Narada Bhakti Movement with was from 15 century on
Narada is a famous sage who, is included in many of the ancient spiritual texts between 300 and 1000 CE. As the story has it, when the creator (Lord Brahma his father) made the universe he created individuals whose task as enlightened beings, was to serve humanity by demonstrating the divine path. He is thought to be one of these and is famous for his wisdom in the Hindu community. Narada is mentioned in various Hindi texts including the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and other mythologies. Narada was a teacher and believed in the importance of Dharma, as well as preached about “a god who encompasses in himself the fullness of Brahman”(Overfield). Narada is also known for being one of the greatest devotees of Vishnu, which is the “preserver” in the Hindu trinity. He is also contributed to the Purana and the N?radasm?ti which are used as part of Vaishnavism. All of the things he did was part of his service to humanity, as he was destined to write these various sutras. The Sutra was written sometime during the Bhakti Movement with was from 15 century on to 17th century. During the Gupta Age however Hindi reduced the divine personifications of Brahman into three: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. One of the yogas or, paths of selfless, god focused action is that of the devotion to Vishnu. Many low-cast and casteless people found this devotion to be very attractive as it “offered a promise of immediate liberation” (Overfield). Out of the three, Hindus widely adored Vishnu and Shiva where they became popular in Asia and adopted some Buddhist sects.(Overfield). Vishnu worshipers believed that Vishnu “had selflessly blessed and taught humanity on a number of critical occasions in descent from heaven”(Overfield). The Vishnu worshipers also provided a model of divine perfection when Lord Krishna made of great importance in the Bhagavad Gita(Overfield). As the development of Bhakti increased, Hinduism was able to challenge the primary religion of Buddhism, and by 1500 CE, “Buddhism, as a religion with an identity separate from Hinduism, had largely disappeared from the land of its origin”(Overfield). It was the Tamil religious teachers who taught about the devotion to Vishnu and Shiva that contributed to the disappearance(Overfield). As Hinduism expanded throughout India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were written and spread across india. Narada Bhakti Sutra is a an important text that contains details of the process of devotion. It begins by saying that “devotion consists of supreme love for god”and explains how one goes about doing so(Overfield) . Narada explains that one must give up worldly desires and pleasures if they wish to be complete with God. However God in this context may be misleading (Overfield). The author does not mean god as Jewish, christian or Muslim believe God to be. In this context “it means a god who encompasses in himself the fullness of Brahman-Divine Reality”(Overfield). Naradas also says that “devotion is itself its own fruit” implying that devotion is its own good karma (Overfield). Devotion is being completely absorbed in god, opposed to anything else but him. Narada also explains characteristics of devotion, which include dedication of all acts to god.In the given text, there is a lot of comparing and contrasting of devotion to the eyes of different people. Narada makes it very clear that his explanation of devotion is indeed the correct one. He says that Devotion “consists of immorality” which means that person can achieve Moksha and Brahma-Nirvana (Narada). Devotion is also described as needing no other qualifications other than the pursuing of Naradas teachings (Narada Bhakti Sutras). He writes that the characteristics of devotion from the view of Sage Vyasa, and of Sage Garga is different from Narada. Narada describes devotion as “dedication of all acts to God and the intense anguish when one slips from his absorption in God”(Narada). These sages describe it as the continuous desire for worship, and listening to stories(Overfield). Another example is when Narada says that some people say that knowledge alone is the means of acquiring devotion to God, and others think that knowledge and devotion are interdependent(Overfield). According to Narada and his text, “Devotional love is itself its end” meaning that those who desire salvation should “take to devotion alone”(Narada). Lastly he makes a claim that Compared to other paths, devotion is easiest and no proof is needed (Narada).Naradas Sutras are a very compelling and spiritually humbling. He writes these sutras as a way to serve humanity, offering liberation to people though this document is meant to freeing, it actually is quite hindering in my opinion. Narada is listing off all of the things that one must and must not do in hindu tradition. There is not much choice in how a devotee can act according to Narada. The rationale behind his argument is very forceful and set. When he talks about devotion, it is not vague or hard to understand. He gives a realistic image of perfection which is what worshiper was expected look like. His Bias is obviously for the perfection of Brahman. This bias can lead to either an enlightenment or a withdraw from the ideas of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It can be enlightenment for the loyal devotees as it can direct people towards the divine path. This text can also lead to withdraw because it requires a lot of dedication to devotion. I also think that it is interesting when he says that a devotee “should not get involved in discussions about God”(Narada). He claims that there is no finality about it. I feel like someone who is as devoted to god as he describes you should be, there needs to be some discussion about God among Buddhism and Hinduism.Around the time period this was written, there was a large identity crisis arising in India. Buddhist monasteries and festivals were an integral part of the cultural landscape of early fifth-century India. This all changed later when Buddhism was challenged by Hinduism, which led to a split in a previously integrated subject. The main factor to this change in culture, in the Hindu Renaissance during the Gupta Age(Overfield). This Renaissance was brought on by the Bhakti. The writing of Narada and his sutra, are directly linked. He and many other authors wrote these stories and poems which came about during the Gupta Age. This Period in history is one of the biggest features in Indian history (Kuthiala). As a result of more and more writings, there was a revival of Brahmanism. So Narada and his sutra is linked to the Hindu Renaissance.