Bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति) literally means “attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity”

It was originally used in Hinduism, referring to devotion and love for a personal god or a representational god by a devotee

In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga

Bhakti in Indian religions is “emotional devotionalism”, particularly to a personal god or to spiritual ideas

Thus, bhakti requires a relationship between the devotee and the deity

The term also refers to a movement, pioneered by Alvars and Nayanars, that developed around the gods Vishnu (Vaishnavism), Brahma (Brahmanism), Shiva (Shaivism) and Devi (Shaktism) in the second half of the 1st millennium CE

Bhakti ideas have inspired many popular texts and saint-poets in India

The Bhagavata Purana, for example, is a Krishna-related text associated with the Bhakti movement in Hinduism

Bhakti is also found in other religions practiced in India, and it has influenced interactions between Christianity and Hinduism in the modern era

Nirguni bhakti (devotion to the divine without attributes) is found in Sikhism, as well as Hinduism

Outside India, emotional devotion is found in some Southeast Asian and East Asian Buddhist traditions, and it is sometimes referred to as Bhatti