NCERT Solutions For Class 7 History Social Science Chapter 8 : Devotional Paths to the Divine


What were the major teachings of Baba Guru Nanak?


(i)  Baba Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of the worship of one God.

(ii)  He insisted that caste, creed or gender was irrelevant for attaining liberation.

(iii)  His idea of liberation was not that of a state of inert ecstasy but rather the pursuit of active life with a strong sense of social commitment.

(iv)  He himself used the terms nam, dan and isnan for the essence of his teaching, which actually meant right worship, welfare of others and purity of conduct.




Why do you think many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices?


(i) Many teachers rejected prevalent religious beliefs and practices because it sustained social differences in the society.

(ii) The religious scriptures of the period argued that all human beings were not equal even at birth.

(iii) Those teachings supported the upper caste people and lower caste people were victims.

(iv) However, the teachers believed in equality of God and wanted to eradicate the evils of the society.

(v) They taught the masses that the bondage can be broken by approaching the Supreme God with devotion (bhakti).


What were the major beliefs and practices of the Sufis?


(i) Sufis were Muslim mystics.

(ii) They rejected outward religiosity and emphasised love and devotion to God and compassion towards all fellow human beings.

(iii) Islam propagated strict monotheism or submission to one God. It also rejected idol worship and simplified rituals of worship into collective prayers.

(v) At the same time, Muslim scholars developed a holy law called Shariat.

(vi) The Sufis rejected the elaborate rituals and codes of behaviour demanded by the Shariat law.

(vii) They sought union with God much as a lover seeks his beloved with a disregard for the world.


What were the major ideas expressed by Kabir? How did he express these?


(i) Kabir’s teachings completely, strongly rejected the major religious traditions.

(ii) His ideas openly ridiculed all forms of external worship of both Brahmanical Hinduism and Islam, the pre-eminence of the priestly classes and the caste system.

(iii) He believed in a formless Supreme God and preached that the only path to salvation was through Bhakti (devotion).

(iv) His followers were from both Hindus and Muslims.

(v) He expressed his poetry in a form of spoken Hindi widely understood by ordinary people.

(vi) He also sometimes used a difficult cryptic language.




Describe the beliefs and practices of the Nathpanthis, Siddhas and Yogis.


(i) The Nathpanthis, Siddhacharas and Yogis criticised the ritual and superstitious aspects of conventional religion and the social order, with clear logical arguments. 

(ii) They advocated renunciation of the world.

(iii) To them the path to salvation lay in meditation on the formless Ultimate Reality and the realisation of oneness with it.

(iv) To achieve this, they advocated intense training of the mind and body through practices like yogasanas, breathing exercises and meditation.

(v) Most of their followers were from the so-called “low” caste communities. 

(vi) Their criticism of conventional religion paved way for the emergence of the devotional religion as a popular force in northern India.


(a) Shankara was an advocate of _________. (b) Ramanuja was influenced by _________. (c) __________ , __________and __________ were advocates of Virashaivism. (d) _________ was an important centre of the Bhakti tradition in Maharashtra.


(a) Shankara was an advocate of Advaita.

(b) Ramanuja was influenced by the Alvars.

(c) Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi were advocates of Virashaivism.

(d) Pandharpur was an important centre of the Bhakti tradition in Maharashtra.


Why do you think ordinary people preserved the memory of Mirabai?


(i) Mirabai’s songs openly challenged the norms of the “upper” castes and became popular with the ordinary people in the regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

(ii) Her songs were composed in regional languages and were sung by the masses.

(iii) They became immensely popular and were handed down orally from generation to generation.

(iv) Usually the poorest, most deprived communities and women transmitted these songs, often adding their own experiences.

(v) Thus the songs of Mirabai are the creation of the saints and the ordinary people who sang them.


For either the Virashaivas or the sants of Maharashtra, discuss their attitude towards caste.


The Virashaivas’ attitude towards caste:

(i)  Virashaiva movement was initiated by Basavanna and his companions like Allama Prabhu and Akkamahadevi.

(ii)  This movement began in Karnataka in the mid-twelfth century.

(iii)  The Virashaivas argued strongly for the equality of all human beings and against Brahmanical ideas about caste and the ill-treatment of women.

(iv)  They were also against all forms of ritual and idol worship.


Match the following: The Buddha namghar Shankaradeva worship of Vishnu Nizamuddin Auliya questioned social differences Nayanars Sufi saint Alvars worship of Shiva


The Buddha                         questioned social differences

Shankaradeva                      namghar

Nizamuddin Auliya              Sufi saint

Nayanars                             worship of Shiva

Alvars                                  worship of Vishnu

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