With reference to the religion in early medieval India, which among the following observations is / are correct?
1. Bhakti became a distinct feature of religion
2. Tantrism permeated Jainism, Buddhism, Shaivism as well as Vaishnavism
3. Theory of incarnation became very prominent
4. Earlier practice of Yajnas gave way to practice of Puja (worship)
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Apart from the regional formations other aspects of culture also acquired feudal character. In the field of art and architecture this period ushered in a new age marked by regional styles in sculpture and construction of temples, which became particularly prominent in south India from the eighth century onwards. All over the country the post-gupta iconography prominently displays a divine hierarchy which reflects the pyramidal rank in society. Vishnu, Shiva and Durga appear as supreme deities, lording over many other divinities of unequal sizes and placed in lower positions as retainers and attendants. The supreme mother goddess is clearly established as an independent divinity in iconography from this time and is represented in a dominating posture in relation to several minor deities. The pantheons do not so much reflect syncretism as forcible absorption of tribal and lower order deities. The reality of unequal ranks appears in the shivite, jain and tantric monastic organizations in which as many as five pyramidal ranks are enumerated. The ceremonies recommended for the conservation of the Acharya, the highest in rank, are practically the same as those for the coronation of the prince.
In this period the Mahayajnas and danas gave way to a system known as puja. With the puja was interlinked the doctrine of bhakti or complete self-surrender of the individual to his god, which became a distinct feature of medieval religion, especially a distinct feature of medieval religion, especially in south india from the seventh century. Bhakti reflected the complete dependence of the tenants or semi-serfs on the landowners in early medieval imes. Both puja and bhakti became integral ingredients of tantricism, which arose outside mid-india in the aboriginal , peripheral areas on account of the acculturation of the tribal people through large-scale religious land-grants. Brahmanical land rights in the new territories could be maintained by adopting tribal rituals and deities, especially the mother goddess, which eventually produced the tantras. In the fifth- seventh centuries many Brahmanas received lands in Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, central india, and the Deccan where tantric texts, shrines and practices appeared about this time. In Tamil Nadu Brahmanas settled in large number from the 8th century, and the Agamas were compiled from the 9th century. Tantricism permeated Jainism, Buddhism, shaivism and Vaishnavism, and from the seventh century continued to hold ground throughout the medieval period. The theory of incarnation, though beginning from the earlier period, became very prominent during this period. The local gods and goddesses were identified as incarnation of Vishnuu, Shiva and Durga.
Undoubtedly, the establishment of the Turkish rule introduced certain significant changes in the social, economic and political organization of the country. But most features such as feudal state organization, reversion to closed economy, proliferation of castes, regional identity in art, script and language, puja, bhakti and tantra which developed in medieval times and continued later, can be traced back to the sixth and seventh centuries. It would then appear that in these two centuries ancient India was coming to an end and medieval india was taking shape. The period is thus known as early medieval India.
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