The Bhakti movement in India took place as an effort to inculcate loving devotion and belief in God. The Bhakti movement in India aimed at the principle of monotheism, i.e. existence of one God. It started in the South of India and slowly spread to the north of India. This happened during the later half of the medieval period in the history of India (800-1700 A.D). The real essence of Bhakti is found in the great epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Vedic scriptures also talk about the concept of pure devotion of God.
Many saints and devotional preachers led the Bhakti movement in
different parts of the country. In south, around 63 Nayanars or Shaivite
devotees organized and led the movement. They believed in the fact that
true knowledge can be achieved only through selfless devotion and
worship of the Supreme Power. The Bhakti movement of the Vaishnavaites
and that of the Shaiva were simultaneous and started almost together.
The Bhakti movements started then, have left an indelible mark in human
beliefs and faiths.
The Bhakti movement started the trend of elaborate rituals in worship
places. Devotional hymns in Temples, Qawalli in Mosques, Gurbani in
Gurudwaras, etc. all came from the Bhakti movement. Chanting or taking
the name of God was considered essential by many saints including the
great Adi Shankaracharya. The significance of Bhakti movement was that
it could be accessed by anyone, since all it needed was to remember God
with full devotion and love.
The esteemed philosophical schools only changed the thoughts, but the
Bhakti movement changed the entire perspective of a human. It went
beyond artificial beliefs and rituals and encouraged people to have just
complete faith in Almighty. The Bhakti movement in India gave a rich
collection of literature based on devotion, spirituality, faith and
numerous devotional hymns and chants.