Bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति) literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, piety". In Hinduism, it refers to devotion to, and love for, a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga.
Bhakti in Indian religions is "emotional devotionalism", particularly to a personal god or to spiritual ideas. The term also refers to a movement, pioneered by Alvars and Nayanars, that developed around the gods Vishnu (Vaishnavism), Shiva (Shaivism) and Devi (Shaktism) in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. It grew rapidly in India after the 12th century in the various Hindu traditions, possibly in response to the arrival of Islam in India.
Bhakti ideas have inspired many popular texts and saint-poets in India. The Bhagavata Purana, for example, is a Krishna-related text associated with the Bhakti movement in Hinduism. Bhakti is also found in other religions practiced in India, and it has influenced interactions between Christianity and Hinduism in the modern era. Nirguni bhakti (devotion to the divine without attributes) is found in Sikhism, as well as Hinduism. Outside India, emotional devotion is found in some Southeast Asian and East Asian Buddhist traditions, and it is sometimes referred to as Bhatti.
- 1 Terminology
- 2 History
- 3 Types and classifications
- 4 Related practices in other world religions
- 5 Culture
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
|Part of a series on|
The Sanskrit word bhakti is derived from the verb root bhaj-, which means "to divide, to share, to partake, to participate, to belong to". The word also means "attachment, devotion to, fondness for, homage, faith or love, worship, piety to something as a spiritual, religious principle or means of salvation".
The meaning of the term Bhakti is analogous to but different from Kama. Kama connotes emotional connection, sometimes with sensual devotion and erotic love. Bhakti, in contrast, is spiritual, a love and devotion to religious concepts or principles, that engages both emotion and intellection. Karen Pechelis states that the word Bhakti should not be understood as uncritical emotion, but as committed engagement. She adds that, in the concept of bhakti in Hinduism, the engagement involves a simultaneous tension between emotion and intellection, "emotion to reaffirm the social context and temporal freedom, intellection to ground the experience in a thoughtful, conscious approach". One who practices bhakti is called a bhakta.
The term bhakti, in Vedic Sanskrit literature, has a general meaning of "mutual attachment, devotion, fondness for, devotion to" such as in human relationships, most often between beloved-lover, friend-friend, king-subject, parent-child. It may refer to devotion towards a spiritual teacher (Guru) as guru-bhakti, or to a personal god, or for spirituality without form (nirguna).
According to the Sri Lankan Buddhist scholar Sanath Nanayakkara, there is no single term in English that adequately translates or represents the concept of bhakti in Indian religions. Terms such as "devotion, faith, devotional faith" represent certain aspects of bhakti, but it means much more. The concept includes a sense of deep affection, attachment, but not wish because "wish is selfish, affection is unselfish". Some scholars, states Nanayakkara, associate it with saddha (Sanskrit: Sraddha) which means "faith, trust or confidence". However, bhakti can connote an end in itself, or a path to spiritual wisdom.
The term Bhakti refers to one of several alternate spiritual paths to moksha (spiritual freedom, liberation, salvation) in Hinduism, and it is referred to as bhakti marga or bhakti yoga. The other paths are Jnana marga (path of knowledge), Karma marga (path of works), Rāja marga (path of contemplation and meditation).
The term bhakti has been usually translated as "devotion" in Orientalist literature. The colonial era authors variously described Bhakti as a form of mysticism or "primitive" religious devotion of lay people with monotheistic parallels. However, modern scholars state "devotion" is a misleading and incomplete translation of bhakti. Many contemporary scholars have questioned this terminology, and most now trace the term bhakti as one of the several spiritual perspectives that emerged from reflections on the Vedic context and Hindu way of life. Bhakti in Indian religions is not a ritualistic devotion to a god or to religion, but participation in a path that includes behavior, ethics, mores and spirituality. It involves, among other things, refining one's state of mind, knowing god, participating in god, and internalizing god. Increasingly, instead of "devotion", the term "participation" is appearing in scholarly literature as a gloss for the term bhakti.
David Lorenzen states that bhakti is an important term in Sikhism and Hinduism. They both share numerous concepts and core spiritual ideas, but bhakti of nirguni (devotion to divine without attributes) is particularly significant in Sikhism. In Hinduism, diverse ideas continue, where both saguni and nirguni bhakti (devotion to divine with or without attributes) or alternate paths to spirituality are among the options left to the choice of a Hindu.
|Part of a series on|
|Part of a series on|
The last of three epilogue verses of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, dated to be from 1st millennium BCE, uses the word Bhakti as follows,
यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ ।
तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः ॥ २३ ॥
He who has highest Bhakti of Deva (God),
just like his Deva, so for his Guru (teacher),
To him who is high-minded,
these teachings will be illuminating.
This verse is one of the earliest use of the word Bhakti in ancient Indian literature, and has been translated as "the love of God". Scholars have debated whether this phrase is authentic or later insertion into the Upanishad, and whether the terms "Bhakti" and "Deva" meant the same in this ancient text as they do in the modern era. Max Muller states that the word Bhakti appears only once in this Upanishad, that too in one last verse of the epilogue, could have been a later addition and may not be theistic as the word was later used in much later Sandilya Sutras. Grierson as well as Carus note that the first epilogue verse 6.21 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad is also notable for its use of the word Deva Prasada (देवप्रसाद, grace or gift of God), but add that Deva in the epilogue of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad refers to "pantheistic Brahman" and the closing credit to sage Shvetashvatara in verse 6.21 can mean "gift or grace of his Soul".
Scholarly consensus sees bhakti as a post-Vedic movement that developed primarily during the Epics and Puranas era of Indian history. The Bhagavad Gita is the first text to explicitly use the word "bhakti" to designate a religious path, using it as a term for one of three possible religious approaches. The Bhagavata Purana develops the idea more elaborately, while the Shvetashvatara Upanishad presents evidence of guru-bhakti (devotion to one's spiritual teacher).
The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti, first starting in the later part of 1st millennium CE, from Tamil Nadu in Southern India with the Saiva Nayanars and the Vaisnava Alvars. Their ideas and practices inspired bhakti poetry and devotion throughout India over the 12th-18th century CE. The Alvars ("those immersed in God") were Vaishnava poet-saints who wandered from temple to temple singing the praises of Vishnu. They established temple sites (Srirangam is one) and converted many people to Vaishnavism.
Like the Alvars the Saiva Nayanar poets were influential. The Tirumurai, a compilation of hymns by sixty-three Nayanar poets, is still of great importance in South India. Hymns by three of the most prominent poets, Appar (7th century CE), Campantar (7th century) and Sundarar (9th century), were compiled into the Tevaram, the first volumes of the Tirumurai. The poets' itinerant lifestyle helped create temple and pilgrimage sites and spread devotion to Shiva. Early Tamil-Siva bhakti poets are quoted the Black Yajurveda. The Alwars and Nayanars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition. The Bhagavata Purana's references to the South Indian Alvar saints, along with its emphasis on bhakti, have led many scholars to give it South Indian origins, though some scholars question whether this evidence excludes the possibility that bhakti movement had parallel developments in other parts of India.
Scholars state that the bhakti movement focused on the gods Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and other deities, that developed and spread in India, was in response to the arrival of Islam in India about 8th century CE, and subsequent religious violence. This view is contested by other scholars.
The Bhakti movement swept over east and north India from the fifteenth-century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE. Bhakti poetry and ideas influenced many aspects of Hindu culture, religious and secular, and became an integral part of Indian society. It extended its influence to Sufism, Christianity, and Jainism. Sikhism was founded by Nanak in the 15th century, during the bhakti movement period, and scholars call it a Bhakti sect of Indian traditions.
The movement has traditionally been considered as an influential social reformation in Hinduism, and provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one's birth caste or gender. Postmodern scholars question this traditional view and whether the Bhakti movement were ever a social reform or rebellion of any kind. They suggest Bhakti movement was a revival, reworking and recontextualization of ancient Vedic traditions.
Types and classifications
The Bhagavad Gita, variously dated to have been composed in 5th to 2nd century BCE, introduces bhakti yoga in combination with karma yoga and jnana yoga, while the Bhagavata Purana expands on bhakti yoga, offering nine specific activities for the bhakti yogi. Bhakti in the Bhagavad Gita offered an alternative to two dominant practices of religion at the time: the isolation of the sannyasin and the practice of religious ritual. Bhakti Yoga is described by Swami Vivekananda as "the path of systematized devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute". In various chapters, including the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna describes bhakti yoga as one of the paths to the highest spiritual attainments. In the sixth chapter, for example, the Gita states the following about bhakti yogin,
The yogin who, established in oneness, Honors Me as abiding in all beings,
In whatever way he otherwise acts, Dwells in Me.
He who sees equality in everything, In the image of his own Self, Arjuna,
Whether in pleasure or in pain, Is thought to be a supreme yogin.
Of all yogins, He who has merged his inner Self in Me,
Honors me, full of faith, Is thought to be the most devoted to Me.— Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga of Meditation, VI.31-VI.32, VI.47
Shandilya and Narada produced two important Bhakti texts, the Shandilya Bhakti Sutra and Narada Bhakti Sutra. They define devotion, emphasize its importance and superiority, and classify its forms.
According to Ramana Maharishi, states David Frawley, bhakti is a "surrender to the divine with one's heart". It can be practiced as an adjunct to self-inquiry, and in one of four ways:
- Atma-Bhakti: devotion to the one's atma (Supreme Self)
- Ishvara-Bhakti: devotion to a formless being (God, Cosmic Lord)
- Ishta Devata-Bhakti: devotion to a personal god or goddess
- Guru-Bhakti: devotion to Guru
The Navaratnamalika (garland of nine gems), nine forms of bhakti are listed: (1) śravaṇa (listening to ancient texts), (2) kīrtana (praying), (3) smaraṇa (remembering teachings in ancient texts), (4) pāda-sevana (service to the feet), (5) archana (worshiping), (6) namaskar or vandana (bowing to the divine), (7) dāsya (service to the divine), (8) sākhyatva (friendship with the divine), and (9) ātma-nivedana (self-surrender to the divine).
Traditional Hinduism speaks of five different bhāvas or "affective essences". In this sense, bhāvas are different attitudes that a devotee takes according to his individual temperament to express his devotion towards God in some form. The different bhāvas are:
- śānta, placid love for God;
- dāsya, the attitude of a servant;
- sakhya, the attitude of a friend;
- vātsalya, the attitude of a mother towards her child;
- madhura, the attitude of a woman towards her lover.
Several saints are known to have practiced these bhavas. The nineteenth century mystic, Ramakrishna is said to have practiced these five bhavas. The attitude of Hanuman towards lord Rama is considered to be of dasya bhava. The attitude of Arjuna and the shepherd boys of Vrindavan towards Krishna is regarded as sakhya bhava. The attitude of Radha towards Krishna is regarded as madhura bhava. The attitude of Yashoda, who looked after Krishna during his childhood is regarded as vatsalya bhava. Caitanya-caritamrta mentions that Mahaprabhu came to distribute the four spiritual sentiments of Vraja loka: dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and sringara. Sringara is the relationship of the intimate love.
Related practices in other world religions
Devotionalism, similar to Bhakti, states Michael Pasquier, has been a common form of religious activity in world religions throughout human history. It is found in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.
Bhakti (called bhatti in Pali language) has been a common aspect of Buddhism, where offerings and group prayers are made to images such the images of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, or to deities such as wrathful deities. Karel Werner notes that Bhakti has been a significant practice in Theravada Buddhism, and states, "there can be no doubt that deep devotion or bhakti / bhatti does exist in Buddhism and that it had its beginnings in the earliest days".
According to Sri Lankan scholar Indumathie Karunaratna, the meaning of bhatti changed throughout Buddhist history, however. In early Buddhism, such as in the text Theragāthā, bhatti had the meaning of 'faithful adherence to the [Buddhist] religion', and was accompanied with knowledge. In later text tradition, however, the term developed the meaning of an advanced form of emotional devotion. Examples of the latter include the veneration of Buddha Amitabha and those in the Saddharmapundrarika Sutra. This changed the meaning of Buddhist devotion to a more person-centered sense, similar to a theist sense used in Hindu scriptures. This sense of devotion was no longer connected with a belief in a religious system, and had little place for doubt, contradicting the early Buddhist concept of saddhā. Saddhā did not exclude reasonable doubt on the spiritual path, and was a step in reaching the final aim of developing wisdom, not an end in itself.
In early Buddhism, states Sanath Nanayakkara, the concept of taking refuge to the Buddha had the meaning of taking the Buddha as an ideal to live by, rather than the later sense of self-surrender. But already in the Commentary to the Abhidhamma text Puggalapaññatti, it is mentioned that the Buddhist devotee should develop his saddhā until it becomes bhaddi, a sense not mentioned in earlier texts and probably influenced by the Hindu idea of bhakti. There are instances where commentator Buddhaghosa mentions taking refuge in the Buddha in the sense of mere adoration, indicating a historical shift in meaning. Similar developments took place with regard to the term puja (honor) and the role of the Buddha image. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the doctrine of the trikāya (three bodies) and the devotion towards Bodhisattvas all indicating a shift of emphasis toward devotion as a central concept in later Buddhism.
In later faith-oriented literature, such as the Avadānas, faith is given an important role in Buddhist doctrine. Nevertheless, faith (śraddhā) is discussed in different contexts than devotion (bhakti). Bhakti is often used disparagingly to describe acts of worship to deities, often seen as ineffective and improper for a Buddhist. Also, bhakti is clearly connected with a person as an object, whereas śraddhā is less connected with a person, and is more connected with truthfulness and truth. Śraddhā focuses on ideas such as the working of karma and merit transfer.
Nevertheless, affective devotion is an important part of Buddhist practice, not only in Mahāyāna Buddhism. According to Winston King, a scholar on Theravāda Buddhism in Myanmar, "warm, personalized, emotional" bhakti has been a part of the Burmese Buddhist tradition apart from the monastic and lay intellectuals. The Buddha is treasured by the everyday devout Buddhist, just like Catholics treasure Jesus. The orthodox teachers tend to restrain the devotion to the Buddha, but to the devout Buddhist populace, "a very deeply devotional quality" was and remains a part of the actual practice. This is observable, states King, in "multitudes of pagoda worshippers of the Buddha images" and the offerings they make before the image and nowhere else. Another example is the worship of the Bodhisattvas and various deities in Tibetan and other traditions of Buddhism, including the so-called wrathful deities.
Jainism participated in the Bhakti school of medieval India, and has a rich tradition of bhakti literature (stavan) though these have been less studied than those of the Hindu tradition. The Avasyaka sutra of Jains includes, among ethical duties for the devotee, the recitation of "hymns of praise to the Tirthankaras" as the second Obligatory Action. It explains this bhakti as one of the means to destroy negative karma. According to Paul Dundas, such textual references to devotional activity suggests that bhakti was a necessary part of Jainism from an early period.
According to Jeffery Long, along with its strong focus on ethics and ascetic practices, the religiosity in Jainism has had a strong tradition of bhakti or devotion just like their Hindu neighbors. The Jain community built ornate temples and prided in public devotion for its fordmakers, saints and teachers. Abhisekha, festival prayers, community recitals and Murti puja (rituals before an image) are examples of integrated bhakti in Jain practice.
"Bhakthi" is also used as a unisex name.[relevant? ]
- Novena – devotional worship to the icon of Mary, Christ or a saint in Christianity over nine successive days or weeks
- Kavanah – intention, devotion during prayer in Judaism
- See Monier-Williams, Sanskrit Dictionary, 1899.
- Bhakti, Encyclopædia Britannica (2009)
- Karen Pechelis (2011), "Bhakti Traditions", in The Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies (Editors: Jessica Frazier, Gavin Flood), Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-0826499660, pages 107-121
- John Lochtefeld (2014), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing (New York), ISBN 978-0823922871, pages 98-100. Also see articles on bhaktimārga and jnanamārga.
- Hans G. Kippenberg; Yme B. Kuiper; Andy F. Sanders (1990). Concepts of Person in Religion and Thought. Walter de Gruyter. p. 295. ISBN 978-3-11-087437-2., Quote: "The foundations of emotional devotionalism (bhakti) were laid in south India in the second half of the first millennium of our era (...)".
- Indira Viswanathan Peterson (2014). Poems to Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints. Princeton University Press. pp. 4, footnote 4. ISBN 978-1-4008-6006-7.
- Rinehart, Robin (2004). Contemporary Hinduism: Ritual, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-57607-905-8.
- Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0.
- Embree, Ainslie Thomas; Stephen N. Hay; William Theodore De Bary (1988). Sources of Indian Tradition. Columbia University Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-231-06651-8.
- Jerry Bentley, Old World Encounters: Cross Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 120.
- Cutler, Norman (1987). Songs of Experience. Indiana University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-253-35334-4.
- Flood, Gavin D. (2003). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6.
- Neill, Stephen (2002). A History of Christianity in India, 1707–1858. Cambridge University Press. p. 412. ISBN 978-0-521-89332-9.
- Kelting, Mary Whitney (2001). Singing to the Jinas: Jain Laywomen, Maṇḍaḷ Singing, and the Negotiations of Jain Devotion. Oxford University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-19-514011-8.
- A. Frank Thompson (1993), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters (Editor: Harold Coward), Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 978-8120811584, pages 176-186
- Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, see Introduction chapter
- David Lorenzen (1995), Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791420256, pages 1-2
- Hardip Syan (2014), in The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies (Editors: Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199699308, page 178
- Donald Swearer (2003), Buddhism in the Modern World: Adaptations of an Ancient Tradition (Editors: Heine and Prebish), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195146981, pages 9-25
- Karel Werner (1995), Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700702350, pages 45-46
- Karunaratna, Indumathie (2000). "Devotion". In Malalasekera, Gunapala Piyasena. Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. IV. Government of Ceylon. p. 435.
- Pechilis Prentiss, Karen (1999). The Embodiment of Bhakti. US: Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-19-512813-0.
- Werner, Karel (1993). Love Divine: studies in bhakti and devotional mysticism. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7007-0235-0.
- bhakti Sanskrit English Dictionary, University of Koeln, Germany
- Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 19-21
- Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, page 3
- Sivananda, Swami (2004). Guru Bhakti Yoga. Divine Life Society. ISBN 81-7052-168-8.
- Vivekananda, Swami (1970). The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Advaita Ashrama. p. 62.
- Neusner, Jacob (2003). World religions in America: an introduction. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-664-22475-X.
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, page 21
- Nanayakkara 1966, pp. 678–80.
- John Martin Sahajananda (2014), Fully Human Fully Divine, Partridge India, ISBN 978-1482819557, page 60
- Klostermaier, Klaus (1989). A survey of Hinduism. SUNY Press. pp. 210–212. ISBN 978-0-88706-807-2.
- Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 14-15, 37-38
- KN Tiwari (2009), Comparative Religion, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802933, page 31
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 15-24
- Paul Carus, The Monist at Google Books, pages 514-515
- DG Mandelbaum (1966), Transcendental and Pragmatic Aspects of Religion, American Anthropologist, 68(5), pages 1174–1191
- DC Scott (1980), Hindu and Christian Bhakti: A Common Human Response to the Sacred, Indian Journal of Theology, 29(1), pages 12-32
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 23-24
- Lindsay Jones, ed. (2005). Gale Encyclopedia of Religion. Volume 2. Thompson Gale. pp. 856–857. ISBN 0-02-865735-7.
- A Mandair (2011), Time and religion-making in modern Sikhism, in Time, History and the Religious Imaginary in South Asia (Editor: Anne Murphy), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415595971, page 188-190
- Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.23 Wikisource
- Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, page 326
- Max Muller, Shvetashvatara Upanishad, The Upanishads, Part II, Oxford University Press, page 267
- WN Brown (1970), Man in the Universe: Some Continuities in Indian Thought, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520017498, pages 38-39
- Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 301-304
- Max Muller, The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Oxford University Press, pages xxxii – xlii
- Max Muller, The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Oxford University Press, pages xxxiv and xxxvii
- "Scholarly consensus today tends to view bhakti as a post-Vedic development that took place primarily in the watershed years of the epics and Puranas." Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, page 17
- Monier Monier-Williams; Ernst Leumann (1899). A Sanskrit-English dictionary, etymologically and philologically arranged : with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages (new ed.). Oxford: Clarendon. OCLC 152275976.
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, page 5
- Singh, R. Raj (2006). Bhakti and philosophy. Lexington Books. p. 28. ISBN 0-7391-1424-7.
- SM Pandey (1965), Mīrābāī and Her Contributions to the Bhakti Movement, History of Religions, Vol. 5, No. 1, pages 54-73
- Olson, Carl (2007). The many colors of Hinduism: a thematic-historical introduction. Rutgers University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-8135-4068-9.
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 17-18
- Sheridan, Daniel (1986). The Advaitic Theism of the Bhagavata Purana. Columbia, Mo: South Asia Books. ISBN 81-208-0179-2.
- van Buitenen, J. A. B (1996). "The Archaism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa". In S.S Shashi. Encyclopedia Indica. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. pp. 28–45. ISBN 978-81-7041-859-7.
- Note: The earliest arrival dates are contested by scholars. They range from 7th to 9th century, with Muslim traders settling in coastal regions of Indian peninsula, to Muslims seeking asylum in Tamil Nadu, to raids in northwest India by Muhammad bin Qasim. See: Annemarie Schimmel (1997), Islam in the Indian subcontinent, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004061170, pages 3-7; Andre Wink (2004), Al-Hind: the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 90-04-09249-8
- John Stratton Hawley (2015), A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674187467, pages 39-61
- Karine Schomer and WH McLeod (1987), The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802773, pages 1-2
- Flood, Gavin D. (2003). The Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6.
- W. Owen Cole and Piara Singh Sambhi (1997), A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism: Sikh Religion and Philosophy, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700710485, page 22
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 10-16
- Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 15-16
- JD Fowler (2012), The Bhagavad Gita: A Text and Commentary for Students, Sussex Academy Press, ISBN 978-1-84519-520-5, see Foreword
- Minor, Robert Neil (1986). Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavadgita. SUNY Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-88706-297-1.
- Glucklich, Ariel (2008). The Strides of Vishnu. Oxford University Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-19-531405-2.
- Bryant, p. 117.
- Prentiss, p. 19.
- Sundararajan, K. R.; Bithika Mukerji (2003). Hindu Spirituality. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 306. ISBN 978-81-208-1937-5.
- Jacobsen, Knut A., ed. (2005). Theory And Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 351. ISBN 90-04-14757-8.
- Christopher Key Chapple (Editor) and Winthrop Sargeant (Translator), The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1438428420, pages 302-303, 318
- Georg Feuerstein; Ken Wilber (2002). The Yoga Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 55. ISBN 978-81-208-1923-8.
- Swami Vivekananda (2006). "Bhakti Yoga". In Amiya P Sen. The indispensable Vivekananda. Orient Blackswan. p. 212. ISBN 978-81-7824-130-2.
- Bary, William Theodore De; Stephen N Hay (1988). "Hinduism". Sources of Indian Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 330. ISBN 978-81-208-0467-8.
- Frawley 2000, p. 133.
- Vijaya Moorthy (2001), Romance of the Raga, Abhinav, ISBN 978-8170173823, pages 72-73
- Ellen Koskoff (2013), The Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415994040, pages 992-993
- Haberman, David L. (2001). Acting as a Way of Salvation. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-81-208-1794-4.
- Bhagavata Purana, 7.5.23-24
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (December 28, 2007). Other Asias. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 197.
- Allport, Gordon W.; Swami Akhilananda (1999). "Its meaning for the West". Hindu Psychology. Routledge. p. 180.
- Isherwood, Christopher (1980). Ramakrishna and his disciples. Vedanta Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-0-87481-037-0.
- Sarma, Subrahmanya (1971). Essence of Hinduism. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 68.
- Sharma, Hari Dutt (1999). Glory of Spiritual India. Pustak Mahal. pp. 95–96. ISBN 978-81-223-0439-8.
- Devanand, G.K. Teaching of Yoga. APH Publishing. p. 74.
- Michael Pasquier (2011), The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-1405157629, See article on Devotionalism and Devotional Literature, doi:10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0417
- L. D. Nelson and Russell R. Dynes (1976), The Impact of Devotionalism and Attendance on Ordinary and Emergency Helping Behavior, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 15, No. 1, pages 47-59
- GJ Larson, India's Agony Over Religion: Confronting Diversity in Teacher Education, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2411-7, page 116
- Roxanne Leslie Euben and Muhammad Qasim Zaman (2009), Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691135885, pages 21-23
- Minoru Kiyota (1985), Tathāgatagarbha Thought: A Basis of Buddhist Devotionalism in East Asia, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2/3, pages 207-231
- Pori Park (2012), Devotionalism Reclaimed: Re-mapping Sacred Geography in Contemporary Korean Buddhism, Journal of Korean Religions, Vol. 3, No. 2, pages 153-171
- Allan Andrews (1993), Lay and Monastic Forms of Pure Land Devotionalism: Typology and History, Numen, Vol. 40, No. 1, pages 16-37
- Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo (1998), The Evolution of Marian Devotionalism within Christianity and the Ibero-Mediterranean Polity, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 37, No. 1, pages 50-73
- Karen Pechelis (2011), The Bloomsbury Companion to Hindu Studies (Editor: Jessica Frazier), Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1472511515, pages 109-112
- Louise Child (2016). Tantric Buddhism and Altered States of Consciousness: Durkheim, Emotional Energy and Visions of the Consort. Routledge. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-1-317-04677-6.
- Karunaratna, Indumathie (2000). "Devotion". In Malalasekera, Gunapala Piyasena. Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. IV. Government of Ceylon. pp. 435–7.
- Nanayakkara 1966, p. 678.
- Jayatilleke, K.N. (1963). Early Buddhist theory of knowledge (PDF). George Allen & Unwin. p. 384. ISBN 1-134-54287-9.
- Nanayakkara 1966, p. 679.
- Nanayakkara 1966, pp. 679–81.
- Rotman, Andy (2008). "Getting and Giving". Thus Have I Seen: Visualizing Faith in Early Indian Buddhism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-045117-2.
- Winston Lee King (1964). A thousand lives away: Buddhism in contemporary Burma. Harvard University Press. pp. 173–176.
- Gokhale, Balkrishna Govind (1981). "Bhakti in Early Buddhism". In Lele, J. Tradition and modernity in Bhakti movements. 31. Brill Archive.
- John Cort, Jains in the World : Religious Values and Ideology in India, Oxford University Press, ISBN, pages 64-68, 86-90, 100-112
- M. Whitney Kelting (2001). Singing to the Jinas: Jain Laywomen, Mandal Singing, and the Negotiations of Jain Devotion. Oxford University Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-0-19-803211-3.
- Paul Dundas (2003). The Jains. Routledge. pp. 170–171. ISBN 978-0-415-26605-5.
- Jeffery D Long (2013). Jainism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 111–114. ISBN 978-0-85771-392-6.
- Sherry Fohr (2015). Jainism: A Guide for the Perplexed. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 91–102. ISBN 978-1-4742-2755-1.
- Lisa Owen (2012). Carving Devotion in the Jain Caves at Ellora. BRILL Academic. pp. xii, 2, 12–13, 117–126. ISBN 90-04-20629-9.
- Swami Chinmayananda, Love Divine – Narada Bhakti Sutra, Chinmaya Publications Trust, Madras, 1970
- Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1990
- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam (12 Cantos), The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust,2004
- Steven J. Rosen, The Yoga of Kirtan: conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting (New York: FOLK Books, 2008)
- Bhakti Poets: A History of Bhakti by Doris Jakobsh
- The full text of the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad-Bhagavatam)
- English Translation of Narada Bhakti Sutra
- Hindu and Christian Bhakti: A Common Human Response to the Sacred, DC Scott (1980), Indian Journal of Theology, 29(1), pages12-32
- Author and authority in the Bhakti poetry of north India, JS Hawley (1988), The Journal of Asian Studies, 47(02), pages 269-290.
- The politics of nonduality: Reassessing the work of transcendence in modern Sikh theology (Nirguni Bhakti), A Mandair (2006), Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 74(3), pages 646-673.
- Bhakti, Buddhism and the Bhagavad-Gita Rob Reed (1977), Wichita, United States
- Gokhale, B. G. (1980). "Bhakti in Early Buddhism". Journal of Asian and African Studies. 15 (1-2): 16–28.
- The Transforming Gift: An Analysis of Devotional Acts of Offering in Buddhist "Avadāna" Literature, John Strong (1979), History of Religions, 18(3) (Feb., 1979), pages 221-237.