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Yogic Identities: Tradition and Transformation | Research | Freer and Sackler Galleries

Yogic Identities: Tradition and Transformation

James Mallinson

The earliest textual descriptions of yogic techniques date to the last few centuries BCE and show their practitioners to have been ascetics who had turned their backs on ordinary society.


These renouncers have been considered practitioners of yoga

par excellence

throughout Indian history. While ascetics, including some seated in meditative yoga postures,


have been represented in Indian statuary


since that early period, the first detailed depictions of Indian ascetics are not found until circa 1560 in paintings produced under the patronage of Mughal Emperor Akbar (reigned 15561605) and his successors.


These wonderfully naturalistic and precise images illuminate not only Mughal manuscripts


and albums but also our understanding of the history of yogis


and their sects. Scholars have argued for these paintings’ value as historical documents;


their usefulness in establishing the history of Indian ascetic orders bears this out. The consistency of their depictions and the astonishing detail they reveal allow us to flesh outand, sometimes, rewritethe incomplete and partisan history that can be surmised from Sanskrit and vernacular texts, travelers’ reports, hagiography, and ethnography.


The Two Yogi Traditions: Ascetic Sanyss and Tantric Nths

The eleventh to the fifteenth centuries saw the composition of a corpus of Sanskrit works that teach the haha method of yoga, which places the greatest emphasis on physical practices.9 The techniques of haha yogasome of which were probably part of ascetic practice for more than a thousand years before they were taught in textsbecame integral to subsequent formulations of yoga, including orthodox ones such as those found in the later “Yoga Upaniads.”10 They form the basis of much of the yoga practiced around the world today.

Within the texts of the haha yoga corpus, we can identify two yogic paradigms. One, the older, is the tradition of the yogis described in our earliest sources and is linked to the physical practices of tapasasceticism. It uses a variety of physical methods to control the breath and to arrest the downward flow and loss of semen,11 which is said to be the essence of life. Control of breath and semen leads to control of the mind, as well as perfect health and longevity. In classical formulations of hahayogasuch as that found in the most influential text on the subject, the fifteenth-century Hahapradpika second paradigm, that of Tantric yoga, is superimposed onto this ancient ascetic method. As taught in its root texts, which were composed between the fifth and tenth centuries CE, Tantric yoga consists for the most part of meditations on a series of progressively more subtle elements, a progression represented in some Kaula Tantric texts from the tenth century onward by the visualization of the ascent of the serpent goddess Kualin through a series of wheels (cakras) or lotuses (padmas) located along the body’s central column.

The ultimate goal of both of theseyogic paradigms is liberation (moka), which can be achieved while alive. Along the way various supernatural abilities or siddhis are said to arise, ranging from mundane benefits such as overcoming hunger and thirst through the power of flight to the attainment ofan immortal body. In the ancient ascetic tradition, these siddhis are ultimately impediments to the final goal; in the Tantric tradition, they may be ends in themselves.12

This mixing of yogic traditions suggests an ascetic milieu in which techniques were exchanged freely, a suggestion corroborated by the lack of emphasis on sectarianism in the texts of the early hahayoga corpus. The earliest text to teach a yoga explicitly called haha declares: “Whether a Brahmin, an ascetic, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Skull-Bearer or a materialist, the wise one who is endowed with faith and constantly devoted to the practice of [haha] yoga will attain complete success.”13

Early Mughal paintings bear witness to an ascetic archetype. Yogis have long, matted hair and beards, are naked or nearly sowhat cloth they do wear is ochre-coloredand smear their bodies with ashes. In addition to these long-attested ascetic attributes, Mughal-era yogis display some more recent traits: they wear hooped earrings,14 sit around smoldering fires,15 and drink suspensions of cannabis.16 See, for example, some of the finest early Mughal depictions of Indian yogisa single folio from the St. Petersburg Muraqqa‘ (Album), which shows a camp of ascetics (fig. 1) or two folios from a manuscript of the Akbarnma showing a battle between two Sanys suborders (figs. 2 and 3).

But although the two yogi traditions clearly interacted, sharing both theory and practice, their lineages remained distinct.17 They were represented, in the case of the ancient tradition of celibate asceticism, by groups that today constitute sections of the Daanm Sanys and Rmnand ascetic orders, and, in the case of the tradition of Tantric adepts such as Matsyendra and Goraka,18 by groups that today constitute sections of an ascetic order now known as the Nths.19 These orders were only starting to be formalized in the early Mughal period.20 Today they remain, together with the Sikh-affiliated Udsins, the biggest ascetic orders in North India.

Naked Sanyss and Nths with Horns

We know from external evidence that the ascetics depicted fighting in two folios (figs. 2, 3) from the Akbarnma (159095) and those depicted in two folios (figs. 7, 8) from the Bburnma are from lineages belonging to the two separate yogi traditions.

Figures 2 and 3 depict a battle, witnessed by Emperor Akbar, that took place in 1567 on the banks of the bathing tank at Kurukshetra. The combatants belonged to two rival yogi suborders, and they were fighting over who should occupy the best place to collect alms at a festival. In his description of the battle, Akbarnma author Abu’l Fazl called the combatants Purs and Giris, which remain to this day two of the “ten names” of the Daanm or “Ten-Named” Sanyss.21

Figures 7 and 8 are illustrations from a circa 1590 manuscript of the Bburnma and depict a visit Emperor Bbur made in 1519 to a monastery at Gurkhattri in modern-day Peshawar, Pakistan. The manuscript and its illustrations were made under the patronage of Akbar, who himself visited Gurkhattri twice in 1581,22 so the illustrations are likely to depict the monastery and its inhabitants at that time.23 Until the partition of India, Gurkhattri was an important center of the Nth ascetic order,24 and there is still a temple to Goraka, its founder, at the site today.25 This does not confirm that Gurkhattri was in the possession of Nths at the time of either Bbur’s or Akbar’s visitmany such shrines have changed hands over timeand the inhabitants of Gurkhattri are not identified in the Bburnma as Nths, but rather as jog(s),26 a vernacular form of the Sanskrit yog, which can refer to ascetics of a variety of traditions. However, we can infer that they were Nths27 from three attributes that they do not share with the Sanyss shown fighting at Kurukshetra in the Akbarnma.

The first is the wearing of horns on threads around their necks. Today, the single most reliable indicator of Nth membership is the wearing of such horns (see fig. 11).28 Nths now call their horns nds, but they were formerly known as sigs, and this appears to have been the case in the medieval period. In medieval Hindi literature sigs are frequently mentioned among the accoutrements of yogis, and sig-wearing yogis are sometimes identified as followers of Goraka.29 In keeping with their lack of sectarianism, Sanskrit texts on haha yoga, even those associated with Goraka, make few mentions of sect-specific insignia, and none of sigs, but other Sanskrit sources associate yogi followers of Goraka with the wearing of horns. Thus an early sixteenth-century South Indian Sanskrit drama describes a Kplika ascetic as uttering Goraka, Goraka and blowing a horn,30 and the tenth chapter of a Sanskrit narrative from Bengal dated to the second half of the sixteenth century or earlier31 tells of the yogi Candrantha being awoken from his meditation by other yogis blowing their horns.32 From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century travelers to the regions in which the earliest references to Goraka are found33 reported the use of horns by yogis.34 The identification of ascetics who wear horns as Nths is supported by a painting of the annual Urs festival of Muinuddin Chishti at Ajmer completed in the 1650s35 and now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.36 At the bottom is a group of Hindu ascetics. The fourth and fifth figures from the right, who both sport sigs, are identified on the painting itself as Matsyendra and Goraka, the first human Nth gurus.

The other two specifically Nth attributes are the necklace and fillet worn by three of the ascetics in figure 8. At the end of the sixteenth century the Jesuit traveler Monserrate visited Blnth ill, a famous Nth shrine in the Jhelum district of Pakistani Punjab, which was the headquarters of the order until the partition of India.37 Describing the monastic inhabitants of the ill, Monserrate wrote, “The mark of [the] leader’s rank is a fillet; round this are loosely wrapped bands of silk, which hang down and move to and fro. There are three or four of these bands.”38 This description seems to conflate two items of apparel often depicted in Mughal paintings of yogis: a simple fillet and a necklace, hanging from which are colored strips of cloth (Monserrate’s silk bands).39 Neither of these is worn today,40 but they serve to identify their wearers in Mughal paintings as Nth yogis.41

These indicators of membership of the Nth orderthe horns, fillets, and necklacesenable us to identify ascetics in a large number of early Mughal paintings, including those depicted in this beautiful seventeenth-century painting of yogis (fig. 9), as Nths.42

Once members of the Nth sapradya have been identified, it is possible to note other attributes that Nths do not share with the Sanyss depicted in contemporaneous illustrations. These include the wearing of cloaks and hats, the accompaniment of dogs, and the use of small shovels for moving ash. The Sanyss, meanwhile, in keeping with the renunciation implied by their name, do relatively little to embellish their archetypal ascetic attributes and are thus best distinguished by the absence of the specifically Nth features noted above.43 Indeed, in some cases, their renunciation is such that they are naked, which the Nths never are. Figure 1, then, shows a Sanys encampment.

There are fewer Mughal pictures of Sanyss than of Nths.44 The north Indian ascetic Nth traditions encountered bythe Mughals were closely linked to the Sant tradition of holy men and, like them, believed in a formless, unconditioned god. This theological opennesswhich manifested in, among other things, a disdain for the purity laws adhered to by more orthodox Hindu asceticsallowed them to mix freely with those such as the Muslim Mughals, who more caste-bound Hindu traditions would consider mlecchas (barbarians).45 Furthermore the Nths were not militarized, unlike the Sanyss, whose belligerence would have proved an impediment to interaction with the Mughals.46 The Nths’ greater influence on the Mughal court is further borne out by the preponderance of their doctrines in Persian yoga texts produced during the Mughal period.47


The criteria used above to identify the Nths and Sanyss in early Mughal paintings have been taken exclusively from sources contemporaneous with or older than the paintings themselves. This is because using modern ethnographic data to interpret these images has its pitfalls. By now the reader acquainted with the Nths may have wondered why little mention has been made of earrings. Today, Nths are renowned for wearing hooped earrings through the cartilages of their ears, which are cut open with a dagger at the time of initiation.48

For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as knpha (split-eared), a pejorative term that they themselves eschew. Very few other ascetics today wear earrings of any sort and, to my knowledge, none wears them knpha-style.49 The current exclusive association of Nths wearing hooped earrings has led many scholars to take textual mentions or artistic depictions of such insignia as indications that the wearers are Nths, but this is not always the case. In India, earrings have long been emblematic of both divinity50 and rank.51 Thus many representations of the Buddha show him with earlobes that are distended and pierced but empty, signifying his renunciation: he had abandoned the heavy jeweled earrings he wore as a royal prince.52 In contrast, Mahyna bodhisattvas and Tantric adepts (siddhas) were conceived of as sovereigns of their realms and are often described and depicted as wearing earrings (and other regal accoutrements).53 These Hindu and Buddhist siddhas may have been the first ascetics to wear earrings; a related type of ascetic, the Kplika (Skull bearer), is often said to wear them.54

In medieval vernacular texts contemporaneous with early Mughal paintings, earrings are almost always included (usually as mudr) in lists of yogi insignia.55 Often they are associated with yogis who follow Goraka. If we look at the ears in figures 13 and 79, however, we see two surprising features. First, almost all, whether they belong to Nths or Sanyss, sport earrings. Second, no earring goes through cartilage. Depictions of Sanyss up to the eighteenth century often show them wearing earrings, and it is not until the late eighteenth or even early nineteenth century that we come across the first depictions of Nths wearing earrings knpha-style. A fine example is a painting of two ascetics that illustrates a manuscript of the Tashr al-avm, an account of various Indian sects, castes, and tribes commissioned by Colonel James Skinner and completed in 1825 (fig. 11). The ascetic on the left is identified in an expanded version of the picture from the same period as an Augha, i.e., a Nth who is yet to take full initiation; the one on the right, who wears a sig around his neck and knpha earrings, is a full initiate by the name of ambhu Nth.56

Travelers from the sixteenth century onward commented on the wearing of earrings by yogis,57 but there are no outsider reports of them being worn knpha-style until circa 1800.58 The seventeenth-century poet Sundards, whose earliest manuscript is dated 1684,59 contrasts earring-wearing jogs with ja-growing Sanyss (pad 135) and elsewhere derides splitting the ears (kn phari) as a means of attaining yoga (skh 16.23).60 Since no paintings of yogis from the Mughal heyday (up to 1640) show split-eared yogis, it thus seems likely that the practice developed in the second half of the seventeenth century. The use of the pejorative name knpha, however, is not found until the second half of the eighteenth century, suggesting that the practice did not become widespread until then. The Nths’ adoption of this extreme knpha style led to earrings in general being closely associated with the Nth order, with the result that other ascetic orders eschewed the practice.61

The received history of the Nths is based on hagiography and has the twelfth-century Goraka founding the order, complete with its twelve subdivisions, by putting earrings through the cartilages of his disciples’ ears. The order is said to have flourished until the eighteenth century or thereabouts and to have been in steady decline ever since. But close examination of the historical sources shows that the opposite is more likely.62 The first organization to claim authority over all Nth lineages was founded in 1906.63 The Nth sapradya (Nth order) often referred to in histories of yoga and yogis was in fact a variety of disparate orders that traced their lineages to one or another Tantric siddha. Thus Jlandharnth was the tutelary deity of Maharaja Man Singh’s Jodhpur in the early nineteenth century, and Goraka played a subsidiary role in the texts and paintings produced at Man Singh’s court64 until late in his reign (180343).65 The adoption of knpha-style earrings appears to have been part of the process of Goraka’s becoming the titular head of the order and is always associated with Goraka in legend.66 The earliest image of Jlandharnth from Man Singh’s reign, a painting of him at his seat in Jalore, shows him and his attendants wearing earrings in their earlobes (fig. 12).67 In subsequent depictions of Nths from the region, such as another of Jlandharnth in a folio from the Nth Carit (fig. 13), they sport knpha-style earrings.68 The Nth Carit identifies the previously preeminent Jlandharnth with Goraka.69 Jlandharnth was also identified with the Blnth of Blnth ill, which, as noted above, was known as Gorakh ill by the second half of the eighteenth century.70


Just as the Nths’ earrings changed as the result of changes in the Nth sapradya, so too did their horns. The sig worn by Nths today is a more complex affair than that depicted in Mughal painting, which appears to have been an antelope horn eight to ten centimeters long, worn on a short thread around the neck so that it rested on the upper part of the chest. Today’s sig ensemble consists of a stylized miniature hornmore of a whistleabout three centimeters long and one centimeter in diameter, which is made from a variety of different materials, ranging from gold to plastic. It is worn around the neck with a ring (pvitr) and a rudrka (Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb.) seed on a long thread of spun black wool that hangs almost to the waist.

The Nths call this ensemble either a sel or a janeo (fig. 14). The latter is a Hindi word for the yajopavta or “sacred thread” worn by twice-born Hindus, and suggests a clue to the changes in Nth neckwear.

The watershed in the Nths’ sig configuration can be seen in paintings from Man Singh’s reign in Jodhpur. Figure 12 has Jlandharnth and his companions wearing their stylized sigs on short threads around their necks, without a ring or rudrka seed, in the manner of those shown in figures 7, 8, and 9. Once the “mature archetype” of Jlandharnth was established,71 he and his companions were always shown wearing their sigs (without a ring or rudrka seed) on waist-length black threads, usually around their necks (in the same manner as the yogi in fig. 11) but sometimes over one shoulder and under the other in the manner of a brahmin’s sacred thread.72 It seems that the newer, longer ensemble came about in imitation of the brahmanical janeo. During their heyday, the Jodhpur Nth householders “began to adopt high-caste Hindu ways,”73 and we see in texts commissioned by Man Singh an alignment between the previously unorthodox Nth tradition and classical Hinduism.74

Yogi Followers of iva and Viu

The most significant fault line in Hindu theology is the division between aivas, who hold that the supreme being is iva or his consort, Dev, and Vaiavas, who hold that it is Viu or one of his incarnations (avatras), usually Rma or Ka. This division was at its most violent in the eighteenth century, when battles between the military wings of two yogi orders, the aiva Daanm Sanyss and Vaiava Vairgs (whose largest suborder is that of the Rmnands), resulted in the deaths of thousands of ascetics. To this day, the sdhu camps at the triennial Kumbh Mel festivals are divided into the army of iva and the army of Rm (fig. 15). Mughal-era paintings of ascetics, however, show that the situation was somewhat different in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as we shall see below.

Nowadays the Nths, like the Sanyss, are overtly aiva, but the pictorial record indicates that this has not always been the case: Nths are not shown sporting aiva insignia, such as rudrka seeds or tripuras (horizontal forehead markings made with ash) until the late eighteenth century.75 The current Nth janeo configuration, in which a ring and a rudrka seed have been added to the long black thread and sig, appears to be an innovation of the nineteenth century at the earliest.76 The Nths’ roots in aiva Tantric traditions make the absence of aiva insignia in Mughal depictions of them surprising; perhaps it is symptomatic of their devotion to a formless absolute, an attitude prevalent in North Indian ascetic orders in late medieval India.77

But it is not only the Nths who are free from aiva insignia in Mughal paintings; to my knowledge, no ascetic of any stripe wears the horizontal tripura forehead marking or necklaces of rudrka seeds. The unmistakable aiva denomination of today’s Daanm Sanyss makes the absence of aiva insignia in their Mughal depictions particularly surprising. In myths, iva is often portrayed as the yogi par excellence, with the result that asceticism and yoga have come to be thought of as originally aiva, and their non-aiva manifestations as adaptations of aiva traditions. But in our earliest sources, the association of asceticism and yoga with iva is by no means exclusive,78 and aivism did not dominate subsequent teachings on yoga.79 It is perhaps the association of asceticism with iva and the aiva affiliation of today’s Daanm Sanyss that have led scholars to assume that the ascetics in Mughal paintings are aivas.80 Yet, as I have remarked, there are no aiva insignia in any Mughal pictures of ascetics.81 On the contrary, many of the Sanyss depicted therein sport on their foreheads the distinctive rdhvapura V-shaped Vaiava marking. A large number of the Sanyss fighting in figures 2 and 3 clearly have these markings (see details in 16b, 16c, 16d), as does the leader of the Sanys troop (figs. 1, 16a). Other Mughal paintings of Sanyss from the same period also show them wearing rdhvapuras (e.g. figures 18 and 19).82

Vaiava features of Daanm Sanys identity are in fact legion. To this day, all Daanm ascetics greet one another with the ancient Vaiava akara (“eight-syllabled” mantra): o namo nryaya. akarcrya, who was retroactively claimed to have founded their order, was Vaiava.83 Three of their four phas or sacred centersDwarka, Puri, and Badrinathare Vaiava places of pilgrimage.84 Prior to the sixteenth century, the Daanm nominal suffix Pur is found only on the names of Vaiava ascetics.85 The tutelary deities of the two biggest akhs (regiments) of the Daanms today are Datttreya and Kapila, both of whom are included in early lists of the manifestations of Viu.86

It is the rdhvapuras in these Mughal miniatures, however, and the absence of aiva insignia that provide us with the most compelling evidence that at least some of the groups that came to form the Daanm Sanys order were originally Vaiava. It is not clear how, when, or why the Daanms acquired an overarching aiva orientation, but it is likely to have been a result of the formalization of the order, in particular its affiliation with the southern Sringeri monastery and the concomitant attribution of its founding to akarcrya, who by the seventeenth century had been rebranded a aiva.87 During the seventeenth century, the three main ascetic orders of North Indiathe Daanms, Rmnands, and Nthsforged links with southern institutions as they staked claims to dominion over all of India. The Daanms joined forces with the Sringeri maha, whose teachings, a blend of Advaita and the sanitized form of aivism known as rvidy, they adopted.88 As part of this process, both the Sringeri maha and the Daanms claimed akarcrya as their founding guru. Together with aivism, the Daanms would have taken northward the antipathy between aivas and Vaiavas that had afflicted South India for at least five hundred years. It persisted in debates between different Brahmin and Sanys factions, some of which were connected with the Sringeri maha, in Vijayanagar until its downfall in 1565 and, latterly, in Varanasi.89

The rapid hardening of the Daanms’ aiva orientation over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to have been in reaction to the formation of their archrivals, the Rmnands, ascetic worshipers of Viu’s Rm incarnation. Today, Rmnands wear Vaiava rdhvapura forehead markings like those depicted in the early Mughal portrayals of Sanyss (figs. 17, 18, 19).

Indeed, one might contend that figure 1whose subjects, unlike those in figures 2 and 3, are not identified in contemporaneous sources as Daanm Sanyssportrays Rmnands (or rather their forerunners, since the order was yet to be formalized or refer to itself as Rmnand).90 But three features of the ascetics in figure 1 set them apart from today’s Rmnands.

First, there is the ancient rdhvabhu penance of permanently holding one or two arms in the air undertaken by the ascetic in the bottom left of the picture. Today this is the preserve of Daanms (fig. 20).

Rmnands will not practice it because it is likely to permanently disfigure the body, rendering it unsuitable for the orthodox Vedic ritual acts that they, unlike the Sanyss, perform (fig. 21).

Rmnands prefer austerities such as dhni-tap, sitting in the summer sun surrounded by smoldering cow-dung fires (fig. 22), or khaevar, standing up for years on end (fig. 23).

Second, two of the ascetics, including the figure who has undertaken the rdhvabhu penance, are naked. Rmnands today are scornful of the Daanms’ nakedness, saying that it offends Lord Rm.91 Third, the remaining ascetics wear ochre-colored cloth, unlike the Rmnands, who wear white cloth, saying that the Daanms’ ochre robes are the color of the menstrual fluid of Prvat, iva’s consort.92

Other features differentiate the Rmnands from the Daanms, such as the former’s insistence on “pure” (i.e., lacking onion and garlic) vegetarian food, their taking of the nominal suffix -dsa at initiation, their practice of orthodox rituals, and the associated preservation of the topknot when they have their heads shaved at initiatory and other ceremonies. These differences are all emblematic of the Rmnands’ ultra-Vaiavism, a trait shared with other members of the “four traditions” (cr sapradya) of Vaiavas, which were formalized in the seventeenth century and sought to unite North Indian devotional traditions with more established South Indian lineages.93

If one puts these ultra-Vaiava traits aside, however, the Daanms and Rmnands are remarkably similar, and not just because they both embody a shared ascetic archetype and lead almost identical lives. Their organization and initiation procedures are very close.94 They both worship Hanumn and gods and sages associated with the ancient ascetic yoga tradition, such as Datttreya and Kapila.95 They share a secret vocabulary.96 The nominal suffix -nanda found in the names of early Rmnand gurus prior to the adoption of the suffix -dsa is still used by certain subdivisions of the Daanms.97 Both have a military unit (akh) called (Mah) nirvi.

Today, the Rmnands are the largest ascetic order in India, and ascetics who worship Rma have been part of the North Indian religious landscape since at least the twelfth century.98 But our Mughal miniatures have shown us only Daanm Sanyss and Nths. Where were the ascetic worshippers of Rma hiding? A close inspection of Akbar Watches a Battle between Two Rival Groups of Sanyss at Thaneshwar and a folio from Jahangir’s 1618 Gulshan Album tells us that they are right before our eyes: the forerunners of the Rmnands were Sanyss.99 Some of the yogi warriors in the Akbarnma depiction of the battle at Thaneshwar have, in addition to Vaiava insignia, words written on their bodies. Only one wordramis discernible, on the chest of a Sanys in the bottom right (figs. 2, 24). And we can see similar markings on the body of a Vaiava in a beautiful collage of paintings from the Gulshan Album, which depicts a Nth yogi encountering a Vaiava ascetic very similar to the Thaneshwar Sanyss (fig. 25). The words are not clearly writtenone wonders how good the Devangar orthography of the Mughal court painters wasbut rma is the most likely reading.

In matters of doctrine, the Sanys tradition is most closely associated with the rigorous philosophies of Vednta. Bhakti (devotion), however, has held an important, if overlooked, place in their teachings,100 and some medieval North Indian Sanys cryas were renowned for their devotion to Rm.101 The formalization of the Sanys order involved the incorporation of a broad variety of different renouncer traditions, whose followers considered themselves part of the ancient tradition of renunciation (sanysa). In the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the generic name for a renouncer, Sanys, became associated with this formalized order. When the Rmnands seceded from it in the course of their adoption of ultra-Vaiavism, their ascetics differentiated themselves from the Sanyss by giving themselves the name Tyg, which is an exact Sanskrit synonym of Sanys (fig. 26). In a similar fashion, as Nth corporate identity solidified in the eighteenth century, the name Yog came to be associated exclusively with the Nths and was shunned by the Sanyss and Rmnands.

The aivism of the Daanm Sanyss and Vaiavism of the Rmnands, while ostensibly responsible for a lengthy, and sometimes lethal, antipathy, should be taken with a pinch of salt. Doctrinal differences are highlighted in texts composed by the learned of both traditions but, as noted above, the rank-and-file yogis were (and remain) very similar, and their shared Sant heritage of anti-scholastic nirguabhakti is still prevalent today. The aiva and Vaiava denominations were adopted in the course of the consolidation of the two orders and provided a convenient ideological justification for what was in fact competition over resources rather than a dispute over doctrine.102 Not only do the ascetics of both orders lead very similar lives, but many features of the two orders fly in the face of their supposed incompatibility. An important Sanys commander of the late eighteenth century, when battles between the two orders were at their fiercest, was called Rmnand Gos.103 At the 2010 Haridwar Kumbh Mel, I met a Sanys called Rmnand Giri in the Sanyss’ Jn Akh. Recently, when making inquiries in Himachal Pradesh about historical religious affiliations, my informants were confused by my attempts to categorize local rulers or religious institutions as exclusively Vaiava or aiva. Taru Ds Mahant, a householder Rmnand from Kullu, told me that “here the devotees of Rm all worship iva and the devotees of iva all worship Rm.”104

Mughal Painting: A Window onto the History of Yoga and Yogis

There has long been confusion over the identity of the yogis depicted in Mughal and later paintings. This has resulted from a lack of understanding of the complex and constantly changing makeup of yogi sects in the early modern period, and the concomitant absence of terminological rigor in both Indian and foreign descriptions of yogis from the Mughal period to the present day. Yet a close reading of these pictures and other historical sources allows us to identify the sectarian affiliations of the depicted yogis and thereby to cast new light on their history and the nature of the yoga that they practiced. The pictures’ naturalism and the associated consistency of their depictions mean that seemingly insignificant details, such as the position of an earring, are of great significance.

Mughal-era and later paintings provide evidence for, and have inspired, many of the new ways of looking at Indian yogis and their history outlined in this essay. Doubtless some of the theories proposed will be rejected or refined in the light of further researchwhether textual, ethnographic, or art historicalbut the details shown in these beautiful images, which have hitherto been overlooked in histories of yoga and yogis, need to be addressed by historians. They bear testament to the fluidity of India’s religious landscape and the transformations undergone by her yogis as they adapted to the changes around them.

Author’s Note

I am grateful to Debra Diamond, Jane Lusaka, Bruce Wannell, Monika Horstmann, Arik Moran, Susan Stronge, Patton Burchett, Lubomr Ondraka, Anand Venkatkrishnan,Dominic Goodall, Jason Birch, Jerry Losty, Sunil Sharma, Pter-Dniel Sznt,Vronique Bouillier and Holly Shaffer for their useful comments on earlier drafts of this essay. Many of the arguments rehearsed had their first airing in a Mellon Foundation lecture I gave at Columbia University on September 29, 2011, at the kind invitation of Sheldon Pollock. I thank him and the audience there for their constructive criticism. I also received useful feedback from the members of the panel on “Yogis, sufis, devotees: religious/literary encounters in pre-modern and modern South Asia” at the European Conference on South Asian Studies in Lisbon, July 27, 2012. Many people have provided me with scans of images of yogis that I refer to in this essay. I would like to thank in particular Debra Diamond, who has sent hundreds of such scans my way. Ludwig Habighorst very kindly allowed me to use scans of pictures from his collection. Thanks too to Malini Roy, who has helped with my repeated requests to see images in the collection of the British Library.


1. E.g., the ramaa ascetics whose yogic practices the Buddha dismisses in the Pali Canon (see James Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga,” in The kta Traditions [London: Routledge, forthcoming]) and the practitioners of yoga mentioned in the Mahbhrata (ibid., and John L. Brockington, “Epic Yoga,” Journal of Vaiava Studies 14, no. 1 [2005], pp. 12338).

2. On the history of yoga postures (sanas) and their depiction, see cats. 9aj, Asana, in Yoga: The Art of Transformation, ed. Debra Diamond (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2013).

3. The earliest depictions of yogis in yogic postures date to approximately the third century BCE (see n. 5 in cats. 9aj, Asana, in Yoga: The Art of Transformation). Ever since Sir John Marshall’s identification of the figure depicted on a seal from Mohenjo-Daro as a third-millennium BCE prototype of iva in a yogic posture, many scholars have claimed that yoga was practiced in the Indus Valley Civilization. Sir John Marshall, Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization: Being an Official Account of Archaeological Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro Carried Out by the Government of India Between the Years 1922 and 1927, vol. 1 (London: Arthur Probsthain, 1931), pp. 5254. In my opinion the absence of any textual or iconographic evidence for yogic postures over the subsequent two millennia (let alone the uncertainty over what the seal actually depicts) strongly suggests that there is no connection between the Indus Valley depictions and yoga (see also David Gordon White,Sinister Yogis(London: Chicago University Press) pp. 48-59)).

4. A large number of paintings of yogis were produced under the patronage of the Mughal courts, but very few depict yogis actually practicing yoga, whether in meditational or nonseated sanas. Exceptions include the beautiful illustrations to manuscripts of the Bar al-ayt and Yogavsiha, both in the collection of the Chester Beatty Library (mss. 16 and 5, respectively; see also cats. 9aj and 13 in Yoga: The Art of Transformation). See Sunil Sharma, “The Sati and the Yogi: Safavid and Mughal Imperial Self-Representation in Two Album Pages,” In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 154, shows how Mughal pictures of yogis were tools of propaganda in a broader scheme that “promoted the idea within and outside the empire of a tolerant and benevolent rule.”

5. Manuscripts of texts, in particular Premkhyn romances such as the Mrigvat, and individual verses describing a semi-spiritual longing for a beloved envisaged as a yogi are sometimes illustrated with paintings of yogis. These tend to portray generic yogi types, but still remain highly naturalistic, while other Mughal paintings depict specific individuals in a more ethnographic manner (cf. Sunil Sharma, “Representation of Social Groups in Mughal Art and Literature: Ethnography or Trope?” in Indo-Muslim Cultures in Transition [Leiden: Brill, 2011], pp. 2230). More stylized still are the portrayals of yoginis in Deccani miniatures of the period, who, with their unlikely mixture of courtly apparel and ascetic garb, are likely to represent divine rather than human yoginis (Debra Diamond, Occult Science and Bijapurs Yoginis, in Indian Painting: Themes, History and Interpretations [Essays in Honour of B. N. Goswamy], forthcoming 2013).

6. In this essay, I use the word yogi with the same lack of specificity that it has in many historical sources, both within the yogi tradition and without. Thus it refers to an asceticsomeone who has renounced the norms of conventional society in order to live a life devoted to religious endswho may or may not practice the techniques commonly understood to constitute yoga. While not all these yogis practice yoga as such, it is among them that adept practitioners of yoga are most commonly found.

7. Geeti Sen, Paintings from the Akbar Nama (Calcutta: Rupa and Co., 1984), pp. 1518. In the discussion after I presented some of the material in this paper at the European Conference on South Asian Studies in Lisbon, July 2012, it was suggested that Mughal depictions of yogis might be derived from archetypes and are thus unreliable historical witnesses. This is disproved by two features of the images themselves. First, with a handful of obvious exceptions when whole paintings are derivative of others, the yogis in the many Mughal pictures I have seen are all very different from one another. Secondto draw an analogy from philologywere the pictures to be derived from archetypes rather than firsthand observation, we would expect a situation similar to that found in the vast majority of Indic manuscript stemmata, in which “contamination,” caused by a scribe consulting more than one manuscript of a text when transcribing a new one, renders stemmatic analysis (the mechanical identification of archetypes) impossible. In Mughal painting, this would manifest in yogis from one tradition being depicted with the attributes of another; i.e., were an artist to work from older paintings rather than from real life, we would expect him to pick and choose traits indiscriminately (just as the name yogi is indiscriminately applied to ascetics of various sects in our written sources). Yet, despite there being several hundred very diverse Mughal depictions of yogis, there is none of the contamination that would result from such practices: the sect-specific features outlined in this article are never found out of place. We do not see Gorakhnthi yogis with Sanys features or vice versa: no yogis wearing Gorakhnthi sigs are depicted naked or with big dreadlocks; no Sanyss wear the multicolored Gorakhnthi necklace; no Gorakhnthis perform physical austerities; and so forth.

8. Many aspects of the lives of yogis are rarely, if ever, recorded in writing, and these paintings are often our only historical sources about them. See for example Hope Marie Childers, “The Visual Culture of Opium in British India” (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2011), p. 18, on depictions of drug consumption by ascetics in premodern India.

9. This paragraph summarizes Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga.”

10. On these late medieval texts and their wholesale incorporation of versessometimes even entire textsfrom the early hahayoga corpus, see Christian Bouy, Les Ntha-Yogin et Les Upaniads (Paris: De Boccard, 1994).

11. References to women practitioners of hahayoga are very rare in the texts at our disposal; where stated, the female equivalent of semen is said to be menstrual fluid (e.g., Hahapradpik of Svtmrma, ed. Svm Digambarj and Dr Ptambar Jh [Lonavla: Kaivalyadhm S. M. Y. M. Samiti, 1970], 3.95).

12. James Mallinson, “Siddhi and Mahsiddhi in Early Hahayoga,” in Yoga Powers, ed. K. A. Jacobsen (Leiden: Brill: 2012), pp. 32744.

13. Datttreyayogastra, 41a42b: brhmaa ramao vpi bauddho vpy rhato ’thav| kpliko v crvka raddhay sahita sudh|| yogbhysarato nitya sarvasiddhim avpnuyt|

From an unpublished critical edition by James Mallinson, based on the following witnesses: Datttreyayogastra, edited by Brahmamitra Avasth, Svm Keavnanda Yoga Sasthna (1982); Man Singh Pustak Prakash nos. 1936; Wai Praj Phal 6/4399, 6163; Baroda Oriental Institute 4107; Mysore Government Oriental Manuscripts Library 4369; Thanjavur Palace Library B6390. The edition was read by Alexis Sanderson, Jason Birch, Pter-Dniel Sznt, and Andrea Acri at Oxford in early 2012, all of whom I thank for their valuable emendations and suggestions.

14. The earliest references to the wearing of earrings by ascetics are in the context of Mahayana Bodhisattvas and tantric Siddhas (see n. 53 for references).

15. The ascetic practice of sitting under the sun surrounded by fires is attested in textual and visual sources from before the Common Era, but the archetypal ascetic practice of living around a smoldering dhni fire, found to this day, is not represented in images prior to the Mughal period. Orthodox brahmin ascetics are enjoined to renounce the use of fire, but it seems fair to assume that heterodox ascetics living away from society have always used fire to cook and keep warm and that the practice itself is not an innovation of the Mughal era, only its depiction.

16. The consumption of cannabis arrived in India with Islam. Cannabis first appears in Ayurvedic texts in the eleventh century (G. J. Meulenbeld, “The search for clues to the chronology of Sanskrit medical texts as illustrated by the history of bhag,” in Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik 15 [1989], p. 64; D. Wujastyk, “Cannabis in Traditional Indian Herbal Medicine,” in yurveda at the Crossroads of Care and Cure, Proceedings of the Indo-European Seminar on Ayurveda, Arrbida, Portugal, November 2001, ed. A. Salema [Lisboa & Pune: Centro de Histria del Alm-Mar, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2002], pp. 4573) and was probably introduced into the ascetic milieu by Madariyya fakirs in the fourteenth to fifteenth century (Alexis Sanderson, “The aiva religion among the Khmers: part I,” Bulletin del cole Franaise D’extrme-Orient 9091 [2003], p. 265, n. 43). Prior to the arrival of tobacco in India at the beginning of the seventeenth century, cannabis was eaten or drunk, not smoked, and I know of no pictures of ascetics smoking cannabis that date to earlier than the eighteenth century.

17. It seems likely that at some point, perhaps in the seventeenth century, certain Nth lineages were absorbed into the Daanm Sanys order (see n. 46 ).

18. Goraka or Gorakantha is his Sanskrit name; in Hindi and other vernacular languages he is known as Gorakh or Gorakhnth.

19. The combination of the two traditions’ yogas was universally accepted, but to this day each displays a predilection for the methods it originated. Thus sana practice is found among the Rmnands and Daanms but is almost absent among the Nths, while the latter are renowned for their mastery of Tantric ritual and yoga (Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga”).

20. The first references to the Daanm Sanyss and Nths as formalized orders are found in Sikh works from approximately 1600: (r) Guru Granth Shib, with complete index prepared by Winand M. Callewaert, 2 parts (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1996), p. 939, 7.3, 9.2; p. 941, 34.2; Vr Bh Gurds, ed. Jodh Singh (Patiala: Vision & Venture, 1998), 8.13. It seems that the formalization of the Rmnands did not happen until the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, when their akhs were first organized in Rajasthan (see Monika Horstmann, “Power and Status: Rmnand Warrior Ascetics in 18th-Century Jaipur” in Asceticism and Power in South and South East Asia, ed. P. Flgel and G. Houtman [London: Routledge, forthcoming]).

21. There are three accounts of this encounter, in which the combatants are referred to inconsistently as both Jogs and Sanyss. Ahmad and Al-Badauni say that they are Jogs and Sanyss (Nizamuddin Ahmad, “Tabakat-i Akbari,” in The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, trans. H. M. Elliot and J. Dowson, vol. 5 [London: Trubner and co., 1873], p. 318; Al-Badauni, Muntakhabu-t-Tawrkh, vol. 2, trans. W. H. Lowe [Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1898], p. 95). Abu’l Fazl says that both sides are Sanyss, identifying one group as Kurs, the other as Purs (H. Beveridge, The Akbar-nma, trans. from Persian, vol. 2. Bibliotheca Indica: A Collection of Oriental Works published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal [Delhi: Rare Books, 1972], p. 423). Kur is a corruption, resulting from Persian orthography, of Giri. This is supported by the list of the Daanms’ ten names given in the Dabistn, where in the place of Giri we find Kar (David Shea and Anthony Troyer, The Dabistn: or School of Manners [London: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1843], p. 139; cf. ibid., pp. 14748, which mentions a Sanys called Madan Kir).

22. H. Beveridge, The Akbar-nma, vol. 3, pp. 514, 528.

23. As noted by Ellen Smart, “Paintings from the Bburnma: A Study of Sixteenth-Century Mughal Historical Manuscript Illustration” (PhD diss., School of Oriental Studies, University of London, 1977), pp. 22140, the illustration of Bbur’s visit to Gurkhattri in fig. 3 is likely to be derivative of a single folio from the text now found in the Victoria and Albert Museum (IM 262-1913). There are no significant differences in the two paintings’ depictions of the yogis’ features under consideration in this essay.

24. George Weston Briggs, Gorakhnth and the Knphaa Yogs (1938; repr. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1998), p. 98.

25. In 2011 the Gorakhnth temple at Gurkhattri was reopened to Hindus after sixty years (Hindustan Times, November 1, 2011).

26. Annette Susannah Beveridge, The Babur-nama in English (London: Luzac and Co., 1922), p. 230.

27. It would perhaps be more accurate to call them “proto-Nths”: the name Nth was yet to be applied to an order of human ascetics (James Mallinson, “Nth Sapradya,” Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, vol. 3, ed. Knut A. Jacobsen [Leiden: Brill, 2011], p. 409).

28. I note here some rare exceptions to this principle. The Nth followers of Mastnth eschew wearing the sig, claiming to have internalized it (Rje Dkit, r Navnth Caritr Sgar [Delhi: Dehati Pustak Bhar, 1969], p. 22; Hazrprasd Dvived, Nth Samprady [Ilhbd: Lokbhrat Prakan, 1996], p. 17). The icon of Bb Blaknth and the Daanm Sanys priests at his temple at Dyot Siddh in Himachal Pradesh wear very small sigs, even though, according to legend, Bb Blaknth was avowedly not a Nth; he defeated Gorakhnth in a magical contest. On March 24, 2009, I asked the current mahant, Rjendra Giriwho sports a fine golden sig and is, as his name suggests, a member of the Giri suborder of the Daanm Sanysswhy he wore what I thought was a Nth emblem. He told me that the sig itself has no particular sectarian connotation. It may be that Bb Blaknth’s lineage constituted one of the mahi divisions of the Giri suborder of the Daanm Sanyss. All twenty-seven of the Giri mahis have names ending in -nth and are said to trace their lineage back to one Brahm Giri, who defeated Gorakhnth in a display of siddhis, after which he took the name Augharnth (r Mahant Ll Pur, Daanm Ng Sanys eva r Pancyat Akh Mahnirv [Prayg: r Pancyat Akh Mahnirv, 2001], pp. 6669). Bb Blaknth is sometimes identified with Jlandharnth, and this myth may represent the still unsettled rivalry between the more Tantric Jlandharnth and the reformist/heretical Gorakhnth: there are followers of the former who refuse to accept the latter as the founding guru and tutelary deity of the Nth order (personal communication, Kulavadhuta Satpurananda, July 16, 2010; see also The Siddhnt Paal, a ritual handbook used by the Rmnands and attributed to Rmnand, mentions sigs three times (pp. 2 l.2, 9 l.2, and 17 l.1). Blyog r Rm Blak Ds, a Rmnand Tyg, informed me on October 27, 2012, that in this context sig refers to tiger’s claws when worn in pairs as an ornament on a Rmnand’s ja or dreadlocks. The oaamudr, of which I have seen a single circa seventeenth- or eighteenth-century manuscript (Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library, B6385), includes the sig among the accoutrements of a yogi but makes no mention of anything specifically Nth. The text is ascribed to uka Yog. uka, son of Vysa, is said to practice yoga in the Mahbhrata (12.319), and the Bhgavatapura is framed as a discourse by uka to King Parkit. uka is not included in Nth lineages but is mentioned frequently in those of the Rmnands (e.g., Monika Horstmann, “The Rmnands of Galta (Jaipur, Rajasthan),” in Multiple Histories: Culture and Society in the Study of Rajasthan, ed. Lawrence A. Babb, Varsha Joshi, and Michael W. Meister [Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2002], p. 173) and is among the traditional teachers (cryas) of the Daanm Sanyss (Matthew Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss: The Integration of Ascetic Lineages into an Order [Leiden: Brill, 2006], p. 116, n. 46; Pur, Daanm Ng Sanys, p. 21).

29. See Miragvat of Kutubana: Avadh text with critical notes, ed. D. F. Plukker (Thesis Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1981), 106g; Padmvat of Jayas = The Padumwati of Malik Muammad Jaisi, ed. G. A. Grierson and S. Dvivedi (Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1911), 12.1.4; , Madhumlat 173 (Aditya Behl and Simon Weightman with Shyam Manohar Pandey, Madhumlat: An Indian Sufi Romance [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000], p. 72); Dd skh 25.20, pads 213.2, 214.2; Kabr granthval pads 142.3, 172.1; Nmdev pads 52.1, 64.2; Hards pads 1.3, 25.0; Gorakh pad 19.3, 60.4; Sundards pads 122.2, 144.2; Gurugranth 145.1, 208.5, 334.18, 360.2, 605.12, 730.11, 730.17, 877.9, 886.14, 907.15, 908.13, 970.16. Pac Mtr 11, 15, 19. (Winand M. Callewaert and Bart Op De Beeck, Devotional Hind Literature: A Critical Edition of the Pac-V or Five Works of Dd, Kabr, Nmdev, Rids, Hards with the Hind Songs of Gorakhnth and Sundards, and a Complete Word-index, 2 vols. [New Delhi: Manohar, 1991]).

30. Bhvanpuruottamam of Ratnakheta rnivsa Dkita, ed. S. Swamintha Sastri, Tanjore Sarasvati Mahal Series, no. 167 (1979), p. 98. I am grateful to Pter-Dniel Sznt for pointing out this reference to me.

31. Sekaubhodaya of Halayudha Mira, ed. and trans. Sukumar Sen, Bibliotheca Indica Series 286 (Kolkata: Asiatic Society, 1963), introduction, pp. xxi. This text is a fictitious account of a Muslim shaykh (seka) overcoming yogis and brahmins.

32. Harimohan Mishra, the editor of the early fifteenth-century Maithili Gorakavijaya, suggests that sigs may be referred to in that text’s third gt although the reading is unclear (p. 28). The circa 1700 Siddhasiddhntapaddhati, a Nth sectarian text, includes sihanda among the accoutrements of the yogi (5.15). Gorakavijaya of Vidypati, ed. Harimohan Mira (Pan: Bihr Rtrabh Pariad, 1984). Siddhasiddhntapaddhati of Gorakantha, ed. M. L. Gharote and G. K. Pai (Lonavla: Lonavla Yoga Institute, 2005).

33. The earliest references to Goraka are from South India, in particular the Deccan (Mallinson, “Nth Sapradya,” p. 411).

34. Mahdi Husain, The Rela of Ibn Battta (Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1953), p. 166; George Percy Badger, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India and Ethiopia, A.D. 1503 to 1508. Translated from the original Italian Edition of 1510, with a Preface, by John Winter Jones, Esq., F.S.A., and edited, with notes and an introduction, by George Percy Badger (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1863), p. 112; Vasundhara Filliozat, Vijayanagar as seen by Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz (16th Century Portuguese Chroniclers) and others (Delhi: National Book Trust, 1999), p. 79; Mansel Longworth Dames, The Book of Duarte Barbosa. An account of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean and their inhabitants, written by Duarte Barbosa, and completed about the year 1518 a.d., vol. 1 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1918), p. 231.

35. Elinor Gadon, “Note on the Frontispiece,” in The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, ed. Karine Schomer and W. H. McLeod (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), p. 420.

36. Victoria and Albert Museum, I.S. 94-1965.

37. See William R. Pinch, “Nth Yogs, Akbar, and Blnth ill,” in Yoga in Practice, ed. David Gordon White (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 27388 for historical accounts of Blnth ill. The ill came to be known as Gorakh ill in the process of the various disparate Nth lineages uniting under Gorakh (see Mallinson, “Nth Sapradya”). The earliest reference to it by this name that I have found is in the Sanys Pr Pur’s translated account of his travels in the second half of the eighteenth century, in which it is referred to as “Gorakh-tala”). Pr Pur, “His account of his travels, published as ‘Oriental Observations, No. XThe Travels of Prn Puri, a Hindoo, who travelled over India, Persia, and Part of Russia,’” in The European Magazine and London Review 57 (1792, published in 1810), p. 269.

38. J. S. Hoyland, The Commentary of Father Monserrate, S. J., On His Journey to the Court of Akbar (London: Oxford University Press, 1922), p. 114.

39. Monserrate himself wrote: “Dignitatis insigne, est, infula bombycinis fasciolis, fastigio, per gyrum infulae, ordine affixis, quae impendeant, et facile moueantur · tribus, quattuorue || ordinibus, a fastigio, ad extremam infulae oram, quae frontem cingit” (Mongolicae Legationis Commentarius, p. 597). Hoyland (see n. 38) omits from his translation the last part of Monserrate’s description of the bands of silk: “ordinibus, a fastigio, ad extremam infulae oram, quae frontem cingit” (in rows, from the top to the edge of the fillet, they encircle the forehead). Curiously, although fillets matching Monserrates description are not found in contemporaneous images of Nths, they are found in two more recent paintings. A late eighteenth-century painting of a “Kun Futta or Ear Bor'd Joguee” in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art (B1977.14.22254) depicts a Nth ascetic wearing a conical hat from which hang strips of cloth (I thank Holly Shaffer for bringing this picture to my attention), and a similar headpiece is sported by Jlandharnth in figure 12.

40. My enquiries among Nths today about these insignia have drawn a blank, and despite their prominence in Mughal paintings I have not seen them in eighteenth-century or later depictions of Nths.

41. Monserrate’s statement that these necklaces are the mark of senior Nths is not borne out by Mughal paintings, in which young Nths serving older yogis can be seen wearing them. I thank Debra Diamond for this observation.

42. Amongst the earliest examples (pre-1605) are the following: Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan collection M.286 (Sheila R. Canby, Princes, Poets, and Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan [London: British Museum Press, 1998], p. 109; Rajesh Bedi and Ramesh Bedi, Sadhus: The Holy Men of India [Delhi: Brijbasi, 1991], p. 94 (this picture is said to be in the Jaipur Savai Man Singh II Museum, but staff there are currently unable to locate itI thank Giles Tillotson for this information); British Library J.22,16; Gulshan Album, fol. 13b, no. 1, Stadstbibliothek; Chester Beatty Library Bar al-ayt manuscript (see cats. 9aj, Yoga: The Art of Transformation); Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1988.27; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, 2002.50.29; Chester Beatty Library, In 44.3; Chester Beatty Library, Yogavsiha, In 05, f.304a; Chester Beatty Library, Mrigvat, In 37 f.25a, f.28b, f.44a; Walters W.596 f.22b (dated 1593, another illustration of the Bburnma description of Bbur’s visit to Gurkhattri); Bburnama, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Collection, New York (see cat. 15a, Yoga: The Art of Transformation); Bburnama, Victoria and Albert Museum, IM 262-1913; Bburnama, British Library, Or. 3714, f. 197r.

43. Sanyss generally have bigger and longer ja than Nths, a distinction still found. Todays Sanyss and Rmnands only shave their heads at initiation and the death of a guru, while many Nths keep their hair short or shaven. An exception to the principle of Sanyss being best identified by the absence of Nth features is their consumption of cannabis. At the bottom left of fig. 1, members of the Sanys camp are shown straining a paste of cannabis in preparation for drinking it. In contrast with their later reputation as heavy consumers of intoxicants, no Mughal depictions of Nths show them using cannabis.

Although Nths in Mughal depictions are never naked, later traditions do speak of naked Nths. ThustapasvNths such asRapatnth and Mndhtnth ofAsthal Bohar andAmtnth of Shekhavati are usually portrayed naked inhagiography and statuary (V. Bouillier,Itinrance et vie monastique: Les asctes NthYogs en Inde contemporaine[Paris: ditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2008] plate 43 and p.267).

44. Early Mughal pictures of Sanyss include the following (here I include pre-1650 pictures): San Diego Museum of Art, 1990:355; British Museum, 1941,0712,0.5; British Museum, 1920,0917,0.38; pl. 231 in The St. Petersburg Muraqqa‘; Two Ascetics, Museum Rietberg Zrich; “Yogi with Servants,” reproduced on p. 118 of “Caricature and Satire in Indian Miniature Painting: From the Collection of Ludwig V. Habighorst” in Indian Satire in the Period of First Modernity, ed. Monika Horstmann and Heidi Pauwels (Wiesbaden: Harassowitz, 2012), pp. 11732.

45. On the Nths’ lack of observance of purity rules in the Mughal era, see Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, p. 129; and Dames, The Book of Duarte Barbosa, p. 232.

46. Because of the perennial confusion caused by the ambiguity of the name yogi, various scholars have alleged that the Nths were India’s first organized military order (see, e.g., David Lorenzen, “Warrior Ascetics in Indian History,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 98 [1978], p. 68; cf. Vronique Bouillier, “La Violence des Non-violents ou les Asctes au Combat,” Pururtha 16 (1993), p. 218, who is surely correct when she writes of non-Muslim ascetics, “Ce sont donc les Dasnm Sannyss qui sont les premiers ainsi instaurer dans leurs rangs une branche combatante.” With some early localized exceptions, such as the warrior yogis in the service of the King of the Yogis on India’s west coast in the early sixteenth century (Badger, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema, pp. 27374) and the armies of yogis mentioned in two Sufi romances, the Padmvati (Jog kha) and Kanhvat of Malik Muhammad Jyas, ed. Paramevar Ll Gupta (Vras: Annapr Prakana, 1981), p. 342, there are no indications that Nths were ever organized into fighting forces: they are not mentioned in the many accounts of battles between groups of ascetics from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century (see, e.g., Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss, pp. 6164), or ever portrayed bearing weapons in our pictorial sources. Two or three Nths are seen on the edges of the battle depicted in figures 2 and 3, but they are not involved in the action. There has long been friendly interaction between the Sanyss and Nths, and at some point it appears that certain Nth lineages were absorbed into the Dasnms, in particular into their Giri suborder (see n. 17 ). It may be that Sanys military units were joined by some early isolated groups of militarized proto-Nths, such as those encountered by Tavernier in 1640 (V. Ball, trans., Travels in India by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Baron of Aubonne. Translated from the original French edition of 1676 with a biographical sketch of the Author, Notes, Appendices &c., 2 vols. [Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1995], pp. 6668), who were perhaps members of the army of the Malabar King of the Yogis exiled after the oppression of his monastery at Kadri by Vekappa Nyaka. A single warrior in the thick of the Akbarnma depiction of the Thaneshwar battle can be seen wearing a sig on a thread wrapped around his turban. Today, after being initiated, Nths vow not to “keep dangerous weapons” (H. A. Rose, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, vol. 2 [Lahore: Superintendent, Government Printing, Punjab, 1911], p. 401) and the first Sanskrit Nth text written after the formalization of the order, the Siddhasiddhntapaddhati of Gorakantha, ed. M. L. Gharote and G. K. Pai (Lonavla: Lonavla Yoga Institute, 2005), 6.94, scorns those who carry arms.

47. See Carl W. Ernst, “The Islamization of Yoga in the Amrtakunda Translations,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, s. 3, vol. 13, no. 2 (2003), pp. 123; and Kazuyo Sakaki, “Yogico-tantric Traditions in the awd al-ayt,” Journal of the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies 7 (2005), pp. 13556.

48. See Bouillier, “La Violence des Non-violents ou les Asctes au Combat,” pp. 2223, on the wearing of earrings by ascetic Nths; and Daniel Gold, “Experiences of Ear-Cutting: the Significances of a Ritual of Bodily Alteration for Householder Yogis,” Journal of Ritual Studies 10, no. 1 (1996), pp. 91112; Gold, “Nth Yogis as Established Alternatives: Householders and Ascetics Today,” Journal of Asian and African Studies 34, no. 1 (1999), pp. 6888; Gold, “Yogis’ Earrings, Householder’s Birth: Split Ears and Religious Identity among Householder Nths in Rajasthan,” in Religion, Ritual and Royalty, ed. N. K. Singhi and Rajendra Joshi (Jaipur and New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 1999), pp. 3553, on Rajasthani householder Nths. See also Briggs, Gorakhnth and the Knphaa Yogs, pp. 611; Hazrprasd Dvived, Nth Samprady (Ilhbd: Lokbhrat Prakan, 1996), pp. 1516.

49. A few Rmnand Ngs wear pendant earrings of tuls wood and some Udsin ascetics wear small, silver, stud earrings in the shape of a crescent moon. As far as I am aware, however, no Sanyss wear earrings. Briggs, Gorakhnth and the Knphaa Yogs, pp. 67, reports that members of the Gara subsect of the Sanyss wear knpha-style earrings and that their founder, Brahm Giri, is said to have been initiated into the practice of wearing earrings by Gorakhnth; cf. Pur, Daanm Ng Sanys,pp. 6669; and Surajit Sinha and Baidyanth Saraswati, Ascetics of Kashi: An Anthropological Exploration (Varanasi: N. K. Bose Memorial Foundation, 1978), pp. 9394. A picture of a Gara ascetic wearing hooped earrings through his earlobes can be seen on page 35 of the Riyz al-madhhib (British Library, APAC Add.24035), which was written and illustrated in 1812.

50. From the time of the second-century BCE Gudimalla liga (see, e.g., M. C. Choubey, Lakula in Indian Art and Culture [Delhi: Sharada Publishing House, 1997], pl. 2), Indian deities have regularly been depicted as wearing earrings, which are usually hooped.

51. Mahbhrata 3.300310 tells the story of the robbing of Kara’s magical earrings. Rmyaa 2.14.2 mentions young men wearing polished earrings. Manu includes earrings among the obligatory apparel of a follower of Viu (Manusmti: with the Sanskrit Commentary Manvartha-Muktavali of Kulluka Bhatta, ed. J. L. Shastri [Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1983], 4.3). Descriptions of the karavedha rite in which boys or girls ears are pierced are found in the following dharmastra texts (I am grateful to Shingo Einoo for providing me with these references: Kautaka Ghyastra 1.20.1-8 (The Kautaka Ghyastras, with the Commentary of Bhavatrta, ed. T. R. Chintamani [New Delhi: Panini, 1982]); Bodhyanaghyaeastra 1.12 (Bodhyana Ghyastram of Bodhyana Mahari, ed. L. Srinivasachar and R. Sharma Sastri, Oriental Research Institute Series No. 141 [Mysore: University of Mysore, Oriental Research Institute, 1983], pp. 1127); Surutasahit strasthna 16.1-48 (Surutasahit alhacryaktanibandhasagrahkhyakay, Npendranthasenaguptena Balicandrasenaguptena ca sapdit saodhit prakit ca, part 1 [Calcutta: C. K. Sen and Company Limited, 1937/38]); Viudharmottarapura 2.52.75cd-83 (The Viudharmottarapuram (Delhi: Nag Pubishers, 1985); Vramitrodaya 258, 5-263, 15 (Vramitrodaya. paribh, praka by Mitra Mira, ed. Prvatya Nitynanda arm, Chokhamba Sanskrit Series, nos. 103 & 108 [Benares: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Book-depot, 1906. Strabo, drawing on Megasthenes, says that Indian philosophers, after thirty-seven years of asceticism, live “with less restraint” and wear “robes of fine linen, and rings of gold, but without profuseness, upon the hands and in the ears” (W. Falconer, trans., The Geography of Strabo, vol. 3 [London: Henry G. Bohn, 1857], p. 109). In Ba’s Haracarita, which dates to the first half of the seventh century, kings are said to wear both “dangling pendants” and “ear-pendants in the form of leaves or scroll-work” (V. S. Agrawala, The Deeds of Harsha: Being a cultural study of Ba’s Harshacharita [Varanasi: Prithivi Prakashan, 1969], p. 187; both types of earring are illustrated on p. 188, figs. 8385). In an early thirteenth-century account, Chag lo Chos rje dpal the younger, a Tibetan monk, reports that, “A sign of low caste was the absence of perforation (hole) in the ears. Others had holes in their ears.” (G. Roerich, The Biography of Dharmasvamin [Patna: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, 1959], p. 85; I am grateful to Pter-Dniel Sznt for pointing out this reference to me).

52. Daud Ali, “Technologies of the Self: Courtly Artifice and Monastic Discipline in Early India,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 41, no. 2 (1998), p. 176, notes how the Cullavagga, a Pali vinaya text, prohibits monks from wearing earrings.

53. See, for example, the many depictions of bodhisattvas in Marilyn M. Rhie and Robert Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991) and of siddhas in Rob Linrothe, ed. Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas (New York and Chicago: Rubin Museum of Art and Serindia Publications, 2006). Several of the siddhas depicted in thirteenth- to fourteenth-century carvings at the Panhale-Kaji caves in the Konkan wear hooped earrings in their earlobes (M. N. Deshpande, The Caves of Panhle-Kji (Ancient Pranlaka) [New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1986], pls. 29, 30, 58ABC, 59, 60, 61, 62). The carvings made in 151011 on the wall enclosing the temple complex at Shrishailam also depict various siddhas wearing earrings (see Richard Shaw, “Srisailam: Centre of the Siddhas,” South Asian Studies 13 [London: Oxford and IBH Publishing, 1997], figs. 10, 13).

54. Ymuna’s gamaprmyam includes earrings among the six insignia of a Kplika (verse 83; cf. David Lorenzen, “A Parody of the Kplikas,” in Tantra in Practice, ed. David Gordon White [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000], p. 83, where an inscription from 1050 is cited in which a Mahvratin, another name for a Kplika, is said to bear the six insignia). A Kplika yogi described in a verse ascribed to Kcryapda (Siddha Carygti 11), which can be dated to somewhere between the eighth and twelfth centuries, is said to wear earrings; cf. Siddha Carygti 28.3; see Per Kvaerne, An Anthology of Buddhist Tantric Songs (Bangkok: Orchid Press, 1986). Earrings are said to be the distinguishing mark of Kplika practitioners in Nirmalamai’s commentary on the Aghoraivcryapaddhati, Aghoraivcryaviracit Kriykramadyotikkhy Paddhati, Nirmalamaiguru-viracit Prabhkhy Kriykramadyotikvykhy (Cidambaram, 1927), p. 447. In the Maitryayopaniad, ed. J. A. B. van Buitenen (The Hague: Mouton and Co., 1962), 7.8, Kplikas are said to wear red earrings (Alexis Sanderson, “The aiva Age,” in Genesis and Development of Tantrism, ed. Shingo Einoo [Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 2009], p. 179, n. 435; in the same note Sanderson cites examples from the Jayadrathaymala and Picumata of earrings being among the six insignia of the Kplikas). The pupil of the Kplika follower of Gorakantha in the early sixteenth-century Bhvanpuruottama is called Mykualin, “he who wears the earrings of My.” He describes the fearsome dress of another Tantric practitioner, which includes earrings (pp. 98101). In a long list of religious practices, Sundards, a seventeenth-century follower of Dd, mentions the wearing of earrings by Kplikas (Sarvgayogapradpik 1.18).

55. See, e.g., Miragvat 106c; Padmvat 12.1.6; Dd pads 213.2, 214.2; Gorakh pads 19.3; Kabr Granthval pad 172.1, 175.2; Hards pads 61.1; Sundards skh 16.23, pads 135.1, 144.1; Gurugranth 6.16, 155.16, 208.2, 334.16, 359.18, 526.2, 730.11, 835.6, 856.19, 879.18, 908.11, 939.4, 939.6, 940.5, 940.11, 952.2, 970.14; Madhumlat 172 (Behl and Weightman, p. 72).

56. The manuscript was completed in 1825. The same two yogis are accompanied by four more ascetics in a painting by Ghulam Ali Khan or an artist of his circle from circa 182025. All six ascetics are named in accompanying inscriptions. The larger painting is reproduced in Archeologie, Arts d’Orient, July 2, 1993, p. 61, no. 185; and Joachim K. Bautze, Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting 17801910. The Ehrenfeld Collection (Alexandria, VA: Art Services International, 1998), pp. 5657. In the former, the ascetic on the left in the Tashr al-avm picture is said to be called “Awglohl (?) Jogi”; in the latter, “Awgahal Jogi.” The ascetic on the right is likewise said to be called “Shandbu Nanha (Nth ?) Jogi” and “Shanbu Nanha [?] Jogi.” The ascetic on the right is depicted on his own in a picture from a private collection reproduced in Christopher Bayly, ed. The Raj: India and the British 16001947 (London: National Portrait Gallery Publications, 1990), p. 223, pl. 283, in which his earrings are in the lobes of his ears, not knpha-style. On p. 323 of the Tashr al-avm is a picture of a Sanpera or snake-charmer with earrings in the cartilages of his ears. Several snake-charmer castes claim affiliation with the Nth tradition, which became an umbrella organization for a broad variety of religious specialists with roots in the tantric traditions. Snake-charmers have an old Tantric pedigree, as evinced by the Grua Tantras, on which see Michael J. Slouber, “Grua Medicine: A History of Snakebite and Religious Healing in South Asia” (PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2012). A slightly earlier picture (181520), also in the British Library collection (Add.Or.114), shows a “Kaun Fauttah (Beggar)” in Varanasi with earrings in the cartilages of his ears. The change in the position of the Nths earrings is highlighted by a comparison between a circa 1605 painting of a Nth group (Rajesh Bedi and Ramesh Bedi, Sadhus: The Holy Men of India [Delhi: Brijbasi, 1991], p. 94) and a nineteenth-century depiction of Nths from Lucknow (The Scholars Vision: The Pal Family Collection, [New York: Christies, 2008], pl. 252, pp. 3839) at whose center is found a reworking of the earlier image. In the older painting the yogis earrings are worn in their earlobes and in the later one they are worn knpha-style. Pramod Chandra, “Hindu Ascetics in Mughal Painting,” in Discourses on iva: Proceedings of a Symposium on the Nature of Religious Imagery (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1985), p. 312, also noticed the absence of knpha-style earrings in early Mughal pictures: “Actually, and rather surprisingly, I have yet to see an early Mughal representation of the split ear and I wonder what to make of it. Could it be possible that the practice is more modern than is commonly thought?”

57. In 1505 or 1506, Ludovico di Varthema met “the king of the Ioghe” somewhere on India’s west coast and reported that he wore jewels in his ears (Badger, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema, p. 112). One hundred and twenty years later, Della Valle visited the then incumbent “king of the Gioghi” at Cadiri. He was much impoverished compared to his predecessor because of the predations of King Venkaappa Nyaka, but still wore golden earrings: “in either ear hung two balls, which seemed to be of Gold, I know not whether empty, or full, about the bigness of a Musket bullet; the holes in his ears were large, and the lobes much stretched by the weight” (Edward Grey, The Travels of Pietro Della Valle in India: From the Old English Translation of 1664 by G. Havers, 2 vols. [London: The Hakluyt Society, 1892], pp. 35051).

58. The Silsila-i jgiyn reports that “whenever a jogi takes a disciple, he cuts open the side of the disciple’s ear and inserts a ring of whalebone (Hindi kachkara) or crystal or something else of this type” (Carl W. Ernst, “Accounts of yogis in Arabic and Persian historical and travel texts,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 33 [2007], p. 421). The earliest usage of the name knpha that I have found dates to the same period (Travels of Prn Puri, p. 269, in which I take “Coonb’hatti” to be a transcription of knpha). Cf. the late eighteenth-century painting of a “Kun Futta or Ear Bor’d Joguee” in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art referred to in note 39; and F. V. Raper, “Narrative of a survey for the purpose of discovering the sources of the Ganges,” Asiatick Researches 11 (1810), p. 457: “The Jgis or Cnp’hatas are the disciples of Sva, as the Gosains; but, as the term Cnp’hata implies, they have a longitudinal slit in the cartilage of the ear, through which a ring, or plate, of horn, wood or silver, about the size of a crown piece, is suspended.”

59. Monika Horstmann, draft article “Emblems of Nthyogs,” May 2013.

60. The use of forms of the verb pha/pha/ph in the context of ears strongly suggests the splitting of the cartilage rather than the piercing of the lobes, for which the usual terms are vernacular derivatives of Sanskrit karavedha/karachedana. I thank Monika Horstmann for this observation (personal communication, May 9, 2013).

61. Ascetics other than Nths continued to wear hooped earrings into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ivan Stchoukine, Les Miniatures Indiennes de l'poque des Grands Moghols au Muse du Louvre (Paris: Librairie Ernest Leroux, 1929), p. 78, describes an eighteenth-century picture from Kangra in the Louvre that depicts three Vaiava sdhus, all of whom are wearing round earrings. Two Vairgs in a picture from Tamil Nadu dated 183035 and described in n. 93 both wear earrings. A depiction of the Sanys Anp Giri from the early part of the nineteenth century shows him wearing earrings (Pinch, Warrior Ascetics, p. 24). Two pictures from the late eighteenth century in the British Library appear to show Sanyss wearing earrings: APAC J.45,37 and APAC Add.Or.2763.

62. For a reappraisal of the history of the Nths, see Mallinson, “Nth Sapradya.”

63. This is the “Great Council of the All-India Yogis of the Twelve Orders who Wear Ascetic Garb” (Akhil Bhratavarya Avadht Bhe Brah Path Yog Mahsabh; see V. Bouillier, Itinrance et vie monastique: Les asctes Nth Yogs en Inde contemporaine [Paris: ditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2008], pp. 2532).

64. See, e.g., Debra Diamond, Catherine Glynn, Karni Singh Jasol, Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2008), p. 292.

65. E.g., commissions such as the Marwari Nth Pur in which Goraka is raised to the level of a deity above other Nth gurus (Vivevarnth Reu, Nth-caritr k kath aur uske dhr par bane citro k vivara [Jodhpur: Jodhpur Government Press, 1937], pp. 34).

66. It may be that under the patronage of Maharaja Man Singh, who sponsored the gathering and copying of Nth manuscripts from elsewhere in North India, the regional Jodhpur Nth tradition established links with the expanding Gorakhnth tradition, with which it subsequently sought affiliation.

67. Diamond et al., Garden and Cosmos, cat. 33.

68. E.g., the paintings of Nth yogis performing sanas on the walls of the Mahmandir in Jodhpur dating to about 1815, and the paintings of Jlandharnth and other Nths reproduced in Diamond et al., Garden and Cosmos (cats. 32, 36, 37, 39, 40, 43, and 45) and Rosemary Crill, Marwar Painting: A History of the Jodhpur Style (Mumbai: India Book House, 1999), figs. 96, 12226. The siddhas painted to illustrate the Siddhasiddhntapaddhati in 1824 in Jodhpur have earrings in their earlobes, but this is probably because Jaina images were used as templates for the paintings (Debra Diamond, “Court Painting and Yogic Metaphysics in Nineteenth-Century Jodhpur,” in Court Painting in Rajasthan, ed. Andrew Topsfield [Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2000], pp. 13946).

69. Diamond et al., Garden and Cosmos, p. 287.

70. See n. 37.

71. See Diamond et al., Garden and Cosmos, pp. 14649.

72. See the images of Nths in yogic postures on the walls of the Mahmandir in Jodhpur for examples of the sel being worn over the shoulder.

73. Daniel Gold, “The Instability of the King: Magical Insanity and the Yogi’s Power in the Politics of Jodhpur, 18031843,” in Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action, ed. David N. Lorenzen (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), p. 126.

74. E.g., the Nth Pur, a Marwari work in which the nine Nths are said to be born from parts of various gods of classical Hinduism (Reu, Nth-caritr, pp. 34).

75. The earliest depiction of Nths with aiva insignia of which I am aware is a circa 1780 Kishangarh painting of four Nths by a dhni fire in front of a iva liga reproduced in Daniel J. Ehnbom, Indian Miniatures: The Ehrenfeld Collection (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1985), pl. 75, in which the yogis all sport the aiva tripura or horizontal forehead marking. The first overtly sectarian Nth Sanskrit text, the Siddhasiddhntapaddhati, which can tentatively be dated to approximately 1700, enjoins the yogi to wear the tripura (5.16).

76. The first depictions of the complete janeo ensemble that I have seen date to the early twentieth century (Briggs, Gorakhnth and the Knphaa Yogs, pls. III, IV, V, and XIII).

77. The lack of importance of aiva orientation to Nth identity in the premodern era is demonstrated by occasional references to, and depictions of, Vaiava Nths. The Nth in figure 2 who holds a peacock-feather fan sports the Vaiava V-shaped forehead marking. Gorakh pad 12.6 says that King Rm (rj rm) pervades the body; thus one can know the place of Hari, i.e., Viu. Cf. Gorakh skh 162. Bharthari is Goraka’s disciple and a devotee of Nryaa in the eighteenth-century Bhartharinirveda (Louis H. Gray, “The Bhartharinirveda of Harihara, Now First Translated from the Sanskrit and Prkrit,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 25 [1904], pp. 197230). Briggs, Gorakhnth and the Knphaa Yogs, pp. 2035, tells a version of the famous Nth legend of Gopcand in which five Vaiavas came to his initiation, dressed him in a loincloth, and put a “Rma rosary” around his neck. When he breaks a fast, he says “r Ka.” But there are many more references to Nths worshiping iva, in particular as dintha, “the primal Nth.” Nth conceptions of the absolute as formless are found throughout their texts, both Sanskrit and vernacular, and also in the circa 1650 Dabistn, in which Yogi followers of Gorakh are said to call god “Alka [i.e., Alakh (< Skt. alakya), “the imperceptible”] They believe Brahma, Vichnu, and Mahadeva to be subordinate divinities, but they are, as followers and disciples, addicted to Gorakhnth; thus, some devote themselves to the one or the other of the deities” (Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, vol. 2, pp. 12728).

78. The epithet mahyog (the great yogi) is found in several places in the Mahbhrata, which can be dated to between 200 BCE and 300 CE. In some cases mahyog refers to iva, but in the majority it is applied either to Viu or to yogis with no aiva connections, such as Vysa and Mrkaeya. Furthermore, as noted by John L. Brockington, “Epic Yoga,” Journal of Vaiava Studies 14, no. 1 (2005), p. 123, yoga in the Mahbhrata is generally described in a Vaiava context.

79. The ninth- or early tenth-century Bhgavatapura, a text central to many Vaiava traditions, contains lengthy descriptions of yoga practice (Friedhelm Hardy, Viraha-Bhakti: The early history of Ka devotion in South India [Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983], pp. 48688). The circa thirteenth-century Datttreyayogastra, the earliest text to teach haha yoga, is a Vaiava work. Many late medieval works on haha yoga in Sanskrit and vernaculars were composed by Vaiavas, e.g., the Yogamrgaprakik of Yugaladsa, the Rjayoga attributed to Agastya, the Gheraasahit, and the Jogpradpak of Jayatarma.

80. E.g., Chandra, “Hindu Ascetics in Mughal Painting,” p. 312: “the Hindu ascetics represented in early Mughal painting seem primarily to be of aiva affiliation, ascetic life in this period thus being confirmed to have been dominated by the worshipers of iva in his various aspects.”

81. The earliest North Indian paintings of ascetics wearing aiva forehead markings that I have seen are late seventeenth-century Rajput miniatures (e.g., P. and D. Colnaghi, Indian Painting: Mughal and Rajput and a Sultanate Manuscript [London: Colnaghi and Co., 1978], pp. 5051; Vivmitra’s tapas depicted in a seventeenth-century Rajput illustrated Rmyaa in the British Library [MS15295 f. 173]; The Seven Great Sages in the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh 1343; fig. 7 in Debra Diamond’s essay in Yoga: The Art of Transformation).

It may be that there were aivas among the unadorned Sanyss depicted in Mughal paintings. The Paukara, an earlier aiva Tantra, prescribes only the wearing of matted hair and ashes for ascetics, with the tripura reserved forhouseholders (s.v. tripura inTntrikbhidhnakoa,Dictionnaire des terms techniques de la littrature hindoue tantrique, Vol. 3,ed. Marion Rastelli and DominicGoodall,Beitrge zur Kultur-und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, no. 44(Vienna: Verlag der sterreichischen Akademie derWissenschaften, 2013)). Verses in a pre-Mughal Tamil hymn by Campantar can be understood to contrast the simplicity of aiva markings with the complexity of Vaiava ones, implying that it is enough for a aiva simply to smear some ash on his body (Mvar Tvram Vol.1, acampantar,II.66 mantiram vatu nu,Publications de l'Institut Franais d'Indologie (PIFI) 68-1, 1984). I thank Dominic Goodall for providing me with these references.

82. Vaiava forehead markings are also discernible on the Sanyss depicted in a painting in the collection of the San Diego Museum of Art, 1990.355.

83. Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss, pp. 15970.

84. The fourth pha, Sringeri, is a seat of Smrta orthodoxy with aiva leanings, but in the process of the Daanms’ formalization is likely to have replaced the mixed Vaiava/aiva trtha of Rameshwaram, which is often grouped together with the other three in a system of four dhmas or sacred abodes. Sringeri’s inland locationin contrast to the other dhmas found at India’s geographical extremitiesstrengthens this hypothesis. None of the Daanm Ng akhs has a center at Sringeri, but the biggest, the Jn Akh, has a maha at Rameshwaram (Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss, pp. 5759).

85. E.g., vara Pur, the mantra guru of the Gauya Vaiava guru Caitanya Mahprabhu and vara Pur’s guru Mdhavendra Pur. On other early Vaiava ascetics with the nominal suffix Pur, see Stuart Mark Elkman, Jva Gosvmin’s Tattvasandarbha: A Study on the Philosophical and Sectarian Development of the Gauya Vaiava Movement (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986), pp. 1617.

86. Sttvatasahit 9.9809 (Sanjukta Gupta, “Yoga and Antaryga in Pcartra,” in Ritual and Speculation in Early Tantrism: Studies in Honour of Andr Padoux [New York: New York University Press, 1992], p. 189); Lakmtantra, ed. V. Krishnamacharya (Madras: Adyar Library, 1959), 11.1925.

87. The circa 1650 Dabistn appears to have been written partway through the transition. After listing the ten names of the suborders of the Sanyss, it states, “They are frequently holy men, and abstain from eating flesh, and renounce all intercourse with women. This class follow the dictates of Datteri [i.e., Datttreya], whom they also venerate as a deity, and say that he is an incarnation of Naryan [Narayana, a form of Vishnu].” Later, it is said that akarcrya, “incarnation of Mahadeva,” is the head of their ascetic division (Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, vol. 2, pp. 13941). A famous verse attributed to Kabr, but almost certainly postdating him by some centuries because of its mention of guns, Bjak Ramain 69, in which fighting ascetics are scorned, associates yogi followers of Mahdeva (i.e., iva) with Datttreya.

88. On the Daanms association with the Sringeri maha, see Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss, pp. 177226.

89. It was in Varanasi that the first aiva Daanm text on haha yoga, the ivasahit (circa fifteenth or sixteenth century), whose philosophical underpinning is the rvidy-inflected Advaita of the Sringeri maha, was composed. See Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga,” for an analysis of the rvidy features of the ivasahit. At 5.132 are found mentions of Vivantha and the As and Vara Rivers, small tributaries of the Gag in Varanasi, pointing to the ivasahit’s having been composed in the city. The circa thirteenth-century Datttreyayogastra, a Vaiava work on hahayoga, is also likely to have been produced by forerunners of the Daanm sapradya (Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga”), and the ivasahit (which borrows verses from the Datttreyayogastra) may partly represent a Daanm attempt to rebrand hahayoga as aiva.

90. The formalization of the Rmnand order is associated with the formation of their military subdivisions at the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth (Horstmann, “Power and Status”). Rmnand, the supposed founder of the sect, is likely to have lived in the fifteenth century (Agrawala, The Deeds of Harsha) and his grand-disciple Ka Ds Payohr, who was a key figure in the formation of Rmnand identity, in the early sixteenth century, prior to the painting of figure 1 in 1630. Horstmann, “The Rmnands of Galta,” p. 145, notes that the name Rmnand is not found as a self-designation until 1730, but it is used in the circa 1650 Dabistn in its description of varieties of Vairg ascetics (Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, vol. 2, p. 180).

91. The Rmnands’ disavowal of nakedness is somewhat specious. Members of their military divisions are (like their Daanm equivalents) still called Ng (naked), and they and their Tyg brethren often sport loincloths that leave little to the imagination. Some Vaiava Ngs still went naked in 1825, the time of the composition of theTashrih al-aqvam(see Fig. 11),whose 101st chapter describes and depictsnakedvaiavaVairg Ngs.I thank Bruce Wannell for reading the textwith me.

92. A turn-of-the-twentieth-century Rmnand Ng document states that members of the four Vaiava sapradyas must give up their ochre garments and wear white after taking Ng vows (personal communication, Monika Horstmann, May 21, 2013).

93. On the four sampradyas, see John Stratton Hawley, “The four sampradys: ordering the religious past in Mughal North India,” South Asian History and Culture 2, no. 2 (April 2011), pp. 16063, and, on the formulation in early eighteenth-century Jaipur of a Vedic Vaiavism in which ritual and bhakti were integrated, Monika Horstmann, Theology and Statecraft, ibid. pp. 75104. Ascetics from Vaiava lineages other than the Rmnands (and their Daanm forebears) appear infrequently in Mughal and subsequent painting. An exception is a picture of a large group preparing bhg, dated 160010 and reproduced in Andrew Topsfield, In the Realm of Gods and Kings: Arts of India (London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 1984). The ascetics (who can be identified because they wear nothing but loincloths) all have shaven heads; many wear necklaces that appear to be of tulas; some have rdhvapuras on their upper arms; two have clubs (one is using his to grind the bhg); and none sports earrings. It seems likely that they are members of the Mu (i.e., “shaven-headed”) subdivision of the Vairgs mentioned in the Dabistn and said to have fought a battle with Sanyss at Haridwar in 1640, “in which the latter were victorious and killed a great number of the Munds: these men threw away their rosaries of Tulasi wood which they wear about their necks, and hung on their perforated ears the rings of the Jgs, in order to be taken for these sectaries” (Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, vol. 2, pp. 19697). It is uncertain whether this tradition, which is perhaps referred to at Datttreyayogastra 43, died out or adapted to become part of one of the cr saprady lineages. The presence of two dogs and absence of topknots indicates that their Vaiavism was not yet of the ultra-orthodox variety with which the cr saprady came to be associated. This story also provides us with the earliest attestation of Daanms being opposed to Vaiavas.

The organization of Vaiava lineages according to the cr saprady, despite involving claims to links to a southern tradition, was a phenomenon that originated in northwest India, in particular Jaipur. Their ultra-Vaiava features were not immediately adopted by Vaiava ascetics in the south. A Company School painting of two Vairgs (identified in a caption in English) in an album of pictures of various castes and occupations from Tamil Nadu and dated to 183035 shows them wearing saffron cloth and hooped earrings in their earlobes (British Museum 1884,0913,0.94).

94. Clark, The Daanm-Sanyss, p. 74, n. 63; p. 92, n. 42. In addition to Clark’s observations on their shared functionaries, both orders include regional officers called (mah) maalevaras. See also Sinha and Saraswati, Ascetics of Kashi, p. 118, on how the lineages of both the Daanms and Rmnands run from Nryaa to ukadeva before diverging.

95. See Mallinson, “ktism and Hahayoga.”

96. Richard Burghart, “Secret Vocabularies of the ‘Great Renouncers’ of the Rmnand Sect,” in Early Hindu Devotional Literature in Current Research, ed. W. M. Callewaert, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 8 (Leuven: Departement Orientalistiek Katholieke Universiteit, 1980), pp. 1730, details what he identified as the “secret vocabulary” of the Rmnands, but almost all of the terms he notes are current among the Daanms (personal communication, Ved Giri, April 5, 2010, Jn Akh’s Terah Mahi camp, Haridwar Kumbh Mel).

97. The Rmnand Blnand Ngs continue to append the suffix -nanda to their post-initiatory names (personal communication, Monika Horstmann, May 21, 2013).

98. This is the date of the composition of the Agastyasahit (Hans Bakker, “An Old Text of the Rma Devotion: The Agastyasahit,” in Navonmea [Varanasi: M. M. Gopinth Kaviraj Centenary Celebration Committee, 1987], pp. 300306).

99. Supporting this is the absence of differentiation between Sanyss and ascetic followers of Rmor Vaiava renouncers of any persuasionprior to the seventeenth century. The earliest unequivocal distinction of this sort that I have found is in Mamd Balkh’s description of his travels. In 1625, he went to Gurkhattri where a “preceptor of the sect of jogs” had a thousand disciples, including “jogis, sannyasis, bairagis etc.” (Iqbal Hussain, “Hindu Shrines and Practices as Described by a Central Asian Traveller in the First Half of the 17th Century,” in Medieval India 1: Researches in the History of India, ed. Irfan Habib [Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992], pp. 14243). An exception may be a reference to rmajana in the Padmvat (2.6), whose colophon says that it was composed in 1540 but whose oldest manuscript dates to 1657 (on the controversies surrounding the date of the Padmvat, see Thomas de Bruijn, “The Ruby Hidden in the Dust: A Study of the Poetics of Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s Padmvat” [PhD diss., University of Leiden, 1996]). Several types of ascetic are mentioned in the verse: rikhesvara, sanys, rmajana, masavs, brahmacr, digambara ng, sarasvat, siddha, jog, nirsa, mahesvara, jagama, jat, kta [the latter is not named as such but implied: koi eka parakhai deb sati], sevar, khevar, bnaparast, sidha, sdhaka and avadhta. In the circa 1600 Gurugranth, jogs, jats and vaiavas are contrasted (p. 867 17.2.2; cf. p. 960). The Dabistn (circa 1650) describes a well-established system of four traditions (the cr saprady) of Vairgs, including Rmnands, which is separate from the ten-fold division of the Sanyss (Shea and Troyer, The Dabistn, vol. 2, pp. 18497).

100. The sixteenth-century Advaitin Madhusdana Sarasvat taught bhakti as an alternative path to nondualism in works such as the Advaitasiddhi and Bhaktirasyana (see Christopher Minkowski, “Advaita Vednta in early modern history,” South Asian History and Culture 2, no. 2 [April 2011], p. 134). Cf. Hardy, Viraha-Bhakti, p. 32.

101. The fifteenth-centuryRmrcanacandrik,a manual of Rma worship,was written by one nandavana, a pupil of Mukundavana. The -vana nominal suffix isamong the ten appended to the names of Daanm or "ten-named"Sanyss.Rmatrtha, asixteenth-century Sanys resident of Benares, is praised by hisdisciple Anantadeva as a great devotee of Rma. I thank Anand Venkatkrishnan for sending me drafts of two unpublished essays,“Mms, Vednta, and theBhakti Movement,” (2012) and "Ritual, Reflection and Religion" (to appear in a forthcoming volume ofSouth Asian History and Cultureon "Scholar-Intellectuals in Early Modern India"edited byVenkatkrishnan, Rosalind O'Hanlon and Christopher Minkowski) in which he draws attention to thesermabhaktaSanyss. A significant difference between Rm-bhakti traditions, from the time of the twelfth-century Agastyasahit onward, and other Vaiava ascetic traditions is the former’s use of the six-syllabled Rm mantra as opposed to the eight-syllabled o namo nryaya. But the same sixteenth-century Sanys teachers who had no difficulty with Rm-bhakti also admit to chanting the name of god, whether that be Hari or Rm (or iva, etc.), as a means to religious goals (Venkatkrishnan,“Mms, Vednta, and theBhakti Movement," p.13).

102. The Daanms’ adoption of aivism went against a general trend in sixteenth- to eighteenth-century North India for older aiva traditions to be replaced or complemented by Vaiavism, a process often instigated, in legend at least, by Vaiava ascetics (on which see Arik Moran, “Toward a History of Devotional Vaishnavism in the West Himalayas: Kullu and the Ramanandis, c. 15001800,” The Indian Social and Economic History Review 50, no. 1 [JanuaryMarch 2013]).

103. Pinch, Warrior Ascetics, p. 90.

104. Personal communication, October 27, 2012.

About the Author

James Mallinson, PhD, is a Sanskritist from Oxford University whose work focuses on the history of yoga and yogis. His publications includeThe Ocean of the Rivers of Story by Somadeva(2007) andThe Khecarvidy of dintha(2007).

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