No Ideology of Pure Devotion before Sankaradeva

According to the biographer (caritakāra) Daityari, there was no ideology of pure devotion before Sankaradeva. He describesDaityari’s description appears to be more in line with Sankara’s reference to the Vedic sacrificial dharma in his rendering of the first book of the Bhagavata (Vyasa Narada Samvada). in the following words the state of the religion of the (majority of the) people at the time of the advent of Sankaradeva:

ideśata pūrbbakāle nāchila bhakati . nānā dharmma karmma loke karila samprati .. 8 .. ānādeva pūjaẏa karaẏa balidāna . haṃsa chāga pāra kāṭe sahasra pramāṇa .. tapa japa yajñadāna tīrthasnāna kare . ghora narakata pari pari save mare .. 9 .. upajaẏa maraẏa saṃsāre bārambāra . nāhi sukha nerāvaẏa saṃsāra nikāra .. tala gaila loka kali pāpa-sāgarata . kṛpāmaẏa kṛṣṇe jāni guṇilā manata .. 10 .. siṭo loka samastaka karibe uddhāra . śaṅkara mādhava rūpe bhailā avatāra ..

In former times, in this land, there was no (ideology of) pure devotion (bhakti).
The people, they did various ordained duties (dharma) and acts of emulation (karma). 8
They worshiped various devas and did animal sacrifices (balidāna) (to them).
They cut pigeons, ducks and goats on an infinite scale.
They did acts of penance, murmured incantations, gave offerings in yajnas and bathed in tirthas.
Yet (, in spite of all these,) all of them died, falling repeatedly into the most terrible hell. 9
They took birth and died in this cycle of material existence (saṃsāra) again and again.
They could not obtain happiness nor could they get rid of material affliction.
All people sank to the bottom of the sin-ocean of kali.
Knowing this, Krsna, the embodiment of grace (kṛpāmaẏa), pondered in mind. 10
In order to save all these people,
he became descents (avatāra) in the form of Sankara and Madhava.

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References (Resources Utilized in Making this Page)

The following resources were used in making this page:-

  1. Gupta, Arunava. “Extracts from the Caritas: No Ideology of Pure Devotion before Sankaradeva.” The Sankaradeva Movement,