(Hinduism) enjoying commitment to a deity leading to salvation and nirvana; available to all individuals independent of caste or intercourse
(Skr. division, share) Fervent, loving devotion into object of contemplation or perhaps the divine being it self, the almost universally recognized feeling way of the highest truth, in contrast to vidya (s.v.) or jnana (s.v.), sanctioned by Indian viewpoint and effective of a voluminous literature when the names of Ramamanda, Vallabha, Nanak, Caitanya, and Tulsi Das are outstanding. It's distinguished as apara (lower) and con el fin de (greater) bhakti, the former theistic piety, the latter philosophic meditation on unmanifest brahman (cf. avyakta). -- K.F.L.
In the older framework of the M ahabharata he appears as a great chieftain and ally of the Pandava brothers; and it is only in the interpolated episode of the Bhagavad-gita that he is identified with Vishnu and becomes the revealer of the doctrine of bhakti or religious devotion.