Topic outline

    • Devotional Paths to the Divine

      Q21. Who were the followers of Baba Guru Nanak?

      Ans. His followers belonged to a number of castes but traders, agriculturists, artisans and craftsmen predominated.


      Q22. Who was Jalaluddin Rumi?

      Ans. Jalaluddin Rumi was a great thirteenth-century Sufi poet from Iran who wrote in Persian.


      Q23. Who initiated Virashaiva movement?

      Ans. Virashaiva movement was initiated by Basavanna and his companions like Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi.


      Q24. Name the compositions of Surdas which express his devotion?

      Ans.  Surdas was an ardent devotee of Krishna. His compositions, compiled in the Sursagara, Surasaravali and Sahitya Lahari, express his devotion.

      Q25. Why did the Mughal emperor Jahangir order the execution of Guru Aijan in 1606?

      Ans. The Mughal emperor Jahangir looked upon them as a potential threat and he ordered the execution of Guru Arjan in 1606.


      Q26. What did the terms ‘nam’, ‘dan’ and ‘isnan’ mean?

      Ans.  Guru Nanak used the terms nam, dan and isnan for the essence of his teaching, which actually meant right worship, welfare of others and purity of conduct.


      Q27. Who was Ramanuja?

      Ans. Ramanuja, born in Tamil Nadu in the eleventh century, was deeply influenced by the Alvars. According to him the best means of attaining salvation was through intense devotion to Vishnu.


      Q28. To whom did Baba Guru Nanak appoint as his successor?

      Ans. Before his death in 1539, Guru Nanak appointed one of his followers as his successor. His name was Lehna but he came to be known as Guru Angad, signifying that he was a part of Guru Nanak himself.

      Q29. Why do you think many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices?

      Ans. Many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices because such beliefs advocated ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth.


      Q30. What do you know about Shankaradeva?

      Ans. Shankaradeva of Assam (late fifteenth century) emphasised devotion to Vishnu, and composed poems and plays in Assamese. He began the practice of setting up namghars or houses of recitation and prayer, a practice that continues to date.


      Q31. How did Khalsa Panth emerge?

      Ans. The Sikh movement began to get politicized in the seventeenth century, a development which culminated in the institution of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. The community of the Sikhs, called the Khalsa Panth, became a political entity.


      Q32. Why do you think ordinary people preserved the memory of Mirabai?

      Ans. Mirabai was devoted to Krishna and composed innumerable bhajans expressing her intense devotion. Her songs also openly challenged the norms of the “upper” castes and became popular with the masses and were handed down orally from generation to generation.

      Q33. How Chola and Pandya kings contributed for the growth of the Bhakti movement?

      Ans. Between the tenth and twelfth centuries the Chola and Pandya kings built elaborate temples around many of the shrines visited by the saint-poets, strengthening the links between the bhakti tradition and temple worship.


      Q34. What were the teachings of the saints of Maharashtra?

      Ans.  These saints rejected all forms of ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth. In fact they even rejected the idea of renunciation and preferred to live with their families, earning their livelihood like any other person, while humbly serving fellow human beings in need.


      Q35. For either the Virashaivas or the saints of Maharashtra, discuss their attitude towards caste.

      Ans. The Virashaivas argued strongly for the equality of all human beings and against Brahmanical ideas about caste and the treatment of women. Saint of Maharashtra rejected all forms of ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth.


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