Who Started Bhakti Movement?

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Who Started Bhakti Movement

Are you curious to know who started Bhakti movement? Through this movement, people found a way to practice their faith and form a connection with the divine. Bhakti means a devotion to that supernatural power to attain salvation. Many theologians and figures proposed the idea of life was to attain salvation. Thus when it comes to this question, in this article further we will explore the key figures who initiated the Bhakti movement and delve into their contributions to this spiritual awakening.

Founders of the Bhakti Movement

Kerala & Tamil Nadu Alvaras (devotees of Vishnu) and Nayanars (devotees of Shiva)
MaharashtraJnanadev, Namdev and Tukaram
KarnatakaBasavanna, Akkamahadevi, Allama Prabhu
Northern IndiaRamananda,Guru Nanak, Kabir Das, Meerabai, etc

The Bhakti Movement is believed to have started in Kerala and Tamil Nadu of South India with Alvars and Nayanars in the 7th and 8th centuries. Slowly, it reached Karnataka and Maharashtra. In the North of India, it is credited to have been organized by Ramanujacharya by the 11th century. While others accept that migrants like artisans carried the movement.

Also Read – Bhakti and Sufi Movement: Differences and Similarities

Sri Ramanujacharya

Saint Ramanujacharya, a renowned Indian philosopher and theologian, is considered one of the pioneers who organized the Bhakti movement in India. 

  • He lived in the 11th and 12th centuries and played a significant role in popularizing the idea of devotion (bhakti) as a path to spiritual realization. 
  • Ramanuja emphasized the importance of surrendering to the divine and cultivating a deep, loving relationship with God through prayer and service. 
  • He propounded the theory of Vishista Adaitavada. 


Basavanna is a mystic and poet from Karnataka. He was another key figure in the Bhakti movement. 

  • He belonged to the Lingayat sect, which emphasized the worship of Lord Shiva in the formless Linga. 
  • Basavanna’s teachings promoted social equality, rejected caste distinctions and championed the idea of serving God through selfless devotion and righteous living. 

Also Read – Adi Shankaracharya: Life, Work, Philosophy and Contribution

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a 16th-century saint from Bengal. He is considered a charismatic leader of the Bhakti movement. 

  • He popularized the practice of congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra as a means of attaining spiritual liberation.
  • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasized the importance of chanting the holy names of the Lord with faith and devotion, believing that it could purify the heart and awaken love for God. 
  • His teachings have had the utmost impact on the development of the Hare Krishna movement worldwide.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

So, who started Bhakti movement? These visionary saints and spiritual leaders planted the seeds of devotion and love in the hearts of people, igniting a spiritual revolution that continues to shine brightly in the world today. In conclusion, the Bhakti movement was a transformative force in Indian spirituality, emphasizing the power of love and devotion as a means of connecting with the divine.

Saint NimbarkaSaint Surdas
Narsinh MehtaSufi Movement
Vedanta PhilosophyGoswami Tulsidas 
Saint Kabir DasGautam Buddha

That’s all about who started Bhakti Movement! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

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