1st Edition

Monastic Wanderers Nāth Yogī Ascetics in Modern South Asia

By Veronique Bouillier Copyright 2018
    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    How have the premodern Shaiva ascetic sect of the Nāth Yogīs (known also as the Yogīs with splitted ears) succeeded in maintaining its presence and importance until today? This book intends to give a general survey of this sampradāya which is said to have been founded by the Siddha Gorakhnāth, known for his strong link to Haṭha Yoga. However, rather than to Yoga, the history and expansion of the Nāth sect are linked to its rich legendary corpus. Dealing first with the marks of belonging (such as the huge earrings worn by the fully initiated Yogīs) which give the sect its unity, the book then focuses on its organization and explores the dialectics between the wandering Yogīs and the monastic settlements.

    The Nāth monasteries belong to two categories: the pañcāyati maṭhs, collectively owned and managed by the sectarian authorities, which ensure the permanency of the sect, and the nījī maṭhs, owned on a personal basis and transmitted from guru to disciple, which permits innovative initiatives

    The book gives a detailed account of two pañcāyati monasteries, the Kadri Maṭh of Mangalore where its head’s enthronement is spectacularly performed every twelve years, and the Caughera Maṭh of Dang Valley in Nepal, the royal foundation of which gives a glimpse of the complex relationships that can exist between monasteries and kingdoms. It then focuses on three nījī maṭhs: Amritashram in Fatehpur (Rajasthan), Ashtal Bohar in Rohtak (Haryana) and the Gorakhpur mandir (UP). Each of them shows a different mode of adaptation to a modern context and attests of the present importance and continuity of this pluri-secular tradition of asceticism.



    Nine Nāths and Eightyfours Siddhas, Gorakhnāth, Gorakhnāth’s Textual Corpus, Haṭha Yoga, Legends and Powers, Deities, Gorakhnāth as God, The Goddess, Bhairav, 2. Belonging to the Sampradāya, Initiations, Last Rites, Sect Organization, The Panths, The Mahāsabhā, 3. Wandering Ascetics


    The Kadri Maṭh: History, Mangalore- the Town and its Temples, A Reading of the Legend of Paraśurām: Manjunāth’s Appearance, The Kadalī Mañjunātha Māhātmyaṁ, Mañjunāth Temple and its History, The Tenth Century statues: Buddhist or Shaivite?, Lokeśvara: A Transitional God, Kadri or Kadalī Van: The Plantain Forest- the Goddess Mangalādevī and the Nāth Anchorage, Historical Hypothesis, The Kadri Monastery in Modern Times, The Monastic Structure, 5. Kadri Rājā’s Enthronement, Siṁhastha Kumbh Melā: Tryambakeshvar, The Selection of the Rājā, The Cult of the Pātradevatā: The Making of a Community, The Ascetic Pilgrimage, The enthronement of the Kadri Rājā, The Arrival of the Jhuṇḍī, The Vittal Monastery, The Consecration or Paṭṭabhiṣek, Adhikār- Entitlement: Enthronement and Coronation, Parting with the Pātradevatā, Comparison with other Consecration Rituals, Comparison with other Nāth Monasteries, Other Monastic Investitures, Installation Ceremonies of the Kings Another Model: The Consecration of a Spiritual Master, Back in Kadri: An Original Synthesis, 6. Caughera Maṭh (Dang Valley, Nepal): Legends of Foundation, Yogīs and Kings, Caughera Monastery: The Place, The Legends of Ratannāth, Ratan’s Initiation: Local Roots, Nāth Legitimation: Ratannāth as Kanīpā, Ratannāth, Ratan Bābā, Hajji Ratan, Ratannāth’s Travels as Narrated in Caughera, Ratan and Gogā Pīr: A Samādhi in Gogamedhi, Hajji Ratan of Bhatinda, Ratan al-Hindī: Muslim Polemical Accounts, Back to Caughera: Hindu and Muslims, 7. The Yogīs in the Kingdom: Ritual Services and Wordly Possessions, Caughera Rituals, The Nitya Pūjā: Daily Ritual, Pīrsthāpanā, Caughera Monastic Properties, Caughera Status vis-à-vis its Dependants, The Monastery and the State: Control and Conflicts


    8. Fatehpur Ashram, Hagiography: Amritnāth and the Monastic  Foundation, Amritnāth’s Youth, His Life as an Ascetic, Analysis: A Hagiography in a Familiar Space, 9. Institutionalization of the
    Fatehpur Ashram’s Nāth Belonging, Amritnāth’s Affiliation, Amritnāth’s Succession, Transmission and Growth of the Mannāthī Panth, The Throne and the Tomb, Dhūnī and Guphā (the Fire-place and the Cave), 10. Lay Followers, Patronage and Sevā: Fatehpur and Gorakhpu, Fatehpur, the Marwari Network, Devotees’ Duties, Devotees’ Expectations and Guru’s Powers, Festivals, Gorakhpur, a Political Monastery, 11. Asthal Bohar: A New Synthesis, Foundation Legends, Cauraṇgīnāth, Mastnāth, Mastnāth and the Āī Panth, Mastnāth and the two Brothers who became his Disciples, The Fire of the Ascetics: The Choṭī Dhūnī, The Baṛī Gaddī : The Big Throne, Mahants and Kings, The New Mahants: Social Service and Politics, The Annual Festivals


    12.The Grihastha or Householder Yogis, Celibacy and the Nāth Sampradāya, Ambiguous Categories, Grihastha Yogīs and Nāth Sampradāya, Dang Caughera, Mangalore, Pushkar, Gwalior: Ḍholibuva Tradition, Gorkha, Rajasthan, Dasnāmī Pūjā, Updeśī, Grihasthas and Tantrisme, Observations

    13. Conclusion


    Véronique Bouillier is a social anthropologist at the CNRS (Paris). Looking first at the social organization and history of Shaivite ascetic castes in Nepal, she turned to the study of monastic structures, as implemented by the Nāth Yogī sect in Nepal and in India, and devoted two books as well as several articles both in French and English to the interface between asceticism and society.