Devotional Paths

NCERT Solution

Fill in the blanks:

  1. Shankara was an advocate of ____.

    Answer: Advaita
  2. Ramanuja was influenced by the _____.

    Answer: Alvars
  3. _____, __________ and _______ were advocates of Virashaivism

    Answer: Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi
  4. ______ was an important centre of the Bhakti tradition in Maharashtra.

    Answer: Pandharpur

Match Columns

Column IColumn II
(1) The Buddha(a) Namghar
(2) Shankaradeva(b) Worship of Vishnu
(3) Nizamuddin Auliya(c) Questioned social differnces
(4) Nayanars(d) Sufi saint
(5) Alvars(e) Worship of Shiva

Answer: 1-c, 2-a, 3-d, 4-e, 5-b

Answer the following questions

Describe the beliefs and practices of the Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis.

Answer: They advocated renunciation of the world. According to them, the path to salvation lay in meditation on the formless Ultimate Reality and the realization of oneness with it. For putting their ideas into practice, they suggested intense training of the mind and body through practices; like yogasanas, breathing exercises and mediation.

What were the major ideas expressed by Kabir? How did he express them?

Answer: Kabir’s teachings were based on vehement rejection of major religious traditions and openly ridiculed all forms of external worship of both Brahmanical Hinduism and Islam, the pre-eminence of the priestly classes and the caste system. He believed in formless Supreme God and preached that bhakti or devotion was the only path to salvation. He expressed his ideas through vast collection of verses called sakhis and pads. These are said to have been composed by him and sung by wandering bhajan singers. His language in poetry was spoken Hindi that was widely understood but he sometimes also used cryptic language that was difficult to follow.

What were the major beliefs and practices of the Sufis?

Answer: They rejected outward religiosity, elaborate rituals and codes of behavior demanded by Muslim religious scholars. They also, like the Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis, believed that the heart can be trained to look at the world in a different way. They advocated devotion to God, union with God just like a lover seeks his beloved with a disregard for the world and compassion towards all fellow human beings Their practices were: Zikr(chanting of a name or sacred formula), Contemplation, Sama(singing), Raqs(dancing), Discussion of parables, Breath control, etc.

Why do you think many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices?

Answer: Because the existing beliefs and practices were very orthodox in nature. They also favoured the upper castes and looked down upon the lower castes. They were against the spirit of equality.

What were the major teachings of Baba Guru Nanak?

Answer: He emphasized the importance of worshipping one God and also that for attaining liberation, caste, creed or gender was irrelevant. His idea of liberation was not that of a state of inert bliss but that of pursuit of active li8fe with a strong social commitment. The essence of his teachings used words like nam, dan and isnan which meant right worship, welfare of others and purity of conduct. His teachings are now remembered as nam-japna, kirt-karna and vand-chhakna. These also underline the importance of right belief and worship, honest living, and helping people.

For either the Virashaivas or the sants of Maharashtra, discuss their attitude towards caste.

Answer: The Virashaivas strongly argued for equality of all human beings. They were against Brahmanical ideas about caste.

Why do you think ordinary people preserved the memory of Mirabai?

Answer: Since Mirabai’s songs openly challenged the existing norms of the ‘upper castes’, ordinary people could relate to them. Hence they preserved her memory.

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