chapter  5
35 Pages

The Post-classical Period 87 90

BySouth India Bhakti

Up until now, the accounts of historical developments in religion have been focused on the northern part of the subcontinent, and especially in the Gangetic basin. We turn our attention now to South India which provides us many windows into the development of religion in the post-classical period. For one thing, we have, in the south, documentation and resources that help us understand the nature of religion and culture prior to the “brahmanical synthesis.” The processes of brahmanization can be traced with some clarity. Not least important, the deep South became, arguably, the major center of “Hindu” civilization from the eighth through the fifteenth

centuries. We shall use the term “Hindu” regularly from now on in our discussion even though the term is not indigenous. It was adapted from Islamic and Persian sources who by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries spoke of “Hinduism” as the religion practiced by people on the “other side” of the Indus. Indeed, the “Hinduism” we see emerging in the deep south remains very similar in many ways to the “Hinduism” one finds in the southern part of the subcontinent even today and is a significant source for later developments in India.