Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


is performed from an assumed feeling of piety, of which there is not so much as the shadow in any part of the Indies.”

The forest ascetics were credited with prophetic powers, 5. Resort and were resorted to by Hindu princes to obtain omens and to them for oracles on the brink of any important undertaking. This custom is noticed by Colonel Tod in the following passage describing the foundation of Jodhpur :1 “ Like the Druids of the cells, the vana-perist Jogis, from the glades of the forest (vana) or recess in the rocks (gopha), issue their oracles to those whom chance or design may conduct to their solitary dwellings. It is not surprising that the mandates of such beings prove compulsory on the superstitious Rājpūt; we do not mean those squalid ascetics who wander about India and are objects disgusting to the eye, but the genuine Jogi, he who, as the term imports, mortifies the flesh, till the wants of humanity are restricted merely to what suffices to unite matter with spirit, who had studied and comprehended the mystic works and pored over the systems of philosophy, until the full influence of Maia (illusion) has perhaps unsettled his understanding; or whom the rules of his sect have condemned to penance and solitude ; a penance so severe that we remain astonished at the perversity of reason which can submit to it.

We have seen one of these objects, selfcondemned never to lie down during forty years, and there remained but three to complete the term. He had travelled much, was intelligent and learned, but, far from having contracted the moroseness of the recluse, there was benignity of mien and a suavity and simplicity of manner in him quite enchanting. He talked of his penance with no vainglory and of its approaching term without any sensation. The resting position of this Druid (vana-perist) was by means of a rope suspended from the bough of a tree in the manner of a swing, having a cross-bar, on which he reclined. The first years of this penance, he says, were dreadfully painful; swollen limbs affected him to that degree that he expected death, but this impression had long since worn off. To these, the Druids of India, the prince and the chieftain would resort for instruction. Such was the ascetic who re

1 Rājasthān, ii. p. 19.


6. Divisions
of the

commended Joda to erect his castle of Jodhpur on the Hill of Strife' (Jodagir), a projecting elevation of the same range on which Mundore was placed, and about four miles south of it."

About 15,000 Jogis were returned from the Central Provinces in 1911. They are said to be divided into twelve Panths or orders, each of which venerates one of the twelve disciples of Gorakhnāth. But, as a rule, they do not know the names of the Panths. Their main divisions are the Kanphata and Aughar Jogis. The Kanphatas,' as the name denotes, pierce their ears and wear in them large rings (mundra), generally of wood, stone or glass; the ears of a novice are pierced by the Guru, who gets a fee of Rs. 1-4. The earring must thereafter always be worn, and should it be broken must be replaced temporarily by a model in cloth before food is taken. If after the ring has been inserted the ear tears apart, they say that the man has become useless, and in former times he was buried alive. Now he is put out of caste, and no tomb is erected over him when he dies. It is said that a man cannot become a Kanphata all at once, but must first serve an apprenticeship of twelve years as an Aughar, and then if his Guru is satisfied he will be initiated as a Kanphata. The elect among the Kanphatas are known as Darshani. These do not go about begging, but remain in the forest in a cave or other abode, and the other Jogis go there and pay their respects ; this is called darshan, the term used for visiting a temple and worshipping the idol. These men only have cooked food when their disciples bring it to them, otherwise they live on fruits and roots. The Aughars do not pierce their ears, but have a string of black sheep's wool round the neck to which is suspended a wooden whistle called nadh ; this is blown morning and evening and before meals. The names of the Kanphatas end in Nāth and those of the Aughars in Dās.

When a novice is initiated all the hair of his head is shaved, including the scalp-lock. If the Ganges is at hand the Guru throws the hair into the Ganges, giving a great feast to celebrate the occasion ; otherwise he keeps the hair in his wallet until he and his disciple reach the Ganges and 1 Maclagan, loc. p. 115.

2 Ibidem, 1.c.

7. Hair

and clothes.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]




then throws it into the river and gives the feast. After this
the Jogi lets all his hair grow until he comes to some great
shrine, when he shaves it off clean and gives it as an offering
to the god. The Jogis wear clothes coloured with red ochre
like the Jangams, Sanniāsis and all the Sivite orders. The
reddish colour perhaps symbolises blood and may denote that
the wearers still sacrifice flesh and consume it. The Vaish-
navite orders usually wear white clothes, and hence the Jogis
call themselves Lāl Pādris (red priests), and they call the
Vaishnava mendicants Sīta Pādris, apparently because Sīta
is the consort of Rāma, the incarnation of Vishnu. When
a Jogi is initiated the Guru gives him a single bead of
rudrāksha wood which he wears on a string round his neck.
He is not branded, but afterwards, if he visits the temple of
Dwarka in Gujarāt, he is branded with the mark of the
conch-shell on the arm; or if he goes on pilgrimage to the
shrine of Badri-Nārāyan in the Himālayas he is branded on
the chest. Copper bangles are brought from Badri-Nārāyan
and iron ones from the shrine of Kedārnāth. A necklace
of small white stones, like juāri-seeds, is obtained from the
temple of Hinglāj in the territories of the Jām of Lāsbela
in Beluchistān. During his twelve years' period as a
Brahmachari or acolyte, a Jogi will make either one or
three parikramas of the Nerbudda; that is, he walks from
the mouth at Broach to the source at Amarkantak on
one side of the river and back again on the other
side, the journey usually occupying about three
During each journey he lets his hair grow and at the end
of it makes an offering of all except the choti or scalp-lock
to the river. Even as a full Jogi he still retains the scalp-
lock, and this is not finally shaved off until he turns into a
Sanniāsi or forest recluse. Other Jogis, however, do not
merely keep the scalp-lock but let their hair grow, plaiting
it with ropes of black wool over their heads into what is
called the jata, that is an imitation of Siva's matted locks.

The Jogis are buried sitting cross-legged with the face 8. Burial. to the north in a tomb which has a recess like those of Muhammadans. A gourd full of milk and some bread in a wallet, a crutch and one or two earthen vessels are placed in

1 Maclagan, b.c.


« PreviousContinue »