Bhakti and Sufi movements were two major sorts of socio-religious movements going on in medieval India. Bhakti means attachment, devotion to something. Bhakti movement originated in the eighth-century in south India and from there on it spreads to North India, whereas, Sufi movement originated in the fourteenth-sixteenth century.
Similarities between Bhakti And Sufi Movements
- Both Bhakti And Sufi Movement were turning on how the devotee worships the divine.
- Both also worked to reduce religious tensions in society, propagating social equality and opposing pomp and conservatism.
- Both these movements were going on in a caste-divided, conservative and multi-religious society. Therefore, they often prescribed the same type of reforms.
- Both Bhaktism and Sufism had a well-developed body of literature that had permeated the orthodox principles of Hindu and Islam respectively.
- Both preached love to God as their central principle.
- Sufism promoted syncretism and reduced the orthodoxy of the ulema. Bhaktism encouraged the participation of lower castes and women in bhajan-kirtan.
- Bhakti saints talked about universal brotherhood and gave voice to newly emerging classes and castes, proportion. Guru Nanak quickly gained a large group of followers among the Jat farmers. The Sufi saint selected themes of Indian mythology, music, and vernacular to promote behavior between Islam and Hinduism.
- Sufis opposed pomp and pageantry as popular devotional saints like Meera, Namdev, etc. Kabir repeatedly mentioned religious hypocrisy in both religions and promoted moral behavior in place of ritual fasting.
However, both these movements had many sub-stories; They should not be called parallel movements in the respective religions. Thus, both Bhaktism and Sufism promoted reconciliation, social reform, and simplicity in religion and society.