Bhakti (devotionalism) origin as from the Sanskrit word of Bhaj, the act of worship. The main theme of the `Bhakti' is a profound admiration obedience and strong attachment of a person with the God. Traditional Bauls, the spiritual singers and composers of Bengal describe the God as a seeker of love and devotion having unlimited knowledge. On the other hand the worshippers remember Him always with wholehearted devotion. Perhaps this is the motto of the devotees. According to the Hindu religion devotion is not only the offering of routine worship by a devotee to a god or goddess, but it is rather the self sacrifice of a person to the god through profound love and obedience. The doctrine of achieving freedom of soul through the devotion to god was evolved first in South India and its main theme was against the philosophy of Adaitabandanto, the way of achieving freedom of the soul is not the routine worships, but the self- sacrifice and the devotion to God. According to the devotionalism, God and devotion is a single entity, as there exist no difference between the God and the devotee. The followers of devotionalism also recognise other ways to attain salvation of souls. These are: getting freedom of souls through achieving knowledge, performing noble and hard work and offering worships. However, devotion is considered as the best mode of attaining salvation by the followers of devotionalism. Everybody is equal in the devotionalism irrespective of caste, creed and gender and their temples are opened to all.
Vishnu, Shiva and Xhakti these tri-lords of Hindu religion are more or less inclined to the elements of devotionalism within the rituals of worship. However, devotionalism was originated basically from Lord Vishnu centering his two incarnations on the earth-Rama and Krishna. Two popular epics-Mahabharata and Ramayana and the holy book of Purana have helped to evolve innumerable doctrines of the Hindu religion, of which devotionalism was developed centering Rama and Krisva, two human incarnations of God. To peach and attain them through profound love and respect is the essence of devotionalism. The movement of devotionalism originated in South India started influencing the people and life of North India from the 7th to the 10th century. Many rich literary and art works were created during this period featuring devotionalism. The art and literature of these centuries had influenced the practice of religion as well as the ritual of all sorts of worshippers. In the literature, simile was used to portray the abstract respect and love for the God with a view to assuming concrete forms like respect of a servant to his master, mutual love between two friends, profound attraction and affection of parents for children, deep-rooted love and respect of children for their parents and respectful love between man and woman. As a result, many doctrines were developed about the practice of love and devotion of the devotees for their gods. In Bengal, Chaitannya initiated preaching of devotionalism comparing it with the love of male and female. He tried to boost up human love like devotion among the people for Lord Krishna. In his Baisvabbad, Chaitannya emphasized on the strong emotional feeling like love-lorn by young couples to get attachment of Krishna. Being an attentive Krisha lover, Chaitannya introduced the art of devotional dance in the musical performance of Krishnaleela. Kabir tried to combine the Hindu devotionalism 'Bhaktibad' with the Muslim 'Sufism'. Both the doctrines were promoted by the government on political ground and as a result Bhaktibad and Sufibad got solid footings in the Sultanic Bengal. [Sirajul Islam]