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Hindu Heritage Study Program  
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.03
Understanding the History of the Religious Faith in India
Evolution of the Beliefs and Culture over the Time of Several Millennia
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 45 :
The Mideavel Age of Mythology and Renaissance
Spread of Later Puranas and Philosopht (650 A.D. to 1000 A.D.)
Please see below
for Lesson - 46
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The period after 650 A.D. until 1000 A.D. is called the Age of the Later Puranas. This extends from the death of Harsha to the Muslim conquest of the land. This period gave the great renaissance to Hindu philosophy and a turning point at the end of the ancient period taking us into the medieval period of Bhakthi system and a foundation for the modern Hindu religious practice. King Lalithaditya ruled in Kashmir, Rajput kings as Kshathria dynasties came to power and Rashtrakuda kings ruled in Deccan. There were many intermarriages between Brahman dynasties like the Shunga and Kanva and the Kshathria dynasties.

Popular Hinduism was reorganized into sects. Development of Kashmir Saivism was seen. Many Bhakthi schools in the South, Southern Saivism, Shakthism, Tantric Bhuddhism and Jainism flourished in this time. Large number of foreigners like the Hunas, Gurjaras and Maitrakas were taken into Hindu fold and assimilated as part of the Rajput clans. The Zorashtrians (Parsis) came to India as immigrants and refugees from Persia.

The Great Acharya Adi-Shankara explained and systematized Philosophic Hinduism, Advaitha Vedantha. Utthara Mimamsa (Vedantha) Darshana of Vyasa became popular with the decline of the teaching of Purva Mimamsa. During this time the rise of popularity of Buddhism and Jainism were the main catalyst for the start of Sankara's Advitha philosophy and many of the Bhakthi schools. Pancharathra Samhithas, Shaiva Agamas and Tanthra manuals were popularized.

By the year 800 AD, Buddhism and Jainism were on the decline in the South. Vaishnava Agamas and Sakthi Agamas also later became popular. The great commentaries by Sankara on Vedanta, Bhagavatha Purana and Devi Bhagavatham were written. Naalayira Prabhandam and Thiruvachagam were writen in Tamil as major religious works. Lalithadithya, Kumarila, Sages Gaudapada, Aadi-Shankara, Manickavasagar and Nammalwar belong to this age. This concludes the ancient period and this was the start of reforms through the various devotional schools of the Bhakthi period of Hindu religion.

 
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Lesson - 46 :
The Age of Literatures and the Devotional Paths
Age of Bhakthi Hindu Literatures (From 1000 A.D. to 1400 A.D.)
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The medieval period starts with the Bhakthi form of Hinduism in 1000 A.D. and in its first part of 400 years saw the piece-meal conquest of Muslim invaders, the establishment of the Moghul empire and the decline of Rajput power. The later Chalukya were ruling in Deccan and Cholas were in Tamilnadu. Vijayanagar empire came to power at this time.

While the religious persecution destroyed the practice of rituals and the Temple worship in the North, inter-group rivalry among kings in the South invited the Muslim rulers to assist them and ultimately take over the land. Many Temples in the South were looted by the occupying forces and were destroyed of all wealth and architecture.

The Visishta-advaitham of Sri Ramanuja Acharya and Dvaitham of Sri Madhva Acharya forms of devotional Bhakthi system of Vaishnavism and belong to this time. This period also saw the rise of Saiva Siddhantha and Veera Saiva systems. With these changes in the practice, teachings of Buddhism were absorbed and the spread of also Jainism declined. The Vedic commentaries of Sayana, Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, and Sarnga Deva's works on Music 'Sangitha Ratnakara' and in South India Kambar's Ramayanam and Sekkizhar's Periyapuranam in Tamil belong to this age.

Many great Temples of the South India were built during this time. The famous Chola bronzes, Nataraja, Nepal and Tibet bronzes, Sculptures of Konarak and Puri and the Hoysala architecture of Mysore are famous in this period. Vaishnavite Saints Ramanuja, Madhva and Vedantha Desika belong to the later period of this age.

Whereas the rise of Buddhist and Jain influence gave rise to Sri Sankara's Philosophy and Advaita theory in the previous age, the arrival of Islamic thoughts, Moghul rule and Judo-Christian influence gave rise to the popularity and the rise of Bhakthi form of Hinduism, group prayers and the Dvaitha and Visishta-advaitha Theory of Sri Madhva and Sri Ramanuja. Similarly Islamic influence and Mogul rule later gave rise to the reform movements of Chaitanya, Kabir and Guru Nanak. This was the beginning of Judeo-Christian influence, by those who came as refugees, and later as traders and rulers.

 
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" Aakaasat pathitham thoyam Yathaa gacchathi Saagaram |
Sarva Deva Namaskarah Kesavam prathigacchathi ||
Ke'savam prathigacchathi Om nama iti ||
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Just as all the water that fall from the sky inescapably reach the Ocean,
Let all salutations to all the Deities reach only Kesava;
Indeed they only reach Kesava.
[Here "Kesava" stands for Paramathma encompassing Brahma, Vishnu and Siva]
 
 
 
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Chapter - 3 - A Review of the History of Hindu Traditions - Lessons 45 & 46
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 33 & 34 :~: 35 & 36 :~: 37 & 38 :~: 39 & 40 :~: 41 & 42 :~: 43 & 44 :~: 45 & 46 :~: 47 & 48 :
 
 
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