Bhakti Movements: Dharma is a path of being and becoming. Divorced from this path, it gets overwhelmed by rituals, sacrifices and gets dominated by priesthood. Our existence and progress falls in trap and then we see incarnation of some realized people in whom we get glimpses of that Almighty. Basavanna, Kabir and Meera Bai are such glorious personalities.
Basavanna is a Kannada born mystic poet. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva. His Guru was Sangameswara who was the first person to see potential of greatness in young Basavanna, after all he was a product of long practiced self discipline and religious austerities by his parents. Though he belonged from a Brahmin family, he fought against some so called rituals which were very important to carry out by a brahmin boy. He never let himself get carried away by orthodox rules, he rather tried to see and explore meanings behind those rituals and practiced what seemed right and reasonable to him. He was guided by pure feelings of love and not by ritualistic pomp and show devoid of meaning and devotion. He tried to remove prejudices and misconceptions and preach the meaning of real love for God through his poems and writings. He said, Ida, Pingala and Shushumna are three rivers within our bodies. These three meets at the “Ajna Chakra”(the third eye chakra) which is the abode of Lord Shiva. We must seek Him within us.
Kabir Saheb is another such great saint from Varanasi. He was one of the very influential singer poet of Bhakti cult. His followers were from every culture, religion or domain. Mass people of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh were his disciples. He was a unifying factor of all differences. He discarded ritualism orthodoxy and was honored and respected by one and all. And thus he became another prominent figure of the Bhakti movement.
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” — Kabir
Meera Bai had ardent love for Lord Krishna. She belonged to Rajasthan was married and widowed in an early age. And at those time, she refused to be a ‘sati’ because she believed her husband was Lord Krishna and he’s eternally present. She was miraculously saved from several murder attempts by her in- laws as mentioned in her songs. She was obsessed and concentric in the thoughts of her “dark one” without whom her life was meaningless and purposeless. She left to Dwarka, met many saints in Vrindavan and her life journey became an example of “Prema Bhakti” which was a lesson to all mankind.
“The Great Dancer is my husband,” Mira says, “rain washes off all the other colors.”
― Mirabai: For Love Of The Dark Ones: Songs Of Mirabai
All Bhakti movement saints had one thing in common. They believed in the power of prayer, they believed more in the purity of thoughts rather than the purity of body. They removed the artificiality from Dharma, and showed us that God is not only present in the Mandirs and Masjids, they are inside us, awaiting to awakened by our own daily practices, thoughts and actions. Love is the only thing that awakens the God in us. And thus the Bhakti movement was an awakening era for the people who restricted Dharma in only rituals and idols.