Skip to main content

Meaning of the term Bhagat

Bhagat is a Punjabi word and is the equivalent of the Sanskrit term Bhakta – a devotee. The bhagat never questions the will of the Lord (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Asa M3). He is a man of faith and remains unperturbed by pleasure of pain and life. The path of devotion is sharper than the double-edged sword.

In Sanskrit, the term ‘bhakta’ is derived from the root ‘bhaj’ and it means to serve, honor, love, revere, to share. In religion, bhakta is one who has fervent devotion to the ishta devata (personal deity) like Sant Tukram for Vithal; Meera Bhai for Sri Krishna; Bhakta Ramdas for Bhagavan Sri Ram.

In Kali Yuga, Bhakti is superior to all forms of worship – Narada Bhakti Sutra.

The concept of Bhakti can be traced to the Vedas especially the Upanishads. There we get to read about self-surrender. Bhagavad and the Srimad Bhagavad Purana takes the concept to common people.

The concept of Bhakti was popularized during the earlier centuries of the first millennium by Alwars and Nayanmars in South India.

Alwars dedicated their life to spread the glory of Vishnu and Nayanmars that of Shiva.

From there it spread to all of South Asia. Ramanuja, Tulsidas, Madhavacharya, and Ramananda played a great role is spreading the concept of Bhakti.

Medieval period saw an explosion of Bhakti saints and poets and their compositions are famous even today and are sung in Hindu homes daily.

Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas, Trilochana, Beri, Dhanna, Jayadeva, Bhika Sanu, Pipa, Sadhana, Paramananda, Ramandanda, Surdas, Tulsidas, Jnandev, Bhakta Ramdas spread the Bhakti cult across India. The verses of some of these saint poets find mention in the Guru Granth Sahib.