Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism
Bhakti was an important reform movement of this era. Bhakti, which means devotion, taught that one must move beyond just ritual worship of God to find a way to have a loving relationship with God. There were two basic forms of Bhakti in the 13th century.
Madhva taught Bhagavata: 9 stages to Bhakti: sravana – hearing, kirtana – singing the name of god, smarana – remembering the divine name, padasevana – serving the holy feet, arcane – worship, vandana – salutation, dasya – servitude, dakhya – friendship with God, atmanivendana – annihilation of the self.
Narada, who founded the Bhakti movement taught another kind: 11 stages of Bhakti: Singing the quantities of God, a desire to see his form, worshipping the image of God, meditation on God, service of God, friendship with God, affection towards God, love to God as to a husband, surrender of one’s own self to God, atonement with God, the agony of separation from God.
Followers of this older kind of Bhakti included some historic women, Andal and Kanhupatra, both of whom sought marriage with God, much like some of the Christian Nuns.
Both kinds of Bhakti focused on either Vishnu or Siva, masculine avatars of God (there are plenty of Hindus who would be very upset with me to have Vishnu and Siva as fellow avatars of Divinity, but there are others who put forward the concept of Trimurti, with Hiranyagabha (Brahma), Hari (Vishnu), and Sankara (Siva). One God, with triple energy. The manifest and unmanifest are both in him, issuing from spirit and passing into the fourth mode of being: time.)
The Vetal, also spelt Betaal, is a vampire demon of great power. There is a famous story cycle of the King Vikram and his efforts to get rid of a Vetal who would tell Vikram a story. Vikram knew he must keep quiet as he carried the Vetal, but inevitably the question posed by the story was so compelling that Vikram would find himself answering the question and having to start all over again. Like all other demons in Hinduism, the Vetal’s actions and motives are not necessarily evil.