Bhakti Kal or the Devotional Period stretched between the 14th and the 17th
century. During this age Islamic customs were heaped upon the common people, and
the Hindus were quite dejected at the effect on their culture. The poets of this
period felt that it was their moral duty to arouse a sense of devotion through
religious poetry. These poets have been divided into two groups: Nirguna and
Saguna poets, depending upon the devotional attitude towards the Lord. Nirgunas
have been further divided into two groups on the basis of the different sadhanas
(disciplines) followed by them.
KabirThose that put emphasis on the importance of knowledge for the realization of God were called the Saint poets. Kabir Das, Guru Nanak, Dharma Das, Maluk Das, Dadudayal, Sunder Das belong to this genre. In their Sakhis (couplets) and Padas (songs) they condemned rituals and laid emphasis on the theory of Monotheism. Poets who believed love was the path of realizing God were called Sufi Poets. Jayasi, Manjhan, Kutuban and Usman were the pioneers of this school. Poets of the Saguna style are also divided into two groups: the followers of Rama and those of Krishna.
TulsidasaTulsidas is the leading poet of the former group along with Agra Das, Nabha Das and Pran Chand Chauhan. Tulsidas depicts Rama as the Ideal Man in his classical works Ramacharitamanasa, Gitavali, Kavitavali and Vinay Patrika. The devotees of Krishna have, however, portrayed him according to his popular image, that of the playful Krishna. These poets like Surdas, Nand Das, Parmananda Das and Mirabai have written about the Love and Beauty. The Devotional Period created immortal literature and is distinguished as the golden age of Hindi.