CBSE Class 7 Social Science History Revision Notes Chapter 8

CBSE Class 7 History Chapter 8 Notes – Devotional Paths To The Divine

The Class 7 History Chapter 8 Notes provide students with a quick overview of the various forms of worship that people engage in. It also clarifies the various devotional practices that people follow. The Class 7 History Chapter 8 Notes will aid students in effectively preparing for the exams by scoring good marks for the chapter. 

Devotional Paths To The Divine Class 7 Notes History Chapter 8

Access Class 7 History Chapter 8 -Devotional Paths To The Divine Notes

The Idea of a Supreme God

Prior to the rise of powerful kingdoms, people were not only free to worship their gods and goddesses as they pleased but were also brought closer together by the expansion of towns, trade, and empires, as well as by the exchange of novel ideas. It has become widely accepted that all living beings undergo countless cycles of birth and rebirth during which they carry out both good and bad deeds. The idea that not everyone is created equally also gained ground at this time. A child born into a noble family was thought to be born with social privileges. People who did not find these ideas comfortable were drawn towards new religions such as Buddhism and Jainism.

Nayanars and Alvars – New Kind of Bhakti in South India.

All castes were represented, including those considered “untouchable,” such as the Pulaiyar and Panars, among the Nayanars (saints devoted to God Shiva) and Alvars (saints devoted to God Vishnu). They were critical of the Buddhists and Jains and preached that if one bore ardent love for Shiva or Vishnu, they were on the path to salvation. This influenced new religious movements from the 7th to the 9th centuries.

As they travelled, the Nayanars and Alvars composed poetic works that were then set to music as an homage to the deities worshipped in the communities they visited. The Chola and Pandya kings constructed ornate temples around many of the sites that the saint poets visited between the 10th and 12th centuries, strengthening the connections between the Bhakti tradition and temple worship.

Philosophy and Bhakti


In the 18th century, Shankara, one of India’s most important philosophers, was born in Kerala. He promoted the Advaita school of thought, which holds that the individual self and the Brahman are one and the same and that there is only one Ultimate Reality. He believed that the world was relative when compared to the absolute nature of Brahman. He advocated renunciation of the world and the adoption of the path of knowledge to comprehend the true nature of Brahman and achieve salvation, believing that the world is an illusion or Maya.


In Tamil Nadu, Ramanujan was born in the 11th century. He was persuaded by Alvars. He claimed that intense devotion to God Vishnu could lead to salvation. He advanced the doctrine of Vishishtadvaita, or Qualified Oneness, which states that the soul remains distinct even when united with the Supreme God. Ramanuja’s philosophy had a significant impact on the new branch of Bhakti that later developed in North India.

Basavanna’s Virashaivism

Basavanna, Allama Prabhu, and Akkamahadevi, founded the Virashaiva Movement in response to the association between the Tamil Bhakti movement and temple devotion. In the middle of the 12th century, this movement started in Karnataka. The Virashaivas strongly advocated for universal equality and challenged Brahmanical notions of caste and how women were to be treated. They also opposed any form of ritual or idolatry.

The Saints of Maharashtra

Maharashtra was home to several saint poets who sang Marathi songs and inspired a lot of people between the 13th and 17th centuries. Dnyaneshwar (Gyaneshwar), Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, and women like Sakhubai and the family of Chokhamela, who belonged to the “untouchable” Mahar caste, were among the most significant among them. These saint poets disapproved of all ritualistic practices, public displays of piety, and class distinctions based on birth.

Nathpanthis, Siddhas, and Yogis

Several new religious movements during this time period opposed the ritualistic practices of established religions as well as the social structure, using straightforward logic. The Nathpanthis, Siddhacharas, and Yogis stood out among them. They promoted world renunciation, which can be attained through rigorous mental and physical training, including meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga asanas.

Islam and Sufism

  • Sufis were Muslims who practised mysticism.
  • They disapproved of overt religiosity and placed an emphasis on love and devotion to God as well as empathy for all other people.
  • Shariat is a sacred code that was created by Muslim scholars.
  • Hindustan saw a considerable migration of Central Asian Sufis at the beginning of the 11th century. With the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, a number of significant Sufi centres spread throughout the subcontinent, strengthening this process.
  • Under the direction of a master or pir, they developed elaborate training techniques using zikr (chanting of a name or sacred phrases), contemplation, sama (singing), raqs (dancing), discussion of parables, breath control, etc.

New Religious Development in North India

  • In North India, the bhakti movement experienced a fresh upsurge in the years following the 13th century.
  • All traditional religions were rejected by Kabir and Baba Guru Nanak.
  • However, Tulsidas and Surdas wanted to make these practices and beliefs available to everyone.
  • Tulsidas imagined Rama to be God. The Ramcharitmanas, a literary work by Tulsidas and an expression of his devotion, was written in Awadhi, a language spoken in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
  • Surdas was an ardent follower of Krishna. His works, which were collected in  Sursagar, Sur Saravali, and Sahitya Lahari, demonstrate his devotion.
  • Sankaradeva of Assam lived in the late 15th century. He emphasised devotion to Vishnu and wrote plays and poems in Assamese. He started the tradition of building namcars, or places of prayer and recitation, which is still done today.
  • The Rajput princess Mirabai was married into the Mewar royal family in the 16th century. Mirabai became a follower of Ravidas, a saint from an “untouchable” caste. She wrote countless bhajans expressing her unwavering devotion to Krishna.


  • One of the most famous saints was Kabir, who most likely lived between the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • He was raised in a family of Muslim weavers, or Julahas, who lived near the city of Benares (Varanasi).
  • Kabir preached that bhakti, or devotion, was the only way to salvation and held a belief in an abstract Supreme God. Both Muslims and Hindus were among Kabir’s supporters.

Baba Guru Nanak (1469-1539)

  • He was born in Talwandi (Nankana Sahib, Pakistan), and before founding a centre in Kartarpur, he travelled widely (Dera Baba Nanak on the river Ravi).
  • Before passing away in 1539, Baba Guru Nanak named one of his followers as his successor. His name was Lehna, but he later adopted the name Guru Angad to indicate that he was an integral follower of Baba Guru Nanak.
  • The songs of Baba Guru Nanak were collected by Guru Angad, who also added his own songs in a new script known as Gurmukhi.
  • The town of Ramdaspur (Amritsar) had grown around the Central Gurdwara known as Harmandir Sahib by the start of the 17th century (Golden Temple).

Class 7 Social Science History Chapter 8 – Devotional Paths To The Divine

The Idea of a Supreme God

People from different groups were devoted to and worshipped their Goddesses and Gods prior to the establishment of large kingdoms. Empires and trade merged as towns grew and developed, giving rise to newer and much more complex concepts. The concept of living things doing both bad and good things while going through endless cycles of birth and rebirth was widely accepted. Many devotees rose to prominence with this concept of Bhakti. Students can read about the idea of a Supreme God in detail in this chapter’s section. 

A New Kind of Bhakti in South India- Nayanars and Alvars

The 7th and 9th centuries saw the emergence of fresher, more notable religious movements. . The main figures in these movements, known as the Alvars, were the Nayanars, or Shiva- and Vishnu-dedicated saints. These people belonged to various castes. The Panthers and the Pulaiyars, who were considered untouchables, denounced the approach of the Jains and Buddhists. Nayanars and Alvars are discussed in the subtopic, “Devotional paths to the divine.”

Philosophy and Bhakti

Shankara, the most well-known and influential philosopher in India, was born in Kerala in the 8th century. These philosophers were the leading proponents of the Advaita doctrine, which holds that there is only one distinct soul and that this Supreme God alone constitutes the only reality. This section discusses the basic Bhakti and philosophy of the followers in the 8th century and even later. Students will understand the philosophy of Bhakti followed by those devotees of God. 

Basavanna’s Virashaivism

Basavanna started the Virashaiva Movement, along with Akkamahadevi and Allama Prabhu. It was influenced by the connection between Tamil Bhakti and temple worship. Karnataka served as the movement’s focal point during the middle of the 12th century. The Virashaivas promoted the fundamental equality of all people. Briefly stated, the movement placed a high priority on issues involving discrimination against women or lower castes. All the necessary information about the Virashaiva movement history is covered in the Extramarks Revision Notes.

The Saints of Maharashtra

Maharashtra had its share of saint-poets between the 13th and 17th centuries. These poets composed simple Marathi songs and were crucial in inspiring the people of Maharashtra. Some of the most notable and well-known poets among them are Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Eknath, and Namdev. Students can learn more about Maharashtra’s well-known saints and how they influenced the state’s citizens in this section.

Nathpanthis, Siddhas, and Yogis

Throughout this century, a wide variety of religious groups have developed. These religious movements denounced ritual and other components of traditional religion that were similar. The social structure was also extremely straightforward. These four religious groups engaged in a number of logical debates. Most people were familiar with Siddhacharas, Nathpanthis, Yogis, and other religious organisations that encouraged renunciation of the world. This subtopic focuses on various religious movements that had an impact on conventional religion’s beliefs and other religious facets during this time period.

Islam and Sufism

Sufis were typically favoured by the saints. They incorporated a wide range of ideas from each other. Muslims, or Sufis, were also mystics. Students will learn about the crucial relationship between Islam and Sufism under the heading “Islam and Sufism.” Sufis were Muslims who did not to practise outward religiosity. Students can refer to the Class 7 Chapter 8 History Notes to learn more about this.

New Religious Developments in North India

A completely new phase of the pre-existing Bhakti movement appeared in North India after the 13th century. Brahmanical Hinduism, Islam, various Bhakti schools, Sufism, the Nathpanths, Yogis, and Siddhas all had an influence on one another. Students will discover more about the changes that occurred in North India after the 13th century in this subsection.

A Closer Look – Kabir

Kabir lived between the 15th and 16th centuries. He was acknowledged as one of the most influential and well-known saints. He was raised by Muslim weavers, also known as Julahas. Students will learn more about Kabir’s life and legacy during this century.

A Closer Look- Baba Guru Nanak

In 1469, Baba Guru Nanak was born in Talwandi. He was an extensive traveller and set up a facility in Kartarpur. The chapter’s final section provides students with summaries of Baba Guru Nanak’s life. It discusses what Baba Guru Nanak accomplished during his lifetime and how his actions affected people’s religious beliefs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What were Baba Guru Nanak's main teachings?

Sikhism’s founder figure is Guru Nanak. The Guru Granth Sahib is the Sikhs’ sacred text. 974 hymns comprised of Guru Nanak’s words make up the Adi Granth Sahib. He was a Punjabi native. The majority of his life stories were concocted 50 to 80 years later using imagination and the scant information that was known about him. Among Guru Nank’s most significant teachings are:

  • There is only one God.
  • There are no rituals necessary for anyone to gain direct contact to God.
  • The most significant teaching of Guru Nanak was his strong condemnation of the caste system.
  • He held that everyone was created equal, regardless of caste, gender, or religion.
  • According to him, Guru is the voice of God and the ultimate source of knowledge and salvation.

2. What were Kabir’s ideologies?

The following are some of Kabir’s ideas and how he expressed them.

  • To achieve Salvation, Kabir emphasised Bhakti.
  • Kabir believed in the idea of the Supreme God who is formless.
  • Kabir criticised the caste system.
  • He also criticised the priestly class.
  • Major traditions of religions were rejected by Kabir.