A Complete list of Saints and Teachers of the Bhakti Movement–
● Ramanuja – In the 11th century Ramanuja tried to assimilate Bhakti to the tradition of Vedas. He argued that the grace of God was more important than knowledge about him in order to attain salvation. The tradition established by Ramanuja was followed by a number of thinkers such as Madhavacharya, Ramananda, Vallabhacharya and others.
● Jnandeva (1275-96 AD) – He was the progenitor of Bhakti movement in Maharashtra.
● Namdeva (1270-1350 AD) – He was a Nirguna Upasaka. Some of his abhangas are included in Guru Granth Sahib.
● Ekanath (1548 AD) – He was opposed to caste distinction and evinced the greatest sympathy for men of low caste.
● Tukaram – He was a farmer’s son and a great devotee of Vitthal.
● Ramadasa (1608) – He established ashramas all over India. It was from him that Shivaji received the inspiration to overthrow Muslim authority and found the kingdom.
● Gurunanak (1469-1539 AD) – He was a mystique of Nirguna School. But his followers branched off from Hinduism and founded a separate religious system. He became a wandering preacher of a casteless, universal, ethical, anti-ritualistic and monotheistic and highly spiritual religion.
● Surdasa (1483-1513 AD) – He belongs to Saguna School. He was a disciple of famous religious teacher Vallabhacharya. He sang the glory of Krishna’s childhood and youth in his Sursagar.
● Tulsi Das (1532-1623 AD) – He belongs to Saguna school of Hindu Mystics. He composed the famous Ramacharitamanas.
● Another popular movement, which arose around the 12th century, was Lingayat or Vir Shaiva movement. Its founder was Basava and his nephew Channabasava who lived in the courts of Kalchuri kings of Karnataka.
● In South, the Bhakti movement was led by a series of popular saints called Nayanars and Alvars. The chief object of their worship was Shiva and Vishnu respectively. They spoke and wrote in Tamil and Telugu.
– The period after Guptas is marked by revival and expansion of Hinduism and the continued decline of Jainism and Buddhism.
– At the intellectual level, the most serious challenge to Buddhism and Jainism was posed by Sankara who revived Hinduism.
– He is called Aquinas Hinduism since he reduced the apparently self- contradictory passages of the Upanishads into one consistent system.
– He propounded the doctrine of Advaita (non-dualism). According to this philosophy, there are various levels of truth.
– On a lower level, the world is a creation of Brahma. But, on the highest level, the whole universe is Maya (illusion). The only ultimate reality was Brahma, the impersonal world soul. Creation is his lila (eternal play).
– He is omnipresent and omniscient, according to Sankara.
– God and the created world were one.
– The differences were apparent but not real and arose due to ignorance.
– He wrote excellent commentaries on Bhagwadgita and Upanishads. After his death, 4 matches were established in Sringeri (Karnataka), Dwaraka (Gujarat). Puri (Orissa), and Badrinath in the Himalayas.