.
  • 7) Matsya-purāṇa 183. 49-55.
  • 8) Vāyu-purāṇa 104. 15.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Bhakti (भक्ति).—In Tamil Śaivism, bhakti found about their immediate and ecstatic experience of Śiva at the various shrines dedicated ta him in the Tamil region. The tradition counts sixty-three nāyanārs, principal among whom were the foursome, Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Māṇikkavācakar. Within the Śaiva sect, their hymnal compositions gradually acquired the elevated status of revealed sacred texts and the appellation of tirumurai, sacred speech.

The Āgamas also propounded bhakti; it was the basic attitude with which to approach sādhana. However, since the role of sādhana as ritual practice was mediation between deity and devotee, the bhakti that moderated it was, so to speak, more “restrained”.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (shaivism)

The Bhakti cult of the Tamil region gave significant impetus to the construction of Temples in which the image or icon of the god or goddess was the medium through which a devotee can offer or transfer his devotion to God, through pūjā. The origin of image worship in India can be traced back to the early Vedic times.

Source: DSpace at Pondicherry: Siddha Cult in Tamilnadu (shaivism)

Bhakti (भक्ति, “devotion”).—The Kakṣapuṭatantra 19.32 insists that abandoning religious deeds such as bhakti (devotion) and śīla (good conduct) results in oneʼs death. This can be considered an ethical sign of death.

Source: academia.edu: Chapter Nineteen of the Kakṣapuṭatantra
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

1) Bhakti (भक्ति).—Name given to two of the five divisions of a Saman which are प्रस्तावभक्ति, उद्गीथ, प्रतिहार, उपद्रव (prastāvabhakti, udgītha, pratihāra, upadrava) and निधानभाक्ति (nidhānabhākti);

2) Bhakti.—The vowel portion surrounding, or placed after, the consonant र् (r) or ल् (l) which (consonant) is believed to be present in the vowel ऋ () or ऌ () respectively forming its important portion, but never separately noticed in it. The vowels ऋ () and ऌ () are made up of one matra each. It is contended by the grammarians that the consonants र् (r) and ल् (l) forming respectively the portion of ऋ () and ऌ (), make up halfa-matra, while the remaining half is made up of the भक्ति (bhakti) of the vowel surrounding the consonant or situated after the consonant. The word which is generally used for this 'bhakti is 'ajbhakti' instead of which the word स्वरभक्ति (svarabhakti) is found in the Pratisakhya works; cf. यत्तद्रेफात्परं भक्तेस्तेन व्यवहितत्वान्न प्राप्नेति । (yattadrephātparaṃ bhaktestena vyavahitatvānna prāpneti |) ...... यच्चात्र रेफात्परं भक्तेर्न तत् क्वचिदपि व्यपवृक्तं दृश्यते । (yaccātra rephātparaṃ bhakterna tat kvacidapi vyapavṛktaṃ dṛśyate |) M. Bh. on P. VIII. 4.1 Vart 2; cf. स्वरभक्तिः पूर्वभागक्षराङ्गं (svarabhaktiḥ pūrvabhāgakṣarāṅgaṃ) R. Pr. I. 17; also cf. रेफात्स्वरोपहिताद् व्यञ्जनोदयाद् ऋकारवर्णा स्वरभ-क्तिरुत्तरा । (rephātsvaropahitād vyañjanodayād ṛkāravarṇā svarabha-ktiruttarā |) R. Pr. VI. 13.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Bhaktī (भक्ति): A Sanskrit term that means intense devotion expressed by action (service). A person who practices bhakti is called bhakta.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

The Sanskrit term “bhakti” is generally translated as “devotion” and refers to a variety of Hindu traditions in which devotees experience a direct relationship with the divine. Such divinity may be conceptualized as an incarnate personal deity or as the formless metaphysical essence of the cosmos, and modes or moods of devotion thus vary accordingly, ranging from contemplative forms of yoga to outbursts of passionate love. Expressed as loyalty to God incarnate in human form, bhakti in the Sanskrit epics is typically consistent with the demands of Brahmanical dharma, but devotion that defies social and religious norms is widely celebrated in later texts and traditions, with women and low-caste men among the most famous devotees, their poetic verse an enduring inspiration to others seeking salvation without the benefit of orthodox privileges and rituals. Flourishing in diverse linguistic and regional expressions, bhakti traditions reflect a wide variety of religious movements, some conceiving bhakti as intensely personal devotion, others finding in bhakti the power of social and political reform.

Source: Oxford Bibliographies: Hinduism

Bhakti (भक्ति).—The ward bhakti derives from √bhaj, “to divide”, and also “to engage in, participate, partake of”. This sense of separation or division that the word contains points to a duality that defines “otherness”. In a general context of theistic religion, it is this duality that persists between deity and devotee. Bhakti as devotional love is the intense emotional engagement of and participation in the otherness of the other, by means of which the duality is sought to be overcome.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (hinduism)

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

1) Bhakti (भक्ति, “devotion”) refers to an aspect of samyaktva (right belief) classified under the guṇa according to various Jain authors (eg., Cāmuṇḍarāya, Amitagati and Vasunandin). Amitagati, in his in his Śrāvakācāra verse 2.74, understands by bhakti “devotion to Jina and guru”.

2) Bhakti is also classified under the bhūṣaṇa heading according to Hemacandra in his 12th century Yogaśāstra verse 2.16. Bhakti, according to Hemacandra can take two forms: vinaya and vaiyāvṛttya. The former is expressed in an eightfold upacāra like that accorded to an atithi in the ritual of dāna.

Source: archive.org: Jaina Yoga
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

Bhakti (भक्ति).—During the middle ages, the Bhakti movement arose in India. It was an all-India movement of social reform and spiritual awakening. It played a very important part in reawakening moral consciousness in India. Jayadeva, Nāmdev, Tulsīdās, Kabīr, Ravidās and Mīra are some of the prominent saints of this movement. Most of these saints came from the downtrodden sections of society. Rejecting the distinctions of caste, colour and creed, they spread the message of human equality. They were saint poets. In their vāṇī (poetic compositions) they propagated the ideals of love, compassion, justice and selfless service. These are the ethical values which we need even today.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Indian Ethics: Individual and Social (h)
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

bhakti (भक्ति).—f (S) Worship or adoration. Three modes of Worship are reckoned,--bhaktimārga, karmamārga, jñāna- mārga. 2 Engagedness of heart and affections in; devotedness to (esp. in or to the ways of Religion). 3 Liking or love of; fondness for; attachment to (things or pursuits in general). bhakti basaṇēṃ g. of s. To be approved or admitted; to be viewed as good, just, proper. bhaktīcēṃ dukāna ghālaṇēṃ-māṇḍaṇēṃ-pasaraṇēṃ-karaṇēṃ To make a display or ostentation of worship and devotion. bhaktīnēṃ avaḍaṇēṃ in. con. (To please unto the devoted attachment of.) To be exceedingly delighted with or fond of.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

bhakti (भक्ति).—f Worship; devotedness to. Liking.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bhakti (भक्ति).—f. [bhaj-ktin]

1) Separation, partition, division.

2) A division, portion, share.

3) (a) Devotion, attachment, loyalty, faithfulness; तद्भक्तिसंक्षिप्तबृहत्प्रमाणमारुह्य कैलासमिव प्रतस्थे (tadbhaktisaṃkṣiptabṛhatpramāṇamāruhya kailāsamiva pratasthe) Ku.7.37; R.2.63; Mu.1.15. (b) Faith, belief, pious faith.

4) Reverence, service, worship, homage.

5) Texture, arrangement; भवति विरलभक्तिर्म्लानपुष्पोपहारः (bhavati viralabhaktirmlānapuṣpopahāraḥ) R.5.74; मणिमरीचिरचितेन्द्रचापभक्तयः विद्याधरपतयः (maṇimarīciracitendracāpabhaktayaḥ vidyādharapatayaḥ) Nāg.5.

6) Decoration, ornament, embellishment; सुकृतेहामृगाकीर्णं सूत्कीर्णं भक्तिभिस्तथा (sukṛtehāmṛgākīrṇaṃ sūtkīrṇaṃ bhaktibhistathā) Rām.2.15.35; आबद्धमुक्ताफलभक्तिचित्रे (ābaddhamuktāphalabhakticitre) Ku.7.1,94; R.13.55.75;15.3. अधिरुह्य स वज्रभक्तिचित्रम् (adhiruhya sa vajrabhakticitram) (āsanam) Bu. Ch.5.44.

7) An attribute.

8) The being part of, belonging to.

9) A figurative sense, secondary sense; भक्त्या निष्क्रयवादः स्यात् (bhaktyā niṣkrayavādaḥ syāt) MS.4.4.28 (bhaktyā here seems to have been used as an indeclinable); cf. also MS.8.3.22.

1) Predisposition (of body to any disease).

 

Derivable forms: bhaktiḥ (भक्तिः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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