Page images
PDF
EPUB

II

NAMES-MAGICAL DEVICES

241

corpse ringing his bell. If a man is put out of caste through getting maggots in a wound or being beaten by a shoe, he must be purified by the Jangam. The latter rubs some ashes on his own body and places them in the offender's mouth, and gives him to drink some water from his own lota in place of water from a sacred river. For this the offender pays a fee of five rupees and a calf to the Jangam and must also give a feast to the caste.

The dead are either buried or burnt, the head being placed to the east. The eldest son has his head and face shaved on the death of the father of the family, and the youngest on that of the mother.

A child is named on the seventh or eighth day after 6. Names. birth by the old women. If it is much given to crying they consider the name unsuitable and change it, repeating those of deceased relatives. When the child stops crying at the mention of a particular name, they consider that the relative mentioned has been born again in the child and name it after him. Often the name of the sept is combined with the personal name as Lingam-Lachha, Lingam-Kachchi, Pānki-Samāya, Pānki-Ganglu, Pānki-Buchcham, Nāgul-Sama, Nāgul-Mutta. When a man wishes to destroy an enemy he makes an 7. Magical

devices. image of him with earth and offers a pig and goat to the family god, praying for the enemy's destruction. Then the operator takes a frog or a tree-lizard which has been kept ready and breaks all its limbs, thinking that the limbs of his enemy will similarly be broken and that the man will die. Or he takes some grains of kossa, a small millet, and proceeds to a saj? or mahua tree. A pigeon is offered to the tree and to the family god, and both are asked to destroy the foe. The man then ascends the tree, and muttering incantations throws the grains in the direction of his enemy thinking that they will enter his body and destroy him. To counteract these devices a man who thinks himself bewitched calls in the aid of a wizard, who sucks out of his body the grains or other evil things which have been caused to enter it as shown above. Occasionally a man will promise a human sacrifice to his god. For this he must get

1 Boswellia serrata. VOL. III

R

some hair or a piece of cloth belonging to somebody else and wash it in water in the name of the god, who may then kill the owner of the hair or cloth and thus obtain the sacrifice. Or the sacrificer may pick a quarrel and assault the other person so as to draw blood from him. He picks up a drop or two of the blood and offers it to the deity with the same end in view.

The caste are cultivators and farmservants, and are, as a rule, very poor, living from hand to mouth. They practise shifting cultivation and are too lazy to grow the more valuable crops. They eat grain twice a day during the four months from October to January only, and at other times eke out their scanty provision with edible roots and leaves, and hunt and fish in the forest like the Muria and Māria Gonds.

8. Occupar tion.

[Bibliography: Sir E. Maclagan's Punjab Census Report (1891); Mr. Crooke's Tribes and Castes, articles Jogi, Kānphata and Aghorpanthi ; Mr. Kitts' Berār Census Report (1881); Professor Oman's Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India (London: T. Fisher Unwin).]

LIST OF PARAGRAPHS

or

1. The Yoga philosophy.
2. Abstraction of the senses

autohypnotism.
3. Breathing through either nostril.
4. Self-torture of the Jogis.
5. Resort to them for oracles.
6. Divisions of the order.
7. Hair and clothes.

8. Burial.
9. Festivals.
10. Caste subdivisions.
11. Begging
12. Other occupations.
13. Swindling practices.
14. Proverbs about Jogis.

Jogi, Yogi.— The well-known order of religious mendi- 1. The cants and devotees of Siva. The Jogi or Yogi, properly so Yoga

philosophy. called, is a follower of the Yoga system of philosophy founded by Pātanjali, the main characteristics of which are a belief in the

power of man over nature by means of austerities and the occult influences of the will. The idea is that one who has obtained complete control over himself, and entirely subdued all fleshly desires, acquires such potency of mind and will that he can influence the forces of nature at his pleasure. The Yoga philosophy has indeed so much substratum of truth that a man who has complete control of himself has the strongest will, and hence the most power to influence others, and an exaggerated idea of this power is no doubt fostered by the display of mesmeric control and similar phenomena. The fact that the influence which can be exerted over other human beings through their minds in no way extends to the physical phenomena of inanimate nature is obvious to us, but was by no means so to the uneducated

2. Abstrac

senses or auto

Hindus, who have no clear conceptions of the terms mental
and physical, animate and inanimate, nor of the ideas con-
noted by them. To them all nature was animate, and all
its phenomena the results of the actions of sentient beings,
and hence it was not difficult for them to suppose that men
could influence the proceedings of such beings. And it is
a matter of common knowledge that savage peoples believe
their magicians to be capable of producing rain and fine
weather, and even of controlling the course of the sun.
Hindu sacred books indeed contain numerous instances of
ascetics who by their austerities acquired such powers as to
compel the highest gods themselves to obedience.

The term Yoga is held to mean unity or communion tion of the with God, and the Yogi by virtue of his painful discipline

and mental and physical exercises considered himself divine. hypnotism. “ The adept acquires the knowledge of everything past and

future, remote or hidden; he divines the thoughts of others, gains the strength of an elephant, the courage of a lion, and the swiftness of the wind; flies into the air, floats in the water, and dives into the earth, contemplates all worlds at one glance and performs many strange things.” 2

The following excellent instance of the pretensions of the Yogis is given by Professor Oman : "Wolff went also with Mr. Wilson to see one of the celebrated Yogis who was lying in the sun in the street, the nails of whose hands were grown into his cheeks and a bird's nest upon his head. Wolff asked him, “How can one obtain the knowledge of God?' He replied, “Do not ask me questions ; you may look at me, for I am God.'

" It is certainly not easy at the present day," Professor Oman states, "for the western mind to enter into the spirit of the so-called Yoga philosophy; but the student of religious opinions is aware that in the early centuries of our era the Gnostics, Manichæans and Neo-Platonists derived their peculiar tenets and practices from the Yoga-vidya of India, and that at a later date the Sufi philosophy of Persia drew its most remarkable ideas from the same source.5 The

1 This has been fully demonstrated 3 Quoting from Dr. George Smith's by Sir J. G. Frazer in The Golden Life of Dr. Wilson, p. 74. Bough.

4 Ibidem, pp. 13-15. 2 Colebrooke's Essays.

5 Weber's Indian Literature, p. 239.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »