Beginning of Bhakti, Buddhism and pilgrimage

The most important kushanas ruler was Kanishka. He organised Buddhist Council, where people could meet and decide over important matters. Ashvaghosha, a poet start writing the biography on Buddha, known as Buddhacharita.

A new form of Buddhism, known as Mahayana Buddhism began to develop. It has 2 distinct features. Initially, the Buddha's presence was shown in the form of sculptures with other signs. His enlightenment was shown in the sculpture of peepal tree.

Now, the statues of Buddha were made . Some in Mathura, while some in Taxilla.

The second distinct feature was in the belief of Boddhisattvas. These are actually the people who have attained enlightenment. They may remain in isolation and meditate in peace. But in actual these people remained in the world of people to help them. The teaching of Boddhisattvas became very popular and spread to central Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

Various caves were dugged in where monks could live in. Some were made on the orders of kings and queens, while some by the merchant and traders. These were made connecting with the ports where traders could also stop while passing by.

The spread of Buddhism was also noted in Srilanka, Thailand, Indonesia. The older form of Buddhism known as Theravada Buddhism , was also popular in these countries.


When the traders used to travel in ships and caravans, pilgrims also travelled with them.

To know

Pilgrims are the men and women who travel to holy places to offer worship and prayers.

The most popular one was the Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim, Fa Xian, Xuan zang, I- Quing. They could visited Buddhist places and Monasteries.

Each time the travellers visited, They left an account of their visit, where they mentioned about the hurdles they faced while their visit, the places they visited.

Xiang Zang , who took land route to China carried with h the statues of Buddha made of Gold, silver and sandalwood. He also carried some about 600 manuscripts on 20 horses. He lost over 50 manuscripts as the boat on which he was travelling was capsized. He spend the rest of his lives in translating the manuscripts from sanskrit to Chinese.


Xiang Zang studied in Nalanda in Bihar. It’s one of the most popular Buddhist Monastery of the time.

The teachers were men and of high quality knowledge and ability. The rules of the monasteries were strict and everyone were bound to follow them. The old and the young started together and helped each other.

Beginning of Bhakti

During this time, the worship of other deities like Vishu, lord Shiva, and Goddess Durga gained importance. These deities were worshiped through Bhakti. The meaning of Bhakti was understood as person's devotion to his or her chosen deity. Any body could follow the path of Bhakti irrespective of his caste, social status, gender.

The idea of Bhakti was explained in Bhagwad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus, which also narrated the whole of Mahabharata. Here, lord Krishna guides Arjuna his devotee and friend to abandon every comforts and Dharmas and embrace him, as only he could set him free from every evils of the world. Those who embraced Bhakti system of worship, followed devotion and worship of One God or Goddess rather than elaborate devotion.


The word Hindu like India came from the word Indus which was used by the Arabs and the Iranians to refer to the people living nearby the East of the river.

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