Saturday, 20 June 2015

Spare A Thought for Gorakhnath

According to the 7th C poet Banabhatt, Shiva, the Original One (Adinath) triggered off several heretic doctrines for uplifting the minds of the large number of those in multi ethnic India, who wilfully  remained outside the pale of the Vedas (वेदबाह्य). These included many of the lower castes, Jains, Buddhists . Shiva gave a philosophical tradition all human beings were born with calling it Sahaj Yog. Almost a dozen new sects grew out of the Sahaj philosophy in time, especially after the disgruntled ones began to accept Islam. The Nath sect was one among them, belived to have been created by one Guru Matseyndra Nath, whose chief disciple Guru Gorakhnath was. His Mutt is located in the eastern UP district of Gorakhpur, a town named after him, but the Guru originally hailed from western India, either from Peshawar or the present day Punjab near Jalandhar.
Gorakhnath’s time ( between 9th and 10th Centuries) was a period of great churning of all major religions in India both related to Vedic learning and outside its pale. This was when a newly insurgent Islam began to enter from across the western Himalayas, while hundreds of querulous branches in Buddhism and Hinduism clashed violently with each other across the north. From Tibet and Nepal also floated in the mists of Tantric black magic and several kinds of dubious practices involving copious use of sex and alcohol that were adopted by many in the name of enlightenment. They entered both the Shaktas and the Pashupat sub sects of Hinduism and gave the whole situation a rather questionable tinge. The Shiva followers then split into 3 different branches Vedic, Tantrik and Mishra(mixed).
Gorakhnath arrived as a great unifying and secularising influence over numerous groups of all heretic sects triggered off by Shiva led non believers. The sizeable ranks of these by now included both the common folk as also disenchanted royals from across the entire north: Bhartrihari and his cousin Pooran Bhagat of Ujjain, Raja Rasalu( to whom the Siddhas and Sansis in Punjab trace their origin), Raja Rasalu( or Risal) who is said to have forged an alliance with Muhammad Kasim in Sindh and Raja Gopichand of Bengal.
Gorakhnath, a learned man, culled the existing Yoga practices and finally reasserted the value of a true Guru that would epitomise pure wisdom, untrammeled by emotive considerations of any kind. He named his variety of Yog, Hatha Yog, a pure wisdom- led path, disciplined and focussed that was a free of all vagaries of sentiment(भावावेग विनिर्मुक्त, शुद्धबुद्धिमूलक ज्ञानमार्ग). He frowned heavily on the sexual excesses and foul language being used by many sects to symbolize of their  rebellion against the Brahminical caste system. He ruled that three things alone should matter to a true Hatha Yogi, control over at least one, Bindu(sex), Vayu(air) or Mann (Mind) can open the doors to self realization. He criticised indiscipline of any sort:
यंद्री का लडबडी भाषा का फ़ूहडा, गोरक्ष कहे ते नर परतक्ख चूहडा,
यंद्री का जती, भाषा का साति, घोरक्ष कहे ते नर सच्चा उतपथी ||
(A real Choohda( pejorative for low caste) is he that can’t control his sexual urges and uses foul language. He that has control over his urges and his tongue, is one who has Risen above)   
He then set about branding the image of a Nath Hath Yogi. He mandated them to tear a hole in the centre of the ear and wear a horn made holy earring (Mudra or Pavitri) in it. Because they tear their ears, Nathpanthi Yogis are also called Kanfatta Yogis. The homeless celebates among them who freely wander all over, are allowed a loin cloth (Lakuli or Langauti), a stick (Dand),a whistle made out of animal horn(Shringi),a Gudri(a patchwork spread), Khappar(begging bowl)and a Mekhala( drawstring crafted out of Jute). But that is only for those who have renounced the world. There are also non celibate householder (Grihastha) Nath Panthis. This paved the way for many more joining the sect, a large number of them women and men from the labouring classes (Kameen) and lowly weavers shepherds, tailors and washermen, many of whom had converted to Islam. Guru Gorakhnath’s trips to Nepal and the Himalayan states created many mutts for Nath Jogis. In Nepal he severed his Guru Matseyndranath’s connection with some female centric Buddhist sub sect and brought him back.
The 1921 Census of India lists the Yogis in India thus :
Jogis Hindu 629978  Male:Female ratio 325:305
Jogis Muslim 31158  male: Female ratio 16:15
Fakirs Hindu 141132  -do-    80:61
Gorkhpnthis have 12 sects and twelve major Peeths and are also called Barahpanthi yogis.



At 18 November 2016 at 02:01 , Blogger shubham_peddler said...

Such a poor writer! Poking fun on common people !


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