• Hindu mysticism is an ancient and multifaceted phenomenon. As early as the 7th century BC, Vedic philosophical texts like the Upanishads explored the unity of the immortal soul, Atman, and the cosmic principle, Brahman. From the 5th century AD, Tantrism instructed believers in unmediated forms of participation in the cosmic consciousness and the vital energy of God.

    Central to Hindu mysticism are the multiple voices of bhakti (“devotion and love”), a form of
    pietism which spread throughout India from the 13th century. Bhakti poets did not only want to venerate God in words and rituals but wanted to possess him and be possessed, be filled, overwhelmed and enslaved. Over time they increasingly expressed religious and social criticism. Bhakti pietism also gave a voice to women.

    The love of Krishna is one of the most powerful symbols for the mystical love of God. It is total self-surrender: Krishna's beloved cowherdesses broke their marriages for his sake and did not fear punishment. The imitation of this selfless love was realised in active imaginings but sometimes also in reality in religious life, for example by men wearing women's clothes or by ritualised sexual intercourse.

  • Hinduismus Startbild

    Sambandar (8th cent.) More »
    Abhinavagupta (10th/11th cent.) More »
    Kabir (14./15. cent.) More »
    Mirabai (c. 1500-1550) More »
    Bhima Bhoi (died 1895) More »