36. bhakti movements - Crossing varNa boundaries: bhakti is for all, recommended for kalyug
Earlier we had seen that varNa dharma was resisted by some saints. Deterioration of varNa dharma was predicted long ago in purANa-s. Solution given was to practice simple bhakti. bhakti is the most suitable way to progress in spirituality. Great poet saints, and devotees of God were born in all sampradAya-s spreading the glory of their ISTa devatA (deity of worship) far and wide touching hearts of thousands and lakhs of innocent people and raising them on spiritual plane.
The most prominent names are 12 Alvars, 63 Nayanar Saints, Meerabai, Tukaram, Narsinh Mehta, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Laal Ded (Lalleshwari) to name a few. These saints do not adhere to any sampradāya-s except Srī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Masses got attracted by God-intoxicated personalities and have benefited much from their presence. While Āchārya-s helped establish a vaidika dharma, these saints contributed to spreading the glories of the Lord far and wide in hearts of thousands of men.
When someone hears the word bhakti or Vaṣṇava bhakti movements, they think that Vaṣṇva-s are devotional sects. Though this tradition has produced many great devotees of Bhagavān Visṇu / Kṛṣṇa / Rāma, they too have established many sampradāya-s in line with vedic philosophy.