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A public Lecturer, Srimati Pandita Mai Jivan Mukut. 248 CHAPTER XII CONCLUSION National Ideals of Life as indications of National Character — Euro- pean and American Ideals contrasted with that of India — A Life involving Renunciation regarded by the Hindus as the only possible Holy Life — Sadhuism in its Religious, Social, Political, Intellectual, and Industrial Aspects — The probable Future of Sadhuism considered ...... 3 THE MYSTICS, ASCETICS, AND SAINTS OF INDIA From about November, when the autumn harvest is gathered and the seed for the spring crop committed to the soil, till March, when the first-fruits of the year are ready for the sickle, the Hindus — men, women, and children — spend much of their time in joyous pilgrimages to their innumerable sacred places, sometimes hundreds of miles away from home. 242 xii CONTENTS CHAPTER XI HINDU MONASTERIES PAGE Monasteries have existed in India since the earliest times, and are at present to be found scattered all over the Country — Religious and Worldly Motives which prompt the Foundation of Monasteries — Management of Monastic Properties — Monks not expected to labour in anyway — Installation of an Abbot described — A Visit to the Udasi Akhara of Santokh Das; the Presence of Women toler- ated there — the Treasures of the place and their History — Respect entertained by the Sect for Ashes — Interview with another Abbot who had not a single good word for Sadhus — Visit to a Dharmsala of the Nirmali Sect ; Sanskrit Literature read and expounded there — The great Monastery at Jogi Tilla ; Interview with the Abbot ; meet some Acquaintances — A romantic Story associated with Tilla — Particulars about certain places of Pilgrimage com- mimicated by a talkative itinerant Yogi — Sadhus' Partiality for Nudity ........ Indefatigable rovers, they usually do not linger long in any one place, but are ever on the move, like their gipsy kindred in the West. 8 ASCETICISM: ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT If the doctrine in question be accepted, it is plain that man's corporeal frame comes directly under condemnation, and it also follows that spirit being pure, the flesh and its lusts are responsible for the sins which man commits. .142 • I i CHAPTER Ylll^continued ^ Section II.— Principal Hindu Sects : Saivas, Vaishnavas, and Sikhs — Particulars regarding Sanyasis, Dandis, Paramahansas, Brah- macharis, Lingaits, and Aghoris . These ideas, of immemorial antiquity and far-reaching influence in the East, found their way to Europe in the earlv centuries of our era in connection with Manichseism and Gnosticism, and though condemned and suppressed by the Papacy, aided by the strong arm of the secular power, did not fail to make a deep impression on Western thought. Of the beliefs and subtle philosophical ideas of these men the stranger, as a rule, knows nothing, while their ill-clad forms, and too often grotesque appearance, only excite his aversion and unreasoning contempt. Yet though the sadhus as they may be seea have come to be familiar to European eyes, they are rarely understood by the foreigner, be he temporary visitor or permanent resident. During this period every year there is a lively and healthy circulation throughout the land of all ranks and classes, and in these currents of life a large proportion of the sadhus fully participate, often moving about from place to place in considerable parties under leaders and teachers of reputation. Hardly, indeed, could it be otherwise, for a cloudless sky, a crisp exhilarating atmo- sphere, and bright genial sunshine call them forth with a summons that is irresistible.

Hence, for the preservation of the soul and the furtherance of its aspirations, it is necessary that the body, with its senses, appetites, and desires, should be kept under restraint, should be mortified and suppressed ; the logical outcome of this train of reasoning being the ascetic practices so highly honoured in all the great religious systems.^ By the Hindu speculative theologians, asceticism with a view to the repression of the animal passions is regarded, in accordance with their dualistic theories, as a means to the purification of the mind, such purgation being, as they say, an essential condition for the attainment of a complete knowledge of Brahman, with its attendant freedom from samsara, that is, embodied existence,^ which freedom, we shall find, is the great aim and object of Hindu religious life. 9 THE MYSTICS, ASCETICS, AND SAINTS OF INDIA spiritual ends, is what we now usually call asceticism,^ though, curiously enough, amongst the Greeks it meant that abstinence from sensual indulgences which was neces- sary for the preservation of the body in a fit state for athletics.

— Yogis and Yoga Vidya — Yogis attracting attention in the West — Philosophico-religious Ideas underlying Yogaisra — Emancipation of the Soul the supreme Object of Hindu religious Aspiration — Yoga Vidya teaches how Union of the individual Soul with the All-Spirit may be accomplished — Details and probable Origin of the Discipline and Practices of Y^oga Vidya — The Pre- tensions of the modern Yogis — History, Customs, and Rules of the Yogi Sect ....... — Vaishnava Sects : Sri Vaishnavas, Madhavas, Raman- andis, Kabir Panthis, Ballavacharyas, and Chaitanites . That is a question which has perplexed the ages ; but of all the doctrines which men have propounded in their endeavours to solve this permanent enigma of existence, probably none has had more subtle and potent influence than that which holds that spirit is eternally pure and matter inherently bad.

.152 \ xi I i ,1 CONTENTS CRATTERIYIII— continued PAOE Section III. — Three Sikh Mendicant Orders: Udasis, Nirmalis, Akalis 194 CHAPTER IX PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH SADHUS, GOOD AND BAD 1. Now, what is the cause of this sinfulness so disastrous to the highest interests of humanity ?

Sadhus are and have always been too conspicuous figures in India to escape the notice of any intelligent European traveller in that country — from Megasthenes to Mark Twain and Pierre Loti — and their accentuated outward peculiarities have proved so attractive to the ubiquitous modern camera-man that his photographs and snapshots reproduced in popular pictorial magazines have made them, at least in their more uncouth forms, familiar to the Western world.

Ever since those now far-off days the Indian ascetics have been to me objects of special curiosity and interest, not diminished in maturer years by more extensive know- ledge of them and their strange beliefs, practices, and pretensions.

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