Bengali bhakti literature

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Chaitanya MahaprabhuThe worship of Krishna and Radha, often inspired by Jayadeva's Sanskrit poem Gitagovinda, forms a central theme in medieval Bengali poetry. The Krishna songs of the poet Vidyapati, who flourished during the 1300's, became very popular. They were written in the dialect of Maithili, from an area of Bihar lying between the main Bengali and Hindi-speaking areas.

A sect based on the teachings of the mystic Krishna-devotee Chaitanya (1486-1533) produced large amounts of devotional poetry in Bengali. Muslim saint-poets of rural Bengal who were known as Baul (mad lovers) were influenced by both Islam and Hinduism. They expressed the ecstasy and longing of divine love. Related literatures in the neighbouring languages of Oriya (spoken in Orissa) and Assamese (spoken in Assam) developed during the same period.

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