MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
|Number of Pages||341 Pages|
In India, religion continues to be an absolutely vital source for social as well as personal identity. All manner of groups – political, occupational, and social – remain grounded in specific religious communities. This book analyses the development of the modern Hindu and Sikh communities in north India starting from about the fifteenth century, when the dominant bhakti tradition of Hinduism became divided into two currents: the sagu]nī and the nirgu]nī.
The sagu]nī current, led mostly by Brahmins, has remained dominant in most of north India and has served as the ideological base of the development of modern Hindu nationalism. Several chapters explore the rise of this religious and political movement paying particular attention to the role played by devotion to Rām. Alternative trends do exist in sagu]nī tradition, however, and are represented here by chapters on the low-caste saint Chokhāme_lā and the tantric sect founded by Kīnā Rām.
The nirgu]nī current, led mostly by persons of K]satriya and artisan castes, formed the base of both the Sikh community, founded by Gurū Nānak and of various non-Brahmin sectarian movements derived from such saints as Kabīr, Raidās, Dādū, and Shiv Dayal Singh. Two chapters discuss the formation of distinctive Sikh theology and a Sikh community identity separate from that of the Hindus. Other chapters discuss the validity of the sagu]nī-nirgu]nī distinction within Hindu tradition and the interplay of social and religious ideas in nirgu]nī hagiographic texts and in sectarian movements such as the Ādi Dharma Mission and the Radhasoami Satsang.