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e^ ^ 



Hindu Castes and Sects. 








President of the OoUege of Pandits, Nadiya, 

Author of ** OommetUaries on Hindu LaWy" 

" Vyavastha Edlptidruma,** ^c 

(Calcutta : 


\All rights reserved.] 



In the last edition of mv " Commentaries on Hindu 
Law " I devoted a chapter to the Hindu Caste System 
which attracted the attention of the Publishers, and 
they suggested that the subject might well be expanded 
so as to be brought out as a separate volume. They 
suggested also that, in order to make the book complete, 
I should give an account not only of the Castes, but 
also of the important Hindu Sects, some of which are 
practically so many new Castes. 

As I had been already engaged in writing a book 
about the history and philosophy of religions, the pro- 
posal, so far as the sects were concerned, was welcome 
indeed. About the Castes I felt very considerable 
diffidence ; but it seemed to me that, in a town like 
Calcutta, where there are men from every part of India, 
it might not be quite impossible to collect the necessary 
information. When, however, I actually commenced 
my enquiries, then I fully realised the difficulty of my 
task. The original information contained in this work 
has been derived from a very large number of Hindu 
gentlemen hailing from different parts of India. I here 


gratefnlly acknowledge the kindness that they haver 
shown in according to me their assistance. I feel very 
strongly inclined to insert in this book a list of their 
names. But the publication of snch a list is not de- 
sirable for more reasons than one. To hegin with, such 
a list would be necessarily too long to be conveniently 
included. Then, again, the subject of castes and sects 
is, in some of its aspects, a very irritating one, and if 
I were to give publicity to the names of the persons who 
have assisted me, it might place them in a very false 
position. So I thank them generally without mentioning 
any names. "* 

In connection also with this part \e work^ 

I must acknowledge my obligations tc ' > works 
of Risley, Wilson and Sherring, and to M4 !' rsima- 
yangar's Report of the last Census of Mj. . As 
to the last of these, which is compiled by an educated 
native of the country, it is hardly necessary to observe 
that it is very reliable, though not very complete. 
Mr. Risley's "Tribes and Castes of Bengal" is 
an exhaustive treatise, and is, generally speaking, reliable 
also. If there had been similar works for the other 
provinces, then the task of taking a bird's-eye view of 
the whole would not have been quite so arduous to me 
as it has actually been. 

With regard to the part of the book devoted to the 
Hindu Sects, I may mention that the greater portion of 
it had been written originally for my promised work on 
the philosophy of religion which I hope to bring out 


before long. For the sake of many of my friends and 
relations near and dear to me I hesitated to ^ve publi- 
city to my views before ; but it seems to me high time 
now that I should speak out and do what lies in me to 
set forth the true character of the cults that the 
majority of those who profess to be Hindus believe and 

The religions of those who are not regarded as 
Hindus do not come within the scope of this work. 
But the position which I assign to Christianity, Maho- 
medanism, Zoroastrianism,&c.,must appear clear enough 
from what ^ ve said in the Introduction to my ac- 
count of it indu Sects, about the evolution of human 
faiths, an.(^ ut the different principles on which they 
may be - Jped. I have tried my best throughout to 
avoid ^ence and offensive expressions, and the 

reader, who is not altogether blinded by orthodoxy^ 
will, I hope, admit that, even with regard to the worst 
of the abomination-worshipping sects, I have nowhere 
been harsher than the nature of the case absolutely 
required. Reverence ought to be by all means shown 
to persons and institutions that have a just claim to it. 
But nothing can, in my opinion^ be more sinful than to 
speak respectfully of persons who are enemies of man- 
kind, and to whitewash rotten institutions by esoteric 
explanations and fine phrases. 

It is no doubt extremely difficult to get rid of the 
effect of early training and associations. But those who 
claim to be educated and enlightened will, I trust, give 


me an impartial and patient hearing. However strong 
their faith in Saivism, Saktaism and Hadha worship 
may be, they cannot be altogether blind to the real 
character of these creeds. One of the greatest thinkers 
of modern times has, in connection with certain ques- 
tions of political economy, said :— 

It often happens that the universal belief of one age of 
mankind — ^a belief from which no one wtu^ nor, without any 
extraordinary effort of genius and courage, covld^ at that time 
be free — becomes to a subsequent age so palpable an absurdity, 
that the only difficulty then is to imagine how such a thing 
can ever have appeared credible. 

This, I am sure, will before long be the feeling of 
every honest Hindu with regard to some of the most 
important features of his so-called religions, and 1 shall 
feel I have performed an almost sacred duty if this 
work promotes in some degree that end. 


Calcutta, May 1896. 












The Origin and Nature of the Hindu Caste 

System ••• ... ... 1 — 8 

Whether Caste is a Beligious or a Social 

Distinction ... ••• ••• 9 

The Begulations hy wliich the Castes have 

been made Exclusive ... ••• 10-12 

The Origin of the Additional Castes and the 

Sub>caates ... ... ... 13-16 

The Authorities by whom the Caste Rules 

are Enforced ... ... 16, 17 

Nature of the Penalty of Exclusion from 

V/aste **• -.. ••• lo 

The Brahhans Genbrallt. 

The Position of the Brahmaua in Hindu 

Society ••• ... ... 19-23 

The Brahman's Proper Professions ... 24-26 

The Modem Hindu Gurus ... ... 27-29 

Enquiries by which the Caste Status of a 

Brahman may be Ascertained ... 80*32 

V. The Sub-divisions among the Brahmana ••• 33, 34 



Thb Bbasmans of Nobthebk India, 

chapter pao£ 

I. The Brahmans of BeDfjral ... ... 35-45 

1. The Paschatya Yaidikaa ... 36,37 

2. The B&rbiya Brahmans ... 37-42 

3. The BareDdraa ... ... 42-44 

4. The D&kshiDatya Yaidikas ••• 44 

5. The Madhya Sreni Brahmans ... 45 
II. The Brahmans of Mithila and Behar «.. 46-48 

1. The Maithilas ... ... 46-48 

2. The Sakaldipis ... ... 48 

III. The Brahmans of the North-Western 

Provinces and Oudh ... ... 49-51 

1. TheKanojias ... ... 49,50 

2. The Sara juparias ... ... 51 

3. The Sanadhyas ... 51 

IV. The Gaur Brahmans of the Kurukshetra 

Country ... ... ... 52, 53 

y . The Brahmans of Kashmir, Pan jab. andSindh 54-57 

1. The Brahmans of Kashmir ... 54, 55 

2. The Brahmans of the Panjab ... 55-57 

3. The Brahmans of Sindh ... 57 
VI. The Brahmans of Assam ... ... 58, 59 

VII. The Brahmans of Orissa ... ... 60*64 

1. The Brahmans of Southern Orissa ... 60-62 
TheVaidikas ... ... 60,61 

The Adhikari, Pajari or Yaishnava 

Brahmans ..• ... 62 

The Mahajan Panthis ... ... 62 

The Pandas ... ... 62 

2. The Jajpuria Brahmans... ... 63,64 

VIII. The Brahmans of Bajputana ... ... 65-69 

1. TbeSrimalis ... ... 66,67 

2. ThePallivals ... ... 68,69 

3. The Pokaranas «•• ... 69 
IX. The Brahmans of Central India ... 70 

The Brahhans of Southern Ihdia. 

I. Preliminary Bemarks .. ... 71,72 

II. The Brahmans of Gujrat ... ... 73-,81 




III. The Brahmans of Maharashtra and Kan- 

kan ... ... 82-89 

1. The Desastha Brahmans ... 82,83 

2. The Kankanasthas ... ... 83-85 

3. The Tajurvedis ... ... 85,86 

4. TheKarhades ... ... 86-89 

5. The Shenavis of Kankan 89 
lY. The Middle Class and inferior Brahmans 

of Maharashtra ... ... 90,91 

T. The Brahmans of the Karnatic ... 92,93 

VI. The Brahmans of Dravira ••. ... .94-97 

1. The Smarta Brahmans ... ... 94,95 

2. The Yishnuvite Brahmans of Southern 

India ... ... ••• 97 

YII. The Brahmans of Tel ingana ... ... 98-101 

YIII. The Brahmans of the Central Provinces ...102,103 
IX. The Brahmans of South Kanara ...104, 105 

X. The Brahmaiis of Kerala, Cochin, Malabar 

and Travancore ... ... ... 106-108 

The Semi-Brabuanigal Castes. 

I. The Bhuinhar Brahmans ... ... 109-13 

II. The Bhats and the Charanas ... ... 114- 7 

The Dbobaded Bbahuaks. 

I. The Hoesainis and Kuvachandas ... 118 

II. The Piraii Tagores of Calcutta ... 119-124 

III. The Barna Brahmans ... ...125,126 

IV. The Brahmans connected with the public 

Shrines ... ... ...127,128 

V. The Brahmans degraded by accepting forbid- 
den Qifts and officiating as paid Priests 
at Cremations ... ... ...129,130 

The MahA-Brahmans ... ... 129 

The Agrad&nis ... .«. ... 129 

The Agra Bhikshu ... ... ... 129 

The Sawalakhis ... ... ... 130 


oha:?tbb PAGt 

The Bhattas ... ... ... 1.3( 

The Maraiporas ... ... ... 13( 

The Acharyas of Western India ... 13( 

The Saniohar alias Dakot of Bajputana ... 13( 

YI. The Brahmans degraded bj Menial Service 131 

The Military Castbs. 

I. The Bajputs ... ... ... ISS-lSl 

II. The Eshettris ... ... ... 138-14< 

1. The Sereen Kshettris ... ...140-141 

2. Eukknrs ... ... ... 14i 

3. TheBorhaa ... ... ... 14^ 

4. The Banjai Kshettris ... ...142-144 

III. TheJats ... ... ...145,146 

lY. The Khandaits of Orissa ... ...147, 148 

Y. TheMarattaa ••« ...149,150 

YI. The Nairs of Malabar ... ...151, 15S 

YII. The Maravans, Ahamdians and B^allans ...153, 154 

YIII. The Poliyas and the Koch of North Bengal. 155 

IX. The Agnris of Bengal ... ...156-158 


The Scientific Castes. 

I. The Yaidjas or the Medical Caste of Bengal 1 59-1 7 1 i 

11. The Bez of Assam ... ••• 172< 

III. The Astrologer Castes of Bengal and Assam 173, 1744 

The Writer Castes. 

I. The K&yasthas generally ... ... 175-177 

II. The Kajasthas of Bengal ... ... 178-185 

1. The D&kshina Rarhis of Bengal ... 178-180 

2. The XJttara Rarhi K&yasthas ... 180-18^ 
8. The Bangaja K&yasthas ... ...183, 184 

4. The B&rendra K&yasthas ... 184 

5. The Golam E:fiya8tha8 of East Bengal 186 




III. The Kayaalhas of Upper India ... 186-191 

1. The Srivatsa Kayauthas .. ... 186-188 

2. The Ambastha K&yasthas ... 188 

3. The Earan E^ayasthas ... ...188, 189 

4. The Sakya Seni K&yasthas ...189,190 
6. The Eula Sreahti Eayasthas ... i9o 

6. The Bhatnapari Eayasthas ... 190 

7. The Ma than K&yasthas 190 

8. The Saryadhaja E&yasthas ... 190 

9. The Balmiki Eayasthas ... 191 

10. The Ashthana Ef&yasthas ... 191 

11. The Nigama E^&yasthas ... i9x 

12. The Gaur Eayasthas ... 191 

13. The Eayasthas of Unao ... i9x 
IV. The Writer Castes of Southern India ...192, 193 

V. The Prabhns of the Bombay Presidency ...194, 195 

YI. The Eolitas of Assam ... ...196, 197 


The Mbbcantilb Castes. 


I. The Baniyas of Bengal ... ... 198,202 

1. The Suvama Baniks of Bengal ... 199-201 

2. The Gandha Baniks of Bengal ...201, 202 
II. The Baniyas of Northern India „' 203-217 

1. TheAgarwals ... .. 206-207 

2. TheOssawals ... ...207-209 

3. The Ehandelwals ... ...209,210 

171 4. The Srimali Baniyas ... ... 210 

\:i 5. The Palliwal Baniyas ... ... 210 

\'\ 6. The Porawal Baniyas ... J, 211 

7. TheBhatiyas ... ... 2II 

8. The Mahesri Baniyas ... ... 211 

9. The Agrahari Baniyas ... ... 212 

j 10. The Dhunsar Baniyas ... ... 212 

11. The Umar Baniyas -. .., 212 

12. TheRastogis... .. ... 213 

•l'^ 13, 14. The Easarwanis and the Easana- 

^l^, dhans... ... ...213,214 

\-\^ 16. The Lohiya Baniyas ... ... 214 

1-18! 16. TheSoniyas ... ... ,„ 214 

^l& 17. The Sura Senis ... ... 2I4 

18^ 18. The Bara Senis .., ... 214 





19. The Baranwals ... ... 21; 

SO. The Ayodhya Basis ... ... 21f 

21. The JaiBwara ... ... 211 

22. The Mahobijas ... ... 21f 

23. TheMabaris ... ... 2ie 

24. The Bais Banijas ... ... 216 

26. The Kath Baniyas ... ... 216 

26. TheBaoniyars ••• ...216,21*; 

27. TheJameyas ••• ... 217 

28. TheLohanas ... ... 217 

29. The Bewaris ••• ... 217 

30. The Ejtnos ... ... 217 

III. The Baniyas of Gujrat ••• ... 218 
lY. The Trading Castes of Southern India ...219, 220 

Y. The MercantileCastes of theTelega Country 221, 222 
YI. The Baniyas of Orissa ... ... 22< 


Thx Artisan Castbs Qbnbrall't Bbooovisbd as 

Clbak Sudkab. 

I. General Observations ... ... 224-226 

II. The Weavers .. ... ...227-236 

1. The Weavers generally ... ... 227-230 

2. The Tantis of Bengal ... ...230-232 

3. The Tatwas of Behar ... ... 232,233 

4. The Kori and Koli of Upper India ... 233 
6. The Tantis of Orissa ..• ... 233 

6. The Koshti of the Central Provinces 233 

7. The Weavers of Gujrat ... ... 233 

8. The Weavers of the Dravira Country 234 

9. The Weaving Castes of Mysore ...234, 236 

10. The Weavers of the Telegu Country... 236 

11. TheJugis ... ... ... 236 

III. The Sweetmeat-making Castes ... ... 237-239 

lY. The Kumar or Potter ... ... 240 

Y The Ironsmiths ... ... ...241-243 

YI. The Goldsmiths ... ... ...244,245 

1. The Sonar and Shakra of Northern 

India ... ... ...244, 245 

2. The Panchanam Yarlu of the Telegu 

Country and the Ejimmallars of 
Dravira ... ... ... 246 



YII. The Carpenters ... .., ...246,247 

YIII. The Braziers and Coppersmiths ...248, 249 

1. The Eoinsa Baniks of Bengal ...248, 249 

2. The Kasaras and Thatheras of Nor- 

thern India ... ... 249 

3. The Gejjegora and Kanchugora of 

Southern India ... ... 249 

IX. The Sankha Baniks of Bengal ... 250 

X The Grain Farchers... ... ...251,252 

XI. The Dirjis or Tailors ... ... 253 

PART xn. 

The Mavufactitbino and Abtisav Castes that arb 
Bboabdbd as Ukolbak Sudras. 

I. The Brewers, Tadi -drawers, and Sellers of 

Spirituous Liquors ... 254-261 

1. The Sunris of Bengal and Behar ... 255-257 

2. The E^al wars of Northern India ...257,258 

3. The Ahauars and Illavars of Dravira 258-260 

4. The Bh&ndaris of Western India ... 260 

5. The Pssis of Behar ... 260 

6. The Tiyans of Southern India 261 

7. The Idigas of Mysore and the Telegu 

Country ... ... ... 261 

8. The Gaundla and Gamalla of the 

Telegu Country ... ... 261 

II. The Oil Manufacturers ... ...262-264 

1. The Telis of Bengal ... ...262,263 

2. The £[alus of Bengal ... ...263,264 

3. The Telis and Ghanchis of Upper 

India ... ... ... 264 

4. The Tel Kulu Yarlu of the Telegu 

Country ... ... 264 

5. The Ganigas and Yanikans of South- 

ern India ... ... 264 

III. The Salt Manufacturers ... ... 265 

IV. The Leather Workers ... ...266-268 

1. The Chamars and Muchis of N. India 266, 267 

2. The Chakilians and Madigsof S. India 267, 268 

3. The Leather-working Castes of Baj- 

putana and Central India ... 268 

V. The Mat-makers and Basket-makers ... 269 




Thb Clbait Aoricultural Castes. 

chaftbb paob 

I. The Kurmis and Kunbis ••• ... 270-27^ 

II. The Koeria of Northern India ... 274 

III. The Mall's ... ... ...275,276 

rV. TheKachis ... ... ... 277 

y. The Lodhas and Lodhis ... ... 278 

VI. The Agricultural Elaibartas of Bengal ... 279-281 

VII. TheSad^opas c. ... ...282, 83 

YIII. The Agricultural Castes of the Central Pro- 
vinces ... ... ... 284 

IX. The Agricultural Castes of the Panjab ... 285 
X. TheAgricultural Castes of theTelegu Country 286 

XI. The Agricultural Castes of Mysore ... 287 
XII. The Agricultural Castes of the Dravira 

Country ... ... ••.288-290 

XIII. The Pan-growers ... ... ...291-293 

1. TheBarui ... ... ...291,292 

2. TheTambuli ... ...292,293 

Thb Cowhbbds and Shbphbrd& 

I. General Observations ... ...294,295 

II. The Abhirs or Ahirs ... ...296, 297 

III. TheGujars ... ... ...298,299 

IV. The Qoalas of the Lower Provinces ... 300-302 
y. The Cowherds of Southern India ... 304 

yi. The Shepherd Castes ..« ... 305 

PART xy. 

Thb Clbak and thb Unclban Castbs Euplotbd in 
Pbrsonal and Dombstio Sbrvicb. 

I. The Barbers ... ... ...306,307 

II. The Washermen ... ... ... 308 

III. The Castes usually employed as Domestic 

Servants in Hindu Households ... 309 

ly. The Castes of the Domestic Servants in 

Anglo-Indian Households ... ...313,314 






The institution of caste is a unique feature of Hindu 
socie^, and, as nothing exactly like it is to be found in 
any'other part of the world, the manner in which it 
grew up in India cannot but be regarded as a question 
of the highest importance bj the student of social phe- 
nomena. The subject has, therefore, attracted a large 
share of the attention of many erudite scholars, both 
£aropean and Indian. The mass of information con- 
tained in their works, though not free from errors and 
inaccuracies, is of very great value. But the usefulness 
of their writings is marred, to a considerable extent, by 
the more or less superficial views which they take of the 
origin and nature of caste as a system. In speaking of 
it Mr. 8herring, who may be regarded as one of the 
chief authorities on the subject, cnaracterises our social 
mechanism as ^^a monstrous engine of pride, dissension 

B, HO 1 


and shame/'* and generally has not one good word U 
say with reference to it or to its authors, the Brahmans. 
Dr. Wilson also condemns the caste system in toto 
though in milder terms. He says that ''among th< 
Hindus the imagination of natural and positive dis 
tinction in humanity has been brought to the most fear 
ful and pernicious development." In his dissertation: 
on " the natural history of caste " Mr. Sherring gives 
first of all, what he calls an analysis of the Branman': 
character in which he finds nothing but arrogance 
selfishness and ambition, and then goes on to observe : — 

*' To speak of the Brahmans as though they were one and thi 
same people, with the same characteristics is delusiye. For thousand.' 
of years they have been a disunited people, with mutual antipathie.' 
and non-resemblances, instead of mutual likenesses and concord 
The Brahmans themselves, and none others, are responsible for this 
Their monstrous arrogance, selfishness and assumption have provec 
the bane of their race. In the cultivation of these vicious quaUtie 
they are at one, but in aU other respects they are the most inhar 
monious and discordant people on the face of the earth. 

The spread of caste, and the multiplication of separate, mutually 
exclusive, and inimical tribes among the lower Hindu grades, alsc 
lies at their door. The detestable example they set could not but be 
followed bv an imitative people without brains of their own. These 
Hindu tribes would never have dared to establish an infinity ol 
castes among themselves without the direct sanction and assistance oJ 
the Brahmans. Moreover, when the Brahmans perceived that castei 
were increasing beyond decent limits, until the whole countiy was 
threatened with an endless number of caste sub^Lirisions, aU for the 
most part mutually destructive, they might have peremptorily 
stopped their further multiplication. But they did not. On the 
contrary, it is plain that they looked on with the utmost satisfaction, 
pleased at the alienation of tribe from tribe."— Sherring's Hindu 
Tribet and Cattes, Vol. Ill, pp. 231-35. 

The inconsistencies and the fallacies abounding in 
these extracts are too obvious to require any critical 
exposition. The author's views with regard to our 
religion and our social .polity were evidently more 
influenced by his zeal for his own faith of which he was 
a missionary, than by his sober judgment. In his life- 
time he had a large number of Hindu friends who still 
cherish his memory with affection, and he had much 
better opportunities for studying the peculiarities of our 

* See Ifr. Sherring's Preface to his Hindu Tribes and CatUs. 



The Disreputable Guru-worshipping Sects of 

Bengal ... ... ... 485 

1. The Kartabhajas ... ... 485 

2. The Fratapa Chandis ... ... 4ba 

IV. The Disreputable Guru- worshipping Sects of 

Upper India ... ... ... 490 

1. The Satnamis of Onde ... ... 490 

2. The Faltu Dasis ... ... 491 

3. The Appa Panthis ... ... 491 

4. The Bija Margis ... ... 491 

v. The Minor Guru-worshipping Sects of Bengal 493^ 

1. The Bala Hari Sect ... ... 493 

2. The Kali Kumari Sect of East 

Bengal ... ... ... 494 


Modern Bblioions intended to bbino about 

Union bbtwben the Hindus and the 


I. The Kabir Panthis ... ... 495 

II. History of the Sikh Faith ... ... 497 

HI. Nature of the Sikh Beligion and its Present 

Condition ... ... ... 510 



L Personal History of Buddha ... •«• 517 
II. The Rapid Spread of Buddhism and its Sub- 
sequent Disappearance from India ... 534 
HI. Buddha's Religion .. ... ... 540 

IV. The Morality of Buddha's Religion ... 544 

The Jains. 

X The Relative Antiquity of Jainism and Bud- 
dhism ... ... ••• 548 

II. The Natare of the Jain Religion ... 553 






I. The Fishermen and Boatmen .«• ••• 315 

II. The Criminal Tribes ••• ^. 317 




I. Tiie Proper Method of Enquiry regarding 

Religious ... ... ••• 319 

IT. The Bvolution of the Theocratic Art ... 325 

III. Classification of Religions ••• ... 335 

lY. Definitions of Religion ... ... 339 

V The True Origin of Religion ... ... 842 

VI Religion as a Foundation of Ethics ... 344 

VII. Qeii eral Observations about the Sect Founders 350 
VIII. The Inducements held out by Sect Founders 

to attract Followers ... ... 353 

IX The Methods of Priestly Operations ... 353 

X. GeneralCharacter of the Hindu Sects ... 359 

XI. Classification of the Sects ... .•• 364 

XII. The Mode of ascertaining the Sect to which 

a Hindu Monk belongs ... ... 366 



I. The Nature of the Sivite Religion and its 

great Prevalence ... ... 367 

II. Probable Origin of the Sivite Religion ... 370 

III. The Sivite Followers of Saukara ... :^74 

IV. TheDandis ... ... ... 380 

V. The Sinyasis ... ... ... 382 

VI. The Parama Kansas ... ... 386 

VIL The Brahmacharis ... ... ... 388 

VIII The Householder Sanyasis . . ... 390 

IX. TheAghoris ... ... ... 391 

X. The Lingaits of Southern India... ... 395 

XI. The Sivite Yogis ... ... ... 399 

XII. The Inferior Yogis ... ... ... 403 

XIII. The Sects that practise severe Austerities ... 405 



The Saktas. 

chaptsr pagb^. 

I. The Nature of Sakti Worship ... ... 407 

II. The Different Classes of SaKtas and their 

Methods of Worship .., 409 


The Yishnuvitb Sects, 

I. The Ten Incarnations of Vishnu ... 414 

11. The Legends about Rama ... ... 419 

III. The Hero-god Krishna as a EUstorical 

Character ... ... ... 423 

IV. Krishna as the Qod of the modern Vishnu vite 

Sects ... ... ... 431 

V. The Sri Vaishnavas of Southern India ... 434 

VI. The Madhavacharis ... ... 440 

VII. The Ramanandis or Ramats of Northern 

India ... ... ... 443 

VIII. Other Ram- worshipping Sects ... ... 446 

IX. TheNimats ... '... ... 449 

X. The Ballavacharjra Sect ••• ... 451 

XI. The Chaitanite Sect of Bengal ... 459 

XII. The Swami Narain Sect of Gujrat ... 472 

XIII. MiraBai ... ... ... 476 

XIV. The Mahapurushia Sect of Assam ••• 478 


The Semi-Vishnuvitb and Guru-Worship- 

FZNa Sects. 

I. The Disreputable Sections of the Chaitanites 480 

1. The Spashta Dayakas ... ... 481 

2. The Sahajias ... ... ... 482 

3. The Nara Neris ... ... 482 

4. TheBauIs ... ... ... 482 

II. The Disreputable Vishnuvite Sects of Upper 

India ... ... ... 484 

1. The Radha Ballabhis ... ... 484 

2. The Sakhi Bhavas ... ... 484 


social fabric than most of his countrymen in India. At 
any rate, he may certainly be credited with having pos^ 
sessed sufficient knowledge of history to be aware of the 
shortcomings which existed in past generations, and still 
exist, among the priestly classes in other countries, 
and there can be no justification whatever for the severe 
censure that he has passed on the Brahmans. Yet the 
same views have been blindly accepted by some of the 
foremost of modern Hindu scholars. After stating his 
views regarding the probable origin of the caste system, 
Mr. R. C. Dutt, in his History of India^ says :— 

** It 'was unknown to the Hindus in the Vedic a^e, and was first 
developed in the Epic age. It divided and disunited the compact 
body of Aryan Hindus into three hereditary bodies, ri;., the priests, 
the soldiers, and the people. And it permanently placed the people 
under the priestly and military castes ; and thereby hindered popu- 
lar proicress and the growth of popular freedom in India. 

It should be remembered, however, that with the exception of the 
priests and soldiers, the mass of the Hindu people still formed one 
united caste, the Vaishya in the Bpic and succeeding ages. And 
the mass of the people were still entitled, like the Kshatriyas and the 
Brahmans, to perform sacrifices, to acquire religious knowledge, 
and study the Vedas. But with the loss of their independence, uie 
Hindus have become more disunited in modern times." 

The great living poet of Bengal, Baba Hem Chandra 
Banerji, gives countenance to similarly erroneous views, 
when he calls upon his countrymen to cause a clean 
sweep of all caste distinctions, in order that they may, 
by united action, recover their ancient greatness. 

I am no out-and-out admirer of caste, as it exists 
now, and I think that, in the state of things now aris- 
ing, its discipline might be relaxed in certain directions 
with advantage. But I believe that, generally speak- 
ing, there does not exist that antipathy between the 
'Several castes which the world at large has been led 
to believe. A little hitch is caused sometimes when 
a man of a superior caste refuses to allow one of an 
inferior caste to sit on the same carpet, or when the 
use of his waterpot is disallowed by the former to the 
latter^ ^or purposes of business, not the several castes 
only, bat even Hindus and Mahomedans can and 


do mix on the most friendly terms. There is, upon 
the whole, no more animosity between a Rajput and 
a Brahman than between a Rajput and a Rajpat, 
or between u Brahman and a Brahman. If the Brah- 
man refuses to eat in the house of a Rajput on the 
ground that there are no true Ksatriyas in this age of 
sin, the Rajput also refuses to partake of the Brahman's 
hospitality on the plea, afforded by the Brahmanical 
Shastras, that a Brahman's property should not be 
appropriated by a man of any caste on any account. 
For purposes of marriage and interchange of hospitality 
each caste is an independent and exclusive body, and 
all the classes are placed on a coequal footing. Such 
being the case, the so-called inferior castes show no 
more eagerness to be enrolled among the higher, than 
the latter do to be reduced to the level of the former. It 
is open to the lower castes to practise any profession, 
excepting that of a priest, and as every Hindu has a re- 
cognized position within his own caste, which does not 
vary with any viscissitude of fortune, no one can feel 
inclined to crush out that system, and run the risk of 
losing its certain advantages, for the uncertain prospect 
of acquiring a better social footing by working as it 
were upon a tabula rasa. A few low caste parvenus 
there may be, who, in their innermost hearts, feel 
ashamed of even their own parents and brothers. But 
the aspirations of these men certainly do not deserve 
much sympathy. Generally speaking, the Hindus look 
upon the several divisions in tneir society as the neces- 
sary component parts of their social mechanism, and 
there can be no occasion for jealousy or bitter feelings. 
Caste has had its origin, no doubt, in Brahmanical 
legislation. But there is no ground whatever for the 
doctrine that it is the outcome of the policy embodied 
in the Machiavelian maxim Divide and Rule. A very 
little reflection ought to show that the caste system, in- 
troduced and enforced by the Brahminical Shastras^ 
could not possibly be the cause of any social split. On 


the contrary, it provided bonds of union between races 
and clans that had nothing in common before its 
introduction. Ther^ is no ground whatever for the 
supposition that in primitive India all classes of people 
were united as one man, and that the '' unnatural and 

E^micious caste system" was forced on them by the 
rahmans with the <}iabolical object of sowing dissen- 
sions among them. The more correct view seems to be 
that the legislation oi the Rishis was calculated not only 
to bring about union between the isolated clans that 
lived in primitive India, but to render it possible to 
assimilate within each group the foreign hordes that 
were expected to pour into the country from time to 
time. If those EngKshraen who have permanently 
settled in this country recognized the sacredness of the 
Shastras, and refrained from eating forbidden food, 
they might be admitted into the Ksatriya clan under 
the name of Sakya Seni Rajputs. The authors of 
such legislation deserve certainly to be admired for 
their large-hearted statesmanship, instead of being 
censured for selfish ambition and narrowness. 

The ambition that led the Hindu lawgivers to place 
their own class above the rest of mankind, has, no 
doubt, an appearance of selfishness. But if self-aggran- 
disement had been, as is alleged, their sole motive, then 
there was nothing to prevent them from laying down 
the law that the proper men to enjoy the kingly office 
and the various loaves and fishes of the public service, 
were the Brahmans. The highest secular ambition of 
the Brahman was to be the unpaid adviser of the 
Crown, and, as a matter of actual practice, the entire 
civil service was left by them in the hands of the 
E[ayasthas« Such pro^ssions, accompanied by such 
conduct, do not betray selfishness. It was only in 
respect of matters relating to religion that the Brah- 
mans kept in their hands the monopoly of power. But 
they could not have taken any other course without 
upsetting altogether the fabric which they had built up. 


Circumstanced as India, presunfiably, was in ancient 
times, there could not possibly bavo been in that state of 
things, any great attraction either for military service or 
for intellectual pursuits. The resources of the country- 
were then too limited for adequatelj rewarding either the 
soldier or the scholar, and as any able-bodied man could, 
in those times, earn his living without any difficulty, 
either in agricultural pursuits or b^ breeding cattle, the 
only way to induce any class of men to adopt a more 
ambitious or risky career, lay in giving them a superior 
status by hereditary right. The importance of the ser- 
vice wluch caste mis done to India may be realized, to 
some extent, from the fact that when, in a party of 
Hindus, comments are made about an illiterate Brah- 
man, an unbusiness like Kayastha or a cowardly Ksat- 
riya, they not unfrequently express their doubt as to 
his very legitimacy. Such being the case, no E^shatriya 
can refuse to fight, when there is occasion, without 
laying himself open to the most gaUing of reproaches. 
His ancestors never shrank from legitimate fighting, 
and so he has no choice left. 

" He too would rather die than shame." 

It is feeling of this kind that urged the ancient 
Ksatriyas to desperate deeds for the defence of their 
country, and though long since fallen, yet modern 
history is not altogether wanting in testimony as to the 
greatness of that mighty race. The name of Babu 
Kumara Sing, the last great Rajput hero, is not likely 
to be soon forgotten, though English historians may 
not do him justice. Goaded on to rebellion by the 
ungenerous suspicions entertained against him by a 
local official, and by the attempt made by that official to 
insult and imprison him, he besought his friends, rela- 
tives and adherents, to remain loyal to the British 
Government, and to leave him to shift for himself. But 
be was the idol of the Bhojpurias, and they gathered 
round him, like one man, to fight under his banner. At 


their head the octogenarian hero fought bravely to the 
last, and displayed throughout far better generalship and 
Talonr than the cowards who took the leading part in 
bringing about the conflagration. The old Bajput baron 
knew well that he had no diance of ultimate success. But 
as a Ksatriya, claiming the blood of the great Yikra- 
maditya in his veins, he could not submit to die Uke a 
traitor on the scaffold. Had the Government of Bengal 
reposed that confidence in him which he certainly 
deserved, the whole province of Behar would probably 
have remained as quiet as Bengal, and the operations 
of the mutineers would have been confined to the North- 
West Provinces and Oude only. 

In theirfourfold division of caste, the Rishis placed _ ^ 
their own class,, t.^., the descendants of the Vedic singers 
and their comrades, above all. the others. To thg^ fight- — 
ing classes the Brahmanical codes assigned the secon d 
rank, and the process, by which they were reconciled to 
accept the position that was given them, is replete with 
interest. With regard to the superiority of the Brah- 
mans, Manu says :— 

" Sinoe the Brahman sprang from the most exceUent iMurt, since 
he was the first bom, and since he possewes the Veda, he is by right 
the chief of this whole creation."— Manu, I, S3. 

But while thus glorifying the Brahmans, the Rishis 
made great concessions to the Ksatriyas by declaring 
that the office of the king was their birthright, and also 
by enjoining on all classes the duty of implicit obedience 
to the king. 

Brahmanical legislation has been very successful in 
organising the Brahman and the Ksatriya castes. To 
a very great extent, the descendants of the Vedic 
singers and their comrades have become one race under 
the name of Brahmans. To a still greater extent have 
the several fighting clans recognized each other as 
members of one great family, under the name of Ksat- 
nyas or Rnjpnts^ The Vaishya caste was, in all^pfob- 
imlity, never successfully formed, and, so far as this 


class is concerned, Brahmanical legislation failed to 
attain its very noble object. The Bani^s who practi^ 
trade and are, generally speaking, a wealthy class, 
claim in some places to be Vaishyas. But, in all prob- 
ability, the majority of the traders, artisans, and 
agriculturists never cared for the honour of being in- 
vested with the sacred thread, or for the privilege of 
reading the Vedas. And when such was the case, the 
Brahmans themselves could not be too anxious to force 
these honours and privileges upon them. The chief con- 
cern of the Brahmans, in the efforts they made to realise 
their ideal of social polity, was to keep the fighting 
clans in good humour, so that even if the Yaishyas 
sought for the honour of the thread, the Brahmans 
could not have given it to them without depriving it of 
thevalue which it came to acquire in the eyes of the 

Caste is often described by European scholars as an 
iron chain which has fettered each class to the profes- 
sion of their ancestors, and has rendered any improve- 
ment on their part impossible. This view may, to some 
extent, be regarded as correct so far as the lower classes 
are concerned. But with regard to the higher classes, 
caste is a golden cliain which they have wilHngly placed 
around their necks, and which nas fixed them to only 
that which is noble and praiseworthy. Any little split 
that is caused by caste now and then is far outweighed 
by the union of races and clans which it has promoted 
and fostered, and there is no justification whatever for 
the abuse which has been heaped upon its authors. 


Thb question has been hoUy discassed, whether caste 
is a social or a religions distinction ? As shown in the 
last chapter, it is mainly a social distinction. But as 
many of the ordinances of oar Shastras are based upon 
it, it has a religions aspect also. The religions rights 
and duties of the Hindus do in fact vary, to a consider- 
able extent, according to their caste. For instance, on 
the death of an agnate within seven degrees, a Brahman 
has to observe mourning for ten days only, while a man 
of the fighting caste has to wear the '' weeds of woe " for 
twelve days, a man of the mercantile caste for fifteen 
days, and a Sudra for one full month. Then, again, the 
Yedic rites and prayers which the three higher castes are 
required to perform every day are all pronibited to the 
Sudra* ' The latter can be taught to repeat only those 
prayers that are prescribed by what may be called the 
new testaments of the Hindus, i^., the Purans and the 
l^ntras. But the Brahman who enlists even a good 
Sadra among his disciples is lowered for ever in the 
estimation of the people, while by ministering to a 
Sudra of a low class he is degraded altogether. 


The rules defining the proper swocations of the 
several castes are not imperative, it being laid down in 
the Shastras that a person, unable to earn his liveli- 
hood otherwise, may take to a profession which is 
ordinarily prohibited to his class. Manu says : — 

80. " Among tho several occupations for gaining a Untiihood the 
most commen<mble respectively for the sacerdotal, military, and 
mercantile classes, are teaching the Veda, defending, and commerce 
or keeping herds and flocks. 

81. Yet a Brahman unable to subsist by his duties just mentioned 
may live by the duty of a soldier, for that is the next in rank. 

82. If it be asked, how he must live, should he be unable to get a 
subsistence by either of these employments, i?^0 antwer is, he may 
subsist as a mercantile man, applying himself in psrson to tillage 
and attendance on cattle. 

95. A military man in distress may subsist by all these means, 
but at no time must he have recourse to the highest, or §€icerdotal 

98. A mercantile man, unable to subsist by his own duties, may 
descend even to the servile acts of a Sudra, tsiking care never to do 
what ouffht never to be done ; but, when he has gained a competence, 
let him depart from service. 

09. A man of the fourth class, not finding employment by wait- 
ing on the twice-born, while his wife and son are tormented with 
hunger, may subsist by handicrafts.— Manu, Chap. X.** 

Such being the precepts of the Shastras, it is very 
often found that a Hindu of one class is engaged in a 
profession which is the speciality of another, and the 
tendency of English education is to make all the castes 
more and more regardless about strict compliance with 
Shastric rules on the subject. The Hindu legislators 
made the castes exclusive, not so much by prescribing 


particular professions for each, as by prohibiting inter- 
marriage and interchange of hospitality on a footing 
of equality. In the beginning intermarriage was allow- 
ed so far that a man of a superior caste could lawfully 
take in marriage a girl of an inferior caste. But, by 
what may be called the Hindu new testaments, inter- 
marriage between the different castes is prohibited 
altogether. As to interchange of hospitality, the Shas- 
tras lay down that a Brahman must avoid, if pos- 
sible, the eating of any kind of food in the house of a 
Sndra, and that under no circumstances is he to eat 
any food cooked with water and salt by a Sudra, or 
toached by a Sudra after being so cooked. In practice 
the lower classes of Brahmans are sometimes compelled 
by indigence to honour the Sudras by accepting their 
hospitality — of course, eating only uncooked food or 
sucn food as is cooked by Brahmans with materials 
supplied by the host. The prejudice against eating 
cooked food that has been touched by a man of an inferior 
caste is so strong that, although the Shastras do not 
prohibit the eating of food cooked by a Ksatriya or 
Vaishya, yet the Brahmans, in most parts of the country, 
would not eat such food. For these reasons, every 
Hindu household — whether Brahman, Ksatriya or 
Sudra — that can afford to keep a paid cook generally 
entertains the services of a Brahman for the perform- 
ance of its cuisine — the result being that, in the larger 
towns, the very mime of Brahman has suffered a strange 
degradation oi late, so as to mean only a cook. 

The most important regulations by which the castes 
have been made exclusive are those which relate to 
marriage. In fact, as Mr. Bisley in his valuable work 
on the CaMes and Tribes of Bengal rightly ob- 
serves, " caste is a matter mainly relating to marriage." 
Matrimonial alliances out of caste is prevented by the 
seclusion of the females, their early marriage, and the 
social etianette which requires that even the marriages 
of boys snould be arranged for them by their parents 


or other guardians. The Hindu youth has to maintain 
an attitude of utter indifference about every proposal 
regarding his marriage, and when any arrangement 
in that respect is made by his parents, grand-parents, 
uncles or elder brothers, he has to go through the cere- 
mony out of his sense of duty to obey or oblige them. 
The selection being, in all cases, made by the guardian 
in accordance with his sober judgment, and never by the 
parties themselves in accordance with their impulses for 
the time being, marriage out of caste is almost impossi- 
ble in Hindu society, and is never known to take place 
except among the very lowest. 


The sentiments which Brahmanical legislation en- 
gendered and fostered have led to the formation or 
recognition of a vast number of extra castes and sub- 
castes. In all probability the laws of the Shastras 
failed to bring about a complete fusion of all the clans 
and races that had been intended to be included within 
the same group, and their recognition, as distinct sub- 
divisions, was inevitable from the very beginning. New 
sub-divisions have also been formed in later times by 
the operation of one or other of the following causes : — 

1. By migration to different parts of the country. 

2. By different sections being devoted to the practice of 

distinct professions. 

3. By anv section being elevated above or degraded below 

the level of the others. 

4. By quarrels between the different sections of the same 

caste as to their relative status. 

5. By becoming the followers of one of the modern reli- 

gious teachers. 

6. By the multiplication of the iUegitimate progeny of 

religious mendicants. 

The Brahmanical sub-classes like the Rjidhis, Baren- 
dras and the Kanojias are so-called on account of 
their being the inhabitants of Badh, Barendra, and 
Kanoj, though they all belong to the same stock. The 
Yaidikas are evidently so-called on account of their 
devoting themselves exclusively to the study and the 
teaching of the Yedas. If so, then it is not difficult to 
see why they kept themselves aloof from those who 


porsaed secular avocations. The Husainis, Kalankis 
Maha-Brahmans, Agradanis, Sanicharis, Gangaputras, 
&c., have become more or less exclusive by being 
degraded and debarred from association with the other 
classes of Brahmans on a footing of equality. When 
one section of a caste affect a superior siatus and refuse 
to give their daughters to another section, the latter 
may for a time admit their inferiority by betraying an 
eagerness to marry their daughters in the superior caste 
without having the compliment reciprocated. But 
sooner or later the connection between them is cut 
off altogether, and they become distinct sub-castes. 
With regard to the additional castes, it is stated in the 
Shastras that they are due to intermarriage and mis- 
cegenation between the primary castes. This explana- 
tion is necessitated by the theory that originally there 
were only four castes, and has been of great use to the 
Brahmans for enforcing marriage within caste, and for 
humiliating such classes as the Yaidyas and the Acharyas 
who, being by the nature of their profession, very im- 
portant factors in every native court, might otherwise 
have become too powerful. 

To me it seems that most of the so-called " mixed 
castes " owe their exclusiveness to either Brahmanical 
policy, or to the impossibility of including them within 
any of the four primary groups ; while there are some 
among the additional castes whose formation is clearly 
traceaole to their being the followers of some revolu- 
tionary teacher of modern times. 

^he Brahmanical explanation of the origin of the 
additional castes has been accepted by some of the 
English writers on the subject But to me it seems 
utterly impossible that any new caste could be formed 
in the manner described by Manu or any other Hindu 
lawgiver. In order to accept the theory it is necessary 
to assume that a careful record was kept of every case 
of irregular marriage and illicit sexual intercourse, and 
that the progeny of the parties were listed and included 


under separate groups by royal edicts. What seems 
mach more probable is, that in order to make the 
primary divisions into four castes practically acceptable, 
most of the sub-divisions in each of them had to be 
recognized at the very beginning, and the tendency 
^hi^ was thns generated received further expansion 
by the recognition of the additional castes on account 
of the cirenmstances and reasons mentioned already. 
The motives that led the Brahmans to declare that the 
astrologer was the son of a shoemaker, and that the 
medical men were the offspring of irregular marriage 
between a Brahman and a Yaishya woman, ought to 
be clear enough to every one who has any idea of the 

intrigues that usually prevailed in the courts of the 

Hinou kings. 



Under the Hindu kings, the roles relating to caste 
were enforced by the oflElcers of the crown in accord- 
ance with the advice of the great Pandits who gener- 
ally acted as ministers. Daring the period of Moslem 
ascendancy, the Hindu barons and chiefs exercised the 
prerogative where they could. But in Northern India, 
the Hindus have now no recognised spiritual head. In 
cases of serious violations of Shastric injunctions, the 
Pandits are consulted as to the nature of the expiation 
required. But their power to impose any penalty on 
the delinquent is not very considerable. In extreme 
cases they may, as a body, refuse to accept any gift 
from the offender, and keep aloof from the religious 
ceremonies celebrated in his house. But except where 
public opinion is too strong to be disregarded, they are 
very seldom sufficiently united to visit anyone with the 
punishment of excommunication in such manner. 

In Southern India the case is somewhat different. 
There the non-Vishnuvite Hindus are completely under 
the spiritual authority of the Superiors of the Sankarite 
monasteries. In fact, the head of the Sringeri monastery » 
at the source of the Toonga Bhadra in Mysore, has the 
same power over the Smarta Hindus of Southern India 
that the Pope has over the Roman Catholic population 
of Europe. See The Queen v. Sri Sankara^ I. L. R., 
6 Madras, p. 381. 

The main agency by which caste discipline is still 
maintained to some extent is the religious sentimenta- 
lism of the Hindus as a nation. But in this respect 


there is no consistency to be fonnd in them. For in- 
stance, there are lots of men who ahnost openly eat for- 
bidden food and drink forbidden liquors, and yet their 
fellow-castemen do not nsuaUy hesitate to dine in their 
homes, or to have connections with them by marriage. 
Bat if a man goes to Earope he loses his caste, even 
though he be a strict vegetarian and teetotaler. Then, 
again, if a man marry a widow he loses caste, thongh 
such marriage is not in any way against Shastric injanc- 
tions, while tne keeping of a Mahomedan mistress, which 
is a serious and almost inexpiable offence, is not visited 
with any kind of punishment by castemen. Similarly, a 
man may become a Brahmo or agnostic and yet remain in 
caste; but if he espouse Christianity or Msdiomedanism, 
his own parents would exclude him from their house, and 
disallow every kind of intercourse, except on the most 
distant terms. He cannot have even a drink of water 
under his parental roof, except in an earthen pot, which 
would not be touched afterwards by even the servants of 
the house, and which he would have to throw away with 
his own hands, if no scavenger be available. 

The only acts which now lead to exclusion from caste 
are the following : — 

1. Embracing Ohristianily or Mahomedanism. 

2. Going to Europe or America. 

3. Marrying a widow. 

4. Publicly throwing away tbe sacred thread. 

5. Publicly eating Mef , pork or fowl. 

6. Publicly eating kaehi food cooked by a Mahomedan, 

Ghr&raan or low caste Hindu. 

7. Officiating as a priest in thehouae of a very low class Sudra. 

8. By a female going away from home for an immoral pur- 


9. By a widbw becoming pregnant. 

In the villages, the friendless and the poor people are 
sometimes excluded from caste for other offences as, for 
instance : — adultery, incest, eating forbidden food and 
drinking forbidden liquors. But when the offender is 
an influential personage or is influentially connected, 
no one thinks of visiting him with such punishment. 

B, HC. 2 


When a Hindu is excluded from caste — 

1. His friends, relatives and fellow-townsmen refuse to 

partake of his liospitalitjr. 

2. 9e is not invited to entertainments in their houses. 

3. He cannot obtain brides or bridegrooms for his children. 

4. Even his own married daughters cannot visit him with- 

out running the risk of being excluded from caste. 

5. His priest and even his barber and washerman refuse 

to serve him. 

6. His fellow-castemen sever their connection with him so 

completelv tluit they refuse to assist him even at the 
funersJ of a member of his household. 

7. In some cases the man excluded from caste is debarred 

access to the public temples. 

To deprive a man of the services of his barber and 
washerman is becoming more and|more difficult in these 
days. But the other penalties are (enforced on excluded 
persons) with more or less rigour, according to circum- 

In the mofussil the penalties are most severely felt. 
Even in the towns such persons find great difficulty in 
marrying their children, and are therefore sometimes 
obliged to go through very humiliating expiatory cere- 
monies, and to pay heavy fees to the learned Pandits 
for winning their good graces. 




Thb most remarkable feature in the mechanism of 
Hinda society is the high position occupied in it 
by the Brahmans. They not only claim almost divine 
honours as their birthright, but, generally speaking, the 
other classes, including the great Ksatriya princes, and 
the rich Vaishya merchants readily submit to their 
pretensions as a matter of course. A Brahman never 
bows his head to make a pranam to one who is not a 
Brahman. When saluted by a man of any other class, 
be only pronounces a benediction saying, '* Victory be 
unto you.^' In some cases when tne party saluting is 
a prince or a man of exalted position in society, the 
Brahman, in pronouncing his benediction, stretches out 
the palm of his right hand, in a horizontal direction, to 
indicate that he has been propitiated. The form of 
salutation by the inferior castes to Brahmans varies 
according to circumstances. When the Brahman to be 
saluted has a very high position, temporal or spiritual, 
and the man saluting desires to honour nim to the utmost 
degree possible, he falls prostrate at the feet of the object 
ofais reverence, and, after touching them with his hand 


applies his fingers to his lips and his forehead. In ordi- 
nary cases a man, of any of the three inferior castes, 
salutes a Brahman by either joining his palms and 
raising them to his forehead, in the form of a double 
military salnte, or by simply pronouncing such words 
as pranam or jpaunlagL Thus the amount of veneration 
shown to a Brahman may vary under different con- 
ditions. But no member of the other castes can, 
consistently with Hindu social etiquette and religious 
beliefs, refuse altogether to bow to a Brahman. Even 
the Chaitanites and the other classes of modern Yaishna- 
vas, who do not profess to have any veneration for the 
Brahmans as such, and speak of them as heretics in their 
own circle, cannot do without bowing to Brahmans 
and accepting their benedictions in public. 

The more orthodox Sudras carry their veneration for 
the priestly class to such an extent,' that they will 
not cross the shadow of a Brahman^ and it is not 
unusual for them to be under a vow not to eat any food 
in the morning, before drinking Bipracharanamritai i.^., 
water in whicn the toe of a Brahman has been dipped. 
On the other hand, the pride of the Brahman is such 
thjit they do not bow to even the images of the gods 
worshipped in a Sudra's house by Brahman priests. 

The Brahman asserts his superiority in various other 
ways. His Shastras declare that on certain occasions, 
Brahmans must be fed and gifts must be made to them 
by members of all classes. But the Brahman can accept 
such hospitality and gifts without* hesitation only 
where the host or donor is a member of one of the three 
superior castes. The position of the Sudras is, according \ 
to the theory of the Shastras and the practice of Hindu ' 
society such, that a Brahman cannot accept their 
presents without lowering himself for ever, while by 
eating any kind of food cooked by a Sudra he loses his 
Brahmanism and his sanctity altogether. In the house 
of a Sudra, a Brahman may eat uncooked food, or such 
food as is cooked by a Brahman. But the Brahman 


vrho does so, livhile not sojonming in a foreign place, is 
lowered for ever in pubUc estimation. For all these 
reasons, a Brahman who accepts a Sndra's gifts and 
hospitality at a religious ceremony, is able to pose as a 
person who makes a great sacrifice to oblige the nost and 

When a Brahman invites a Sndra, the latter is nsnally 
asked to partake of the host's prasdda^ or favour, in the 
shape of the leavings of his plate. Orthodox Sudras 
actually take offence, if invited by the use of any other 
formula. No Sudra is allowed to eat in the same room 
or at the same time with Brahmans. While the Brahman 
guests eat, the Sudras have to wait in a different 
part of the house. It is not, however, to be supposed 
that the Sudras take any offence at such treatment. On 
the contrary, they not only wait patiently, but, in some 
places, insist upon eating tne leavings of the Brahmans, 
and refuse to eat anything from clean plates. Such 
orthodoxy is against nature, and is happily somewhat 
rare. Ordinarily, the pious Sudra takes a pinch from 
the leavings of a Brahman's plate, and after eating the 
same with due reverence, begins to eat from a clean 

The high caste and well-to-do Sudras never eat in the 
house of a Brahman without paying for the honour a 
pranami^ or salutation fee, of at least one rupee. The 
Brahman host never insists on such payment, and in 
fact it is usually forced upon him. But when a Brahman 
eats in the house of a Sudra on a ceremonial occasion, 
the payment of a fee by the host to the guest is a sine 
4jua rum. This fee is called bhojan dakshina^ and ordin- 
arily varies from one anna to one rupee. In special 
cases the Sudra host has to pay much heavier fees. 

When a Sndra writes a letter to a Brahman, it must 

begin by declaring that the writer makes a hundred 

miSioQ obeisances at the lotus feet of the addressee. 

When a Brahman writes a letter to a man of any other 

caste, the style of his communication is that of a superior 


being, and he commences it by pouring ^^ heaps of assur- 
ances of future bKss." 

If the amount of honour which is shewn by any com- 
munity to its female members is an indication of the 
degree of civilization attained by it, then, the Brahmans 
are, the most advanced race of men on earth. They 
never mention the names of their ladies without the 
affix devi (goddess). But while thus upholding the 
dignity of the female members of their own class, they 
have taught the Sudras to use the word dasi (slave) as 
an affix to the names of Sudra females. 

For conversational purposes the proper form of ad- 
dress by Sudras to Branmans is Th^koor Mahasaya or 
Thakoorji which means ''venerable god." In the same 
way Brahman ladies have to be addressed by Sudras 
as Ma Thakoorain or mother goddess. Formerly, even 
the Brahman kings of the country preferred the ad- 
dress of Thakoor to any other honorific expression. 
But of late years the word has suffered a stran&:e des^ra- 
dation, an/ though it means "god" it is now very 
often i^ken to denote a cook.* For this reason the 
Brahmans who have received an English education, 
and are engaged in secular pursuits, saw no objection 
at one time to be addressed as Babus. But the epithet, 
Babu itself, has suffered of late a similar degradation. 
Before the commencement of British rule, it was applied 
only to the collateral relatives of the great royal families 
of India. But Englishmen in India applied it indis- 
criminately to every untitled Hindu, and specially to 
their Hindu clerks in Bengal. The title is, therefore, 
now usually taken to be the equivalent of the English 
words, " clerk" and " accountant," and the higher classes 
of educated Hindus now consider it an insult to be called 
Babus. In the absence of any other Indian word for 
honorific address, some Hindu gentlemen now prefer to 
be addressed as " Mr." and " Esquire," and for this they 

* See p. 11, ante» 


are fonnd fault wiih and ridiculed, both by their coon- 
trymen and foreigners. But the fact is that the Hindu 
tities have suffered such degradation of late, that the 
untitled aristocracy of the country are compelled by 
sheer necessity to assume other epithets. If the word 
Thakoor retained its original signification, surely no 
Brahman, liowever exalted his secular position might 
be, would feel ashamed of that glorious honorific, or 
prefer the foreign epithets " Mr " and " Esquire." 



According to the commandments of his religion, the 
proper avocations of Brahmans are the following : — 

1. Studying the Shastras. 

2. Teacning the Shastras. 

3. Performance of religious rites for the three superior 


4. Acceptance of gifts from the three superior classes. 

Until recently the teaching of the Shastras was con- 
sidered as the most honourable profession for a Brahman. 
The great Pandits of the country are still honoured and 
subsidized by the well-to-do classes. But their preten- 
sion^ to superior learning are not admitted by those 
who have received an English education, and as their 
vaunted lore does not open the doors to any kind of 
service under Government, or to the liberal professions, 
they are fast sinking to a very inferior position. 
There was a time when the first Pandit in the country 
was the first man in the country. The people believed 
in the Pandits and, under ^he Hindu langs, the entire 
administration was very often left in their hands. But 
under British rule, the Pandits are nowhere. They 
still exercise very considerable influence over the un- 
educated classes. But the dignity of their profession 
is gone, and the class itself is fast becoming extinct in 
consequence of the superior attractions of English 

As to the priestly profession, it is to be observed that 
the ordinance which recommends it as a proper one for 


a Brahman, is subject to very important limitations. 
Those viho officiate as priests for Sudras, and those 
who perform the service of idols in public or private 
shrines, are, according to the dogmas of the Hindu 
scriptnres, degraded persons. The performance of 
pri^tly functions for the superior castes is nowhere 
condemned in the sacred codes, and is, in fact, recom- 
mended as a proper avocation for a Brahman. But, ac- 
cording to Hindu notions, a priest is a very inferior 
person, and no Brahman, who can live otherwise, would 
willingly perform the work of a priest. The duties of the 
Brahman pastor involve long fastings, and, in respect 
of the worsnip of idols, almost menial service. Furtner, 
the men who actually perform the function of priests are, 
in the majority of cases, ignorant persons with just the 
amount of the knowledge of rituals that is necessary for 
discharging their duties. The Pandits, who study the 
original works that regulate these rituals, can find fault 
wim the priest at every step, and reserve for themselves 
the higher functions of the critic and superintendent. 

Whatever be the reason, the priest has a very inferior 
position in Hindu society. The relative status of 
Brahman families depends partly upon the hereditary 
rank of its members, as determined by the records of 
Indian heraldry. But, apart from aristocratic lineage, 
the highest position among the Brahmans is, according 
to orthodox notions, occupied by the Pandits and the 
Gurus who have only Brahman disciples. The Gurus 
are principally of two classes — ^^namely, Tantric and 
Vabhnava« Ijie Tantric Gurus inculcate mainly the 
worship of Siva's consorts ; while the Yaishnava 
Gurus or Gossains insist upon the worship of one 
of the incarnations of Yishnu. The disciples of the 
Gossains are men of very low castes, including vintners, 
oilmeDf and even the ^^unfortunates" of me towns. 
Raring snch followers, the Gossains are a very weU- 

Uhdo class, bot are held in very low esteem, and very 

few good Brahmans eat in their houses. 


Among the Tantric Gurus there are a great many 
who have only Brahman disciples. They are generally 
very learned men, and are not like the Vaishnava 
Gossains, who are usually so illiterate that the few 
among them who can barely recite the Sri Bhagavat 
are reckoned by their followers as prodigies of Sanskrit 


A FBW words about the probable origin of the modem 
Gum's profession may not be oat of place here. There 
is no mention of it in the ancient scriptures of the 
Hindns, and it is recognized and regnlated only by 
their new testaments. The word Gam or Acharya 
originally meant a teacher of the Yedas. The ancient 
legal and moral codes of the Hindus gave a very high 
position to the Yedic teachers. Mann says : — 

" Of him who giTm natural hirth, and hun who ffives knowledge of 
the whole Veda, the giver of ncred knowledge is tne more venerable 
father, since the second or divine birth ensures life to the twioe-bom, 
both in this world and hereafter eternally .'*—Manu II, 146. 

When, by sach teachings, the position of the Garu 
became associated in the Hindu mind with the tenderest 
sentiments of regard and affection, the Brahmanical 
theologians began to think of devising ways to exact 
that reverence even from persons who have never been 
Yedic papils, and who have not even the right to read 
our holy scriptures. The Vedic mantras are too volu- 
minous and prosaic to attract any considerable number 
of pupils. Females and Sudras are not allowed to 
study them at all. For these reasons, no actual teacher 
of the Yedas could at any time hope to attract round 
him any considerable number of actual Yedic students. 
Bat the position of a Guru having a large number of 
pupils is a desirable one, and the Tantrics invented a 
short cut to that position. They gave the name mantra 
to some mystic and meaningless syllables which might 


be communicated and learnt at one sitting. Sudras and 
females were made eligible for these mantras, and every 
Brahman with a little tact and show of piety was en- 
abled to gather round him an army of chelias bound 
by their vow to worship him as a god and to pay a 
yearly tax to him and his descendants from generation 
to generation. The chelias are regarded by the Guru 
as his property, and when the sons of a deceased Guru 
make a partition of his estate and effects, the chelias 
are partitioned and distributed among them in the same 
manner as any other property inherited by them. 

The simple method invented by the Tantrics for ac- 
quiring the power and position of a Guru over a large 
number of disciples, has been remarkably successful. 
Looked at a priori such mystic syllables as Jioong^ 
doong^ kUng or hring are an outrage on common 
sense. But the gullibility of man has no limit, and the 
Guru who whispers these meaningless expressions in the 
ears of his disciple is worshipped and paid by him as 
the bestower of untold benefits. He is not allowed 
to reveal its nature to any one. The matter is certainly 
not such as to be capable of bearing the daylight of 
intelligent criticism. The Guru, therefore, acts wisely 
in insisting that the communication should be treated 
as strictly confidential. 

The Gossains discard the mystic syllables more or 
less, and inculcate that in this age of sin the only way 
to attain salvation lies in constantly repeating the name 
of Hari ! Their doctrine may not at first si^t seem to 
be consistent with their professional policy. A Tantric 
mantra is a mystic syllable which must necessarily be 
received from a Guru by those who may value it. 
But if, as the Yishnuvites say, a man can save his soul 
by merely repeating the name of some deity a certain 
number of times, surely he cannot be absolutely in need 
of a spiritual teacher to initiate him in the adoption of 
that method. But logic or reason has very little con- 
nection with faith, and as Gurus of all classes, includ- 



ing both the Tantric and the Yaishnava; insist upon the 
necessity of a spiritual teacher for every human being, 
the idea has become too firmly implanted in the Hindu 
mind to be eradicated by any occasional gleam of com- 
mon sense. 

The abominations worshipped by the Tantrics are 
eschewed altogether by the Yaishnavas. But the latter 
by reciting stories or singing songs about the illicit 
amours of Krishna, gives perhaps greater encourage- 
ment to immorality than any Tantric uie nature of whose 
phallic emblems is understood by very few of those 
-who worship them. So there is very little to choose be- 
tween the morality of the one or the other. But the 
Yaishnavas can perform their operations openly, while 
the Tantrics require a shroud of mysticism to envelop 
them. Anyhow, the Yaishnavas are very fast extending 
the sphere of their influence, and many of the Tantrics 
are now espousing Yaishnava tenets in order to have the 
advantage of enlisting among their followers the low 
classes that are becoming rich under British rule. 


Cannot a man of one caste pass * as a member of 
another caste ? This is a question which must occur 
to every foreigner interesting himself in the subject. 
But, as explained already, there cannot be any strong 
motive for such false impersonation, and the checks 
which are provided by Hindu social etiquette, are 
powerful enough to repress any such attempts. 
The unwritten law of Indian society requires tnat 
every Hindu, when asked, must mention not only I the 
names of his paternal and maternal ancestors, but 
give also every information that he can about such 
•queries as the following : — 

1. What is yoar caste ? 

2. What is your clan ? 

3. What is yoar Gotra ? 

7. What is your Sutra ? 

4. What are your Pravaras ? 

5. What is your Veda? 

6. What is your S&kha ? 

* I once heard a story about an attempt made by a shoemaker to 
pass as a Brahman. With a view to have a share of the nice eatables 

Erovided for the Brahman guests of a local Dives, he equipped 
imself like a Brahman with his sacred thread, and quietly joined 
the company when they assembled in the evening. As usual on 
such occasions, one of the ptart^ asked him what his name and 
his father's name were. He said, in reply, that his own name was Ram 
Ohatteijea, and that his father's name was ELasi Lahiri. Being 
thus found out, he was hustled out of the place. His low position 
in caste saved him from kicks and blows, and while effecting his exit 
he gave expression to the sad moral of his adventure by muttering 
" a shoemaker cannot conceal his caste even under cover of night.'" 


TheTe are also special enqniries for each caste and 
elan, and these go into such details that it must be 

n'' ^ impossible for an outsider to answer them. I 
refer to some of those details further on, but it 
seems to me absolutely necessary to give some informa- 
tion about Gotra, Prayara, &c., in this place. 

Gotra. — The Gotra of a Brahman is the name of 
the Bishi or Yedic poet from whom he and his agnates 
are supposed to be aescended. The Gotra of a man of 
any other caste is the name of the Rishi who and 
whose descendants were entitled to officiate as priests 
in the family of his ancestors. The original meaning 
of the word was, in all probability, a place for keeping 
oatUe. But, with the nighest possible respect for the 
authority of Professor Max Miiller, I see no reason what- 
ever to suppose that the Brahmans, Rajputs and Yaishyas, 
who now profess to be of the same Gotra, have this 
tradition, because their ancestors lived within the same 
cow-pen. In the vernacular languages of India, the 
word ffot means simply a company of men, and the 
authority of the Shastras is distinctly in favour of the 
view that the men who profess to be of the same Gotra, 
are either the actual descendants, or the progeny of the 
spiritual sons of the same primitive priest. The origin 
of the Gotra is to be traced not to actual residence 
within the same cow-pen, but to a metaphorical use of 
the word similar to that which is made of the term 
* flock ' by the priests of the Christian Church. 

Pravara. — ^The word literally means a person duly 
appointed. On the view which I take of the Gotra^ 
the Pravaras of a Hindu are the Rishis who were 
entitled to be appointed as assistant priests for the 
performance of the religious ceremonies of his ancestors. 
On any other view the Pravaras can have no meaning 

Vedas and Sakha. — Every Brahman is supposed to 
be a reader of one of the four Vedas, and though 
the study has, for various reasons, been suppressed long 


since, yet every member of the priestly caste is ex- 
pected to know by tradition the name of the Veda, and 
the rescension of it of which his family profess to be 
students. Hence, when any enquiry is made about the 
lineage of any member of the twice-born castes, he is 
asked to mention the name qf his Veda. 

Sutra. — ^The Sutras are ritualistic works, and the 
Sutra of a Brahman is the name of the Bishi whose 
manual of rituals regulates the religious ceremonies of 
his family. Every Brahman in the country is supposed 
to know nis Gotra, Pravara and Veda, and is expected 
to mention them whenever asked. But the Sakha and 
the Sutra are known only to the learned^ and it is not 
very usual to make any enquiry about them even on 
formal occasions. 

A difference of Gotra, Pravara, Vedas or Sakha does 
not usually imply any difference of caste or clan ; nor 
does any identity in these respects imply an identity 
of class. There is a saying in Bengali according to 
which there are only five Gotras in the world. As a 
m3,tter of fact there are more than 100 different Gotras, 
and each one of these is to be found in almost all 
the primary castes. The Gotra is not only some- 
thing very different from caste, but involves very 
opposite incidents. The most important feature ot 
caste is that no Hindu can contract a marital alliance 
outside its limits. But as to Gotra the rule among 
the higher castes is that marriage can only be valid 
between persons of different Gotra. 



AocoBDiNG to some authoritative texts of the Shas- 
tras, and according to popular belief also, the Brahmans 
of India are divided into two main classes, each of 
them being sub-divided into five sub-classes as shown in 
the following table : — 

r 1« Sanwata. 

eb«e.oC Northern India. 1 * %^^ 

2. Pttach Drsvira or the 
ftTe daases of Southern ^ 

5. Maithila. 

f 1. Bfaharashtra. 

2. Andiu. 

3« Dravira* 

4. Oamata. 

5. Ousrat. 

As a matter of fact the divisions among the Brah- 
mans are so numerous that it is exceedingly difficult, 
if not actually impossible, to frame an exhaustive and 
accurate list thereof. For the purpose of giving an 
account of the Brahmans of Northern India alone, each 
of the following provinces and districts must be taken 
into consideration separately : (1) Bengal Proper ; (2) 
Tirhoot ; (3) South Behar ; (4) N.-W. Provinces and 
Oudh ; (5) Kurukshetra ; (6) Punjab ; (7) Kashmir ; 
(8) Sind ; (9) Bajputana ; (10) Central India ; (11) 
Assam ; (12) Orissa. 

Even within the limits of each of the above-men- 
tioned territorial divisions, the Brahmanical population 
are not, in any case, of the same class. In Bengal 

B, HO i 



proper alone, there are, besides the degraded and the 
semi-degraded Brahmans, about half-a^ozen different 
divisions in the sacerdotal population which are, for all 
practical purposes, different castes altogether. The case 
is no better in any of the other provinces. On the 
contrary, among the Sarswatas of the Punjab, what 
were merely hypergamous groups formerly, now threaten 
to be separate castes, and when this transformation be- 
comes complete, it will be quite as impossible to count 
their sub-divisions as those of the Guzratis. 



Excepting the recent immigrants from other pro- 
vinces, the Brahmans of Bengal proper are divided 
£nto the follovring classes : — 

1. PkMchalTa Valdikas (Lit. Vedic Brahmans of Western 


2. Badbiyas (lit. Brahmans of BSdh or Western Beni^). 

3. Barendras (Lit. Brahmans of Bfirendra counlay, the name 

nven to the northern part of Bengal). 

4. IHUcshinatya Yaidikas (lit. Vedic Brahmans of Southern 


5. Ifadhya Sreni (Lit. Brahmans of the midland country i,e.^ 

of the district of Midnapore which forms the border 
land between Orissa and Bengal Proper). 

It is said that there is, besides these, another class in 
Bengal called the Sapta Satis, or the Seven Hundred, who 
were the only Brahmans in Bengal before the colonisa- 
tion of the five priests invited by King Adisnr in the 
9ih oentary of the Christian era. I have never met 
with any Sapta Sati Brahmans ; but, so far as my 
infonnanon goes, members of this class may be fonnd in 
some parts of East Bengal, and especially in Maheshpore 
in the eastern part of the Nadiya district. They nsnally 
intermarry with, the Badhiyas, and, for all practical 
purposes^ mBy be regarded as a section of that class. 


§ 1. — Tlie Pdsclidtya Vaidikaa. 

The numerical strength of the Paschat ja Y aidikas is 
not very considerable. Their name indicates that they 
came from the west, and according to the traditions in 
their families, they are of the Kanojia stock, their ances- 
tors having, at the commencement of Mahomedan rnle, 
migrated from their original habitat to Tirhoot, and sub- 
sequently from Tirhoot to Bengal. Most of the Vaidika 
immigrants were specially invited by one or other of 
the many Hindu Bajas, who ruled over the country as 
semi-independent chiefs, during almost the entire period 
of Moslem ascendancy. The ancestor of the leading 
Yaidikas of Nadiya was a reader of the Mahdbhdrat 
who could recite it from memory, and was made to 
settle in Bengal by a Kaja Kashinath, who was the ruler 
of the Nadiya district before it was given by the Emperor 
Jehangir to Bhava Nanda, the ancestor of the present 
Raja of Nadiya. The founder of the Vaidika family 
of Kotalipahar was invited from Kanoj by a Hindu 
prince who ruled over the district of Bakergunge in the 
thirteenth century, and was led to celebrate at an immense 
cost a religious ceremony for avoiding an evil that was 
foreboded by the fall of a dead vulture on the roof of his 
palace. The lucky priest secured for himself, by way 
of remuneration for his services, a valuable zemindari 
which is now in the possession of his descendants. The 
most important colonies of the Yaidikas are to be found 
now in the districts of Nadiya, Burdwan, 24.Pergunnahs, 
Malda, Bajshahi, Jessore, Bakergunge, Dacca and Farid- 

The majority of the other classes of Bengali Brahmans 
are the spiritual disciples of the Yaidikas of Nadiya and 
Bh&tpara. A Yaidika never enlists himself as a disci- 

E' le of a Brahman of any other class. Some Yaidikas 
ave Sudra disciples, and have even stooped so far as to 
officiate as priests for Sudras and in public temples. 
But; generally speaking, their Brahmanical pride is 


sQch that the poorest amon^ them would rather die than 
do any kind of manual work. Till recently they kept 
themselves aloof from Enorlish education and Govern- 
ment service. But their disciples do not submit now- 
a-davs to be taxed by them to the same extent as in 
former times, and stern necessity has been compelling 
the Gurus of Nadiya and Bhatpara. to pocket their pride, 
and to qualify themselves for Government service and 
the liberal professions, by English education. 

The usual surname of the Vaidikas is Bhattacharya. 
There are some in the class who have other family 
names such as Chackravarti, Roy and Chowdry ; but 
all these are honorific titles, and are not peculiar to the 
class. For the meanings of these titles, see Glossary. 

§ 2. — The Rdrhii/a Srahmans of Bengal, 

The Rarhiya and the Birendra Brahmans of Bengal 
trace their descent from the five priests brought from 
Kanoj, in the 9th century, by King Adisur of East Ben- 
gal, for the purpose evidently of performing one of those 
Vedic sacrifices for which competent priests could be 
had only in the capitals of the great Hindu kings. The 
Karhiyas and Barendras are very proud of their descent. 
But even on the supposition tnat King Adisur was a 
Ksatriya, and not aVaidya,it cannot be said that, accord- 
ing to Hindu notions^ the five priests imported by him 
were entitled to be regarded as very high class Brahmans. 
The very title of Upadhya, which their patron gave 
them, shows that they were regarded as middle class, 
and not first class. Pandits. The Rarhiyas and the 
B'.rendras may, with much better reason, boast of 
having had in their clans such great men as Raghun- 
nath, Gadadhar, Kulluka and Raghunandan, the last 
being by way of pre-eminence known throughout India 
as Smarta Bhattacharya, or the great professor of 
jurisprudence and theology. 

The Rarhis derive their clan name from that of the 
tract of country which now forms the northern portior4 
of the Burdwan division. Brahmans of this class are 

1. Kulin (families of high 


2. Bansaja. 


to be found in every part of Bengal proper, and their 
numerical strength is perhaps greater than that of all 
the other classes of Bengali Brahmans taken together. 
They are divided into about one hundred sub-classes, and 
grouped under the four main heads mentioned below: — 

3. Sudha Srotriya (pare Vedic 

4. Kashta Srotriya (impure 
Vedic scholars.) 

A Rarhiya Kulin can give his daughter only to a 
Kulin. If ne gives his daughter to a Bansaja or Srotriya 
his Kulinism is destroyed forever. A Kulin can marry 
the daughter of a Kulin or that of a Sudha Srotriya. 
If he marry the daughter of a Kashta Srotriya, he is 
lowered at once in rank. If he marry into a Bansaja 
family, his Kulinism lasts for some generations in a 
decaying condition, and his descendant in the eighth 
degree becomes a regular Bansaj. A Kulin who first 
marries into a Bansaj family generally gets a very high 
premium. The Kulins who have kept their Kulinism 
intact, generally find great difficulty in marrying their 
daughters, and are obliged to keep them unmarried, 
notwithstanding the Shastric injunctions that require 
every Hindu to give his female children in marriage 
before puberty. A Srotriya can give his daughter to 
a Bansaj as well as to a Kulin. A Bansaj cannot give 
his daughter to a Srotriva. 

The usual and peculiar titles of the Harhiyas are: — 

1. MukhopSdhya. I 3. Chattopfidhya. 

2. Bandyopftdhya. I 4. Gangopftdhya. 

5. Ghoeftl. 

Each of the first four of these titles consists of two 
words joined together. The first word is the name of 
the village* granted to the ancestor of the holder by 

* This is in accordance with the explanation of the above-men- 
tioned names given by Rarhiya Gattaks or CoUege of Heralds. 
But Banodh bem^ the ancient name of the tract of country, inolud- 
in<r the modern districts of Unao and Bai Bareilly in the vicinity 
of Kanoj, it is quite possible that Bandyopftdhya means an Up&d- 
haya of Banodh. Similar explanations seem to be possible regardinjir 
Mukhopftdhya, Chattftp&dhya and Gangopftdhya. 


King Ballalal Sen, and the last word is Upadhya, which 
means an assistant teacher or priest. The Radhis have 
also other titles such as Patitnnda, Kanji Lai, Pakrasi, 
&C., which are peculiar to their class ; bnt an exhaus- 
tive ennmeration of these is unnecessary in a book like 
tiiis. Among the Badhiyas, there are also Bhattachar- 
yas, Majnmdars, Boys, Chowdries, &c., but these titles 
are not pecnliar to their class. 

Formerly the Badhiyas of the eastern and central 
districts of Bengal devoted themselves generally to the 
cultivation of Sanskrit, and abstained from all such pur- 
suits as are considered to be derogatory to the dignity 
of a Brahman. But even under the Mahomedan rulers 
some of them accepted service as, for instance, Bhaba- 
nanda Majumdar of Nadiya, and the unfortunate Baja 
Nand Kumar who, according to Macaulay himself, '' had 
been great and powerful before the British Empire in 
India began to exist, and to whom in the old times 
Governors and Members of Council, then mere commer- 
cial factors, had paid court for protection."* 

* Mifccantay describes Kand KnmSr as a " Bmhinan of Brahmans/' 
and, at the same time, as the blackest monster in human form. Whe- 
ther morallv he was a worse or a better man than the Jadse who 
eoDYicted him " in order to gratify the Governor-General, or the 
Goivemor-General who, acoorain|; to Macaulay's own showing, was 
the real prosecntor, is a <}ae8tion which does not faU within the 
scope of this work. But it may be mentioned here that Nand 
Kumar was not a hifh carte Brahman, and was very far from beinff 
the bead of the BnUiman community as Macaulay has represented 
him to have been for artistic colouring of the picture. Nand KumSr 
was in fact a middle class RSdluja Brahman, whose family had once 
been ootcasted, and rcsained their status partly by a humiliating and 
expensive ceremony of expiation, and partly by forming connections 
with famiUes of a higher status. The inaccuracy in the description 
of bis casto status given by a foreign historian is pardonable, but 
it is impoesible to give him credit for impartiality* Apart from the 
tmmpOTT charges on which Kand KumSr was convicted of felony, 
tlie heaa and mnt of his offending was that he had intrigued against 
Hastings for thwarting his ambition to be the Deputy of the Bast 
India Company in the place of MtJiomed Besa Khan. The Nabob of 
Moorsbedabad had recommended him for the office, and the Court 
of Directors, in a manner, ordered that he should be appointed to it. 
Bat Hastings "bore no goodwiU to Kand Kum&r. Manv years 
before th^ nad known each other at Moorshedabad, and then a 
qn^rrel bad arisen which aU theauthority of their superiors could 


Under British rule the Radhi jas, and especially their 
ontcasted Pirali section, have been the first to adapt them- 
selves to the exigencies of the new rdgime^ and to take 
advantage of such opportunities for advancement as it 
o£Fered to the people of the conntry. Dwarka Naih 
Tagore and Prasanna Kumar Tagore were Piralis. 
Bam Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were 
Brahmans of a better class, but even they did not hold a 

very high position in their caste. In fact until recently 

■ ■ - ■ ■ . p. I. . y . 

hardly compose." Such being the attitude of Hastings towanls 
Nand Kumftr, it is no wonder that he carried out the orders of the 
Court of Directors only so far that he dismissed I^fahomed Resa 
Khan, and removed the exchequer from Moorshedabad to Calcutta. 
But the office of Kaib Dewan was abolished, and Nand Kumftr was 
subjected to a cruel disappointment. So '* it was natural,'* accord- 
ing to Macaulay himself, " that the Governor should from that 
time be an object of the most intense hatred to the Brahman.'* 
When the Councillors appointed by the Regulating Act arrived, and. 
possibly in accordance with instructions from the Ministers of the 
Crown, tried to upset the power of Hastings and indirectly that of 
the East India Company, Nand KumSr by a natural process became 
associated with the enemies of the Governor-General. Hastings had 
mortally offended Nand Kumftr. When the latter saw his opportunity 
he tried to have his enemy disgraced. The enemy retaliated by 
having the Brahman murdered under colour of legal proceedings. 

According to Brahmanical ideas of morality Nand Kumftr deserves 
to be condemned in the strongest terms possible for the vices of office- 
seeking and vindictiveness which he be1»*ayed. But the impartial his- 
torian cannot condemn him without condemning also in severer terms 
the conduct of a man in the position of Hastings, who retaliated 
insult by murder. If the rules of political morality be different 
from those of ordinary morality, and if the exigencies of the situa- 
tion in which Hastings was placed justified the '* sharp antidote " 
that he used, surely the conduct of Nand KumSr towaras him ought 
to be judged by the same standard. But while the great English his- 
torian showers every kind of vituperation not only on Nana Kumftr, 
but on the nation itself to which he belonged, he exculpates Hastings 
with an amiability that \a not often found in the old parents of a 
spoilt only son. After observing that it is impossible to speak too 
severely of Impey's conduct, the great historian goes on to add : — 

" But we look on the conduct of Hastings in a somewhat different 
light. He was struggling for fortune, honour, liberty, all that makes 
life valuable. He was oeset by rancorous and unprincipled enemies. 
From his colleagues he could expect no justice. He cannot be 
blamed for wishing to crush his accusers." 

CertainW- the defence embodied in the above applies quite as 
much to Nand Kumfir as to Hastings, yet, aooording to the verdict 
of the great English historian, Hastings was a polmcian to whom 
the ordinary rules of moralify do not apply, while Nand KumSr 
and the nation to which he Delonged are viUaiiis. 


&B Ugh class Badhijas were usuallj quite illiterate. 
Their hereditary rank made them highly prized as bride- 
grooms for the daughters of their well-tondo clansmen, and 
many of them lived in former times by making marriage 
their sole profession. A Kulin of a high class might 
then marry more than a hundred wives without any 
difficulty, and there are still some who have such large 
numbers of wives as to necessitate their keeping regular 
registers for refreshing their memoty, about the names 
and residences of their spouses. Not only each mar- 
riage, bat each visit by a Kulin to his wife brought 
him valuable presents, and as his wives and children 
were supported by his fathers-in-law, he could pass his 
days in comfort without being qualified for any kind of 
service or profession. The Kulin's sons sometimes be- 
came rich by inheriting the property of their maternal 
relatives. But it was until lately very rare for a Kulin 
to be the architect of his own fortune. The state of 
things in Hindu society is, however, undergoing great 
changes. Most of the Kulins have become lowered in 
rank by marrying into inferior families, and Kulinism, 
even where it is preserved intact, is not now-a-days valu- 
ed in the matrimonial market to the same extent that it 
used to be in former times. Wealth, university degrees 
and official position command a much higher premium at 
present than an ancient pedigree. The Kulins them- 
selves have been taught, by the bitter experience of their 
ancestors, to be not too eager for polygamy. And the 
coup de grace to the practice has been given by a deci- 
sion of the Bengal Hi^^h Court declaring that, according 
to the law of the Shastras applicable to all Hindus, 
even the Kulins are bound to give maintenance to their 
wives. Whatever be the cause, monogamy is now becom- 
ing the rule among the Kulins, and Uiey are fast on the 
way towards again taking their proper place among the 
most refined and cultured classes of tlie country. A 
KuUn of the highest rank has just retired on pension 
*fter having served the Government of Bengal for several 


years as Head Assistant in the Judicial Department. 
Even among the greatest of the living oelebrities of 
Bengal there are at present some Kolins of a more 
or less high position in the Radhiyapeerage, the fore- 
most among them being Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee, 
Advocate, Bengal High Court ; Dr. Guru Das Baner- 
jee, Judge, Bengal High Court ; Mr. Pramada Charan 
Banerjee, Judge, N.-W. P. High Court; Mr. Pratul 
Chandra Chatterji, Judge, Panjab Chief Court. 

The late Mr. Justice Anookul Chandra Mookerji 
was also a Radhiya Kulin. Mr. W. C. Bonnerjee is 
a member of the clan called Pandit Ratni or "the 
jewel of Pandits," and is lineally descended on his 
mother's side from the great Jagannath, the author of 
the Digest translated by Mr. Colebrooke. Babu Pratul 
Chandra is of the Kharda clan. His grandfather made 
a fortune by marrying the daughter of Qokool Ghosal, 
one of the chief fiscal officers in the early days of the 
East India Company, and the founder of the Raj family 
of Bhu Eailas. 

§ 3. — Bdrendras. 

The Barendras trace their origin from the same stock 
as the R^dhis, i.e.y from the five priests invited by King 
Adisur from Eanoj. The Barendras derivejtheir class 
name from the ancient name of North Bengal. Their 
numerical strength is less than that of the Radhis, but 
greater than that of the Yaidikas. 

The usual family names of the Barendras are the 
following : — 

1. LShiri. I 3. 8&nya1. 

2. Bh&dari. | 4. Maitra. 

5. Bagchi. 

These surnames are peculiar to the Barendras. They 
have also among them Bhattacharyas^ Majumdars, Joa- 
dars, Roys, and Chowdries. There are some high caste 
Barendras who have the Mahomedan title of Khan. 
The Barendras, like the Yaidikas, never do any kind of 
menial work, and the only class of Bengali Brahmanas 


«rho serve as cooks are the Rarhis of West Bnrdwan. 
The Rarhis of the eastern distriots of Bengal, t^., 
of the districts to the east of the river Hooghlj, 
are qnite as aristocratic as the Barendras and the 

The hypergamons divisions among the Barendras are 
s^imilar to those of the Rarhis in certain respects, the 
only important difference being that the B&rendras 
have a section among them called Cap* who have a 
somewhat unique position, though resembling to some 
extent the Bansaj among the Rarhis. 

Polygamy is rare among the Barendras ; but the 
marriage of a daughter among their higher classes 
is qnite as expensive as among the Rarhis. There are 
many big Barendra landholders, the most noted among 

* With regard to the origin of the GSps it is said that they are the 

de«ceiidaiit8 of a irreat Kulin named Madhu Moitra by his first 

wife. Madhu was an inhabitant of a village on the river Atmi, 

situated near the place where it is now crossed by the North 

Bengal State Railway. An inferior member of the clan, being 

treated at a dinner party of his castemen with great contnmel^, 

determined to form a matrimonial alliance with the great KaUn 

at any cost, and with that object hired a boat to take him to the 

vicinity of Madhu's residence and was careful to have with him on 

board uf the vessel his wife, an unmarried daughter and a cow. 

On reaching the neighbourhood of Biadhu*s village, he in^tuired 

of a Brahman, who was saving his prayers after performing his 

ablations on the banks of the river, whether he knew where the 

(Treat head of the Bftrendra clan lived. The Brahman, who was 

mierrogated. was himself the person abont whom the enauiry was 

addresMd. When the fact was made known to the Brahman on 

board the boat, he produced a hammer and a chisel threatening to 

sink the boat with all its inmates unless Madhu agreed to marr^ the 

Brahman's daughter. The old man was too fur advanced in life to 

be quite ready for complying with any request of the kind. But, 

as an orthodox Hindu, he could not take upon himfielf any share of 

the three great crimes^ namelv, the killing of a female, the killing of 

a Brahman, and the killing of a cow— which were threatened to be 

perpetrated in his presence. So he reluctantly gave his consent. 

Bot when his sons came to know what he was going to do they 

were very much annoyed, and they separated from their father 

at once. The old man was supported by his sister's husband, 

who was then the other great Kulin of the caste, and the sons who 

separated became Cftne. The position of their descendants is 

superior to that of tne Srotriyas, but inferior to that of the 

Knlins. Matrimonial alliance oetween a Kulin and a Cap reduces 

the former to the position of the latter. 


them being the great house of'Nattore that held pos- 
session of more than one-third of Bengal proper, at 
the time of the conquest of the country by the East 
India Company. Next in importance to the Nattore 
Rajas, but more ancient than their family, is that of 
the Putia zemindars. The late Maharani Sharat Sundari, 
whose name is venerated throughout India for her 
extensive charities, and for her character as a model 
Hindu widow, was a member of the Putia house. 
Among the other great Barendra landholders of Bengal 
are the zemindars of Susang and Muktagacha in the 
district of Mymensing. Babu Mohini Mohan Roy, 
who is one of the most successful pleaders of the Bengal 
High Court, and who has lately been made an Additional 
Member of the Supreme Legislative Council of India, 
is a Barendra. 

The majority of the Vaidikas, Rarhis and Barendras 
are moderate Saktas. They worship all the ancient 
deities of the Hindu pantheon ; but Durga, Kali and 
Siva have the largest share of their devotion. Many 
of them sacrifice goats and buffaloes before the deities 
they worship ; but among such of their orthodox 
members as are not affected by English education, and 
the temptations of modern town life, the drinking of 
spirituous liquors is still practically unknown. 

§ 4. — The Ddkshinatya Vaidikas, 

The name of this class indicates that they originally 
came from the south. They are found chiefly in the 
district of Midnapore, and seem to have been originally 
Brahmans of Orissa. A few small colonies of the 
Dakshinatyas are to be found in the southern portion 
of the metropolitan district of 24-Pergunnahs. They 
are a separate caste altogether, and there can be neither 
intermarriage nor interchange of hospitality between 
them and the Paschatya Vaidikas. Pandit Siva Nath 
Sastri, of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, is a Dakshinatya 


§ 5. — The Madhya Srerd Brahmans of the district of 


The Madhya Srenis are a very backward class of 
Brahmans, to be found only in the district of Midnapore. 
As they have the very same surnames and Gotras as 
the Radhis of Bengal, they are evidently a section of 
the Badhis. They themselves profess to be so, and 
acconnt for their want of connection with the Badhis 
properly so-called, by saying that as they refused to 
acknowledge the authority of the Ghataks to determine 
their status, the Badhi College of Heralds refused to 
recognise their very existence. The true cause of their 
forming a separate caste seems, however, to be that 
they accepted the gifts of the Kaibartas, and lived in an 
out-of-the-way district. The Madhya Srenis are gen- 
erally very poor and without any literary culture beyond 
what is necessary for doing the work of a priest. 

The distinction between Kulins and Srotriyas is not 
recognised by the Madhya Srenis. The descendants of 
those who, at one time or other, became famous as 
Sanskrit scholars, enjoyed, until lately, a higher position 
than the secular Brahmans. But at present, the status 
of a party for matrimonial purposes depends chiefly 
upon the amount of wealth possessed by him. The 
lladhya Srenis partake of the hospitality of the Kai- 
bartas, and minister to them as priests in all ceremonies 
except Shradhs.* The Shradhs of the Kaibartas are 
performed by a class of Brahmans called Yyasokta. 

* Mr. Riflley in his account of the Madhya Srenis says that they 
have eight Gotras, and that the Madhya Srenis of Mayna and 
certain other places have a higher position than the rest. But his 
acooont seems to be based upon erroneous information. 



§ 1. — Maitlulas, 

Thb Brahmans of Mithila or Tirhoot are called 
Maithila Brahmans. They form one of the five leading 
classses of North Indian Brahmans called Panch Gaur. 
They have no sub-castes, though they are divided into 
many groups which are of importance for the purpose 
of arranging marriages among them. The following 
are the names of these hypergamous groups : — 

1. Srotriya or Sote (Lit. A reader of the Vedas). 

2. Jofi^ (A family of an inferior class that has attained a 

superior status by marriage connections with Srotriyajs). 

3. Panji Badh (Recognized by the local College of HeraldB). 

4. Kagar. 

5. Jaiwar. 

A man of a higher group may take in marriage a 
girl from a lower group. But a girl of a higher group 
IS never given to a bridegroom of a lower class, 
except where the parents of the former are too poor 
to marry her to a boy of the same or a superior group. 

The Maithila Bramnans have a special kind of head- 
dress. Their usual surnames are the following : — 

1. Misra (A reader of the two 


2. Ojha or Jha* (Both are cor- 

rupted forms of the Sans- 
krit word Upfidhya, which 
means an assistant teach- 
er or priest). 

a. Thakoor (Qod.) 

4. P&thak (Areaderof theMa- 
h&bhftrat and the Purftns). 

6. Pura. 

6. Padri. 

7. Ghowdry. 

8. Roy. 

* Persons who profess to exorcise evil spirits or cure snake-bites 
fS «?«»HJ^**^*«J* Ojhas, or, by a further corruption of the word, 

Koja. They do not belong to any particular caste, 'and are 
generally low class men. 


The Maithilas are very conservatiye, and still think 

that it is beneath their dignity to accept service under 

&e British Govenunenty though such feeling has died 

out completely even among the ^highest classes of 

Bengali Brahmans. 

The head of the Maithila Brahmans is the Maharaja 
of Darbhanga. The founder of the family, Mahesh 
Thakoor, bore a Brahmanical surname. But whether 
on account of the degradation of that highly honorific 
title, or on account of their belonging to a royal 
fiunUy, his descendants at present use the Ksatriya 
surname of Sing. The transformation is exactly the 
opposite of what has taken place in many Ksatriya 
ftmiilies, though the ambition of a Rajput to be 
elevated from the rank of a Sing (lion) to that of 
Thakoor (god) is certainly more intelligible, than the 
desire on the part of any royal family to be degraded 
from the rank of a god to that of a lion. 

Besides the Maharaja of Darbhanga, there are many 
other families of big landholders among the Maithila 
Brahmans. One of the most conspicuous of these is 
the Raja of Bamdli, who is the owner of the extensive 
estate of Kharakpore in the district of Monghyr, but 
is about to be rumed by family quarrels, mismanage- 
ment and litigation, llie Pumea Zemindars of Sri- 
nagar, who are also big landholders, are a branch of the 
Banaili family. The Banaili family belong to that 
division which is called Jog. 

From very early times Mithila has been famous for 
the cultivation of Sanskrit. It has given birth to some 
of the greatest authorities in Hindu jurisprudence, 
and in the branch of Hindu philosophy called Nya. 
The great lawgiver Yajnavalkya is described in the 
opening lines of his work as a native of Mithila, and 
tradition still points to a place near the junction of the 
Ghogra with the Ganges, which is believed to have 
been the residence of the sage Grautama, the founder 
of the Nya philosophy. Of the mediaeval and modem 


Maiihila authors, the names of Gan^esha Up&dhja, 
Pakshadhar Misra, Udayanacharja, Cnandeshwar and 
Bachaspati Misra will continue to be honoured so long 
as Hindu law and philosophy remain in existence. 
Among the Maithila Sanskritists of recent times, the 
late Pandit Bapu Jan Jha attained great eminence, 
and his son, Chumba Jha, is fully sustaining the reputa- 
tion of the family. The other two great living Pandits 
of Mithila are H!alli Jha and Vishwa Nath Jha. 

The majority of the Maithila Brahmans are Sakti 
worshippers. They offer sacrifices before the deities 
they worship, and eat flesh and fish, but are not known 
to be in the habit of drinking spirituous liquors, as the 
extreme Saktas are required to do by their Shastras. 
The Maithila Brahmans do not smoke tobacco. 

§ 2. — Sakaldipi Brahmans of South Behar, 

There is a class of Brahmans in South Behar who 
call themselves Sakaldipis or Sakadipis. The majority 
of them live either by ministering to the other castes 
as priests, or by the practice of medicine. There are, 
however, a few Pandits and landholders among them. 
One peculiar custom in the communitv is that, like the 
Sarswat Brahmans of the Panjab, a Sakaldipi may marry 
within his Gotra, though such marriage is strictly 

£rohibited among the three superior castes by Hindu 
LW. The Sakaldipis are divided into a certain number 
of Purs or sections, and marriage is impossible only 
within the Pur. 


Thb most important classes of Brahmans in the North- 
Western Provinces and Ondh are the following :— 

1. Kanojia. 1 2. Sarujaparia. | 3. Sanadhya. 

Kanojia. — ^The Kanojias hold a very high position 
among the Brahmans of Northern India. They form 
one of the five divisions called Panch Ganr^ and the 
Brahmans of Bengal take a great pride in claiming 
to have been originally Kanojias. The name is derived 
from the ancient Hindu city of Kanoj, at the con- 
flnenoe of the Granges and the Kalinadi, in the district 
of Farrakkabad. The Kanojia Brahmans are to be 
found in almost every part of Northern India. Bnt 
their original home is the tract of country which, before 
the time of Wellesley, formed the western half of the 
kingdom of Oudh, including the modern districts of 
Philibit, Bareilly, Shajehanpore Farakkabad, Cawnpore, 
Fatehapur, Hamirpur, Banda and Allahabad. The 
usual surnames of the Kanojia Brahmans are the 
following : — 




Tewari or Trivedi. 




Ghaube or Chaturv^edL 








Dobey or Dwivedi. 



In each of these there are many sub-sections, having 
different positions for matrimonial purposes. 
B, HO 4 


The E^nojiaSy notwithstanding their high position 
from the point of view of caste, freely enlist in the 
army as sepoys, and do not consider it beneath their 
dignity to serve even as orderlies, peons and gate- 
keepers. The title Pande has a very bad odour with 
Englishmen since the Mutiny of 1857. But as a class 
the Kanojia Brahmans are very remarkable for their 
aristocratic demeanour and manners, and for their quiet 
and inoffensive nature. They seldom give way to bad 
temper, and the practice of any kind of cruelty seems 
to be quite inconsistent with their general character. 
They acted no doubt like fiends m some of the 
episodes of the sepoy revolt. But "the greased car- 
tridge" was a matter serious enough to lead any Hindn 
to tiie perpetration of things far worse. Would the 
British soldiers willingly obey their officers if ordered 
to bite the dead bodies of their enemies in a battle field ? 
And if they disobeyed the order, and in doing so subject- 
ed their officers to any kind of insult or ill-treatment, 
would any reasonable man find fault with them P The 
whole world would be horrified at any coercive measure 
for enforcing such a perverse order. The situation of the 
sepoys with respect to the " greased cartridge" was exact- 
ly ihe same, and vet it is thought that theyhave not suffi- 
ciently expiated by either being hanged in batches from 
the boughs of trees, or by being blown away from guns. 

There are learned Sanskritists as well as good Eng- 
lish scholars among the Kanojias. Many of them 
practise agriculture, and it is said some till the soil with 
their own hands. The majority of them are Sivites. 
There are among them a few Saktas and Srivaishnavas 
also. The Sivites and Srivaishnavas are strict vege- 
tarians. There are some ganja-smokers and bhang- 
eaters amon^ the Eanojias, but very few that would even 
touch any kind of spirituous liquor. 

The late Pandit Sheodin, who was prime minister of 
Jaipore for several years, was a Kanojia Brahman of 



Saruiuparia. — The Sarujuparias derive their name 
from me river Sarajn whico flows past the city of 
Ajodhya. They are most namerons in the vicinity of 
the river Ghogra. They are said to he a branch of the 
Kanojias. But whatever may have been their original 
connection there can be no marriage at present 
between the two classes, and they most be held to 
be independent castes. The usnal family names of 
the Samjeeans are the same as those of the Kanojians. 
There are good Sanskritists among the Sarorias. They 
never till the soil with their own hands. 

Sanadhya. — ^The Sanadhyas are also said to be a 
branch of the Kanojia tribe. They are very numerous 
in the central districts of the Doab, between Mathura to 
the south-west and Kanoj on the north-east. They live 
chiefly, as shopkeepers and pedlars. The number of 
^dncated men among them is very small. The following 
are their usual surnames : — 


Misr. • 








I>ul)e or Dwivedi. 


Ohoturdhuri or Ohowdry. 


T^fwari or Trivedi. 




Cboabe or 






[>r Ojha. 






























The late Guru of the Maharaja of Jaipore, who was 

believed to have, the power of working miracles, and 

who was venerated as a saint by most of the great 

Hindu potentates of Central India and Rajputana, 

was a Sanadhya. 


Gaur Brahmans. — ^The original home of the Gaur 
Brahmans is the Kurukshetra country. The Ganrs say 
that the other four main divisions of North Indian 
Brahmans were originally Gaurs, and have acquired their 
present designations of Sarswat, Kanya-kubja, Maithila 
and Utkal by immigrating to the provinces where they 
are now domiciled. The name Adi Gaur adopted by 
the Kurukshetra Brahmans is in consonance with this 
view. In Sir George Campbell's Ethnology oflndia^ it 
is suggested that the Gaurs may have derived their 
name from the river Ghagar, which^ in ancient times, 
was a tributary of the Sarswati, and which now dis- 
charges its water into the Sutlej near Ferozepore. Ac- 
cording to popular usage the word Gaur means a priest, 
and it is not impossible that the name of Gaur Brahmans 
was given to those who served as priests to the ancient 
kings of Kurukshetra. The Adi Graurs practise a^- 
culture and till the soil with their own hands* Sut 
there are many good Sanskritists* among them, and 
they are the only Brahmans whom the Agarwala 
Baniyas would employ as their priests. There is a 
class of Gaur Brahmans called the Taga Gaur. These 

* One of the greatest of these is Pandit Laksman Sastri, of Patiala, 
now residing in Calcutta, from whom I have derived the greater part 
of the information contained in this chapter. The late Pandit 
Gauraswami, who was the firat Pandit in his time in the holy city of 
Benares, was also a Gaur. 



are so designated because they have only the Brahman- 
ical Taga or sacred thread. They are all addicted to 
agricnltare, and are quite ignorant of the Brahmanical 

Srayers and religions rites. They neither stndy the 
hastras nor perform the work of a priest. The other 
castes do not make to them the kind of humble saluta- 
tion (pranam) due to Brahmans, but accost them as they 
-would a Rajput or Baniya by simply saying "iJawi 
/Zam." Some of the Adi Gaurs are now receiving 
fjn^lish education. The general surname of the Gaurs 
is Misra. Their special surnames are the following : — 

1. XHkshit. 

3. Obaube. 

4. N'imial. 
5u IS^Agwan. 
6u Oltahaowal. 
7. Hariiota. 


9. Mota. 

10. Indouria. 

11. Haiitwal. 

12. Bhanchaki. 

13. Mrichya. 

14. Ghagaun. 

15. Yidhata. 

16. Phoratwal. 

17. Gandharwal. 

18. Randyana. 

19. Pantjna. 

20. Jhand^a. 

21. Kanodiya. 

22. Gautama. 

23. Gurv^. 

21. Modhalwan. 

25. Kagarwal. 

26. Sathya. 

27. Vajare. 

28. Simananti 

29. Durgawal. 

30. Khernal. 

31. Surahya. 

The majority of the Gaurs are Sivites. Like the other 

high caste Brahmans of Northern India they worship 

also the Salagram ammonite as an emblem of Vishnu, 

and a triangular piece of Phallic stone representing the 

Devi or the consort of Siva. There are a few Ballabha- 

cbari ykishnavas among the Gaurs. The majority of 

the Gfanrs are strict abstainers from animal food and 

iDtoxicating drinks. Some of the Gaurs keep the 

sacred Ere, and occasionally celebrate some of the Vedic 



§ 1. — Bramlians of Kashmir. 

* Kashmiri Brahmans, — The usual surnames of the 
Kashmir Brahmans is Pandit. The foUowipg observa- 
tions in Sir George Campbell's Ethnology of India give 
an exact description of their ethnology and character : — 

The Kashmiri Brahmans are quite Hif:h Aryan in the tjrpe of 
their features, very fair and handsome, with high chiselled features, 
and no trace of intermixture of the hlood of any lower race • * • • 
The Kashmiri Pandits are known all over Korthem India as a 
very cloTer and energetic race of office-seekers. As a body they 
excel the same numMr of any other race with whom they come in 
contBJC^.-'Ethnology of India, pp. 57-50. 

The late Mr. Justice Sambhu Nath Pandit of the 
Bengal High Court was a member of this class. So 
was also the late Pandit Ayodhya Nath, who was one 
of the ablest advocates of the Allahabad High Court, 
and 'also one of the principal leaders of the Congress. 
Babu Gobind Prasad Pandit, who was one of the 
pioneers of the coal mining industry of Bengal, was 
also a Kashmiri. He amassed such wealth by the 
success of his enterprise, that he became known as one 
of the richest men in the country in his lifetime, and, 
after his death, his descendants obtained the title of 
Maharaja from the Government of India. 

Dogra Brahmans. — As there are Dogra Rajputs and 
Dogra Batiiyas, so there is a class of firahmans. called 


Dogra Brahmans. The name is said to be derived from 
that of a monntain or yalley in Kashmir. According to 
a Dogra stodent of Nja pailosophj at Nadija, whom I 
consulted, the name is derived from the Sanskrit com- 
pound Dwan Gartau, which means the " two valleys." 

§ 2. — The Brahmans of the Panjab, 

Sarsvoais. — ^The Brahmans of the Panjab are chiefly 
of this class. They derive their name from that of 
the sacred river Sarswati, which at a very remote 
period of antiquity was a noble river, and the course 
of which may still be traced from its source near 
the sanitarium of Simla to Thaneshur in the Kuruk- 
shetra. The Sarswats form one of the five primary 
classes of North Indian Brahmans, called Pancn Gaur. 
A great many of the Sarswats practise agriculture, 
and freely partake of the hospitality of the Baniyas and 
the Kshetns. There are, however, many among them 
who are very erudite Sanskritists* and who, in point 
of culture and Brahmanical purity, are not inferior 
to the Brahmans of any other class. The mMority 
of the Sarswats are Sakti worshippers, but very few of 
them eat flesh. They minister to the Kshetris of the 
Panjab as priests, and there is, in many respects, a close 
connection between the two castes. Until recently 
the Sarswats were divided into only two sub-castes, 
namely, the Banjais f and the Mohyals. The Banjais 

* One of the iifreatest of these is Pandit Sadanand Misra of Cal- 
cotta, from whom I Imve derived a considerable part of the informa- 
tion contained in this chapter. In respect of personal appearance, 
oblijdni? natnre, and refined manners, it is hard to find a superior 
specimen of humanity. 

\ The word Banjai seems to be a corrupted form of the Sanskrit 
compoond Baku Yaji^ which means a Brahman who ministers to 
many men. But the Sarswats say that their oommon name Banjai 
is a corrupted form of Bayatma Jayi, which means the fifty-two 
▼ietorioos dans, and to account for the origin of this name they add 
that tbey obtained this name by setting at defiance an order of an 
Bmperor of Delhi directing them to allow the re-marriage of a widow. 



minister to the Kshetris, but the Mohjals never serve 
as priests. There are many hypergamons groups among 
the Banjais, which are on the way towards becoming 
separate castes. So long as the lower of these classes 
gave their daughters in marriage to the higher, they 
conld not be regarded as independent castes. But, 
in very recent times, the lower classes have resolved 
not to give their daughters to the higher classes, un- 
less they choose to reciprocate the compliment. The 
result is that marriage alliances between the difiPerent 
classes are now extremely rare, and they are fast on the 
way towards becoming independent castes. The general 
surname of a Sarswat is Misr. But each clan has a 
special surname. The names of the several hypergamons 
groups among the Banjai Sarswats together with the 
special surnames of each class are given below : — 


Names of 

1. Panjajati f 1. Morlhe. 

A d r a i J 2. Tekha. 

Gharand) 3. Jhingan. 

C h a r I 4. Jeteli. 

Ghar .., [ 5. Kumoria. 


1. Kaliya. 

2. Inferior J ?• ^*"y*- 

Panjajati I ^XJSk. 

I 5. Bagge. 

Names of 

4. Barhi 


3. A s h t a 
Bans ... 







6. Shand. 

7. Kurla. 

8. Bharadwaj 


1. Kaliya. 

2. Prabhakar. 

3. Lakhan Pal. 

4. Airi. 

5. Nabh. 

6. Ghitrachot. 

7. Narad. 

8. Sarad. 

9. Jalpatra. 
10. Bhamvi 

, 11. Paranoty. 

(,12. Manar. 


not com- 
ing with- 
in the 














A Sarswat cannot marry within his clan. But a 
marriage may take place among them within the Gotra, 
though such matrimony is strictly prohibited by the 


The Mohyals are found chiefly in the western dis- 
tricts of the Panjab and in Kabul. Intermarriage 
between them and the other Sarswats is possible, bnt 
not very nsnal. 

§ 3. — The Brahmans of Sindk, 

The Brahmans of Sindh are mainly Sarswats. They 
are divided there into the following classes : — 

1. Srikara. 

2. Bari (Twelve ftunilies). 

3. Bavanjahi (Fifty-two families). 
i. Bhetapalas. 

5. Kavachandas. 

All these classes eat animal food, though some of them 
are Vaishnavas of the Vallabhachari sect. Like the 
Sarswats of the Panjab proper, those of Sindh also eat 
cooked food from the hands of Kshetris and Roda 
Baniyas. The Bavanaiahis are Sakti worshippers of 
the extreme class, and not only eat flesh but drink 
wine. Some of the Shetapalas are also Sakti worship- 
pers of the same type. 

In speaking of the several classes of Sindh Brah- 
mans Dr. Wilson says : — 

AU these clasacB of Sarswats are Sukla Tajur Vedis. In using 
animal food they abstain from that of the cow and tame fowls, but 
eat sheep, goats, deer, wild birds of most species, and fish killed for 
them by others They also eat onions and other vegetables forbid- 
den in Uie Snuritis. They are generally inattentive to sectarian marks. 
They dress like the Hindu merchants and Amins of Sindh, though 
using whito turbans. They shave the crown of their heads, but 
have two tafts of hair above their ears. They are the priests of the 
mercantile Lohanas or Lowanas. They have manv smaU pagodas 
dedicated to the worship of the ocean, or rather the river Indus. 
Tbeir fees are derived principally from their services at the mar- 
mges, births and deaths of their followers. They are partial to 

Elar astrology, as far as easy prognostication is concerned. 
pretend to Know where lost articles are to be found. Thej also 
ate land, and sometimes act as petty shopkeepers.— Wilson's 
MiMdu CasUSf Vol. II, pp. 137138. 


The majority of the Brahmans of Assam profess to 
be Yaidakas, though, in fact, they practise either the 
Tantric or the Vishnuvite cult. The inferior families 
among them appear to be of the Mongolian race^ while 
even among their most aristocratic classes there appears 
to have been a copious admixture of Mongolian with 
Aryan blood. In Upper Assam, including the districts 
of Sibsagar and Lakhimpur, which, before its annex- 
ation to British India, was for several centuries under 
the rule of the Ahang dynasty of Sibsagar, a great 
many of the Brahman families profess to be descend- 
ed from seven Kanojia priests imported into the 
country about the middle of the seventeenth century 
by the Ahang King Chutumala alias Jayadhwaja. 
The Aryan features of most of the members of these 
families, and the genealogies preserved by them, give 
very strong support to their claim ; but, at the same 
time, it is equally certain that there has been a large 
infusion of non-Aryan blood among them. The fact 
is conclusively proved by their ethnology, and also by 
their traditions and customs. They themselves entertain 
the suspicion that many of the families with whom they 
now intermarry were originally Sudras, and were made 
Brahmans only by the edicts of their former kings. 
That their suspicions are not groundless is proved 
almost conclusively by some of the curious customs 
which still prevail among them as to interdining. In 
other parts of the country, the most puritanic Brah- 


mans do not hesitate to partake of the hospitality of 
their fathers-in-law or maternal uncles. But among 
the aristocratic Brahmans of Upper Assam claiming to 
he descended from the Kanojian stock, no one will eat 
any kind of food in the house of either his father-in- 
law or his maternal uncle. It is said that even the 
daughter of a low class Brahman will not, after being 
married to a Kanojia of pure descent, eat in her 
father's house any ImcJu food though cooked by her 
own mother. The daughter's sons will eat in their 
maternal grandfather's bouse till their initiation with 
the sacred thread, hut not afterwards. It seems that 
in practice, the alleged custom, so far as the daughter 
and the daughter's sons are concerned, is more honoured 
in the breach than in the observance. But the very 
recognition of such rules, if only for theoretical pur- 
poses, and the existence of Mongolian and Aryan 
types in the same families, clearly establish that the 
higher Brahmans are of the Aryan stock, and that they 
intermarried with local Brahmans of the Mongolian 
race, though with a very considerable degree of 


Among the superior Brahmans of Orissa there are two 
main divisions Which rest on territorial bases, and which 
are as follows : — 

1. Dftkshinatya or Southern clan. 

2. Jajparia or Northern clan. 

There can be no intermarriage between these two 
divisions, and they have nothing in common between 
them except the status of being Brahmans. 

§ 1. — Tlie Ddkshinatya Brahmans of Cuttack and Puri. 
The Dakshinatya Brahmans of Southern Orissa are 
subdivided as follows : — 

(1, Knlinsor Vai-^j 


1. Vaidikas or 
Brahmans de- 
voted to eccle- 
siastical pur- 
suits which are - 
not held de* 
l^rading ac- 
cording to the 

dikas of the 
highest class, 
who are mostly 

1. Samanta. 

2. Misra. 

3. Nanda. 

residents of one y^' p |« 

5. Kar. 

7. Satapati. 

8. Bedi. 

9. Senapati. 

10. Pama^rrahi. 

11. Nishank. 

6. Acharya. 12. BainipatL 


2. Srotriyas 
or ordinary - 

of the sixteen 
Shasan or of 
the thirty-two 
Kotharvillafi^es. j 

1. Bhatta Misra. 6. Tewari. 

2. Upadhya. 7. Das. 
.3. Misra. 8. Pati. 
4. Kauth. 9. Satapasti. 

U. Ota. 

2. Pujaii, Adhikari or f Forming one caste, found in every part of 
Vaishnava Brahmans. I Orissa. Same titles as the above. 

3. Secular Brah-^ 

mans divided 

into two classes 

designated as 

follows : — 

1. Maha jan- 
panthi or 

2. Ma«than. j 

1. Mahapatra. 7. Pathi. 

2. Panda. 8. Panni. 

3. Shaubth. 

4. Senapati. 

5. Nekab. 

6. Mekab. 

1.3. Doytha. 
14. Poryari. 
9. Shathera. 15. Khuntea. 

10. Pashupaloke. 16. GoraBaru. 

11. Baru. 17. Nahaka. 

12. Mudhirath. 


The sub-classes that have the highest status among 
the Dakshinatya Brahmans of Orissa are the Kulins 
and Srotriyars of the sixteen Shashan and the thirty-two 
Kotbar villages. The Shashanis evidently derive their 
name from the fact of their obtaining, from some 
ancient Hinda king of the country, grants of land 
attested by Shashanas or royal firmans. The name 
Kotbar seems to be a corruption of Krobar and to be 
the proper designation of the suburban population of 
the Shasanas. The Shashan villages are inhabited only 
by the Kulin and Srotriya Brahmans of the ecclesiastic 
class. In the Kotbars there are other castes also. 

The Shashani Kulins have a higher status than all the 
other classes of Orissa Brahmanas. There are a few 
good Pandits among the Shashanis, and the majority of 
them acquire a sufficient knowledge of Sanskrit to be 
able to discharge the duties of a priest. The following 
observations are made with regard to the class in 
Hunter's Gazetteer of India : — 

They Uve on lands granted by former Rajas, or by teaching private 
students, or as spiritual guides, or more rarely as temple priests. 
They are few in number, for the most part m tolerable circum* 
stances, though often ]M>or, but held in such hi^h estimation that a 
Srotriya Brsuiman wiU give a large dower in order to get his 
daughter married to one of them. Sut the Kulin who thvta inter- 
marries with a Srotriya loses somewhat of his position among his 
own people. The pure Brahman rarely stoops below the Srotriya, 
the claas immediately next to him, for a wife. — The ImpsricU Oaz&t' 
UtT 0/ India, VoL X, p. 434. 

The majority of the Srotriyas earn their living in 
the very same manner as the Kulins. All the Yaidikas 
are very aristocratic according to Brahmanical ideas 
of respectability, and a Shashani Kulin or a Srotriya 
Brahman will rather live by begging than be engaged 
in any menial occupation. In fact, there are among 
ihem^ and especially among the landless Srotriyas, a 

Seat many who are regular beggars. But it would 
hard to find any one of them tilling the soil, or 
employed as a domestic servant. 


The Adhikari Brahmans are mainly followers of 
OhaitaDja, and have the same position in Orissa that the 
Gossami and the Adhikari Brahmans have in Bengal. 
It is said that many of the Oriya Pujaris were originally 
men of low castes. They have generally many low 
caste disciples, and are employed as priests in the 
temples. The Adhikari Brahmans are known by the 
necklace of basil beads which they wear in addition 
to their sacred thread. They are not all the followers 
of one teacher, and the disciples of each individual 
Guru form a distinct subdivision. 

Of the several classes of secular Brahmans the Maha- 
jan Panthis or Panigiris have a high position ; but the 
Masthans are regarded as a low class, and their very 
touch is regarded by some as contaminating. 

With regard to the Masthan Brahmans, Mr. Stirling 
in his Description of Orissa Proper says : — 

There is another class known commonly in Orissa by the name of 
Mahasthan or Masthan Brahmans, who form a very considerable 
-and important class of the rural population. Besiaes cultivating 
with their own hands eardens of the Kachn {Arum Indicum) cocoa- 
nut and areca, and tne piper betel or pan, they very frequently 
follow the plough, from which circumstance they are callea Halia 
Brahmans, and they are found everywhere in ^reat numbers in the 
-situation of Mukadams and Sarbarakars, or nereditary renters of 
villages. Those who handle the plough glory in their occupation, 
and affect to despise the Bed or Veda Brahmans who live upon alms. 
Though held in no estimation whatever by^ the pious Hindu, they 
are unquestionably the most enterprising, intelligent, and industri- 
ous of ail the Company's ryots or renters of malguzari land in Orissa. 
Asiatia Bssearchss, Vol. XV., p. 199. 

The Pandas who serve as priests and cooks in the 

Eublic temples receive in their official capacity some 
omage from other people. But irrespective of their 
connection with the holy shrines, they are regarded as a 
very low class everywhere ; and throughout the greater 
part of India they form separate castes with a very 
inferior status. In Calcutta there are many Panda 


Brahmans of Orissa who serve as cooks in the hoases 
of the rich Sndras. The Pandas who tout* for pilgrims 
are not all of the Panda caste. 

§ 2, — Jajpuria Brahmans. 

Jajpur is one of the sixteen Shasana towns of Orissa, 
bat, as intermarriage cannot take place between the 
Jajpuria Shasanis, and the Brahmans of the Shashans 
in Southern Orissa, the Jajpurias form a distinct class, 
They are said to be divided into thirteen Houses with 
the following six Gotras : — 

1. Kaphabu 

2. Kumara. 

3. Kaiuika. 

4. Krishnatriya. 

5. Kamakayan. 

6. Katyaana. 

Their nsual surnames are Pati, Panda^ Das, Misra, 
Nondkar, Satapati, &c. There are Adhikari and Maha- 
janpantihi Branmans in the northern parts of Orissa 
as in its southern parts. These do not form separate 
castes, but intermarriage can take place between them, 
and the corresponding sections of the Brahmanical 
caste of southern Orissa. The Jajpuria Adhikari are to 
be found in large numbers in Calcutta, a great many 
of them being keepers of stalls on the banks of the 

*Xhe toon of these Oriya touts are so organised that during 
their campaigning seaaon, which commences in November and is 
finisbed by the approach of the car festival at the beginning of the 
rainy season, very few villajges in any of the adjoining provinces of 
Ind^ can escape their visit and taxation. The very appearance of 
one of them causes a serious disturbance in the even tenor of every 
Hindu household in the neighbourhood. Those who have already 
visted the ** Lord of the World " at Puri are caUed upon to pay an 
instalment towards the debt contracted by them while at the sacred 
shrine, and which debt, though paid manv times over, is never com- 
pletely satisfied. That is, however, a small matter compared with the 
misery and distraction caused by the *' Jagannath mania," which is 
excited by the Pandas' preachings and pictures. A fresh batch of old 
ladies become determined to visit the shrine, and neither the wailings 
and protestations of the children, nor the prospect of a long and 
toilsome ionmey can dissuade them. The arrangements of the mmily 
ai«, for the time being, upset altogether, and the grief of those left 
beUnd is heightened by the fiust that thoT look upon the pilgrims as 
persons goiiur to meet almost certain death. The railway about to be 
constmeted betireen Calcutta and Puri may make a visit to Jaggan- 
oath a lev serious aflair. 


holy Bhagirathi, supplying the bailiers wiih oil for 
anointing their persons before ablution, and materials for 
painting their foreheads with holy figures and names 
after bathing. In the town of Jajpur there are some 
families who have been keeping die sacred fire from 
generation to generation. 

Besides the good Srotriyas and Mahajanpanthis 
there are in Orissa, as in every other part of the 
country, some classes of inferior Brahmans who are 
regarded as more or less degraded. One of these 
classes is called Atharva Vedi.* There may be inter- 
marriage between the followers of Rik, Sham and 
Yajus, but not between these and the Atharva Vedis. 
The other classes of degraded Brahmans will be noticed 
in their proper place. 

* Some say that the Atharva Vedis are the sante as the Masthanis. 
But the result of my enquiries tends to establish that there are 
other Atharva Vedis besides the Masthanis. 



To make the description of the Brahmans of Baj- 
patana intelligible, it is necessary to say something 
aboat the geography of the province. Broadly speaking, 
it is that portion of India which lies between the river 
Chambal on the east, and the valley of the Indus on the 
west The greater part of this vast tract of country is 
ruled still by semi-independent Rajput chiefs, and hence 
it is called Rajasthan, Raithana or Rajputana. The 
number of chiefs whose territories collectively go by these 
names is not less than twenty, and the only British pos- 
session within the circuit is the district of Ajmere-ffler- 
wara, which lies in the centre of the province. The 
country of the '* Kings' children " is, however, not en- 
dowed with much of nature's gifts. It is divided into two 
parts by the Aravali hills, wnich extend from Abu on 
the south to the historic ridge in the suburbs of Delhi. 
The western half of Rajputana comprising the terri- 
tories of Marwar, Jesalmere and Bikanir, consists mainly 
of sandy deserts utterly unfit for growing any kind of 
food-grains. Of the eastern half which is more fertile, 
the southern portion is included within the dominion of 
Udeypur ; the central portion is ruled by the chiefs of 
Kota, Boondi and Jaipore ; while the northern portion 
is taken up by Dholepore, Bhurtpore and Alwar. 

Though, according to its very name, Rajputana is the 
country of tiie Rajputs, and though the military Ksa- 
triyas are the ruling caste ahnbst throughotit its length 

B, HC ( 65 ) 5 


and breadth, yet its Brahmanical population is twice as 
large as that of the fighting clans, and the influence of 
the sacerdotal caste in the province is exactly as it is in 
other parts of India. There are in Bajputana large 
colonies of Sarswat, 6anr, Sanadhya and Kanojia 
Brahmans whose connection with the members of their 
respective races in their original homes, has not yet been 
completely severed. Of the several classes of Brahmans 
whose proper home is Rajpntana, the following are the 
most important : — r 

1. Srimali ... A namerous clan found in every part 

of Rajpatana as well as in Gujarat* 

2. Mewad ... Found chiefly in Mewad. 

3. P&ilivala ... Most numerous in Western and Northern 

Raipntana. Found also in Bombay 
and Gujarat. 

4. Pokarana .. Most numerous in the Northern and 

Western parts of Bajputana. Found 
in considerable numbers also in Sindh 
and Gujarat. 

5. Sanchora ... Orii^nal home Sanchora in Sirohi. 

6. Bahima ... Found chiefly in Marwar and Bundi. 

7. Divas ... Found chiefly in Bikanir, Marwar and 


8. Parik ... Found chiefly in Marwar and Bundi. 

9. Khandelwal Found chiefly in Marwar and Jaipore. 

10. Nandwani Found chiefly in Marwar and Kesouli. 


11. Sikhawal ... Found in Jaipore. 

12. Asopa ... Found in Marwar. 

13. Bajgor ... Found in every part of Bajputana. 

14. Gujar Gor ... In everv part of Bajputana. 

15. Bhojaks ... Low class Brahmans who minister to 

the Jains. 

The Bhats and the Gharanas, who are the hereditary 
hards and genealogists of Hajpntana, claim to have the 
rank of Brahmans, hut as they are not regarded as such 
by Hindu society, I shall speak of them in the part of 
this work which is devoted to the semi-Brahmanical 
castes. I conclude this chapter with a few details of the 
more important sections of the Bajputana Brahmans, 
collected chiefly from English authorities. 

§ 1. — The Srimalis. 
The Srimalis have a very high position whether re- 
garded from a religious or secular point of view. 


Tbey minister as priests not only to the Srimali Banyas, 
bnt to all the higher castes including the Brahmans of 
the other classes. They hold also very high offices in 
the service of the local chiefs. 

The following account of the Srimalis is taken from 
Wilson's Indian Castes : — 

The Srimalis derive their desifpiatioii from the town of Srimal, 
BOW called Bhinmal, lying to the north-west of Aba and intermediate 
between that mountain and the river Loni« Their first representa- 
tives are said to have been collected by a local prince from no fewer 
tbui forty- five of the most sacred places of tne north, west, south 
and east of India ; bat to the traditions to this effect Uttle importance 
is to be ascribed. The Aryan physiognomy is perhaps more distinctly 
marked in them'than in any other class of Brahmans in India. In fact, 
they do not appear to differ much from the tvpe of some of the Buro- 
peaa nations, especially of those who have claims to Roman descent. 
Their costume is generally of a simple but not unbecoming character. 
Their tarbans are on the whole of a graceful form, though not so 
large as those of many of the other natives of India. On their brows 
they wear the sectarial marks of the Yaishnavas, Vishnu being their 
fitvoarite deity. The Srimalis are now scattered not only through 
several of the provinces of Rajputana, but through Gujarat and 
Kacha, Central India, the countries borderinfi^ on the Indus, and 
the island of Bombay. In consequence of this dispersion of their 
body, they have been broken into several distinct castes, most of 
which now neither eat nor intermarry with one another. They are 
also divided into two castes, founded on the Yedas which they pro- 
fess : the Yajur Vedi (White and Black), and the Sama Vedi of the 
Kaathumi Sakha. In the former there are seven gotras or lines of 
family lineage : the Gautama, Sandilya, the Ghandras, Laudravon, 
Maaaralas, Kapinjalas. In the latter there are hIso seven gotras, 
the Shaunakas, Bharadvai, Paraaara, Kausika, Vatsa, Aapamanya, 
and Kash^pa. Most of all their classes are either mendicants or offi- 
ciating priests, though secular service appears to be on the increase 
among them. They act as gums and ceremonial Brahmans to the 
Sriratdi, Poraval, and Patolya and Urvala Vanyas (merchants) and 
Sonis or goldsmiths ; and about 5,000 of them, now apart from their 
brethren, act as gurus to the Oswalas, a class of mercantile Jainas, 
and are called Oswala Brahmans. A favourite Kuladevi or family 
goddess among them is that of Mahalaksmi, the spouse of Vishnu, 
» celebrated image of whom was transferred from Bhimmal to Auhil- 
par, or Pattan in the times of the Gujarat kings. The celebrated 
{Sanskrit poet Magh, who is said to have lived in the time of Bhoja 
Raja, belonged to their fraternity. Their greatest living orna- 
ment is Dalpatram Daya, the Kaviraj, or Poet Laureate of Gujarat, 
who is also distinguiBhed for his historical research, and sincere 
aims at social reform. This stirring author and singer supposes that 
there are 500 Srimali houses in Kacha and Kattiwar; 5,000 in 
Oafarat; and 35,000 in Marwad and Mewad, exclusive of 50 of 
impore birth called Doikori near Ahmedabad, 1,500 of them being in 
Joabvar (the capital of Marwad) alone.— Wilson's Indian CoHsSy 
VoL Ul pp. 109-111. 


§ 2. — Pallivals, 

The PalUvals are numerous in Jesalmere, Bikanir, 
Marwad, Jaipur and Kishangarh. Very few of the 
clan are to be found in Ajmere. The following account 
of the Pallival Brahmans of Bajputana is also taken 
from Dr. Wilson's Indian Castes : — 

.The Pallival Brahmans reoeive their name from the town of *PaiIi, 
tiie commercial capital of Marwad in Bajputana. They have 
twelve TOtras. They are shrafs, merchants, and cultivators, bat 
serve only in their own caste. They don't eat or intermarry with 
other Brahmans. They are found in Jodhpur, Bikanir and Jesal- 
mere, and some others of the Bajput States. A few of them are at 
Delhi, Agt2k, and in the Panjab, Gujarat and Mewad. Only one 
or two of them are in BomDay-. They are Smartas and do not nso 
animal food. They do not drink the water of the houses of their 
own daughters t or any persons not belonging to their own castes. 
They don't eat with those of their own caste, who have got isolated 
from them as with the Gurjas and Mewad Pallivalas. They be- 
long to the Kan^ Kubja division of the Brahmans. *' The Nan- 
d&vana and P&Uivala Brahmans are traders ; were formerly located 
at Nandavana and Palli, and were there chidOly robbers, conducting 
their excursions on horseback. They subsequently became traders. 
They are said still to worship a bridle on the Dasara in memory of 
their former state."j: They are scattered throughout the north of 
India, as Bohras or middlemen between the cultivators and Govern- 
ment.— Wilson's Indian Caster, Vol. II, p. 119. 

The following ciccount of the Pallivals of Jesalmere 
is from Tod's Annals of Rajasthan : — 

Next to the lordly Baiputs, equalling them in numbers and ta,T 
surpassing them in wealtn, are the Pallivals. They are Brahmans, 
and denominated Pallivals from having been temporal proprietors 
of Palli and all its lands, long before the Bathores colonized 
Marwar. Tradition is silent as to the manner in which they^ became 
possessed of this domain ; but it ia connected with, the history of 
the Palli, or pastoral tribes, who from the town of Palli to Pallitana, 
in Saurashtra, have left traces of their existence ; and I am much 
mistaken if it will not one day be demonstrated that all the rami- 
fications of the races figuratively denominated Agnieula were Palli 

* "Falli."— Town in Jodhpar State, Bajputana situated on the route from 
Nasirabad to Diaa, 108 miles to the south-west of the former cantonment. An 
ancient ^^aee acquired by the Rahtors of Kanoi in 1156 A.D. It is the chief 
miot of western Rajputana, being placed at XhQ mtersection of the great com- 
mercial rood from Handavi in Culch to the Northern States, and from Malwa 
to Bahalpur and Siod. — Hunter's Imperial Ocuetteer, Vol. XI, P. 1. 

t Here Dr. Wilson has evidently misunderstood the information given to. 
him. The custom spoken of here is not the speciality of the FaUivals, out is a 
common one to all the orthodox Hindus throughout India. It is based not on 
any aristocratic feeling on the jjart of the fother, but to too much obedience to 
the injimctlon of the Shastros forbidding ^e acceptance of any kind of gift 
from a son-in-law. 

t Irring's To/fOffraphy qf Ajmere. 


in origin : more especially the Chohans, whose princes and chiefs for 
ages retained the distinctiye affix of Pal, 

These Brahmans, the Pallivals, as appears hy the Annals of 
Marwar, held the domain of Palli when Seoji, at the end of the 
twelfth centmry inyaded that land from Kanoj, and by an act 
of treachery first established his i>ower. It is evident, however, 
that he did not extirpate them, for the cause of their migration to 
the desert of Jesalmere is attributed to a period of a Mahomedan 
invasion of Marwar, when a general war contribution {dind) beinff 
imposed on the inhabitants, the Pallivals pleaded caste and refused. 
This exasperated the Raja, for as their habits were almost exclu- 
siYely mercantile, their stake was greater than that of the rest of the 
community, and he threw their principal men into prison. In 
order to aven^ie this they had recourse to a grand chandi or act of 
saidde ; but instead of gaining their object, he issued a manifesto 
of banishment to every PaUival in his dominions. The greater 
port took refuge in Jesalmere, though many settled in Bikanir, 
Dhat and the valley of Sind. At one time, their number in 
Jeaalmere was calculated to equal that of the Bajputs. Almost all 
the internal trade of the country passes through their hands, and 
it is chiefly with their capital that its merchants trade in foreign 
parts. They are the Metayers of the desert, advancing money to 
the cultivators, taking the security of the crop ; and they buy up all 
the wool and ghi (clarified butter) which they transport to foreign 
parts. They also rear and keep flocks. The Pallivals never marry 
oat of their own tribe ; and directly contrary to the laws of Manu 
the bridegroom gives a sum of money to the father of the bride. It 
will be deemed a curious incident in the history of superstition, that 
a tribe. Brahman by name, at least, should worship the bridle of a 
bone. When to this is added the fact that the most ancient coins 
discovered in these regions bear the Palli character and the effigy 
of the horse, it aids to prove the Scythic character of the early 
colonists of these regions, who, although nomadic, were equestrian. 
There is little doubt that the Pallival Brahmans are the remains of 
the priests of the Palli race, who, in their pastoral and commercial 
p<u-soits, have lost their spiritual power.— Tod's Rqjaithan, Vol. II, 
pp. 319-920. 

§ 3. — The Poharanas, 
The Fokaranas are very numerous not only in every 
part of Rajputana, but in Gujarat and Sind also. They 
derive their designation from the town of Pokarana, 
which lies midway between Jodhpore and Jesalmere. 
The priests at Pushkar are called Pushkar Sevakas or the 
" worsliippers of the lake." The Pokarana Brahmans 
have no connection whatever with the holy lake called 
Pnshkara near Ajmere. They are devoted chiefly to 
secular pursuits. They are also the priests of the 
Bhairas, and there are a few among them who are good 
Sanssritists and astrologers. They ao not eat any kind of 
animal food. Their physiognomy is distinctively Aryan. 



Bt Central India is meant the part of Northern India 
enclosed by the river Chambal on the west, the river 
Narmada on the south, the upper half of the Sone on 
the east, and the valley of tne Jumna on the north. 
The majority of the Brahmans settled in this tract are 
foreign immigrants belonging chiefly to the Maharash- 
trya, Gujrati and Kanojia stocks. The only classes of 
Brahmans whose original home can be said to be 
Central India are the following : — 

1« Malavis ... Found chiefly in Malwa. 

2. Narmadis ... Found chiefly on the banks of the Nar- 


3. Jijhotia ... Found chiefly in and near BundeUdiand. 

The Jijhotias derive their designation from the old 
name* of Bundelkhand. As there are Jijhotia Brahmans 
so there are Jijhotia Banyas and Rajputs also. The 
usual surnames of the Jijhotia Brahmans are the same 
as those of the Kanojias. It deserves to be noted here 
that among the Jijhotia Brahmans there is a Mauna 
Gotra apparently (derived from the name of the great 
Hindu legislator. 

* The name of Jijhota ia mentioned in Hnen Tsiang's Travels, 

( 70 ) 



It has been already observed that both according to 
the Shastras and the popular belief of the people of 
this conntry . the Brahmans of India are divided into ten 
classes, of which five are natives of Northern India, and 
the remaining five have their habitat in the Deccan. The 
majority of the Deccani or Panch Dravira Brahmans 
are Sivites. The number of Yishnnvites among them 
is also very considerable. But there are very few Sakti 
worshippers among them, and they are strict abstain- 
ers from every kind of animal food and intoxicating drink. 
The Sivites paint three horizontal lines of white colour 
on their forehead. The Yishnnvites have perpendicu- 
lar lines of red, black or yellow colour painted on their 
foreheads between the upper part of the nose and the 
scalp. The colour and the form of the lines differ in 
the different sects, of which a full description is given in 
a subsequent part of this work. Some of the Yishnnvites 
of the Deccan are regularly branded like cattle, either 
only once when they are first initiated in the privilege 
of the mantra, or from time to time whenever they are 
visited by their spiritual preceptors. Among the South 
Indian JSrahmans the line of demarcation between the 
ecclesiastics and the laity is maintained with much 

( 71 ) 


greater strictness than in Northern India. In Bengal 
and Hindustan proper, a Brahman devoted to secnmr 
pursuits is not deemed to be altogether incapable of 
performing the functions of a Guru or priest, or of 
receiving religious gifts. For the discharge of clerical 
functions, those who do not stoop to any kind of secular 
employment are generally deemed to be best qualified. 
But in the North religious donations are very often given 
to, and received by, the secular Brahmans, and cases are 
known in Bengal in which the privilege of even ad- 
ministering the mantra has been allowed to be exercised 
by graduates of the Calcutta University, and by persons 
in the service of Government. The case, however, in 
Southern India is different. There the laity cannot accept 
religious gifts, and are debarred altogether from tne 
performance of clerical work. Througnout the greater 
part of the Deccan, a Bhikshu may at an^ time become 
a member of the secular order, and intermarriages 
take place usually between the ecclesiastics and tne 
laity. But in the Andhra country the distinction is 
carried to a far greater extent than anywhere else. 
There the laity form a different caste called Niyogis^ and 
there cannot possibly be any intermarriage between 
them and tiie Vaidikas. Throughout the Deccan the 
laity are called Lauldka Brahmans ; and the ecclesiastics 
have the designation of Bliikshus. Another peculiar 
feature, common to the several classes of South Indian 
Brahmans, is the fact of their being all subject to the 
spiritual authority of the Sankarite monasteries. This 
fact has been noticed already. See p. 16, ante. 



Though Gujarat is situated to the north of the river 
Xannada, yet, according to Shastric texts, the Gujarat 
Brahmans form one of the main divisions of the Fanch 
Dravira or the sacerdotal class of Southern India. The 
majority of them are either Sivites or Vishnuites. 
But it is said that there are a few Saktas among them 
of an extreme type not to be found in Bengal. The 
profession of the Guru is said to be unknown among 
them. It may be so among the followers of the ancient 
Sivite cult, the actual nature of which is by very few 
clearly understood or thought of. But, considering the 
character of the rites said to be practised by the 
Gojarati Saktas and Yaishnavas, it does not seem likely 
that the Guru is less active among them than in o.ther 
parts of the country. 

Every Gujarati's name consists of two parts : the first 
part being his own name, and the second that of his 
father. The usual surnames of the Gujarati Brahmans 
are Bhatta, Yani, Sukkul, Upadhya and Vyas. 

The number of separate clans among the Gujarati 
Brahmans is very large. They generally say that there 
are not less than 84 different sections among them« 
The list given in Wilson's Hindu Castes includes X60 
independent clans among them. However that may be, 
the following are the most important : — 

1. Aadichya 

2. K&itar 

3. Balkwar. 

4. Bhargava. 

5. Srimalis. 

6. Girnar. 

( 73 ) 


ThesQ are the most aristocratic clans among the 
Gnjarati Brahmans. There are very few among them 
who live by begging or manual work. Bat a great 
many of them have a high secular position, and the 
majority of them are in well-to-do circumstances. Of 
the other clans, the Sanchoras usually serve as cooks. 
The Valodras are, generally speaking, very well-to-do 
people, a great many of them being money-lenders 
on a large scale. But they all go about the country 
begging for alms. They usually perform their tours 
on norseback. 

§ 1. — Audichyas, 

The Audichyas, as their name indicates, profess to 
have come from the north. According to their traditions 
and the Audichya PrakaSj a reputed section of the 
Skanda Purana, their origin is stated to be as fol- 
lows ; — 

Mulral, King of Anhilwara P&.ttaDa, the Hindu capital of Gojarat, 
collected the following numbers of Brahmans from the different 
sacred places mentioned : — From the junction of the Ganga and 
Tamuna 105 ; from the Chyavanasrama 100 ; Samavedis, from the 
country of Kanya Kubja 200 ; from Kashi 100 ; from Knru Kshetra 
272 ; from Gangsulvara 100 ; from Kalmisha forest and from Kuru 
Kshetra, an additional supply of 132, making a total of 1,10^9. He 
conferred upon them as a Knshnarpan, the town of Sihor, with IGO 
adjoining Tillages, and the town oi Sidhapura, with 100 adjoining 
villages. Bv this liberality he did what satisfied those Brahmans 
denominated the Sahasra (thousand) Audichyas. But other intelli* 
gent Audichyas did not accept his dana (largesses) but forming a 
Mi of their own, became the Talakva Audichva, who acquired for 
themselves Khambhat (Cambay) ana twelve other villages ; while of 
the others 500 were of Siddhapara and 500 of Sihor.— Wilson's 
Indian Catte*, Vol. II, p. 94. 

According to the above account, the Audichyas 
ought to be divided into the following three classes 
only : — 

1. Tolakya Audichyas. 
2i Siddhapuria Audichyas. 
3, Sihor Audichyas. 

According to the Audichya Brahmans of Gujarat 
whom I have been able to consult, there are many 


independent sections among them, of which the follow- 
ing are the most important : — 

1. Tolakya/ 

2. Siddhaparia. 

3. Sihoria. 

C 1. Jhalwari. 

4. Sahasra ,;<2, Kharviri. 

5. Kherwar. 

6. Unawar. 

7. Ghana. 



There can be no intermarriage between these sections, 
and, for all practical purposes^ they are separate castes 
thoagh they may eat together without violating any 
mle of caste. 

Siddhapnr is an ancient town and a place of pil^im- 
age widiin the territories of the Baroda Raj. Sihor is 
within the Bhannagar Stated Kathiwar, aboat 13 miles 
west of the Bhaunagar town. Its ancient names were 
Sinhapar and Sarswatpnr. It formed the capital of 
the Gohel Kajpnts until Bhannagar town was founded. 

The Jhallwaris take their name from the district of 
Jhallwar in Kathiwar. Kherali is a petty State in the 
Jballwar division of Kathiwar. Gohelwar is a tract of 
oonntry to the south-east of Kathiwar, and forms one of 
its four main divisions. Kheralis a petty State in Mahi 
Kantha, a province of Gujarat. Una was an ancient 
town in Junagarh State, ruled at one time by the Unawar 
Brahmans. Its modem name is Dalawar. Garh is 
the name of a petty State in Rewah Kanth, Gujarat. 

The majority of the Audichyas are devoted to secular 
pursuits. But there are many among them who are 
regular beggars. There are a few Vemc Pandits in the 
class. But the number of these is not very consider- 
able. Wilson says that some of the Audichyas act as 
domestic servante in the capacity of water carriers. 
Considering how proud the Brahmans usually are, that 
may seem as quite impossible. But the existence of 
the practice among the Gujrati Brahmans is borne out 
by the result of my own enquiries. The Siddhapurias 


1. Vadnaganu 

2. Vishalnagora. 

3. Sathodra. 


like, many other classes of Brahmans, may be found to 
be engaged as cooks ; and the Siddhaparia cooks are said 
to be very expert in their lin^ 

§ 2. — Nagar Brahmans of Gujarat. 
The Nagar Brahmans are the priest of the Nagar 
Banyas. There are very few Sanskrit scholars among 
them. But they count among their numbers many who 
hold and have held high secular positions. The main 
divisions among them are the following :t- 

~ ' 4. Prasnora. 

5. Kishnonu 

6. Ghitroda. 

The information which I have been able to collect 
regarding these several classes of the Nagara Brahmans 
coincides in all material points with what is given 
about them in Wilson's book. 1 therefore cite from it 
in extenso the following account of them : — 

The Vadnagora Brdhmam recoive their designation from the city 
of Vadnagora lyinst to the east of Annhilavada Pattana. Thev are 
mostly found in the Peninsula of Gujarat, formerly Saurasntrat 
now Kathiwar, where the business of the native estates is principally 
in their hands ; but individuals of them are scattered over nearly 
the whole of the province of Gujarat, being found at Nadijrad, 
Ahmedabad, Baroaa, Surat, &c. Most of them are Rig-Yedis, fol- 
lowing the Sankhyana Sutras ; but some of them profess the' other 
three vedas, particularly the White Tajur Veda. The nmiority of 
them are Smartas; but an inconsiderable number of them are 
Vaishnavas of the sects of Swami Karain and Vallabhacharya. 
None of them are practical cultivators, but a few of them act as 
Desais. The mendicants among them are few in number. They do 
not eat even with the Nagars of other denomination's. 

The Vishalnagora Branmans receive their name from the town of 
Vishal. founded bv Yishal, the first king of the Vaghela dynasljy 
of Gujarat, sometimes called Visaldeva (said by Colonel Tod to have 
been installed in Sumvat ltM9, A.D. 1192) and which lies a little to 
the south-west of Vadanagora. They are principally Rig-Vedis, 
and are either Smartas or Vaishnavas of the sect of Swami l^arain. 
They are mainly either public servants or agriculturists. 

The Sathodra Brahmans get their name from the town of .Sathqd 
on the Narmada. There are some Rig-Vedis amons them ; but they 
are principally of the Madhyandina Sftkha of the white Yajur Veda. 
They are found at Anand, Kadiyad, Ahmedabad. Dabboi and other 
plaoes. Some of them are in public service, or engaged in buying 
and Belling ; but a good many of them are still Bmkshns, or act as 
Gurut, Tney are principally if not wholly Smartas. 

The Prasnoras are said to belong to Prasnora. Thc^ are Rig- 
Vedis, and of the Vallabhacharya sect, their diief residence beiiSjg 
inKathiwar. They are principally mendicants. 


Hm KrishnonM of Krishnapura are of the Rig, Sama, and Tajur 
Vedas. Most of them are Bhikshukas of a " kind respectable for 

The Chitrodaa are of the town of Chitrod. They are found at 
Bhaonagar and Baroda. They say that they have among thiem- 
■elTes professors of each of the Vedas. They are not a numerous 

The present Dewan of Baroda, Mr. Mnni Bhai, is a 
Vadnagora Brahman. So was also Mr. Gouri Shankar, 
Udaja Shankar, C.8.I., formerly Dewan of Bhannagar, 
whose portrait is given in Sir Monier Williams's recent 
work on Srahmanism and Hinduism, 

§ 3. — The Raikwar Brahmans of Gujarat. 

The Haikwars are to be found chiefly in Kach and in 
the district of Kheda in Gujarat. There are many Sans- 
kritists and English scholars among them. The spiritual 
guide of the Rao of Kach is a Raikwar ; so is the 
eminent Pandit Badri Nath Trimbak Nath. Mr. Bhai 
Sankar, who is one of the leading attorneys of the 
Bombay High Court, is also a Raikwar. 

§ 4. — The Bhargava Brahmans. 

The chief habitat of the Bhargavas is the district of 
Broach at the mouth of the Narmada. The name of 
the tract inhabited by them is evidently a corrupted 
form of the Sanskrit Bhrigu Kshettra, the territory of 
Bhrign. The Bhargavas were formerly one of the 
poorest and most ignorant of all the classes of Gujarati 
brahmans. In nilson's book it is stated that, under 
the British Government, they were certainly rising. 
The correctness of his forecast is demonstrated by the 
fact that there are now many learned men and high 
officials among them. 

§ 5.^^2^he Srimalis. 

The Srimalis are, properly speaking, Brahmans of 
Rajpntana, and an account of them has been given in- 
the chapter on Rajpntana Brahmans in Part IH, . 
Chapter VIII, p. 66, ante. * -.; 


Mr. Dalpatram Daya, clb., the celebrated poet of 
Gujarat, and the author of the work on caste entitled 
^* Gnati Nibandha," is a 8rimali of Ahmedabad. The 
great Sanskrit poet Magha, is also said to have been a 

The Srimali Brahmans of Gujarat have the following 
sub-divisions among them : — 

1. Kachi Srimali. 

2. Kathiwadi Srimali. 

3. Gajarathi Srimali. 

4. Ahmedabadi Srimali. 

5. Snrati Srimali. 

6. Khambhati Srimali. 

§ 6.—Gtmars. 

Wilson gives the following account of the Gimar 
Brahmans : — 

The Gimars derive their name from the ancient mountain city of 
Oirinagar, now represented by Junagadh, the old fort at the root 
of the celebrated Gimara mountain. In this locality they are prin- 
cipally to be found. They are also met with in other towns of the 
Seninsula of Gujarat. A few of them are in Bombay. They are 
ivided into the foUowinfr castes. 

(1) The Junagadhya Oimaras. 

(2) The Chorvada Oirnars of the town of Chorvad on the coast 
of the peninsula of Gujarat between Pattana Somnath and Mangrol. 

(3) The Ajakyas, so called from the village of Ajak, 

These tiiree castes readily eat together, but do not intermarry. 
They now rank low in the Brahmanhood, from their acting as Outhm 
to Kolis, and having a variety of occupations as those of adminis- 
trators to native chiefs, clerks, astrologers, cultivators and mendi- 
cants. They are of various sects as suits them for the time being. 
They are said to professall the Vedas but| the Sama, but are prin- 
cipailyjof the White Yajur Veda. They must be a very ancient con- 
federation of Brahmans.— Wilson, Vol. II, p. 101. 

§ 7. — 771^ other Classes of Gujarati Brahmans, 

The other classes of Gujarati Brahmans are men- 
tioned in the following list with brief descriptive 
notices :— 

1. Anavalas or Bhatelas.^^Founi, chiefly in the 
tract of country between Broach and Daman. The 
Bhatelas are secular Brahmans, the majority of them 
being devoted to agriculture and trade. Some of them 
are employed as Government servants and mercantile 


2. The BoroBidhas. — These derive their name from 
the town of Borsad in the Kaira district, Bombay Pre- 

3. The Chovtshas. — ^This tribe has representatives at 
Baroda^ and at Sinor and Janor near the Narmada. 

4. The Dadhichis. — Numerically a small body. 
Foond chiefly on the Mahi. There are beggars, cul- 
tivators and ecclesiastics among them. 

5. Ttie Dashaharas, — Said to be found near Aunil- 
wara Pattan. They are Sakti worshippers. 

6. The Deswali. — Literally, the people of the country. 
They are found chiefly in the district of Kheda. 

7. The Jambus, — The Jambus are the Brahmans 
of the town of Jambusara in the district of Broach. 
There are cultivators as well as mendicants and astrolo- 
gers among them. 

8. The KhadayaJtas. — The Khadayatas are chiefly 
of the ecclesiastical profession, acting both as priests 
and Gurus, They are to be found m the districts of 
Khedra, Ahmedabad and Broach. 

9. The Masthanas. — The Masthanas are found in 
large numbers in the vicinity of Siddhapura. Like 
the Masthanas of Orissa, those of Gujarat also are 
chiefly cultivators. 

10. The Modhas. — The Modha Brahmans are to be 
found chiefly in the districts of Ahmedabad and Kheda. 
They are the Cruras or spiritual preceptors of the 
Modha Banyas. 

11. The Nandodras. — So named from Nandod, the 
capital of the Rajpipla State, situated about 32 
nmes east by north from Surat in a bend of the Korjan 
river. The Gurus of the Bajas of Kajpipla and 
Dharmpore are said to be Nandod Brahmans* There 
are botn mendicants and cultivators among the Nandods. 

13. The Naradikas. — The Naradikas are to be 
found chiefly in Cambay and its neighbourhood. They 
are a small body. There are cultivators as well as men- 
dicants among them. 



14. The NaT$iparaB. — ^The Narsiparas are followers 
of Yallabhacharya. The priests of ine shrine of Krish- 
na at Dakor, in the Thasra sab-division of the Kaira 
district, are Brahmans of this class. 

15. The Parasaryas. — The Farasaryas are said to 
be found in the south-east of Kathiwar. 

16. The Sachora. — The Sachoras are followers of 
Vallabhacharya. A great many of them serve as 

17. The Sajliodras, — So named from the town of 
Sajodh near Broach. Like that of the Bhatelas the 
chief employment of the Sajhods is cultivation. 

18. The Somparas.— The Somparas are the Brahmans 
who have charge of the temple of Siva at Somenath. 
They have a somewhat higher position than is usually 
assigned in the caste system to the priests of other 
shrines. The Somparas are all Smartas. After the 
destruction of the great temple at Somenath by 
Mahmud Ghazni a new one was erected by Bhima 
Deva I. This new temple was destroyed by the rene- 
gade Hindu, Sultan MuzafiFer I. The present temple 
was erected by Bani Ahalya Bai. 

19. T'he SoratUyas. — The Sorathiyas derive their 
name from Saurashtra, modern Surat. They are found 
chiefly in Junagadha. 

. 20. The Talajyas, — The Talajyas derive their name 
from the town of Talaja in the Bhaunagar State, situated 
about 31 miles south of Bhaunagar town. The Tala- 
jyas are now mainly shopkeepers, and are to be found 
at Jambusar, Surat, Bombay,' Nasik and other towns of 
Western India. 

.21. The Tapodhanas. — ^The Tapodhanas derive their 
name from the river Tapti on tne banks of which 
tixefy are to be found. Some of them are priests in the 
local temples of Siva. But the majority of them are 

-..22i The Valadras. — The Valadras seem to derive 
their name from Wala, the capital of the Wala State in 


the Gohelwar division of Kathiwar. The ancient name 
of Wala was Walabhipnr. Some of the Yakdras are 
very rich, being money-lenders on a large scale. Bat 
the majoritj of them are mendicants and beggars. 
Some of the latter class perform their tonrs on horse- 
back. The Yaladras are Smartas and Sakti wor- 

23. The Valmikis, — The Valmikis are to be fonnd 
in Ehe^a, Cambay and Idar. There are both beggars 
and cultivators among them. 

24. The Vayadas. — The Vayadas are the spiri- 
tual preceptors of the Yayada Vanyas. The Yayada 
Brahmans are a very small body. 

The other classes usually incmded in lists of Gnzrati 
Brahmanas are either foreigners, or degraded and semi- 
degraded Brahmans, corresponding to the Agradanis, 
Miiha-Brahmanas and Bama Brahmanas of Northern 
India. The following are like Barna Brahmans : — 

1. Abhira Brahmans— Brahmans who minister to the 

Abhira cowherds as priests. 

2. JfucAij^or— Brahmans who minister to the Mochis. 

3. JTwiMi^or—Brahmans who minister to the Kanbis. 

4. Ztef^'i^orr—Brahmans who minister to the darjls or tail- 


5. Oandharp O'orf— Brahmans who minister to the Qan- 

dharpe or musicians. 

6. Owjara G'orv— Brahmans who minister to the Garjaras. 

B, HO 


Thb most important classes of Brahmans in Maha- 
rashtra and the Kankan are the following : — 

1. Deshastha. I 3. White Tajorredi. 

2. Kankanawtha. | 4. Karbade, 

5. Shenavii 

It was on Brahmans of the first four of these classes 
that the Peshwas bestowed religions gifts, and donations 
in acknowledgment of literary merit. The last hare 
great secalar importance. 

§ 1. — The Deshastha Brahmans of Maharashtra. 

The word Deshastha literally means ** residents of the 
country," and, in Maharashtra, the name is given to the 
Brahmans of the country round Poena, which was the 
metropolis of the Maharashtra empire. Most of the 
Deshasthas pursue secular professions as writers, 
accountants, merchants, &c. However, there were, and 
still are, among them great Pandits in almost every 
branch of Sanskrit learning. As among the other classes 
of South Indian Brahmans, the laity among the Deshas- 
thas are called Lnukikas (worldly men ) or Grihasthas 
(householders). The Bhikshus or ecclesiastics are also 
householders, as every Brahman is required to be in his 
youth ; but as they devote themselves entirely to the 
study of the Shastras, they alone are held entitled to 
receive religious donations, and are called Bhikshxis or 
beggars. The secular Deshasthas have such secular 

( 82 ) 


snrniunes as Desai, Despande, Desmukha, Kulkami and 
Patil. The Bhikshus are sub-divided into several classes, 
according to the branch of learning which they culti- 
vate. Those who study the Vedas are called Vaidika ; 
those who expound the law are called Shastri ; those 
who make astrology their speciality are called Jotishi or 
Joshi ; the votaries of the medical science are called 
Vaidyas ; and the reciters of the Purftns are called 
Puranikas. These distinctions, however, do not affect 
their caste status. In fact the son of a Laukika Brah- 
man may be a Bhikshu, and a Bhikshu himself may, 
ai any time, by accepting secular employment, cease 
to be of the ecclesiastical order. The usual surnames 
of the Bhikshus are Bhatta, Shastri and Joshi. 

The Deshasthas are followers of the Rik and the 
Krishna Yajus. There are some Vishnuvites among 
them of the Madhwa sect But the majority are Sivites. 
There is, however, nothing to prevent intermarriage 
between the Sivites and the Madhwas. There is a 
large colony of the Deshasthas in Mysore, There are a 
^eat many Brahmans of this class in Benares also. 
Pandit Govinda Shastri, of the Government Sanskrit 
College of Calcutta, is a Deshastha. The great Sanskrit 
jurists, Nilkanta and Kamalakar were Desnasthas. The 
celebrate Tantia Topi of the Sepoy war was a Brah- 
man of the same class. He was born in a village called 
Gowala, in the district of Nasik. His proper name was 
Raghu Nath Rao. Tantia Topi was the name of his 
boyhood. The late Sir T. Madnava Rao was of the same 

§ 2. — The Kankanasiha Brahmans. 

As their name indicates, the original home of the 
Kankanasthas is the Kankan, or the narrow strip of 
country extending from Broach on the north, to Ratnagiri 
on the south, and bounded on the west by the Arabian Sea, 
and on the east by the Western Ghats. The Eankan- 
a^ltts are also called Chitpavana, a word which evidently 


m^ans a *^ purifier or cnrer of the soul." But on the 
authority of the Sahjadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, 
which seems to be the composition of a Deshastha, the 
other classes of Maharatta Brahmans say that Chit- 
pavana is not a corrupted form of Chitta Pavana, but 
of Chitapavana, which means a purifier of a funeral 
pyre. According to the Skanda Purana, the Kankanas- 
thas are so-called because the Brahminical hero and 
incarnation^ Parushuram, created them out of a chita 
or funeral pyre. Leaving aside legends, the name of 
Chitpavan given to the Kankanastha Brahmans seems 
to be derived from the town of Chiplun in the Ratnagiri 
district, situated near the head of the Kumbharli pass> 
which is one of the easiest routes from the Deccan to the 
sear-board. The Peshwas« who veir nearly succeeded in 
establishing Hindu supremacy in India during the last 
century, were Kankanastha Brahmans. Of the same class 
also were many of the high oiBcials of the Mahratta 
empire — the Patvardhanas, the Gokales, the Rastyas, &c. 

Itaja Dinkar Rao, who was Prime Minister of 
Scindia at the time of the Sepoy war, and who was 
regarded as one of the greatest administrators of his 
time, was a Kankanastha. Mr. Justice Ranade, of the 
Bombay High Court, is a Brahman of the same tribe. 
So was the late Rao Saheb Yishwanath Narayan Manda- 
lika, who was one of the ablest advocates of the Bombay 
High Court, and was also a Member of the Legislative 
Council of India. 

As among the Deshasthas, so among the Kankani 
Brahmans, the majority are devoted to secular pursuits. 
They are the persons who generally fill "offices of 
every kind, including the village and perganah account- 
antships all over the country.''* A great many of tbem 
are khotea or landholders, who enjoy valuable proprie- 
tary over the Kankan villages. Though mainly secular, 
the Kankanasthas do not keep themselves quite aloof 

* Campbell's Ethmlogy c/Indiat p. 73, 


from the cnltivation of letters. On the contrary, they 
haye had among them some of the best scholars in every 
department of learning. One of the greatest of these 
in recent times was the late Pandit Bapn Deva Sastri 
of the Government Sanskrit College, Benares. The 
following is from the appreciative notice of his life in 
Mr. Sherring's Hindu Tribet and Castes : — 

Bapo Deva Sastri has cpreatly distinguished himself as a scholar, 
and ns, bj his works, uked a lustre on the Sanskrit College, in 
which for many years he has been a Professor of Mathematies and 
Astronomy, and on the city in which he lives. The titles of some of 
huinameroas works are as follows : On Trigonometry in Sanskrit ; 
Translation of the Sorya Siddhanta into English ; On Alf^ebra in 
Hindi ; On Geography in Hindi ; On Arithmetic in Sanskrit; Sym- 
boUcal Bodid in Sanskrit. • • • • 

In oonsidenction of the great services rendered to science and 
edocstion in India, the Sastri has been made an Honorary Member 
of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, and also of the Asiatic 
Society of Bengal.— Sherring's lf{fid« Tribst and CasUit YoL I, 
p. 90. 

Like the Deshasthas, the Kankanis are followers of the 
fiik and the Krishna Yajus. The Rig Yedis are of the 
Ashwalajana Sakha, and the Yajnr Yedis of the Taittiriya 
Sakha. The following are sub-classes of the Kanka- 
nasthas : — 

1. Kirvankor. 

2. Keloskar. 

The Kankanis have more than three hnndred sur- 
names peculiar to their class. 

§ 3. — The Yajurvedts. 

The Yajurvedis among the Desbasthas are followers of 
thd BlacK Yajus. The class of Maharatta Brahmans 
called Yajurvedi are followers of the White Yajus. 
Thej have two branches, namely, — 

1. The Kansas. 

2. The Madhyandinas. 

The Kanvas are so called on account of their adopting 
the Kanva rescension of the White Yajus. The Mad- 
hyandinas derive their name in the same manner from 
the Madhyandina Sakha of the White Yajus. Both the 


Kanvas and the Madfaj^ndinas follow the Shatapatha 
Brahmana, and the Srauta Sutras of Katyana. The 
Madhjandinas* attach great importance to the per- 
formance of the Sandhya prayer at noon, i,e.y after 
11 A.M.. Bat the Rig Yedis might perform the mid-day 
prayer even at 7 o'clock in the morning. The Madhy- 
andinas cannot celebrate any Sradh except at noon, 
whereas the Big Yedis can perform such a ceremony 
any time during the day. The Yajurvedis are to lie 
found in every part of the Maharatta country, properly 
so-called, from Nasik on the north to Kolhapur on the 
south. They enjoy a very high position among the 
Brahmans of the country. The majority of them keep 
themselves aloof from secular pursuits, and devote them- 
selves entirely to the study of the sacred literature and 
to the practice of the Vedic rites. During the reign of 
the Peshwas, they had perhaps the largest share of the 
religions gifts made by the State as well as in those 
made by private individuals. The families of the Gum 
of the Manaraja of Kolahpur, and of the titular Pratinidhi 
of Sattara are Yajurvedis of the Madhyandina Sakha. 

§ 4:.—The Karhades. 

The Karhades derive their name from the town of 
Karhad near the junction of the Krishna and the Koina 
rivers, about fifteen miles to the south of Sattara. 
While the Deshasthas are Sivites, and the Yajurvedis 
are observers of the Vedic rites, the Karhades are the 
extreme Saktas of the Maharashtra country. In Nor- 
thern India, Sivites, Saktas, Vishnuvites, and Vedists 
are to be found within the same class ; and a difference 
of cult, though giving rise to great animosity, has very 
seldom brought about the formation of subdivisions 
in any caste. But in the Deccan, which has been 

* The name of the Madhyandina Sftkha of the White Tajas seems 
to be derived from that of the Madhyandina School of Hindu astro- 
nomera aocordinj? to whom the day is regarded as befl^nning at 
noon, and not at sunrise or midnight. 


roled by p^eat Hindu kin^s down ix> recent times, the case 
is nahiraUj otherwise. The Peshwas were Sivite Brah- 
mans, and, during their ascendancy, the Y ishnuvites never 
conld flourish in their country. The only cults, besides 
that of the Sivite, which then found a congenial soil in 
the country round Poona, were Sakti worship, which is 
only the counterpart of Saivism, and the Vedic rites 
whidi, though rendered obsolete by more effective and 
less wasteful forms of worship invented in later times, 
have stiU a great charm for the Hindu mind. The Sivite, 
the Sakta and the Vedic forms of worship have flourished 
side by side in the Maharashtra country, and naturally 
there was great bitterness between the professors of 
these forms of faith. Wherever there are two or more 
competitors for favour from the same quarter, and each 
tries to rise in the estimation of the common patron, at 
the expense of his rivals, sectarian hatred and bigotry 
must neeessarily be rampant. 

Id the Sahyadri Khanda of the Skanda Purana, 
which bears evidences of being the production of a De^ 
sastJia Brahman, tbe Earhades are charged with the 

Sractiee of offering human sacrifices, and of even mur- 
ering Brahmans to propitiate their deities. The charge 
being preferred by an infallible authority, the Earhades 
admit its truth, tliough with the usual qualification that 
the practice has been given up by them long since. As 
a matter of fact, perhaps, the practice never existed on 
a large scale among any class of Brahmans. The Tan- 
tras recommending human sacrifice are accepted as 
authorities by the Brahmans of almost all the classes 
throughout India. Tet, in practice, the only animals 
^t are usually sacrificed by the Sakti worshippers in 
Northern India are the goat and the sheep, t.^., the 
animals, the flesh of which the Brahmans eat. The flesh 
of the buffalo is eaten by some of the low castes, and 
sometimes buffaloes are sacrificed by the Saktas. But 
human sacrifice, though recommended by one set of 
texts, is prohibited by others, and as it must be naturally 


revolting to every one excepting a few depraved fana- 
tics, and as actual instances of it are extromelj rare, if 
not quite unknown, in modem times, the case was appar- 
ently never very difiFerent in medieval or ancient India, 
lii the Mahabhart, which is undoubtedly a very an- 
cient work, Krishna himself is made to observe* that the 
slaughter of human beings for sacrificial purposes was 
unknown in practice. Coming down to historical times 
there is nothing in the early records of British rule, or 
in the Mahomedan chronicles to warrant the conclu- 
sion that the practice prevailed very extensively during 
the last seven centuries. The injunctions about it in 
the Tantras were, it seems, meant only to excite awe on 
the minds of the common people, and to enable the 
priest to make the votaries more ready to ofi^er as a 
substitute a goat or a sheep than they would otherwise 
be. The case is only that of an application of the 
maxim of priestly politics which the Brahmanical 
clerics formulate by saying that they must ask for a 
Kashmere shawl in order to get a bathing towel. 

Whatever room there may be for comment on the 
religion of the Karhades, they are equal to the Kanka^ 
nasthas and the Deshasthas in every other respect. The 
great Maharatta poet Moropant was a Karhade. So 
was the late Bala Gangadhar Shastri Jambhekor, who 
was a professor in the Elphinstone Institution. 

The Karhades distinguished themselves sometimes in 
secular service also. Govinda Pandit, a Karhade Brah- 
man, was sent by the Peshwa as his agent to Sanger, 
and the Pandit succeeded in taking possession of the 
district for his master, from Chattra Snl, in 1753. Sheo 
Ram Bhao was the Sir Soobah or Governor of the pro- 
vince of Jhansi at the time of the conquest of Northern 
India by the English. His descendants ruled the pro- 
vince as semi-independent kings, till the annexation of 
the State by Lord Dalhousie. The Karhade dynasty of 

* See MuhdbhOri, Sava Furra, Chapter XXII. 


Jhansi has been rendered particnlarlj famons by tbe 
name of the great Bani Yrhose political genius and 
ability as a military commander have elicited the admi- 
ration of even English historians and generals. There 
is still a large colony of Karhade Brahmans in Sanger 
and Damoh who trace their descent from the companions- 
in-arms of their great clansmen who first conquered the 
oonntiy. There are many Karhades among the officers 
of the Mysore Baj, the majority of them being connecied 
with its Kevenne Snrvey Department. 

§ 5. — The Shenavi Brahmans of the Kankan, 

The Shenavis are believed to be a branch of the Sars- 
wat Brahmans of the Panjab. They are found chiefly 
in the Kankan, Goa, and Bombay. There are a few 
among them who are of the priestly profession. But 
the majority of them are devoted to secular pursuits in 
which they are now generally far more successful than 
perhaps any other class of Brahmans. Like the Sars- 
watas, the Shenavis are in the habit of eating fish 
and such flesh as is not prohibited by the Shastras. 

The Shenavis are not all of the same religion. There 
are Sankarites and Madhwa Yishnuvites among them. 
The late Dr. Bhau Daii, the late Mr. Justice Telang, and 
the late Pandit Shankar Pandurang were all Shenavis. 
80 is also Mr. Bhandarkar, the present yice-Chancellor 
of the Bombay University. 


§ 1. — Middle Class Secular Brahmans. 

Thb following are the middle class Brahmans of the 
Maharashtra country : — 

1. Deva Buke. I 2. Savasbe. 
3. Kirvantas. 

Deva Ruke. — ^The Deo Rukes are found chiefly in the 
Kankan. They are generally very poor. They are 
devoted mainly to agriculture. The Deshasthas will eat 
with them ; but the Kankanasthas generally refuse to 
do them that honour. 

Savashe. — The Savashes are found chiefly in the 
Southern Maharatta country. They engage in trade, 
and are a prosperous class. The name is evidently 
derived from the Sanskrit word Sahavasi which means 
an ** associate.'' The origin of the application of this 
designation to them is explained as follows : — 

In remote times, a oertain Brahman came upon a hidden treasure i 
but to his amazement, the contents appeared in his eyes to be all live 
scorpions. Out of curiosity, he hung one of them outside his house. 
A little while after, a woman of inferior caste, who was passing by 
the house, noticed it to be gold, and upon her questioning him about 
it, the Brahman espoused her and, by her means, was able to enjoy 
the treasure. He gave a feast in honour of his acquisition of 
wealth. He was subsequently outcasted for his m^stUlianes with 
the low- caste female, while those who were with him were put under 
a ban, and thus acquired the nickname. ~JfyM>r0 Cennu Report , 
p. 235. 

Kirvantas. — The Kirvantas are found chiefly in the 
Kankan. Many of them are cultivators. But some 

( 90 ) 


of them are) very rich, and there are good Sanskrit 
scholars too among them. They are now being recog- 
nized as good Brahmanas by the Kankanasthas. 

§ 2. — Yajaka JBrahmans. 

The following classes of Maharashtra Brahmans 
minister to the Sudras as priests, and have consequently 
a very inferior position : — 

1. Palashe. | 2. Abhira. 

Palashe. — ^The Palashes are found chiefly in Bom- 
bay and its neighbourhood. They act as priests, as- 
trologers and physicians to the Frabhus, Sutars, Bhan- 
daris, Sonars, and other Sudra castes in Bombay. The 
high caste Maharatta Brahman say that the Palashes 
are no Brahmans. But as they are accepted as priests 
by tiie many Sudra castes mentioned above, they are 
certainly entitled to be regarded as one of the sacerdotal 
clans, however low their status may be. 

Ahhiras. — ^The Abhiras are found chiefly in Kandeish. 
They act as priests to the cowherd caste called Abhira. 

§ 8. — Javala Brahmans. 

The Javala Brahmans have a low status on account 
of their serving as cooks, and their habit of eating fish. 
They are fonnd chiefly in the Kankan. 

§ 4. — Agricultural Brahmans. 

The following classes of Maharashtra Brahmans are 
mainly agricultural, and have a very low status : — 

1. Kastas— foand in Poona aod Kandeisli. 

2. TricnilA*— fonnd on the banks of the Krishna. 

3. Bopara— found chiefly in Bassin. 

§ 5. — The Degraded and OiUcaste Brahmans, 

The following are the classes of Brahmans that in 
Maharashtra are regarded more or less as outcastes: — • 

1. The Hoseini. 1 3. Knnda Oolaka. 

2. The Kalanki. | 4. ^nda Oolaka. 

A. Brahman Jai. 

An account of some of these will be given in a sub" 
sequent part of this work. See p. 118, post. 


In English works on the history and the geography 
of India, the name Kamatic is usually applied to the 
tract of country on the east coast of the Deccan between 
Arcot and Madras. But the name of Kamat is pro- 
perly applicable only to the tract where Eanarese 
is the prevailing language. It embraces almost the 
whole of Mysore with the British districts of North 
Kanara, Dharwar, and Belgaum of the Bombay Presi- 
dency. In external appearance, the Karnat Brahmans 
differ but little from the Deshasthas of Maharashtra. 

The following classes are regarded as the indigenons 
Brahmans of Karnat : — 

1. Babbuni Kamroe \ Derive their name from the Kam- 

2. KannadaKamme >me country situated to the east of 

3. Ulach Kamme ...j modem Mysore. 

4. Haisaniga ... Veij numerous in the Hassan divi- 

sion of Mysore. The great Madhava- 
cbarya, it is said, was a member of 
this caste. 

K A-^44.. -tr<.wir.i., i Secuhir Brahmans; followers of 

5. Arvatta Vakkalu JMadhava. 

A ¥T-i« ir«>.»»4.<>v«. / Very numerous in Mysore, but 
8. HaleKamataka...|^^^/,^^^,j^g^j^^yg^ 

7. Kamataka. 

8. Vaduffanadu ... (Lit from the north). 
0. Simada 

in vT-«*k. i From Haiga, the ancient name of 

10. Havika - i North Kana4. 

11. Hubu— Found chiefly in North Kanara. 

Of these, the first seven classes are found chiefly in 
Mysore, and the last in North Kanara. The Havikas 
or Haigas have their principal home in North Kanara 

( 92 ) 


and the SUmog division of the Mysore territories. 
They claim to derive their name from the Sanskrit word 
Havya, vrhich means '* oblation." Their usual occu- 
pation is the cultivation of the supari or areca-nut 
gardens. But there are among them many who are of 
tbe priestly order. The Hubus of North Kanara are a 
degraded class. A great many of them live either by 
the practice of astrology, or by serving as priests in 
the public temples. The Hale Karnatikas. of Mysore 
are considered as a still more degraded class. Their 
very Brahmanhood is not generally admitted, in spite 
of their having lately secured a Srimukh from the 
Sringeri monastery recognising them as a class of the 
sacerdotal caste. Their chief occupations are agricul- 
tnre and Government service, as Shanbhogs or village 
accountants. By way of reproach they are called 
Maraka, which literally means slaughterer or destroyer. 
The following account is given of them in the Mysore 
Gazetteer : — 


A cftrte claiming to be Brahmans, but not recognised aa such. 
They worship the Hindu triad, but are chiefly Vishnuvites and wear 
the trident mark on their foreheads. They are most numerous in the 
MMith of the Mysore district, which contains iSye-sixths of the 
whole number. The great majority of the remainder are in Hassan 
district. They call themselves Hale Kannadiea or Hale Karnat^a, 
the name Maraka being considered as one of reproach. They are 
mid to be descendants of some disciples of Sankaracharya, and the 
following legend is related of the cause of their expulsion from the 
Brahman caste to which their ancestors belonged — 

One day Sankaracharya, wishing to test his disciples, drank some 
ladi in their presence, and the latter thinking it could be no sin to 
foUow their master's example indulged freely in the same beverage. 
Boon after, when passing a butcher's shop, Sankarachar^ asked for 
Alms : the botcher had nothing but meat to ffive, which the guru 
and his disciples ate. According to the Hindu Shastras, red hot 
iron alone can purify a person who has eaten flesh and drunk tadi. 
fiankaracharya went to a blacksmith's furnace, and begged from him 
•ome red hot iron, which he swallowed and was purified, llie dis- 
ciples were nnable to imitate their master in the matter of the red 
hot iron* and besought him to forgive their presumption in having 
dared to imitate bim in partaking of forbidden food. Bankiura- 
diaiya rafused to ipve absolution, and cursed them as unfit to 
iMociato with the six sects of Brahmans.~Jfy«ortf Oaz€tt0er, Vol. I, 


Dravira is the name given to the sonthemmost 
part of the Indian Peninsula, including the districts of 
Trichinopoli, Tanjore, Arcot, Tinnevellj, Kambakonam, 
and Madura. This tract of country being inhabited by 
the Tamil-speaking tribes is roughly distinguishable 
from the provinces of Kamat and Andhra towards its 
north) the prevailing languages of which are respectively 
Kanarese and Telugu^ 

The Brahmans of Dravira are divided into two main 
classes according to their religion. The followers of 
Sankaracharya are called Smartas, and those of Ramanuja 
and Madhava are called Vaishnavas. All the Dravira 
Brahmans are strict vegetarians and teetotalers. 

§ 1.-7^ Smarta Brahmans^ 

The majority of the Smarta Brahmans are Sivites^ 
and there are very few Saktas or Vishnu worshippers 
among them. They are all followers of Sankaracharya, 
and regard the Superior of the Sankarite monastery at 
Sringeri as their spiritual head. Those among the 
Smartas who devote themselves entirely to Vedic study 
and to the practice of Vedic rites are called Vaidikas, 
and those who earn their living by secular pursuits are 
called Laukikas. The Vaidikas alone are entitled to 
religious gifts, and the Laukikas cannot lay claim ta 
largesses for pious purposes. But in other respects the 
distinction is of no importance whatever, as inter- 
marriage is freely allowea between them. 

( 9i ) 


The usual surname of the Smartas is Ayar. The 
Sanskritists among them nse the title of Shastri while 
the title of Dikshit is similarly used by those in whose 
family any of the great Yedic sacrifices has ever 
been celebrated. 

The following are the most important classes of 
Drayira Brahmans o( the Smarta order: — 

1. Warma. | 9. Ashta Sahaara. 

2. Brihatcharana, | 4. Banket. 

Wdrma Brahmans. — ^The Wanna Brahmans are very 
namerons in and near Tanjore. They are divided into 
the following classes : — 

1. GholaDes. | 3. Sabayar. 

2. Wanna I>es. | 4. Javati. 

5. Banjeay. 

These may eat together, but there can be no inter- 
marriage between wem. The late Sir Mnttuswami 
Avar, of the Madras High Courts was a Warma Des 
Warma of the Tanjore district. Mr. Subramhanya 
Ayar, who has been appointed to succeed him on the 
Bench of the Madras High Coart, is also a Warma Des 
Warma. Sir Muttaswami was not only an able Judge, 
but a great man in every sense of the term. Upon his 
death, which occurred in January last, the Chief Justice 
said of him : — 

** We are anembled liere to express oar very n^eat regret at the loss 
we have sustained by the death of Sir T. Muttnswami Ayar. 
Hie death is undoubtedly a loss to the whole country and the Crown. 
A profound Hindu jurist, a man with very excellent knowledge of 
English law, with very great strength of mind possessing that most 
Qsefol quality in a Judge^ common sense ; he was undoubtedly a 
great Judge, very unassuming in manners, he had great strength of 
mind and independence of character, his judgments were carefully 
considered, ana the decisions he ultimately arrived at were, in a 
great majority of instances, upheld in the final Court of Appeal. 
Bie advice was often asked for by the Judges of the Court, and^-I 
can raeak from experience— was always freelv given and was most 
valuable. He was a man who did honour to the great profession of 
law, an upright Judge who administered iustioe without distinction 
of race or cieed, a weU read scholar and a gentleman in the best 
and truest acceptation of the word. The High Court by his death 
baa sustained a hemvy Ion, a loss which undoubtedly it can iU 


The Warma Brahmans paint their foreheads in two 
different ways. Some have transverse lines of sandal 
or sacred ashes ; while others have a perpendicular 
line of sandal or Gopichandana.* 

Brihat Charana, — ^Among the Dravira Brahmans 
the Brihat Charanas are next in importance only to the 
Warmas. The Brihat Charanas paint their forehead 
with a roDnd mark of Gopichandana in the centre, in 
addition to transverse lines of white sandal. Sir 
Sheshadri Ayar, K.o.s.!., the present Dewan of Mysore, 
is a Brihat Charana. So is also Mr. Snndar Ayar, 
Advocate, Madras High Court. 

Aihta Sahasra. — The Ashta Sahasras are, generally 
speaking, more handsome than the other classes of 
Draviri Brahmans. Like the moderate Sakti worship- 
pers of Bengal, the Ashta Sahasras paint between their 
eyebrows a round mark which is either of white sandal 
or of a black colouring material formed by powdered 

tSanket. — ^The Sankets are Dravidians, but are found 
also in Mysore. The Mysore Sankets cannot speak pure 
Tamil. There are two sub-divisions among them, namely, 
the Kausika Sanketis and the Bettadapara Sanketis. 
Their religion and their social customs are the same, 
but there can be no intermarriage between them. 

The following remarks are made with reference to 
the Sanketis by Mr. Narsimmayangar in his report on 
the last Census of Mysore :— 

The Sanketis are proyerbialljr a hardy, intensely conservative, and 
industrious Brahman community. Thev are referred to as models 
for simultaneously securing the twofold object of preserving the 
study of the Vedas, while securing a worldly competence hj cultivat- 
ing their gardens, and short of actually ploughing the land, they are 
pre-eminently the only fraction of the Brahman brotherhood, who 
turn their lands to the best advantage.— Jfy«or0 C^ntui RipaH, 
1891, p. 236. 

■ ■ . . - ■ t , 

* A kind of calcareous clay, said to be obtainable only from a tank 
near Somnath, where the wives of Krishna drowned themselves after 
lus death. 


5 2. — The Vishnuvite Brahmans of Dravira. 

The Yishnavite Brahmans of Dravira are followers of 
Ramannja. Thej are divided into two classes, namelj, 
the Yadagala and the Tengala. An account of these 
sects will be given in a subsequent part of this work. 

The late Mr. Bangacharlu, who was Prime Minister 
of the Mysore Raj, was a Yadagala Yaishnava. Mr. 
Bhasyam Ayangar and Rai Bahadur Anandacharln, 
who are now the leading advocates of the Madras High 
Court, and have lately been appointed as Members of 
the Legislative Council of India, are also Yadagala 
Yaishnavas of the Tamil country. 

B, HO 


Tblingana is one of the names of that part of the 
Deccan where Telngn is the prevailing language. In 
ancient times this tract of comitrj was included in the 
« kingdoms then called Andhra and Kalinga. At the 
present time Telingana includes the eastern districts of 
the Nizam's dominions, in addition to the British districts 
of Ganiam, Yizirapatam, Godavari Krishna^ Nellore, 
North Arcot, Bellary, Cudapa, Kamoul, and Anantpore. 
The Brahmans of this part of the Deccan are known 
by the general name of Tailangi Brahmans. They are 
mainly followers of the Apastamba Sftkha of the lajur 
Veda. There are also Big Vedis among them. Nearly 
a third of them are Vishnuvites of the Ramanuja and 
Madhava sects, the rest being Smartas. There are 
very few Sakti worshippers among them even of the 
moderate type. Like most of the other classes of the 
Deccani Brahmans, the Tailangis are strict vegetarian9 
and abstainers from spirituous liquors. The orthodox 
Tailangi does not smoke tobacco. 

The Brahmans of Telingana are sub-divided into several 
distinct sections. On account of difference of cults there 
are among them the following three main sub-classes : — 

1. Smartas. | 2. Sri Taishnavafl. | 9. Biadhavas. 

The followers of Madhava form a sin^e caste. The 
Sri Vaishnavas among the Telingana Brahmans form 
a distinct caste called Andhra Vaishnava. They are 
not sub-divided as Vad^a andTengala like their co-reli- 
gionists of Dravira. The Smartas are sub-divided into 
two classes, namely, Niyogi and Vaidik. The Niyogis 




profess to valae Yoga or religions contemplatioii more 
than Yedic sacrifices. In practice the Niyogis devote 
themselves mainly to secnlar pnrsnits^ while the Yaidiks 
oonstitnte the priestly class. The Niyogis are considered 
to be eligible for priestly service. Bnt they will never 
either accept a religions gift, or partake of Shradha 
food. The several divisions and snb-sections among the 
Tailangi Brahmans are shown in the following table : — 

1. Vslnad. 

2. VenQi Nadu. 

3. Kasal Nadu. 

4. MulkiNadu. 

5. T$laga Nadu, 
S. Y<njnav€Ukya 


1. Kanva. 

2. Madhyandiva. 
7. Kanara Kamma 


Originally Kamata 
Brahmans now 
naturalised in the 
Andhra country. 

ri. Vaidika 


^2. NlTOOl 

1. JLrvau Varu (lit., " the 

six thousand"). 

2. Tslingana Niyogi 

or Telgiana. 

3. Nanda Varika Niyogi. 

4. Pakul Moti Niuogi. 

5. Yajnyavalkya Niyogi. 

6. Kamata Kama 


Orifrinally of Kar- 



1. Andh&a Taishnavas. 

2. SBI VaISHNAVA— IMMI-) , ir^^^^i^ 




VelnadiU'^Tbe Velnadns are the most nnmerons 
class of Tailangi Brahmans. Vallabhachari, who in the 
15th century attained great snccess as a prophet with 
very little sacrifice of personal ease, and whose descen- 
dants are worshipped almost as gods still in Bajpntana, 


Onjrat and Bombay, was a member of this tribe. 
According to the Hindustani account of Ballava's *'con- 
quests " his father was a native of Kankarkom, but his 
birth took place at a place named Champa near Baipore, 
while his parents were on their way from their native 
village to Benares. A full account of Ballava is given 
in the part of this book dealing with the Indian sects. 
The Yelnadns are most nmnerons in the Godavari and 
Krishna districts. Colonies of the tribe are found also 
in every part of Mysore except Kadur. 

Venginadu.'^The Venginadus are next in importance 
to the Velnadu, and are found chiefly in the British dis- 
tricts of Godavari and Vizigapatam, formerly called the 
Vengi country. 

Kasalnadu, — ^The Kasalnadus derive their name from 
Kosala, the ancient name of Oude^ from whence they 
profess to have emigrated to the KaUnga country 
where they are now found. 

Murakanadu. — Brahmans of this class are found 
chiefly in the tract of country to the south of the 
Krishna. They are pretty numerous in Mysore. There 
are among them both priests and men devoted to 
secular pursuits. The present Superior of the chief 
Sankarite monastery at Sringeri is a Murakanadu. 

Telaganadu. — ^The Telaganadus are quite as numerous 
as the Velnadus. The former are found chiefly in the 
north-eastern part of the Nizam's dominions. 

Yajnavalkya, — This name is ^ven in the Teluga 
country to the followers of the Kanwa Sakha of tne 
White Yajur Veda. They are called also Pratham 
Sakhi as in the Mahratta country. 

Niyogis. — The Niyogis are secular Brahmans. They 
derive their name from the word Yoga^ which means 
religious contemplation, as opposed to Yagay which means 
religious sacrifice. As the word Niyoga in Sanskrit 
means '^ emplovment," it is more probable that the Niyo- 
gis are so-called because they accept secular employ- 
ment. The Komatis and the Sudras bow to them, but 


the ecclesiastical Brahmans address them with a bene- 
diction. From a secular point of view they have great 
importance. They are nsnally employed as writers and 
village accomitan^. 

Aradhyas. — The word Aradhya signifies "deserving to 
be worshipped." The Aradhyas do not form a separate 
caste, as intermarriages take place between them and the 
Smartas. The Aradhyas of the Telngn country profess 
to be Brahmans, but are, in fact, semi-converted Lin- 
gaits, and are not regarded as good Brahmans. Though 
following Basava in attaching great importance to Linga 
worship, they adhere to caste and repeat the Gkiyatri 

E ravers. They act as Gurus or spiritual preceptors to the 
igner classes of lay Lingaits, while the lower classes 
among the followers of Basava are left to the guidance 
of the Jangam^s or the priestly Sudras of the sect. 


As a considerable portion of the territories included 
in what is now called the Central Province was formerly 
ruled by kings of the Gond tribe, and as there is still 
a large Gond popolation in the districts round Nagpore 
and Jubbnlpore, the tract of country inhabited by tnem 
is popularly called Gondwana, and the Brahmans 
settled withm it receiye the designation of Gond Brah- 
mans. They are called also Jhara Brahmans from the 
fact of their country being still, to a very large ex- 
tent, covered by forest. Like some of the Maoratta 
Brahmans, the Gond Brahmans are divided into distinct 
sections on account of the differences in the Vedas and 
the Sakhas which they profess. The majority of them 
are followers of the x ajur Veda. There are also Rig 
Vedis among them, but very few followers of any of 
the other \^das. The Yajur Vedis are divided into 
various Sakhas, the Madhyandinas, Kanvas, and the 
Apastambis being the most numerous. There cannot 
be intermarriage Ween these. But marriage alliances 
are possible between the Rig Vedis and the Apastambi 
section of the Yajur Vedis. All the Big Vedis are of 
the Ashwalayana Sakha. 

All the Gond Brahmans are vegetarians and ab- 
stainers from intoxicating drink. The Tajur Vedis 
are chiefly Sivites. There are a few Bhagabats and 
moderate Saktas among them. The Bhagabats are 
moderate Vishnuvites, paying reverence to Siva also. 



Among the Rig Yedis the majority are Bhagabats and 
Sivites. There are a few extreme Vishnnyites among 
them. There may be intermarriage between the Sivites, 
Bhagabats, Vaishnavas and Saktas of the same class. 
Intermarriage is possible also between the Bhikshus 
and the Lankikas. 

There are very few wealthy men among the Gond 
Brahmans. But they have in their community many 
learned Sanskritists and English scholars. There is in 
Gondwana a class of Brahmans called Charaki. There 
are also colonies of the Malwi and the Narmadi. 


Tulava Brahmans. — ^Tnlava is a small tract of conntrj 
embracing only the British District of South Kanara 
and a part of Coor^. Udipi, the chief centre of the 
Madhava sect^ is in Tnlava, and is regarded by its mem- 
bers as a very holy place. 

Dr. Wilson gives the following account of the Tulava 
Brahmans : — 


The Brahmans taking to themaelTes the designation of Tolavas 
are scattered not merely throagh this nrovinoe but through some of 
the territories above the Ghats where taey have nearly forgottep their 
original language. Mr. Stokes mentions the foUowing load varieties 
of them as round in the Nagara districts i— 

1. ShiwaU. I 3. Kota. 

2. Panchafframadavnm. | 4. Kandavam. 

" These are au varieties," he adds, " of Tulava Brahmans, and 
appear to be almost aboriginal (in a certain sense). They are venr 
numerous in the South of Nagara, Kauladuraa, Koppa and Lakavalf, 
where they hold the greatest portion of the Mtel-nut g^ardens. They 
are mostly of Smarta sect, and disciples of the Shringeri and its 
subordinate IVIathas of Tirtha, Muthar, Hariharpura, Bandigadra, 
Mulavagal, &c. They speak Kanarese only, but their books are partly 
in the Grantha and partly in the Bal Bodha character. Some sign 
their names in the Tulava character. They are indifferently educated 
except a few who are either brokers or in public emplov." 

The Tulava BnJ^mans do not intermarry with the other Brahmans 
on the Malabar Ooast. In the regulations, attributed to Sankara- 
cluuTa, possessed by the Namburi Brahmans, " it is decreed that 
intermarriages among the Brahmans north of Parampol, forming 
thirty-two uramas of Tulanad with the Brahmans of thirty-two 
Gramas to the south called Blalaylam are forbidden.* A sjrnonym 
of the Tula Brahmans is Imibran or rather Tambaran, 

The Tulava Brahmans resemble the Namburis, and consider them- 
selves as the proper lords of the country, pretending that it was 

* H& of CoL Usckenxie, quoted in South IndioM ChritL BipotUmy, VoL II, 
p. 408. 



created expressly for their use by Parasbarama. They are poly- 
samiata. They cohabit, too, Dr. F. Bachanan tells us, with the 
danghteiB of we Bajas. Speaking of the Kamali Raja, a professed 
Ksamy«, he says : '* The ddest daughter in the female line cohabits 
vith a Tolava Brahman ; her sons become Rajas, and her eldest 
daughter continues the line of Uie family. Whenever she pleases, 
she changes her Brahman."* They prevent widow re-marriage, but 
promote widow prostitution in the name of religion ; and with widows 
and women who have forsaken their husbands and become " Moylar *' 
and attached to the temples, they hold intercourse. They bum their 
dead. They abstain from animal food and spirituous liquors. 

The Talava Bralunans are equally divided between the sects of 
Sankaracharya and Madhavacharya. 

In Mysore there are some Brahmanic colonists who 
call themselyes Kavarga and Shishyavarga and who are 
beUeyed to have been orifidnally inhabitants of Tnlava. 
The word Eayarea Uteralfy means the first fiye letters 
of the Sanskrit uphabet. The reason why the designa- 
tion is applied to the tribe of Brahmans bearing the 
name is explained as follows in the report on the last 
Census of Mysore :— 

The name is said to have a reproachful allusion to a legend, accord- 
ing to which a brother and sister of this tribe deceitful^ received a 
gin by representing themselves as husband and wife at a Brahmani- 
cal cepemony. By the patriarchal law of visiting the sins of the 
fiithers on the children, the tribe is to this day distinguished by the 
name of Kavaxga (of the Ka class), Ka being the initial syllable of 
the Kanarese word KuUu (= thief).— iiry«or« Cmuus Beport, p. 235. 

In Coorg there is a priestly class called Amma 
Kodaga or Kaveri Brahmans; but as they do not 
profess to follow any particular Yeda, they are, proper- 
ly speakings no Brahmans. They are a very small 
oommmiity. With regard to them, Bichter says : — 

The Amma Kodagas live principally in the S.-W. parts of Ooorg, 
and are the indigenous priesthood devoted to the worship of Amma 
the Kaveri goddess. They are of a quite unobtrusive character ; do 
not intermarry with the other Ooorgs, and are, generally speaking, 
inferior to them in personal appearance and strength of bodv. Their 
number is about 50, they are unlettered and devoid of Brahmanical 
lore. Their diet is vegetable food only, and they abstain from 
drinking liqaor. Their complexion is rather fair, their eyes dark- 
brown, and tiieir hair black and t[tnAahi.^Ethnoloffioal Compen- 
dhum is ths CatU* and TrIbM cf Ooarg, by the Rev. O. Bichter, p. 1. 

* AccAonan'f /oitnuy, VoL III, pp. 81, 19. 


The part of the western coast of the Deccan which 
extends from Cannanore and the Chandra Giri river on 
the north to Cape Comorin on the sonth, and which 
embraces at present the British district of Mahtbar, and 
the principalities of Cochin and Travancore, is, in many 
respects, ahomogeneons tract distinguishable from every 
other part of India. This strip of country was called 
in ancient times Kerala or Chera, and governed by its 
own king. The language spoken by its people is Malay- 
Ian which, though aUied to the Tamil, is a quite diltinct 
dialect. The ]Nairs and the Namburi Branmans, who 
form the chief elements in the population of Kerala, are 
not to be found in considerable numbers even in the 
adjoining districts of Coimbatore, Trichinopoly^ Madura 
or Tinnevely. It is, however, the peculiar laws and 
customs of Kerala that distinguish it most from other 
parts of India. The very family tvpe among the Nairs 
is so different from what is found in other countries, 
that it is very difficult for an outsider to form an idea of 
it. Among most of the nations throughout the world, 
each male member when he marries, becomes an unit of 
the society. During the lifetime of his father he may, 
with his wife, and in some cases with his children also, 
live under the parental roof. But each of the male mem- 
bers of the society is, in the eye of law^ the centre of 
an independent group actual or possible. After his death, 
the usual rule is that his sons succeed to his property 



and his status, and every one traces his lineage in the 
male line, t^., in the line of his father, grandfather, 
greai-grandfather^ &o. The case among me Nairs is 
very different. Among them every girl is married 
formally when a child "with a Brahman. But the titu- 
lar husband can never claim her as his wife, and when 
she grows up she may choose any one, either of her own 
or of the Brahman caste, provided he is not a member of 
the same tanoad (the common residence of the children 
of the same maternal ancestor). A female member of a 
wealthy tarwad never leaves her maternal home, but is 
visited there by her husband. In the case of less wealthy 
taruxxds^ the women generally live with the husbands 
chosen by them. But in all cases the children succeed 
to the property and status of their mother's tarwad^ 
and not to their male ancestors. 

The marriage customs of the Namburi Brahmans of 
Malabar are not the same as those of the Nairs ; nor are 
they quite identical with those of the Brahmans in other 
parts of India. In a Namburi family, it is only the 
eldest brother who is ordinarily allowed to take a wife 
by a regular marriage. If no male children be bom to 
the eldest, then the brother next in rank may marry 
in the regular way, but not otherwise. The younger 
brothers, who are forbidden marriage, are allowed to 
form connexions with Ksatriya and Nair women. 

The Namburis exact greater deference from the 
Sudras than the Brahmans in other parts of the country. 
A NaiTy who is a high caste Sudra, may approach, but 
must not touch, a Namburi. A Tir, who is a cultivator 
by caste, has to remain thirty-six steps off from one ; a 
Halayaer hillman three or four steps ^rther. A member 
of the degraded Puliyar caste has to keep himself at 
a distance of ninety-six steps. If a Puliyar touch a 
Brahman, the latter must make expiation by immediate 
bathing, and change of his Brahmanical thread. 

The Namburis are, like most of the other classes of 
Deccani Brahmans, strict vegetarians. Their male 


members are allowed to eat with the Ksatrijas. The 
most striking peculiarity in a Nambnri is me tnft of 
hair grown near the forehead, instead of the nsnal 
Brahmanical Sikha at the central part of the head. 
There are both Sivites and Yishnnvites among the Nam- 
bnris. The former are called Chovar, the latter Panyon. 
The Nambnri Brahmans seldom go abroad without 
holding a chatra or large umbrella. Their women also 
screen themselves with a chatra when they go out, which 
they do very seldom. The foreign Brahmans residing in 
Malabar are called Pattara. The Ambalvashis, who are 
the employes of the public shrines, are Nambnris by 
descent, bnt degraded by their avocation. 

The great Sankaracharya, whose name stands most 
conspicuous in the straggle for rooting out Buddhism 
from India, and who is regarded by Brahmans in every 
part of the country as an incarnation of Siva, was a 



Thbbe are various legends regarding the origin of this 
caste. The Bhninhar Brahmans iJiemselves claiin to be 
true Brahmans descended from the rulers whom Pamsu 
Ram set up in the place of the Ksatrija kings slain 
by him. The good Brahmans and the Ksatrijas of 
the country, however, look down upon them, and in- 
sinuate that they are of a mixed breed, the of&pring of 
Brahman men and Ksatriya women. It is even said 
that the class was formed by the promotion of low caste 
men under the orders of a minister to a Raja who 
wanted a very large number of Brahmans to celebrate 
a religious ceremony, but for whom his minister could 
not procure the required number of true Brahmans. 
But this legendary theory is very strongly contradicted 
by the Aryan physiognomy of the Bhuinhars who, in 
respect of personal appearance, are in no way inferior 
to the Branmans and the Rajputs. One of the most 
important points of difference between the Bhuinhar 
Brahmans, and the majority of the ordinary Brahmans is, 
that while the latter are divided into only those exoga- 
mous clans called Gotra, the former have among them, 



like ihe Bajpnts, a twofold division based upon both 
Gotra and tribe. From this circumstance Mr. Bisley* 
has been led to condnde that the Bhninhar Brahmans 
are an ofiFshoot of the Bajpnts, and not true Brahmans. 
But as there are similar tribal divisions among the 
Maithila Brahmans of Tirhoot and the Saraswat Brah- 
mans of the Panjab, it might, on the same gronnd, be 
said that the Saraswats and the Maithilas are offshoots 
of the Bajpnts. 

The theory that Bhninhar Brahmans are an ofiBshoot 
of the Rajputs, involves the utterly unfounded assump- 
tion that any of the military clans could have reason to 
be ashamed of their caste status. The * royal race ' had 
very good reasons to be proud of such surnames as 
Sinha, Roy and Th&koor, and it seems very unlikely that 
any of their clans could at any time be so foolish as to 

* The grounds on which Mr. BLsley rests his view will appear clear 
from the following extract :— 

*' An examination of the sections or exogamoas gi*oups into which 
the Babhans are divided apnear, however, to tell strongly against the 
hypothesis that they are aegraded Brahmans. These CToups are 
usually tiie oldest and most durable element in the internal organisa- 
tion of a caste or tribe, and may^ therefore be expected to offer 
the clearest indications as to its origin. Now we find among the 
Babhans section names of two distinct types, the one territorial 
referring either to some very early settlement of the section, or 
to the birthplace of its founder, and the other eponymous, the 
eponym being in most cases a Vedic Rishi or inspired sage. The names 
of the former class correspond to or closely resemble those current 
among Rajputs ; the names of the latter are those of the standard 
Brahmanical Ootras. Where the matrimonial prohibitions based 
on these two classes of sections conflict, as must obviously often 
happen where every member of the caste necessarily belongs to 
botii sets, the authority of the territorial class overrides that of 
the eponymous or Brahmanical class. Suppose, for instance, that a 
man of the Koronch territorial section and of the Sandilya epony- 
mous section wishes to marry a woman of the Sakanwar territorial 
section, the fact that she also belongs to the Sandilya eponymous 
section wiU not operate as a bar to the marriage. Whatever may be 
the theory of the purohUi of the caste, the Brahmanical Gotra is 
disregarded in practice. This circumstance seems to indicate that 
the territorial sections are the older of the two, and are probably 
the original sections of the caste, while the epon^ous sections have 
been borrowed from the Brahmans in comparatively recent times. 
It would foUow that the Babhans are an offshoot, not from tiie 
Brahmans, but from the Bajput8,"^Bi8ley'8 Trib^i and Oatt09, Vol. 
Ii Introduction. 


elub togeiher for the purpose of assmning the Brahma^ 
nic surnames of Dobe, Tewari, Chobe and Upadhya. 
On the theory that the Bhuinhar Brahmans are an ofiF- 
shoot of the Kajpnts, the clans that now profess to be 
Bhninhar Rajputs are the residue that have stuck to their 
original status, and have never aspired to a higher one. 
But on this supposition it would be difficult to find any 
reason for the distinction between Bhuinhar Bajputs 
and the ordinary Rajputs. 

The clue to the exact status of the Bhuinhar Brah- 
mans is afforded by their very name. The word literally 
means a landholder. In tne language of the Indian 
feudal system^ Bhum is the name given to a kind of 
tenure similar to the Inams and Jaigirs of Mahomedan 
times. By a JBhum^ according to the JRajputana 
Gazetteer^ an hereditary, non-resumable and inalienable 
property in the soil was inseparably bound up with a 
revenue-free title. Bhum was given as compensation 
for bloodshed^ in order to quell a feud, for distinguished 
services in the field, for protection of a border, or for 
the watch and ward of a village.* The tenure is 
very highly esteemed by Rajputs of all classes. The 
Maiiarajah of Eoshengarn, the Th&koor of Fategarh, the 
Thakoor of Gunia, the Th&koor of Bandanwara, and the 
Thakoor of Tantoti are among the Bhumias of Ajmere. 
In Bengal the fact of the frontier districts of the east 
having been at one time under twelve Bhumia Kings 
b well known still by tradition. 

The meaning of the designation Bhuinhar being as 
stated above, me Bhuinhar Brahmans are evidently 
those Brahmans who held grants of land for secular 
services. Whoever held a secular fief was a Bhuinhar. 
Where a Brahman held such a tenure he was called a 
Bhuinhar Brahman. Where the holder was a Ksatriya 
he was called a Bhuinhar Ksatriya. Bhuinhar Brah- 

* The Anaiiiese Bbainban do not wear the sacred threadt and do 
not daini to be either Brahmans or Kflatriyas. 


mans are sometimes called simply Bhainhars, just as the 
masons, whose class name in Bengali is Raj mistri 
(royal architect), are generally called Baj, which means 
a king. 

In Assam the Bhninhars hold their lands on venr 
favourable terms ; bnt no exceptional indulgence is 
shown to the Bhninhars of Behar or Benares by the 
local zemindars. As may be expected the Bhninhars 
are now chiefly an agricaltoral class ; bnt like the 
good Brahmans, they never touch the plough. They 
will, however, do any kind of manual work except 
personal service. They serve not only as soldiers, con- 
stables, orderlies and gate-keepers, but also as porters, 
cartmen, and cutters of wood. Many of the Hindu 
cartmen and porters in Calcutta are Bhninhars. Some 
of them are very proud and cantankerous. The fact 
that the Bhninhars readily enUst in the army and in 
the police may be taken to show, to some extent, what 
thei^ caste profession most have been in former times. 

The Bhuinhars observe all their religious ceremonies 
in the same manner as the good Brahmans ; but as 
they practise secular avocations they, like the Laukika 
Brahmans of Southern India, are not entitled to &c^^t 
religious gifts, or to minister to any one as priests* The 
best Brahmans officiate as priests for the Bhuinhars, and 
it is not considered that they are degraded by doing so. 

On the view that the ibhuinhars were anciently a 
fighting caste, it is not at all a matter for wonder 
that there are among them, as among the Rajputs, 
many big landholders. The Bajas nam^ below are of 
the Bhuinhar caste : — 

1. Baja of Benares. 

2. Ra^a of Bettia in Ghamparan, North Behar. 

3. Baja of Tikari in Gaya. 

4. Baja of Hatwa in Saran, North Behar. 

5. Raia of Tamakhi in Oorakpore. 

6. Ba^a of Sheohar. 

7. Ba^a of Maiaadal in Midnapore, BengaL 

8. Ba^a of Pakoar in Sonthal Pergunnahs, BengaL 

9. Baja of Moheshpore in Sonthal Pergunnahs, BengaL 


Like the Rajpats the Bhninhar Brahmans form one 
^reat caste, and there are no sub-castes among them. 
They are divided into a large number of clans which, 
for purposes of marriage, are, with very few exceptions, 
all equal. The usual surnames of the Bhninhar Brah- 
mans are the same as those of the other Brahmans of 
Northern India. Being a fighting caste, a few of them 
have Rajput surnames. 


B» HO 8 


The Bhats and the Gharanas are very important 
castes in Bajpntana and the adjoining provinces. They 
are the minstrels, historians and genealogists of the 
Rajput chiefs, and are very much feared by their con- 
stituents, as it is in their power to lower any family by 
distorting history. They all take the holy thread, and 
as their persons are considered to be sacred by all 
classes, they seem to have been originally Brahmans. 
The very name of Bhatta points also to the same 
conclusion, as it means a learned man, and is an honori- 
fic surname of many of the best families of Brahmanas 
in every part of the country. In all probability the 
Bhats are the caste who were usually employed by 
the Rajput princes in diplomatic service, while the 
Charanas, as their very name indicates, were the spies. 
At any rate this view not only explains the fact that 
the Bhats have a higher caste status than the Charanas, 
but is supported also by the custom which still prevails 
among the Rajputs of employing the Bhats to conduct 
negotiations for marriage alliances. 

§ir John Malcolm gives the following account of the 
Bhats : — 

The Bhats or Raos seldom sacrifice themseWes ; bat as chroniclers 
or bards, they share power, and sometinies office with the Gharanas. 
Among uie Bhilalas and lower tribes they enjoy great and exclusive 
influence ; they give prairo and fame in their songs to those who are 
liberal to them, while they visit those who neglect or injure them, 
with satires, in which they usually reproach them with spurious 
birth and inherent meanness. Sometimes the Bhat, if very seriously 
oflfended, fixes the figure of the person he desires to degrade on a 

( 114 ) 


looff pole, and appends to it a slipper as a mark of disgrace. In 
•acn cases the song of the Bhat records the infamy of the object of his 
revenge. This image usually travels the country till the party or 
liis friends purchase the cessation of the ridicule and curses tiius 
entailed. It is not deemed in these countries in the power of a prince, 
much less any other person, to stop a Bhat» or even punish him for 
such a proceeding : he is protected by the superstitious and religious 
awe which, when general among a people, controls even despotism. — 
Malcolm's Central India, Vol. n, Chap. XIV, pp. 113-114. 

The poetic castes in fact performed the functions of the 
tiers-^at in fiajasthan, and the privilege of comment- 
ing on the actions of their Kings, which thej possessed 
and very often abnsed, was very nearly nnlimited. In 
EUgpntana there are many big landholders and men of 
influence among the Bhats and the Charanas ; but 
there are very few Sanskritists among them. The 
usnal snmame of the Bhats is Bao. They are divided 
into two classes, namely, the Brahma Bnats and the 
Yoga Bhats. The former are poets and minstrels who 
reconnt, in verse, the history of the great Rajput 
heroes, ancient and modern. The Yoga JBhats are the 
genealogists. The Bhats of Bengal are mere beggars, 
without regular constituents, and without the slightest 

fretension of poetic capacity. On the occasions of 
^ujas and Shradhas in the houses of the rich, they 
present themselves uninvited, and make such a horrid 
uproar by shouting and singing, that the master of the 
house besieged by them is glad to pay something to get 
rid of them. If refused, they will get to the top of a 
tree or wall, and threaten to commit suicide by falling 
headlong on the ground. Being thus terrorised the 
ladies of the house insist upon their immediate dis- 
missal anyhow, and it is therefore quite impossible to 
avoid submitting to their exactions on ceremonial occa- 
sions. With regard to the Charanas Sir John Malcolm 
gives the following account : — 

They are divided into two tribes, the Kachili who are merchants, 
and the Bfani who are bards. These again branch out into one bun- 
dled and twenty other tribc«, many of whom are the descendants in 
the female line of Brahmans and Rajputs. They are taught to read 
and write, and the daos who traffic (generally in camels and horses) 


are shrewd men of buainess ; while fhe Maru Oharanas apply thciir 
skill to the genealogy of tribes, and to the recital of numeroas 
legends (asuaujr in verse), celebrating the predses of former heroes, 
which it is their duty to chant, to gratify the pride and rouse the 
emalation of their descendants. The Gharana*s chief power is 
derived from an impression that it is certain ruin and destruction 
to shed his blood^or that of any of his family, or to be the cause of 
its being shed. They obtain a high rank in society, and a certain 
livelihood, from the superstitious oelief which they are educated to 
inculcate, and which the^ teach their children to consider as their 
chief object in life to maintain. A Oharana becomes the safeguard 
of travellers and security for merchants, and his bond is often 
preferred among the Baiputs, when rents and property are con- 
cerned, to that of the wealthiest bankers. When ne trades himself, 
he alone is trusted and trusts among the community to which he 
belongs. The Oharana who accompanies travellers likely to be 
attacked by Rajput robbers, when he sees the latter approach, 
warns them off by holding a dagger in his hand, and if they do not 
attend to him, he stabs himself in a place that is not mortal, 
and taking the blood from the wound, throws it at the assailants 
with imprecations of future woe and ruin. If this has not the de- 
sired effect, the wounds are repeated, and in extreme cases one of the 
Gharana's relations, commonly a female child or an old woman, is 
made a sacrifice. The same process is adopted to enforce the pay- 
ment of a debt to himself or a claim for which he has become 
security. It is not unusual, as the next step, to slay himself ; and 
the catastrophe has been known to close in the voluntary death of 
his wives and children. The females of the Oharanas are distinct 
from all the other population, both in dress and manners. They often 
reside in separate villages, and the traveller is surprised to see them 
come out in their long robes, and attend him for some space, chant- 
ing his welcome to their abode. The Oharanas are not only tiieated 
bpr the Rajputs with great respect (the highest rulers of that race 
rising when one of this class enters or leaves an assembly), but they 
have more substantial marks of regard. When they engage in trade, 
lighter duties are collected from them than others. They receive at 
all feasts and marriages presents that are only limited by the ability 
of the parties. The evil consequences of a Oharana being driven 
to undergo a violent death, can be alone averted by grants of land 
and costly gifts to surviving relations ; and the Rajput chief, whose 
guilt is recorded (for all these sacrifices are subjects of rude poems), 
as the cause of such sacred blood being shed, is fortunate when he 
can by any means h&ve his repentance and generositv made part of 
the legend.— Malcolm's Central /ndta,Vol. II,Ohap. XiY, p. 108 et Mq. 

About the peregrinations of the Bhats and the Oha- 
ranas, and the periodical visits paid by them to their 
constituents, a graphic account is to be found in the 
following extract : — 

When the rainy season closes, and travelling becomes practicable, 
the bard sets off on his yearly tour from his residence in the Bhat- 
wara of some city or town. One by one he visits each of the Rajput 
chiefs who are his patrons, and from whom he has received portions 
of land, or annual grants of money, timing his arrival, if possible. 


to niit occasions of marriage or other domestic festival. After he 
has reoeived the usual courtesies, he produces the ' Bahi, ' a book 
written in his own crabbed hieroglyphics, or in those of his fathers, 
whic^ contains the descent of the house ; if the chief be the Tilayet 
or head of the family, from the founder of the tribe ; if he be a 
Phatayo, or cadet, from the immediate ancestor of the branch, inter- 
spersed with many a yerse or ballad, the dark sayings contained in 
whidi are chanted forth in musical cadence to a delighted audience, 
and are then orally interpreted by the bard, with many an illustra- 
tive anecdote or tale. The *■ Bahi' is not, however, merely a source for 
the grati6cation of family pride, or even of love of son^ ; it is also a 
record of authority by which questions of consanguinity are deter- 
mined when marriage is on the tapis, and disj^utes relating to the 
division of ancestral property are decided. It is the duty of a bard 
at each periodical vim to reeiBter the births, marriages and deaths 
which have taken pkioe in tne family since his last circuit, as well 
as to chronicle all other events worthy of remark which have occur- 
red to affect the fortunes of his patron ; nor have we ever heard even 
a doabt suggested regarding the accurate, much less the honest, ful- 
filment of tUa duty by the bard.—Forbes's Bag Maia, Vol. II, pp. 



There are various classes of degraded Brahmans 
who now form, more or less completelj, separate castes. 
Their social ostracism is due to one or other of the 
following causes : — 

1. Alleged interooarae with Mahomedans at some by-gone 


2. Ministering to the low castes as priests. 

3. Being connected with the great public shrines. 

4. Accepting forbidden gifts. 

5. Ministering as priests at a cremation. 

6. Being suspected to be of spurious birth. 

7. By being tillers of the soil. 

8. By menial service. 


Hosairds. — These are a class of Brahmans to he 
found in many parts of Western India, and especially 
near Ahmednagar. They have actually adopted to 
some extent the Mahomedan faith and its observances, 
though they retain some of the Brahmanic practices 
too, and generally intermarry only among themselves. 
As a class they have no importance. They are chiefly 

Kuvaehandas — Found in Sind, and they generally 
resemble the Mussalmans in their habits. 

( 118 ) 



Of the several classes degraded by alleged inter- 
course with Mabomedans^ the Piralis of Bengal are the 
most important from many points of view. They claim 
to be a section of the Radriya Brahmans of the country 
with whom alone they intermarry, though such alliance 
is always very expensive to them. The good Radriya 
who marries into a Pirali family is himself reduced to 
the rank of a Pirali, and always demands a heavy 
premium as a fine quA non. With the exception of 
the family of Babu Debendra Nath Tagore who are 
Brahmos, the Piralis are very orthodox Hindus. 
The following account relating to the degradation of 
Purushottamay the ancestor of the clan, is given by one 
of their leading members, the late Honorable Prasanna 
Kumar Tagore, 0.8.1. : — 

Ponuhottama was called PirSli for havin^jf married the daaffhter 
of a penon blemished in caste. According to the books of the 
Gliafctaks, Janaki Ballabha and Kamdeva Boy Ohowdri, inhabitants 
of Oaiigain, in Pergana Chengutia, brought a suit against an 
ancestor of Sri Kanta Roy, of Jessore. An Amin, named Pirali 
Khan, was deputed by the xemindAr for the purpose of holding an 
invwtigation into the case. There was an latercation between the 
Amin and some of the inhabitants of the place as to whether the 
smell of a thing was tantamount to half-eating it. Some time after 
the said PirSli &ban invited several persons all of whom lost their 
caste, as he raAde them smell forbidden food. JanaH Ballabha and 
KamatUva having sat near the Amin and been reported to have 
eaten the food, became Bfahomedans, under the names of Jamal 
Khan and Kamai Khan, pursuant to the decision of the Pandits of 
thoee times. Their descendants, Arjuna Khan, Dinanath Khan, ftc, 
five it^o Bfahomedans op to this day in Magara and Basundia, 

( 119 ) 



Pergana OhsnguHat lillah Jessore. They form their connections l^ 
marriaffe witii the Khan Ghowdries of Broome, bat not with any 
other Mahomedana. The remaining persona present on the occasion 
were called Pirftli. Puroshottama was one of the latter. Others 
me a different account. They say that when Parushottama was in 
Jessore, on his way to bathe in the Ganges, the Ghowdries of that 
place, who became polluted in the above mentioned way, forcibly took 
nim to their house with a view to give him a daughter of theirs in 
marriage. Seeing that the bride was very beautiml, Purushottama 
agreed to marry her. After this marriage, Purushottama left the 
original seat of his family and settled in Jessore. Purushottama had 
a son named Balarama. Panchanana, the fifth in descent from 
Balarama left Jessore and came to Oavindpore, the site of Fort 
William, where he purchased land, and built thereon a dwelling 
house and a temple. HIb son Jairam was employed as an Amin m 
the settlement of the 24-Pergunnahs and discharged his duties with 
considerable credit. At the capture of Calcutta he is said to have 
lost all his property with the exception of Rs. 13,000 in cash. 

Jairam's nouse was taken by the English for the purpose of build- 
ing Fort William. He received some money and land as oompenaa- 
tion, and removed himself to Pathuriaghata. Ho died in the year 
1702, leaving four sons, named Ananda Ram, Nilmani, Darpa 
Narayan and Govinda. The eldest, Ananda Kam, was the first wno 
received a liberal English education. His family and that of his 
youngest brother, who superintended the building of the Fort 
William, have become extinct. Kilmani was the grandfather of 
Dwarkanath Tagore, who occupied a foremost rank in the society of 
his day. See S. C. Bose's Bitulus ai th&y are, pp. 171—74. 

With reference to the above, it may be observed here 
that the alleged enjojrment of the smell of a Maho- 
medan's savourv meat, cannot, by itself, explain the 
perpetnal degradation of Purushottama, or of any of the 
other guests of Pirali. The sin of even voluntary and 
actual eating of such food is not an inexpiable one, and 
there is not within the four comers of the Shastras, 
any such utterly unreasonable and Draconian law as 
would visit a man with eternal degradation for involun- 
tarily inhaling the smell of forbidden food. There are 
also other innerent improbabilities in the story as 
narrated above. Unless the Amin, and the inhabitants 
of the locality where he was conducting his investiga- 
tions, were quite demented, there could not possibly he 
an occasion for any altercation between the parties as 
to a question of the Hindu's religion. Then, again, if 
the habits and prejudices of the Hindus in those times be 
taken into consideration, it would seem quite impossible 


^t Pirali would have invited any number of them 
to his house, or that they would have responded to the 
invitation so far as to enter his dining-room. Hindus 
and Mahomedans very often exchange visits for cere- 
monial and official purposes. But even when thej are 
on the most friendly terms, a man professing the one 
religion will not ask a votary of the other to sit by his 
table while he is at dinner. The orthodox Hindu's pre- 
judices are such that after sitting on the same carpet with 
a Mahomedan or a Christian friend, or shaking hands 
with such a person, he has to put off his clothes, and to 
bathe or sprinkle his person with the holy water of the 
Granges. The Mahomedan gentleman of the countiy 
who raow well of these prejudices on the part of their 
Hindu fellow-countrymen^ therefore, never ask them to 
mix too familiarlv, and the Hindus also keep themselves 
at a sufficient distance to avoid that they must regard 
as contaminations. The dwelling-house of every native 
of India, be he a Hindu or a Mahomedan, consists of two 
parts, namely, the zenana and the hoytahhana. The 
zenana apartments are reserved for the ladies, and the 
dining-rooms for the members of the house are always 
within the zenana. The bot/takhana is the outer part 
of the house where visitors are received. The Mussal- 
mans do sometimes entertain their co-religionists in the 
boytakhana ; but no orthodox Hindu would enter such 
a place while the plates are in it, or would remain there 
a moment after any sign of preparations for introducing 
any kind of cooked eatables. 

From what is stated above, it would appear that the 
causes assigned by the Piralis themselves for their 
degradation cannot satisfactorily account for their 
status in the Hindu caste system. From the general 
tenor of their story, it seems more probable that Puru- 
shottama was an officer in the staff of the surveyor, 
Pirili, and that, as Amins and their underlings usually 
do, he made himself very unpopular among his co- 
reUgionists by attempting to invade the titles to their 


patrimonj, bo as to lead them to club together for 
ostracising him on the allegation that he had tasted 
or smelt forbidden food. 

The reason why the Firalis left their original 
habitat, and settled in Caloutta, is not far to seek. 
Pamshottama who was first outcasted had evidently 
made his native village too hot for him. He removed 
to Jessore ; but even at Jessore he could not have, in 
his degraded condition, found many friends. His de- 
scendant, Panchanana, therefore removed to Calcutta 
in search of employment, and a place where he could 
live in peace. Cfalcutta was then practically ruled by 
the East India Company, who had no reason whatever to 
pay any regard to any rule or decree of caste disci- 
pline. The majority of the well-to-do population of 
Caloutta were then of the weaver caste, with a sprink- 
ling of Sonar Banyas and E^ayasthas. Good Brahmans 
visited the towns sometimes for ministering to their 
disciples or collecting the donations of the rich Sudras 
to their tales or Sanskrit schools. But those were 
days when the orthodox and respectable Brahmans 
of Bengal considered it beneath their dignity to engage 
in secular pursuits, and even to those who were in- 
clined to pocket their pride for the sake of pelf, the 
service of the East India Company could not then 
have much attraction. Whatever the cause might have 
been, the Brahmanic population of Calcutta was not 
very large in its early days. When such was the state 
of things Panchanana settled in it. A Brahman is a 
Brahman though outcasted by his clansmen. The 
Sonar Banyas of Calcutta were themselves outcastes, 
and as for the Tantis and Kayasthas, they could have 
neither the motive nor the power to subject the outcaste 
Panchanana to any kind of persecution. The Setts and 
the Malliks actually befriended his family, though ap- 
parently without recognizing their status as' Brannians 
so far as to accept their hospitality in any shape. In 
Prasanna Kumar Tagore's account of his family nistory 


it is stated that Ram Krishna Mallik exchanged turbans 
with his ancestor Darpa Narain. That was no donbt 
a sign of friendship, bnt not of the kind of venera- 
tion which Banyas mast have for good Brahmans. 
It is said however that for nearly half a century after 
the arrival of their ancestor, Panchanana, in Calcutta^ 
the Piralis were recognized as good Brahman. Bat 
when they became wealthy and influential, the late 
Babu Dnrga Charan Mukerji, of Bag Bazar, formed a 
party for degrading them. Perhaps some of the Kay- 
astha magnates of Calcutta secreily supported Durga 
Charan in persecuting the Piralis. 

The way in which the Tagores of the last century 
attained their wealth is not well known. Panchanana's 
son Jairam, by serving as an Amin for the survey and- 
settlement of the villages acquired by the East India 
Company under the charter of Emperor Ferokshere, 
apparently laid a substantial foundation. His youngest 
son Govinda, who superintended the building of Fort 
William, presumably improved the patrimony materially. 
Darpa Narain, the third son of Jairam and the greats 
grandfather of Sir Maharaja Jotindra Mohan, held for 
some time a high office in the service of the French 
East India Company. Nilmoni, the second son of Jai- 
ram and the grandfather of the celebrated Dwarka 
Nath Tagore, did not inherit any share of the family 
estate. But he was befriended by one of the Sonar 
Banaiya millionaires of his time, and was enabled by his 
friend to build a separate house for his residence on 
the site now occupied by the palatial mansion belong- 
ing to his descendants. Nilmoni's second son, Ram Moni, 
served as a clerk in the Police Court. Dwarka Nath, 
the second son of Ram Moni, made himself wealthy and 
famous in various ways. He began his career by enter- 
ing the service of the Government of Bengal in the 
Salt Department. 

About the beginning of the present century when the 
estates of most of the great zemindars of Bengal were 



brought to sale, for arrears of revenue, the Pirali Tagores 
bought many valuable properties, and became themselves 
great zemindars. The total income of the several branch- 
es of the Tagore family mnst at present be more than 
£100^000. The leading members of the clan in the last 
generation were Dwarka Nath Tagore, Prasnnna Kxmiar 
Tagore and Ramanath Tagore. Among the living 
celebrities of the family, Maharaja Sir Jotindra Mo- 
hun Tagore is deservedly esteemed as one of its bright- 
est ornaments. He was a member of the Legislative 
Council of India for several years, and the British 
Government of India has conferred m)on him evenr possi- 
ble title of honour at its disposal. His brother Maharaja 
Sourendra Mohan Tagore is a votary of the science of 
music, but at the same time has been steadily improving 
his estate by efficient management like his illustrious 
brother. Dwarka Nath's son Devendra Nath is now in 
*' sear and yellow leaf" of life. On account of his devo- 
tion to religion he is usually called a Maharshi or Saint. 
His son Satyendra Nath is the first Hindu member of the 
Indian Civil Service, and is now employed as a District 
Judge in the Bombay Presidency. Babu Kali Krishna 
Tagore, who represents another branch, does not move 
much in Calcutta society ; but next to Sir J. M. Tagore, 
he is perhaps the richest member of the family. 

From a long time the Tagores have been struggling 
hard to be restored to caste. Ward says that Raja 
Krishna Chundra of Nadiya was promised one lac of 
rupees by a Pirali, if he would only honour him with a 
visit for a few minutes, but he refused. Similar offers, 
though of smaller amounts, have been again and again 
made to the great Pandits of Nadiya, but nave been simi- 
larly declined. But the Tagores are now fast rising in 
the scale of caste. Poor Brahmans now more or less 
openly accept their gifts, and sometimes even their hospi- 
tality ; and Sir J. M. Tagore is on the way towards acqmr- 
ing an influence on the Pandits which may one day 
enable him to re-establish his family completely in caste. 


The Brahmans that minister to the low Sudra castes 
and outcastes, are looked upon as degraded persons, and 
they generally form separate castes. The good Brah- 
mans will not take even a drink of water from their 
hands, and intermarriage between them is quite ont 
of the question. In Bengal the following classes of 
Sadras and ontcastes have special priests : — 

1. Sonar Vaniya--Oold merchanta. 

2. Croala— Cowherds. 

3. Kalo — Oilmen. 

4. Dhopa— Waahermen. 

6. Baffdi— Aboriginal tribe of woodoattera and fiahermen. 
6. Kaibarta. 

The priests of each of these classes form independent 
castes, withoat the right of intermarriage or dining 
together with any other section of the Brahmanic 
caste. With the exception of a few of the Sonar 
Vaniya Brahmans, these Bama Brahmans, as they are 
callea, are mostly very poor, and utterly without any 
kind of social position. The priests of the Kaibartas 
are in some places called Yyasokta Brahmans. 

§ 2. — Bama Brahmans of Mithila. 

The following castes of Mithila have special Brah* 
mans :— 

Tatwa— Weaver. 
Tell— Oilman. 
Kaaara— Brasier. 
Sonar— Ooldamitfa. 

( 125 ) 



§ 3. — Bama Brahmans of Gujrat and Rajputana. 

The following are regarded as Baraa Brahmans in 
Gujrat, and have a low caste status : — 

Abhira Brahmans— Priests of the cowherd caste. 

Kunbi Gour—Priests of the Kunbis. 

Gajara Gour— Priests of the Gujars. 

Machi Gour— Priests of the Machi or fishermen. 

Gandharpa Gour-— Priests of the musicians. 

Koli Gour — Priests of the Kolis. 

Garudyas— Priests of the Ghamhars and Dheds. 

§ 4. — Bama Brahmans of Telingana. 

The following are the names of the classes of Tai- 
langi Brahmans that minister to the low castes : — 

1. Ganda Dravidras. 

2. Nambi Varlu. 

§ 5. — Bama Brahmans of Malabar, 
1. Eledus—Priests of the Kairs. 


Of the Brahmans who are considered as having a 
very low status on account of their being connected 
with the great public shrines, the following classes are 
the most important : — 

1. GayaliB of Gaya. 

2. Chowbays of Muttra. 

3. Pokar Sevaks of Pushkar. 

4. Ganga Putraa of Benares. 

5. Pandas of Orissa. 

6. Pandarams of Southern India. 

7. Prayagwalas of Praya^i: or Allahabad. 

8. Divas— connected with the Ballavachari shrines of West- 

ern India. 

9. Moylars— connected with the Madhava temples of Tula- 

va ; said to be of spurious bii*th. 

10. Ambaiavasis— connected with the shrines in Malabar. 

11. Nunibi Brahmans— connected with the public shrines of 


Most of these classes are very rich, but utterly il- 
literate. Mere residence in a place of pilgrimage, for 
a few generations, tends to lower the status of a family. 
The Bengali Brahmans settled at Benares are called by 
their clansmen Kashials, and looked down upon as men 
whose birth is spurious, or as being in the habit of 
earning their livelihood by accepting forbidden gifts. 
The Brahmans of Southern India also look down upon 
their clansmen, permanently residing in Benares, without 
any connection with their native country.* 

*The reader may have some idea of this feeling from the f oUowing 
panage in Mr. Wilkin's Modern ffinduUm : — 
A few months ago, when travelling on the East India Bailway, 

( 127 ) 


The Somparas connected with the shrine of Somnath 
seem to have a higher position than the priests of the 

public shrines usually have. There is a class of Brah- 
mans in the Doab who call themselves Ghowbays of 
Mathura, but have nothing to do with priestly work. 
These are very high class Brahmans. There are many 
learned Sanskritists and English scholars among them. 
Some of them hold high offices in the service of Govern- 
ment and also of the Native States. One of the 
greatest of these is Kumar Jwala Prasad, who is at 
present the District Judge of Azimgarh. His father, 
Eaja Jai Kishen, rendered eminent services to the 
Government at the time of the Sepoy Mutiny, and 
is still employed as a Deputy Collector. Another 
member of the Chowbay caste, named Baghu Nath Das, 
is the Prime Minister of Kota. 

I met with two Brahmans from Mysore. They are educated men ; 
one of them was expecting to appear in the foUoMing B. A. 
Examination of the Madras University. When we were leaving 
Benares, it occurred to me to ask if tney had any friends in that 
holy city. They said, — '* No, but we soon found some Brahmans 
from our part of the country." I said '*oh, then you were well 
received and hospitably entertained by them of course? " I shall never 
forget the look of infinite disdain with which one of them replied : 
" Do you think we would eat with men who live in such a city as 
Benares, and associate with Brahmans of this district ? No, we con- 
tented ourselves whilst there with one meal a day, which we cooked for 
ourselves." My question appeared to them about as reasonable as 
if I had asked a nobleman in England if he had dined with scaven- 
ger.— Wilkin's Modem Hinduism, pp. 163 161. 


By the religions codes of the Hindus, the acceptaoca 
of certain kinds of movables, snch as elephants, horses, 
etc., is strictly forbidden. But in actual practice even 
high caste Brahmans are sometimes led by poverty 
to accept such gifts, especially where the transaction 
takes place in a distant part of the country, and under 
circumstances that may render it possible lor the donee 
to keep his act of sin unknown to his clansmen. If 
the fact becomes known to them he is outcasted, and his 
descendants remain in the same condition, so long as the 
nature of the original cause of their degradation is 
remembered by their fellow-castemen. But in almost 
every such case the family recovers its lost position after 
a few generations, and no separate caste is formed. 
There are, however, certain kinds of gifts which good 
Brahmans never accept, and which only certain classes of 
degraded Brahmans are held to be entitled to. These 
Brahmans are called Maha-Brahman in Northern India, 
Agradani in Bengal, Agra Bhikshu in Orissa, and Acha- 
rya in Western Cidia. The Maha-Brahmans or Great 
Brahmans are so-called by wa^ of irony. Their caste 
status is so low that good Hmdus consider their very 
touch to be contaminatin c, and actuaUy bathe if accident- 
ally affected by such pollution. Almost all the classes 

B, EC ( 129 ) 9 


mentioned above take a part in the ceremonies which 
have to be performed within the first ten days after a 
man's death. A great many of them claim also the 
wearing apparel of the deceased and his bedding, as 
their perquisites. 

There is a class of Brahmans in and near Benares 
called Sawalakhi. They are considered as degraded on 
account of their being in the habit of accepting gifts 
from pilgrims within the holy city of Benares. The 
Sawakkhis are not treated as an unclean class, and a 
^ood Brahman will take a drink of water from their 

There is a class of Brahmans in the N.-W* Pro- 
vinces called Bhattas who minister as priests in cere- 
monies for the expiation of the sin of cow-killing. 
They are regarded as very unclean. 

The Maruiporas who officiate in some public buming- 
gh&ts as paid priests have a lower position than that of 
even the Maha-Brhmans and the Agradanis. Gene- 
rally the function is performed by the ordinary family 
priests without fee of any kind. But in some buming- 
ghftts certain families claim an exclusive right to ad- 
minister the sacrament to the dead, and claim heavy 
fees in the most heartless manner. These are in Bengal 
called Maruiporas, literally, dead burners. In Western 
India they are called Achaiyas. 

In Rajputana and the neighbouring districts there is 
a kind of Brahman called Dakotand also Sanichar,who 
accept gifts of oil and sesamum made for propitiating 
the planet Saturn. They are, therefore, regarded as de- 
graded Brahmans* 


The Bhninhars are now chiefly tillers of the soil ; but 
apparently the original cause of their being lowered in 
the scale of caste was the adoption of the military pro- 
fession, and their snbsequent practice of agricolture has 
served only to degrade them a little fartner. Of the 
sections of the Brahmanical caste which are held to be 
more or less degraded on account of their being agri- 
cnlturists, the following may be mentioned here : — 

1. Tagas— Kurukflhetra country. 

2. Tngalas-^foand on the banks of the Krishna in the 

Southern Maharatta country. 

3. Soparas — found in Bassein. 

4. Sajhodra— found in Gujrat. 

5. Bluitelas — found near Broach. 

0. Mastania^found in Orissa and Gujrat. 

Among the classes degraded by menial service may 
be mentioned the following : — 

1. Javahi — ooeks in the Maharatta country. 

2. Gugali — servants of the Vallabhachari Maharajas. 

3. Sanchora— cooks, found chiefly in Gujrat. 

( 131 ) 



Thb political importance of the Bajpnts in India is 
well known, and I need not, in this book, say anything 
as to what their position had been until the conntrj 
became subject to Moslem role. Their past history is 
a glorious one ; and although it is long smce they nsLve 
been shorn of their ancient greatness, yet it cannot be 
said even now that they have no importance whatever. 
From time immemorial, they looked upon war and 

E)litics as their only proper sphere, and although the 
rahmans allowed to them the privilege of studying 
the Shastras, yet they never devoted their attention to 
the cultivation of letters. The traditions of their fami- 
lies, and the hereditary aptitude for the art of warfare 
developed in them, made them the perfect type of good 
soldiers. But their want of literary culture made tneir 
great generals incapable of recording their own ex- 
periences in such manner as to be available for the 
benefit of their successors. The Bhats who served as 
their genealogists lavished praises on their ancestors, 
and excited them to feats of bravery, but could never 
give them anything like a good history. The Brah* 
manical Pur&ns distorted the &ots so as to suit the 
policy of their authors, and gave greater importance ta 

( 132 ) 


ike good or bad wishes of a Brahman, than to either 
miiitory or diplomatic skill. On the other hand, the 
Bajpats themselves were too illiterate to profit by even 
the little anthentic history that was in the Pnrans« The 
result was that, with all their natural talents and per- 
sonal bravery, they could not secure to the country a 
sufficient number of good generals and political minis- 
ters. A genius shone at times. But m no country 
and in no community are Chandra Guptas and Yikra^ 
madityas born every day. A natural genius like that 
of Sivaji or Banjit may do without any kind of edu- 
cation ; but the majority of even the best men in 
every country require training in order to develop their 
capacities, and the necessary means for that training 
was sadly wanting among the Rajputs. Thus, in spite 
of all their soldier-like virtues, they failed to cope with 
the early Mahomedan invaders. !But the greatest of 
the Manomedan rulers — not even Akbar or Alaudin-^ 
could break their power completely. The wrecks 
which they preserve still of their former greatness are 
not at all inconsiderable. The majority of the leading 
Hindu chiefs of India are still of their tribe. A great 
many of the Hindu landholders, big and smaU in 
every part of India, are also of the same caste. The 
Bajputs are still generally quite as averse to education 
as tneir ancestors ever were. But already some mem- 
bers of the class have shaken off their old prejudices, 
and have received the benefits of English education. 
And the time seems to be fast coming when the scions 
of the E[satriya aristocracy will prove to be formidable 
rivals to the Brahmans and the Ejlyasthas, in the race 
for high offices, and for distinction in the liberal pro- 
fessions. Some noble examples of such departure 
have already been set in Bengal The well-known 
Vakils, Babus Prasanna Chandra Boy and Saligram 
Sing, of the Bengal High Court, are Rajputs by 
caste. The former is a Rajput zemindar of Nadiya. 
In the early years of the Calcutta University he 


attained its highest honours, and for a time, practised 
with great success in the Bar of the Allahabad High 
Court. If he had continued in the profession, he might 
have been one of its recognized leaders ; but the exi- 
gencies of his patrimony and his indigo plantations 
compelled him to keep himself unconnected with the 
Bar for nearly twenty years. He has lately resumed his 
profession as a Vakil of the Bengal High Court, and 
is fast rising in eminence. In the Judicial Service of 
Bengal there are at present two gentlemen who are of 
the Uajput caste. They are the grandsons of the 
celebrated Babu Kesava Boy of Nakasipara, who was 
the terror of his district in his time, and who with his 
army of Goala clubmen successfully set at defiance the 
authorify of the police and the magistracy. 

The Rajputs are to be found in every part of India, 
and the total population of the tribe exceeds ten millions. 
The following table shows their numerical strength in 
each of the several Provinces where they are most 

numerous : — 

N.-W. ProviDoes ... 

... 3,793,433 


... 1,790,359 


.. 1,519,354 


... 785,227 

Central India 

... 713,683 


... 566.942 

Central Provinces ... 

... 379,297 




... 402,918 

There are no sub-castes among the Rajputs properly 
so-called. They are divided into a large number of 
clans^ the rules among them relating to marriage 
being as follows : — 

1. Ko one can marry within his tribe* 

2. A g}r\ should be given in marriage to a bridegroom of a 

higher tribe. 

3. A male member of a Raj pot tribe may take in marriage 

any Bajput girl though of a lower class. 

Like the Sarswats, the Rajputs are said to marry 
within their Gotra provided the clan is different. 


The principal clans of the Rajpnts are the following: — 

1. Saryavansi (Solar race). 

2. Somvansi or GhandraTansi (Laoar race). 

3. Taduvanri* 

t' 52!55I^ 1 Born out of the sacred 

A rnSiJiV^^^ n/.w«ir{ r^^ in accordance with 

?: ChSK JtheprayerofBrahmans. 

8. Toar. 

9. Rathor. 

10. Katchwa. 

11. Grahilot. 

12. Bais. 

Besides these, there are twenty-four other principal 
chins, and each of these is divided into nnmerons snb- 
clans. The nsnal surnames of the Rajpnts are : Sing, 
Barman, Thakoor, Rant, Roy, &c. 

In respect to diet the Rajpnts do not strictly 
conform to the practice of high caste Hindus. There 
are many among them who eat both fish and such 
flesh as is not forbidden by the Shastras. Some 
eat even pork. There are, however, some among 
them who are very puritanic, and who do not eat any 
kind of animal food. Their caste vanity is such that 
it is very rare to find two Rajputs of different families 
who will eat together, and hence there is a common 
saying in the country that a '^ dozen Rajputs cannot do 
without at least thirteen kitchens." The Rajputs of 
Bengal eat kacJu food, t.^., rice, dal^ fish, or flesh cooked 
in water by a Brahman. In other parts of the country 
the practice is not uniform, and some Rajputs refuse 
to take kachi food even from a good Brahman of their 
country, unless such person is the spiritual guide of 
the family. As to pakki food, i.^., such as is prepared 
by frjring flour or vegetables in ghiy the Rajputs nave not 
much prejudice, and like the modem Brahmans of Bengal 
they will take it from any of the clean Sudra castes such 
as ihe Dhanuk, Kurmi, Kahar, Lobar, Barhi, Kumhar, 
Goala, Napit, Mali, Sonar and the Kaseri, provided that 
no salt or turmeric has been used in the making. These 
the Rajput will add himself before eating. 


The Bajpnt is the best person from whom a Brahman 
can accept a gift. A Brahman may also officiate as a 
priest in a Rajput household without lowering himself 
in the estimation of his castemen. There is nothing 
in the Shastras to prevent a Brahman from eating 
even kaeki food from the hands of a Rajput. But in 
actual practice the Brahmans do not eat such rice, 
daly fish or fiesh as is cooked, or touched after cooking, 
by a Rajput. The ghi cakes and sweetmeats made 
by the Rajputs are, however, eaten by the best Brah- 
mans, witn the exception of only a few of the over 
puritanic Pandits. The Brahmans will eat also kiu^hij 
food in the house of a Rajput, if cooked by a Brahman, 
and untouched by the host after cooking. The following 
is a list of the leading Rajput chiefs of India together 
with the names of the clans to which they belong : — 

Bana of Udaipar ... Sisodya branch of the Gia- 

hilot clan of Saryavansi 

Maharaja of Jodhpur ... Bather olan of SuryaTansi 

Maharaja of Bikaneer ... Bather clan of Saryavansi 

Maharaja of Kiflhengarh ... Bather clan of SaryaYansi 

ICaharaja of Jaipore ... Kachawa clan of SnryaTansi 

Maharao Baja of Alwar ... Naruka clan. 

Maharaja of Jaisalmir ... Tadu Bhati clan. 

Maharaja of Jhalwar ... Jhala clan. 

Maharaja of Karaoli ... Jadun clan of Tadnvanri 

Maharaja of Kota ... Chaohan. 

Maharao Baja of Band! ... Hara aept of Ohauhans. 

Maharaja of Vudanagram ... Of the same dan as the 

Banaof Udaipar.* 

The number of minor chiefs and landholders who 
are of the Rajput caste is so large that a complete list 

* The ICahaxBjft of VidADMrrain, in the Vixigapatam district, represents the 
royal house of ttie andent Ejuinga country. Acowding to the local traditions, one 
of his remote ancestors, named Madhava Varma, came to the Teluga country 
from the north, and hayinff conquered it, settled there with all his followers, 
who are divided into Ato cluses. Intermsrrlaffe stlU takes plaee between these 
Rajputs and those of Northern India. But there is in Kalinga another dass of 
the military csste who sre called Ehond Rajus (Lit , hill GhattrisX Hie Gsjapatt 
Rajas are Khond RaJus, and intermairiage cannot take plaoo between them aa^ 
the Ri^puts properly ■o-calltd. 


of them cannot possibly be given in this book. The 
Haharaia of Domraon, near Arrah, one of the biggest 
landlords in Behar^ is a high caste Bajput, represening, 
it is said, the line of the great Yikramaditya. 

The Bajpnts are admitted by all to be true Ksatriyas 
and are not to be confounded with the Kshettris of the 
Punjab who are usually regarded as Buniyas, and an 
account of ^whom is given in the next clmpter. The 
inferior Bajpnts of Bengal are call Pukuria, or '^ Tonk- 
men." They wear the sacred thread, but some of them 
are to be found employed as domestic servants and 
tillers of the soil, 


There is very considerable difference of opinion as 
to the exact position of the Kshettris in the Hindu caste 
system. Some anthorities take them to be the same as 
the bastard caste Ksh&triy spoken of by Mann as the 
offspring of a Sndra father bj a Ksatriya mother.* 
The people of this country include the Kshettris among 
the Baniya castes, and do not admit that they have 
the same position as the military Rajputs. The 
Kshettris themselves claim to be Ksatriyas, and observe 
the religious rites and duties prescribed by the Shastras 
for the military castes. But the majority of them live 
either by trade or by service as clerks and accountants, 
and their caste status ought, it seems, to be intermediate 
between that of the Rajputs on the one hand, and the 
Baniyas and the Kayasthas on the other. 

In their outward appearance the Kshettris lack the 
manly vigour of the Rajput and the broad forehead of 
the Brahman. But they are generally very handsome, 
and with their slender figures, their blue sparkling eves, 
and their aquiline nose, some of them look exactly like 
the Jews whom they resemble also in their character. 
In trading as well as in service, they generally display 
great shrewdness. But there is not found among them 
either the enterprise of the Parsis, or the literary industry 

* See Bianu X, 12, 13 ; see alio Shyama Oharan'i VyavaHha Bar- 
pon, p. d59. 

( 138 ) 


of the Brahmans and the Kajasthas. What they want* 
in real ahility is, however, more than made np by their 
power of ingratiating themselves in the favonr of their 
masters at any oost. They possess in great abundance 
all the virtues and vices of courtiers. But while these 
form ilie most conspicuous features in their character, 
they combine in it a great deal of what is good and 
noble in the Brahman, the Rajput, the Baniya and 
the Kayastha. In CampbelFs Ethnology of India 
is to be found the following account of the Kshetri 
caste : — 

" Tnde ia their main occa^tion ; but in fact they have broader 
and more distinffaishing features. Besides monopotisin^ the trade 
of the Panjab and the greater part of Afghanistan, and doing a good 
deal beyond these limits, they are in the Panjab the chief civil 
administrators, and have almost all literate work in their hands. 
So for as the Sikhs have a priesthood they are, moreover, the priests 
or Gams of Sikhs. Both i^anak and Govind were, and the Sodis 
and Bedis of the |)reseBt day are, Kshetris. Thas, then, they are 
in fact in ^e Panjab, so far as a more energetic raoe will permit 
them, all that the Maharatta Brahmans are in the Maharatta 
e<Mintry, besides engrossing the trade which the Maharatta Brah- 
mans have not. They are not usually military in their character, but 
arc qaite capable of using the sword when necessary. Dewan 
Sawan Mull, Governor of Mooltan, and his notorious successor 
Mnlraj, and very many of Ranjit Sing's chief functionaries, were 
Kshetris. Even under Mahomedan rulers in the west they have 
risen to high administrative posts. There is a record of a Kshetri 
I>ewan of Badakshan or Kunduz; and, I believe, of a Kshetri 
Governor of Peshwar under the Afghans. The Emperor Akbar's 
Camoas minister, Todar Mull, was a Kshetri ; and a relative of that 
man of undoubted energy, the great commissariat contractor of 
AgTSk, Jotee Prasad, lately informed me that he also is a Kshetri. 
Altoi^ether, there can be no doubt that these Kshetris are one of the 
moet acute, enerjgfetic, and remarkable races of India. The Kshetris 
are staanoh Hmdus, and it is somewhat singular* that, while 
giving a religion and priests to the Sikhs, they tnemselves are com- 
parativelT seldom Sikhs. The Kshetris are a fine, fair, handsome 
race, and, as may be gathered from what I have already said, they 
are very generally educated. 

**No village can get on without the Kshetri, who keeps the ao- 
ooonts, does the banking business, and buys and sells the grain. 
They seem, too, to get on with the jpeople better than most traders 
and asoiers of this kind. In Afghanistan, among a rough and alien 
people, tiba Kshetris are, as a rule, confined to the position of 

* I eannot undoTBtand why Sir Goorge Campbell oonsidered thia circumstance 
a afngular one. It only illuatrates the common saying that a prophet is never 
bcmoazvd in his own oountry. Christ is not honoiuied by the Jews ; nor is 
Chaitanya bonoaied by the Bxahmazui of Nadlya. 


kumble dealers, shopkeepers, and money-lenders ; bat in that capa- 
dtr the Pathans seem to look at them as a kind of Talnable animal ; 
and a Pathan will steal another man's Kshetri. not only for the 
sake of ransom, but also as he mi^ht steal a miloh oow, or ai Jews 
might, I daresay, be carried off in the Middle Ages, with a view to 
render them profitable."— Campbell's Ethnology of /fu<ia» pp* 108— 

Many of the Kshettris now go to England, and those 
who do 80 are not very harshly treated oy their caste- 
men, as in other provinces. Some of the Kshettris have 
qualified to practise as barristers. 

There are foar main divisions among the Kshettris. 
The name of their first and most important division 
is Banjaij which is probably a corrupted form of the 
Sanskrit word Banijik meaning a *' trader.'' Their 
second division, the Sereens^ are probably so-called 
on account of their being, or having been at one time, 
SirinaSf i.e., ploughmen or cultivators. With regard to 
their third division, the KukkurSj* it is said that they 
derive their name from that of a district near the 
town of Find Dadan Khan on the Jhelum. The fourth 
division called Rorhas or Arorhas claim to be Kshetris, 
but are not regarded as such by any one except their 
own class. 

The Screens are to be found only in the Panjab. 
They have four main divisions among them, each of 
these having a large number of exogamous sections, 
as shown in the following table : — 

CUui ITo, 1. 

1. Nagar. 2. Koshe. 3. Kapani. 

4. BhaXU, 5. Monoaya. 

CUui No. 2. 

1. Kaher. 5. Moorgahi* 9. SodL 

2. Tihan. 6. Koondra. 10. Khoole. 
3w Buhb. 7. Kumra. 11. Pooroe. 
4. Bhubhote. 8. Ouse. 12. Jeoor. 

* The name of the Kakkur tribe is mentioned in the MoMJtiMbrtU, 
See UdyogaParva, Chap. XXVII. 


Ckui No. 3. 



6. Jummoo. 





7. Ghyee. 





8. Joolki. 





0. Soo9hL 





10. Mynra. 
16. Boochor. 

Clan No. 4. 





10. Sing race. 

11. Kudd. 









12. Kesor. 





13. Umat. 





14. Lambe. 





15. Lumb. 





16. Kupaee. 

17. Pathri. 









18. Hadd. 




The above lists, taken from SherriDg, were referred to 
Baba Sximera Singh, the Chief of the Sodi Q-nrns, now 
in charge of the Sikh Temple at Patna, and have been 
pronounced by him to be substantially correct The third 
Guru of the Sikhs, Ummer Das, was of the Bhalle 
dan, included in class No. 1, of the Screen Kshettris. 
The second Guru, Ungat, was of the Tihan clan, includ- 
ed in class No. 2. The last seven Gurus were all of 
the Sodi clan incladed within the same group. Guru 
Kanak, the founder of the sect, was not a Sereen, but a 
Banji of the inferior Bedi clan. His descendants 
are called Bedis. The last Guru left no descendants 
living, and the Sodis, who are now venerated by the 
Sikhs as his representatives, are the descendants of the 
following : — 

1. Pritbyi Ohand (Elder brother of Guru Arjoon.) 

2. Har Goyind. 

The Bhalles and Tihans form small communities. 
The Sodis and Bedis are verv numerous. The chief 
of the Bedis is now the Hon ble Baba Khem Sing, of 
Bawal Pindi, who has lately been made a member of 
the Legislative Council of India. The chief of the 
Sodis is, as stated above, Sumera Singh, the High 
Priest of the Sikh Temple at Patna, These gentlemen 
do not possess any knowledge of English, But they 


are both very intelligent, and there is an air of dignity 
and greatness in their very appearance which cannot 
fail to command notice and admiration. 

It has been already stated that the Bedis, who are 
descendants of Gum Nanak, belong to the Banjai 
division of the Kshettri caste, and that the Sodis belong 
to the division called Screen. Intermarriages, however, 
are now taking place between the Bedis and the Sodis. 

§ 2 The Kukhirs. 

The Kokknrs are found chiefly on the banks of 
the Indus and the Jhelum, near the towns of Pind- 
Dadan Khan, Peshawar, and Nowshera. Their usual 
surnames are — 

1. Anand. 4. Chads. 7. Kolee. 

2. Bhaseen. 5. Sooree. 8. Sabhurwal. 

3. Sohnee. 6. Sother. 9. Ussee. 

Mr. Sherring says that there are some Kukkurs in 
Benares. In Calcutta there m^y be some of the class, 
but I have never met with any one claiming to be so. 

§ 3. — Rorha or Arorha, 

These are, properly speaking, Baniyas. But as they 
take the sacred thread and claim to be Kshettris, they 
are included in the group dealt with in this chapter. 
They are found chiefly in the Panjab. Their total num- 
ber is 673,695. The majority of them are shopkeepers 
and brokers. The sweatmeat makers of Panjab are 
mostly Rorhas. The other classes of Kshettris neither 
eat with the Rorhas nor intermarry with them. 

§ 4. — Banjai Kshettris, 

The Banjai Kshettris are to be found throughout the 

greater part of Northern India. The total population of 

the class in each province is given in the following 

table : — 

Paniab ... ... ... 447,033 

Kashmir ... ... ... 52,392 

N.-W. ProTinoes ... ... ... 46,S50 

Bengal ... ... ... 121,071 



In Bengal proper the Kshettri population is very 
small. The only places in it where any considerable 
nnmber of them are found to be settled are Calcutta 
and Bordwan. The Calcutta Kshettris live here for 
trade ; the Burdwan Kshettris have been made to colo- 
nise there by the Maharajas of Burdwan, whose family 
are Kshettris of the Adrai Ghar clan. The Soni 
Kshettris of Behar who do the work of goldsmiths 
seem to have been enumerated as Kshettris in the last 
Census. But the Sonis are a distinct caste altogether, 
between whom and the good Kshettris there can neither 
be intermarriage nor intercharge of hospitality on a 
footing of equaUty. The E^shettri weavers of Gujrat are 
also a distinct caste. 

The Banjai Kshettris are divided into many hyper- 
gamous and exogamous groups which, with their titles, 
are shown in the following table : — 

Names of groupg. Namn of elans and titles, 

1. Khanna. 

f 1. Bahel. 

2. Dhouwan* 

3. Beri. 

4. Vij. 
6. Saigol. 
6. Chopra. 

[ 1. Upal. 

2. Dugal. 

3. Puri. 

4. Kochar. 

5. Nande. 

6. Mahipe. 

7. Hande. 

8. BhaUe. 

9. Mangal. 

10. Badahre. 

11. Sowti. 
U2. Kulhar. 

Besides the above there are many other Kshettri 
clans which have a very low status. The Adrai Ghar 
Kshettris have the highest position in the caste, and 
though they may take in marriage a girl from a family 

, j 1. Adrai Gbar 
*•"" 1 2. Char Ghar 

••( I' 

I 4. 

2.— Cha»ti or " the sex clans " 

0.— Bora Ghor or " the twelve clans " * 


144 THl lOLITART 0AST18. 

of a lower group, they will never give a daughter of 
their own family to a bridegroom of a lower statns. 
The Maharaja of Bnrdwan is of the Adrai Ghar clan. 
Gum Nanak^ the founder of the Sikh religion, was a 
Banjai Kshettri of the inferior class called Bedi. The 
other Sikh Gurus were all of the Sereen tribe. 

The Sarswat Brahmans of the Panjab usually 
officiate as priests in Kshettri households. It is said 
that the Sarswats will eat even kachi food cooked by 
a Kshettri. If they do so, they are quite within the 
law of the Shastras. The Brahmans of the other parts 
of the country do not honour the Kshettris by accepting 
their hospitality in the shape of kachi food cookcKi by 
them. But no Brahman will hesitate to accept their 

S'fts^ or to take a drink of water from them. Those 
rahmans of Bengal and N.-W. Provinces whose re- 
Ugious scruples are not very strong, will take from the 
hand of a Kshettri pakki food unmixed vnth water 
or salt They will eat also kaclu food in the house of 
a Kshettri, if choked by a Brahman, and untouched by 
the host after cooking. 

The bastard descendants of the Kshettris are called 
Pvriwalj a name which literally means a person be- 
longing to a town. The PuriwaU form a distinct caste, 
and the Sahu Kshettris or Kshettris of pure blood do 
not intermarry with them. 


Thb Jats are the most important element in the 
rural population of the Panjab and the western districts 
of the Nt)rth-Westem Provinces. The last Census 

fives the following figures as the population of the 
ats in the several provinces of India where thej are 
found : — 









N.-W. Provinces 


Centrai India 


The Jats do not wear the sacred thread ; and have 
among them certain customs which are more like those 
of the Sudras than of the twice-born castes. But in 
every other respect they are like the Bajputs. Or- 
dinarily, the majority of ooth the Jats and tne Rajputs 
live by practising agriculture. But when the occasion 
arises, the Jat can wield the sword as well as the most 
aristocratic of the military castes. The late Lion of 
the Panjab and many of his leading generals were of the 
Jat tribe. To the same clan belongs also the Maharaja 
of Bhnrtpur^ whose ancestors, from the beginning 
of the last century, played an important part in the 
politics of Northern India, and at the time of the con- 
quest of the Doab by Lord Lake compelled that great 
general to raise the siege of Bhurtpur which he had 
undertaken. The present reigning family of Dholepore 
are also Jats. The Jats themselves claim to be Ksatri- 
yas. But as they do not wear the holy thread, they are 
B, HC ( 145 ) 10 

146 THB JAT8. 

usually looked upon as having the status of only clean 
Sudras. There cannot therefore be intermarriage be- 
tween the Jats and the Rajputs. The Jats are, like 
the Rajputs, divided into a large number of exogamous 
groups, and, among them, as among the superior E^a- 
triyas, marriage is impossible between parties who are 
members of the same clan. The Jats nave been sup- 
posed, by some of the best authorities on Indian ethnology 
and antiquities, to be a Scythic tribe. General Cunning- 
ham identifies them with the Zantkii of Btrabo and the 
Jatii of Pliny and Ptolemy, and fixes their parent 
country on the banks of the Oxus between Bactria, 
Hyrkania, and Khorasmia. But the sufficiency of the 
grounds on which this view rests has been questioned, 
Prichard remarks : — 

" The supposition that the Jati of the Indas are descendants of the 
YuBtschi does not appear altofj^ther preposterous, but it is supported 
by no proof except the very triiiinflr one of a slight resemolance 
of names. The physical characters of the Jats are extremely 
different from those attributed to the Yuetsehi and the kindred 
tribes by the writers cited by Klaproth and Abel Remusat who say 
they are of sanguine complexions with blue evea^—Beseardies 
IV, 132, 

The question cannot possibly be answered in a satis- 
factory manner so long as the ethnology and history of 
Russia and Central Asia are not carefully investigated 
by scholars. There are certainly historical works 
in Russia and Central Asia which might throw a flood 
of light on many an obscure passage of Indian history. 
But the necessary facilities for such study are sadly 
wanting at present, and the state of things is not likely 
to improve, until Russian scholars come forward to take 
their proper share in the field of Oriental research. 
In India itself a great deal yet remains to be done to 
provide the necessary basis of the ethnological sciences. 
A beginning has been made by Messrs. Dalton, Risley 
and Ibbetson. But the work must be prosecuted more 
vigorously before it can be expected to yield any 
important results. 


Thb word Khandait literally means a " swordsman." 
The Ehandaits are to be found chiefly in Orissa and 
in the adjoining districts of Chntia Nagpore. Thej 
were the fighting class of Orissa under the Hindu 
kings of the province. They are divided into two main 
sub-classes called the Mahanayaka or the Sreshta 
Khandaits, and the Paik or Ghasa Khandaits. These 
names indicate that the former represent the ancient 
military commanders, and the latter the rank and file 
who are now mainly agriculturists, and are there- 
fore called Chasa Khandaits. Intermarriage between 
these sub-classes is not impossible, but is very rare in 
practice. Intermarriage takes place sometimes between 
the Khandaits and the Karans of the NuUa clan. 

Whatever their origin may have been, the Khandaits 
have now very nearly the same position as the Rajputs. 
The best Brahmans do not hesitate to accept their gifts, 
or to minister to them as priests. The Khandaits do not 
take the sacred thread at the time prescribed for the 
Ksatriyas. But they all go through the ceremony at 
the time of their marriage, and their higher classes 
retain the thread for ever as the twice-born castes are 
required by the Shastras to do. With regard to the 
Chasa Khandait, it is said that they throw away the 
janeo on the fourth day after marriage. There is a class 
of Khandaits in Chutia Nagpore who are called Chota 
Khandaits. They are in the habit of eating fowls and 
drinking spirits. The Brahmans regard them therefore 

( 147 ) 


as an nnclean caste, and will not take even a drink of 
water from their hands. The usual titles of the Khan- 
daits of Orissa are as stated below : — 

1. Baffha, Tiger, 

2. Banubalendra, Like the god Indra in einngth o/ arm, 

3. Dakhin Kabat, South gate, 

4. Daabarik, Sentinel at the gate, 

6. Oarh Nayaka, Commander of the fort, 

6. BsktU Elephant, 

7. Jena. 

8. Maharath or Bfaharathi, Oreat Charioteer, 

9. Bfalla, WreHler, 

10. Mansaraj. 

11. Nayaka, Leader, 

12. Pasohim Kabat, West gate, 

13. Praharaj. 

14. Baha BiahA, Lion cf the ftght. 

15. Rout. 

16. Rui. 

17. Samanta, Qfieer. 

18. Samara Sinha, Lion of the fight, 

19. SoDapati, General, 

20. Sinha, Lion. 

21. Uttara Kabat, North gate. 


Thb Marattas are the military caste of the Maha- 
ratta countiy. Their position in the Hindu caste 
system was originally not a very high one, and even 
now it is not exactly the same as that of the Rajputs of 
Northern India. But the political importance acquired 
by them, since the time of Sivaji, who was a member of 
their community, has enabled them to form connec- 
tion by marriage with many of the superior Rajput 
families, and they may be now regarded as an inferior 
clan of the Rajput caste. The lower classes of the 
Marattas do not go through the ceremony of the Upa- 
nayana, or investiture wim the thread. But they take 
it it at the time of their marriage, and are not held to 
be altogether debarred from its use. Their right to 
be reckoned as Esatriyas is recognised by the Brah- 
mans in various other ways. Even the most orthodox 
Brahmans do not hesitate to accept their gifts, or to 
minister to them as priests. The only ground on which 
they may be regarded as an inferior caste is the fact 
that they eat fowls. But in no part of the country 
are the military castes very puritanic in their diet. 

The Marattas have two main divisions among them. 
The branch called the ^' seven families " has a superior 
status. The great Sivaji, and the Rajas of Nagpore 
and Tanjore were members of this division. The 
** seven families " are — 

L. Bhonslay. 

2. Mohita. 

3. Birkhe. 

4« Ahin Boo. 

6. Gajar (not the same as 
tnoseof Gajrat.) 

6. Nimbalkoar. 

7. Ghorepore. 

( 149 ) 


There is another division among the Marattas called 
the '^ninety-Bix families." These have an inferior 
status. The Maharajas of GwaUor and Baroda are of 
this class. The inferior Marattas are usually employed 
hj the superior castes as domestic servants. The 
Maratta tribe is not to be confounded with the tribe 
called Mahars who serve as village watchmen and also 
practise the art of weaving. The Mahars are an un- 
clean tribe, while the Marattas are certainly a clean 
caste. The name of the Maratta country seems to be 
derived from that of the Maratta tribe. 


Thb Nairs of Malabar and Travancore are more a 
tribe than a caste. Tbej are generally said to be all 
Sodras, and they have among them a large number of 
sections pursuing different avocations, from that of the 
soldier to the most degrading forms of menial service. 
The last Census includes them among the military and 
dominant castes, and as the Maharaja of Travancore is a 
Nair, I do not see any strong reason to give the tribe a 
different place in the caste system. The Nairs have 
among them many who are well educated, and who 
hold very high positions in the service of Government 
and in the liberal professions. The caste status of 
these is similar to that of the Eayasthas of Northern 
India. But there are some sections among the Nairs 
whose usual occupation is menial work, and the status 
of the entire body of the Nairs cannot be said to be 
the same as that of the writer castes. The following 
are the names of the different sections of the Nairs : — 

L Yalaima. First in rank. 

2. Kcrathi. 

3. Ilakara. 

4. Bbrubakara. 

5. Panda Mangolam. 

6. Tamilipaudam. 

7. PaUcham, Bearers or seryants to the Nambari Brah- 


8. Shakaular or Velakaudn. Oilmen. 

9. Palikai or Audam Nairs. Potters. 

10. Velatbadam or Erinkulai. Washermen for Brahmans 
and Nairs. 

( 151 ) 


11. Pariari or Yelakathara. Barbers for Brahmans and 


12. Anitachamamr. Menial serrants to Brahmans and 


13. Yedaohairai or Torma. Cowherds. 

14. Kulata or Velur. 

15. Yahbfluri. Merchants. 

16. Udatu. Boatmen. 

The peculiarities in the social constitution and in the 
marriage laws of the Nairs have been described already. 
See p. 107, ante. Their nniqne customs and laws are 
the outcome of the undue advantage taken upon them 
by their priests, the Numburi Brahmans. The nominal 
marriage which every Nair girl has to go through with 
a Brahman is a source of profit to the titular husband. 
The freedom which is subsequently given to the girl to 
choose her male associate from an equal or a superior 
tHbe is also advantageous to the Numburis. But the 
Nairs are being roused to the necessity of better laws, 
and they have of late been demanding for special legisla- 
tion in order to get rid of their ancient customs, and 
to have the benefit of such laws as are recognised by 
the Hindu Shastras. 


Ik the extreme south of India the most important 
military caste is that of the Maravans. The Rajas of 
Ramnad, and Sivaganga are of this caste. The head 
of the Maravans is the Raja of Ramnad who assumes 
the surname of Setupati or '' Master of the Bridge," 
though it has been decided bj the Privy Council 
that the dmne of Rameshw belongs to its priest, 
and not to the Raja of Ranmad. The Raja of Ramnad 
is, however, entitled to great honor from the other 
Rajas and noblemen of his caste. ^' The Raja Tondiman, 
of Puthukottei, the Raja of Sivaganga, and the eighteen 
chiefs of the Tanjore country must stand before him 
with the palms of their hands joined together. The 
chiefs of Tinnevelly, such as Kataboma Nayakkan, 
of Panjala Kureichi, Serumali Nayakkan, of Kudal 
Kundei, and the Tokala Totiyans being all of inferior 
caste, should prostrate themselves at full length before 
the Setupati, and after rising must stand and not be 

The Maravans are said to be in the habit of eating 
flesh and drinking wine. But they are regarded as a 
clean caste, and the Brahmans evince no hesitation to 
accept their gifts. The Maravans allow their hair to 
grow without limit, and both sexes wear such heavy 
ornaments on their ears as to make the lobe reach the 

* Nelaon's Jfomuil cf Madwrc^ Part II, p. 41. 

( 153 ) 


shoulders. Unlike the other races of the locality the 
Maravans are tall, well bailt and handsome. 

The Ahamdians cannot be regarded as a separate 
caste. Thej are rather an inferior branch of the 
Maravans. Intermarriage is allowed between the two 
classes. The total population of the Maravans is more 
than three hundred thousand. 

The Kalians have a very bad reputation. Their very 
name implies that they are a criminal tribe. They 
have some big men among them. Mr. Nelson, in 
speaking of the Kalians, says : — 

*' The bovhood of every Kalian is snppoted to be passed in aoquir- 
ing the rudiments of the only profession lie can be naturally adapted, 
namely, that of a thief and robbery. At fifteen he is usually en- 
titled to be considered as proficient, and from that time forth, he is 
allowed to grow his hair as lon^ as he pleases, a privilege denied to 
younger boys. At the same time, he is often rewardM for his ex- 
perience as a thief by the hand of one of his female relations. 

" The Kalians worship Shiva, but practise the rite of oircorndBion 
like the Mahomedans/' 



Thb Poliyas and the Eoch of North Bengal seem 
from their physiognomy to be a Mongolian race. They 
are now purely agricnltural. Bnt they may come 
within the class ronndraca enumerated by Manu* 
among the Esatriya clans reduced to the condition of 
Sudras by not practising the rites prescribed for them. 
The Poliyas themselves derive their class name from 
the SansKrit word Palayita which means a '' fugitive," 
and claim to be fugitive Esatriyas degraded to the 
rank of Sudras for the cowardice betrayed by them 
in a great battle which took place at some remote 
period of antiquity. The Eoch were at one time a very 
powerful tribe, and their kingdom extended over a large 
portion of North Bengal. The Eoch Rajas of Eoch 
Behar and Bijni are I^lieved by the Hindus to be the 
progeny of the great God Siva, ani to have three eyes 
like their divine ancestor. The notion is so deep-rooted 
that it has not been eradicated even by the constant 
appearance of the present Maharaja of Eoch Behar 
before the public. 

* See Mana X, 44. 

( 155 ) 


Thb Agnris of Bengal claim to be the Ugra Ksa- 
triya caste spoken of in Mann's Code X, 9. In Mr. 
Oldham's recent work on the Ethnology of Burdvxin^ 
the right of the Aguri to be reckoned as identical with 
the Ugra Esatriyas has been questioned. But Mr. 
Oldham's theory that the Agnris are the product of 
illicit unions between the E^hettris and the Bhodgopas, 
has been shown to be utterly unfounded.* It can with 

* See the following extract from a review of Mr. Oldham's work 
which appeared in a recent issue of the B^ and Rayj^et, 

The toeory that the Aguris are the product of unions between the 
Kshettris of the Burdwan Raj family, and the Sadgopae of the 
Oopbhum dynasty, does not appear to be supported by an^ kind of 
proof, historical or ethnological. Mr. Oldham says that his theory 
IS based upon admissions made by the Agnris themselves. Bnt 
knowing what we do of them, it seems to ns impossible that any 
of them would have given such a humiliating account of their origin. 
At any rate, according to the principles of the law of evidence 
recognised by almost every system of jurisprudence, an admission 
cannot be necessarily conclusive. In the case under consideration, 
there are very strong reasons why, in spite of Mr. Oldham's 
certifying it as properly recorded, the so-called admission should 
be rejected altogether. The ground on which we base this^ view 
is that there are among the Aguris many families whose history is well 
known to extend to a far earlier period than the time of even Aba 
Boy and Babu Roy, the founders of the Burdwan Raj. Then again, 
the ethnic and moral characteristics of the Aguris clearly mark 
them out as a separate community, nnlike any other caiste to be 
found in Bengal. They are by nature, hot tempered, and incapable 
of bearing subordination, while the Kshettris and Sadgopas, whom 
Mr. Oldham supposes to be their progenitors, are endowed by 
qualities the very opposite of these. A Kshettri would do anything 
to secure the good graces of his master. But a single word of 
comment or censure, though reasonable and proceeding from a 
person in authority, would cause the Aguris' blood to boU and urge 
nim to desperate deeds. The supposed admixture of Sadgopa blood 

( 156 ) 


more reason be said that the Agnris are connected with 
the Aghari tribe found in Chntia Nagpore and Central 
ProTinces. With regard to the origin and character 
of the Ugra Ksatnyas, Mann gives the following 

From a Kaatriya by a Sudra girl is bom a creature oaUed an 
Ugra which has a nature partaking both of Kaatriya and of Sudra, 
and finds its pleasure in savage conduct— Manu X. 9. 

The word Ugra means ' hot tempered,' and it is said 
that to this day the Aguris' character fully justifies both 
the name and the description given of the Ugras in 
Mann's Code. The Aguris are now to be found chiefly 
in the district of Burdwan in Bengal. The majority of 
the Bengali Aguris practise agriculture. But some of 
them are more or less educated, and hold important 
offices in the service of Government, as well as of the 
local landholders. Some of the Aguris are themselves 
holders of estates and tenures of various grades. There 
are many successful advocates of the Aguri caste prac- 
tising in the District Court of Burdwan. 

The Burdwan Aguris appear to have a higher caste 
status than those of other parts of the country. In the 
eastern districts of Bengal, Aguris are classed with the 
hunting and fishing castes. In Burdwan the local 
Brahmans, who are mostly of a low class, not only 
accept their gifts, but even partake of such food in their 
houses as is cooked by Brahmans. As to taking a 

with that of the Elshettri cannot account for these peculiarities in 
the moral character of their aUeged progeny, except on the theory 
that when both the father and the mother are of a mild natuxe, 
the child, by some law of physiological chemistry, must be fierce 
and hot tempered. The strongest argument against Mr. Oldham's 
theory is afforded by the fact that, unlike the other leading castes, the 
Kahettris recognise, to some extent, their connection with the bastard, 
members of their class. The illegitimate sods of ihe Brahmans, 
Baipoti and of even the superior Sudra castes, have no recognised 
ponnoD whatever. The only alternative of the mother and the child 
in such o<Me8 is to adopt the faith of one of the latter day prophets, 
and to be members of the casteless Yaishnava community. Among 
theKshettris the practice is very different. Their illegitimate progeny 
have a recognised though a lower status. They are called Puriwals 
and certainly not Agnns. See B4U omd B4xyyH, Feb. Ifi, 1886. 


drink of water from the hands of the Agnris, the practice 
is not uniform. Some Brahmans regard them as clean 
castes, but many do not. Althougn the Aguris claim 
to be Ksatriyas, yet as they are the offspring of a Sudra 
woman, they have to perform their religious rites in the 
same manner as the Sudras. In practice also they per- 
form the Adya Shradh^ or the nrst ceremony for the 
benefit of the soul of a deceased person, on the thirty- 
first day after death, and not; on the thirteenth day as tne 
true Ksatriyas. 

The Aguris are diyided into two main classes, namely, 
the Suta and the Jana. The Janas take the sacred 
thread at the time of their marriage. There can be no in- 
termarriage between the Suta and the Jana. The Sutas 
are sub-divided into several sub-classes, as, for instance, 
the Bardamaniya, the Kasipuri,* the Chagramis, the 
Baragramis, &c. Intermarriage is well-nigh impossible 
between these sub-castes, and they may be regarded as 
separate castes. 

The surotime of the Kulins, or the noblest families 
among the Aguris, is Chowdry. The surnames of the 
other Suta Aguris are Santra, Panja, Ta, Hati, Ghosh, 
Bose, Dutta, Hajra, Kower, Saman<^. The surname of 
the Jana Aguris is usually Jana. There are among 
them also many families having the same surnames as 
the Sutas. The late Babu Pratapa Chandra Bay, who 
made a great name by the translation and publication 
of the great Sanskrit epic, Mahabharatj was a Suta 
Aguri. He was not only an enterprising publisher, but 
a man of rare tact and grace of manners. The actual 
work of translating the Mahabharat was done by a 
young but gifted scholar named Kishori Mohan Ganguli, 
a Brahman of the R%dhiya class. 

* The Bardhamaniyas derive their name from the town of 
Burdwan, and the Kasipurias from the country of the Baja of 
Panchkote. I do not know where Ghagram and atasgnm are. 




Is Bengal the practice of Hindu medicine is the 
speciality of the caste called Yaidjas. In Assam there 
is a similar caste, called the Bez, who have the same 
priTilege. But no snch caste is to be found in any 
other part of India, and, in the other provinces, the 
Hindu medical science is studied and practised by the 
local Brahmans. In Bengal also there are a few Brah- 
mans who are Vaidyas by profession. One of the great- 
est of these is Hari Nath V idyaratna of Calcutta. He has 
not only established a large practice by his marvellous 
skill in the healing art, but his mastery of Sanskrit 
medical literature has attracted round him a crowd of 
admiring pupils such as very few of those, who are 
Vaidyas by birth, can boast of. 

The Vaidyas of Bengal are supposed to be of the 
caste of mixed descent called Ambastha in Manu's 
Code. Though this account of their origin is accepted 
by most of the Vaidyas themselves, yet, for practical 
purposes, their position in the caste system is inferior to 
only that of the Brahmans and the Rajputs. A good 
Brahman will not minister to a Vaidya as a priest, but 
even among the Brahmans of the highest class there 
are very few who will hesitate to accept a Vaidya's 
irifts, or to enrol a member of the caste among his 

( 159 ) 


spiritnal disciples. When there is a feast in a Brahman's 
house, the Yaidya guests are made to sit at their dinner 
in a separate room, but ahnost at the same time as the 
Brahman guests. The Kayasthas neither expect nor 
claim such honor. On the contrary, the Dakshina 
Barhi K&yasthas of Bengal insist that, as they are the 
servants to the Brahmans, they cannot commence until 
their masters, the Brahmans, nave finished. The Baj- 
puts do not usually eat in the house of any Bengali 
Brahman, but when they do, they receive generally the 
same attention as the Vaidyas. The only reason why 
the caste status of a Rajput must be said to be superior 
to that of the Vaidya is that while a Brahman may, 
without any hesitation, accept a gift from a Rajput and 
officiate as his priest, he cannot so honour a Vaidya 
without lowering his own status to some extent. 

The Vaidyas are, as a class, very intelligent, and in 
respect of culture and refinement stand on almost 
the same level as the Brahmans and the superior 
Kayasthas. The majority of the Vaidyas, wear the sacred 
thread, and perform pujas and prayers in the same 
manner as the Brahmans. From these circumstances it 
might be contended that they are degraded Brahmans, 
but their non-Brahmanic surnames negative that sup- 
position. In all probability, they are Ambastha Kayas- 
thas of South Behar. This view is supported by the 
fact that they themselves profess to be Ambasthas, and 
also by the circumstance that, like the Kayasthas of 
Upper India, the Vaidyas of East Bengal consider the 
taking of the thread as more or less optional, instead of 
regarding it as obligatory. The Vaidyas of the eastern 
districts do not take it even now, and as to those of 
Dacca and the adjoining districts it is said that they are 
taking it only since the time of the famous Raj Ballava, 
who was one of the most powerful ministers in the 
Court of Suraj-Dowla, and whose ambition materially 
paved the way of the East India Company to the 
sovereignty of Bengal. 


The numerical strenffih of the Vaidya caste is not 
very considerable. In the last Census tneir total num- 
ber is given as amounting to 82,932. The computation 
of their number seems to be correct enough ; but they 
have been most improperly placed in the same group with 
the astrologers, exercisers and herbalists, implying an 
insult whi<£ is quite unmerited, and against which every 
one, knowing anything about the importance and use- 
fulness of the class, must feel inclined to protest. If the 
Vaidyas themselves have not expressed any dissatisfac- 
tion at the wanton attempt to humiliate them, made by 
the authors of the Census Reports, it is perhaps the 
consciousness that the Hindu caste system, which gives 
them a position next only to that of the Brahmans, is 
not likely, for a long time, to be a£fected by the /iat of 
a foreign power, however great it may be. 

The three main divisions among the Vaidyas are 
the following : — 

1. Barhi Vaidyas. 2. Bangaja or B&renda Vaidyas. 

3. Sylheti Vaidyas. 

There is a class of Vaidyas in West Bengal called 
Panchakoti Vaidyas, who derive their name from the 
district of Panch Kote or Pachete now called Purulia 
or Manbhoom. But intermarriages take place some- 
times between them and the Barhi Vaidyas, and they 
may be regarded as a sub-class of the Karhis. The 
Sylheti Vaidyas form a distinct class, not only by 
their omission to take the sacred thread, but also 
by intermarriage with Eayasths and even low class 

The following are the usual surnames of the Vaid- 
yas: — 

1. Oapta. 

2. SenGapta. 

3. Barat 

4. Sen. *\ 

ft! Tuma V '^^^ ^tltB are common among the Kftyas 

7. ST I ^^^' 

& Bakshit. J 
B, HC 11 


in* S^S^^* I Hindu titles of honoar common ttmoBff the 
iS: &. / rich of every carte. 

12. Khan. ) 

13. MalUk. > Blahomedan titles of honour. 

14. Majumdar. J 

Like the learned Brahmans, some of the eminent 
Yaidjas use as their surnames such academical titles as 
Kabi Batna, Kabi Bhusana, Kantha Bharana, &c. The 
Yaidjas are the only non-Brabmanic caste who are 
admitted into the Sanskrit Grammar schools of Bengal 
for studying grammar and belles lettres. Not being 
Brahmans, tney are not allowed to study the Yedas and 
the Smritis. But in respect of general scholarship in 
Sanskrit, some of the Yaidyas attain great eminence. 
The name of Bharat Mallik,* who was a Yaidya of 
Dhatrigram near Kalna, is well-known to every Sans- 
kritistin Bengal as a commentator on the MugdhaJbodha 
Vyakarana and as the author of a series of excellent anno- 
tations, read by Brahmans themselves as a part of their 
curriculum, in order to be able to study and enjoy the 
leading Sanskrit poems. The late Kaviraj Gangadbar 
of Bernampore was perhaps one of the greatest Sansr 
kritists of his time. He was the author of a larse number 
of valuable works on difiPerent subjects, and even the 
greatest Pandits of the country used to consider him as 
a foeman worthy of their steel. 

For professional eminence and skill the Yaidya 
names now best known are the following : — 

1. Paresh Kath Roy (Benares). 

2. Oovinda Chandra Sen (Moorahedabad). 
8. Mani Mohan Sen (Calcutta). 

4. Dwarka Kath Sen (Calcutta). 

5. Bijoy Batna Sen (Calcutta). 

Of these Paresh Nath, Govind Chandra and Dwarka 
Nath are the pupils of the late Kaviraj Gangadhar. 
Paresh Nath is perhaps the ablest and the most learned 
among them, though his devotion to study and certain 

* Bharat Mallik has left no descendants. His brother's descend- 
ants are now living at Patilpara near Kalna. 


cooentricities vhich prepossess men against him, have 
prevented him from being able to establish a large prac- 
tice. Among the Kavirajes of the Yaidja caste, Bijaja 
Batna and Dwarka Nath have the largest practice in 
Calcutta. Oovinda Chandra is a descendant of the phy- 
sician to the historical Raja Raj BaUava, and is himself 
employed in a similar relation to the present titular 
Naoob of Moorshedabad. Mani Mohan is a younger 
brother of Goyinda. He is a young man, but is well 
grounded in Kaviraji learning, as well as English medi- 
cal science ; and he is fast rising in eminence. He has 
perhaps the largest number of pupils next to the Brah- 
manic Kaviraj Hari Nath. 

In spite of the laudable efiPorts made by these and 
other gentlemen, belonging to the profession, to revive 
the cultivation of our ancient medical lore, Kaviraji must 
be regarded, to a great extent, as a lost art. A great 
many of the leading Sanskrit text-books on the subject 
are still extant. But the necessary incentives and 
facilities for studying them are sadly wanting. In the 
absence of museums and botanical gardens adapted to 
the requirements of the Kaviraji student, the difficulties 
in his way are great. Until recently he could not get 
even a printed copv of Charak or Susrata^ either for 
love or money. That difficulty has been removed by 
the enterprise of our publishing firms. But even now 
the only way to acquire a mastery of our ancient medi- 
cal science lies in being apprenticed to some leading 
Kaviraj, and to be in his good graces for a great many 
years. This is necessarily well-nigh impossible except 
for a few of the friends and relatives of the teachers. 
There are no doubt a good many Kavirajes who, in 
aocordanoe with the time4ionored custom of the country, 
consider it their duty to devote their leisure hours, and 
their surplus income for the benefit of their pupils. 
But in the absence of regular colleges and museums 
it becomes very often impossible for them to give the 
student an exact idea of a great many of the drugs and 


plants mentioned in their books. In praotioe, the Eavi- 
raji student verj seldom studies the works of the best 
authorities on the subject. He reads a Manual of 
Therapeutics by some latter-day compiler, and then begins 
his practice. It is this system that has brought discre- 
dit on the Eaviraji science. There are splendid works 
on anatomy and surgery in Sanskrit. But these are 
neglected altogether. The Eaviraje's therapeutics no 
doubt supersedes the necessity of surgery even in such 
cases as aropsy, stone and carbuncle. But the practice 
of therapeutics itself is impossible without a supply of 
such drugs as yery few Kayirajes can procure, or their 
patients can pay for. The majority of those who are 
known as Kayirajes are therefore quite incapable of 
yindicating the yalue of their lore, and the yotaries of 
the Englisn medical science haye succeeded in secur- 
ing the public confidence to a much greater extent. 
But the ^reat Kayirajes, who haye the necessary learning 
and sto(^ of drugs, are known to haye achieyed suc- 
cess in cases which the best English physicians had 
pronounced to be quite hopeless. The yery quacks 
among the Kayirajes often display yery remarkable skill, 
in making diagnosis land prognosis, oy simply feeling 
the pulse, and without the help of any scientific appli- 
ance, such as the watch, the thermometer, and the 

The Yaidya seldom fails to achieye success in 
any line that he adopts. The name of Raja Raj Bal- 
laya, who from a yery humble station became the 
yirtual Goyemor of Dacca under Suraj Dowla, has been 
already referred to. Under British rule no natiye of 
the country can haye any scope for the display of similar 
obility. But, even unaer the present rdgime^ many 
Yaidyas haye distinguished themselyes outside their 
own proper sphere. The late Babu Ram Kamal Sen^ 
who was the friend and collaborateur of Professor 
H. H. Wilson, held with great credit the post of the 
De wan or Treasurer of the Bank of Bengal. His son, 


Hari Mohan Sen, not only held that post after his father's 
death, bat snbseqnentlj became the Prime Minister of 
the Jaipur Raj. Babn Hari Mohan's son is the well- 
known publicist and patriot, Norendra Nath Sen, the 
proprietor and editor of the Indian Mirror, 

•The most gifted and the best known among the 
descendants of Bam Kamal Sen was the late ^abn 
Keshav Chandra Sen. Whatever difiference of opinion 
there many be as to his claaims to be regardea as a 
religions reformer or as to his capaci^ as a thinker, 
there cannot be the least doubt that India has not given 
birth to a more gifted orator. Wherever he spoke, and 
whether in English or in Bengali, he simply charmed 
the audience, and kept them spell-bound as it were. In 
the beginning of his career, he rendered a great service 
to the cause of Hinduism by counteracting the influence 
of the late Dr. Du£F, and the army of native missionaries 
trained up by him. Babu Keshav Chandra was then 
the idol of the people, as he was the bite noire of the 
Christian propagandists. He was, however, too practical 
a roan not to value the friendship of the ruling caste, 
and when Lord Lawrence, who was a man of prayer, 
became the Viceroy of India, he developed predilections 
for Christianity which found expression in nis splendid 
oration on '* Jesus Christy Europe and Asia" ny this 
move, he softened the bitterness of the missionaries, 
and at the same time secured the friendship of the 
Saviour of the Punjab. Thenceforward his leaning 
towards Christianity increased, until it was actually 
apprehended that he was in fact a follower of ChrisL 
Lord Lawrence left India in 1868, and in the next year 
Keshav Chandra visited England. He there professed 
such doctrines that he was allowed to preach from the 
pulpits of many Dissenting churches. The influence of 
Lonl La¥rrence, and his splendid oratorical powers, intro- 
duced him into the highest society. Her Qracious Majesiy 
herself granted him the honour of an interview. Before 
his departure a farewell meeting was convened at the 


Hanover Square Booms, at which no less than eleven 

denominations of Christians were represented. While 

in England he spoke at upwards of seventy different 

public meetings to upwards of forty thousand people, 

and created the impression that his religion was only a 

form of Christianity. This attitude he maintained with 

consistency till 1879, the year of Lord Lawrence*8 death. 

On the 9tn of April in that year he spoke about Christ 

as follows in the course of an oration delivered at the 

Town Hall :— 

GentlemeD, joa cannot deny that your hearts have been tooched. 
eonqaered ana sabjugated by a superior power. That power, need 
I teU yoa? is Ohrist. It is Christ who rules British India, and not 
the British Ck>vemment. Kngland has sent out a tremendous moral 
force in tiie life and charaeter of that mighty prophet to conquer and 
hold this vast empire. None but Jesus, none but Jesus, none but 
Jesus, ever deserved this bright^ this preeioas diadem— India, and 
Jesas shall have it. 

At this time the political situation of Keshav was 
apparently very embarrassing. On the one hand, so long 
as Lord Lawrence was living, he could not, without 
gross inconsistency and forfeiture of the esteem of the 
ex- Viceroy, betray any leaning towards the religion of 
his forefatiiers. On the other hand, he had in the pre- 
vious year married his daughter to the Maharaja of 
Koodi Behar, and, as by doing so and countenancing the 
celebration of the wedding in the Hindu form, he had 
exposed himself to the chaise of inconsistency and ambi-- 
tiousness for secular aggrandisement, he could not but 
feel inclined to profess a liking for those forms. From 
the point of view of one who did not believe in caste^ 
and desired nothing more than to destroy it altogether,, 
the marriage could be held to be objectionable on the 
only ground that the parties had not arrived at the 
marriageable age, according to the standard fixed by 
Keshav himself. But if the parties themselves desired 
the marriage, as they certainly did, Keshav could not» 
consistently with his principles, throw any obstacle in 
their way. Nor coula he object to the form of the 
marriage which was also a matter entirely between the 


bridegroom and the bride. But popular voice, in 
awarding its praise or blame to public men, is seldom 
very reasonable. The pro-Christian doctrines which 
Keshay had been professing from the year 1866, and the 
charch-like form of his prayer-honse, had made him 
very unpopular among his countrymen. So the Kooch 
Behar marriage not only provoked open comments of a 
very strong character, but actually led to the secession 
of me majority of his followers. Keshav might perhaps 
have prevented the split by the line of defence, whicn, 
as stated above, was clearly open to him. But he made 
things worse by declaring that what he had done was in 
accordance with the order of God, communicated to 
him in some mysterious way. He said :— 

'* Men have attempted to prove that I have been gaided by my own 
imagioation, reason and inteUect. Under this conviction they have 
from time to time protested a^^ainst my proceedings. They should 
remember that to protest against the cause I uphold is to protest 
against the dispensations of God Almighty, the Cfod of all Truth and 

" In doing this work I am confident I have not done anything that 
ii wrong. I have ever tried to do the Lord's wiU, not mine. Surely 
I am not to blame for anythinjB; which I may have done under 
Heaven's injunction Dare you impeach Heaven's Majesty? Would 
joa have me reject Qod and Providence, and listen to your dictates 
in preference to his inspiration? Keshav Chandra Sen cannot do 
it» wm not do it." 

Such defence as b contained in the above might serve 
its purpose in the case of the leader of a set of unedu- 
cated rustics. But in the case of Keshav Chandra, who 
had some of the most cultured men of the metropolis 
of British India among his followers, it served only to 
shake their confidence m him all the more. The party 
that he had organised by years of hard work melted away 
in the course of a few days. He could hope to organise 
another party only by the more or less complete adop- 
tion of one of uie faiths of his ancestors. But so 
long as Lord Lawrence was living that was impossible. 
And even so late as April 1879, he spoke as a 
devout Christian in public, as would appear from the 
paasages cited at p. 165, ante. Lord Lawrence died 


in 1879, and the very next year Keshav gave the fol- 
lowing certificate of good character to the Hindu 
religion : — 

" Hindu idolatry ii not to be altogether orerlooked or rejected. As 
we explained some time ago, it reoresents millions of broken f rasments 
of God, collect them together ana you get the individual Divinity. To 
believe in an undivided deity without reference to those aspects 
of his nature is to believe in an abstract Ood, and it nould lead us 
to practical rationalism and infidelity. If we are to worship Him 
in all His manifestation we shall name one attribute— Sarswatoe, an- 
other Lakshmi, another Mahadeva, another Ja^padhatri, ftc., and 
worship God each day under a new name, that is to say, in a new 
aspect.^— iSttiwfoy Mirror, 1880. 

This is dearly inculcating idolatry to its fullest extent, 
though the author of it is careful enough not to enjoin 
expressly the worship of Siva's Linga, Kali's obscenities, 
or Krishna's battalions of sweethearts. The passage 
cited above appeared in a newspaper, and was apparently 
meant only to prepare men's mind for the com detat 
that followed in 1881 under the name of New Dispen- 
sation. Ever since the Kooch Behar marriage, wnich 
certainly required something like a Papal Dispensation 
under which an unlawful marriage might taKe place 
among the Roman Catholics, the word '* dispensation " 
had evidently taken a firm hold on Eeshav's mind. At 
least, that is the only explanation which can be suggested 
of the name which he gave to his new cult. Its 
manifesto was in form addressed to all the great nations of 
the world, the chief burden of the document being an 
exhortation that they should learn to practise toleration. 
Taking into consideration, however, the events that 
immediately preceded it in the life of the author, there 
cannot be any doubt that it was meant only to cover his 
retreat to the fold of Hinduism, or rather to a position 
where he could organise a new party, without much in- 
consistency, and without losing tne wrecks of his former 
part^. My review of Keshav's life has already been 
earned to a far greater length than what may be deemed 
proper in this book. I cannot carry the notice further. 
But what I have said will, I hope, su£Bce to form a just 


estimate of his character and powers. Hid capacity or 
solicitade^to achieve any real good for mankitid maybe 
doabted ;'bat there can be no qnestion as to his power 
to dazzle them in a manner which is rare indeed, and 
the Vaidya community to which he belonged might 
certainly be proud of him. 

Although the profession of the Vaidayas enables them 
to acquire both money and power in a fair and noble 
way, yet the Brahmanical ambition of playing the rdle 
of a prophet is rather too common among them, and 
Keshav Chandra^s case is not the only instance of such 
craying. Babu Fratap Chandra Majumdar, who was 
his colleague in his lifetime, and who is, or at least ought 
to be, regarded as his spiritual successor, is also a 
Vaidya, and possesses very nearly the same gifts as his 
late chief. Narhari Th&koor, who was one of tne leading 
disciples of Chaitanya, and whose descendants are, as 
a result of that connection, now able to live like princes 
at Srikhand near Eatwa, was also a Vaidya. So is also 
the living prophet '^ Kumar " Krishna Prasanna Sen, 
who, by his advocacy of Hinduism and his charming 
eloquence, has made himself almost an object of regular 
worship among certain classes of Hindus throughout 
the greater part of the Hindi-speaking districts between 
Bhagnlpur and Allahabad. His want of sufficient com- 
mand over the English language has prevented him 
from attracting much of the notice of the Englishmen 
residing in this country ; but the influence which he has 
acquired among the half-educated classes in Behar and 
Upper India is very great. The higher classes, and 
especially the Brahmans, are somewhat prepossessed 
against mm on account of his caste, and the usual shallow 
philosophy of a stumper. The parade which he makes 
of the fact of his being unmarried, by the use of the 
designation of ^^ Kumar " serves to make him sometimes 
an object of ridicule. 

Though the Vaidya population of the country is, as 
already stated, very . small compared with the other 


leading castes, jet persons belonging to the medical 
clan are to be fonnd in high positions in almost all the 
departments that can attract the intellectnal classes. 
Among high officials, the names of Messrs. 6. L. Gupta 
and K. Q, Gnpta of the Bengal Civil Service stand 
conspicnons. In the legal profession, the late Babns 
Mahesh Chandra Chowdrj and Kali Mohan Das, who 
were among the ablest advocates of the Bengal High 
Court in their time, were Vaidyas by caste. So was 
also the late Babn Mritnnjoy Roy, who was the leading 

I)leader of the District Court of Nadiya. Among the 
iving Vaidya vakils of the Bengal High Court, the 
names best known are those of Doorga Mohan Das, 
Girija Sankar Majumdar and Akhil Chandra Sen. 
Babn Gir^'a Sankar is a zemindar also. Babu Akhil is 
a Vaidya of Chittagong. Amon^ District Court practi- 
tioners the most conspicuous Vaidyas are Guru Prosad 
Sen, Ambika Chandra Majumdar and Baikant Nath 
Barat. Babu Guru Prosad practises in the District 
Court of Patna, Babu Ambika Chandra at Faridpore, 
and Babu Baikant Nath at Moorshedabad. The latter 
not only enjoys great professional eminence, but is the 
friend, philosopher and guide of the local zemindars. 

In connection with the Press of Bengal, the name of 
Babu Narendra Nath Sen, Editor of the daily called the 
Indian Mirror^ has been mentioned already. The 
weekly paper called Hope is also edited by a Vaidya 
named Amrita Lai Boy, who passed many years of nis 
life in Europe and America, and served his apprentice- 
ship in the art of journalism in connection witn one of 
the leading newspapers of New York. 

The Vaidyas are very clannish, and, wherever a Vai- 
dya manages to get into a high office, he is sure to in- 
troduce as many of his castemen as he can into the 
department. Babu Ram Kamal Sen, who, as mentioned 
already, was the Dewan of the Bank of Bengal, intro- 
duced at one time a very large number of his clansmen 
tbere% The East Indian Railway office at Jamalpore is 


perhaps still similarly fnll of Vaidjas, introdnced 
through the inflnence of its late head clerk, Babu 
Madhii Sudan Roy, the father of Babu Amrita Lai Roy, 
of the Hope. 

The Yaidyas are a fast money-making, and a fast 
money-spending, class. Even the poorest among them 
are nsnally quite above want, while a great many of 
them are in very easy circumstances, either by the prac- 
tice of their profession, or by their success in other 
lines of business. But a Yaidya has very seldom a 
long purse. He spends whatever he earns in feeding 
his relatives and nis pupils. The descendants of Raj 
Ballava were at one tune big landholders. But they 
have been ruined, and the only Vaidya zemindars to be 
now found in the country are those of Teota, Bani Bau, 
Raibari, Meherpore, and Agradwipa. Among the traders 
ana shopkeepers there is perhaps not a single man of 
the Yaidya caste. 


The word Bez seems to be an Assamese corraption of 
the Sanskrit word '^ Yaidja." At any rate, the Bez caste 
of Assam have the same position and the same functions 
as the Yaidyas have in Bengal. Like the Yaidyas, the 
Bez are an aristocratic and caltured class. Some of the 
Bez practise Hindn medicine in their native conntry, 
while a great many of them are now receiving English 
edncation, and adopting one or other of the different pro- 
fessions which are open to the higher classes of Hindus 
under the present rigime. The late Mr. Andi Bam 
Baraa, of the Bengal Civil Service, was a Bez. So is 
also Dr. Golap Chandra Bez Baraa, who holds at present 
the charge of a pnblic hospital in British Gaiana in 
South America. 

The Bez wear the sacred thread. 

t 172 ) 



Ik Bengal, the astrologers form a separate caste 
which has a very low position. In Assam and Orissa the 
Ghinakas and Nakshatra Brahmans, as they are called, 
are regarded as an inferior section of the sacerdotal 
caste, and not as an andean non-Brahmanic caste as in 
Bengal In other parts of India astrology is practised 
by the Joshis who are regarded as good Brahmans. The 
astrologer castes of Bengal are yarionsly called Acharya 
Brahmans, Graha Bipras, Daivagnas, Grahacharyas, 
and Ganakas. In all probabiliiy they were Brahmans 
at one time, bnt have been degraded to a very low posi- 
tion by the policy of the superior Brahmans. Accord- 
ing to a text cited as anthoritative by the Pandits of 
Bengal, the astrologers are shoemakers by caste, and 
good Brahmans sometimes refase to take even a drink 
of water from their hands. But, with an inconsistency 
which is quite nnacconntable, the most orthodox Brah- 
mans accept their gifts without the least hesitation, and 
one of the greatest Pandits of Nadiya enlisted the 
Acharyas of the place among his disciples — the connec- 
tion thns formed being still in existence between their 

The nnmerical strength of the Acharyas is verr 
smaU. In the last Census, they were, it seems, includ- 
ed among the Jotishis or Josms, and the total number 

( 178 ) 


of the Joshis in each province is given as follows : — 

1. N.-W. Provinces ... S5,266 

2. Bengal ... ... 18,360 

3. Bombay ... ... 10,U7 

4. Central India ... 12,204 

Very few of the Achaiva caste of Bengal have yet 
been able to distinguish themselves, either by Western 
learning or by service under the British Government of 

Gandkt of A<<am.— -The Ghinaks of Assam have a 
somewhat mgher position in their province than the 
Acharyas have in jBengal. The usual surnames of the 
Ghinaks are Dalai and Bara Dalai and their total number 
28,739. Compared with the total population of the 
province, their numerical strength is not very incon- 




The Kayasthas are fonnd in almost every part of 
India. They are a very large body ; the last Gensas 
gives the foUowing figures regarding their numerical 
strength : — 

BoDftikl ••• ... ••• 1,486,748 

Anam 92,386 

N.-W. ProTinoes .^ ... 621,812 

Central India 74,471 

Bajputana 28,913 

Total 2,230,810 

The Kayasthas are described in some of the sacred 
books of the Hindus as Ksatriyas ; but the majoritv 
of the Kayastha clans do not wear the sacred thread, 
and admit their status as Sudras, also by the observance 
of mourning for a period of thirty days. But, whether 
Ksatriyas or Sudras, the y belong to the upper l&ver of 
yinHp anftiftty ^ and though the higher classes of Brah- 
mans neither perform their religions ceremonies nor 
enlist them among their disciples, yet the gifts of the 
Kayasthas are usually accepted by the great Pandits of 
the country without any hesitation. 

The literal meaning of the word ^'Kayastha" is 
*• standing on the body . According to the rurans, the 
K&yasihas are so-called, because being Ksatriyas, 


they mnst be regarded as having iheir origin in the 
arms of the great god Brahma. The real derivation of 
the word is, perhaps, to be traced to the idea that the 
Brahmans must be regarded a^ the head ornaments 
of the king, and the Kayasthas as ornaments for the 
arms. However that may be, the Kayasths have, from 
a very remote period of antiquity, been recognized as 
the class whose proper avocation' is to serve as clerks 
and aocoantants.* The Brahmans excladed them from 
the stndy of the Sanskrit language and literature. But 
they learned the three B's with great care, and, during 
the period of Moslem rule, mastered the Persian lan- 
guage with such assiduity as to make it almost their 
mother-tongue. At the present time, the honours and 
distinctions conferred by the Indian Universities are 
as eagerly and as successfully sought by them as by 
the Brahmans and the Yaidyas. As authors, journalists 
and public speakers they do not now lag behind any 
other caste, and, in fact, in some of the departments 
of English scholarship they almost surpass the Brah- 
mans uiemselves. In the field of journalism, India 
has not yet had better men than the two Mukerjis — 
Harish Chandra and Sambhu Chandra. But among 
public speakers the first to distinguish himself by his 
orations in English was the late Eayastha Babu Ram 
Gopal Ghose, while amongst the living batch of orators, 
the field is equally divided between Eavasthas and 
Brahmans. The case is the same in the legal profes- 
sion. Of the two best native Advocates of the Bengal 
High Court one is a Brahman, and the other is a 
Eayastlia ; while of the eight Hindu Judges appointed 
to the Bench of the High Court of Bengal, since its 
creation, exactly half the number have been Kayasthas. 
During the time of the Hindu kings, the Brahmans 
refrained from entering the public service, and the 

* See Yqjnavaikaya, 1, 396. From the manner in whioh the word 
Kfijastha Ib oaed in the ancient Sanskrit works, it seems that oriffia- 
ally it meant a secretary, oleric or scribe. 



y&yamtlij ^s had almost the 
a ppointments. JUven nnder the 

of the subordinate 
Lomedan kmgs^ some 

of them attamed very high positions, as, for instance, 
the Bangadhikaris, who had charge of the revenue de- 

girtment nnder the Nababs of Moorshedabad, and Rai 
orlay Ram,* the Prime Minister of Ali Verdi Ehan. 
Rajas Shitab Roy and Ram Narayan, who were Govern- 
ors of Behat^ in the period of double government or 
interregnum which intervened between the battle of 
Plassey and the removal of the Exchequer to Calcutta, 
were adso Eayasthas. Unde^^ritish rule th e^Kayastha 


element l?ftf* bflftTi prflH(]i^T nhatingln al 
of the public service. In the UnitedTrovinces, iiengaF 
imd Behar, the number of Kayastha officials exceeds per- 
haps those of all the other castes taken together. The 
Eayasthas are said to be the writer caste. But their expe- 
rience of the ways of traTisaijtf^^g pTiblj c business has 
aualified them for the verjThighest offices connected with 
iie civil government of the country. They generally 
prove equal to any position in which they are placed. 
They have been successful not only as clerks, but in the 
very highest executive and judicial offices that have 

et been thrown open to the natives of this country. 

lie names of the Kayastha Judges, Dwarka Kath 
Mitra, Ramesh Chandra Mitra and Chandra Madhava 
Ghosh, are well known and respected by all. In 
the Executive service the Eayasthas have attained 
the same kind of success. One of them, Mr. R. C. 
Dutt, is now the Commissioner or chief Executive 
Officer of one of the most important divisions of Bengal. 
Another named Ealika Das Datta has been for several 
years employed as Prime Minister of the Eooch Behar 
Itaj, giving signal proofs of his ability as an administra- 
tor by the success with which he has been managing 
the affiairs of the principality in his charge. 


* Baba Ck>pal Lai Mitra, (the able Vice-Chairman of the Calcutta 
H anicipal Corporation, is, on his mother's side, descended from 
Bai DarlaY. 

B, HC 



Thb E&yasthas of Bengal are divided into the follow- 
ing classes : — 

1. D&kshiiia Barhi. 

2. TJttara Barlii. 

3. Bangaja. 

4. B&rendra. 

5. Sylheti. 

6. Golam or slave KftyasChai. 

For all practical purposes these are separate castes, 
and intermarriage between them is, generally speaking, 
quite impossible. 

§ 1. — The Ddkshina Rarhis of Bengal. 

The Dakshina Rarhis, or the Kayasthas of the 
southern part of Burdwan, affect the greatest veneration 
for the Brahmans, and profess to believe in the legend 
that traces their descent from the five menial servants 
that are said to have accompanied the five Brahmans 
invited by King Adisur.* The Dakshina Rarhis are 
divided into three main groups, namely : — 

1. Kulin. I 2. Maulik. 

3. The seventy-two houses. 

The Kulins have the highest status, and they again 
are subdivided into several hypergamous sections that 
have different positions for matrimonial purposes. The 

* See page 37, anU, 

( 178 ) 



usual stiniames of the several sections of the Dakshina 
Barld K&yasthas are as stated below :— 


1. Samames of the Kulins among ( 1. 
the Dftkahina Barhi Eftyaa- " 

2. Sornames of the Manlikas 
middle class Dftkshina Barhis. 









3. Surnames of the important classes 
among the seventjr-two families ' 
of the Dftkahina Barhis. 































The rules which regnlate and determine the elegibi- 
lity of a E&yastha boy or girl for matrimonial purposes, 
are quite as complicated as those of the Rarhi Brah- 
mans. But while the statas of a Kulin Barhi Brah- 
man depends on his being able to marry his daughters 
with Knlin bridegrooms, the position of a Dakshina 
Barhi K&yastha remains intact only if he is able to 
marry his eldest son into the family of a Knlin of 
similar rank. A K&yastha can give his daughter to 
any one whether he is a Kulin or a Maulika. 

Among the Babus of Calcutta, the number of D&k- 
flhina Rarhi K&yasthas is far larger than that of any 
other caste. The majority of the D&kshina Rarhis are 
Sakti worshippers of a moderate type. The deities they 


worship most generally are Darga and Kali. Bat their 
orthodox members foUow the discipline imposed upon 
them by their Brahman Gnras, and they neither drink 
any kind of spirituous liquor, nor eat any kind of flesh 
excepting that of goats offered in sacrince to some god 
or goddess. Of all the classes of E^yasthas in Bengal, 
the Dakshina Rarhis haye, under British rule, made 
the greatest progress in education^ and in securing 
official positions. 

§ 2. — The Uttara Rarhi Kdyasthas. 

The caste position of the Uttara Rarhis, or the 
Kayasthas of the northern portion of the Burdwan 
Division, is the same as that of the Dakshina Rarhis. 
But the northerners do not profess the same yeneration 
for the Brahmans as the southerners. The former openly 
deny the authenticity of the legend which traces the 
descent of the Ben^i Kayasthas from the fiye menial 
servants of the five Brahmans brought by Eang Adisur 
from Kanouj in the ninth century of the era of Christ 
An Uttara Rarhi very seldom falls prostrate at the feet 
of a Brahman, and usually salutes the priestly caste by 
a curt pranam^ which does not imply much reverence. 

The Uttara Rarhis are most numerous in the district 
called Birbhoom, and in the adjoining portions of the 
Moorshedabad District. Some families of the same clan 
are to be found also in the towns of Patna, Bhagalpur, 
Dinajpur and Jessore. Many of the leading zemindars 
of Bengal, as, for instance, the Rajas of Dinajpur, 
f aikpara and Jessore are IJttara Rarhis. There was 
formerly an Uttara Rarhi family of zemindars in the 
district of Malda who, for several generations, were in 
possession of the barony of Bhatia Gopalpore, including 
a portion of the city of Gour. No member of the com- 
muniiy has risen very high in the service of Government 
in recent times. But under the Mahomedan rulers of 
Bengal, the Uttara Rarhis held some of the highest 
offices. The charge of the reyenue department was 


then almost entirely in the hands of the Bangadhicarj 
Mahasaya family of Dahpara near Moorshedabad ; and so 
great was their inflnence that when Hastings removed 
the Khalsa or Exchequer to Calcutta, he was obliged 
to place it in the hands of one of their clansmen, who 
was also one of their quondam clerks. This man, whose 
name was Gtanga Govind Sing, became, by virtue of his 
office, the arbiter of the destinies of the Bengal zemin- 
dars, and by taking advantage of his opportunities 
made himself one of tae richest landlords in the country. 
His master was perhaps too shrewd to negociate directly 
with the zemindars, like Sir Thomas Rumbold of Madras. 
He required an intermediary, and as Ganga Govinda 
was his chief fiscal officer, he was deemed the best man 
for the office. Perhaps he acquired a great hold over 
Hastings by helping him in the prosecution and con- 
viction of Nand Kumar. Whatever was the cause of 
the undue favour shown to him by his master, his power 
was great. Though serving under the immediate super- 
vision of one of toe greatest satraps that England has 
ever sent out to India, his confidence in the strength of 
his own position was such that he compelled the 
zemindars, whose revenue he had to assess, to give him 
not only money which could be easily concealed, but 
also substantial slices of their estates which conclusively 
proved his corrupt practices. The Raja of Dinajpur, 
who was his casteman, was, out of jealousy, absolutely 
ruined by him. The proud Brahman Raja Krishna 
Chandra of Nadiya was reduced by him to such 
straits as to be obliged to beg for his favour in the most 
humiliating terms ;* and at a later time Raja Krishna 
Chandra's neir, Raja Sib Chandra, was compelled to be 
present at the funeral ceremony of Ganga Govind's 
mother. When Hastings was nauled up before the 

* The original of this letter or rather memorandam is ^Ten in 
Devran Kartlfca Chandra Roy*s history of the Nadiya Bajas. The 
following is a tmnslation of it : — 

** Mv son is disobedient, the Exchequer Court is impracticable, 
I depend upon Ganga Govind.'* 


British Parliament to answer the charges of malad- 
ministration and cormption that were brought against 
him, Ganga Govinda, as his ri^ht-hand man, naturally 
came in for a large share of tne yitaperative phrases 
that the genius of Bnrke conld invent. The great orator 
characterized him as the '^ captain-general of iniquity" 
" and the broker-in-chief of bribery." Nothing, how- 
ever, was ever done to compel him to disgorge the 
properties he had acquired, and they are still in the 
possession of his descendants by adoption, now called 
the Paikpara Rajas.* 

Since Ganga Govinda's time do Uttara Barhi has at- 
tained a high position in the service of Government. 
The highest officials in their class are at present not 
above the rank of Subordinate Magbtrates. in the legal 
profession also the Uttara Karhis are as meagrely repre- 
sented as in the various departments of the public ser- 
vice. The only members of the clan who have any 
considerable amount of legal practice are Babu Surja 
Narain Sing, of the District court of Bhagalpur, Baba 
Purnendu Karain, of the District court of Patna, and 
Mr. S. P. Sinha, who is a barrister-at-law, and practises 
in the High Court of Calcutta. 

Among the Uttara Rarhis Kulinism, or high caste 
status, is the result of having been originally residents 
of some particular villages in the Kandi Sub-division 
of the Moorshedabad District. The names of these vil- 
lages are Rasorah, Panchthupi, Jajan, &c. An Uttara 
Rarhi Ghosh or Sinha is not necessarily a Kulin. It is 
only a Ghosh of Rasorah or Panchthupi that can claim 
a high position in the caste. 

* The original home of Oanga Gk>vinda ^ras the town of Kandi, 
now the heswi -quarters of a sub-division in the district of Moorshe- 
dabad. When he became the Dewan of Hasting, he built, for his 
residence, a palatial mansion in Calcutta, on the site now oooupied by 
the warehouses on the southern side of Beadon Square. His descend- 
ants used formerly to be called the Rajas of Kandi. But as they now 
usually reside at Paikpara, in the suburbs of Calcutta, they are alao 
caUed Rajas of Paikpara. 


The nsnal surnames of the Uttara Barhis are as stated 
below : — 

1. Soraamet of the Kuliiu { |; Si^l^ 

2l Samames of the second olaas J i* ^^L 
caU<d 8»Dmoalik. \ | g»*^ 

3. BnniamM of the tbird dam ( h J^v 
caUed Skpoua or one-< T S°?^ 
fo«railioa.e. \ t ^^ 

§ 3. — The Bangaja Kdyasthas, 

The importance of this clan is not less than that of 
any other class of Bengali Eilyasihas. The great Fra- 
tapaditya, whose father had been the prime minister of 
the last Patan King of Bengal, and who at the time of 
the conqnest of the province by the Moguls carved out 
an independent kingdom in its seaboard, was a Bansaja. 
For a tune Pratapaditya defied the great Akbar, and the 
conquest of his kingdom was ultimately effected by Baja 
Man Sing, chiefly tnrough the treachery of Bhava Nand 
Majumdar, who nad been in the service of Pratapaditva 
as a pet Brahman boy, and who subsequently became the 
founder of the Nadiya Raj family through the favour of 
the imperial general whom he had helped. The descend- 
ants of Pratapaditya are still to be found in the neigh- 
bourhood of his ruined capital in the Sundarbans. 
Though shorn of their greatness, they are to this day 
locally called Rajas, and possess very considerable in- 
fluence among their castemen. The zemindars of Taki, 
who stiU possess some property, are the descendants of 
Pratapaditya's uncle, Basanta Roy. The ancient Rajas 
of Bakla, which covered nearly the whole of the modem 
district of Bakergunge, were also Bangajas. So, too, 
were the ancient zemindars of Noakhali and Edilpore. 
Perganah Edilpore in Fureedpore is now in the possession 
of Babu Kali Krishna Tagore of Calcutta. 

The Bangajas are to be found chiefly in the eastern 
districts of BengaL In Calcutta they are not numeri- 
eallj strong ; but are represented by such leading men 


as Mr. Jnstioe Chandra Madhaya Ghosh, who is now 
one of the Judges of the Bengal High Court, and Mr. 
M. Ghosh, who is now one of its leacHng Advocates. 

The usual surnames of the Bangaja Kayasthas of the 
difiFerent grades are as mentioned below : — 

/ 1. Bosa. 

Bnrnames of the highest dassofJ 2. Ghosh. 

Bangaja Eftyasthas. | 3. Guha. 

{ 4. Mittra. 

Barnamesof the second class of / o* v^l 
Bangaja Ki^artha.. \ | §»gi, 

f 1. Adhya. 

2. Aukar. 

3. Bhadra. 

4. Bishnu. 

5. Chandra. 

6. Das. 

7. Deb. 

8. Dhar. 

9. Kar. 
i 10. Kundn. 

11. Kanda. 

12. Nandi. 

13. Pal. 

14. Palit. 

15. Raha. 

16. Bakshit. 

17. Sen. 

18. Sinha. 
L 19. Som. 

§ 4. — The Bdrendra Kdydsthas. 

The Barendra Kayasthas do not differ from the other 
classes of Bengali Kayasthas either in culture or in 
respect of caste status. The usual surnames of the 
several grades of B&rendras are as stated below :^ 

Bnniames of the third class of 
Bangaja ELSyasthas. 


1. ChakL 

First ohiss ... ...<< 2. Das. 

3. Nandi. 

f 1. Datta. 

Second class ... ...] §* ^; 

I 4! Smha. 

Third class \ ^ g^^- 



§ 5.— TA^ Golam Kdyasthas of East Bengal. 

There are many Kayasthas in East Bengal who are 
called Golams or slaves. Some of them are still attach- 
ed as domestic servants to the families of the local 
Brahmans, Yaidyas, and aristocratic Kayasthas. Even 
those who have been completely emancipated, and are 
in the position of well-to-^lo and independent citizens, 
are obliged by local cnstom to render on ceremonial 
occasions certain menial services for the glorification of 
their ancient patrons and masters. Some of the Golams 
have in recent times become rich landholders, and it is 
said that one of them has got the title of Rai Bahadoor 
from Government. The marriage of a Golam generally 
takes place in his own class ; but instances of Golams 
marrying into aristocratic Kayastha families are at 
present not very rare. The Golams are treated by all 
the high caste Hindus as a clean caste. The Brahmans 
who minister to the ordinary Kayasthas as priests, 
evince no hesitation to perform similar rites for the 
Golams. The Golams of the Yaidyas serve also the 
Brahmans and the Kayasthas ; but the Golams of the 
Brahmans and the Kayasthas do not serve the Yaidyas. 


Thb Lala Kayasthas have the same position in Befaar, 
N.-W. Provinces and Oudh that the several classes of 
E^yasthas, spoken of in the last chapter, have in Ben^aL 
The Lalas are, however, very mnch addicted to drinking 
and gambling, and in these respects they diflFer very 
materially from the Bengali E^yasthas who, as moderate 
Saktas or bigoted Vishnnvites, are mostly teetotalers. 
The Kayasthas of Hindustan proper are divided into 
the following classes : — 

1. Srivastas. 

2. Karana. 
8. Ambasta. 

4. Sakya Seni. 

5. KulaSreflhtL 

6. Bhatnagari. 

13. Uiiai. 

7. Mathari. 

8. Surya Dhaja. 

9. Balmiki. 

10. Astama. 

11. Nij^ama. 

12. Goar. 

Members of these different clans may eat together 
and smoke from the same pipe. But intermarriage 
between them is impossible, and they mast be regarded 
as separate castes having only a similar status. The 
usnal snrnames of the Lala Kayasthas are : Das, Lai, 
Bai, Sahaya and Sing. 

§ 1. — The Srivaita Kdt/asthas, 

The Srivastis derive their name from the ancient 
city of Srivasta, which was the capital of the king- 
dom of Uttara Koshala, and which has been identified 

( 186 ) 


with a place called at present Sahet Mahet * in the 
district of Gonda. The Srivasta E^yasthas are a very 
nnmerons body^ and are to be found in every part of 
the United Provinces, Behar and Oadh. Some of 
the Srivastis take the sacred thread, and some do not. 
Those who take the thread are teetotalers and vegetari* 
ans. The rest indulge in flesh meat and strong drink. 
It is said that the Srivastis are all of the Easyapa Gotra. 
But if they are Sadras then they do not violate any 
rule of the Shastras by marrying within their Gotra 
as they are necessarily obliged to do. There are, how- 
ever, some other peculiarities in the marriage customs 
of the Srivastis which cannot but be held to be inconsis- 
tent with the law of the Hindu Shastras on the subject. 
For instance, it is said that, as among some of the 
Rajputs and Ealwars, so among the Srivasta Eayasthas, a 
marriage may take place between a boy and a girl even 
where the bride is older in age. The following sur- 
names are assumed by some of the Srivastis : — 

1. Akhori (UteraUy '' a man of letters"). 

2. Amodha. 

3. Qanongo (a lawyer). • 

4. Hahtavi. 

5. Bhowri. 

Among the Kayasthas of Upper India, the caste 
status of a family depends usually upon the official 
position held by their ancestors in the service of the 
former rulers of the country. The descendants of the 
Patwaris or village accountants have generally the 
lowest position. The four leading Srivastl families of 
Behar are the following : — 

1. Thefamily of the BaJas of Tillothu in the District of Arrah« 

2. The family of Baja Kajesri Prosad of Surajpore in Arrah. 
8. The family of the Rajas ol Sedisapore near Dinapore. 
4. The family of the Sudder Kanaregos of Bakhrat in the 

Distriot of Moznfferpore. 

* For a full account of the ruins of Sahet Mahet, and thegronnda 
on which they are held to he the remains of the ancient city of 
SriTasta, see Hunter's Imperial OaMttMr, Vol. XII, p. 126. 

t Bakhra is in the vicinity of the site of the ancient free disy 
of Yaiaab, of Baddhistio history. 


The ancestors of these families held very high offices 
in the service of the Mogal Emperors, and also under 
the East India Company, in the early days of its 
political supremacy. The Sedisapore family rendered 
very important services to the British Government at 
the time of the Sepoy Mutiny. The four families 
mentioned ahove stul possess considerable local in- 
fluence^ and among their castemen their supremacv is 
undisputed. The Srivasta zemindars of Sahebganj in 
the District of Ohapra have also considerable influence 
among their castemen. The late Hon'ble Har Bans 
Sahoy of Arrah was a Srivasti. So also is Raj Jai 
Prokash Lai, the present factotum of the Raja of 

§ 2. — TKb Ambastha Kdi/asthas, 

Manu gives the name Ambasth to the progeny of a 
Brahman father and Yaishya mother^ and lays down that 
their proper profession is the practice of medicine.* But 
there is a class of Kayasthas in Behar, and in the 
eastern districts of the N.-W. Provinces, who alone use 
that name to designate their caste. Its derivation is 
not definitely known. It is quite possible that it is 
derived from the name of a Perganah in Oudh called 
Ameth. The Ambastha Kayasthas are very numerous 
and influential in South Behar including the districts of 
Monghyr, Patna and Gaya. Raja Ram Narayan, who 
was Governor of Behar, in the early days of British 
ascendancy, was an Ambasthi. He has no lineal 
descendants, but his family is represented by some 
collaterals, of whom Babu Isri Prasad of Patna is one. 

§ 3. — The Karan Kayasthas. 

The Earan clan of North Indian E^ayasthas are to 
be found chiefly in Tirhoot or North Behar where they 
are usually employed as Patwaris or village accountants. 

* Manu, X, 8, 43. 


Their position is inferior to that of the Srivastas 
and Ambastas. The Uttara Rarhi E^yasthas of Bengal 
claim to be Earans. The Earans of Orissa have no 
connection with those of North Behar. 

§ 4. — The Sakya Sent Kdyasthas. 

The Sakya Seni Eayasthas are very nnmerons in the 
District of Etawa in the Doab, and are to be found in 
every part of the Gangetic valley from Hardwar to 
Patna. Many of the wealthiest landholders of Etawa, 
Eta and Fatehpore are Sakya Senis. Like the Sri- 
vastas they are divided into three classes, namely, Ail, 
Dnsri and Ehore. These do not intermarry, and must 
be regarded as separate castes. The Sakya Senis have 
a lower social position than the Srivastas. 

Raja Shitab Roy, who was Governor of Behar in the 
days of what is called the " double Government," was a 
Sakya Seni. The following account regarding him is 
to be found in Macaulay's review of the administration 
of Warren Hastings : — 

A chief named Shitab Roy had been intmsted with the govern- 
ment of Behar. His valoar and his attachment to the English had 
more than once been mgnally proved. On that memorable day on 
which the people of fktna saw from their waUs the whole army of 
the Mogul scattered by the little band of Captain Knox, the voice 
of the British conquerors assigned the palm of gallantry to Uie 
brave Asiatic. '* I never," said Knox, wnen he introduced Shitab 
Roy, covered with blood and dust, to the English functionaries 
assembled in the factory, " I never saw a native fight so before." 
Shitab Roy was involved in the ruin of Mahomed Beza Khan, was 
removed from ofiSce, and was placed under arrest. 

" The revolution completed, the double Government dissolved, the 
Company installed in the full sovereignty of Beng^, Hastings had 
no motive to treat the late ministers with ri^or. Their trial had 
b«>en pot off on various pleas till the new organization was complete. 
They were then brought before a committee over which the Qovemor 
presided. Shitab Roy was speedily acquitted with honour. A 
formal apology was made to him for the restraint to which he had been 
•objected. All the eastern marks of respect were bestowed on him. 
He was clothed in a robe of state, presented with jewels and with a 
richly harnessed elephant, and sent back to his Qovemment at 
Patna. But his health had suffered from confinement ; his spirit 
had been craellv wounded ; and soon after his liberation ho died of 
% brdcen heart.'' 


The late Baja Bhoop Sen Sing of Patna was the 
daughter's son of Shitablloy's son, Kalyan Sing. Bhoop 
Sen left two sons named Mahipat and Hoop Narain* 
The line of Maharaja Mahipat is now represented by his 
widowed dangbter-in-law, Maharani Tikam Kmnari. 
Kumar Roop Narain is still living, but is a lunatic. 
The family have their residence in the quarter of Patna 
called the Dewan Mahallah. 

§ 5. — The Kula Sreshti Kdt/dsthas. 
The Kula Sreshti Kayasthas are found chiefly in the 
districts of Agra and Eta. 

§ 6. — The Bhatnagari. 

The Bhatnagar K&yasthas derive their name from 
the town of Bhatnagar or Bhatner in the Hanumangar 
District on the north of Bikaneer. "They are found 
in great numbers in almost all the districts inhabited 
by the Gaur Brahmans, from Sambhal and Morada- 
bad to Agroha and Ajmere. They are also scattered 
over some of the Eastern provinces. The Bhatnagaris 
are not considered very pure Hindus, and are more 
addicted to drinking than other Kayasthas. But their 
official position in some places has enabled them to 
acquire considerable influence. They are the Kanangos 
of Gwalior and Mahaban in Mathura. The Gaur 
Bhatnagars are Kanangos of Mariyahu in Jounpore, 
of Chapra and Monghyr.* 

§ 7. — The McUhuri Kayasthas. 

The Mathuri Kayasthas are, as their name indicates, 
inhabitants of the country round the ancient city of 

§ S»^Tlie Suryadhaja Kdyasthas* 

The Suryadhaja Kayasthas are to be found in the 
Districts of Balia and Gazipur. In the Bijnour District 
the Suryadhajas claim to be Brahmans. 

* EUiof B Supplemental Oloesary, p. 86. 


§ 9. — The BaXmSd Kdyoithas. 

The Balmiki Efljrastfaas are to be found in GnjraL 
The late Mr. Justice Nana Bhai Haridas, of the Bom* 
bay High Court, was a Balmiki Eiiyastha. 

§ 10. — The Aththana Kdyasthat. 

The Ashthana Kajasthas are to be found in Agra^ 
Balia and Gazipur. 

§ 11. — The Nigama Kayasthai. 

The Kayasihas of Unao claim to be Nigama Eaya«« 

§ 12. — The OauT Kdyasthas. 

Like the Ghiur Brahmans, the Gaur KHyasthas appear 
to have been originally inhabitants of the tract of 
country now included in the Delhi Division of the 
Punjab. The Gaur Kayasthas are to be found in almost 
all the Districts lying between Delhi and Patna. The 
Gaur Kayasthas of Azimgad are chiefly Sikhs. The 
Bhatnagaris seem to be a section of the Gaurs. 

§ 13. — The Kayasthas of Unao. 

The Kayasthas of Unao are a very important commu- 
niiy. They claim to be of the Nigama class. There are 
many eminent lawyers and high officials among them. 


In the Andhra country, including the north-eastern 
districts of the Madras rresidencj, the work of writers 
and accountants is done chiefly by the Niyogi Brah- 
mans. The Elamams of the province, whose caste 
status is similar to that of the Kayasthas of Northern 
India, are also employed in similar capacities. The 
Kamams are, however, a small community, and as very 
few of them have attained high positions in Govern- 
ment service or in the liberal professions, they cannot 
be said to be equal to the Eayasthas of Bengal, either 
socially or intellectually. The Earnams take the sacred 
thread, but are regarded by all as Sudras. 

In Mysore and in the British districts towards its 
south and east, the classes that are usually held to be 
entitled to the designation of writer castes, are the 
Kanakkans and the Shanbhogs. Intellectually and so- 
cially these are more like the Earnams, than like the 
E^yasths of Northern India. 

In the Dravira country, the Yellalars and some of the 
Vadugas claim to be Eayasthas, and though they are 
generally described as i^ricultural castes, they seem to 
nave^ in many respects, the same position as the writer 
castes of Northern India. The Yellalars are divided 
into two classes, the usual surname of one of which is 
Mudaliar, and that of the other Pillai. The Mudaliars 
have a higher position than the other Yellalars. The 
Mudaliars are found chiefly near Arcot and Salem. The 

( 192 ) 


Yellalars, whose snmame is Pillai, are found chiefly 
in ihe extreme south. Neither the Mudaliars nor the 
Pillais take the sacred thread ; but they are regarded 
as very dean Sudras, and the Brahmans accept their 
gifts without much hesitation. 

The Yadugas are not, properly speaking, a separate 
caste. In Dravira the name is applied to the Sudras 
of the Telegu country who have migrated, and are 
domiciled, in the Dravira districts. The high caste 
Vadugas have the same position as the Yellalars. The 
usual surname of the Yadugas is Naidu. There are 
many well-educated men among both the Yadugas 
and the Yellalars^ and members of these castes are as 
numerous in the public service and the liberal pro- 
fessions in Southern India, as the Kayasthas are in 
the same lines of business in Northern India. 

B, HO 13 



Thb word Prabha literally means * lord.' It is the 
caste name of a very small but important commnnity 
found in Western India. Their total number is only 
29,559 ; bat they are a very intelligent and ener- 
getic class. The two main sub-divisions among them 
are the following : — 

1. Chandra Seni Prabha— found chiefly near Poena. 

2. Patani Prabhu— found in Bombay and Gujrat. 

There are other classes of Prabhus besides these, as, 
for instance^ the Donna Prabhus, of Goa. The Prabhus 
wear the sacred thread, and, claiming to be Ksatriyas, 
perform their poojas and prayers in the same manner 
as the highest of the twice-born castes. Nevertheless 
they are usually considered to have only the same foot- 
ing as that which the Eayasthas have in Northern 
India. They held very high offices under the Maratta 
kings. The great Sivaji's chief secretary was a Chan- 
dra Seni Prabhu, named Balaji Auji, whose acuteness 
and intelligence are recorded by the English Qovern- 
ment at Bombay on an occasion of his being sent there 
on business.* Mnlhar Khanderao Chitnavis, Vakil, dis- 
trict Amraoti, is a descendant of Balaji Auji. Two of 
his other descendants are now receiving their education 
in England at the expense of the Maharaja Guikwar of 
Baroda. Sakharam Hari Gupti, who was Minister to 

* See Grant DuflTi ffUtcry cfths Marathoi, Vol. I, p. 20L 

( 194 ) 


Raghan&th Rao, Peshwa, and who suffered a crael 
death for his fidelity to his master, was a Prabhu also. 
One of his descendants is employed at present as a 
(General in the army of H. H. the Maharaja Holkar. 
Rowji Appaji, who was Minister to Govinda Rao Gaik- 
war, and who after the death of his master became the 
most powerful man in the country and almost a ^' King 
maker," was also of the Prabhn caste. Rowji's brother 
Babaji was the Commander of the Guikwar's Cavalry. 
Of the same caste were also Mahipat Rao, who was 
Prime Minister to Madhoji Bhouslay, and Krishna Rao 
Madhav Chitnavis, who was Prime Minister to Raghnji 
Bhouslay II, of Nagpore. The Hon'ble Gangadhar Rao 
Madhav Chitnavis, who is at present on the Legislative 
Council of India as an Additional Member, is a grandson 
of the Nagpore premier, Krishna Rao Chitnavis. The 
Hon'ble G. M. Chitnavis is a young man ; but the 
ability and moderation which he nas displayed on some 
of the most trying occasions would do credit to many 
a grey-headed Councillor. His brother, Mr. Shankar 
Rao Madhav Chitnavis, holds a very high position in the 
Civil Service of India, being at present a District 
Magistrate and Collector in the Central Provinces. Of 
the other conspicuous names among the living members 
of the Prabhu caste, the following may be mentioned 
here : — 

1. I>ewan Bahadoor Liixn^an Jagannath Vaidya, of Poona, 

late Dewan of Baroda. 

2. Bao Bahadoor VasudoT Bfahadeo Somnath, Sir Soobah 

of Baroda. 

i Baurhonath Sheo Bao Tipnayia, Sessions Judge, Bombay 

4« Bao Bahadoor Kandron Daji Adhicari Huzoor, Account- 
ant, Poona. 

5. Bao Bahadoor Anna Gopal Kotwal, Depaty Ck>Uector, 


Thb Kolitas are foxind not only in Assam, bat also in 
the Southern Tributary States of Chutia Nagpore. Colo- 
nel Dalton describes the Kolitas of Chutia Nagpore as 
of fair complexion, with good features and well-propor- 
tioned limbs, and expresses the opinion that tney are 
of Aryan blood with ^^ a slight deterioration arising from 
intermixture with the less comely aborigines. The same 
remarks apply to the Kolitas of Assam. They are re- 
garded by the best authorities as genuine Hindus of 
unmixed descent.* 

The highest class Kolitas in Assam, called Bora Koli- 
tas, live chiefly by serving as clerks and accountants. 
Under the Ahang Bajas almost all the Bora Kolitas 
were employed in the civil service of their country. 
Some of the high class Kolitas practise trade. When a 
Kolita manages to become a big man, he claims to be a 
Kayastha and takes the sacred thread. Of the inferior 
Kolitas, who are mainly agricultural, many serve as 
menials in the houses of Brahmans. The Kolitas are a 
pure Sudra caste, and they are almost the only Sudras 
in Assam who are allowed to enter the cook-room of a 
Brahman. There are some Kolitas who are artisans, 
but their status is inferior to that of the agricultural 
Kolitas. Some of the Kolitas are now the abbots of 
the monasteries appertaining to a Yaishnava sect found- 
ed by an Assamese Brahman in the fifteenth century. 

* Hunter's Imperial Oazetteer, Vol. I, p. 355. 

( 196 ) 


The nsnal samames of the Bora Kolitas are Kokatia 
and Choliha, both of which have the same signification, 
and ore the Assamese and Ahang equivalents of the 
designation ^^ clerk," their literal meaning being ^^paper 
writer/' The snrname of the inferior Kolitas is Kolita. 

The Kolita population is more numerous in Upper 
and Central Assam than in the Surma Valley. Of the 
253,860 KoliiAS returned in Assam in 1881, 241,589 
were inhabitants of the Bramhaputra Valley. The 
Kayastha population of Assam is confined mainly to the 
Surma Valley. 



Thb word Baniya is a corruption of the Sanskrit 
word banik which means " merchant." The Baniyas 
are certainly entitled to be regarded as Yaishyas. But 
the Baniyas of Bengal do not wear the sacred thread, 
and the best of them are looked upon as inferior Sndras. 
The Baniyas proper of Bengal are divided into two 
classes, namely, — 

1. Suvama Banika— gold merchants. 

2. Oandha Banika— spice merchants. 

Besides these there are two other classes, namely^ the 
Kansa Banika and the Sankha Banika, whose profession 
and caste names entitle them to some extent to be regarded 
as Baniyas, but who are not popularly taken to come 
under the category. From the point of view of caste, 
the Qandha Baniks, Kansa Baniks, and Sankha Baniks 
have all a higher position than Suvama Baniks ; but 
in respect of wealth, intelligence and culture, the latter 
stand on a far higher footing. There are among the 
Sonar Baniyas a great many who are big capitalists. 
These have very little enterprise, and generally seek the 
safest investments. The middle classes among them 
have generally poddari shops in the large towns where 

( 198 ) 


ihey sell and buy gold and silver in the form of ingots, 
as well as in the shape of plate and jewellery. The 
Oandha Baniyas form tne majority of the grocery shop* 
keepers of Bengal. The Kansa Baniks and Sankha 
Baniks also pnrsne the occupations assigned to their 
castes. There are many well-to-do people among the 
Gandha Baniyas and the Eansa Baniyas^ bat the 
Sankha Baniyas are, as a class, very poor. 

§ 1. — Suvama Baniks of Bengal. 

The Snvarna Baniks are popularly called Sonar Baniyas. 
They are a very intelligent and well-to-do class, but 
they are treated as a degraded caste. The good Brah- 
mans do not take even a drink of water from their 
hands. Their spiritual guides are the Chaitanite Gos- 
sains, and their religious services are performed by a 
class of degraded Brahmans called Sonar Baniya Brah- 

The Sonar Baniyas are believed to be very hard-fisted, 
and perhaps they are actually so in certain concerns of 
life ; but they never deny themselves any personal 
comfort consistent with their ideas of economy. Some 
of them live in palatial mansions, and keep splendid 
equipages. They do not invest much of their money 
for the benefit of their souls in the next world, and 
with the exception of a few of their wealthy members, 
they very seldom incur any expenditure by way of 
charity to the poor. As a class the Sonar Baniyas 
are, by nature, endowed with very strong common sense 
and sound judgment, and so they seldom fail to prosper 
in any line of business which they take up. Though 
traders by caste, they do not take any considerable 
share in either the internal or the foreign trade of 
the country. As already stated, there is very little 
^terprise among them, and a Sonar Baniya who has a 
long purse generally seeks more to conserve his patri- 
mony than to improve it by risky speculations. 


The free admission of all the castes into the English 
schools and colleges set np in the country, since the 
commencement of British rule, has enabled many of the 
Sonar Baniyas to distinguish themselves, more or less, as 
English scholars. The greatest among these was the late 
Mr. Lai Behari Dey, the well-known author of the 
Govinda Samanta and the Folk Tales of Bengal. Baba 
Bhola Nath Chandra, the author of Travels in India^ is 
also of the Sonar Baniya caste. I do not know any 
Sonar Baniya who has yet attained much eminence in 
the Bar ; but in the Judicial Service, there are many who 
hold very high positions. The most notable among them 
is Babu Brajendra Kumar Seal, who has now the rank 
of a District Court Judge, and who may one day prove 
an ornament of the Bengal High Court. In the Medical 
Service also there are some Sonar Baniyas holding very 
high positions. 

The total Sonar Baniya population of Bengal is accord- 
ing to the last Census 97,540 souls in all. They are 
divided into two classes called Saptagrami and Ban- 
gaja. The usual surnames of the Saptagramb are 
Mallick, Seal, Dhar, Laha, Baral, Adhya and Sen. 
Very few of these titles are peculiar to the class. But 
the leading Mallicks, Seals and Lahas of Calcutta are 
of the Saptagrami division of the Sonar Baniya caste. 
Abandoned by the higher classes of Brahmans, the 
Sonar Baniyas have naturally fallen into the hands of 
the Chaitanite Gossains. The teachings of their spi- 
ritual: guides have made them strict absteiners from an- 
mal food and intoxicating drinks. To that extent their 
religion has had a very wholesome influence on them. 
The inevitable result of Vishnuvite teachings is, however, 
to cause a relaxation of the fetters by which the noble 
religion of the primitive Hindu Rishis sought to enforce 
sexual fidelity, and it is said that by leading their fol- 
lowers to pander to them in imitating the alleged flirta- 
tions of Krishna, the Chaitanite Gtossains, and the 
Ballavachari Maharajas are sometimes able to make them 


wallow very deep in the mire of the most abominable 
practices. But, though the religion of the Gossains may 
be calculated to corrupt the morality of their followers, 
it must be almost impossible for the teachers to take ad- 
vantage of their cult for the gratification of their lust, 
without losing the esteem of- their disciples which is 
their only source of income. Many of the Gossains, 
whom I know, are themselves very good men, and the 
chellas being also very shrewd men of the world, the 
stories that are usually retailed about their religious 
practices must to a great extent be quite without found- 
ation. It is only wnen the chella is a young widow 
without any near relation to protect her, that the spiritual 
teacher may find it possible or safe to corrupt her. But 
even in such cases the Gossain is boycotted by his 
disciples in a manner which makes him very miserable 
indeed. Even apart from such checks, no class of men 
can possibly be so bad as some of their religions tend to 
make them. 

The Sonar Baniyas are very neat and clean in their 
habits. They dress very decently, and their style of 
conversation very seldom betrays their low status in 
caste. Their ladies are generally very handsome. 

§ 2. — The Gandha Baraks of Bengal. 

The Grandha Baniks, though entitled to be regarded 
as Vaishyas, are treated in Bengal as middle class Sudras, 
from whom a good Brahman may take a drink of 
water without any hesitation. A Brahman may even 
condescend so far as to accept their gifts and officiate 
at their religious ceremonies, without losing altogether 
his connection with his caste. 

The Gandha Baniks usually live by keeping shops, 
where they sell spices, sugar, ghi, salt, medicines and 
food-grains. They retail opium and chants. But they 
very seldom sell ganja, except through a Mahomedan 
servant. The majority of the shopkeepers of Bengal are 
either Grandha Baniks or Telis. There are not, among the 



Gandha Baniks, such big capitalists as are to be found 
among the Sonar Bani jas ; nor such big traders as among 
the Telis. But, generallyspeaking, the Gandha Baniyas 
are a well-to-do class. They stick to the profession of 
their caste, and I do not know any member of the class 
who has obtained any University distinction, or has held 
any high office in the service of Government. The 
Gandha Baniyas are all, however, possessed of suffi- 
cient education to be able to keep accounts. Their usual 
surnames are Sinha, Dhani, MuUik, De, Nag, Sadhu, 
Datta and Dhar. Their total numerical strength is, 
according to the last Census, 123,765. 

The Gandha Baniyas live in good houses. But they 
very seldom spend much of their wealth in any other 
kind of personal comfort. It is very unusual for them 
to be dressed decently, and even the wealthiest among 
them generally live .in a very shabby style. The 
Gandha Baniyas spend very considerable amounts 
in Pujas and marriages. But in other respects, the 
priestly class have very little influence on them either 
for good or evil. Their women have a very high 
character for conjugal fidelity. 



To give an exhanstiye list of the several Baniya tribes 
and of their sub-tribes is quite as impossible as the enu- 
meration of the several clans of the Rajputs and the 
Brahmans. In the Annah qfJRajasthan it is stated that 
the author's Jaina teacher, who had for a series of years 
been engaged in compiling a catalogue of the Baniya 
tribes, and had at one time included in it the names of 
not less than 1,800 different clans, was obliged to aban- 
don the pursuit, on obtaining from a brother priest, from 
a distant province, one hundred and fifty new names.* 
Colonel Tod's teaoher was evidently contemplating the 
enumeration, not only of the main tribes, but of their 
sub-divisions in every part of India, including Gujrat, 
where the sub-divisions among the Baniyas are as 
numerous as those among the local Brahmans. The 
main divisions of the Baniyas are not quite so numerous 
as the statement cited above from the Annals of Rajas' 
than might suggest. The commercial tribes best known 
and most usually found in Upper India are the follow- 
ing :— 

1. AganrSlft. 7. Bhatija. 

2. Osawal (inclodinj^ the Sri* 8. Mahesri. 

mala and Sir Snmals). 9. ACTahari. 

3. Khandelwal. 10. Dhusar. 

4. Srimali. 11. Umar. 

5. Palliwal. 

6. Ponwal. 

12. Bastogri. 

13. Kesarwaai. 

• Tod's Aiuiali qf Sajagthan, Vol. II., p. 182. 

( 203 ) 


14. Kesandhan. 

15. Lohiya. 
10. Soniya. 

17. Sura Seni. 

18. Bara Sent 

19. Baranwal. 

20. Ayodhya Bansi. 

21. Jaiswar. 

22. Mahobiya. 

23. Mahuria. 

24. The Bais Banivas. 

25. The Kath Baniyas, 

26. The Raoniyas. 

27. The Janarya. 

28. The Lohana. 

a9. The Rewari Baniyas. 

30. The Kano. 

Of these the first ten are the richest and most enter- 
prising. They claim Bajpatana and the adjoining tracts 
as their original home, but are to be found in every 
part of Upper India, from the Sutlej to the Brahma- 
putra. They are, generally speaking, very intelligent, 
and, although not possessing much of literary culture, 
their aristocratic appearance, cleanly habits, courteous 
manners, and capacity for every kind of business, mark 
them out as men of a superior stamp. They are all 
strict vegetarians and abstainers from strong drinks. 

The above are the chief tribes of Upper India that 
usually profess to be, and are recognized as, branches 
of the Baniya or mercantile caste. Among the persons 
actually connected with the trading business of Hindus- 
tan proper, a very large number are of the Eshetri 
caste, who, as already stated in a previous chapter, claim 
to be of the military group, but who, as a matter of fact, 
are mainly cloth merchants. In the Puniab, United 
Provinces, Behar, and Calcutta, the Kshetris have almost 
the monopoly for the sale of all kinds of textile fabrics, 
from Cashmere shawls and Benares brocades to those 
cheap Manchester dhotis which are now hawked in the 
streets of towns by the shrill and familiar cry of 
*' three pieces to the rupee ; four pieces to the rupee, 
&c." The majority of the several classes of brokers in 
Northern India are also of the Kshetri caste. Among 
the sellers of food-grains, oil-seeds, salt, spices, &c., the 
several tribes of the Baniyas mentioned above may 
collectively form the majority. But the number of Telis 
and Kail wars among them is also very considerable. In 
fact, the Telis, whose proper avocation is the manufao- 


tare of oil, and the Kallwars who are brewers, claim to 
be Baniyas, though that claim is not admitted by any 
one outside their own spheres. 

§ 1. — The Agarwali. 

The Agarwal&s, Khandelwals and Ossawals are the 
most important classes of Baniyas in Upper India, and 
are to be found in every part of it from the Sutlej to 
the Brahmaputra, and even outside these limits. The 
Agarwals trace their descent from a Ksatriya king, 
Agra Sen, who reigned in Sirhind, and whose capital 
was at Agraha, now a small town in the Fatehbad Tahsil 
of the Hissar District, Punjab. The exact date of Agra 
Sen is unknown, but some conjecture about it may be 
made from the tradition that his descendants took an 
important part in the struggles between Hinduism and 
Jainaism, and that many of them were led to embrace 
the Jaina religion at the time. After the captare of 
Agraha by Sahabuddin Ghori in 1194, and the dispersal of 
the tribe in consequence of that disaster, they renounced 
the military profession, and took to trade. 

There are a few Jains among the Agarwals. The 
majority of the caste are Yishnuvites. Some of them 
offer worship to the shrines of Siva and Kali. But 
there are none among them who can be called Sivites or 
Saktas. They all profess great reverence for the field of 
Kurukshetra and the river Ganges. They worship very 
particularly the goddess Laksmi, and celebrate with 
great pomp the Ditoali, or general illumination of their 
houses, in the night of the new moon in October. The 
Jain Agarwalas are chiefly of the Digambari order. The 
Hindu Agarwals profess great reverence towards snakes, 
in accoroance with their traditional belief that one of 
their remote female ancestors was a Nag kanya, t.^., 
the daughter of a serpent king. In Delhi the Yaishnava 
Agarwals paint pictures of the snake on either side of 
the outside doors of their houses, and make o£fering of 
fruits and flowers before them. A great many of the 


Agarwftls take the sacred thread ; but they consider the 
practice as optional, and not desirable for those whose 
pursuits or habits of life render it impossible to observe 
the rules and ceremonies prescribed to the twice*bom by 
the Shastras. According to the last Census, the numer- 
ical strength of the Agarwals is as shown in the 
following table : — 

N.-W. ProTiDoes ... ... ... 311,617 

Bengal ... ... ^. 19,297 

Central ProTinoes ... ... ... 14,720 

Total, includingf the figures of other 
Provinoes where they are found ... 354,177 

There are about 18 Gotras among the Agarwftls, and 
they observe the rule of the Shastras forbidding marri- 
age within the Gotra. Intermarriage is allowed oetween 
the Jainas and Hindus in their caste. Their widows are 
not allowed to re-marry. The Ghiuda Brahmans usually 
minister to them as priests. They are all strict vege- 
tarians and teetotalers. The illegitimate offispring of 
the Agarwftls are not altogether without a caste status. 
They are called Dasa, while those of legitimate birth 
are called Bisa. 

The Agarwals claim to be the only true representatives 
of the Aryan Yaishyas, and their occupations have 
throughout been in keeping with the tradition. ^^ After 
the dispersion of the tribe by Sahabuddin Ghori their 
talent for business brought individual 'members to the 
front under the Mahomedan Emperors of Delhi. Two 
of Akbar's Ministers — Madhu San and Todar Mai — ^are 
said to have been Agarwftls."* But the majority of 
the caste have from remote times been, and still are, 
employed in banking, trade, petty money-lending, and 
similar pursuits. A few are zemindars and holders of 
large tenures ; but in most cases their connection with 
the land may be traced te a profitable mortgage on the 
estate of an hereditary landholder, so that landholding 

• Tod'i AnnaU nf JUijaithan, Vol. I. p. 548. 

THB 0S8AWALS. 207 

cannot properly be reckoned among the charaoteristic 
pursuits of the oaste. The poorer members of the caste 
nnd employment as brokers, book-keepers, touts, workers 
in gold and silver embroidery, and take to any respects 
able pursuit except cultivation.* 

§ 2. — The OisawaU^ Srimals and Sri SrimaU, 

Though bearing different designations according to 
the names of their original abodes, the Ossawals, Srimals 
and Sri Srimals are all members of the same caste. 
They are, however, not to be confounded with the 
Srimalis who form a distinct caste, and with whom they 
cannot intermarry. A very considerable number of the 

Seat Indian bankers and jewellers are Ossawals, and 
Aonel Tod cannot be very far from the mark in 
observing that half the mercantile wealth of India 
passes through their hands. In Vajputana they hold 
also very high offices in the service of the local chiefs. 
But in British India, where only the subordinate 
appointments are open to the natives of the country, 
there are scarcely half-ar-dozen Ossawals connected with 
the public service. The late Raja Siva Prasad, who was 
an Ossawal, held the post of Inspector of Schools in the 
North- Western Provinces. Among the living officials 
of the Ossawal caste, the only name generally known is 
that of Mr. Bishen Chand, who is a Deputy Collector 
in the United Provinces. In Rajputana the services 
of the Ossawals are better appreciated. From time 
immemorial they have held there the highest offices 
connected with finance and the administration of civil 
jofltice ; and even at present many of the leading offi- 
cials there are of the Ossawali clan. The present Dewan 
of Udaipore, Babu Panna Lai, is of that tribe ; so is 
alfio Mr. Nath Malji, the chief fiscal officer of Jaipore. 
It is said that there are a few Yishnuvites among 
the Ossawals. But the majority of them are Jains, and 

* Bifllei'B Tribe$ and C<ute$ of Bengal, Vol. I, p. 7. 


they spend vast sums of money in building and 
furnishing temples dedicated to their saints. The 
best and most ancient of these shrines are at Palitana 
and Gimar. There are also a few recently-built 
Jain temples in Calcutta which are well worth visiting. 
The Ossawals are to be found in almost all the great 
towns of Northern India. The Jagat Setts of Moor- 
shedabad, whose political support mainly paved the 
way of the English to the acquisition of the sever* 
eignty of Bengal, were Ossawals. That family is well- 
nigh ruined now, but ther^ is a large colony of Ossawals 
at Azimgun^e near Moorshedabad, who are all very 
wealthy bauKers and landholders. The greatest of 
these are Bay Dhanpat Sing and his nephew Bay 
Ohatrapat Sing. The members of this family have all 
been very remarkable men as bankers and zemindars. 
Bay Latchmipat, the father of Ohatrapat, was at one 
time involved in difEculties which threatened his ruin ; 
but his reputation for strict honesty, and his skill in the 
management of his business, enabled him to tide over 
the crisis with success, and to pay his creditors in full 
with interest. His creditors themselves oflFered to forego 
the interest, but he declined to avail himself of the 
concession even in the darkest hours of his peril, «nd 
now the credit of the family is established all the more. 
There was lately a run on the bank of Bay Dhanpat also. 
Some of his creditors tried to have him declared an 
insolvent. But he contested their proceedings, and in- 
stead of taking advantage of the law for the relief of 
insolvent debtors, he is, like his brother, about to 
pay the last farthing that he owed to his creditors. 
Such integrity in actual practice has certainly far 
greater value than the olla podrida of copy-book ethics 
and Machiavelism for which the priestly class claim 
to be worshipped by their followers. 

The great defect in the Baniyas of Northern India is, 
as already observed, their incapacity to march in advance 
of, or even with, the times. With all their wealth and 


capacity for business they have done nothing whatever 
to introduce those new industries whioh the country now 
sadly needs, and which, after the experimental stage is 
over, are sure to be profitable. They work in the old 
grooves, or in lines presented to them ready-made, and 
tney have not yet given any evidence of an aptitude for 
organising new spheres of commercial activity. In 
this respect they are far surpassed by the Parsis and 
the Nagar Baniyas of Gujrat. Among our Ossawals, 
Agarwals, Khandelwals, Mahesris or Sonar Baniyas there 
is not a single name that, in respect of enterprise, can be 
compared with that of Sir Mangal Das Nathu Bhai 
or Sir Dinshaw Manikjee Petit. 

The Bhojak Brahmans minister to the Ossawals as 
priests in the performance of those Brahmanical cere- 
monies that are not eschewed by the Jains. The social 
rank of the Ossawals is the same as that of the Agarwals, 
and their gifte would be accepted without hesitation by 
Brahmans of_all classes. 

Like the Agarwals, the Ossawals give a recognised 
status to their illegitimate progeny calling them Dasa, 
while those of legitimate birth are called Bisa. 

The usual surnames of the Ossawals are Chand, Das, 
Dosi, Lai, Singh, Golecha, Doogar and Nalaka. 

§ 3. — The Khandelwal Bardyas. 

The Khandelwal Baniyas are not inferior to any of 
the other divisions of the caste, either in wealth or in 
respect of refinement. They derive their name from 
the town of Khandela in the Jaipore State, which at 
one time was the chief city of the Shekhawati Confe- 
deration.* There are both V ishnuvites and Jains among 
them. The Vishnuvite Khandelwals take the sacred 
thread. The millionaire Setts of Mathura are Khandel- 
wals and of the Jain persuasion, with the exception 
of one branch only that has lately adopted the Yishnu- 

* See Tod's AnnaU of Bajoiihan, Vol. II, p. 434. 
B, HC 14 


vite faith, tbroagh the influence of an Achari monk 
of the Ramanoja sect, named Bangachari Swami. 
Malchand Soni of Ajmere is a Jain Khandelwal. 

§ 4.— The Srimali Baniyas. ' 

Like the Srimali Brahmans, the Srimali Baniyas 
trace their name to the town of Srimal now called 
Bhinal, near Jhalore in Marwar. With regard to Bhinal 
and Sanchore, Colonel Tod says : — 

These towns are on the high road to Catch and Gnjmt, which 
has given them from the most remote times a commercial celebrity. 
Bhinal is said to contain fifteen hundred houses, and Sanchore 
about half that number. Very wealthy mohmant or * merchants ' 
used to reside here, but insecaritv both within and without has 
much injured these cities, the first of which has its name mdlfttma 
its wealth as a mart.— Tod's AnnaU of Bajiuthimj Vol. II, p. 332. 

Like the Agarwals, the Srimalis give a recognised 
status to their illegitimate offspring, and call them 
Dasa Srimalis, whUe those of legitimate birth are 
called Bisa. The latter are all Jains. But among the 
Dasa Srimalis there are both Jains and Yishnuvites. 
There are many rich men among the Srimali Baniyas, 
as, for instance, Panna Lai Johori, the leading jeweller 
of Bombay, and Makhan Lai Earam Chand, tne lead- 
ing banker of Ahmedabad. Like the Ossawals and 
the Khandelwals, the Srimali Baniyas generally stick 
to their caste profession, and keep aloof from the pnblic 
services, and the practice of the liberal professions. 
There are, however, some exceptions. Dr. Tri Bhavan 
Das, of Junagar, is a Srimali. 

§ 5. — The PaUiwal Baniyas, 

The PaUiwal Baniyas derive their name from the 
ancient commercial mart of Marwar, about which an 
account has been already given in connection with the 
PaUiwal Bramhans.* Among the PaUiwal Baniyas 
there are both Jains and Vishnuvites. They are very 
numerous in Agra and Jaunpur. 

* See page 68, anU, 


§ 6. — The Porawal Banit/as, 

The Porawal Baniyas seem to derive their name from 
Pore Bunder in Gnjrat, and, if so then, they are Gnjrati 
Baniyas. They are strong in Lalitpur, Jhansi, Cawnpnr, 
Agra, Hamirpnr, and Banda. They do not take the 
sacred thread. The Srimali Brahmans minister to them 
as priests. Mr. Bhagu Bhai, one of the wealthiest 
bankers of Ahmedabad, is a Porawal. 

§ 7.— The Bhaiiyas. 

like most of the other Baniya castes of Bajputana, 
the Bhatiyas claim to be Bajputs. Bat whatever 
gronnd there may be for snch pretension, this mnch is 
certain, that they have no connection whatever with the 
Bhatti clan of the Bajpnt tribe. The Bhatiyas deal 
very largely in the cotton piece-goods imported into this 
country from Manchester. The last Census gives the 
following figures regarding their numerical strength : — 

Bombiby ... ... ... ... 22,663 

Punjab ... ... ... ... 23,649 

DCUKlO ... •■• ... ... o,lill 

There is a large colony of Bhatiyas at Karachi in^ 

§ 8. — The Mahesri Baniyas, 

The Mahesris are a numerous tribe found in almost 
every part of the N.-W. Provinces, Rajputana and Behar. 
They are to be found in large numbers in Kagpore also. 
The majority of them are Vishnuvites, and take the sacred 
thread. The number of Jains among them is not very 
considerable. Their name is probably derived from 
that of the ancient town of Maheshwar near Indore. 
But some say that their original home is Bikanir, while 
the Mahesris of Mozufferpore trace their name from the 
town of Mahesha near Bhurtpore The well-known 
banker, Bansi Lai Abirchand, of Bikanir, who has 
agencies in almost every part of India, is a Mahesri. 
So is Sheva Bam E^osal Chand, of Jubbulpore. 


§ 9. — The Agrahari Baniyas. 

The Agraharis are found chiefly in the districts 
round Benares. Their numerical strength is slightly 
in excess of one hundred thousand. There are not 
many wealthy men among them. They take the sacred 
thread, and, like the other leading Baniya clans, are 
strict vegetarians and teetotalers. There are many 
Agraharis who have embraced the Sikh faith. There is 
a large colony of such Agraharis in the district of 

§ 10. — The Dhunsar Bardyas. 

The Dhunsars are found chiefly in the Gangetic Doab, 
between Delhi on the west and Mirzapore on the east. 
There are many big landholders among them. They 
take their name from Dhusi, a flat-topped hill, near 
Rewari, in Gurgaon. They are all Vishnuvites, and 
there are no Jains among them. They do not devote 
themselves entirely to trade. In fact their chief pro- 
fession is penmanship, and they combine in themselves 
the oflice-aptitude of the Kayasth, with the Baniya's 
capacity for mercantile business. Under Mahomedan 
rule, they occasionally filled many high offices of State. 
Under the present regime a good many of them hold 
such appointments in the public service as are open to 
the natives of this country now. 

§ 11. — The Umar Baniyas. 

The Umars are very numerous in the tract of country 
between Agra on the west and Gorakhpur on the east. 
The Baniyas of the districts adjoining Cawnpur are 
chiefly Umars. The tribe has very few representatives 
in Behar. They are usually recognised as good Vaish- 
yas, and their caste status is not regarded as inferior 
to that of any other Baniya tribe. They take the 
sacred thread after the death of their fathers, but not 


§ li.^The Eastogi Baniyas. 

The Rastogis are very namerons in the Upper Doab, 
and in almost all the chief towns of the United Pro- 
vinces, as, for instance, Lncknow, Fatehpnr, Farak- 
kabad, Meemt, and Azamgarh. The tribe has a few 
representatives also in Patna and Calcutta. All the 
Rastogis are Yaishnavas of the Ballava sect. Like the 
Umars they take the sacred thread after the death of 
their fathers, and not before. There are some wealthy 
bankers among them. Even the poorest among them 
are generally found well clad. They have the following 
sub-divisions :— 

1. Amethi— probably from the Pergannah of that name, in 

the Sultanpore District, Oodh. 

2. Indrapati—from Indrapat, tiie ancient name of Delhi, 
a. Manhariya— probably from Maihar in Baghelkhand. 

§§ 13, 14. — The Kasarward and the Kasanadhan 


These two tribes seem to derive their names from the 
Sanskrit word kansa^ which means '^bell-metal." If that 
be the correct derivation of their caste designation, then 
their original occupation was the keeping of shops for 
the sale of those brass and bell-metal utensils which 
are a necessity in every Hindu household. But as, in 
practice, they generally keep shops for the sale of food- 
grains and oil-seeds, it does not seem impossible that 
their names are corrupted forms of Krishana Vanik and 
Krishana Dhaniy both meaning ' the . '* husbandman's 
banker. ** They are pretty numerous in every part of 
Hie United Provinces and Behar. The last Census 
gives the following figures relating to their numerical 
strength : — 

Kaaandhan, 97,741— most namerons in the districts of Banda 

Kasarwani, 65,ft25— most numerous in Benares. 

The majority of these two tribes are petty shopkeepers, 
and iha number of wealthy men among them is not 
very considerable. Most of them are quite illiterate. 


A few have edacation enongli to serve as book-keepers 
and clerks in the offices of the Hindu bankers. The 
Kasarwanis allow their widows to re-marry, but do not 
recognise the possibility of divorce. Shopkeeping is 
their regular occupation. But there are a few among 
them who practise agriculture. The Kasarwanis of the 
districts round Benares are chiefly Ram worshippers, 
and are generally strict vegetarians and teetotalers. 
They, however, offer worship to the Sakti goddess Bin- 
dhya Basini, of Mirzapore, releasing the animal which 
they offer, without slaughtering it. They do not take 
the sacred thread. 

§ 15. — The Lohiya Bardyas. 

As their name indicates, the caste occupation of 
the Lohiyas is the sale of ironware. The numerical 
strength of the class is not very considerable. The 
majority of them are Vishnuvites ; but there are 
among them some Jains also. The taking of the sacred 
thread is very rare among them. 

§ 16. — The Sontyas, 

The Soniyas are dealers in gold. But the Soniyas 
of Upper India are not a very wealthy class like the 
Sonar Baniyas of Bengal. There are many Sonis in 
Allahabad. Those of Benares profess to have migrated 
there from Gujrat. 

§ 17. — The Sura Sent Bardyas, 

The Sura Seni Baniyas evidently derive their desig- 
nation from the ancient name of the Mathura District. 

§ 18. — The Bara Seni Baniyas* 

The Bara Senis are an important community. There 
are many rich bankers among them. They seem to 
derive their name from Barshana in the suburbs of 
Mathura. At any rate, the clan is very strong in 
Mathura and the adjoining districts. 


§ 19. — The Baranwal Baniyas. 

The Baranwals are a nnmerons but not a very wealthy 
dass. They take their name from Barariy the old 
name* of Bulandshahar. They were driven away from 
their original home by the oppressions of Mahomed 
Toglak, and are now to be fonnd chiefly in Etawah, 
Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Jaunpore, Gazipnr, 
Behar and Tirhoot. They are orthodox Hindus, and 
allow neither divorce nor the re-marriage of widows. 
Wherever possible they employ Gaar Brahmans as their 
priests. In Tirhoot they employ Maithili Brahmans 
also. They are mostly shopkeepers. A few have 
taken to agriculture. There are a few big landholders 
and bankers among them ; as, for instance, Babn Bolaki 
Lai, of Monghyr. Some of the Baranwals take the 
sacred thread. 

§ 20. — The Ayodhya Bast Baniyas.. 

Like many other castes the Baniyas have a clan 
deriving their name from the ancient kingdom of 
Oudh. The Ayodhya Basi Baniyas are to be found in 
every part of the United Provinces and Behar. 

§ 21. — The Jcdswar Baniyas. 

The Jaiswar Baniyas seem to derive their name from 
Perganah Jais in the Salon Division of the Rae Bareilly 
District, Oudh. They are very numerous in the eastern 
districts of the United Provinces. They do not take 
the sacred thread. There is a branch of the tribe of 
brewers called Kallwars in Northern India who pre- 
tend to be Jaiswar Baniyas. The Jaiswars are usually 
to be found among the petty shopkeepers and pedlars. 

§ 22. — The Mahohiya Baniyas, 

The Mahobiya Baniyas derive their name from the 
town of Mahob in the Hamirpur District. 

• See Hunter's Iwpeirial. QaziUnr, Vol. Ill, p. 133. 


§ 23. — The Mahuria Baniycu. 

A clan verj strong in Bebar and in the Doab. In 
Bebar tbej are tbe ricbest of all tbe local Baniya tribes. 
Tbere are many big landholders and mral bankers 
among them. They finance the cultivators of sugar- 
cane, and have almost the monopoly of the local trade 
in sugar. They do not take tne sacred thready but 
are regarded as good Hindus of the Yaishya class. 
Tika oahu, of Hansua Noagong, in Gaya, who was 
one of the biggest zemindars of the district, was a 
Mahuria. Like the Sikhs the Mahuris are strictly for- 
bidden the use of tobacco, and a man detected smoking 
would be expelled from the community. In all prob- 
abiliiy the Mahurias are a section of the Bastogis. 

§ 24. — The Bats Baniyas, 

These Baniyas are found chiefly in Behar. Like 
the other high caste Baniyas, they allow neither divorce 
nor the re-marriage of widows. A great many of them 
keep shops for the sale of brass ana bell- metal vessels. 
Some of them practise agriculture. The Bais of 
Kumaon are a different clan, having the same status. 

§ 2?^.'^The Kath BaTiiyas. 

The Eath Baniyas are found in Behar. The majority 
of them are shopkeepers and money-lenders ; but many 
have taken to agriculture, and work even as landless 
day labourers. Some members of the caste have of 
late become zemindars. The Maithila Brahmans minis- 
ter to them as priests. They allow the re-marriage of 
widows, but not of divorced wives. They burn their 
dead, and perform sradh on the thirty-first day. 

§ 26. — The Raoniyar Baniyas. 

The Raoniyars are found in Gorakhpur, Tirhoot and 
Behar. The local Brahmans minister to them as priests. 
They allow the re-marriage of their widows ; but not of 


divorced vFives, except with thepermission of the Pan- 
chait. The Raonijars are not Vishnuvites like most of 
the other Banija tribes. They regard Siva as their 
tutelary deity, and like the Agarwals pay special rever- 
ence to Laksmi, the goddess of Fortune. The majority 
of them are petty traders and money-lenders. They 
are called also Nonia. 

§ 27. — The Jameya Baniyas. 

These are found chiefly in the Etawa District. They 
claim to be descendants of Pralhad, who, according to the 
Vishnuvite legends, was the son of the monster Hiranya 
Kasya{fai, and was saved by Krishna himself from the 
persecutions to which he was subjected by his father. 

§ 28. — The Lohana Bardyas. 

The Lohanas seem to be allied to the Bhatya. They 
are found chiefly in Scind. The total Lohima popula- 
tion of India exceeds half a million. 

§ 29. — The JRewari Baniyas, 

The Bewari Baniyas are a very small clan. They 
evidently derive their name from Rewari in Gurgaon. 
Their usual occupation is the keeping of cloth shops. 
There is a small colony of Bewari Baniyas in Gaya. 

§ 30. — The Kanu Baniyas. 

The Kanus are - petty shopkeepers dealing chiefly 
in food-grains and supplying travellers with the requi- 
sites for cooking their meals. 



The barren deserts of Kajptitana are the principal 
home of the Baniyas. In the contignons province of 
Qujrat also the Sanijas are very numerous, wealthy 
and enterprising. The Srimalis, Ossawals and Khan- 
delwals, who are to be found in large numbers in 
Gujrat, as in almost every other part of Northern 
India, are, properly speaking, Baniyas of Rajputana, 
and have been described already. The main divisions 
among the Baniyas of Gujrat proper are the follow- 
ing :— 

1. JNagar ^2. Bisa. 8. Sorathiya. 

2. Diaawal. 9. Khadaita. 

Q -D/wM«tMii^* IHisa. 10. Haraora. 
6. rorawai^g^ -j^y^ 1^ Kapola, 

4. Gujar. 12. Urvala. 

5. Modh. 13. Patolia. 

6. Lad. 14. Vayada. 

Each of these sections has a corresponding Brah- 
manical caste who usually minister to them, and to them 
only, as priests. For instance, the Nagar Brahmans 
minister to the Nagar Baniyas ; the Modh Brahmans 
minister to the Modh Baniyas ; and the case is the 
same with the others. 

The majority of the Gujrati Baniyas are Vishnuvites 
and followers of Ballabhachari. The number of Jains 
among them is also very considerable. The Yishnu- 
vite Baniyas take the sacred thread. 

( 218 ) 



Thb chief trading castes of the Madras Presidency are 
the Chettis, Komatis^ Nagartas and Lingait Banijigas. 

The word Chetti is probably allied to the Sanslrit 
word Sres/tthiy which means a banker or a big merchant. 
The Ohettis of the Madras Presidency correspond to 
the Baniyas of Northern India. The Chettis are divided 
into nnmerons clans between whom intermarriage is 
impossible. Like the Baniyas of Northern India, some 
of the clans of Chettis take the sacred thread. A few 
of the Chettis are vegetarians ; but the majority of 
them eat fish as well as such flesh as is not forbidden 
by the Shastras. 

The Chettis claim to be of the Vaishya caste, and 
those of them who take the sacred thread are certainly 
entitled to be regarded as such. But the Brahmans 
of their Province look upon them as Sudras, and an 
orthodox Draviri Vaidika will neither accept their gifts 
nor officiate as a priest for them. The original home 
of the Natkutai Chettis, who form one of the most 
important clans in the caste, is Madura. They do not 
care for EngUsh education or for service under Gov- 

The majority of the Chettis practise trade. They 
have all a knowledge of the three R's, and some of 
their clans stand next to only the Brahmans and the 
Yellalars in respect of literary culture. Some members 

( 219 ) 


of these Chetti clans hold very high positions in the 
service of Government, and in the liberal professions. 
The total Chetti population is as stated below : — 

Madras ... ... ... 093,552 

Burma ... ... ... 6,723 

Mysore ... ... ... 2,702 

The Chettis are very numerous in the town oi Madras, 
and in the Districts of Krishna, Nellore, Cuddapah, 
Komool, Madura and Coimbatore. There are very few 
members of the clan in Malabar or South Eanara. 
The trade of the Malabar coast is carried on chiefly by 
the local Brahmans and Mussulmans. The usual pro- 
fession of the few Chettis there is agricultural banking. 
" They advance money on growing crops of pepper, 
ginger, turmeric and other produce, superintend the 
cultivation themselves, and ultimately obtain possession 
of the land."* 

In Mysore the Lingait Banijigas preponderate over 
all the other trading castes. The Eomatis and Nagartas 
are usually found only in the towns and practising trade. 
But of the Lingait banijigas and Telegu Banijigas a 
considerable number practise agriculture, and are re- 
sidents of rural villages. 

* Madras Cmiu$ Report for 1871, Vol. I, p. 143. 



Thb mercantile castes of the Telugu coontrj are 
called Komatis. They claim to be Yaish jas, and take 
the sacred thread. They are an educated class, and 
count among their number many who haye obtained 
high Uniyersiiy distinctions, and nold respectable posi- 
tions in the Uberal professions or in the seryice of 
Ooyernment. Upon the whole, the Komatis have 
almost exactly the same position in Telingana, that 
the Baniyas haye in Upper India. The Komatis have 
many divisions among them, of which the following 
are the most important : — 

1. ChiTari. 3. Beri Komati. 

2. Kalinga Komati. 4. BalJiKomatL 

ft. Kagar KomatL 

The Oavuri Komatis have the highest position. They 
are strict vegetarians and teetotalers. The other Koma- 
tis are said to be in the habit of eating flesh meat. In 
matters relating to religion, the majority of the Qttvuri 
and Kalinga Komatis are Sankarites, and only a small 
fraction are either Lingaits or followers of Bamanuja. 
Among the Beri Komatis the majority are Lingaits. In 
matters relating to social discipline, the Komatis acknow- 
ledge the authority of the spiritual successors of Bhas- 
karachari, who have their chief monastry at Gooti in 
the Bellary District. The Brahmans minister to the 
Komatis as priests without reciting the Yedic mantras. 
The Komatis now claim that they are entitled 

( 221 ) 


to such recitation. The practice of marrving the 
maternal nncle's daughter not only prevails among 
the Komatis as among the other castes of Sonthern 
India ; bat where there is a maternal nncle's daughter, 
a Komati has no option, and it is obligatory on him 
to take her in marriage. The Komatis sell confec- 
tioneries, and there is no separate caste in Telingana 
corresponding to the Mayara or the Halwai, The total 
Komati population of India is as stated below : — 

Mftdras ... ... ... 287,083 

Hydrabad ... ... .. 212.865 

Mysore ... ... ... 29,053 

Total ... 545,206 


As in Bengal so in Orissa there are only two classes 
of Baniyas, namely, the Sonar Baniya and the Fntli 
Baniya. The PntU or packet Baniyas correspond to 
the (randha Baniya of Bengal. The Sonar Baniyas and 
the Pntli Baniyas of Orissa have the very same position 
there that the corresponding castes have in Bengal — the 
Pntli Baniyas being regarded as a clean caste, and the 
Sonar Baniyas an unclean caste. As in Bengal, so in 
Orissa also, the Sonar Baniyas are richer than the spice- 
selling caste. Like all the other castes of the province 
the Baniyas of Orissa are generally in a far more back- 
ward condition than the corresponding classes of the 
Hindu commnnitrjr in other parts of India. The Baniyas 
of Orissa are sadly wanting in both capital and enter- 
prise, and what little wholesale trade there is in the 
province is almost entirely in the hands of foreigners. 

( 223 ) 




Thouoh in praotdce many of the Baniok or Baniya 
clans, spoken of in the preceding chapters^ are treated 
as having no higher statns than that of clean Sndras, 
and thongh one of them, namely, that of the Sonar 
Baniyas is regarded as actually nnclean, yet their claim 
to he reckoned in the third group of the four main 
Hindu castes being undeniable, they are not included 
among Sudras in any Shastra, ancient or modem. The 
cultivating and the manufacturing castes are equally 
entitled to be looked npon as "N^ishya according to 
the Shastric definition of the term ; but as they do not 
generally take the sacred thread, they are all regarded 
as Sudras, and, according to a modern text, only nine 
of them, namely, the following, are entitled to be treated 
as clean : — 

P rl, Tanti ... ... Weaver. 

I s 2. Modakakara ... ... Confectioner. 

-J-g-{3. Kulala ... ... Potter. 

4. Karmakara ... ... Ironsmith. 

,6. Teli ... ... Oil manufiicturer. 

6. Gopa ... ... Cowherd. 

7. Banii ... ... Grower of betel leaf. 

8. Mali ... ... Florists. 

9. Napita ... ... Barber. 

( 224 ) 


This list does not inolade any of the ohief agricul- 
tural classes, and omits also such clean artisans as the 
goldsmith and the carpenter. In practice a few of the 
other artisan classes, not included in the list of Nava 
Sayakas, are regarded as clean Sudras, as also the 
majority of the cultivating tribes ; while the Telis, 
though included in it, are regarded as more or less 
unclean in practice. The manufacturing castes that 
are actually regarded as more or less clean are the 
following : — 

1. Tanti ... ... Weaver. 

2. Modakakar ... ... Confectioner. 

3. Kulala ... ... Potter. 

4. Karmakara ... ... Ironsmith. 

5. Smmakara ... ... Goldsmith. 

a. Sutradhar, Satar or Barhi ... Car|M9iiter. 

7. Kasera and Thathera ... Braziers and coppersmiths. 

8. Kandn and Bhad Bhunja ... Grain parchers. 

9. Dirji ... ... Tailors. 

To form an idea of the exact status of these and 
other clean Sudras, the reader should bear in mind the 
following rules of the Hindu caste system : — 

1. A man of any of the superior castes may drink 
auch water as is fetched or touched by a clean Sudra, 
whether the water be of the river Ganges or from any 
other source. 

2. The water of the river Qtmges, though fetched 
by an unclean Sudra, is not thereby rendered unfit for 
the high caste Hindu's drinking purposes. But every 
other kind of water is polluted l)y the touch of an xm- 
clean Sudra. 

3. Even the water of the sacred (Ganges is rendered 
useless to a Hindu by the touch of a non-Hindu. 

4. The touch of non-Hindus and unclean Sudras 
being contaminating, it is only the clean Sudras that 
can render the necessary personal service to the high 
caste Hindus like the Brahmans, Rajputs, Vaidyas, 
and Kayasthas. 

5. The twice-born castes cannot, without rendering 
themselves liable to expiation, eat any cooked food 

B, EC 15 


touched by a Sudra. The result of this rule is that a 
Sudra menial, whether clean or unclean, can be of no 
use to a high caste Hindu for the actual cooking of 
his food, or the ser\nng of it. In fact, in the absence 
of a Brahman cook, the high caste Hindu has himself to 
cook the food of his servant. For the actual cuisine 
work, the clean and the unclean Sudras stand on the 
same footing. But while the clean Sudra can assist in 
the process in various ways, the unclean Sudra is no^ 
allowed even to enter the cook-room. It is for this 
reason that the clean Sudras alone are usually appointed 
as menials in Hindu households. 

6. Another important diflFerence between the clean 
and the unclean Sudras lies in the fact, that while a 
Brahman can minister to the former without losing 
his Brahmanism, he cannot show such honour to the 
latter without being degraded for ever. 

7. Further, though tne Shastras forbid the acceptance 
of the Sudra's gifts without any reference to his status, 
yet in practice the best Brahmans do not hesitate to 
accept the bounty of the Nava Sayakas, when the 
amount offered is a large one. Most of the great 
Pandits of the country accept, more or less openly, the 
gifts of Maharani Svarnamayi, who is a Teli by caste« 
But, with the exception of the Chaitanite Grossains, even 
the poorest and most illiterate Brahmans will not usually 
accept the gifts of a washerman, fisherman, vintner 
or courtesan. 


§ 1. — The Weavers GeneraUy. 

The weaving industry of India was, until recently, 
a very lucrative one, and it, therefore, happens that it 
is not the monopoly of any particular caste. The most 
important classes engaged in it are : — 

In Bengal 

In Assam 

In N.-W. P. 

In Western India 











Population in Bengal 472,796. 

Do. Do. 328,778. 

Do. Do. 728.781. 

Do. Do. 134,002. 

Do. Do. 406.473. 


Popalation in N.-W. Provinces 

Do. Do. 902.125. 

Do. Do. 36,245. 

Population in the Bomba; 

Population in Assam 
Do. Do. 

,6. Devang 



Presidency 70,274. 


In Southern Indian 



Kai Koia Total population in the Madras 

Presidency 316,620. 
Sali Do. Do. 308,285. 

Patwa Do. Do. 74.374. 

Togata Do. Do. 59,208. 

Domba Do. Do. 74,249. 

The total population of the several classes of ii^eavers 
in India is 9,369,902 souls. But all these classes are 

• As to this caste, «ee p. 286, pott, 

( 227 ) 


not Hindus. The Jnlahas, who form one-fonriih of the 
entire population, may have been at one time low caste 
Hindus, out are now all Mahomedans. Even among 
those classes of weavers that are Hindus, the caste status 
of many is very low, and they certainly do not belong 
to the group called Nava Sat/akas or the nine Sudra 

The weavers of India were, until recently, a very 
prosperous class ; but the importation of machine-made 
piece-goods* from Manchester has, of late, thrown many 
thousands of them out of employ. These dragged on 
a life of poverty for some years, and at last either died 
of semi-starvation, or were forced by necessity to 
become menial servants or tillers of the soil. As the 
hand-looms of India are now constructed, the best 
weaver, with the assistance of his whole family to dress 
and card the yarn, cannot turn out more than five yards 
of cloth in a day ; but the motive power required to 
work such a loom is very slight, and the machinery 
might certainly be so improved as to enable one man to 
work at least half-a-dozen similar looms. It is said by 
some that if the weaving industry of India has ceased 

* With regard to the effect of the importation of machine-made 
piece-ffoods on the condition of the Indian weavers, Mr. Rialey makes 
the following observations : ** Although the Tantis admit weaving to 
be their immemorial profession, many of them have of late years 
been driven by the influx of cheap machine-made goods to betake 
themselves to agriculture. It is difficult or impossible to say with 
any approach to accuracy what proportion of the caste have abandon- 
ed their ori^nal craft in fibvour of trade or agriculture. The Uttara 
Kula Tantis of Western Bengal have, on the whole, adhered to 
weaving, and it is popularly beUeved that their comparative poverty 
is mainly due to their attachment to the traditional occupation of 
the caste. Among the Aswini or Moriali about one-thini are sup- 
posed to have given up weaving and settled down as regular cultiva- 
tors.—Risley's Tribet and Castes of Bsnffol, Vol. II, p. 301. 

It must be exceedingly difficult for a foreigner to appreciate 
exactly the story of human miserv Unplisd in the above. If thirty- 
three per cent, of any class of Tantis have reconciled themselves, by 
hard necessity, to the handling of the plpqgh, perhaps anotiier thirty- 
three per cent, died of sheer starvation, before the survivors in the 
struggle could think of giving up their ancestral looms and shnttlet, 
and adopting such a plebeian occupation as agricultare* 


to be paying in consequence of the competition of 
foreign piece-goods, the Indian weavers should, de- 
spite their caste prejudices, take up some other line of 
business. The principle of Free Trade has been In- 
voked in order to iustify our indifference, and that of our 
Oovemment, to tne sufferings brought on the millions 
of our weavers by the import of Manchester piece- 
goods. But neither the science of PoUtical Economy 
nor the principle of Free Trade requires that when 
foreign goods make their way into the markets of a 
oonntry, the people of it should make no efforts to 
save the sinking vessel of their own industries. The 
principle of Free Trade insists only upon absolute 
freedom being left to the consumer to buy his goods 
from the cheapest and best market according to his own 

In ibis country domestic industry alone suits the 
genius of the people, and, so far as the weaving industry 
is concerned, it is certainly not desirable, even from the 

Kint of view of Political Economy, that the hand- 
>nis should be superseded bv steam-power looms. 
Domestic industry does not involve any expenditure on 
account of supervision, mill buildings, or brokerage to 
company promoters. Domestic industry cannot render 
it necessary to collect raw materials or manufactured 
goods in one place to such an extent as to involve the 
risk of any heavy loss by fire, shipwreck or damp. The 
skill possessed by the people of a country in any art 
being, according to the science of Political Economy, 
an important part of its capital, India is at present 
snfferinff a prodigious loss, tnrough allowing the skill 
acquired by her weavers by generations of practice 
to remain unemployed and become deteriorated. A 
very little improvement in the hand-looms might not 
only enable them yet to hold their own against foreign 
competition, but save the heavy loss to the Indian people 
and to the world which now takes place in freignt, 
ioforance, warehousing and other charges incurred 


unnecessarily for the benefit of Manchester. The weavers 
of India are themselves too ignorant of the mechanical 
sciences, and too poor at present, to make the necessary 
improvements in their looms, by their own capital and 
exertions. The matter is one which deserves the earnest 
attention of oar publicists. 

§ 2. — The Tantis of Bengal. 

The Tantis of Bengal are Sudras of the Nava Sayaka 
or Upper nine group. They are divided into many 
sub-castes, which, however, need not be mentioned here. 
The Brahmans who minister to the clean Sudra castes 
like the Tantis are not, as already observed, degraded 
for ever, though as Sudra Yajakas (priests of Sudras) 
they are looked down upon by the Asudra Pratigrahis, 
i.e.y those who never take any gifts from Sudras. The 
Tantis being a clean caste their men and women are 
eligible for domestic service in the houses of the Brah- 
mans. The following are the usual surnames of the 
Tantis of Bengal : — 

1. Basaka— Surname of the higher class Tantis of Daoca« 
some of whom are now settled in Calcutta. 

i' ^l^ ■■• I ft' R^W •* ISumames peculiar to the T^n- 

!: A^h ;;:; ?: mt'^'zi tisof Bengal. 

8. Seal— A surname of both Tantis and Sonar Banivas. 

9. Kandi— A surname of the Kftyasthas, Telis and l^tntis. 

10. Datta— A surname of the KSyasthas, Tantis, Sonar 

Banlyas, &c. 

11. Pal— A surname of the K&yasthas, Telis, Goalas and 


12. Shah— A Mahomedan title which is the usual surname 

of the wine-selling caste called Sunri; some of the 
Dacca Tantis have also this surname. 

13. Aitch— A surname of the Efiyasthas and the Tantis. 

14. Pramanik — A surname of many of the middle doss and 

inferior Sudras such as the Tell, Kapit, Tanti, Tura, 

15. Chandra— A surname of the KSyasthas, Sonar Baniyas 

and Tantis. 

Generally speaking, all the Tantis of Bengal are 
Vishnuvites and teetotalers. Like the other superior 
Sudra castes of Bengal, they do not allow divorce or the 
re-marriage of widows. It is, however, said that some 


of the Tantis openly live in their houses with widowed 
females of different castes. The admission of concubines 
in the dwelling-house and their treatment as wives are 
common enough among the unclean castes. But such 
instances among the superior classes are very rare — the 
discipline of caste being among them still powerful 
enough to keep under a wholesome check any tendency 
towards such defiance of public opinion. 

The weavers of Calcutta are its earliest settlers, and 
being still in possession of a considerable portion of its 
land, they are, generally speaking, a well-to-do class. 
Bat the condition of their castemen in the interior has 
in recent times become indeed deplorable, as stated 
already. The only places in the interior of Bengal 
where a few well-to-do Tantis may still be found are Dacca 
and Santipore. The fine muslins for which these places 
are famous still command very high prices in the market, 
and the weavers employed in the industry have not yet 
been materially affected by the cheap and coarse pro- 
ducts of the Manchester mills. 

According to the traditional belief of the people of 
this country, the weavers are as a class very dull-headed. 
But, as a matter of fact, the weavers of Calcutta have 
attained very high University distinctions, and are not 
very inferior to the Brahmans and Kayasthas in culture 
and refinement. In the interior the weavers are gene- 
rally quite illiterate ; but the common sense of the 
majority of the class must be held to be very strong. 
The religious teachers of the country do not usually 
find them quite so pliable as the Baniyas. In fact the la- 
mentations of the Gossain, about the indifference of the 
weavers towards religious sermons and recitations, have 
passed into a proverb. It is only at Dacca and Kutwa 
that the Gt)ssain3 possess any considerable influence over 
the Tantis. With regard to the weavers of Kutwa a 
doggerel verse is recited by the other classes of people 
in the locality which ironically observes that the great- 
aess of a Yaishnava cannot be exactly apprehended even 


by the gods, and that the Tantis of Kntwa alone can 
appreciate it. 

The weavers of Bengal are very industrions, thrifty 
and sober. The only loxaries in which they indulge 
are fish, curry, and a porridge of black kidney beans. 
They never waste one moment of their time in idle talk 
or amusement. Their adnlt males are always at their 
looms, while their females devote themselves to dressing 
and carding the yam whenever they are not occupied 
with household work. The weavers do not manufacture 
the yam. In former times, it was spun by old women 
of all the classes, including high caste Brahman ladies. 
But mule twist has now silenced the primeval charkaj 
and the sound of the spinning wheel can seldom be heard 
now even in the remotest villages. The yam now used 
by the Indian weavers is mainly imported from England^ 
and is supplied to them by some capitalist who advan- 
ces also money and food-grains to his constituents, and 
generally has them completely under his power. They 
have to give him the products of their looms at a fixed 
price, and he never allows them to sell a yard of their 
cloth to any other person. It is only where there is a 
competition among the capitalists that the poor weavers 
find a little relief. 

§ 3.— The Tatwas of Behar. 

The Tatwas of Behar have not the same position in 
the Hindu caste system that the Tantis have in Bengal. 
The two names are corrupted forms of the same Sanskrit 
word Tantubayay which means a weaver. But the Tat- 
was of Behar are in the habit of eating flesh and drink- 
ing strong liquors, and so they are regarded as an 
unclean caste. The existence of such clans as Chamar 
Tanti and Kahar Tanti among the weavers of Behar 
points also to the conclusion that their status was 
lowered partly at least by the admission of low castes 
among them. Besides the indigenous Tirhutia Tantis^ 
there are in Behar many colonies of Tantis from other 


provinces as is indicated by the names of Kanojia^ 
Baiswara, Ac., by which they are known. The Tatwas 
being an unclean caste, the Brahmans do not take even 
a drink of water from their hands, and if a Brahman 
officiates as their priest he becomes very nearly a 
degraded person. The priestly work of the Tatwas is 
sometimes performed by such of their castemen as 
have enlisted as members of one or other of the modern 
Hindu sects. 

§ 4. — The Kori and Kali of Northern India. 

The Kori and Koli of Northern India are weavers 
professing the Hindn faith ; but they are very low 
castes, and a member of any of the higher castes will 
not take even a drink of water from their hands. 

§ 5. — The Tantis of Orissa, 

The Tantis of Orissa are divided into the following 
dans : — 

1. Oolft Tanti— These weave fine cloth. 

2. Hans Tanti— These make coloured doth of yarioas 


3. Moti Bans Tanti— These weave coarse cloth from thread 

of BngUsh or local manufacture. 

Many of Moti Bans Tantis of Orissa have of late 
deserted their ancestral profession, and have become 
teachers in village schools. The Tantis are regarded as 
an unclean caste in Orissa. 

§ 6. — The Koshti of the Central Provinces. 

The weavers of the Central Provinces are called 
Koshti. They are a semi-clean caste. The Mahars of 
the Province weave coarse cloths. 

§ 7. — The Weavers of Gujrat, 

There is a class of Eshettris in Gujrat whose profes- 
sion is weaving. They are good Hindus. But there 
is not in Gujrat any caste that can be said to correspond 
to the Tantis of Bengal. 


§ 8. — WeavevB of the Dravird country. 

The cotton weavers of Southern India are called 
Kaikalar. It is said that they are addicted to drinking 
spirits, and that their habits are similar to those of the 
aboriginal tribes. But the Sndra Yajak Brahmans minis- 
ter to them as priests, and there is one class among 
them called Saliyar, who take the sacred thread. The 
silk weavers of Southern India are called Patnulkar. 
Ethnologically they are a superior race, and their caste 
status is also higher than that of the Kaikalars. Ac- 
cording to the traditions of the Patnulkars of Southern 
India, their original home was Gujrat. Both the Kai- 
kalars and Patnulkars are generally quite illiterate. 

§ 9. — The Weaving Castes of Mysore, 

The general name of the weaving castes of Mysore 
is Neyige. The following description of the several 
sections to whom the designation is applicable is taken 
from the last Census report of Mysore : — 

Under the generic name of Neyige (weaving) sixteen sub-castes 
appear with an aggregate population of 86,966 persons in almost 
equal numbers for the two sexes, bearing^ a ratio of 1*76 per cent, 
to the total population. The sixteen divisions may be condensed 
into eight distinct sub-orders as below— 

Devanga ... ... ... 49,006 

Togata ... ... ... I«%d00 

Sale or Saliga... ... ... 10,255 

Bilimagga ... ... ... 9,916 

Seniga ... ••. ... 105 

Patvejear ... ... ... 3,174 

Khatri ... ... ... 946 

Saurashtrika ... ... ... 254 

Total ... 86,986 

These sub-divisions do not intermarry with one another or have 
any social intercourse. In numerical strength the Devangas, sub- 
divided into Kannada and Telegu Devangas, hold the first place. 
The former are Lingaits, but have no intercourse with the Lingait 
Banijiks; whereas Telegu Devangas are both Vishnuvites and 
Sivaites. There is no intermarriage, however, between this and the 
other clan. 

The next in order of strength are the Togatas who are Sivite 
weavers, and produce the coarse kinds of oloth that are worn only 
by the poorer classes. Their language is Telegu. 


Sal§s or Saligas comprise two clans,— the l^admasale and the 
Saknnasale. fietween them there is no intermarriage. Like the 
Togatas, they are of Telegu origin. The former ai-e Sivaites, while 
the latter are worshippers of Vishnu. 

Then comes tile Bilimaj?^ snb-division, also called Kuruvina Bana- 
jif^m, the former term being considered a nickname. They are an 
indigenous caste like the Devangas, and speak Kannada. 

StfUgas.— Though a small number, they are a wealthy caste of 
weaTors. They are immigrants from the Lower Kamatio, and manu- 
facture female cloths of superior kind and high value. They sure 
Lingaits by religion, but are not friendly with the Lingait Banaji- 
gas, ftc. 

PatwgarM are silk weavers and speak a corrupt Marathi con- 

Slomerate of the Gujrati and Hindi. They worship all the Hindu 
cities, especially the female energy under the name of Sakti, to 
which a goat is sacrificed on the night of the Dasara festival, a 
Mussulman slaughtering the animal. After the sacrifice, the family 
of the Patvegar partake of the flesh. Many of their females are 
naturally fair and handsome. The Khatri are also silk-weavers, and, 
in manners, customs and language, are akin to the Patvegars, but 
do not intermarry with them, although the two castes eat together. 
The Khatris claim to be Ksatriya^ 

Saurathirika.— 'The onl^ other ingredient of the class of weavers 
deserving of special mention is the ^urashtrika, commonly known as 
the Patnuli or Jam Khanvalla. They manufacture superior kinds 
of cotton and woollen carpets and an imitation shawl of cotton and 
silk mixture, and of green colour called khes. 

These people were originally immigrants from Northern India, 
and settled in the Madras Presidency where they are known as 
Patnulis, ».«., weavers of silk and cotton. With silk they manufac- 
ture a fine stuff called Kutni, which no other weavers are said to be 
able to prepare. It is largely used by Mussulmans for trousers and 
longas (^wn). It is said that Haider Ali, while returning from his 
expedition against Madras, forcibly brought with him some twenty- 
five families of these weavers who were living in the Tanjoi^ district, 
and established them at Ganjam near Seringapatam ; and in order 
to encourage silk and velvet weaving, exempted them from certain 
taxes. The industry flourished till the fall of Seringa^tam, when 
most of the clan fled from the country, a few only having survived 
those troublous times. At present there are only 254 souls returned of 
these people, employed in making carpets in Bangalore city. They 
speak a dialect peculiar to themselves ; it is a mixture of Maharash- 
tra Gujrati, Kannada and Tamil ; their written language is Kannada. 
They are Vishnovites and wear trident marks. Their hereditary 
Gums are the Srivaishnava Brahmans of the Tatachar and Bhattra- 
char families. In Bangalore the Smarta Brahmans act as their 
Purohiti for conducting marriage and other ceremonies. In reli- 
gions observances, they imitate the Brahmans and perform Upan- 
ayana (investiture of the sacred thread) on their boys before the 
tenth or twelfth year. They do not intermarry with any other 
class of weavers.— ilfy^or^ C«nsut Report^ pp. 246-247. 

Besides the above there is a caste in Mysore called 
Ganigar. They are sack weavers and makers of gunny 
bags. Some of them are agricultarists. 

286 THB JT7QIS. 

§ 10. — The Weavers of the Telegu country. 

The weavers are called Niyata Kam in the Telega 
country. The profession is practised by the foUowing 
castes : — 

1. Pftttasali— strict vegetarians. 

2. Devangala or Beyandra ) lliese eat fish, but do not in- 

3. Saliyar > dulge in intoxicating drinks. 

These are all clean castes. The Devangalas and the 
Salijars are mostly Lingaits, wearing the Linga Sntra 
and regarding the Jangamas as their spiritual superiors. 
Those who are not Lingaits wear the Yajna Sutra of a 
twice-born Hindu. 

§ 11. — The Jugis, 

Besides the above there is a caste called Jugis who 
are weavers and who are found in many parts of India. 
The Jugis are Hindus, and of late years they have 
been claiming to have the right of taking the sacred 
thread ; but they are generally regarded as very 
inferior Sudras, and in all probability they are the 
illegitimate and semi-legitimate descendants of the 
mendicants called Jogis* who, with Gorakhpur as their 
head-quarters, were at one time perhaps as numerous 
in every part of India, as the Sankarite Sanyasis and 
Vishnuvite Vairagis are now. The name of the caste, 
their usual surname of Nath, their practice of burying 
their dead, and the profession of lace and apron string 
selling practised by them point to the conclusion that 
they are connected with the ancient Jogis in the same 
way as the Ghar Bari Sanyasis and the Grihasthi 
Vairagis are with the true Sanyasis and Vairagis. 
Like tne Jugis, some of the Jogi mendicants are still 
found engaged in the making and sellingof apron strings 
and other things of the same kind. These are called 
Duri Har Jogis. 

* As the Jugis in some places serve as priests to idols called 
Dharma Raj, it is quite possible also that they are the descendants 
of the ancient Buddhist monks. 



The Mayaras and the Halwia of India make those 
confections Mrhich form very important items in the 
daily food of the majority of well-to-do Hindus and 
Manomedans. These delicacies are highly prized by 
all classes of the people of India, and the demand 
of the poorer families for them is limited only by 
their means. The dainties manufactured and sold by 
the Halwis are of various kinds, and some of them, as, 
for instance, the preparations of cream made at Eish- 
nagar, require very considerable skill, and are very 
costly. Some of the Hindu confectioneries are made 
of only sugar, curd and fine chips of cocoanut. These^ 
though prepared by a Mayara or Halwi, may be offered 
to the gods, and are eaten without any objection by 
orthodox Brahmans, as well as by the widows of the 
higher castes who are required by the Shastras to be, 
and, in practice, usually are, quite as puritanic in respect 
of their diet, as the students of the Vedas are enjoined, 
and ought to be. Some of the Mayaras and Halwis 
make other kinds of confections which are called pakki 
methaij and which usually consist of flour, pease meal, 
pulverised rice, cream, ^c, fried in ghi or baked in 
strong solutions of sugar. The pakki methais pre- 
pared by the Sudra confectioners are eaten by Hindu 
children, married ladies, and Babus of *^ liberal views," 
but never by orthodox Hindus or their widows. In the 
towns, the ftayaras and the Halwis now make and sell 

( 237) 


even some kinds of vegetable curries which are eaten 
by the classes who eat their pakki methai. Some of 
the confectioners in the towns are Brahmans. Bat 
even their methais are not eaten by the strictly orthodox, 
or the widows of the higher castes. With regard to 
the Mahomedans it is hardly necessary to say that as 
they do not recognize the Hindu caste system, they 
eat every kind of sweetmeat whether kachi or paklci 
and by whatever caste manufactured. Some Maho- 
medans have learnt to practise the art. But considering 
the very small number of the Mahomedan Halwis, as 
they are called, it does not seem that they have been 
able to secure a very large share of the patronage of 
even their own co-religionists. In fact they are gene- 
rally quite unable to manufacture the nicer varieties, 
and that is, perhaps, the reason why the Hindu-made 
confectionery finds great favour even with the Maho- 
medan aristocracy of the country. 

The word Mayara is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit 
compound Modaka-kara^ which means a confectioner. 
The word Halwi means primarily a kind of pudding 
made by frying flour in ahi^ and then boiling the 
whole in a solution of milk and sugar. The word 
Halwi is also used as the designation of the confec- 
tioner caste in Upper India. The Halwis and Mayaras 
are divided into a large number of sub-castes, an enu- 
meration of which does not seem to be necessary in this 
book. Some members of these classes possess a little 
knowledge of book-keeping. But the majority are quite 
illiterate. The usual surnames of the Mayaras of Bengal 
are Manna, Modak, Laha, Nag, Nandi, and Bakshit. 

The figures given by the several Censuses as to the 
total population of the Mayaras and the Halwis do not 
seem to be quite reliable. According to the Census of 
1881, the total number of Mayaras in the Lower Pro- 
vinces, including perhaps the Halwis, was, at that time, 
808,821 souls. According to the last Census, the total 
Halwi population of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, including 


perhaps the Majaras, is 160,859. The Halwi population 
of the N.-W. Provinces is, according to the last Census, 

In Fanjab, the profession of the Halwi is practised by 
the Kambohs and also by* the caste called Rora or Arora 
spoken of at p. 211, ante. The class that make sweet- 
meats in Orissa are called Guria, from the word Gur^ 
which means unrefined sugar. In Southern India, 
there are neither Hal wis nor Mayaras, and confections 
are there usually made and sold by the Brahmans and 
the Komatis. 

* See p. 285, posL 


Thb Sanskrit names for the potter are Kulal and 
Knmbhakara. In Southern India the potters are called 
Kusaven. The word Knmbhakar literally means a 
* maker of earthen jars/ In practice, the Knmars make 
many other kinds of earthen vessels. As the poorer 
classes of India use only earthen vessels as their cook- 
ing pots and waterpots, and as earthen pots are used 
even by the rich for cooking purposes, the Kumar is 
indispensable in every village of importance. The 
Kumar's services are required also for making those 
clay images that in Bengal are set up at stated times 
in the houses of the rich and in public places, and which, 
after being worshipped for a few days, are thrown into 
some river or tank with great pomp. Such being the 
functions of the Kumars, the caste is found in every 
part of India, and their total numerical strength is, ac- 
cording to the last Census^ 3,346,488. Some of the 
Kumars, as for instance, those of Nadiya and Ghumi, 
possess very considerable skill in painting and making 
clay statues. In most parts of the country the Kum- 
ars are regarded as a clean caste. In Gujrat they 
are regarded as exceptionally clean, but in the Central 
Provinces and Orissa they are regarded as unclean. It 
is said that in some parts of K.-W. Provinces also 
they are regarded as an unclean caste. 

The Kumars are an illiterate caste, and there are 
very few among them who can sign their own name. 
Their usual surname is Pal. 



The Hindu iroasmith is called Karmakar in Bengal, 
and Lobar in all the other Provinces of Northern 
India, including Behar and Ohutia Nagpur. The 
Kamars are in Bengal included among the upper nine 
of the Sudra castes. In Behar the corresponding caste 
of Lobars have the same position, and there also a 
Brahman will take a drink of water from the hands 
of an ironsmith without any hesitation. It is only 
the Lobars of Chutia Nagpur and Central Provinces 
who are regarded as an unclean caste. That is, how- 
ever, not on account of their profession, but their prac- 
tice of eating fowls. 

The Kamars of Bengal are unacquainted with iron 
smelting, and now-a-days they generally work on pig- 
iron imported from Europe, and sold by the wholesde 
dealers of Calcutta. The import of hardware from 
Europe has led to the absolute neglect of the excellent 
sources of iron ores which are to be found in many 
parts of India, and especially in the western districts 
of Bengal and in Mysore. Iron smelting is, however, 
still practised to some extent in the Central Provinces 
and Chutia Nagpur by the local Lobars.* In every 
village throughout India there is generally a Kamar 
or Lobar, whose function is to manufacture and repair 
the agricaltural implements of the local people. 

* For an account of the indi^^nous process of iron smeltinff, sea 
Mr. P. K. Boae's Hindu CivUisoUion, Vol. II, p. 908. 

B, HC ( 241 ) 16 


In the vicinity of the large towns, Kamars and 
Lobars are generally to be found wbo display great 
skill in tbe manufacture of cutlery, padlocks, swords, 
nails, books, &c. Tbe name of Prem Oband Kamar^ of 
Kancban Nagar in Burdwan, is on tbe way towards 
becoming almost as famous in connection witb cutlery 
as tbat of Rogers of Sbeffield. Tbe padlocks made 
by Das & Co. bid fair to supersede tbose of Cbubb, 
and in respect of tbe manufacture of swords, tbe 
superiority of tbe Indian Kamar's work bas been proved, 
over and over again, by tbe experiences of Englisb 
soldiers in tbe field.* If in spite of tbeir skill tbe 
Indian ' Kamars are not able to bold tbeir own in 
tbe local markets, tbeir failure is not to be attributed 
to any fault on tbeir part. Tbe products of a 
domestic industry must necessarily be more costly 
tban macbine-made wares. Tben, again, tbe outturn 
of tbe small manufactories to be found in tbe remote 
villages cannot be so easily collected together in a 
commercial focus for distribution, and exchange, as 
the produce of large foundries. Tbe result of these 
causes is very strikingly illustrated by the fact that 
while the worthless padlocks turned out by the fac- 
tories in Birmingham are to be bad in every hardware 
shop in India, and sell in millions, tbe Kamaria 
adlocks of tbe ancient types, which are considered 
y all to be tbe best and safest mechanisms of the 
kind, cannot generally be bad either for love or 
money, and can be procured only by special order to 
some workmen whose very names are generally un- 
known, — the advantages of tbe modem art of advertise- 
ment being as yet quite unknown to them. 

Circumstanced as India now is, the revival and 
improvement of tbe iron industry of tbe country seems 
to be well-nigh beyond tbe bounds of immediate 


* See the romarks of Mr. Forbes-MitoheU in his Semini9c$ne$$ 
cf th$ Indian Mutiny, 


possibility. It is only the patronage of the railways 
that can render large foundries pecaniarily snccessfal. 
Bat the Indian railways are all practically in the hands 
of the Indian Govemn^ent, and knowing well how 
our rulers are handicapped by the party politics of the 
Home Government, no reasonable man can expect 
them to deny their patronage to the English manufac- 
turers for the sake of benefiting an Indian industry. 

The village Kamars and Lobars are generally very 
poor, their income very seldom exceeding that of an 
unskilled labourer. In the docks and railway workshops 
which have lately come into existence in certain parts 
of the country, the Kamars and Lobars not only find 
employment readily, but generally earn very high wages. 
The most well-to-do persons among the Kamars are 
those who have given up their caste profession, and 
practise the art of the goldsmith. 

The Kamars are generally Sakti worshippers, and are 
usually employed in slaughtering the animals offered in 
sacrifice to the bloodthirsty gods and goddesses that 
receive the adoration of the " energy worshippers." 
For his services^ on such occasions, the Kamar receives 
the head of the slaughtered goat, or a money gratuity, 
amounting to about half a shilling. The rich goldsmith 
Kamars of Dacca are mainly Yisbnuvites. 

In Southern India there is a caste called variously 
Kammallars, Panchanam Yarlu and Panchval, who com- 
bine in them the functions of the goldsmith, coppersmith, 
brazier, ironsmith, carpenter and sculptor. The Kamars 
and lobars are generally quite illiterate. Their total 
number is, according to the last Census, 2,625,103 souls. 


§ 1. — The Sonar and Shakra of Northern India, 

The position of the goldsmith in the Hinda caste 
system is not the same in all the provinces. Not being 
expressly included in the Njivasayaka group, he is, in 
Northern India, generally regarded as somewhat unclean. 
But it is suggested that he comes within the division 
called Karmakar, and the best Brahmans will not 
sometimes hesitate to take a drink of water from his 
hands. The position of the Sonar in Behar, N.-W. 
Provinces and Panjab is similar to that of the Shakra 
or Swarnakara of Bengal. In the Panjab, the Hindu 
Sonars take the sacred thread, just as most of the other 
Sudra castes there do. In the extreme south of the 
Indian Peninsula, the goldsmiths do not form a separate 
caste, but are included in the group called Kammallar, 
whose sub-sections practise five different kinds of handi- 
craft, viz.^ work (1) in gold and silver, (2) brass and 
copper, (3) iron, (4) carpentry, (5) sculpture. The corre- 
sponding group of castes in Mysore is called Panchvala. 
The goldsmith sections in Mysore are called Akkasala 
or (Arkasala) Agasala. The Agasalas are recognised 
by the other Panchsalars as the head of the clan. In 
Telingana there is a similar group of castes called 
Panchanam Varlu, an account of which is given in 
§ 2 of this chapter. In the Central Provinces there are 
two classes of goldsmiths called Sonar and Panchallar. 
They take the sacred thread at the time of marriage, 

( 244 ) 


and are regarded as clean castes. The goldsmiths are 
a very intelligent class — perhaps a little too sharp. 
They usually practise their hereditary profession, and, 
as it is very lucrative, they very seldom give a liberal 
education to their children in order to qualify them for 
a more ambitious career. 

§ 2. — The Panchanam Varlu of tlie Telegu country 
and the Kammallar of Dravira. 

It has been already stated that the artisan castes 
working on metal, wood or stone are called Panchanam 
Varlu in the Telegu country, Panchval in Mysore and 
Kanmiallar in Dravira. The Panchanams of Telingana 
trace their origin from the five faces of the god Siva. 
They take the sacred thread and claim to have a higher 
status than the priestly Brahmans. But the other castes 
regard them as very unclean. In fact, not even a Paria 
will take a drink of water from the hands of a Pancha- 
nam. Formerly the Panchanams were not allowed to 
wear shoes, or to carry umbrellas with them, or to ride in 
SLpcUki even at the time of marriage. They have four sub- 
castes, with five different occupations as stated below : — 

1. The profession of the goldsmith is practised by the 


2. That of the blacksmith by the KamarL 

3. Do. carpenter by the Wadronga. 

4. Do. brazier by the Kanshari. 

5. Do. scalptor by all the above-mentioned castes. 

The Kansalis; or the goldsmiths, have generally a 
little education, but the others are usually quite illiterate. 
The Kanmiallars of Dravira have the same divisions 
among them, but perhaps a higher status than the Pan- 
chanams of the Telegu country. The corresponding 
froup of castes in Mysore is, as already stated^ called 
anchval. They profess to be descended from the 
celestial architect Yisvakarma and wear the Brahmani- 
cal triple cord. They claim to be equal to the Brah- 
mans, but their pretensions are not admitted by any 
one not of their caste. 


In Bengal and Western India the carpenters are 
called Sutra Dhar or Sntar, from the Sanskrit word 
Sutra^ the thread, with which the course of the saw is 
marked. Though their profession is a clean one, they, 
like the Sonars, are regarded as a semi-clean caste. Good 
Brahmans do not usually take drinking water from their 
hands, and they are ministered by a special class of 
Brahmans who are treated as degraded persons, and 
whose status is inferior to that of even the Sudra Yajakas. 
Some of the Sutars of Bengal practise the art of paint- 
ing pictures of the Hindu gods. The female members 
of some of the Sutars make an article of food for the 
middle classes called chipitaka or dura. It is prepared 
by boiling unhusked rice, and husking it, while yet 
slightly soft, by placing it in a wooden mortar, and 
beating it with a wooden hammer attached to the end 
of a beam which is worked like a lever. While the 
motive power is supplied by the foot of one of the 
females engaged in the manufacture, another female 
feeds the mortar, and takes out from it the flattened 
grains mixed with the loose husk which is afterwards 
winnowed oflF. The cAem, when it is first brought ont 
of the mortar^ is very sweet. But generally it is eaten 
long afterwards when it is completely dry. When 
soaked in milk and mango juice, and mixed with sugar 
and plantain, it becomes a highly enjoyable delicacy. 
The making of chira is not the monopoly of the Sutars. 
There is another caste called Ganrariya whose females 
take a considerable share in the busmess. The Satar 

( 246 ) 


population of India is, according to the last Census, as 
stated below : — 

Bengal ... ... ... 175,554 

Bombay ... ... ... 196,246 

Central India ... ... ... 127,776 

Hyderabad ... ... ... 103,419 

The Barhis have a somewhat higher status than the 
Sutars. Good Brahmans will take drinking water from 
their hands, and those who officiate as their priests are 
not degraded altogether. The Barhi population of 
India is nearly one million, and is distributed as stated 
below : — 

K.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 568,630 

Bengal ... ... ... 293,553 

Central Provinces ... .i. ... 69,833 

The Badigas of Northern Deccan seem to be the same 

as the Barhis. But they were separately enumerated at 

the last Census, and their population is stated to be as 

follows : — 

Madras ... ... ... 376,434 

Bombay ... ... ... 65,916 

Mysore ... ... ... 9,408 

The Tai'khans of the Panjab and the Khatis of Raj- 
putana are also carpenters by caste. The total 
population of the carpenter castes in India exceeds three 
millions, and yet tne demand for their services at 
present is such that they get very high wages in every 
part of the Country. While a weaver can hardly earn 
two annas in a day, and an agricultural labourer gets not 
more than three annas, — the average daily income of a 
carpenter does not fall short of ten annas. Such being 
the case, many Mahomedans and low caste Hindus are 
now taking to the profession. 

The carpenters of Bombay are, like those of Bengal, 
called Sutar. In Western India the Sutars are re* 
garded as a clean caste, and have many educated men 
among them. The late Dr. Sakharam Arjoon, who had 
the largest medical practice in his time, was a Sutar. 
The Sutars of Bengal are generally quite illiterate. 



§ 1. — The Kansa Baniks of Bengal. 

The Kansa Baniks or Kansaris of Bengal are both 
manufacturers and sellers of brass, copper and bronze 
vessels. In the other provinces of Northern India, the 
corresponding castes are called Kasera^ Thathera and 
Tamhera. The caste status of the Kansa Baniks is 
exactly similar to that of the Gandha Baniks. The 
ordinary Sudra Yajaka Brahmans minister to both as 
priests^ and even the best Brahmans will take a drink 
of water from their hands. Many good Brahmans 
accept even the Kansaris' gifts openly and without any 
hesitation. The Kansaris are a well-to-do class, and 
there are among them a few who are reckoned among 
the richest men of the country. Such is Babu Kali 
Krishna Pramanik of Calcutta, and such was the late 
Babu Guru Das Das of Nadiya. The late Babu Tarak 
Nath Pramanik, the father of the former, used to spend 
enormous sums of money every year in charity to the 
poor, and in the performance of religious ceremonies. 
But so vast were his resources, that the prosperity of 
his family continues undiminished to the present day ; 
while the family of Guru Das has been ruined by 
similar extravagance, combined with injudicious specu- 
lations and the bad counsel of his legal advisers. 

( 248 ) 


The total Kansari population of Bengal is, according 
to the last Census, 55,833 sonls in all. There are 
several sub-classes among them, of which the most im- 
portant are the Saptagrami and Mohmadabadi. 

The usual surnames of the Kansaris are Das, 
Pramanik and Pal. Generally speaking, the Kansaris 
are an illiterate class, though some of tnem are able to 
keep their own accounts. Kansari boys are sometimes 
found in the English schools of the country. But they 
never make much progress. Most of the Kansaris are 
Devi worshippers and eat flesh meat. Like the Kamars, 
the Kansaris are sometimes employed to slaughter ani- 
mals for sacrificial purposes. 

§ 2. — Tlie Kasaras and Thatlieras of Northern India. 

The Kasaras and Thatheras of Northern India have, 
generally speaking, the same characteristics and social 
status as the Kansaris of Bengal. Some of the Kasaras 
of Behar worship the Mahomedan saints called Panch 

§ 3. — The Gejjegora and Kanchugora of Soutliem India, 

The Gejjegoras are the makers of the small bells 
worn by dancing women round their ankles. The 
Kanchugoras are also called Bogaras. They are the 
braziers and coppersmiths. 


The designation Sankha Banik literally signifies a 
"conch shell merchant." The Sankha Baniks are 
popularly called Sankaris. Their chief business is 
the manufacture of the shell bracelets which the poorer 
Hindu women of East Bengal wear for ornamental 
purposes, and which even the richest Hiidu ladies have 
to wear at the time of their marriage and certain other 
auspicious occasions. The Sankaris make also those 
shell bugles which the Hindu warriors of ancient times 
used on the battle-field, and which are now used only 
in connection with religious ceremonies. The caste 
position of the Sankaris is exactly the same as that of the 
Gandha Baniks and Kansa Baniks. The Sankaris are 
to be found in only a few of the large towns of Bengal. 
Their numerical strength is very small, and, generally 
speaking, they are very poor, and quite illiterate. The 
profes^on of the Sankha Banik was never a very lucra- 
tive one, and it has of late been injuriously affected by 
the introduction of glass bracelets which are now in 
fashion among all classes of Indian women. The glass 
bracelets are very cheap, and they do not lose their 
lustre by use like the shell ornaments. 

( 250 ) 


The Kandns derive their name from the Sanskrit 
word kandu^ which means a frying-pan or oven. Their 
caste profession is grain parching, thongh they not only 
sell parched grain but many kinds of sweatmeats also. 
Parched rice, maize or pea is not in itself kachi food, 
and may, thongh prepared or touched by a Sudra, be 
eaten by a Brahman. But when put into the mouth 
such food, by being mixed with the saliva, becomes 
kachi khanay and so orthodox Brahmans and the 
vridows of the Brahmans, Kayasthas and Rajputs cannot 
eat it, except at dinner-time. In practice the aristo- 
cratic widows and the puritanic Brahmans very seldom 
eat fried rice or any other kind of parched grain, and 
these things are usually eaten by only little boys, 
married ladies, and the lower castes, as part of their 
tiffin. When Brahmans think of eating fried rice they 
do not evince much hesitation to procure it from a 
Kandu's shop. Such being the case, it is hardly neces- 
sary to add that the Kandus are a clean Sudra caste 
from whose hands a Brahman may take a drink of water. 
The total Kandu population of the country is number- 
ed at 524,155 souls. The Kandus are quite illiterate. 

The Bhad Bhunjas practise the same profession, and 
have the same status, as the Kandus. The last Census 
gives the following figures relating to the numerical 
strength of the Bhad Bhunjas : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 316,368 

CentT&l India ... ... ... 7,248 

Bajpatana ... ... ... 4,977 

( 251 ) 


There are two classes of Kahars called Dhimar and 
Good, who are also grain parchers. The grain parch- 
ing castes, mentioned above, are to be found chiefly in 
the United Provinces and Behar. In Bengal proper 
the Majaras act both as grain parchers and sweetmeat 


Therb is a caste in some parts of the Panjab, N.-W. 
Provinces, Rajpntana and Deccan who are called Dirji. 
They nsually live by working as tailors. The Diriis 
of the Panjab take the sacred thread. In Bengal the 
tailors are all Mahomedans. With regard to the Dirjis 
of Mysore, the following acconnt is given in the last 
Census Report of the State : — 

" The order is divided into two sub-divisions, viz., Dirji, Ohippiga 
or Kam Dev and Bangare. The first three, known by the ooUective 
name of Dini* ftre professional tailors, while the Rangares are also 
dyers. The Dirjis are immigrants from the Maharatta country and 
worship Vitthoba or KriahnA "—Mysore Cemut Report, p. 24&. 

( 253 ) 




Of the several unclean castes, the most important 
are those connected with the manufacture and sale of 
spiritnous liquors. Of these the following deserve 
special notice : — 

( 1. Sanri (Found in Benjgal, Assam, Madras and 

1 n^^M^. J Central Provinces. Total population 525,686). 

1. jjrewers.^ g. Kalwar (Found in every part of Northern 

I India. Total population 1,195,097). 

'3. Shanar and lUawar (Found in Southern India 

only). Total population : 

Shanar ... ... 000,434 

Illawar ... ... 703,215 

BilJawa ... ... 127,037 

'^J^iHHi^L^.j *• Bhandari (Found only in the Bombay Presi- 

52;^, "^ <iency. Total population, 70.014). 

araiogrt. g p^ ^p^^^^ ^^^^ drawers ; found chiefly in 


6. Tiyan ... 638.0751 

7. Idiga ... 196,901 }> Found in the Deccan. 
18. Gaundla ... 235,902) 

All these occupy a very low position in the Hinda 
caste system, and although a great many of them have 
in recent times become very wealthy, through the 

( 254 ) 


encouragement given to the liquor traffic for fiscal 
purposes, yet their caste status has not improved very 
materially. They have been, for more than half a 
century, struggling hard to be recognised as a clean 
caste. But me only classes who openly hold any 
communication with them, for purposes other than 
business, are those followers of the latter-dayprophets 
that fatten on the rejected elements of pure Hinduism. 
An orthodox Brahman, Rajput, Vaidya or Kayasth, pro- 
fessing any of the aristocratic forms of ancient Hinduism, 
would not allow a brewer to enter even his parlour, 
and if obliged, for the sake of business, to visit a publi- 
can in his house, he would after coining home put off 
his clothes, and put on another suite after regularly 
bathing, or sprinkling his body with the holy water of 
the Ghinges. In Southern India a Brahman considers 
himself contaminated by the approach of a Shanar 
within twenty- four paces. In the other parts of India 
there is no such hard-and-fast rule. But the practice 
in this reject is much the same throughout the country. 
In East Bengal and Orissa, even the ordinary washer- 
men and the barbers refuse to render their usual services 
to the Sunris, and the very palki bearers decline to 
carry them on their litters. 

§ 1. — The Sunris of Bengal and Behar. 

The Sunris of Bengal and Behar are perhaps the 
richest of the several clans of brewers. Many of them 
are now among the leading traders and bankers of the 
country, and have given up altogether the practice of 
their caste profession. The Sunris of Bengal proper 
are all Vishnuvites of the sect founded bv Chaitanya, 
and some of them may be found among the Chaitanite 
monks called Babajis or Reverend Fathers. Although 
the Sunris are by nature somewhat hard-fisted, yet they 
patronise the Chaitanite ministers and shrines with such 
liberality that, within the last few years, many of the 
aristooratio Brahmans of the Tantric cult have espoused 


the Yishnnvite faith in order to have a share of their 
largesses, albeit the condition on which they are given is 
said to be that the donee mnst partake of the hospitality 
of the donor. To comply with such a sine and non mnst 
be very humiliating to every Brahman, and it is hard to 
believe that love of lucre has sufficed in any case yet to 
overcome Brahmanical pride to such an extent. With 
regard to the religion of the Sunris, Mr. Risley, on the 
authority of the late Dr. Wise, makes the following 
observations which are remarkably in accordance with 
the actual facts : — 

According to Dr. Wise almost every member of the caste is a 
foUower of Ghaitaniya, and the rich are celebrated for die ostenta- 
tious observance of the Sankirtana chants in honour of Krishna after 
the decease of any relative. The chief rites observed in Eastern 
Bengal are the worship of Ganesa on the Ist Baisakh (April— May), 
and the 1st of Aghan (November— December) ; of Gandeshwari on 
the 10th of Asin (September— October) ; of Durga at the time of the 
Durga Puja in October ; and of Ganga whenever their boAts are 
starting on a trading voyage. The majority being Vaishnavas, 
animals are rarely offered to any deity; but when this is done, the 
victim is afterwards released. Shahas are very fond of pigeons, and 
in the courtyai'd of almost every house a dovecot is fixra, as they 
believe that the air fanned by pigeons' wings wafts good luck. They 
are also devoted worshippers of Kartikeya, the Hindu god of war, 
constructing annually in i^ovember a life-size effigy of the god, and 
keeping it within the female enclosure for a year. Other Hindu 
castes uirow the image into the river immediately after the Kartik 
Puja, but the Shahas allege that their special veneration of the god 
is often rewarded, the barren rejoicing and the husband becoming 
the joyful father of children. It is easy to understand in what 
way this figure gives rise to scandalous stories among Bengalis, 
and how the Shaha becomes a butt for the wit and sarcasm of his 

The Behar Sunris follow the average Hinduism of that part of the 
country, and worship most of the regular gods as occasion offers. 
Their minor gods are very numerous. Dharam Baj, Bandi Ck>raiya, 
Govindji, Hanuman, Kasi Panjiar, Joti Panjiyar, Apurba Panjiar, 
Mira, Saiyed, Julpa, Sokha, Hosan Khan, and Panch Pir. Rice 
cooked in milk and sugar, cakes of ghi {puri), and various kinds of 
fruit are offered to them, and afterwards eaten by the worshippers. 
Kids are sacrificed to Bandi. On Sundays milK and flowers are 
offered to the Sun. In Bengal, says Dr. Wise, the Brahman, pecu- 
liar to the caste, boasts that he never accepts alms from anyone not' 
a Sunri, but it is quite certain that none of the clean castes would 
present him with charity. These Brahmans, who assume the bom- 
bastic titles of Vidyasagar, Vidyalankar, Chakravarti and Pfithak, 
like the Purohits of the other low castes, read the funeral service at 
the burning ghat, and are looked down upon by other members of 
the sacred oraer. The Sunris of Behar are served by a low class 


of Majthila Brahmans, who also minister to the reliffioua neces- 
sities of the Teli caste. No other Brahmans will eat and drink with 
these men, who are known by the contemptuous epithet of Telia 
Babhan. In Ghutia Na^i^par the Brahmans who serve the Snnris call 
themaelyes Kanojias, but they have no right to the name, and no 
other Brahmans will have anything to do with them. — Risley's 
TribM and CiuUb of Bengal, Vol. II, pp. 278-279. 

The Sunns of Bengal being Vishnuvites are strict 
vegetarians and teetotalers. There are a few Vish- 
nnvite Bhagats among those of Behar also. But th3 
majority of the Behar Sunris eat mutton, goat's flesh and 
fish. Some eat even field rats. Most of them indulge 
freely in strong drink. The total number of Sunris in the 
different provinces is as shown in the following table: — 

Bengal ... ... ... 423,466 

Assam ... ... ... 51,970 

Central Provinces ... ... ... 15,420 

Madras ... ... ... 34,842 

Total ... 5^5.698 

The usual family names of the Sunris are Saha, Roy, 
Das, &c. 

§ 2. — The Kalwars of Northern India. 

The Kalwars of Northern India have the same caste 
status as the Sunris of Bengal, and like them have 
many rich men among them, as, for instance, Babu Ram 
Prasad Chowdry, of Monghyr, and Babu Tejnarain, of 
Bhagalpur, the founder and endower of the Tejnarain 
College, Bhagalpur. The Kalwars are more numerous 
than the Sunris, and the majority of them are now petty 
shopkeepers having nothing to do with their ances- 
tral profession. A very large portion of the Behari 
grocers and pedlars of Calcutta are Kalwars. On 
being first questioned they generally profess to be 
Baniyas, and they confess their real caste status only 
when suflBciently pressed. The Kalwars are divided 
into many sections, as, for instance, the following : — 

1. Biyskhat. I 4. Khalsa. 

2. Jaiswar or Ajodhyiftbasi. I 5. Khoridaha. 

3. Bonodhya. \ 6. Diswar. 

B, HC 17 


The Biyahuts and the Jaiswars have now no concern 
with the mannfactare or sale of spiritaons liquors, and 
as the Biyahnts do not allow their widows to re-marry, 
they are generally treated as a semi-clean caste. Tne 
Jaiswar's profession is similarly unexceptionable, but 
they worship the Mahomedan saints called ranch Piriya, 
ana chiefly on that account, but partly also on account 
of their marrying their widows, they are regarded as 
haying a lower status than the Biyahuts. As the 
Jaiswars worship some of the Mahomedan saints the 
Biyahuts and Khoridahas take a delight in going 
directly against the fundamental points of the Islamic 
faith, by offering pigs and wine to a local diyinity called 
Qoriya.* The Banodhyas worship the Brahma Deo, 
i.e.y the spirits of Brahmans dying in the unmarried 

The Ealwar population of India is 1,195^097 soub. 

In the Central Proyinces, the Ealwars are the brewers, 
and the Mahars are the tadi-drawers. The Kalwars 
are there generally yery rich as in other parts of the 

In the Punjab the majority of the brewers are Kallals. 
Some members of the scayenger caste, called Choorha^ 
also practise the some profession. 

§ 3. — The Shanars and Illavars of Dravira. 

The Shanars and lUayars are identical in caste. 
They are a yery rich community, and are yery numer- 
ous in the southern districts of the Indian Peninsula. 
The caste is called Illayar in the northern part of the 
tract where they are found, and Shanar in tne extreme 
south. In South Eanara the Illayars are called 

* The Ck>riya is worshipped in the form of little mounds or plat- 
forms of clay to be found in many Behar villages. The precise 
nature of the Goriya's claim to worship is not generailyknown. He 
seems to be the presiding dei^ of gars or tombs. The pifls and 
wine which are offered to the Goriya are not eaten or drunklq^ the 
▼otariesi but given to the low oaste DoBadhas whose god he is* 


The Shanars eat flesh and fish, and drink strong 
tadi. "The peculiar marriage customs of the Nairs, 
together with their singular rules of inheritance, are 

Eractised by many Illavars and by a few Shanars. Hus- 
and and wife easily separate and contract other 
alliances. All inherited property descends to maternal 
nephews, while other kinds of property are shared equal- 
ly by nephews and sons. Socially, these tribes are treat- 
witn great ignominy. Their women were until recent- 
ly not permitted to wear clothing above their waist. 
They were not allowed to carry umbrellas, to wear 
shoes or golden ornaments, to build houses above one 
story in height, to milk cows, or even to use the ordi- 
nary language of the country. Even now their posi- 
tion is one of great humiliation."* The treatment which 
the Shanars receive from the Hindu community being 
as stated above, many of them have been easily led by 
the British missionaries to embrace the faith of Christ. 
With regard to the' origin, occupation and social 
position of the Shanars, the Rev. Dr. Caldwell gives 
the following interesting account : — 

There is reason to suppose that the Shanars are immigrants from 
the northern coast of Ceylon, where the same or a similar caste still 
exists, bearing a grammatical and intelligible form of the same name 
' Shandrar/ of which * Shanar' is etymologicaJly a corruption. It is 
also tolerably certain that the Illavars and Teers (t.0., Singhalese 
and Islanders), who cnltivate the cocoannt palm in Travanoore, are 
descendants of Shandrar colonists from Ceylon. There are traces 
of a common origin among them all ; * Shanar/ for instance, being a 
title of honour among the Travaucore Illavara. It is traoitionaUy 
reported that the Shanars who inhabit Tinneveli came from the 
neM^hboarhood of Jaffna in Ceylon ; that one portion of them, the 
class now (adled Nadans (lords of the soil), entered Tinneveli by 
way of Ramnad, bringing with them the seed nuts of the Jaffna 
palmyra, the best in de East, and appropriating or obtaining from 
the ancient Pandya princes, as the most suitable region for the 
coltivation of the palmyra, the sandy waste lands of Manad in the 
south-east of Tinneveli, over which to the present day, the^ claim 
rights of seignorage, and that the other portion of the immigrants, 
esEeemed a lower division of the caste, came by the sea to the south 
of Travancore, where vast numbers of them are still found, and 
whence, having but Uttle land of their own, they have gradually 

* 8e$ SherriDg,:Vol. Ill, pp. 184-185. 


spread themseWes over Tinneveli on the invitation of the Nadatis 
and other proprietors of land, who, without the help of their poorer 
neighbours, as climbers, could derive but little profit from their 
immense forests of palmyra. Some of these immigrations have pro- 
bably taken place since the Ohristian era ; and it is asserted by the 
Syrian Christians of Travancore, that one portion of the tribe, 
the lUavars, were brought over from Ceylon by their ancestors for 
the cultivation of the cocoanut palm. The Shanars, though prob- 
ably immigrants from Ceylon, are Hindus, not of the Brahmanical 
but of the Tamil or aboriginal race. 

The caste of Shanars occupies a middle position between the Vel- 
lalars and their Pariah slaves. The majority of the Shanar confine 
themselves to the haitl and weary labour appointed to their race. But 
a considerable number have become cultivators of the soil, as land- 
owners or farmers, or are engaged in trade.— Dr. Caldwell's Essay 
on the Tinneveli Sfianars, pp. 4—7. 

Good Brahmans never minister to the Shanars as 
priests, and their religious ceremonies are usually per- 
formed by the Pandarams. 

§ 4. — Tlie Bhandaris of Western India. 

The tadi-drawers of the Kankan and Bombay are 
called Bhandari. Their total nmmber is about one hun- 
dred and seventy thousand souls. They themselves do 
not drink the juice of the palm in the fermented state. 

§ 5. — Th£ Pasts of Behar. 

The Pasis are the tadi-drawers of Behar. They eat 
fowls and field rats, and indulge freely in spirituous 
and fermented liquors. Many of them have taken to 
cultivation, and hold lands as occupancy or non-occu- 
pancy ryots. Others are employed as day labourers, 
porters and coolies. The good Brahmans never officiate 
at their religious ceremonies, and at their sacrifices, 
funerals and marriages, they get either a degraded 
Brahman, or a member of their own caste, to act as the 
priest. They allow their widows to re-marry in the 
sagai form. They allow also divorce and the re-mar- 
riage of divorced wives. The Pasis worship all the 
minor gods of Behar, as, for instance, Bandi Goriya 
and Sokha. In the month of Jeth the sickle (Jiansidi) 
used for cutting the palm tree is regularly worshipped 
by them with flowers and gi-ain. 


§ 6. — The Tiyans of Southern India, 

The Tiyans of Malabar and Travancore are palm 
cnltivators and tadi-drawers like the Shanars and Illa- 
vars. The Tiyans, however, are regarded as even more 
unclean. They are generally very handsome, but they 
are treated as Pariahs. They practise polyandry. The 
total number of the Tiyans exceeds five hundred thou- 
sand souls. 

§ 7. — The Idigas of Mysore and the Telugu country. 

The tadi-drawers of Mysore and the Telugu country 
are called Idigas. They do not seem to be regarded 
as a very unclean caste, as they are now freely employ- 
ed in domestic service. They were formerly employed 
as soldiers under the local Palligars. The number of 
persons returned as Idigas by the last Census is 196,901. 

§ 8. — Tlie Gaundla and the Gamalla of tlie Telugu 


The Graundlas of Hyderabad are a numerous commu- 
nity. They number 235,902 persons. The Gamallas 
of the Telugu country are the same as the Gaundlas. 
There are no Shanars or Kalwars in the Telugu 
country. The Idigas and the Gamallas are the tadi- 
drawers, while the Sunris are the brewers. There is in 
the Telugu country another caste named Sittigadu, 
who have the same occapation as the Idigas. 


The oil manufacturing castes are called Teli, Kalu 
and Qhanchi in Northern India, In the northern parts 
of the Deccan the oil-makers are called Granigas and Tel 
Kalu Varlu. In the extreme south the name of the 
caste is Vanikan. They are all regarded as more or 
less unclean everywhere.* 

§ 1. — The Telis of Bengal, 

The Telis of Bengal have now nothing to do with 
the manufacture of oil, and they claim to derive their 
name from Tula, which means the shopman's scale, 
instead of from Taila, which means oil. But the deri- 
vation of Teli from Tula is grammatically impossible, 
and the suggestion is strongly contradicted by the fact 
that the Telis in other parts of the country are actually 
oil-pressers. However that may be, the Telis of Bengal 
are, as stated in a previous chapter, included among 
Nava Sayakas, and regai'ded as clean Sudras. 

* In speaking: of the TeUs of Beneal, Mr. Risley says i— 
" Their original profession ?^s probably oil-pressin{r« and the caste 
mav be re^^araed as a functional group recruited from the respectable 
middle class of Hindu sociely. Oil is used by all Hindus for 
domestic and ceremonial purposes, and its manufacture could only 
be carried on by men whose social purity was beyond dispute." — 
Risley's Tribes and CasUs of Bsngal, Vol. II, pp. .305, 906. 

The above shows how difficult it is for an jQnglish author to ^ve 
a correct view of the mechanism of our society. The fact is that 
ghi and oil are not contaminated or i*endered unfit for a Hindu's 
use by the touch of even the lowest castes. 

( 262 ) 


The Telis of Bengal are a very important caste. 
The majority of them being shopkeepers and grain 
merchants, they are a very well-tcndo class. Some of 
them as5 for instance, the family of the celehrated Bani 
Svamamayi of Moorshedabad, and the Bajas of Diga- 
patiya have become very rich landholders under British 
rule. The usual family names of the Telis are — 

1. Kundu, peculiar to the class. 

2. Pal Ohowdrj. An aristocratio surname assumed by the 

biff Teli semindars. 

5. Pal ) 

4. Nandy > not peculiar to the class. 

6. Dey ) 

6. Chowdry ) 

7. MalHck > not peculiar to any class. 

8. Ray J 

There are very few among the Telis of Bengal who 
are quite illiterate, while, under British rule, some of 
them have attained great eminence as scholars. The 
most distinguished among them was the late Bai Kifito 
Das Pal, Bahadoor, whose name is sure to be'remembered 
for a long time as one of India's greatest journalists 
and public men. The late Babu Rasik Krishna Mallick, 
who was one of the distinguished batch of scholars 
turned out by the Hindu College of Calcutta at a very 
early period of its existence, was also a Teli. Among the 
living celebrities of the caste, the name of Srinath Pal 
may be specially mentioned here. He is a nephew of 
the Maharani Svamamayi, and is treated by her as 
her own son. As a student he attained some of the 
highest honours that the University of Calcutta can 
confer. For the last ten years he has been managing 
the Maharani's vast estates with great ability. 

The Telis of Bengal have many sub-divisions among 
them, as, for instance, Ekadasa, Dwadasa, Betna, Tush 
Kota and Saptagrami. 

§ 2. — Tlie Kahfs of Bengal. 

The caste that actually manufactures oil in Bengal is 
called Kalu, and is regarded as an uucleap caste having 


a somewhat higher status than that of the brewers. The 
Kalus are all illiterate, and though there are very few 
wealthy men among them, they are generally quite above 
want. In the Nadiya district there is at Tihatta a Ealu 
landholder of the class called Talukdars. The usual 
surnames of the Kalu are Gorai, Sagari, Sadhu, Khan 
and Set. 

The Kalus number 191,355 persons in Bengal. They 
are chiefly Vishnuvites. A special class of degraded 
Brahmans minister to them as priests. Their spiritual 
guides are the Chaitanite Gossains. 

§ 3. — The Telis and Ghanclus of Upper India. 

In Upper India the oil-pressers are called Teli and 
also Ghanchi. Their position is nowhere higher than 
that of the Kalus of Bengal. 

§ 4. — T/ie Tel Kulu Varlu of the Telugu country. 

The oilmen of the Telugu country are called Tel 
Kulu Varlu. They take the sacred thread. 

§ 5, — The Ganigas and Vanikans of Southern India. 

The oil-pressers are called Vanikan in the Dravira 
country. In Mysore the name of the caste is Ganiga. 
In the Kanarase country they are called also Jotiphana 
or Jotinagora, i.e., the tribe of light. They have also 
in some localities different names according to pecu- 
liarities of their machines, or the method of working 
them. For instance, those whose mills are made of 
stone and worked by yoking pairs of oxen are called 
Hegganigas ; Kiru-Ganigas is the name of those who 
work with wooden mills ; while those who yoke only 
one bull to the mill are called Vantiyettu Gknigas. 
The Linga-wearing Ganigas called Sajjanas, hold no 
social intercourse with the other sections. There are 
both Vishnuvites and Sivites among the other Ganigas. 


Thb Lnniyas or Nnnias of Northern India are, as 
their names indicate, primarily salt manufacturers. 
The salt industry of Bengal being very nearly ruined 
by the fiscal regulations which give greater facilities 
to the importation of Cheshire salt than to indigenous 
manufacture, the practice of their caste profession by 
the Luniyas has become well-nigh impossible. The 
majority of them are now saltpetre makers and navvies 
like the Beldars and the Eoras. Thev are a numerous 
community as will appear from the following table : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 412,822 

Bengal ... ... ... 318,441 

Bombay ... ... ... 14,699 

In some parts of Behar the Luniyas are treated as 
clean Sudras. But the practice is not uniform, and 
generally they are regarded as semi-clean Sudras, The 
inferiority of their caste status is due, not to their pro- 
fession which is a clean one, but to the fact of their 
being a non-Aryan race, and to their habit of eating 
pork and drinking spirituous liquors. They are qjiiefly 
Saktas, and there are. very fQw Yishnuvite Bhakats 
among them. They allow divorce, and the re-marriage 
of widows and divorced wives. 

The salt manufacturing caste of the Madras Presidency 
are called Uppilian, Uppara and Upaliga. The salt-petre- 
making caste of Northern India are called Rehgar an4 

( 265 ) 


§ 1. — The Chamars and Muchis of Nortliem India, 

The Chamars and Mnohis are generally regarded 
as identical in caste. The name Chamar is derived 
from the Sanskrit word Charmakar^ which means " a 
maker of leather." The meaning of the name Mnchi 
is not very clear. The suggestion that the name is 
connected with the Sanskrit word Matsya is contra- 
dicted by the fact that the Muchis have nothing to do 
with the catching of fish. The Chamar population of 
Northern India is very large, and exceeds eleven million 
persons as will appear from the following table : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 5,855,206 

Panjab ... ... ... 1,206,837 

Bengal ... ... ... 1,101,253 

Central India ... ... ... 888,018 

Central Provinces ... ... •*. 880,108 

Rajputana ... ... ... 846,675 

The Muchis are less numerous and number about 
one million persons. They are distributed a.<* shewn 
below : — 

Benffal ... ... ••• 406,333 

Punjab .. ... ... 407,6.34 

Bombay ... .» ••• 63,051 

The Chamars and the Muchis have a variety of 
occupations. Primarily, they are skinners, tanners, 
shoemakers, and musical instrument makers. They 
practise also the weaving of coarse cotton cloths and 
mats of reed. In Northern India, the Chamars serve 
for hire as agricultural labourers and workers. In 

( 266 ) 


Bengal they generally supply the bands of instrumental 
mnsioians who are a necessity to every Hindn at the 
time of religious ceremonies of a joyful nature. After 
the Sepoy Mutiny an attempt was made to recruit 
the native army from the ranks of the Chamars instead 
of from the higher castes like the Brahmans and 
Rajputs. But the experiment did not, it is said, prove 

The Chamars and Muchis are very unclean castes. 
Their very touch renders it necessary for a good 
Hindu to bathe with all his clothes on. In the villages 
they generally live in a distinct quarter. When their 
services are required by a high caste Hindu, he will 
allow them to enter the outer enclosure of his house, 
but not into the interior of any building used as a 
dwelling-house or chapel. For the Muchi and Maho- 
medan musicians who are a necessity on festive occa- 
sions, there is generally special accommodation in the 
mansions of the rich and in the big temples. Those 
who play on the kettledrum and the pipe called sanaiy 
and who are generally Mahomedans, are perched on 
the top of the main entrance, while the Muchi bands 
entertain the bye-standers from the Nat-Mandir or 
dancing hall in front of the puja dalan or chapel. 

§ 2. — The Chakilians and Madigs of Southern India. 

The professions and caste status of the Chakilians 
and Madigs are the same as those of the Muchis and 
Chamars of Northern India. The Chakilians number 
445,366 persons. The Madig population is nearly 
double that of the Chakilians. With regard to the 
Madigs, the following observations are made in the last 
Census Report of Mysore : — 

The Madig is the TiUa42:e cobbler ; he removes the carcases of the 
viUacre cattle, skins them, ajid is bound to supply the village communi- 
ty with agricultural articles made of skin or leaHier, such as thones 
of the buUocks, buckets for lifting water, &c. The Madi^ caste is 
299,575 strong. The Madigs are by religion Vishnuvites, Sivites and 
S^Urtas. The caste is divided into two independent sub-divisions, the 


Desbhaga and Others, between whom there is no intermarriaffe. The 
former acknowledge the Sri Vaishnava Brahmans as their Gurus, to 
whom they pay extraordinary homage on all ceremonial occasions. 
The Madigs in the province are decidraly an indigenous class. They 
are mostly field labourers, but some of them till land, either leased or 
their own. In urban localities, on account of the rise in the value of 
skins, the Madigs have attained to considerable affluence. — Mysore 
Census Report for 1891, pp. 254-55. 

§ 3. — The Leather^uoorking Castes of Rajputana and 

Central India, 

Besides the Chamars and Muchis there are some 
other leather-working classes in Bajputana having the 
following names : — 

1. Bs&abi. I 2. Jatia. | 3. Sargara. 

In Bikanir the Chamars are called Balai. The Bam- 
bis are workers in leather, weavers, and village servants, 
and receive the skins of all unclaimed dead animals. 
The Jatias, like the Muchis of Bengal, eat the flesh of 
dead animals. The Sargaras are cultivators and drum- 
beaters. The worship of the snake goddess Manasha 
is considered by the Muchis in some parts of the country 
as their speciality. Some Muchis regularly beg from 
door to door with an image or emblem of either the 
snake goddess or of the small-pox goddess. A Muchi 
of Bikanir who lived in the early part of the present 
century, founded a religious sect. 


§ 1, — Tlie Mai-makers, 

Mat-makinq and basket-making are clean arts. But 
they are generally practised by the aboriginal castes, 
whose low social status is due more to their non-Aryan 
blood and their non-observance of the Shastric restric- 
tions regarding diet and drink, than to the nature of 
their professions. The celebrated Sitalpatis (Lit. cool 
mats) of East Bengal are manufactured by a caste called 

The Masnudpatis of Cossijarah are not made by any 
particular caste, and the art is said to be practised by 
even the local Brahmans. The nicer varieties of these 
and the Sitalpatis are very costly ; but they are very 
cool, and in summer they are considered as a necessity by 
the Indian aristocracy. I am not aware whether there 
is any demand for them in foreign countries. 

§ 2. — The Basket'inakers, 

The following are the castes that usually make 
baskets : — 

1. Dom, 1,257,826 ... Found everywhere in Northern India. 

2- Baiti ... Found in Beneal. 

3. Metha Koran ... Found in the Madras Presidency. 

4. Bansphor, 89,955 A branch of the Dom tribe, found 

chiefly in Northern India. 

5. Turi, 50,020 ... Found in Bengal and Assam. 

6. Bind ... Found in almost every part of the 

United Provinces. The Binds not 
only make mats, but are tadi-draw- 
ers, boatmen and fishennen aJso* 

( 269 ; 



The most important agricultnral castes of Northern 
India are those called Kurmis and Knnhis. They are 
divided into many sections, which, for practical purposes, 
are independent castes. But the status of these sec- 
tions is, generally speaking, the same, and as they all 
designate themselves as Kurmis or Kunbis, they may be 
treated as a single caste. The derivation of their name 
is not very clear. It may be traceable to some abori- 

final language, or to an abbreviated form of the 
anskrit compound Krishi Kanm^ which means an 

The Kurmi population of India is very large, the 
total exceeding ten millions. They are distributed as 
follows : — 

Bombay ... ... ... 3,577,873 

N.-W. Ppovinoes .^ ... ... 2,036,768 

Bengal .. ... ... 1,321,628 

Hyderabad ... ... ... 1,233,930 

Berar ... ... ... 834,432 

Central Provinces ... ... ... 805,766 

There are no Kurmis in Bengal proper or Punjab. 
Taking a bird's-eye view of the ethnology of Northern 
India, it would appear that the principal elements in the 
rural population of the country are the Kurmis, Gopas, 

( 270 ) 



Kaibartas and Chamars, and tbat the Brahmans, Raj- 
pats, Kayasthas and Baniyas, though nnmerically very 
strong, constitute only its town population. From this 
fact, and from the etnnological difference between the 
two groups,* the conclusion seems reasonable that the 
Kurmis, Gopas, Kaibartas and Chamars had occupied the 
country at a very early period ; and that the higher 
castes subsequently settled among them as conquerors, 
merchants or priests. The Kurmis, Gopas and Kaibartas 
are neither pure non-Aryans nor pure Aryans, But 
their features clearly show that they are a mixed race, 
having a very large share of Aryan blood. There are 
the foUowing sub-divisions among the Kurmis :— 

1. Ghamela. 

2. Kochaisa. 

3. Sanswar. 

4. Ghandani (found also in the 
Central Provinces). 

5. Banodhiya (originally of the 
Banodha country, including 
the modem districts of Rae 
Bareilly and Unao). 

6. Fasfasia. 

7. Jaiswar (found in almost every 
part of Northern India). 

1. Saithwar. 

2. Atharya. 

3. Ohunorwar. 

4. Akorwar. 

5. Patnawar. 

6. Kewat. 

1. Rowat. 

2. Jadan. 

3. BhartL 

4. Kattiar. 

5. Gungwari. 

1. Singraon. 

2. Chaporya. 

1* Kanojia. 

1. Jhunia. 



In Gorakpnr and 

In Bohilkhand 

Lower I>oab 
Central Doab 

Upper Doab 

In Saugor and Ban 

In Nagpore ... 1. Jhari. 

-I 2. 
''''] 1. 

* See Dalton's BUmoiogy €/ Bengaif p. 320; see also Campbell's 
Xihmoiogy qf India* 


In HoBhangabad .,. 1. Ghauria. 

1. Manohas. 


2. Gharnaos. 

3. Deriesias. 

4. Singrowlo. 

5. Tirola. 

i 6. Ghandariya. 

The religion of the Kurmis in Behar is the same as 
that of the other local Sudra castes. They offer wor- 
ship to the gods of the Hindn pantheon^ and also to 
sucn local deities as Sokha, Sambhu Nath^ Goriya, &c. 
The majority of them are, however, mainly followers 
of Kabir and Bamanand. Some of the Knrmis worship 
also the Mahomedan saints called Panch Firiya. 

The altar of the Panch Piriya consisting of a plat- 
form of earth, is erected outside the dwelling-honse. 
A Mahomedan priest officiates at the worship, and the 
animal offered is sacrificed in the usual method of the 
Mahomedans. If a fowl is sacrificed, it is taken away by 
the priest. Sometimes castrated goats and pigeons are 
offered, and these, after their jabai or ceremonial slaugh- 
ter, according to Mahomedan ritual, are eaten bj the 
votaries. In accordance with vows previously made for 
the health of children or some other similar object, the 
Kurmis of Behar sometimes celebrate also the Mahome- 
dan Maharam festival. 

Some of the Kurmis eat fowls and field rats ; but 
they do not eat pork or beef, and are generally regard- 
ed as clean Sudras. The ordinary Sudra Yajaka 
Brahmans minister to them as priests, and ihey are 
deemed by the highest castes as eligible for domestic 

The Kurmis are an illiterate class. But they make 
good soldiers, and there are many big landholders 
among them. The poor and landless members of the 
caste liva chiefly, by. domestic service. 

The Kurmis have no peculiar surnames. But when 
any one of them attains such wealth or position as to be 


respected by the local people, he would add to his 
name one or other of the following adjuncts : — 

1. Ghowdry. 

2. Mahanto. 
8. Maharai. 
4« Mahto. 

5. Manto. 

6. Morar. 

7. Makhya. 

8. Pramanika. 

9. Bout. 
10. Sarkar. 

11. Sing. 

In almost all the snb-castes of the Enrmis, excepting 
the Ayodhya Bansi, Ghamela and Eochaisa, a widow is 
allowed to re-marry. If she marry a younger brother or 
cousin of her late husband, she cannot forfeit her claim 
to a share of her husband's estate, or her right to the 
guardianship of her children. If she marry an outsider, 
these rights are forfeited. Divorce is permitted among 
the Eurmis, and a divorced wife may marry again in the 
same manner as a widow. The Eurmis of Northern 
India usually employ a Brahman to officiate as priest 
at their marriages. In Chota Nagpore and Orissa, the 
practice is diflferent. There the work of the priest, ou 
such occasions, is done by some elderly member of the 
house or by the Laya of the village. 

The Eurmis burn their dead, and perform their shrads 
in the same manner as other high caste Sudras. The 
period for which they observe mourning varies accord- 
ing to local practice, from ten days to Siirty days. 


B^ HQ 18 


The Knrmis and Koeris differ in nothing except 
that the former are producers of the agricultrfrsU staples, 
while kitchen gardening is the speciality of the latter. 
In the vicinity of the large towns in Northern India, 
the Koeris raise the fruits and kitchen vegetables 
required for local consumption. They take a part also 
in rearing tobacco, opium, and other agricultural stxxth 
requiring more care and skill than the staple crops. 
They never serve in a menial capacity. 

The caste status of the Koeris is similar to that of 
the Kurmis. In the matter of food, the majority of 
both these castes conform to the rules laid down in the 
Shastras^ But it is said that, like some classes of the 
Kurmis, fowls and field rats are eaten by some of the 
Koeris also. 

The Sudra Yajaka Brahmans of all classes minister to 
the Koeris as priests. The majority of the Koeris are 
Sivites and Ssd^tas, and there are not many Yaishnavas 
among them. They are regarded as a clean Sudra 
caste, and the Brahmans will take drinking water from 
their hands without any hesitation. The Koeris will 
eat both kacJU and pakki food cooked by a Brahman ; 
but will not eat the leavings of a Brahtnan's plate as the 
Shastras inculcate the Sudras to do, and is practically 
done by many of the better Sudra clans. 

The Koeris are quite as illiterate as the Kurmis. 
The Koeris are very numerous in Behar, and are found 
also in the N.-W. Provinces. Their total numerical 
strength is nearly one and three-quarters of a million. 

( 274 ) 


In almost every part of Northern and Western India 
there are tribes called Malis who are devoted mainly to 
the kind of agriculture practised by the Koeris. Their 
numerical strength is very considerable, as will appear 
from the following figures taken from the last Census 
report: — 

Bpmbay ... ... ... 313,064 


N.-w, Provinces 




Central Provinces 


The Malis are supposed to derive their name from the 

Sanskrit word "mala" which means garland. But 

there does not appear any reason why the name of the 

agricultural Malis should have had such an origin. The 

flower-supplying Malis form a vary small community, 

and it does not seem probable that the agricultural 

Malis were originally flower-suppliers. It seems more 

probable that the florists, who are called Phul Mali 

in the N.-W. Provinces, are a section of the great 

Mali tribe whose primarv occupation is agriculture. 

The flower-supplying Malis are found chiefly in the 

large towns, and in uie vicinity of the leading public 

shrmes. Plowers of various kinds, and the leaves of 

the basil and the wood-apple being indispensable to 

every Hindu for the worship of his gods, every member 

of the higher castes has generally a garden attached to 

his dwelling-house. If he have no sucn garden, he has to 

( 275 ) 


buy the requisites from a Mali, or to procure them from 
the garden of a neighbour. In the vicinity of the 
sacred shrines the demand for flovrers, garlands and the 
sacred leaves enables the Mali to carry on a brisk and 
profitable trade. The Malis of Bengal are also the 
manufacturers of the tinsel with which the clay idols 
are usually decorated. They are likewise suppliers 
of pyrotechnic works, and the tinsel crown which 
a Hindu has to wear at the time of marriage. The 
Malis are an illiterate class. They are a clean caste. 
The Malis of the Central Provinces and Berar are very 
skilful cultivators. They eat fiesh and drink spirits. 



The Kachis are found chiefly in the central districts 
of Northern India. They are very much like the 
Koeris. They are very good cultivators. There are 
many snb-divisions among them, as, for instance, the 
following : — 

1. Kanojia ... ... From Kanoj. 

2. Sakya Seni ... ... From the ancient town of Sankisa 

in Farakkabad. 

3. Hardiya ... ... Said to derive their name from 

the foct of their caltiTating 
huldi or tarmeric). 

4. Marao ... ... Said to be so named from the fact 

of their cultiyating mula or 

5. Kachchwaba. 

6. Salloria. 

7. Anwar. 

The Kachis number 1,384,222 persons distributed as 
stated in the following table : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 706,590 

Central Provinces ... ... ... 122,646 

Central India ... ... ... 472,134 

These figures do not, it seems, include the Muraos 
who were separately enumerated at the last Census. 
The Muraos number 677,982 persons, and are found 
only in the United Provinces. The Kachis are very 
numerous between Bai Bareli and Kanoj. 

( 277 ) 


Like the Kachis, the Lodhas are found chiefly in the 
central districts of Northern India. They are dis- 
tribated as shown in the following table : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 1,065,026 

Central Provinces ... ... ... 293,110 

Central India ... ... ... 252,658 

The caste status of the Lodhas is somewhat lower 
than that of the Kurmis. Like the other agricultural 
castes they are mostly illiterate. There are a few land- 
holders among them. The following are the names of 
their principal sub-divisions : — 

1. Patoria, found chiefly in the 

districts of Delhi, Alighar 
and Etah. 

2. Mathuria, so named from the 

ancient town of Mathuria. 

3. Sankallajaria. 

4. Jjakhia. 

5. Khoria. 

6. Pania. 

The Lodhis are a different tribe. They are to be found 
in Jhansi, Lalitpore Sagor, Damoh, and Hosungabad. 
The Lodhis are very turbulent and revengeful and are 
very unlike the peaceable Kurmis. The principal 
landowners of the district of Damoh are Lodnis. 

( 278 ) 



The Chasa Kaibartas of Bengal form an important 
section of its rural popnlation. In the district of Midna- 
pore they may be reckoned among the local aristocracy. 
In the other districts where they are found their position 
is only next to that of the Kayasthas. The designation 
of Kaibarta is applicable to four distinct classes naving 
di£Ferent occupations. Of these the Chasas and the 
Lakhinarayans of Midnapore are the most numerous, and 
have the highest position. The JaUas who are fishermen, 
and the Tutias who are mulberry growers, and devoted 
chiefly to sericulture, are treated as unclean castes. 
The Chasa and Lakhinarayan Kaibartas are regarded as 
very nearly clean. 

In the Tumlok and Gontai sub-divisions of the Mid- 
napore District, where the number of high caste Brah- 
mans and Kayasthas is very small, the Kaibartas may 
be said to form the upper layer of the local population. 
A great many of them are zemindars and nolders of 
substantial tenures. They were a very well-to-do class 
until recentlv, but they have become very much depress- 
ed by the aboUtion of the manufacture of salt in the 
district since the year 1861. This measure, which has 
brought about the ruin of one of the most ancient indus- 
tries in the country, was adopted in accordance with 
the demands of an a^tation which had been got up in 
England by EngUsh snip-owners and merchants. They 
represented that the East India Company were shame- 
fully oppressing the people by making a monopoly of 

( 279 ) 


such a necessity of human life as salt. The word ' mono- 
poly ' being a bngbear to English people, they were easily 
deceived, and the agitationists, finding sympathy from 
the Press and the Cnnrch, conld not fail to secure their 
object. As a matter of fact, the monopoly system on 
which salt was manufactured by the East India Com- 
pany, since the days of Olive whose genius first adopted 
it, wad a boon to the country ; and its abolition has not 
been productive of any good to any class of Indian 
people, though it has been highly beneficial to English 
ship-owners and salt merchants. Now that the princi- 
ple of Free Trade is about to divert the salt trade of 
Bengal so as to mainly benefit Germany and Arabia, 
it is to be hoped that the question may be reconsidered, 
and the monopoly re-established on its ancient footing. 
In the Metropolitan districts of Nadiya and Twenfy- 
Fbur Pergunnahs, the Kaibartas form the lower layer of 
the middle classes. In the former district they may be 
now said to have even a higher position. In the palmy 
days of indigo cultivation there, many of the local 
Kaibartas obtained those ministerial employments in the 
factoties of the English planters which were very lucra- 
tive, but were too risky to have much attraction for 
Brahmans and K&yasthaS. By the practice of every 
kind of oppression to compel the ryots to cultivate 
indigo, the Kaibarta employes of the English factors 
fiiade themselves the greatest favourites with their mas- 
ters. To stich an extent was this the case that in the 
drama called Indigo Mirror — for the translation of which 
the philanthrophic English missionary, Mr. Long, was 
sentenced to sufier incarceration as a criminal— a K&yas- 
tha Dewan of an indigo planter is made to brag before 
his master by saying that, although of the writer caste 
by birth, he was qualified and prepared to render the 
terjr same kind of service as a Kewat. The planters 
have been ruined chiefly by the litigation in which they 
Itivoilved iheitiselves. But the descendants of their em- 
ployes are generally in very easy circumstances. Some 


of them are now big landholders, while, with their 
ancestral reputation for oppressing the people, and their 
willingness to mn the risK of criminal prosecutions, a 
good many of them are able to secure high offices in the 
service of those parvenu zemindars who seek to improve 
their renWoUs by the simple method of forcibly evict- 
ing the freeholders and permanent tenants from their 
lands. Some of the Kaibartas of Nadiya have of late 
been competing for University distinctions, and have 
attained also high offices in the service of Government. 
In Calcutta the millionaire Marh family of Jaun Bazar 
are of the Kaibarta caste. They possess very valuable 
house property in the town, and also extensive zemin- 
daries in the interior of the country. 

The Kaibarta population of Inoia is very large, the 
total being more than three millions. The Midnapore 
Kaibartas have the foUowing surnames:- 



















11. S 



The usual surnames of the Nadiya Kaibartas are 
Das, Biswas, and Bhaumik. Marh, as a surname, is 
not very common either in Midnapore or in Nadiya. 
In the Census reports and in Mr. Risley's Tribes and 
Castes of Bengal a distinction is made between Kaibar- 
tas and Kewats. As a matter of fact, the name Kewat 
is only a corrupted form of Kaibarta, and is applied 
to designate them only when the speaker's contempt 
for them is meant to be implied. 

Though regarded as somewhat unclean, yet in Bengal 
and in Tirhoot also, the poorer Kaibartas are now and 
then to be found employed as domestic servants in the 
households of the higher castes. The Kaibartas have 
special Brahmans, but in Midnapore the ordinary Sudra 
Yajaka Brahmans minister to them as priests in all 
ceremonies excepting Sradha, 


The majority of the actual tillers of the soil in Bengal 
are Mahomedans. The only Hindu castes in Bengal 
proper that are chiefly devoted to agriculture are the 
following : — 

1. Kaibarta. | 3. Koch. 

2. Sadgopa. | 4. Aguri, 

Of these^ the Aguris and the Koch have been spoken 
of already in the chapters devoted to the military castes. 
The Sadgopas are a small community, their total popu- 
lation being slightly above half a million. They are 
found chiefly in the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore, 
Hooghly, Nadiya, Twenty-Four Pergunnahs and Ban- 
koora. The majority of them live by agriculture or 
menial service, but there are among them many big 
landholders and men of culture. Among the Sadgopa 
zemindars the names best known are the following : — 

1. The Rajas of Karjole in Midnapore. 

2. The Sarkan of Peoeara in Hoos^ly. 

3. The Boys of Madbavpore near Tumlok. 

4. The Haldars of Badla in Midnapore. 

5. The Panjas of Jala Bindu in Pergannah Sabong, 


Of the Sadgopas who have attained high offices in 
the service of Government, the following may be men- 
tioned here : — 

1. Babu Grish Ghunder Ghowdhry, Sabordinato Judge, 


2. The late Boy Sharat Ghandra Ghoae, Bahadoor, Execu- 

tive Engineer. 

( 282 ) 


The most distinguished member of the Sadgopa com- 
munity is the well-known Dr. Mahendra Lall Sarkar of 
Calcutta, the founder of the Indian Science Association. 
He is not only one of the best physicians in India, but 
stands in the foremost rank of Indian scholars and pub- 
licists. For several years he has been a member of the 
Bengal Legislative Council, and a leading member of 
the Syndicate of the Calcutta University. The Sad- 
gopas have representatives also in what may be called the 
prophetic trade, which requires neither learning nor 
culture, but only a little shrewdness. Next to Chaitanya, 
the most successful of the latter-day prophets of Bengal 
was a Sadgopa of Qhoshpara. An account of the sect 
founded by him is given in another part of this work. 
As usual the Sadgopas are divided into Kulins and 
Maulika. Their sub-sections and surnames are as stated 
below : — 

fl. Poorba kooliya or inhabi- H. Soor. 

I tants of the eastern sides 2. ISewgy. 

I of the Hooghly river. (.3. Biswas. 

1. KULIN ...-( 

2. Paschim kooliya or inhabi- (1. Koowar. 

tants of the western 8ide< 2. Hazra. 
of the river Hooghly. (3. Roy. 

n. Ghosh. 

2. Pal. 

3. Sirkar. 

2. Maulika ..A 4. Haldar. 

5. Pan. 

6. Chowdry. 
J. Karfa. 


The chief agricultural castes of the Ceutral Provinces 
are the following : — 

1. Kanbi. 

6. Kirat. 

2. Puar. 

6. Lodha. 

3. TeU. 

7. Lodhi. 

4. Mali. 

8. Kolta. 

The biggest tenure-holders are the Kunbis, Tells and 
Malis. The Puars are celebrated for their skill in the 
construction of reservoirs of water and aqueducts. The 
Telis are the best agriculturists. 

In the Central Provinces the Lodhas are found chief- 
ly in Hosungabad. The Lodhis are a distinct caste. 
They are very good agriculturists and are found chiefly 
in Jabbalpore, Saugor, Narsingpore, Hosungabad, 
Bhandara, Chindwara, and Damoh. The population of 
the principal agricultural tribe of the Central Provinces 
is as stated below :— 





... 805,766 





... 141,086 





... 293,110 





... 731.756 

The Teli's proper profession is the manufacture of 
oil. But the majority of the Telis of the Central Pro- 
vince are engaged in agricultural pursuits. There 
are many big Teli landholders in the districts near 
Nagpore and Raipore. The Koltas are found chiefly 
near Sambalpore. 

( 284 ) 



The chief agricultural castes of the Panjab are the 
Jats and the Kambohs. An account of the Jats has been 
given already. The Kambohs have two divisions among 
them : one practising agriculture, and the other making 
and selling confectionery. The latter take the sacred 
thread, but the former do not. 

In the Census Reports, the Arrains, Sainis and 
Ghiraths are included among the agricultural castes of 
the Panjab. The Arrains are mainly kitchen garden- 
ers like the Koeris and Kachis of Northern India. Most 
of the Arrains are now Mahomedans. The Sainis are 
sellers of fodder, and the Ghiraths are a mountain 
tribe who are employed generally as don>estic servants. 
In the Panjab some of tne Sarswat Brahmans till the 
soil with their oi^n hands. Among the agricultural 
classes of the province must be included also the 
Tagus who profess to be a section of the Gour Brah- 
mans. For an account of these Tagus see p. 53, ante. 
The total population of each of the chief agricultural 
castes in the Panjab is as stated below : — 








(, 285 ) 


The agricnlttiral castes of the Telegu country* are 
the following : — 

1. Telega. 

2. Vel&na Yam. 

3. Kamma Vara. 

4. Reddi Varu. 
6. Kapu. 
6. INagas. 

These are all high caste Sudras. They enlist in the 
army as common soldiers. The Reddis at one time 
were the rulers of the country. Most of the Paligars 
belong to one or other of the agricultural castes men- 
tioned above. Bam Dev Rao Nagama Naidu, zemindar 
of Vallura in the Krishna District, is a Telega. Yarlagada 
Unkinira, zemindar of Salla Palli in the same district, 
is a Kamma Varu. The zemindars of Vanaparti and 
Yadwal in the Nizam's Dominions are Reddi Varus. 
The zemindars of Venkatagiri, Noozbid, Pittapur and 
Bobili belong to the Vellamma caste. 

The agricultural Sudra castes mentioned above fol- 
low the local Ksatriyas in all matters relating to 
religion and diet. They eat almost every kind of meat 
excepting beef. They also drink spirituous liquors, 
though in privacy, and with great moderation. 

• • • 

* As to the geographical boundaries of the Telegu country, see 
p. 98, atUe, 

( 286 ) 



Thb most important of the agricultural castes of 
Mysore are the Vakkaligas and the Tigals. The Yak- 
kaligas have many sub-diyisions among them, of which 
the following are the most important :— 

1. Gangadhikara. 

2. Kunchitiga. 

3. Morasu. 

4. Beddi. 

5. Ham Kara. 

6. Dasa. 

7. Halu. 
10. Musaku* 

11. Telega Vakaliga. 

The Tigalas are of Tamil origin. Besides these there 
are some classes of cnltivators called Lingaits, though 
they are not all followers of the Basavite faith, but 
have among them Yaishnavas, Saivas and Jains. 

The classes that serve as agricultural labourers in 
Mysore are caUed Halaya, Huttalu and Mannalu. The 
Halayas of Mysore correspond to the Farias of the 
Dravira country. The status of the Huttalu and 
Mannalu is very much like that of slaves, the former 
being the hereditary servitors of their masters, and the 
latter being ♦serfs attached to the soil, and changing 
hands with it. The total number of Yakkaligas in 
Mysore is 1,286,217, and that of the agricultural Idn- 
gaits in the State 291,857. 

( 287 ) 


In the Dravira country agriculture is practised 
chiefly by the Vellalars, Vadugas, Maravans and Aham- 
ndians. These have been described already, the first 
two as writer castes, and the last two as semi-military 
castes. Besides these there are many other castes whose 
principal occupation is agriculture. Of these the most 
important are the following : — 

1. Kavaaui | ^ The Totiyar or Kambalatters. 

2. KappiUan. 

3. Yunnia or PuUL 

4. Oddar or Waddava. 

5. Upparava. 

6. Pallan. 

7. Padeyatchi. 

8. Nathambadayan. 

9. UraU. 

With regard to the Kavaris, Mr. Sherring gives the 
following account : — 

This is a very extensive tribe with at least eighteen branches, some 
of which are so important and numerous as to deserve to rank aa 
separate tribes. The Kavaris were originally devoted entirely to 
agriculture, in the capacity of landowners, while their lands were 
cultivated by inferior races ; but, althouffh most are stUl engaged 
in their hereditary callings, uniting with it the tilUng of the soil, 
there are several clans which pursue other avoMltions, and are 
sailors, small traders, pedlars and the like. They are properly a 
Telegu people, which language nearly all of them speak, yet some 
having settled in the ' Tamil "countrv, now carry on the busineBS of 
life in the latter tongue. Two brancnee of the Kavari tribe are the 
f oUowing :— 

1. The Bali|^— chiefly petty traders, hawkers, and so forth, 

2. The Tottiyars— Tottiyans or Kambalattars. 

The Tottiyars are said to be spUt up into nine clans, differing 
considerably from one another. They are very industrious and ener- 
getic as cultivators, and in other pursuits many of them occupy 
an important position in the city of Madras. 

( 288 ) 


Several dans of Tottiyan entered the District of Madura as 
colonists four or ilye hundred years agfo, where they have dis- 
tinguished themselTes as acrricnltnrists. especially in reclaiming 
waste lands. They are fond of oock-fightinjp and hunting, ana 
have a character for dissoluteness beyond that of other castes. The 
worship of Vishnu is popular amon^ them, and they have great 
reverence for relics, are very saperstitious. and are peculiarly ad- 
dicted to the practice of magic. The people generally regard them 
with awe, because of their mystical rites, which are said to be 
singularly successful in curing snake-bites. In feature, the Tottiyars 
have a distinctiveness of their own, separating them in a marked 
manner from neiffhboaring tribes. The men wear a bright coloured 
head-dress, and uie women cover themselves with ornaments, neg* 
lecting to cover the upper part of their persons. The marriage 
ceremonies of the Tottiyars are curious. Polyandry in reali^, 
though not professedly, is i>ractised by them. They never oonsiut 
Brahmans, as thev have their own spiritual guides, called Kodan^ 
Nayakkans, who oirect their religious ceremonies, preside at their 
feasts, cast their horoscopes, and enjoy many privueges in return, 
some of which are not of the most reputable character. 

The Kapilians are a respectable class of Canarese 
cultivators. With regard to the Vannias or Pullis, the 
following observations are to be found in the Sladras 
Census Report for 1871 : — 

Before the British occupation of the country, they were slaves to 
the Vellalar and Brahman cultivators ; but a large number of them 
are now cultivators on their own account, or else work the lands of 
the higher castes on a system of sharing half the net produce with 
the proprietors. Others are simply labourers ; and many of them 
by taking advances from their employers, are still practically serfs 
of the soil, and unable to extricate themselves from the bondage 
of the landlord. In all respects, these people have the characteris- 
tics of aboriginal tribes. As a rule, they are a very dark-skinned 
race, but good field labourers, excellent farm servants and cultivators. 
They abound largely in the Tamil Districts of Trichnapoli and 
Tanjore.— TAtf Madras Cemus Report for 1871, Vol. I, p. 157. 

Of the several classes of agricultural labourers in 
the Dravira country, the most important are the Pallans. 
Regarding these the following description is given in 
Nelson's Madura Manual : — 

Theirprincipal occupation is ploughing the lands of more for- 
tunate l&mils. Though nominally free, they are usuaUy slaves in 
almost everv sense of the word, earning by the sweat of their brow 
a bare handful of grain to stay the pangs of hunger, and a rag with 
which to partly cover their nakedness. They are to be found in 
abnost every village, toiling and moiling for the benefit of Vellalars 
and others, and with the Pariahs doing patiently nearly all the hard 
and dirty work that has to be done. Personal contact with them 
is carefully avoided by all respectable men ; and they are never 

B, HO 19 


permitted to dwell within the limits of a village ; but their huts 
lorm a small detached hamlet, removed to a considerable distance 
from the houses of the respectable inhabitants, and barely separated 
from that of the Pariahs. — Nelson's Madura Manual, Part II, p. 68. 

The palm cultivators of the Dravira country are 
the tadi-drawing castes, namely, the Shanars, Illavars, 
Billawars and Tiyans. For an aocount of them see page 
259 et sea. 

The Oddars are an aboriginal race. ■ They serve as 
agricultural labourers and also as navvies. Thev profess 
to be worshippers of Vishnu and bear upon their breasts 
the trident marks of that deity. But they drink spirits 
and eat pork and field rats. They are very industrious, 
and work readily with their wives. Polygamy is largely 
practised by them. Divorces are very frequent in 
their community. The Upparavas are properly culti- 
vators, but are employed in the manufacture of salt and 


§ 1. — Barul, 

The Baruji or Barni grow the aromatic betel leaf 
which Indians of all classes, including both Hindus 
and Mahoniedans, chew in combination with certain 
spices. The leaves are made into little packets, the 
inside being painted with slaked lime mixed with 
catechu, and filled with chips of areca nut, coriander 
seeds, cardamom, mace and cinnamon. When filled 
the open end of the packet is fastened with a clove. 
When chewed in this form the lime and the catechu 
serve to give a red colour to the lips, while the spices 
give fragrance to the mouth. The price of the betel 
leaf varies, according to quality, from half-a-dozen to 
more than a hundred to the pice. The price of ready- 
made packets is usually five to the pice. Every 
native of India who can afford to do so will chew at 
least half-a-dozen pan packets every day, while some 
are so fond of this little luxury that they cannot do 
without at least one hundred in a day. The largest 
number are chewed after meals and at bed-time. In 
ceremonial assemblies held by the Indian princes and 
high functionaries, pan and attar are given to the 
guests at the end of such meetings. When a relative 
or familiar friend pays a visit to the house of a Hindu 
or Mahomedan, the pan salver and the smoking pipe 
are indispensable for showing due courtesy. When the 
visit is of a very formal nature^ or when the host is a 

( 291 ) 


Mahomedan and the guest a Hindu, then spices are 
offered instead of pan. 

In some parts ot India, as^ for instance, Upper Assam 
and the southern parts of the Madras Fresidenoy, the 
betel leaf grows in the open air as a creeper to the areca 
nut palm, or to bamboo posts set up in their midst In 
these parts of the country, there is no such caste as 
Baruji ; but throughout the greater part of India, the 
pan creeper requires very considerable care, and the 
pan-growers, who have to devote their whole time to 
their gardens called Baroja, have become a separate 
caste with the designation of Baruji. The exterior 
of pan gardens may be seen very often by the Indian 
Railway traveller, when, through the window of his 
carriage, he takes a view of the aspect of the country 
through which he may be passing. The outeide is not 
very attractive, but the scenery inside is very pic- 
turesque, and well worth the trouble of visiting. 

The Baruis are a clean caste, and the ordinary 
Sudra Yajaka Brahmans minister to them as priests. 
Their total population is, according to the last Census, 
as stated below : — 

Bengal ... ... ... 249,841 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 153,450 

Central Provinces ... ... ... 24,614 

Assam ... ... ... 22,797 

The Baruis are, generally speaking, quite illiterate 
and the few among them who have lately attained some 
degree of culture are trying their best to pass as 

§ i.—The TambuUs. 

The Tambulis derive their name from the Sanskrit 
word Tambul, which means betel leaf. The proper 
profession of the caste is the sale of the betel leaf, 
and in some parts of the country the Tambulis still 
practise their nereditary avocation. But the Tambulis 
of Bengal are a well-to-do class, and, like the 
Telis, have long since given up their ancestnd business* 


They now carry on either wholesale or retail trade 
in food-grains and oil-seeds, and at present they 
neither know, nor would admit, that their caste status 
is the same as that of the Barui. As both Telis and 
Tambulis generally carry on the same kind of business, 
the popular idea in Bengal is that the two are sub-divi- 
sions of the same caste, if not quite identical. In fact 
there are reasons for supposing that some Tambuli fami- 
lies have got themselves admitted into the Teli caste, 
and have given up their connection with their own 
caste. For instance, it is well known that the founder 
of the Pal Chowdry family of Ranaghat was one Krishna 
Fanti, who had been originally a pan-seller^ but subse- 
quently became a big merchant, and still later a big 
zemindar, by purchasing, at the time of confusion which 
followed what is called the Fermanent Settlement of 
Bengal by Comwallis, the extensive estates belonging 
to the Nadiya Raj. Krishna Fanti was not only a pan- 
seller originally, but his surname also indicates that he 
was of the pan-selling caste. The family, however, 
profess to be Telis, and have, since becoming land- 
nolders, created and assumed the aristocratic Teli sur- 
name of Fal Chowdry. 

The last Census gives the following figures regarding 
the Tambuli population of India : — 

Bengal ... ... ... 105,416 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 74,134 

CentEftl India ... ... ... 24,398 

The Tambulis of Behar, N.-W. Frovinces and Central 
India are generally quite illiterate. In Bengal, their 
more aristocratic castemen stand on almost the same 
footing with the Telis in point of culture and refine- 
ment. The usual surnames of the Tambulis of Bengal 
are Fal, Fanti, Chail and Rakshit, and those of the 
Behar Tambulis are Khiliwala and FantL 



Thb total population of the several castes whose 
primary occupation is cattle breeding is very large, 
amounting to nearly twenty millions in all. About 
three-fourths of the number are cowherds. They are 
variously called Goala, Goli, GoUa, &c., which desig- 
nations are all colloquial forms of the Sanskrit word 
Gopala (lit. keeper of cows). 

The majority of the cowherd castes live on the 
income of the dairy produce of the flocks they keep, 
supplemented by that of agriculture which they also 
practise to a very considerable extent. With the ex- 
ception of the Ahirs, almost all the other cowherd 
castes are more or less notorious for their thieving 
propensities. Although the Gopas or cowherds are 
included among the upper nine of the Sudra castes, 
yet, with the exception of the Ahirs, they are regarded 
as somewhat unclean. They have special priests, and a 
good Brahman cannot minister to any of them without 
being degraded for ever. Their low status in the caste 
system is due partly to their being suspected as criminal 
tribes, and partly also to the ftict that they are in the 
habit of castrating their bull-calves, and branding 
their cattle with red-hot iron. In the modern towns 

( 294 ) 


of British India, some Goalas are suspected to be in 
the habit of secretlv selling their bull-calves and old 
oows to butchers ; but in me interior no Goala can do 
so knowingly without running the risk of severe perse- 
cution by the caste. 

Generally speaking the Goalas are a poor and illiter- 
ate class. They celebrate their marriages and shradhs 
in accordance with the Brahmanical shastras ; but they 
are not a priest ridden class, and they do not devote 
much of their time or money to any religious rite or 
ceremony beyond those mentioned above. In some 
parts of the country, the Goalas wear a necklace of 
beads like the other Nava Shayakas. But it is very 
unusual for a man or woman of the cowherd caste to be 
initiated in the mantra of any sect, and that being the 
case they neither say any prayers nor count beads. 


Thb Abhirs are the most nnmerons and the cleanest 
of the several castes of cowherds. Their total number 
exceeds eight millions, and they are to be found in 
almost every part of India to the north of the river 
Narmada. From the extent of country over which 
they are spread, and from the references to them in 
the most ancient Sanskrit works, it seems very probable 
that they had been settled in the country long before 
the Branmans and the Ksatriyas found their way into 
it. There is abundant evidence also as to the ancient 
Abhiras having been capable of wielding the sword 
as well as the crook. Krishna, the great hero and 
statesman of ancient India, who is now worshipped by 
the majority of the Hindus as their chief god, was, 
if not actually an Abhira himself, at least bred up from 
his infancy in the house of an Abhira cowherd. The 
Narayni army which he organised, and which made 
him so powerful that his friendship was eagerly sought 
by the greatest kings of his time, is described in the 
Mdhabhdrat as being all of the Abhira caste. The 
story of the Sanskrit drama ^^ Mrichakatika" may be 
taken to warrant the conclusion that for a man of the 
cowherd caste to be a king, was not an uncommon 
event in ancient India. Further, it is established by 
authentic history, that a dynasty of Ahir kings ruled 
over Nepal at the beginning of the Christian era. 
But whatever the political importance or the military 
prowess of the Abhiras may have been in ancient times, 

( 296 ) 


they are now simple cattle breeders and tillers of the 
soil. There are a few landholders among them, but 
the majority of them are very poor and illiterate. 
The three main divisions among the Ahirs are the 
following :— 

1« Nand Bans— found chiefly in the Oentral Doab. 

2. Tadu Bans—found chiefly in the Upper Doab and to 

the west of the river Yamuna. 

3. Gwal Bans— found chiefly in the Lower Doab and in 

the districts adjoining Benares. 

The practice of marrying the widows of an elder 
brother prevails among some of the Ahir tribes in the 
Upper Doab, as among the Jats and Gujars of the loca- 
Uiy. In the neighbourhood of Delhi, the Ahirs eat, 
drink and smoke with the Jats and the Gujars. The 
Rajputs generally repudiate all connection with the Ahirs, 
though it seems very probable that the Yadu Bansi 
Ksatriyas were originally Ahirs. 

The Ahars, who are found chiefly in Rohilkhand, 
seem to be a sub-class of the Ahirs, though they 
disclaim such connection. 


The Gujars are a pastoral tribe of Western India, 
the majority of whom have in recent times espoused 
the Manomedan faith. With the Jats they form the 
backbone of the rural population of the Panjab, though 
inferior to them in civilization, industry, and agricul- 
tural skill. The Gujars possessed at one time great 
importance, as appears from the fact that they gave 
their name to the peninsula of Gujrat, and also to 
the district of the same name in the Panjab. As the 
Gujars are at present, they are believed to be one of 
the criminal classes, there being among them many 
who are said to be cattle-lifters and gang robbers. 
The name of the tribe seems to be derived from the 
compound Gouchor which might mean a "grazier of 
cows." In Scinde the Gujars keep cows, while the 
Go wars sell milk and its preparations. The Gujar 
population of India exceeds two millions, and is distri- 
buted as follows : — 


N.-W. Provinces ... 

... 711,800 

... 345.978 


... 673.003 
... 248.789 

Central India 

... 204,511 

The Gujars are an illiterate caste. There are very 
few big men among them. It is quite possible that 
among the minor chiefs and landholders there are a 
few who were originally Gujars. But as these now 
claim to be Ksatriyas, it is very rare to find any 

( 298 ) 


one even among the barons who will admit his being 
of the Gujar caste. The higher classes of Brahmans 
do not minister to the Gujars as priests. They 
have a special class of ecclesiastic scalled Gujar Gour 

It is a noticeable fact that the religion of Guru Nanak, 
which was eagerly embraced by tne Jats and Koras, 
and gave them a new political life, failed to make any 
impression on the Gujars. They seem to be quite as 
indifferent to all forms of religion as the other cowherd 
castes. A great many of them have, no doubt, espoused 
the Mahomedan faith, but that must be due to com- 
pulsion. In the last Census Report the Gujars are 
included among the military and agricultural castes ; 
but their proper place seems to be among the pastoral 



§ 1. — The Goalas of Bengal* 

The common name of the several cowherd castes is 
Goala. Even the Ahirs and the Gujars are spoken of 

Senerally as only sub-divisions of the Goala caste. It is, 
owever, not 'to be supposed that the Goalas of the 
different provinces are completely identical in caste. 
Even in the same province there are generally as 
many different sections among them as among the 
higher castes. The Goala population of Bengal is very 
large. According to the last Census their number 
exceeds four millions. 

The Goalas form the principal Hindu element in 
the agricultural population of Bengal proper. The 
majority of the cultivators in the eastern and central 
districts of Bengal are Mahomedans. Of the Hindu 
ryots by far the largest number are Goalas among 
whom may be included the Sadgopas. The only 
other Hindu castes that usually earn their living by 
agriculture are the Kaibartas, Aguris, Kapalis and the 
Faliyas. The Goalas are generally illiterate and poor. 
There are, however, some among them who hold posses- 
sion of valuable tenures, and there are a few zemindars 
also among them. Instances are known also of Goalas 
having attained University distinctions, and holding 
such high offices as are now usually allowed to be filled 
by the natives of this country. 

( 300 ) 




The usual surnames of the Goalas of Bengal are the 
following : — 

1. Oh08h« I 3. Bank. 

2. Pal. I 4. Babai. 

5. Dhali. 

The Goalas of Bengal are divided into the following 
classes : — 

1. Pallava— found chiefly in Caloatta and its yicinity. 

2. Bagri or Uiaini— these are believed to castrate bull- 

calves, and are therefore treated as somewhat unclean. 

3. Bftrendra Goalas— the Goalas of North Bengal. 

4. B&rhi Goalas— the Goalas of Burdwan. 

5. Maghai— Goalas of Maghadha or Behar. These are said 

to extract butter from unboiled milk, and are there- 
fore regarded as somewhat unclean. 

6. Godos— found chiefly in the Nadiya District. 

7. Sadgopa— found chiefly in the Burdwan DiviBion. 

An account of the Sadgopa tribe has been given 
already in connection with the agricultural castes of 
Bengsd. Of the other sections of the Bengal Goalas only 
the Godos require special notice. 

The Godos of Bengal. 

The name of this class seems to be derived from the 
Gada^ which means a fort. From their very name, 
and from what other facts are known relating to them, 
it seems probable that formerlv they served in the armies 
of the Hindu and Mahomedan kings of the country. 
Their services are still utilised by Uie landholders of 
Bengal for those little boundary warfares which usually 
involve them in the most ruinous litigations, civil and 
criminal. The Godos of the tract of country to the 
east of the famous field of Flassy are a criminal tribe 
of the worst tvpe. They are hereditary gang robbers, 
assassins and free lances. After more than a century 
of British rule, highway robberies are still so frequent 
in the locality, that no one can, even now, safely travel 
alone through the pergunnah inhabited by them* Some 
of the Godos practise agriculture ; but, like the Irish 
peasants, they never pay any ^^ rint " to their landlords. 


and have brought about the ruin of many capitalists 
who had invested their money in taking perpetual 
leases of the pergunnah from its zemindar. 

Like the other criminal tribes, some of the Godos 
give regular training to their children in the arts of 
thieving and gang robbery. On occasions of festivity 
in the houses of the local nobility, they sometimes 
exhibit their skill in their art, and amuse and astonish 
the spectators by their feats. Reclining on a bamboo 
stick, about six feet long, one would get to the top of a 
house, while another with a similar weapon would ward 
oflF any number of brickbats that might be hurled 
against him. The importance of such gymnastic skill 
to a burglar must be obvious. 

§ 2. — Tlie Goalas of Behar. 

Like the Goalas of Bengal, those of Behar also are 
divided into a large number of sub-tribes. They all 
appear to be looked upon as good Sudras, and the 
ordinary Sudra Yajaka priests of Behar minister to them 
as priests. As in other parts of India, the Goalas of 
Behar are, generally speaking, an illiterate class. There 
is, however, among them a section who usually acquire 
a sufficient knowledge of the three R.'s to be qualified 
for book-keeping in the vernacular. The Separis, 
as they are called, are employed by the landholders as 
Putwaris or village accountants. They are looked upon 
as an inferior class by the other Goala sub-castes. The 
Goalas of Behar allow their widows to re-marry. 

The usual family names of the Behar Goalas are the 
following : — 

1. Bhandari. | 3. Mahato. 

2. Bhagata. | 4. Majhi. 

§ 3. — Tlie Goalas of Orissa. 

Among the Goalas of Orissa there are three main divi- 
sions, namely, the Krishnaut, the Mathura Bansi and the 
Gaura Bansi. They are all generally very poor. The 


Oriya litter-carriers of Calcutta are mostly of the Goala 
caste. A very large number of them are employed by 
the European residents of Calcutta as orderlies, punka- 
pullers, furniture cleaners and gardeners. Being Hindus 
they cannot serve as cooks or table-servants. But, apart 
from their caste prejudices, they are very serviceable 
and obedient, and they are sometimes employed as 

?ersonal servants by the Hindu residents of Calcutta, 
he only reason why they are not more largely 
employed by the Hindu aristocracy of Bengal is the 
fact that they would never eat any food cooked by a 
Bengali, and in the household of a Hindu of moderate 
means, it is considered very inconvenient to have a servant 
who would cook his own food, instead of eating the 
preparations of the family cook. The Oriya domestics 
are generally very trustworthy like the Kahars of 
Northern India. The master's goods, however valua- 
able, are always safe in their custody. It is only when 
deputed to make any purchases that an Oriya servant 
is tempted to act dishonestly, and to appropriate a part 
of the money by giving a false account. Like the 
Goalas of Behar those of Orissa allow the re-marriage 
of their widows. 



In the Telegu country the cowherds are called Gol- 
lalu, in Mysore Golla, and in the Tamil country ' 
Mattu Edia. Among the Gollalus there are many 
sub-divisions, one of which is called Yathavas. The 
Yadava clan of Ksatriyas in Northern India is probably 
an offshoot of these pastoral Yathavas. Among tne Mattu 
Edias there are two classes, one of which profess the 
Vaishnava faith, and the others are Sivites. There can 
be no marriage alliance between these two sub-divisions 
of the Mattu Edias, and practically they are separate 
castes. The Gollas of Mysore are divided into two 
sub-orders called Urn Golla and Ejidu Golla, who 
neither eat together nor intermarry. They are mostly 
Krishna worshippers. There are some very odd customs 
among the Kadu Gollas of Mysore. ''It is said that on 
the occurrence of a childbirth, the mother with the babe 
remains unattended in a small shed outside the village 
from 7 to 30 days when she is taken back to her home. 
In the event of her illness, none of the caste will at- 
tend on her, but a Nayak (Beda) woman is engaged to 
do so. Marriages among them are likewise performed 
in a temporary shed erected outside the village, and the 
attendant festivities continue for five days when the 
married couple are brought into the village. Their 
females do not, on the death of the husband, remove or 
break the bangles worn at the wrists." * 

* Myiore Ctntu* Stport, p. 248. 
( 304 ) 


The following table gives the names of the several 
shepherd castes of India, together with the figures 
relating to their numerical strength : — 

Gadaria, 1,294,830 (found in Northern India). 

Dangar, 1,305,583 (found chiefly in the vicinity of the 

Marattha country). 
Attu Ediyar, 665,232 (found chiefly in Southern India). 

The shepherds have a lower caste status than the cow- 
herds* The family of the Maharaja Holkar are said by 
some to be of the Dangar caste ; but they take the 
sacred thread, and the Brahmans accept their gifts 
without any hesitation. 

There are many Gadarias in and near some of the 
old towns of Bengal such as Nadiya and Dacca. These 
do not practise their caste profession, but live chiefly 
by working as bricklayers. Their females make the 
preparation of rice called chira described in page 246. 
The shepherd castes are regarded as somewhat unclean 

B,HO ( 805 ) 20 




Though the text referred to at p. 224, ante^ inclndes 
the barbers among the upper nine classes of Sudras, 
yet as they pare the nails of all the classes, the higher 
castes do not, in many parts of the country, take even 
drinking water from their hands. In Bengal, Behar 
and Orissa the napit is regarded as a clean caste. In 
the Telnga country, the corresponding caste of Mangli 
is regarded as clean also. In almost all the other pro- 
vinces, the barber is regarded as unclean. In Orissa the 
barber caste is called Bhandari ; in the Tamil country 
the name of the caste is Ambatta ; in Mysore the desig- 
nation of the class is Nayinda ; in Telingana the 
caste name of barbers is Mangali ; and in Northern 
India their most common names are Nai, Nain and 
Hajam. In the Panjab there are two classes of barbers. 
The ordinary barbers are regarded as an unclean caste. 
But there is a class who do only such work as is 
required of the napit on occasions of marriage. These 
take the sacred thread, and are regarded as a clean caste, 
from whose hands a Brahman wiU not only take drink- 
ing water, but even pakld food. 

( 306 ) 


As a Hinda cannot celebrate any religions ceremony 
without first shaving, the barber is an important func- 
tionary of Hindu societjr. Every Hindu Ls his family 
napity as he has his family Gum, priest and washerman. 
T^fi najjit shaves him and all the male members of his 
family ; while the najnt^s wife or mother pares the nails 
of the ladies, and paints their feet with lac-dye. 
Besides his regular pay, the napit has claims to varions 
kinds of perquisites on every birth, death, marriage and 
puja in the families of his constituents. When a birth 
takes place the family barber acts as the errand boy to 
convey the happy news to all the relatives of the babe ; 
and on such occasions the kith and kin are expected to 
present to the barber a shawl, or a piece of silk cloth, or 
a brass vessel of some kind, together with some money, 
according to their means. As a Hindu lady upon her 
first pregnancy is usually taken to her father's house, 
the parents of her husband have to pay heavy fees to 
the family barber of her father, if a male child is born. 

In Behar the napit acts also as an assistant on the 
staff of match-making embassies, and makes a handsome 
extra income by that kind of business. In the remote 
villages, the Hindu napitSy like the European barbers of 
the seventeenth century, practise also surgery and open 
boils and abscesses. Some napits serve as domestic 
servants in the houses of the higher castes ; but a 
Hindu of the barber caste will never till the soil with 
his own hands. The napits are reputed as very 
acute people, but as a class they are quite illiterate, 
and there are very few rich men among them. No 
napit has yet attained any University distinctions, nor 
has any member of the class been able to attain a high 
position in the service of Government by dint of 

The usual surname of the napit in Bengal is Para- 
manik. A member of the caste is at present in the 
Subordinate Executive Service of Bengal ; but with a 
few solitary exceptions the napits are quite illiterate. 


The Washermen are called Dhopa in Bengal, Dhobi 
in Northern India, Warthi and Pont in the Central 
Provinces, Yaanan and Agasia in Southern India and 
Chakli in the Telugn country. On account of the 
unclean nature of their occupation, they are regarded 
as an unclean caste in almost every part of India ex- 
cepting the Telugu country where the Chakli are held 
eligible for being employed as domestic servants. 
They are, generally speaking, quite illiterate. But a 
few of them have recently managed to get themselves 
appointed to some very high offices in the service of 

Like the napity the Dhobi has not only a regular 
salary, but has claims to various perquisites on occa- 
sions of birth, death and marriage in Hindu families. 
The Dhobi's personal expenses are not'very considerable. 
He expects and gets a dish of rice at least once every 
month from each of his constituents, and for purposes 
of clothing, he freely uses the clothes given to him for 
washing. The sight of a Dhobi's face is, like that of 
an oilman, considered as a bad omen at the commence- 
ment of a journey, and is avoided. 

( 308 ) 


§ 1. — Bengal, 

The Dakshin Radhi Kayasthas of Bengal claim, as a 
matter of honor, to have tne right of serving as menials 
to Brahmans. As a matter of faot, the Kayasthas are 
very well-to-do people, and have too much pride to 
stoop to domestic service. Even the slave Kayasthas 
of Eastern Bengal are now trying to give up such 
service, and to be on the same level with the other 
Kayasthas. In Bengal the nine clean Sudra castes 
mentioned in page 224, ante^ are generally considered 
by the aristocratic Hindus as most eligible for domestic 
service. The Kansaris and the Sankharis who, proper- 
ly speaking, belong to the mercantile caste, are neld 
eligible also for similar employment. The Sadgopas, 
being included among the clean Gopas, are regarded as 
clean Sudras, and are held to be entitled to the same 
honor. The Shekra, Sutar, and Kaibarta are regarded 
as clean castes in some places, and unclean in others. 
The Teli and the Goala, though included among 
the Nava Sayakas, are not in practice regarded as 
clean everywhere. However, generally speaking, the 
Navasayakas with the Kansari, Sankhari, Sadgopa, 
Shekra, Sutar and Kaibarta may be, and are usually, 
employed as domestic servants in all Hindu families m 

( 309 ) 

810 DOHBsno SBBVAirrs. 

§ 2. — iV.- W. Provinces and Behar, 

Kahar. — This caste derives its name from the 
Sanskrit word Skandhakara^ which means one who 
carries things on his shoulders. The primary occupa- 
tion of this caste is carrying litters. But there are 
several sub-castes among them, and while some of 
these practise their proper profession, the others are 
either boatmen, fishermen, grain parchers, basket-makers, 
or weavers. The most important sub-castes of the 
Eahars are the Bawani and the Turah. The Rawanis 
are to be found in large numbers in every town 
of Northern India. They serve as litter carriers, 
punka-pullers, scullions, water-carriers and personal 
attendants. In every well-to-do family there is at least 
one Bawani to serve as the " maid of all work." The 
Turahs, who are boatmen and fishermen, are to be found 
chiefly in Behar and N.-W. Provinces. They have 
some colonies in Bengal, in the ancient towns of Dacca 
and Nadiya, and in the market town of Shah Ganj near 
Hooghly, founded by Azim Oshan, the grandson of 
Aurangzebe, who was for some years the Grovernor of 
Bengal. The Turahs of Bengal have, however, formed 
themselves into a separate caste, and the fact that they 
are a branch of the Kahar caste is not even known to 
them. Of the Rawanis very few are domiciled in 
Bengal. Those found in this part of the country are 
chiefly natives of Gaya, who come every year in the 
beginning of the winter season, and go oaok to their 
native home in June or July, or when they deem it 

No class of Kahars can be said to have the right of 
being regarded as clean Sudras. The fishing classes 
are certainly unclean, and they are treated as such. 
Although the Rawanis do not catch fish, yet even they 
ought not to stand in a better position. A great many 
of them are in the habit of drinking spirits, and eating 
field rats and even pork. But it is difficult to get more 


trnstworthj and obedient servants, and the necessity of 
Hindu families has made them a clean caste. No good 
Brahman, however, officiates as a priest for the perform- 
ance of a religious ceremony in which a Kahar is con- 
cerned. The Kahar's priest is treated as a degraded 
Brahman, and his Guru or spiritual guide is usually an 
ascetic. Most of the Bawanis are worshippers of Siva 
and Kali, and there are very few Vishnuvites among 
them. They have great reverence for the shrine oi 
Kali near Calcutta. Those of them who come to Calcutta 
never fail to give a puja there, and evep in the districts 
remote from Calcutta, their usual cry, when they 
take a litter on their shoulders or drop it, is, Jai Kali 
CahuttawalL* The Kahar population of India is as 
stated below : — 

N.-W. Provinces ... ... ... 1,208,530 

Bengal ... ... ... ... 621,176 

Dhanuk.— The Dhanuks are a clean Sudra caste 
found chiefly in Behar. In all probability they were 
originally slaves. The superior castes will take a drink 
of water from their hands, and the Maithila Brahmans 
minister to them as priests. They are usually employed 
as domestic servants. 

Amat.— The Amats are a clean caste. They are 
divided into two sections, one of which is called Ghar- 
bait, and the other Biahut. The Gharbaits live by 
practising agriculture, while the Biahuts usually serve as 

• The name of Calontta is supposed by many to be derived from 
the shrine of Kftli. But there can be very little doubt as to its 
havin^r a very different derivation. The word Kol, which literally 
means ' lap/ is usually used to denote the open ends of the alluvial 
formations which are formed on the sides of the rivers of Bemiial 
by the deflection of their currents. The Kols, so long as they exist, 
are used as natural harbours. But the peninsulas surrounding them 
are, after some years, cut through by changes in the course of the 
river. The place is then called Kata Kol or Kolkata, literally "a 
lap cut open." There are many riparian villages in Bengal which 
are called Katakol. The name of Calcutta is clearly formed by 
the union of the same component words in a different way. 



domestic servants. The two sections do not intermarry. 
The Maithila Brahmans minister to both as priests. 

§ 3. — The Servant Castes of the Panjab. 

The castes that in the Panjab are usually employed 
by the Hindu aristocracy as domestic servants are the 
following : — 

1. Jbiwar. 

2. Kirat. 
3« Jat. 

4. Kambo. 

5. Rora. 

6. Salariya. 

The proper profession of the Jhiwar is the catching 
of fish ; but in the Panjab they are not on that 
account regarded as unclean, and, in fact, are generally 
the only men in their country who serve as water- 
carriers. The Hindu Kambos claim to have come from 
Afghanistan. The Mahomedan Kambos call themselves 
the descendants of the old Kai sovereigns of Persia. 

§ 4. — The Servant Castes of the Telugu cmirdry. 

The castes held eligible in the Telugu country for 
employment as domestic servants are the foUowinff : — 


1. Mangli ... Barber. 

2. Chakli ... Washerman. 

3. Idiya ... Brewer. 

4. GoUa ... Cowherd. 

§ 5. — The Servant Castes of Maharashtra and Central 


The castes usually employed by the higher classes of 
the Hindus in the Maharatta country and in the Central 
Provinces are the inferior Maharattas and the Kunbis. 
In the Central Provinces the aboriginal Gonds, though 
they eat beef and are regarded as unclean, are yet em- 
ployed as domestic servants for such kinds of work as 
do not require the touching of drinking water. 


The domestics who do menial work in Anglo-Indian 
households are recruited from low class Mahomedans 
and the very lowest class Hindus. An up-country 
Brahman or Ksatriya may be found to do the work of 
a gate-keeper or orderly in the house of an Englishman, 
but will never do any work that must compel him to 
touch his master's plates, dining table, clothes or shoes. 
If a high caste and orthodox Hindu accidentally touch 
any of these things, he will neither enter his cook-room 
nor eat any food without washing away the contamina- 
tion by bathing. The plates containing cooked meat 
are an absolute abomination to a good Hindu, and the 
very sight is shocking to him. According to orthodox 
Hindu notions, the dining table itself remains unfit to 
be touched even when the plates are taken off. But 
in this respect the prejudices of all classes of Hindus 
are fast wearing off, and not only Hindu officials but 
independent Hindu gentlemen may in these days often 
be found sitting by the side of an Englishman's dining 
table, and afterwards drinking water or chewing pan 
without bathing or change of dress. Such being the 
case, the high caste Hindu peons and orderlies have not 
at present the same amount of objection to touch their 
master's furniture that they had formerly. But even 
at the present they will not, either for love or money, 
touch their master's shoes or clothes, or have anything to 
do with the arrangement of his furniture and bedding. 

( 313 ) 


In Hindn honseholds, a poor Brahman may do the 
work of a cook ; but under no circumstances will a 
Brahman or a Rajput do such menial service as is fit 
only for Sudras and low castes. Almost the only 
kind of work which a high caste Hindu will do in an 
English household is that of a letter carrier or door 
attendant for announcing the presence of visitors. 

With regard to the caste of the other classes of 
domestics in Anglo-Indian households, it may be ob- 
served, generally, that the Mahomedans have the mono- 
Eoly of such as appertain to the stable. Even in Hindu 
ouseholds, the coachmen and the footmen are always 
followers of Islam. The cooks, scullions and butlers 
are either Mahomedans (or Aracanese) or Madrasis of 
the low castes called Paria and Tiyan. The punka- 
pullers are either Goalas of Orissa or Kahars of Behar. 
Oriyas and Kahars are employed also as faraahes for 
wiping off the dust from the furniture, and for cleansing 
and lighting the lamps. The washerman is the Hindu 
Dhobi, Vannan or Agasia ; while the scavengers and the 
nightsoil men are all usually of such aboriginal tribes 
as are called Hari, Methar, Churha, &c. 

In Calcutta the Oriya is the maid of all work in 
European households in every department except the 
kitchen and the stable ; but it is said that the Madrasi 
Paria and Tiyan are still more pliant and useful than 
the cowherds of the land of Jaganath. 



§ 1. — The Fishermen and Boatmen of Bengal, 

Thb same oastes are usually both fishermen and 
boatmen. They have all a very low caste status. In 
Bengal the following castes earn their living chiefly 
by plying boats for the conveyance of goods and pas- 
sengers, and by catching and selling fish : — 

1. Malo both boatmen and fishermen. 

2. Tnraha „ „ „ 

3. Ghandral „ ,, ,, 

4. JeUa Kaibart „ „ „ 
6. Tiyap „ „ „ 

The Nikaris of Bengal, who are fishermen, are all 

§ 2. — The Fishermen and Boatmen of Northern India, 

The most important classes of boatmen in Northern 
India are Dhiwars of the United Provinces, and the 
Jhiwars of Panjab and Scinde. These names are derived 
from the Sanskrit word Dhivar^ signifying a fisherman. 
The boatmen of Northern India are called Mallah. 
They are closely connected with the caste called Kahar. 
The Mallahs of Cawnpore are called Kadhar. The 

( 315 ) 


Mallahs are divided into many sections of which the 
following are the best known : — 

1* Gkiure. 

2. Banar. 

3. Tirhatia. 

4. Kanojia. 

5. Saronya. 

6. Mariyari. 

7. Kewat, 

The Jhiwars who are fonnd in Fanjab and Scinde are 
considered there as a clean caste. They are not only 
fishermen, bat serve also as water-carriers to high caste 
Hindu families. The boatmen of the Fanjab are mostly 

§ 3. — The Fishermen of GujraL 
The fishermen of Gnjrat are called Machi. 

§ 4, — The Fishermen of the Malabar Coast. 

The following are the fishermen castes of* the Mala- 
bar Coast : — 

1. Vellamar, live by freah water fisbin^i:. 

2. Marakan, enjoy the monopoly of the sea-fisheries. 

3. Shembadan, fishermen of Malabar. 

§ 5. — The Fishermen^ Boatman and Litter-carriers of 


The caste that generally work as fishermen, boatmen 
and litter-carriers in Mysore are there called Besta. 
With reference to these, the following account is given 
in the last Census Report of Mysore : — 

These (the BegMj are fishermen, boatmen and palanquin-bearers. 
Their number is 99,897, or a little short of one hundred thousand 
persons, absorbing a little over two per cent, of the total and are 
more than 5 per cent, of the class. These are known by different 
names accoraing to localities. In the Bastern districts, they are 
called Besta (fishermen); in the Southern Torayat Ambica and Gange 
Makkalu. The Telugu-speaking population call them Parivora 
(boatmen) ; while in the Western parts their names are Kalyara 
and Bhait. There are a few other sab-divisions returned, with 
insignificant numbers, under the names of Belli, Ohammadi, Raya- 
ravuta and Surmakalu. These are acknowledged to be of a lower 
rank. Their chief occupations are fishing, palanquin-bearing and 
lime-burning. Some of them are employed by Government as 
peons, &c., whilst a large number is engaged in agricultural pursuits. 


Among the Goalas who are cowherds by caste, and 
are to be found in ahnost every part of India, there 
are many bad characters, but the class as a whole cannot 
be called a criminal tribe. The Gujars,. who are to be 
fonnd chiefly in Rajputana and Scinde, and who are 
also cowherds by caste, are believed to be addicted to 
thieving. Besides these there are particular castes and 
tribes in every province of India who are believed to 
be professional thieves and gang robbers. In Bengal 
the following castes furnish by far the largest number 
of criminals : — 

1. Bagdi ... An aboriginal caste, generally employed as 

navvies and wood-catters. 

2. Baori ... An aboriginal caste, found in large number 

in West Burdwan. 

3. Kaora \ Found chiefly in the tracts to the South 

4. Pod J and South-East of Calcutta. 

5. Dome \ Aboriginal tribes whose ostensible occupa* 
Nolo j tion is basket and mat-mskking. 

6. Hari ... Sweepers. 

7. Bedia ... Herbalists and snake-catchers. 

The criminal tribes of Behar are the following : — 

1. Dome. I 2. Bind. 

The following are the criminal tribes of the Upper 
Gangetic Doab : — 

1. Gujar. 

2. Jat. 

3. Sansi. 

4. filarasL 

5. Mehter. 

6. Meo (mostly Mahomedans now, though observing Hindu 

festivals and rites). 

7. Bahelya. 

8. Haibora. 

( 317 ) 


The andermentioned are the criminal tribes of Eaj- 
putana : — 

1. Thori. 

2. Obura. 

3. SaDsi. 

4. Bauria. 

5. Ma^haya. 

6. Mewa. 

7. Orassia. 

8. Bheel. 

The following are the criminal tribes of the Madras 
Presidency : — 

1. KaUau (found in the Dravira). 

2. Koravar (Do. do.) 

3. Grorakalas (found in Telin^^na). 

4. Chaphon (found chiofly in the valley of the Krishna river). 

The following are the criminal tribes of the Bombay 
Presidency : — 

1. Kamusi (found chiefly in Maharashtra). 

2. Katha Kavi (found in Northern Konkan). 

3. Katori (found in Northern Konkan). 

4. Banjari. 

5. Lambanis. 

6. Waddar. 

7. Bedar (found in the Southern Maharatta country). 

8. Pardhi (found in Khandesh and Berar). 

9. Bheels (found in Khandesh). 

10. Borapti (found in the Maharatta country). 

11. Pindari (found everywhere in the Deccan. Not a 

separate caste, but originally an association of 
vagabonds and robbers). 







To give an intelligible account of the Hindu sects 
and to fix their precise place relatively to other reli- 
gious systems, it seems to me absolutely necessary, at 
tne outset, to say something about the essential nature 
of religions generally, and the usual course of their 
development. It is only by the light of such a dis- 
quisition that the study of the origin and growth of 
toe several religious sects to be found in this country 
can be made interesting and profitable. In what I am 
going to say the reader will, I fear, find a great deal 
tnat is not in accordance with the prevailing ideas on the 
subject ; and, in order that there may be no mistake in 
weighing and appraising the opinions I express, I must 
at tne very threshold explain the method on which I 
propose to proceed. 

In theology, as in astronomy, physiology, geology 
and many other sciences, we cannot, by mere observa- 
tion, carry our investigations to the required point. As 

( 319 ) 


320 mm>v sbots. 

the fanctions of the internal organs of the hnman body 
or the manner in which the rocks have been formed 
cannot be known by direct observation, so it is impos- 
sible, by the same means, to give a satisfactory answer 
to many of the vexed questions of theology. We can- 
not depate anyone to any place beyond this earth to 
ascertain whether our so-called prophets were in fact 
what they professed to be, or wnether they were not 
mere men like ourselves though possessed of greater 
shrewdness. The only way open in such cases to arrive 
at the truth is to start with a hypothesis which is based 
on probability. If the hypothesis which is adopted 
suffice to explain all the known facts connected with 
the subject, no scientific mind can hesitate to accept it. 
At any rate when an hypothesis fails to explain the 
phenomena which it is meant to account for, it must be 
rejected at once. 

The belief of every orthodox person that his own 
religion was brought direct from heaven by an incar- 
nation of God Almighty, or by a trusted agent specially 
deputed by the IJIost High, has primd facie the same 
element of improbability as the Ptolemaic theory of 
astronomy. It is perhaps much more reasonable to 
suppose that the sun and the planets revolve round 
our poor earth, than to believe that although this 
little orb of ours, is as a speck compared with the 
entirety of the universe, yet it is the place where 
God Almighty delights to make long sojourns in human 

To a man whose common sense has not been per- 
verted by early training, and who knows the ways of 
the world, the assertion' that any particular religion 
has had its origin in a special message of Divine 
favour to any race or nation, might appear to be 
open to question. When a stock-broker or com- 
pany promoter issues a rose-coloured prospectus re- 
garding the present condition or probable future of a 
commercial conoern, no man who understands business 


thinks of buyiDg its shares without satisfying himself 
by proper in qniriesthat the persons recommending it 
to tne public are competent to form a correct forecast, 
and are not interested in misrepresenting the facts. 
When a quack advertises a medicine as having the 
power to cure every kind of malady that the human 
system is heir to, he is always looked upon with suspi- 
cion, though he may dupe many poor sufferers who, in 
their hopelessness, may be disposed to rely upon him. 
The alchemists and Sanyasis, who claim to have the 
power of converting the baser metals into gold, very 
seldom find in these days anyone foolish enough to be 
taken in by them. When a cute loafer appears in a 
native court, and pretends to be a near relative or 
secret agent of the Viceroy, he is seldom trusted even 
by the weakest of our Princes. If then it is a wise 
policy in other departments of life to look with suspicion 
upon the men wno promise too much and pro&ss to 
possess extraordinary powers, it must be difficult to see 
any reason why we should make an exception in favour 
of the professors of the theocratic art, who apparently 
lived and died in exactly the same manner as any 
ordinary mortal, and yet claimed to be the incarnations, 
representatives or trusted agents of the IMost High, 
Prim& facie they stand on no better footing than the 
alchemist, the company promoter, the quack medicine 
vendor, and the loafer without credentials. 

To those who have had opportunities for studying the 
ways of sharpers, the man of religion must appear to be 
even more unreliable than those wno practise on the cre- 
dulity of the people in other spheres. The honesty of 
the latter can be tested in various ways, and as they know 
well that if they fail to achieve what they promise they 
might become legally punishable, none but the most 
reckless among them can feel inclined to cheat men by 
alchemy or a commercial bubble. But the priests of 
modern times venr seldom make any promise which 
they can be called upon to fulfil in this world. They 

u, HO 21 


deal in salvation and the spiritual happiness of the sonl 
after death, and, for the purpose of avoiding an audit, 
they have a far safer vantage ground than even the 
(Bngineers of the Indian Public Works Department, and 
the mooktears or attorneys of the Indian county courts. 
The P. W. D. official who attempts to enrich himself 
by the pretence that the embankment which he had 
been commissioned to build on the sea-coast has been 
washed away by a storm- wave, or the mooktear of the 
old type who attempts to cheat his master by pretend- 
ing to have bribed the Police for him, runs a chance of 
detection which might lead to his utter ruin. But such 
fears need not disturb the priest's deep repose. 

Such being the case, and the profession of the priest 
being calculated to bring far more honour, power and 
wealth than any other calling, his temptations are great. 
So he cannot reasonably claim from men even that 
amount of confidence which can be reposed on the 
quack or the alchemist. It is true that the curers of 
our souls very often affect to be quite indifferent to 
wealth and worldly comforts, and from this fact it 
is argued that the motive to cheat men being wanting, 
they may be treated with confidence. But to every 
one who has studied the ways of the priests, it must 
be evident that tixej have all a morbid craving, for, at 
least, being honoured by men, and that though, at the 
outset, they may profess to be above the vulgar love 
of lucre, yet as soon as their power is sufficiently estab- 
lished, they betray an amount of avarice and craving 
for luxurious living that is not to be found in the great- 
est secular rulers. While the latter are satisfied with a 
small fraction of the income of their subjects, the priest 
will bring complete ruin on his victims, if by doing 
so he can turn an extra penny. Even the lawyer's fees 
have a limit. But there is no limit whatever to the 
demand of a priest. He pretends to have the power of 
enriching his followers. But the aetual result of his 
operations is only to impoverish them. 


Like some unsorapnlons loan brokers the man of 
religion does not hesitate the least to break even a 
bruised reed. In fact the greater the embarrassment 
of the victim, the greater is the opportunity of both, 
A big landowner is heavily in debt. A broker comes 
to him, and o£Pers to raise the loan required by him at 
a very moderate rate of interest. The proposal is very 
tempting to him, and when it is accepted, the broker 
finds little difficulty in getting out of him a few hun<< 
dred rupees for alleged preliminary expenses. With 
that money he goes away, never to turn up again. 
The same experiment is tried by every one of the 
birds of the same feather, and the result of their com- 
bined operations is to make their victim sink deeper 
and deeper in the mire. The modus operandi of the 
priest is exactly the same^ the only difference being 
that he never finds it necessary to abscond or decamp. 
When his rites and incantations are proved by the event 
to be ineffective, he will throw the responsibility on 
a malignant star, or account for the failure by attri-* 
buting it to want of faith in his dupe. 

At an early stage of their career, the spiritual 
teachers, no doubt, deal in a little genuine milk of whole- 
some morality. But that fact cannot entitle them to be 
implicitlv trusted, for as soon as they find that they are 
blindly followed by the mob, they hesitate not the least 
to adulterate their ethical stock-in-trade with the most 
powerful anaesthetics, intoxicants and narcotics, so as to 
dispose their followers to submit to their operations with 
alacrity. The priests ask us to have faith in them, and 
we are too much accustomed to the demand to perceive 
its absurdity. But if an alchemist, quack or company 
promoter were to press upon us such advice, surely we 
would not blindly yield to it. 

So far I have been speaking of only the natural 
presumption which there ought to be against the 
claims to extraordinary powers put forward by, or on 
behalf of, the so-called prophets and incarnations. That 

an HINDU SE0T8. 

presumption may or may not be rebutted by the evidence 
addncea to support their case. That is not the question 
vrhich I am going to deal with just now. But in order 
to discuss it properly, I must first of all try to analyse 
the way in which, according to the evidence afforded 
by history, religious systems have been actually deve- 
loped. I shall then show that their course is consistent 
only with the doctrine that they have their origin in 
the policy of men, and not in any extraordinary measure 
adopted by the Most High through His mercy towards 


On the supposition that oar religions have been given 
to us by God Almighty, they cannot possibly have any 
course of development. They must have existed, at 
the beginning, in the same state as now. As the 
speculations of Laplace^ Lyell and Darwin are shut out 
altogether on the supposition that the universe was 
created in the manner described in the ancient scriptures 
and codes of law, so a faith in divine revelation 
precludes all inquiry as to the origin and evolution of 
the theocratic art. But the evidence afforded by history 
shows that religions have had a regular course of evolu- 
tion, and I propose first of all to trace its successive steps. 

With reference to the subject which I purpose to 
deal with here, there are at present two quite opposite 
theories which, for want of better names, I may call the 
orthodox theory and the modem theory. According to 
the orthodox theory, religion was in its highest state of 
purity in the beginning of creation, and, through the 
growing wickedness of men, it is becoming more 
and more corrupt, as the world is advancing m age« 
According to the other theory, which is favoured by the 
philosophers of modern Europe, and by those of our 
countrymen who blindly follow them, religious ideas 
were extremely crude in the primitive times^ and, as 
civilisation has advanced, its inevitable progress has been 
from fetichism^ idolatry and polytheism to monotheism 
pure and simple. With regard to the orthodox theory, 

f 325 ) 


I need not say anything. Bat with regard to the 
modern theory it must be observed that it is open to 
exception on more grounds than one. It assumes that, 
as in other departments, the progress of religion is 
determined solely by the advancement of men in philo- 
sophical thoughtfulness. This view is directly contra- 
dicted by one of the greatest of English historians. 
Macaulay says : — 

There are branches of knowledge with respect to which the law 
of the human mind is progress- In mathematics, when once a pro- 
position has been demonstrated, it is never afterwards contested. 
Every fresh stor^ is as solid a basis for a new superstructure as i he 
original foundation was. Here, therefore, is a constant addition to 
the stock of truth. In the inductive sciences again, . the law is 
progress. Every day furnishes new facts, and thus brings theory 
nearer and nearer to perfection. There is no chance that, either in 
the purely demonstrative, or in the purely experimental sciences, 
the world will ever go back or even remain stationary. Nobody 
ever heard of a reaction against Taylor's theorem, or of a reac- 
tion against Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the blood. 

But with theology the case is very different As respects natural 
religion—revelation being for the present altogether left out of the 
question— it is not eas^ to see that a philosopher of the present day 
is more favourably situated than Thales or Simmonides. He has 
before him just the same evidences of design in the structure of the 
universe which the early Greeks had. We say just the same, for the 
discoveries of modern astronomers and anatomists have really 
added nothing to the force of that argument which a reflecting mind 
finds in every beast, bird, insect, fish, leaf, flower and shale. The 
reasoning by which Socrates, in Zenophon's hearing, confuted the 
little atheist Af istodemus, is exactly the reasoning of Paley's Natural 
Theology. As to the other great questions, the question, what be- 
'eomes of inan after death ? we do not see that a highly educated Enro- 
pean» left to his unassisted reason, is more likely to be in the right 
than a Blackfoot Indian. Not a single one of the many sciences 
In which we surpass the Blackfoot Indians throws the smallest light 
bn the state of the soul after the animal life is extinct. In trnth> 
all the philosophers, ancient and modem, who have attempted, 
%ithout the help of revelation, to prove the immortality of man, from 
Plato down to Franklin, appear to us to have failed deplorably. 

The great English historian, in his usual way, goes 
here a little too far. There are clearly marks of pro- 
gressive development in the theocratic art. However, 
the historian is certainly right in the view that the 
progress of theology has not been in the same lines 
as tibat of the physical or the mathematical sciences. 
The reason of this is not far to seek. The progress of 
J^ sciences depends upon the progress of the human 


intellect, and not upon any other circamstance. A 
scientifiG discovery cannot, in most cases^ affect the 
pecnniary or political interest of any class. And even 
where it has a prejudicial effect on such interests, the 
arguments and experiments by which it is proved 
render it quite impossible to ignore it. But the 
changes in the modus operandi of the priests depend 
upon, not one, but three different factors, namely, their 
increasing shrewdness, the increasing boldness engen* 
dered in them by their success, and the state of society 
with which they have to deal. Hence, in theology 
there are those complicated movements which puzzle 
the superficial thinkers, and are characterised by them 
as backward or forward according to their peculiar 
ideas of progress or retrogression. 

When other circumstances do not offer any impedi- 
ment, the theocratic art certainly becomes more and 
more developed according to a law of its own, and the 
view propounded by Macaulay that it has remained 
stationary cannot be accepted, consistently with the 
facts recorded in history and the sacred Scriptures. 
The now generally accepted doctrine of the European 
philosophers who hold that the natural progress of 
religion is from fetichism, polytheism and idolatry to 
monotheism seems to be equally undeserving of accept- 
ance. It no doubt embodies a fraction of the truth. 
The theocratic art begins indeed with fetichism. But 
the highest development it is capable of, is not mono- 
theism,— which represents only an usual concomitant* of 
one of its intermediate states, — but abomination-worship, 
which is the climax that it can attain. This is proved 
by the undeniable evidence of history, and it must be 
so aocording to the hypothesis that religion has its origin 
in the policy of the priests, and not in divine grace. 

There is by nature a groundwork for superstitious 
belief in the human mind. So long as the fortunes of 

* See page 833. 


men depend to a great extent on chance, so long as the 
medical science is not suiEciently advanced, and so 
long again as we are unable to predict or control 
meteorological phenomena, the human mind must be 
prepared more or less to submit to the exactions of the 
priest, the quack and the fortune-teller. The jurisdic- 
tion of these is becoming more and more narrowed 
with the progress of the sciences, and of the arts of 
shipbuilding, navigation and canal irrigation, coupled 
witn such institutions of modern civilization as insur- 
ance offices, fire brigades, poor-houses and hospitals. 
When anyone gets fever now, whatever may be his 
orthodoxy, he depends more upon quinine than upon 
the Batuka Yairaba or the Aparajita incantations of 
his priests. There was a time when, in order to avoid the 
visitation of heaven's wrath in the form of the thunder- 
bolt, every Hindu caused a label to be stuck up on the 
upper parts of the door frames in his house, containing 
a lew Sanskrit verses. But the science of electricity 
has of late been teaching the people to depend more 
upon the lightning rod, than on the names of the five 
thunder-preventing saints. In order to prevent loss 
by fire or boatwreck, Indian traders, in many places, 
still spend very large sums of money to secure the 
favour of Bramha, Ganga and Vallabhachari. But the 
advantages of briok buildings and insurance are being 
understood more and more, and, in Bengal at least, the 
rage for Bramha P^a and Ganga Puja nas diminished 
very materially. Whether the clearances of the Val- 
labnachari shrine at Nathdowra from marine policies, 
vowed to it by the traders of Gujrat and Bombay, 
have diminished or not, is a matter as to which I have 
not been able to get any reliable information. In any 
case, the sphere of the priests' operations is becoming 
more and more circumscribed. However, his domain 
is still wide enough. 

But because there was, and still is, a natural inclina- 
tion in men to believe in, and rely on, the supernatural, 


it does not follow that their religions 'beliefs have a 
spontaneous course as the European thinkers seem to 
assume. History proves that the empires of the priests 
are established in the very same manner as those of the 
secular monarchs. However much a settled Oovem- 
ment may be desired by men, yet history does not 
furnish a single instance in which the blessing of a 
strong ruler at the head has not been more or less 
forced upon the people who are placed under his sway. 
Similarly, however much a religion may be valued by 
those who profess it, it had never been wanted until it 
was forced upon them by the literary genius or poli- 
tical tact of some great teacher. In fact, in religion 
and politics, as in every other sphere, it is the artist 
that creates the demand for the inventions of his art. 

Upon a careful survev of the religious systems of the 
world, it appears that all the primitive religions incul* 
cate the worship of either the friendly powers of 
nature or of demons. Generally speaking, the priest 
cannot approach the savage, who lives by hunting, 
fishing or cattle breeding, except by the most merciless 
bulljring. The savage can have no scope or ambition for 
acquiring wealth or high office, and as he has en hypo^ 
tfusie no idea of any kind of luxury, the promise of 
heaven can have no influence on him, and he can have no 
motive to worship friendly gods. The only way to 
make him amenable to priestly discipline, lies in leading 
him to believe that diseases and deaths are caused by a 
set of fierce and bloodthirsty gods who can be pro- 
pitiated only by the sacrifice of goats, pigs, sheep, &c. 
His cattle being his principal, if not nis sole, wealth 
that is the only method of worship which his priest 
can turn to account. Hence the demon-worship and 
the sacrifice of animals in the pre-agricultural stage of 

With the development of society, men become subject 
to hopes, influences and fears which had been unknown to 
them before. When agriculture begins to be practised, 


the tillers of ' the soil find that rain is necessary for 
their operations, and that it does not take place in 
all years vrhen most wanted. At this stage the 
shrewder members of society^ who hate manual labour 
and desire nothing so much as to live on the fruits of 
other people's industry, can easily persuade the primi- 
tive ploughman to believe that rainfall depends upon 
the will or caprice of a deity who, like most mortals, 
has his price. The belief being impressed, the primi- 
tive priest has only to invent a plausible and attractive 
programme. The expedient which he has usually 
recourse to is the kindling of a fire, and the burning of 
butter or incense on the altar. These are the least 
bulky goods that the primitive agriculturist could be 
called upon to supply to his priest. The process is 
somewhat wasteful if carried out under too much vigil- 
ance. But in the operations of the priest, as in those 
of the political adventurer, wastefalness is inevitable. 

The primitive priest is compelled by the necessity of 
his position to promise tangible good service, such as 
rainfall to the tillers of the soil, health to the sick, and 
children to barren women. His constituents cannot 
appreciate the value of salvation, Moksha, Nirvana or 
spiritual happiness of the soul after death, and in order 
to make them venerate him and submit to his exactions, 
be is obliged to promise more substantial services.' In 
doing so he has to tread upon very treacherous ground. 
But rainfall may take place at the required time in the 
course of nature ; the sick man may be restored to health 
far nature ; and a woman believed to be barren maj 
also bear a child in the course of nature. If the event 
be such as to support the priest's pretensions, he knows 
bow to take the credit If there be disappointment, he 
knows how to transfer the responsibility to a malignant 
star, or to want of faith on the part of his dupe. 

Nevertheless the priest cannot but be conscious that 
it is not safe to promise the rendering of worldly aer* 
vice* He therefore takes the earliest opportunity 


to shift his ground. By promising Nirvan^ Moksha or 
dalvation he runs no risk whatever. He therefore sets 
himself to educate the people to value these principalities 
in Utopia. That seems to be the true origin of the 
Upanisnads and the metaphysics of the ancients. 

In the primitive stage of agriculture, the powers 
supposed to be concerned in sending rain to earth 
receive the largest share of worship. When the priest 
finds how easy it is to dupe the majority of men, he 
goes on adding more and more gods to his pantheon, 
inventing at the same time the most complicated and 
attractive programmes, so as to win the esteem and 
confidence of the people, and to make himself a neces- 
sitv to them. Notning comes amiss to him at this stage. 
Allegorical divinities, the souls of deceased persons, nay, 
rivers, hot springs, trees, birds, beasts and serpents suffice 
to serve as the bases of elaborate rites. The votary is 
called upon to supply not merely butter, mutton, goats, 
wine and scents, but everything else that might add 
dignity to^ or put a decent veil on, the priest's opera- 
tions. Some of the things required by him to give 
cover to his spoliations are quite useless, and withal 
very difficult to procure. But, as I have already said, 
wastefulness is inevitable in priestcraft as in the modus 
operandi of the other classes who live by their wits. 
Neither the priests nor any other class of sharp men 
c^n afford to abide by the principles of taxation laid 
down by Adam Smith. The seculiu* rulers may be 
called upon to be satisfied with only such sources 
of revenue as enable them to get almost the whole 
of what is paid by those who are made liable to the 
tax. But the priest, the mooktear and the engineer 
will very seldom hesitate to set their weapons in motion 
for fear that they might not get more than a fraction 
of what their victims must lose. 

Tlie nature-worshipping priests have, in some coun- 
tries, been able to maintain their empire for ages. But 


it is simply impossible that they should be allowed to 
reign unmolested for ever, and, sooner or later, their 
success leads others to play a bolder game. These 
autocratic and ambitious teachers generally succeed in 
giving a rude shock to the fabric ouilt by the nature- 
worshippers. They claim to be worshipped as gods 
themselves, and cannot tolerate the practice of according 
any homage to the dumb material objects and powers. 
So they proclaim, more or less directly^ that men must 
worship them, and not Indra or Woden, Jupiter or 
Thor, who might serve as convenient shams in the 
beginning, but are, like the Bahadoor Shahs and the 
Wajid Alis, quite useless when the adventurer's power 
is completely established. Whether this view of the 
origin of the man-worshipping religions, and of the 
process by which they supersede the nature-worshipping 
cults, be accepted or not, this much at least is established 
beyond doubt, by the evidence of history, that the 
former have always followed the latter, and that there 
is not a single instance in which they have appeared 
in the contrary order. 

According to the ideas generally favoured by the 
modern thinkers, monotheism is the highest develop- 
ment that religion is capable of. This view is quite 
natural in those who are more conversant with Cnris- 
tianity and Mahomedanism than with any of the other 
religions. The Mahomedans never take the trouble 
to study other religions, and Europeans are placed 
amidst such surroundings, that, witn all their inquisi- 
tiveness and industry, it is well-nigh impossible for 
them to make an accurate estimate of the several 
systems, or to arrive at a correct determination regard- 
ing their relative position. Europe knows only one 
form of faith, and that cult is an exotic plant so stunted 
and dwarfed by the Lutheran Reformation, that it has 
never found scope for developing all its potentialities. 
Europe is, in fact, no more the place for the study of reli- 
gions than the desert of Sahara is for the study of botany* 


The evidence afforded by history goes very far to 
prove that monotheism is only the usual appendage 
of the man-worshipping religions. The apostle of 
monotheism says : — " There is but one God and I am 
his viceroy." On the supposition that such preach- 
ing is not based npon genuine revelation, it must 
be admitted to have for its object the creation of a 
strict monopoly. The truth seems to be that mono- 
theism is no more an advanced idea in theology than 
the absolute monarchies set up by Julius Csesar and 
Cromwell were institutions in advance of the Roman 
Senate, and the British Long Parliament. 

In our experience of every-day life, we see that when 
too much power is acquired by any individual, its abuse 
is inevitable, and priestly power is no exception to 
the rule. The success with which the nature-worship- 
ping and the man-worshipping priests are able to pjv 
their trade, emboldens some adventurers to play still 
more daring games, and to inculcate the worship of such 
abominations as enable them to create every possible 
opportunity for gratifying their depravea lust by 
corrupting the morals of their dupes. The cults in- 
vented by them are, generally speaking, of very recent 
origin, and cannot but be taken to be tne highest deve- 
lopments that the theocratic art is capable of. 

From what is stated above, it will appear that the 
usual transition of all religions is from nature-worship 
to man-worship, and from man-worship to abomination- 
worship. In India all these forms of faith are to be 
found in the living condition. In Europe nature- 
worship has been since long suppressed altogether, and 
the Lutheran Beformation, combined with the common 
sense of the laity, has smothered the inevitable ten- 
dency to abomination-worship. Perhaps it was rendered 
unnecessary by the confessional rites of the Roman 
Catholic Church. But the fact of there having been 
such tendencies even in Europe is abundantly proved 


by history. Perhaps no class of priests have been more 
prone to abuse their power than the Popes and their 
lieutenants. In speaking of the See of Rome Macaa- 
lay says : — 

During the generatioii whioh preoeded the Reformation that 
Court had been a scandal to the ChriBtian name. Its annals are 
black with treason, murder and incest. Bven its more respectable 
members were utterly unfit to be ministers of relifrion. Their years 

?Uded by in a soft dream of sensual and intellectual voluptuousness. 
!hoioe cookery, deUcious wines, lovely women, hounds, falcons, 
horses, newly-<Uscovered manuscripts of the classics and burlesque 
romances in the sweetest Tuscan, just as licentious as a fine sense of 
the graceful would permit, these things were the delight and even 
the serious business of their lives. • • • • 

When these circumstances, and the history of such 
early sects as the Marcionites and the Carpocratians* 
are taken into consideration, it seems that Europe has 
had a very narrow escape from abomination*worship 
of the aggravated type with which we are unfortunately 
too familiar in this country. However that may be, 
the existence of the abomination-worshipping sects in 
the world cannot be ignored, and, if their origin and 
history be studied, it would appear that they have, in 
all cases, followed the man-worshipping cults^ as they 
must do on the hypothesis that the religions have had 
their origin in human policy. 

* See Gibbons' Dsdins and FaU of the Boman Empire, 


Found chiefly among 

Found chiefly amonpf the 

af^cultural nations of 

primitive times. 

Thb religious systems existing in the world can be 
classified in various ways, in accordance with different 
principles. From the point of view of their usual course 
of evolution, they are, as stated in the last chapter|» 
capable of being divided into the following classes : — 
( 1. Dbmon-woksuip 

(2. Nat C7RE- WORSHIP (includ- 
ing the worship of al- 
legorical divinities, trees, 
rivers, hot springs, 
hirds, beasts, &c.). 
fl. Man- WORSHIP Found in almost every 

civUized country, 
(a) Religi'ms Inculcating the The Siva-worshipping 
worship of an imaginary religion is of this class. 

Sod of such a type as to though there is in it 
ispose men to worship of an ewment of abomi- 
the mendicant beggars. nation -worship. 
{b) Religions inculcating the Buddhism and Jainism. 
worship of some great 
teachers believed to 
' have attained a higher 
2.-J condition than that of 

the gods, by austerities 
or any other means. 

(c) Religions inculcating the Christianity, Mahome- 
worship of some great danism and Sikhism. 
men believed to be the 
agents of the Most High. 

(d) Religions inculcating the Ram-worship, Krishna- 
worship of an ancient worship, 
hero as a god, or an 
incarnation of a god. 

,3. IDBA- WORSHIP Found among cultured 

people in civilised 

( 335 ) 


4, ABOMnrATiOK-woRSHiP Foand only in conntries 

that have an ancient 
civilization combined 
with the ii^oranoe of 
the masses. 


Viewing the religions in connection with their influ- 
ence on the morality of men, they fall under bhe 
following groups : — 

1. Religions having little or nothing to do with the preach- 

ing of morality. 

2. Religions encoura^ng chiefly pare morality according to 

the lights of their teachers. • 

3. Religions encouraging immorality more or less, while 

inculcating some morality also. 

4. Religions directly inculcating the grossest immoralities. 

5. Religions indirectly encouraging immorality. 

Looked at from the point of view of the services 
which the priests offer to perform, their faiths may be 
classified as follows :— 

1. Tangible-servioe-promisin^ religions. 

2. Intan^ble-service-promisiog religions. 
3« Mischief-making religions. 

Looked at from the point of view of the subsidies 
and services claimed by the priests, the religions may 
be classified as follows ; — 

C Almost all the ancient 

1. Ghi, incense, meat and wine- J religions are of this 

demanding religions. j character, and favour 

(. indirect taxation. 

2. Reli^ons demanding the [Most of the man-worship* 

building of monasteries! ping and abomination- 
and temples in addition | worshipping religions are 
to other votive offerings. [ of this character. 

3. Mere alms-taking religions. These may be said to fa- 

vour direct taxation. 
('The religions of the Maho- 
4« Religions demanding mili-J medans, the Sikhs, and 
tary service. j the Nagas are more or 

C less of this character. 

Looked at from the point of view of church govern- 
ment, the religions may be gronped in many different 
ways, as, for instance, the following : — 

1« Aristocratic religions, of which the ministers are heredi- 

tarv priests. 
2. Republican religions, of which the ministers are ordained 

b^ nomination or election. 
8. Religions that profess to have no priests. 



If the attitude of the several religions towards each 
other be taken into consideration, then they may be 
classified as follows : — 

1. Federal religions shewins due toleration to every form 

of faith. 

2. Autocratic religions teaching their followers to hate 

eveiy cult, not their own, as false superstition. 

The man-worshipping religions are generally the 
most autocratic, though founded by teachers who push 
up the lower classes in order to destroy the power of 
the nature-worshipping priests. Like the Turk the 
prophets who claim adoration for themselves cannot 
bear a brother near their throne. 

Having regard to the visible objects and symbols to 
which worship is offered, the most important forms of 
faith are the following : — 

1. Tree, bird, beast and serpent-worshipping religions. 

2. Sun, moon and planet-worshipping religions. 

3. River, hot spring, lake and sea-worshipping religions. 

4. Mound-worshipping religions. 

5. Fire-worshipping religions. 

6. Children-worahipping religions. 

7. Decent image-worahippin^ religions. 

8. Obscene symbol-worshippmg religions. 

9. Altar-worshipping, book-worshipping and monastery 

subsidising religions. 
10. Quru-worshipping religions. 

Of these, the first four are found chiefly among half 
civilized and savage nations. The fifth form, namely, 
fire-worship, finds great favour among some of the most 
advanced races of men in the world. Its only draw- 
backs are : — 

1. It involves great waste. 

2. It is not a convenient way for appropriating bnlky and 

identifiable ffoods. 

3. It cannot enable the priest to make unlindted demands 

on public charity. 

The sixth form is not well suited for purposes of 
priestcraft, and is very rare. The seventh and the 
eighth forms enable the priesthood not only to acquire 
every kind of property, but also to corrupt the morals 
of their female votaries. The abuse which the image- 

B, HO 22 


worshipping priests make of their powers and oppor- 
tunities leads, however, verj often to revolts that 
threaten to make a clean sweep of idolatry. Bat the 
so-called reformations are, generally more apparent 
than real, the operations of the iconoclasts serving, 
in nine cases out of ten, to establish only altar-worship, 
book-worship, monastery-worship, or guru-worship, 
which are, in many respects, worse than idolatry. 

Quite recently some very earnest attempts have been 
made by teachers like the late Pundit Dayanand to 
replace idolatry by the ancient Yedic cult. But idol- 
worship is a much more effective and useful weapon to 
the priest than fire-worship, and is no more likely to be 
superseded by it than railways of modem times by the 
ancient means of locomotion like the dak palki, the 
postchaise and the bullock-cart. Idol-worship may 
give way only to monasteries and churches claiming 
endowments of propertv and State subsidies while like 
idolatrous shrines, serving also as permanent contri- 
vances for drawing towards them the small charities of 
the public. 

• « 


Wb all possess a vagne notion of what is called 
religion which suffices for all practical purposes. But 
the least attempt to define the term shows that our ideas 
on the subject are very far from being clear and definite. 
In fact, like the juridical terms: — " law," " lesal right," 
and ^^ possession" the word religion, ihou^ appear- 
ing to be a very simple one, cannot possibly be defined 
except by a very careful analysis. The reader who may be 
curious to study the definitions proposed by the thiuKers 
of Europe, ancient and modem, may refer to Professor 
Max MUller's treatise on the Origin of Religion. In his 
Science of Religiony the eminent philosopher himself 
gives the following definition of the term : — 

** Beligion is a mental facoliy or dltpositioii which, iodependent of, 
naar, in spite of sense and reason, enables man to apprehend ilie 
Infinite under di£Fersnt names and under varying disguises." 

This definition has been condemned by the author 
himself. In one of his later works, he says : — 

** Beligion oonsists in the pereeption of the Infinite under suoh 
manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man* 
—2^ Giford Uetwrst, 1888» p. 188. 

These definitions might be taken to embody their 
author's ideas as to what religion ought to be. But 
very few of the religions actually existmg in this world 
can be said to have anything to do with the apprehen- 
sion of the Infinite. 

. To me it seems that the word religion has two 
different meanings. According to one of its aspects, it 
is the art of bringing men mS»r priestly discipline, by 

( 889 ) 


means of threats and hopes held out in the names of 
saperior and unseen powers. In its other aspect, it can 
be defined only as the sum total of the beliefs, sen- 
timents and practices to which the laity are led by 
priestly influence and art. In fact, religion is to a 
great extent the same thing as politics, the only differ- 
ence being that the rewards and punishments by which 
the politician acquires and maintains his power are all 
of an earthly nature, whereas the priest terrorises and 
consoles men by implanting in their minds a belief in 
supernatural influences for good and evil. Where the 
priest:} have for their object the improvement of the 
morality of men, or of their social and domestic virtues, 
they are generally able to do great good to society. 
But, like most worldly men, they usually seek more to 
aggrandise themselves than to do any good to mankind, 
and they not only do very little to improve the moral- 
ity of men, but sometimes encourage the grossest immor- 
ality, either to gratifjr their own carnal appetites, ot 
simply to attract followers. They profess to make 
men happy, and, by the hopes of future bliss which they 
hold out, they no doubt actually impart a ray of light in 
the darkest hours of our woes. But, generally speaidng, 
they take a delight in wanton cruelty, and, like some of 
the greatest political tyrants, do more to increase the 
stock of our miseries tnan to alleviate them. . Fasting, 
hook-Bwinging, bathing in cold water in winter morn- 
ings, living on half rations, eating the most unpalat- 
able food, roasting under a midday sun or amidst 
artificial fires, standing erect on one leg, keeping one 
arm constantly uplifted — these are some of the tortures 
to which the aupes of the priest are subjected. He has 
the satisfaction of finding that the discipline imposed on 
society by him is being conformed to. But, in practising 
such cruelty, he betrays a kind of hard-heartedness which 
is not to be found even in the worst of secular rulers. 
Sometimes, as in encouraging indiscriminate charity 
and restricting usury, the authors of the religions may 


be credited with philanthropic motives. Bnt the prac- 
tical resalt of their legislation is that they do a great 
deal of mischief, though with the best oi intentions. 
For such teachings we cannot blame them. Bnt thej 
certainly prove that either the modern sciences are 
franght with errors, or that the so-called prophets were 
only ordinary men, and very far from possessing that 
omniscience which they claimed. In fact there is hard- 
ly a single religion in the world which is ba^ed on 
infallible knowledge or nnexceptionable morality* 
Considering the forms of faith with which we are ac- 
quainted, it seems impossible to define religion in any 
other way than as mentioned above. It has certainly 
nothing to do with the perception of the Infinite. 

2. Why ifl there sach progressive deyelopment at all ? 
8. Why is it that the tangihle-servioe-promising re _ 
>reoede the cults that value only spiritual buss ? 


It is believed by most men that religion has its origin 
in the will of Divine Providence ; but a carefal exa^- 
mination of the tenets of the several religions would 
lead inevitably to the oonclusion that onr faiths have 
had their sonrce in human policy, and not in Divine 
will. At any rate, the theory deriving it from human 
policy can alone give a satisfactory explanation of such 
theological questions as the following : — 

1. Why is it that the nature-worshipping reli||;ionB precede 

the man-worshipping fkiths, and that man-worship 

precedes abomination-worship? 
3. Why 

preoeae tne cults tnat value only spiritual bUss 7 
C Wny is it that there are such differences between the 

several religions as are to be found in them now? 
6. Why is it that some religions actually encourage immor- 


6. Why is it that the ancient religions recommended 

the sacrifice of animals and of even human beings ? 

7. Why is it that the modem relinons do not, generally 

speakiDg, encourage the sacrifice of animals ? 

8, Why is it that the ancient religions insisted upon the 

burning of gM and incense ? 

9, Why is it that the Hindus believe in ten Avatars or 

successive incarnations ? 
10. Why is it that even when actuated by the best of motives 
the so-called prophets and incarnations have not been 
able to give any indication of their knowing even the 
most elementary principles of the economical and the 
physical sciences ? 

On the theory that the religions have their origin in 
human policy, mere cannot possibly be any difficulty in 
explaining these questions ; but on any other supposition 
ihey are quite insoluble. 

( 342 ) 


Admitting, as we miist do, that all the religions have 
their origin in hnman policy, the question next arises 
whether they are the ontcome of tme philanthrophy, or 
of selfishness, pure and simple. The fact is, that while 
there is an element of genuine philanthropy in some 
of the religions, there is a great deal of the foulest 
selfishness m the majority of them. If onr religions 
be admitted to be the outcome of human policy, then 
the doctrine that the founders of the several systemr 
of faith were actuated by purely unselfish zeal would 
be quite as absurd as the supposition that the object 
which Alexander, Mahomed Ghori, Sultan Baber, 
William the Conqueror, and Napoleon had in their 
view was only to give the blessing of good govern- 
ment to the countries which they conquered. The 
religious sect founders are in fact neither better nor 
worse men than our political rulers. To outbid a 
powerful rival, or to avoid losing the confidence of the 
public, both the politician and the prophet may profess 
very high principles. Bu,t in the absence of an Opposi- 
tion and an intelligent public opinion, it is very 
unusual for a religious or secular ruler to keep to* 
the path of duty and rectitude. 


Is religion necessary for giving to men the highest 
ideal of moral life ? This question is very often asked, 
but the answers given regarding it are extremely con- 
flicting. There is no doabt that no system of law, 
however cleverly devised or efficiently administered, 
can go far enough to elevate the moral nature of man 
beyond a very limited range. But it does not follow 
that there ever has been any relirion which enables 
man to attain anything like the hignest moral altitude. 
On the contrary, many of the so-called religions of men 
tend more to corrupt their morality, than to purify it« 
There are in fact some religions as, for instance, those 
of the Tantrics, Kauls, Karta Bhajas, Bija Margis, 
Jalaliyas, Aghoris, &c., which have perhaps not one 
redeeming feature in them, and which tend only to 
make their followers wallow in the mire of abominations. 
There are no doubt some religions which sincerely aim 
at improving the character of men in all their relations. 
But even the best of these fall far short of the ideal of 
good citizenship taught by the exigencies of modem 
social life. A man may not violate the ten command- 
ments of Moses or the Panch Sila of Buddha, and still 
his character may be such as to make him a sore spot 
in the commonwealth. 

Upon a careful examination of the foundation of 
ethics, it must appear to every reasonable and unbiased 

( 344 ) 


mind that the principle of utility is the only source of 
morality, and that the character of men is regulated 
more by public opinion, than by the rules imposed on 
society by any revealed scripture. By threats of future 
evil or promises of future oliss, religion can no doubt 
go a great way to enforce the rules of morality on men. 
But experience shows that public opinion, when it is 
wide awake and is of a healthy nature, has far greater 
influence than any terror or hope that a priest may hold 
out. Religion may do good by moulding the views 
of men ; but, apart from public opinion, it is never pro- 
ductive of any important result. According to the 
religion of both Hindus and Mahomedans there is not 
a greater sin than the drinking of spirituous liquors. 
But public opinion treats the vice more leniently than 
the Koran and the Smritis enjoin, and it is certainly 
not quite so rare as it ought to be. Take, however, the 
case of beef--eatinfir by a Hindu. The sin involved in the 
act is, according to the Shastras, not at all of a serious 
nature. But popular feeling is strong on the subject, 
and till lately there was peniaps not a single beef-bat- 
ing Hindu in the country. Among the Mahomedans 
there is perhaps still not a single pork-eater. These 
facts clearly show that it is public opinion,, and not any 
religious code, that has the greatest influence in buila- 
ing up what is called the conscience of men. Whatever 
influence religion has, is due chiefly to its beingan 
important factor in moulding the opinions of men. The 
proper authorities to regulate public opinion on the 
subject are the philosophers, historians, statesmen and 
publicists. The sooner the priests cease to meddle in 
the matter, the better for the world. It is not at all 
desirable that morality should be based on false hopes 
and false terrors, however effective they may prove to 
be at times. The experience of the whole world shows 
that men who can invent falsehoods for the good of 
the world, are never slow to have recourse to the same 
means for attaining their own selfish objects. At any 


fate there is not a single relirion in the world whose 
moral standard is sufficiently nigh for the exigencies 
of civilized life. 

To be a good citizen the most important thing is to 
have a deep sense of moral responsibility for all onr 
acts and omissions. A man may not be an aotnal thief^ 
liar or mnrderer, but the result is aU the same if he 
has not sufficient firmness and sense of duty. A ship 
surveyor gives a certificate of seaworthiness to a ship, 
without carefully examining her condition. The vessel 
springs a leak while on a voyage, and is wrecked with 
all her crew, cargo and passengers. If the real cause 
of the disaster be ascertainable by any evidence, the 
surveyor may be legally punished. But, whether he 
pays the penalty for nis negligence, or is able to escape 
scot-free, nis delinquency hardly comes within the pur- 
view of any revealed code of morals. 

Then, again, suppose that an engineer in charge of 
the construction of a bridge fails to supervise the work 
of the contractors properly. The piers are not sunk 
to the required depth, or are built with unsuitable 
materials. The structure is finished, and is somehow 
able to go through a test. But, lo I when one day the 
river is m high flood through abnormal rainfall, and a 
heavily laden train passes over the bridge, it gives way, 
and there is one of those disasters which cast a gloom 
over the whole country. Yet the engineer may be 
reckoned as a highly moral man, if judged by the 
standard of the so-called religious teachers of the world. 

If a king or political minister needlessly declares war 
against an unoffending nation, and wastes the resources 
of his own country in spreading misery and desolation 
on his neighbours, he yet mav be regarded as a good 
man, and the priest may not find anything in the reli- 
gious codes to justify even a proposal for the punish- 
ment of excommunication which perhaps no one 
deserves more than he. He ought certainly to be boy- 
cotted and execrated by society while alive, and to die, 


unwept, unhononred and unknown. Bnt the whole 
history of the world does not perhaps afford one single 
instance in which the priestnood have so punished a 
bloodthirsty destroyer of nations, except when the 
interest of the priestly class itself is served or affected. 
In fact there is no authority in any scripture for the 
condign punishment of such monsters in purple. 

Take, again, the case of a man in power who, out of 
iealousy, causes the ruin of a rival or subordinate, and, 
b^ vetoing his measures or handicapping him, subjects 
his country to an irreparable loss. The little man, 
dressed in brief authority, may be the model of a good 
Hindu or Christian ; but it must be admitted by every 
one that he deserves only to be hated and cursed. 

Suppose again, for instance, that a man of. sprayers 
organises and floats a commercial, mining or railway 
enterprise. His learning and reputation for piety serve 
to attract capital from every quarter. But either the 
scheme itself is quite unpractical, or the promoter 
is quite incapable of placing it on a sound footing. 
Whatever be the cause, it fails, and thousands of 
families are ruined altogether by the crash. The pro- 
moter may be given credit for honesty in the usual 
narrow sense of the term. He may even continue to 
be regarded as a man of piety, according to the 
standard of the priestly class. But, from the point of 
view of that elevated morality which is understood and 
valued only by practical men of the world, he cannot 
be regarded as a man of a very high moral sense. 

The prophets who affect to teach us morality, and 
claim to be worshipped on that account, are generally 
the men who betray the greatest disregard of that sense 
of moral responsibility which is the essence of good 
citizenship. To begin with, they generally teach their 
followers to lead an idle life, and to live by begging, 
buUpring or cheating. The latter-day prophets of 
India, at least, are, in fact, so many givers of licenses 
to beg, and to corrupt the morality of the people. Thtf 

348 THE NEOKSsmr of beligion. 

mischief done by encoaraffing able-bodied men to 
neffleot the proper work of life, and live as drones on 
public charity, is simply incalculable. It is not like the 
act of a thief or mnraerer which affects only a limited 
nnmber of victims. Its effects are far-reaching, and 
its banefal infinence continaes, from generation to 
generation, very often increasing in momentum in the 
course of its progress. That is,Tiowever, not the only 
way in which the so-called religious teachers of man- 
kind have made their condition far worse than it would 
otherwise have been. They profess to make men 
happ)^. But, as a matter of fact, their teachings serve 
only to increase the sum total of human misery. As 
if our natural afflictions were not enough for us, the 
priests have invented methods of self-torture — like fasts, 
nook-swinging, cold baths in winter, and exposure for 
whole days under an Indian sun — which, on account of 
their fiendish character, surpass everything that the 
imagination of the worst of secular tyrants has ever 

The worst result of the teachings of the so-called 
prophets is, perhaps, the bad blood which they excite 
against those who refuse to be their followers. It is 
easy enough for a shrewd man to create bitter feelings 
between different nations and classes of men. But 
the prophets who affect to bring tidings of joy and 
peace from heaven, ought certainly to have a better 
sense of moral responsibuity than that which they show 
by kindling the hell-fire of sectarian bigotry. 

As are uie prophets, so are their ministers and tools. 
The persecution to which the great philosopher Galileo 
was subjected by the authorities of the Roman Catholic 
Church is one of the typical cases that reflect ever^ 
lasting disgrace on the spiritual rulers of men. The 
mischief may be all the same even without the practice 
of any kind of positive tyranny. A play-wright, pubU- 
cist or temple promoter, who, for the sake of money or 
mere popularity, encourages any of the forms of abomi-* 


nation-worship, may succeed in securing popular praise 
or reverence. But, whether he simply gives countenance 
to Yoni worship, Linga worship and Radha worship, or 
actually recommends them by some ingenious plea put 
forward on their behalf, he deserves to be stigmatised as 
only an evil genius of mankind. When we find many 
of our educated countrymen now-a-days patrolling the 
streets in connection with Sankirtan parties^ or offering 
puja to those emblems of obscenity and immodesty 
caUed Kali and Siva, it ought to be obvious to every 
thoughtful mind how little tnere is of common sense, or 
of a consciousness of responsibility among our public 
men. If only in order to be on the safe side they, at 
least, ought to keep themselves aloof from Kali, Siva and 
Radha* Primd facie there can be nothing in them to 
deserve the devotion of the pious. That fact alone 
ought to place every one on his guard. No doubt 
many esoteric explanations are suggested to whitewash 
the things. But no one can, I suppose, honestly say 
that he is so satisfied with those pleas, as not to enter- 
tain any misgivings in his heart of hearts. And if he 
' have any misgivings, the proper course for him certainly 
is to be not too enthusiastic. But he takes up a 
different line, and by his zeal proves only that religion 
can very seldom impress on men the value of a proper 
sense of moral responsibility. Religion teaches blind 
faith and blind fervour, the result being that it is very 
seldom conducive towards the development of a capacity 
for discrimination between good and eviL 



The religions sects founded and existing in India are 
too numeroas to be catalogned with anything like com- 
pleteness in a book like this. India is pre-eminentlj 
the land of prophets and ^^ffods in disguise." In 
Europe the autocratic and overshadowing power of the 
Popes of Imperial Rome kept under a wholesome 
check the would-be vicegerents of the Divinity. While 
punishing with merciless severity every tendency 
towards heresy, the rulers of the Vatican, with their 
usual wisdom, conferred high offices and honours on such 
persons as appeared to possess the necessary ability and 
energy to organize a successful schism. Thus was the 
empire of the Popes maintained in undiminished glory 
for more than a thousand years, and the hold whicn 
the Christian religion thus acquired on the European 
mind has been, even after the Reformation, so strong 
that no power has yet arisen that has applied itself to 
the task of shaking it off or setting up in its place a 
new cult. The position of Christianity in Europe still 
is what that of the Eniperors of Delhi was during the 
last century. As the Maharattas, the Nabobs of Oudh 
and the English, with all their powers at the time, re- 
cognized the supremacy of the Mogul, so the sect 
founders of modem Europe, while setting at defiance the 
authority of the Popes, have never been able to claim 
divine worship for tnemselves instead of for Christ 

In India the case has been very different, espedaliy 
since the commencement of Mahomedan rule. Here 

( 350 ) 


the absence of a strong central authority recognized bjr 
all as supreme in ecclesiastical matters^ and the ignor- 
ance of the masses, have enabled many a clever adven- 
turer to play the rdle of "incarnations, and to carve out 
independent religions principalities. The profession 
does not require much preliminary training or expen- 
diture of capital. It is unattended with most of tnose 
risks that beset the secular politician, and to those who 
possess the necessary tact, steadiness, histrionic skill, 
debating power, and genius for inventing unexplod- 
able legends, it brings not only power, money, fame, 
and honour, but everything else that the most wicked 
lust of the most depraved of human beings can have a 
craving for. Such being the case, the number of per- 
sons that are found to be actually engaged in the game, 
is generally limited only by the resources of the society 
to feed the idlers. 

The part which the " incarnation " has to play is a 
very difficult one. Without material resources of any 
kind, he has to collect round him an army of disciples 
who must be at least as devoted to him as the followers 
of any secular prince. He must, through his disciples, 
circulate the most extravagant stories about his mirar 
culous powers ; but, at tne same time, must avoid 
their exhibition. He must avoid debates. But if he 
is ever compelled to take a part in any controversy, he 
must contrive to be victorious. He must have also 
histrionic powers of a very superior. type, and be 
able to swoon and shed tears whenever necessary. He 
must lead a life of celibacy, and maintain a character 
for being above the vulgar appetites of human beings 
though like Siva he might, in order to oblige the goos, 
enjoy the delights of conjugal life, or like Yidlab- 
h&chari, might take a wife in fulfilment of the cosoh 
mands of some deity. The most difficult part of his 
work is the exercise of due discrimination in the choice 
of his ipimediate disciples. He should be very careful 
never to have a traitor or malcontent in his camp. The 


fabric built by him after years of arduous labour 
may be demolished in the course of a single day by a 
Madame Coulomb. 

The sect founders generally claim to derive their 
inspiration from some invisible teachers. The Kut 
-Humis and Aulia Gossains are so very useful that they 
are almost indispensable to the prophets in the begin- 
ning of their careers. When the young Avatar's power 
is sufficiently established, then alone ne can shake off 
the fiction of such subordinate alliance. 

The event which the biographers of the prophet 
find it most difficult to explain, and account for, is his 
death. There is certainly nothing which hard swearing 
and combined action cannot accomplish in this world. 
But the prophet must leave some friends surviving 
him, who would undertake for his sake, or for promot- 
ing their own interest, the task of inventing and 
circulating legends about his miraculous disappearance 
from earth. 

The difficulty of playing the role of a prophet being 

great, and the number of the competitors being many, 
le careers of those who attempt the game are very 
seldom attended with more than partial success. Even 
when a great religious kingdom is successfully estab- 
lished, on an apparently sound footing, it usually proves 
quite as ephemeral as the secular monarchies founded 
<in the last century by political adventurers of the type 
of Hyder Ali. but in spite of all the checks on the 
overgrowth of the sects, their number at the present 
time is not at all inconsiderable. In fact so numerous 
are they, and so complicated is the history of their 
^growth, that I cannot nope to give in this book more 
Sian a brief account of the most important among 


The sect foniiders of our country attract followers 
chiefly by relaxing the discipline of the ancient Shas- 
tras, and by throwing open to them the rejected ele- 
ments of pure Hinduism. The Brahmanical codes lay 
down that the acceptance of a gift from a degraded 
person or a member of a low caste is a very sinful act. 
The Brahmans accordingly refuse their ministrations to 
the vintners and the courtesans, and treat them as 
beyond the pale of humanity. But the Tantric and 
Vishnuvite prophets have, in diflFerent ways, supplied 
the much-needed pretexts for overcoming such scruples. 
The Tantrics actually enjoin the worship of courte- 
sans, and lay down also that when sitting together for 
the practice of the Bacchanalian rites which they 
inculcate, the members of their orgies have all a higher 
position than even that of the BrsSimans. In the same 
manner the Vishnuvite teachers profess the most large- 
hearted philanthropy, and declare that, with such a 
potent remedy as the name of Hari for curing the souls 
of men, they nave no right to refuse their ministrations 
to any class, however low or degraded. The wealth of 
the sinners, which is rejected by the Brahmans, being 
thus made lawful prize, almost all the sect founders, 
from Buddha to Chaitanya, have been able to attract 
very large numbers of followers. Buddha himself ac- 
cepted the hospitality and the gifts of a courtesan, just 
as some of the Chaitanite Gossains of Calcutta are 
known to do at present. 

The rich pastures and virgin fields opened by our pro- 
phets to their disciples, were in themselves sufficient to 

B, HC ( 353 ) 23 


atfcracfc followers. Bat with a view to remove all possible 
difficulties from the way, and to hold out other indace- 
ments, almost all our sect founders have admitted females 
into their ecclesiastical orders, and have done their utmost 
to promote the building of monasteries which might 
serve as barracks and recruiting camps for their follow* 
ers. The Brabmanical Shastras lay down that a married 
woman has no right to practise any religious rite, ex- 
oept in the company of her husbandy and that the 
highest duties of a widow are the preservation of her 
chastity, and the performance of such rites as benefit 
the soul of her deceased husband in the next world. 
The great ^indu legislators strictly prohibit the asspcia^ 
tion of feipales, op familiar tennsy with even such males 
1^8 are very near relatives. The sect founders set aside 
ti^es^ wholesome ordinances, and admitted nuns intp their 
Qionasteries. What the result has been is well known. 

With a view to render the cultivation of learning 
possible, our ancient law^givers laid down that it was 
proper fop a Yedic student to }ive by begging. That 
was good and nol^le indeed. But the sect founders 
could not have any justiQcation in iettiqg loose on the 
world their armies of mendicants whose only functions 
are to advertise and glorify thepi, and to misappropriate 
the fund which properly belongs to the aged, the infirn^ 
i^id the helpless. 

The sect founders are, at the present time, regarded 
by many as entitled to great credit fpr V^i^g elevated 
we Ipwer pastes. But caste distinctions among the 
laity are recognized by the modern sect9 in the same 
manner as by tne Brahmans professing the ancient forma 
of Hindpism. It is pnly among thp monks and nuns 
that caste distinctions are ignored tp ^ great extent ; but 
they can have np legitimate children, and their illegitir 
mate and semi-^legitimate progeny have necessari^ i^ 
vei y low status. Thus, in practice^ the low castes arq 
still in the same position as before, in spite of tibe 
^-called reformations pf j;he latter-day prppjiets* 





Thb means which the priests and the prophets adopt 
in order to establish their power are not the same in 
every age and country. On the supposition that they 
do not derive their systems from genuine revelation, it 
must be admitted that they are all obliged to have re- 
course to hard swearing to a very large extent ; but 
that alone cannot suffice to enable them to gain their 
end. At the beginning they have necessarily to pro- 
fess that they possess the power of working miracles. 
That is a dangerous game. A living prophet of Bengal 
made a great sensation, some years ago, by promising 
to bring hack to life, after six months, all the deceased 
relatives of his followers. A large number of widows 
and bereaved mothers eagerly took the bait, and paid 
handsomely for his good graces. He made some money« 
But the day of reckoning soon arrived, and he has been 
discredited for ever. Such men are desperate gamblers 
who may make some noise for a time, but are sure to 
end their days in disgrace. The true master of the art 
may allow bis disciples to retail such stories about his 
miraculous powers as they can invent. But as soon as 
he is called upon to give an exhibition, he turns round 
indignantly and asks : " Am I a juggler ? " After 
his death, the stories of his miracles might serve 
important purposes, through the manipulations of his 
literary disciples. The latter find it advantageous 
also to give the most extravagant accounts relating 

( 355 ) 


to the birthi death and outward appearance of their 

From professing to have the power of working miracles, 
the next step is to invent legends for frightening men, 
and for leading them to fool's paradise. Bnt even these 
cannot directly serve the purposes of priestcraft in a 
material degree. What is most important to the priest 
is to invent incantations and complicated ritnals. By 
means of the latter, he is enabled to demand heavy pay- 
ments in advance. He is placed in a position to say : — 
** I may not be given any fee for my services, but I 
cannot be expected to make bricks without straw." By 
such representations, he manages to have himself remu- 
nerated indirectly in anticipation, and he does not lose 
much if the rite fails to be productive of any good to 
the party celebrating it. At an early stage the laity 
are made to believe that the ceremonies and formulas 
of the priest are capable of yielding the result which 
his so-called sacred books promise. But soon he shifts 
his ground, and begins to recommend them as useful 
for their own sake. The Vedic hymns and the T&ntric 
formulas were evidently valued at first as means to 
an end. But it is now very seldom pretended that the 
mystical words, phrases or syllables, in any book of ritual, 
can cause the destruction of an hostile army, or add 
one pice to the wealth of the votary. The Hiodu is led 
now-a-days to receive the sacrament of the mantra 
from his Guru, not by any hope that the meaningless 
syllables whispered into his ears would be productive 
of any worldly good, but by the belief that they are 
useful for spiritual purposes. The transition that is 
thus made to take place in the popular view regarding 
their utility, is very similar to what commonly happens 
in secular spheres in the courts of the Indian princes, 
A high official has a favourite to provide for. He is re- 
presented as having great influence on the refractory 
subjects of the State, and on persons having the ears of 
the British Resident. He is appointed, and when it 


becomes apparent that it is quite beyond his power to re-; 
deem his promises, his retention is justified by some such 
plea as that he is a member of a very respectable 
family, and that, though unable through bad luck to 
render any tangible good work, yet the very fact of his 
being in the service of the State adds dignity to it. 

Closely allied to the power of working miracles is the 
healing art. Incantations may fail to cure a disease, but 
with good medicines the man of religion might achieve 
better success. The kind of medicine, however, that 
can serve the purpose of the prophet is, or at least was, 
very rare before the days of Hahnemann. An homoeo- 
pathic drop might be administered as consecrated water, 
but not so any other drug. From miracles, incanta- 
tions and medicines, the man of religion therefore shifts 
his ground to asceticism, gymnastics and pantomimic 
exhibitions. By professing absolute indifference to- 
wards worldly happiness, he puts a decent veil on his 
poverty, and, at the same time, secures the confidence of 
men as to his being disinterested in cheating them. 
The attitude of silent contemplation in which he is 
always seen serves the same purposes, and also impresses 
the spectators with awe and faith. But these methods 
have great disadvantages. To begin with, they are very 
irksome, and it is quite impossible for most ordinary 
men to go through the tortures of such semi-starva^ 
tion and ^* solitary imprisonment ** suo moto for any 
length of time. The ascetic may, when he has estab- 
lished a character for superior sanctity, give up his 
self-imposed restraints, and try to enjoy a little of 
worldly pleasures. But as soon as he puts off his har- 
ness, he is lowered in the estimation of his followers. 
Moreover, the Shastric canon, once an ascetic always an 
ascetic, renders it very difficult for him to be readmitted 
to society or to get married. He may pass the remain- 
ing years of his life as a member of the class called 
householder ascetics. But they are a disreputable order« 
and he feels great reluctance to associate with theuL At 

858 i:hb latter dat pbophbts. 

/ any rate, he is precluded forever from enjoying that 

respect of his fellow-castemen and fellow-villagers which 
is the ambition of every Hindu. Such being the case, 
absolute asceticism, with all its advantages, cannot have 
much attraction to the man of religion. 

Fine speeches are sometimes as effective as the 
pantomimic exhibitions of Yoga and the practice of 
asceticism. But the gift of oratory is a rare one, and 
the man who has the ambition to be a leader of the 
mob, and yet does not possess the fair-spoken tongue of 
a demagogue, must seek for other weapons. Moreover, 
for the proper display of oratorical powers, town halls 
and expensive furnitures are absolutely necessary. And 
these are very rare in India. It is also to be borne in 
mind that while speech is silver, silence is often equi- 
valent to gold. The Tantrics therefore adopted some 
mystical syllables and gestures which serve as the 
ingredients of an imposing and awe-inspiring liturgy. 
But their laconic syllables and silent gesticulations 
cannot stir the fervour of the mob. So the later Hindu 
prophets invented other weapons which are far more 
effective, and, at the same time, are capable of being 
easily wielded. One of these consists in attaching 
great importance to the constant repetition of the name 
of some deity. The other, which has been of late very 
successfully imitated, in a modified form, by *^ General 
Booth, is the kind of religious procession called Sankir- 
tan. There cannot possibly be any difficulty in organis- 
ing such a party of musicians to patrol the streets 
with flags, drums and bugles. The music of the San- 
kirtan has itself an attraction, and when combined 
with the frequent repetition of the names of the cherished 
Hindu gods, its effect on the people is simply madden- 
ing. It generates an irresistible mania in them for 
joining the procession. It acts like a great ocean wave 
which dissolves in its progress the most refractory 



It is the fashion now^a-days to speak of the Hinda 
sect foanders as so many religions reformers, 

As if religion were intended 

For nothing else but to be mended. 

Looked at with the light of sober common sense and 
unbiased jndgment, the net resnlt of their so-called 
reformations is that they let loose on society an army 
of able-bodied beggars, with the most preposterous 
claims on the charity and the reverence of the laity. 
Moral teaching of any kind very seldom forms a part 
of the programmes of our prophets. They teach their 
followers to sing some songs which tend either to corrupt 
their morality, or to make them indifferent to work 
for the production of wealth. The most important part 
of the discipline imposed by our ^' incarnations " on 
their lay followers consists in requiring them to paint 
or brand their bodies in some particular manner, and to 
show every possible honour to their spiritual guides and 
to the begging mendicants. The monks and Uie nuns of 
every sect are only so many licensed beggars. To be 
distinguishable from the followers of other sects, they 
are required not only to brand or paint their bodies in 
the same manner as the laity, but to dress and toilet in 
some particular manner. Each sect has also a peculiar 
method of begging for its monks and nuns — the distin- 
guishing feature being either in the alms bowl, or in 
the time and mode of applying for alms, or in the shape 
in which alms would be taken. The alms bowl is either 

• ( 359 ) 


an earthen or a brass pot, or a hemispherical portion 
of a cocoannt shelly or a basket, or a cooking pot^ or a 
bag of cotton cloth. Some have a staff and a water pot 
in addition to the alms bowl, while there are others who 
do not encumber themselves with any of these things, 
bat will receive in the palm of their hand the food 
that is offered to them. The mendicants of most of .the 
sects take nncooked rice, or pice, or whatever else of 
valne is offered to them excepting cooked food. But 
there are some sects the monks and nuns of which 
will accept only a spoonful of cooked rice, while there 
are others whose ecclesiastics will not, in order to 
show their indifference to wealth, take either pice or rice, 
but will only eat cooked food if offered by a Brahman 
with due honour. Some of the religious mendicants 
rove about for alms during daytime only ; while with 
others night is the favourite time for such excursions. 
Some pass through the streets repeating the name of 
some god or that of the founder of their sect or only 
some queer phrase, and the people give them alms 
without any further solicitation on their part Some 
carry about their person small bells by the tinkling 
of which the people are apprised of their presence. 
But generally they stop at every door on the road side, 
and use one or other of the following means to induce 
or compel the inmates of the tenements to submit to 
their demands : — 

1. Singincf 8on^ impressing npon men the oielessneBS of 

wealth to its owner after his death. 

2. Singing, in the names of the gods and goddesses, amorous 

songs which are neoessarily very agreeable to the ears 

of yoang men and women, and for which they gbtdly 

give alms. 
8. Sinfang songs relating to Rama's exile, Durgfi's marriage 

with Siva, and Krisnna's neglect of his foster parents^ 

such songs being oalcnlatra to awaken the tenderest 

sentiments in the matrons. 
4. Singing songs calculated to impress u^n men the idea that 

great danger might arise by slighting the mendioants* 
6. Parading an idol representing one of the mischief-making 

Sods or goddesses, as, for instance, those that are be- 
ieved to have the power of causing the death of their 
scoffers by means of cholera, small-poz or snake-bite. 


6. By simply lavishmg good wishes. 

7. By offering holy water or consecrated food broaght from 

some sacred place. 

8. Playinsr on the oredality of the people by fortune-telling 

and palmistry. 
0. By professing to be only collectors of subscriptions for 
the feeding of poor pilgrims. 

10. By professing to be 011 route to, or from, a place of pil- 


11. TerriMng the people by threatening to commit suicide 

in their presence. 

12. Carrying snakes, carrion and ordure to disgust and hor- 

rify the people. 

The last two methods are not very common. Some 
of the Sankarite monks are well versed in Sanskrit 
lore. But the mendicants of most of the other sects 
are generally quite illiterate. There are a few good 
and harmless men among them. But the majority of 
them are men of very low morals. They have among 
them ex-convicts, criminals " wanted " by the Police, 
and persons outoasted for making illicit loves. The 
teaching of morality by such men is out of the question. 
Their sect marks and uniforms serve to rehabilitate 
them to some extent, and, in their new character, they 
are very often able to become the heads of monasteries 
with harems full of so-called " nuns." 

A good many of the mendicants have to pass their 
lives in great misery. Those who lack the required 
amount of shrewdness can never rise above the condi- 
tion of beggars, and when age or infirmity overtakes 
them their condition becomes very deplorable. Some 
find an asylum in the monasteries of their sects. Some 
get a still more precarious shelter in the public rest- 
houses and temples. But the majority, being without 
friends and relatives, die in great misery. In the places 
of pilgrimage, and by the sides of the roads leading to 
them, may very often be seen the ghastly spectacle of 
the body of some mendicant being torn and devoured 
by jackals and vultures. Sometimes the feast is com- 
menced even before death. 

In spite, however, of the sad fate of a great many 
of the monks and nuns, the profession has had great 


attraotioQs in every age. In former times, tbe heads 
of the mendicants be^une, in some cases, recfognised 
as important powers in the country. They acted as the 
spies of the kings, and very often supplied recmits to 
them in times of war. Under British rule their 
political importance is well-nigh gone. Bat in their 
own spheres, they still flourish as before. Some attain 
almost princely positions by becoming the abbots of 
the existing monasteries. Some establish new mon- 
asteries and place themselves in charge. They all 
begin their career as beggars. Some of them suc- 
ceed in ingratiating themselves in the favour of the 
superiors of their sects, and become their successors 
sooner or later. A few of the monks and nuns manage 
to attain a high position by means of fortune-telUng, 
or by developing the curious power of swooning on 
the mere mention of the name of some god. When a 
mendicant has acquired a character for sanctity by any 
one of the usual processes, he has only to give out 
that he has found an idol by miracle, with injuncf 
tions to erect a temple to it. The necessary funds for 
the purpose being never supplied miraculously to the 
devotee, he invites subscriptions from the pious ; and 
when the temple is built, a part of it naturally becomes 
his dwelling-nouse. With the further contributions 
made by the visitors to the shrine, he is enabled to 
live in comfort. When a shrine is in tbe struggling 
atage, the high priest generally leads a pure life, and 
spends a large part of his income in feeding the poor 

Eilgrims. But the high priests of the temples that 
ave a well-established character for sanctity are usually 
just the kind of men that they ought not to be. There 
are thus five stages in the careers of the successful 
monks and nuns. First, the beggar ; then the charlatan ; 
then the temple promoter ; then the princely high 
priest ; and last of all the debauchee. The theme 
IS one to which justice could be done only by the genius 
pf a Shakespeare. . .. 


Some of the mendicants attain the highest develop- 
ments possible for their class by shorter cuts. When- 
ever a monk manages to become the favourite of some 
weak prince, nothing else is necessary to make him 
wealthy and to establish his character for sanctity. The 
people naturally worship the man who is worshipped by 
their king. 


Bbfork enumerating the classes under which the 
several sects now existing may be grouped, I must warn 
the reader against supposing that every Hindu is neces- 
sarily a member of some particular brotherhood. As a 
matter of fact the majority of the high caste Hindus in 
Northern India do not belong to any of the modem sects, 
but worship all the gods of their pantheon^ giving 
special importance either to Siva or to one of his con- 
sorts, or to Vishnu. The aristocratic Brahman usually 
keeps in his private chapel an ammonite Salagram 
representing Vishnu, and a pair of phallic emblems 
representing Siva and his wife. He worsnips these every 
day after bathing, and before breakfast. When he goes 
to any place of pilgrimage, like Benares, Brindaban or 
Puri, he pays his homage both to the Sivite and the 
Vishnuvite shrines there. He does not admit the 
pretensions of the latter-day prophets like Chaitanya 
and Vallabhachari. But, whatever deity may be 
entitled to special adoration by his family, ne does not 
hesitate to worship any of the other gods of the ancient 
Hindu pantheon. In fact, it is very common for Vish- 
nuvites to celebrate the Durga Puja, and for Sivites 
and Saktas to have images of Krishna in their private 

Sectarian bigotry and exclusiveness are to be found 
chiefly among the professional leaders of the modern 
brotherhoods, and among their low caste disciples who 
are taught to believe that theirs are the only true gods, 

( 364 ) 


and that the rest do not deserve any reverence what- 
ever. Some sectarians avoid even the utterance of the 
names of the deities worshipped by their opponents, 
and this kind of bigotry is carried so far by the Chaita- 
nites of Bengal that, when they have to use an equiva^ 
lent for the word *ink,' they use the Persian word 
sihaij and would never speak of it by its Bengali name 
kdli^ that word being also the name for the goddess 
worshipped by the Saktas. A Chaitanite would rather 
starve than eat any food that has been offered to Kali 
or Durga. The Vira Saivas or Lingaits of Southern 
India carry their bigotry to the same extent. They 
would on no account repeat the name of Hari, and 
would avoid every form of Vishnu worship as the ' 
greatest of abominations in the world. 

The existing Hindu and quasi-Hindu sects may be 
divided into the following principal groups : — 

1. Worshippers of Siva. 

2. Worshippers of Siva's consorts. 

3. Worshippers of Rama. 

4. Worshippers of Krishna and his wives and sweethearts. 

5. Worshippers of modem incarnations of Krishna. 

6. Worshippers of great teachers, ancient and modem. 

The Rama-worshipping religion, and some of the 
faiths falling under tne last mentioned group, are pure 
map-worshipping religions. The others are man-wor- 
shipping cults also. But they are more or less combined 
witn abomination-worship. 


AocoRDiNQ to onr social etiqnette, aay Hinda house- 
holder may be asked to mentioa hb name, his father's 
name, his (iotra, his Vedas, and hb caste. But a religious 
mendicant cannot be properly asked any question about 
bis name, or his family, or his caste. A monk may, 
however, be asked to give such information regarding 
hb sect as may be required of him. Generally the 
sect may be ascertained from the marks on his forehead 
and from his dress. The proper forms of rthe questions 
that might be asked with a view to elicit the necessary 
information are not the same for all the sects. A 
Chaitanite monk or nun of Bengal may be interrogated 
in the following manner : — 

1. Who Ib the Lord of the family to which ftm belong? 

2. Where Ib your Sripat 7 

To a Sankarite, the following queries may be put 
without any breach of decorum :— 

What it your Kshettra ? 
What is your Beva? 
What i» your Devi T 
What ii your Tirtha T 
What U your Vedas ? 
What is your Maha Bakya ? 
What it yonr Marhl ? 

( 366 ) 




Thb three deities oomposing the Hinda Triad bear^ 
as is well-known, the names of Brahma, Vishnu and 
Siva. According to the view nsnally taken of their 
functions, Brahma is the creator of the nniTerse^ Vishna 
}s its preserv^ir, and Siva is its destroyer. The creating 
od being functus officio, has very few worshippers* 
he preserving god is daily worshipped by every Brah- 
9ian, he being represented among the penates by an 
ammonite pebble of the kind fonnd at the source of the 
river Gandak, and called Salgram. Some Brahmans 
and Sanyasis c^rrv about their person a Salgram, and 
there are some puolic temples in which the presiding 
deity has that form. In the majority of the Vishnuvit© 
shrines, however, the god is represented by an image of 
stone, wood or metal, having the cowherd boy's form 
that he assumed when he incarnated as Krishna. The 
gOjd Siva is described in the Purans as a mendicant 
aressed in tiger skin, with matted locks, and snakes 
serving the purpose of ribbons and apron strings* 
He is represented also with watery half-shut eyes, and 
with the garb and deiiieanour of a person under the 
influence of wine nndbhanff. Images of Siva having 
these characteristics are sometimes jh^i with. But they 
seldom receive any worstiip, and the Sivites usufdly offer 

( 367 ) 


their adoration to only the images of the Linga. These 
are cylindrical pieces of stone, mounted in most cases 
on a perforated circular piece representing the Yoni. 

The Sivite cult is the most common and ancient form 
of abomination-worship.* It has been established by 
the researches of antiquarians that the worship of Siva, 
in the form of Linga, prevailed in India long oefore the 
commencement of the era of Christ. In all probability 
the worship of the phallic emblems of the grim god 
was one of the common institutions of the Aryan nations 
in their original home. The Greek god Bacchus and 
the Egyptian god Osiris were worshipped in the very 
same form, l^rom the account which Megasthenes 
has given of the Hindu pantheon, it is evident that 
in speaking of the worship of Bacchus in India, he 
meant only Siva's Linga. f This much at least is certain 
that Siva-worship was in a very flourishing condition 
at the time of the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni.t 

* The nomenclature that I hare used here is somewhat offensive. 
Put in the English language there does not seem to be any other 
term that might express what I mean, without wounding the feelings 
of any class. 

t See Ancient India a* describsd by MegoHhenM and Arritm^ 
p. 111. By J. W. McCrindle, m.a. 

% The Sivite shrine of Somnath destroyed by Mahmud was, and 
In its restored condition is, reckoned as one of the twelve chief 
Sivite shrines in India. The following are the other eleven : — 

2. Mallikarjuna of Sri Saila, in the District of Kumool, in 

the Meidras Presidency. 

8. Mahakala in Ujiayin. 

4. Omkara Nath on the banks of the Narmada. 

5. Amareshwara near Ujiayin. • 

6. Yaidyanath on the Chord Line, E. I. Railway. 

7. Bameshwara, an island between Ceylon and the Southern 

end of the Indian Peninsula. 

8. Bhima Sankara at Ihikini or Dracharam near Baj 


9. Tryambaka on the Gomati. 

10. Goutamesha. 

11. Kedamatha on the Himalayan slopes, in the Distriot of 


12. Bishweshwar in Benares. 


The worship of Siva is still the most prevailing ele- 
ment in the religion of all classes of Hindus, excepting 
the Banias. Every high caste Brahman has an image 
of the Linga among his penates, and there is hardly a 
single Hindu village in the country that has not a 
Sivite shrine. In connection with tnese village idols 
of Siva, it may be mentioned here that, for some days 
in the year, they are touched and worshipped by such 
members of the low castes as dedicate themselves, for 
the time being, to their service. The season for their 
saturnalia is the second week of April. During that 
period the low caste men, who take the vow, are required 
to observe the discipline of the Sanyasis or ascetics ; 
and to subject themselves to a variety of self-inflicted 
tortures. The hook-swinging, which was the most cruel 
feature of the progranmie, has been happily stopped by 
the British Government. But walking upon neaps of 
live charcoal and rolling upon ** cushions ' of thorns 
are still allowed to be practised. The Sivite low castes 
who enlist themselves as Sanyasis in the last week of 
the Bengali year subject themselves to various other 
tortures, as, for instance, piercing the tongue and the 
sides with heavy javelins. The higher castes are accus- 
tomed from infancy to enjoy such spectacles as a fun. 

B, HO 24 



The Sivite religion being the one most prevalent 
among the Hindas in every part of India, the time and 
manner in which it first came into existence are ques- 
tions of very considerable interest to the theological 
student. Siva worship is beyond donbt an ancient 
cult, and, considering some of the* characters in which 
the deity is represented, it does not seem impossible 
that the recognition of his godhead is a survival of some 
ancient form of demon-worship directly degenerating 
into abomination-worship. Destruction is still held to 
be the principal function of the god, and, although in 
some places he is described as having been an ascetic 
and a contemplative philosopher, the very opposite 
character is given to him quite as often in the Hindu 
nry^thologies. " He is a wild and jovial mountaineer 
(Kirata), addicted to hunting and wine drinking, fond 
of dancing (Nritya Priya, also called Natesvara, ' lord 
of dancers'), often dancing with his wife the Tandava 
dance, and surrounded by dwarfish, buffoon-like troops 
(Gana) of attendants, who, like their master, are fond of 
good living and occasionally inebriated by intoxicat- 
ing liquors," Such conceptions of the deity, and his 
robe of tiger skin, as also the snakes used by him as 
apron strings and ribbons, are clearly of the demon- 

• Bee BrahmanUm and Hinduism, by Sir M onier WiUiams, pp. 82— 
85. See also the Batuku Bhairava hymn in the Tantra SarOy p. 200, 
BattoU Edition. 

( 370 ) 


worshipping stage. But the Puranic stories have, it 
seems, a very different and a very recent origin. These 
represent him as the greatest of yogis or contemplative 
saints, and also as a mendicant who, in respect of dress 
and demeanour, resembled very much the begging 
Sanyasis that are to be found in all the large towns and 
places of pilgrimage in India. In the Purans it is 
stated also that Siva's first wife, Sati, was the daughter 
of the patriarch Daksha ; that as Siva and his wife were 
not invited by Daksha to a feast celebrated in his house, 
they felt themselves so insulted that Sati actually com- 
mitted suicide, and that Siva caused the festivities to be 
completely spoilt through the instrumentality of the 
ghosts and demons that are his devoted attendants ; that 
after the death of Sati, Siva became so rapt in contempla- 
tion that he became quite unmindful of every thing else ; 
that the other gods were in great distress at the time, 
having been turned out from heaven by a great mon- 
ster ; that they applied to Brahma for the necessary 
remedy ; that Brahma told them that their enemy could 
be vanquished only by a son of Siva ; that the god of 
love (Kama) was accordingly deputed to awaken Siva 
from his trance, and to give rise in his mind to a desire 
for taking a second wife and procreating a child ; that 
the great god was so offended by the disturbance that 
he at once caused the death of Kama ; that nevertheless 
he was successfully courted by his future consort Parvati, 
the daughter of the Himalayan King ; that when he 
agreed to meet the wishes of his would-be bride her 
father gave her in marriage to him with great eclat ; 
that the issue of that marriage, Kartika, fought the 
battles of the gods and restored them to their proper 
power and positions ; and, finally, that Kartika never 
married, but set his whole heart on fine dresses, sweet- 
meats, and boyish games. 

To those who are wanting in faith, all this must at 
first sight appear as quite puerile. But it seems to me 
that, even without the encnanting colour that faith can 


lend, the stories sninmarised above have a deep meaning* 
They can certainly be made very intelligible by the 
theory that they are the inventions of a mendicant. The 
story of Sati is clearly meant to secure for the Sanyasis 
the sympathy of the matrons* The story of Daksha 
and the agencies that marred his festive preparations, 
are meant to bully the king^ and the aristocracy, and 
to secure for the mendicants a proper invitation to their 
feasts. The story of Kama, trying to excite a desire 
for marriage in Siva, is evidently intended to make the 
people believe that ordinarily the Sanyasis are quite 
above the vulgar appetites of ordinary men. The story 
of the courting of Siva by Parvati gives an audible 
expression to a wish which perhaps lurks in the minds 
of all classes of men, from tne greatest of kings to the 
poorest of beggars. Considering the amount of worry 
and trouble which most men have to go through in 
order to secure the favour of their future partners, it is 
impossible for anyone of the sterner sex not to wish that 
the order of things were reversed. To the beggars who 
cannot possibly hope to secure their object by any kind of 
attention or humiliation, the mere dream of such joy can- 
not but be a source of ecstasy. The story of the Hima- 
layan King, feeling himself honoured by being allowed 
to give his daughter to Siva, is clearly meant to imply 
that other kings should follow his example by making the 
mendicants their sons-in-law. The legend about Kartik 
fighting the battles of the gods, and never taking a wife, 
suggests that if the kings would give their daughters in 
marriage to the mendicants, they might expect to have, 
by the issue of such marriage, very able generals for 
their armies who would never be a source of danger to 
them or to their successors in the male lines. & the 
meaning of the Sivite legends be not as stated above, 
they must, it seems, be said to be incapable of any rational 

The form in which Siva is usually worshipped, com- 
bined with the Tnahabakya of the Sivite mendicanta. 


points also to the conclnsion that their cult is the 
invention of some clever beggar of their brotherhood. 
The Sivite is required by his religion to assert every now 
and then that he is Siva. His mahahakya^ '^ I am Siva," 
when taken in connection with Linga worship, renders 
the object of repeating the formula intelligible enough. 
Bat looked at separately, and from the point of view 
of those who regard the religion as a pnre and noble 
one, neither the phallic worship nor the mahahahya can 
have any rational meaning. 


From the literature of the Sankarite sects, it appears 
that even before the time of the great champion of 
Brahmanism, there were several Sivite sects embracing 
within their folds a very large portion of the Hinda 
population of the country. Sankara did not found any 
Sivite sects properly so-called. His primary object 
was to root out Buddhism* from the country, and, in 
order to attain that end, he countenanced every form 
of Hinduism, including the worship of Siva, Sakti, 
Vishnu, Sun and Ganesh. He himself had great faith 
in the Vedantic doctrine of one God, manifesting him- 
self by the creation of the universe, without the help 
of prakriti or material basis. But he did not discard 
the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, and it 
seems very probable that either he himself or his 
disciples gave great encouragement to Siva worship in 
order to render Buddha worship obsolete. Nowhere 
is Sankara represented as a destroyer of Buddhistic 
temples and images. In all probability he and his 
disciples took those shrines under their protection, and 
found it much safer to represent the idols worshipped 
therein as images of the Hindu god Siva, than to throw 
them away into the streets, or to destroy them. Even 
now there are many shrines bearing the designation of 
Dharma Raj, where the Hindus daily offer worship, in 

* Bee Bfihat Dharma Purdn. 

( 374 ) 


the belief that their presiding deity is Siva, and without 
entertaining the least suspicion that the idols receiving 
their homage as such were in fact Buddhistic images* 

The fact that Sankara directly encouraged the wor- 
ship of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon 
is proved by other evidences also. In the monastery 
of Sringeri,* which is the chief of the four maths set up 
by him, the presiding deity is Sarswati, the goddess of 
learning. In the Joshi math on the Himalayan slopes 
the principal shrine is the Vishnuvite temple of Badari 
Natn. But the most conclusive evidence, as to Sankara 
having countenanced the worship of the personal gods 
of the Hindu pantheon, is afforded by the Sankara 
Digmjaya^ or the History of Sankara's controversial 
victories, by his disciple Ananda Giri. In that work, 
the authority of which is reckoned by the sect as 
unquestionable, it is distinctly stated that by Sankara's 
order his apostles Lakmanacharya and Hasta Malaka 
converted tne east and the west to Yaishnavism, and 
that another of his disciples named Paramata Kalanala 
visited various places in India, and everywhere initiat- 
ed the people in the Sivite faith. 

Whatever Sankara's own faith may have been, his 
followers are practically Sivites. The Smarta Brahmans 
of the Deccan, who acknowledge him as their principal 
teacher, are all professed Sivites. The grim god is 
regarded by them all as the chief object of worship, 
and they paint on their foreheads the Sivite Tripun- 
dra, consisting of three horizontal lines of Bibhuti or 
sacred ashes. The mendicants of the several orders 
founded by Sankara theoretically claim to be the wor- 
shippers of an invisible god. But the Sivite Tripundras 

* Sringeri is at the source of the Tunea Bhadra within the terrl- 
tories of the Mysore Raj. The head of the Sringeri math has ^reat 
power throoghont the ueccan. He can by his fiat excommunicate 
any non- Vishnuvite Hindu of the Deccan. The Sankarite monastery 
atPnri is called Goverdhan matA, and that at Dwarika is called 
Sharada matK, The superiors of these or of the Joshi math have 
not muoh influenoe. 


which they paint on their foreheads, and the Sivite 
hymns which they recite, point to the conclusion that 
they are in reality worshippers of Siva. Sankara did 
not admit any nnns into his monasteries. The monks 
of the orders founded by him are called Dasnamis from 
their using one or other of the following surnames : — 

1. Sanwati The name of the goddess of learning. 

2. Bharati Another name of tne goddess of learning. 

3. Pun Lit. Town. 

4. Tirtiia Lit. Place of pilgrimage. 

5. Asram Lit. Refuge. 

6. Bana Lit. Forest. 

7. Oiri Lit. HiU. 

8. Aranya Lit. Forest. 

9. Parvata Lit. Mountain. 
10. Sagara Lit. Sea. 

These surnames are derived from the names or acade- 
mic titles of the ten disciples of Sankara's immediate 
pupils. The first three, namely, Sarswati, Bharati 
and Puri are supposed to be attached to the Sringeri 
monastery. The Tirthas and the Asrams look up to the 
Sharoda Maih of Dwarika as their chief monastery; the 
Bans and Aranyas profess to be connected with the 
Goverdhan Math of Puri ; and the Joshi Math on the 
Himalaya is the chief centre of monks bearing the 
surnames Giri, Parvata and Sagara. Monks bearing 
the titles of Aranya, Sagara and Parvata are not 
usually to be found now-a-days. 

These different surnames do not imply any difference 
of religion or religious practice. The classification 
of the Sankarite monks which is based on a difference 
of observances, is as follows: — 

1. Dandi. 3. ParamaHansa. 

2. Sanyasi. 4. Brahmachari. 

5. Grihastha Gossains. 

The actual differences between the first four of the 
above orders are very trivial. They are only slightly 
modified forms of the Asramas, or modes of passing life, 
which the ancient Hindu legislators recommended, but 
under conditions that checked every possible tendency 
towards vagrancy. In our holy codes it is laid down 


that every member of the three superior castes should 
pass through the following conditions :— 

1. Ab a Brahmachari or Vedicl Generally speaking from 

student living on alms. i the 8th to the 26th /ear. 

2. As a Orihastluk or house- iDurinff the entire penod of 

holder with wife. | youUifol vigour. 

3. As a Banaprastha or forest) 

recluse with or without 
wife, living on the spon- 
taneous products of the 
earth collected by his own 

Durinffwhatis called the 
products of ~ the f third part of life. 
Bcted by his own 
industry. j 

4. As a Sanyasi or begging 1Durin|r the dosing years 
mendicant. j of lue. 

From the ordinances on the subject contained in our 
ancient codes, it might seem at first sight that oar 
Bishis encouraged vagrancy pro tanto. But reading 
their texts between the lines, it would appear that what 
they really intended was to encourage men to marry 
and live as peaceful householders, instead of observing 
celibacy and running the risk of drifting into a disre- 
putable course of life. Asceticism has naturally a 
great attraction for such adventurous men as have a 
craving for being venerated by the mob for their holy 
character. But it is impossible to fight against nature, 
and these men generally fail most miserably in maintain- 
ing their original vows. It was not, however, consistent 
with the policy of our holy law-givers to declare that 
there was no merit whatever in the life of an ascetic 
They knew too well how to maintain the dignity of the 
holy orders, to expose even the impostors to infamy. 
So instead of discrediting asceticism, they actually 
recommended it, though at a period of life when it can 
have no attraction even to the most adventurous spirits. 

Manu says : — 

1. When the father of a family perceives his muscles become 

flaccid and his hair grey, and sees the chUd of his 
child, let him then seek refuge in a forest. 

2. Abandoning all food eaten in towns and all his household 

utensils let him repair to the lonely wood. 

16. Let him not eat the produce of ploughed land though 
abandoned by any man, nor fruits and roots pro- 
duced in a town, even though hunger oppresses him. 

29. For the pur]>ose of uniting his soul with the divine 
spirit, let him study the various Upanishads. 


33. Having thus performed religious acts in a forest daring 
the third portion of life, let him become a Sanyasi 
for the fourth portion of it, abandoning all sensnal 

37. If a Brahman have not read the Veda, if he have not 
begotten a son, and if he have not performed sacri- 
fices, yet shall aim at final beatitude, he shall sink 
to a place of degradation.— ifanu VI, vs. 2, 3, 16, 

These ordinances clearly show that the real object of 
the law-giver was not to encourage the practice of 
asceticism, but to check it to the utmost extent possible. 
The sage distinctly gives preference to the life of a 
householder. He says : — 

77. As all creatures subsist by receiving sapi>ort from air, 

thus all orders of men exist by receiving support 
from house-keepers. 

78. And since men of the three other orders are each day 

nourished by them, a house-keeper is for this reason 
of the most eminent order— Ifanu III, 77, 78. 

The Grihastha Gossains represent, it seems, the second 
stage of life spoken of and recommended in the ancient 
Hindu codes. They marry and live as householders. 
They act as Gurus to the lay members of their sect, 
administering the sacrament of the mantra to their 
disciples. They never serve as purohits or priests. 
In fact, in the religious ceremonies celebrated in their 
own houses, the functions of the purohit are performed 
by Brahmans who are not of their order. Unlike 
the mendicants, the Grihasthas wear the sacred thread, 
and dress like householders. Generally speaking, their 
pujas and prayers are the same as those of other 
Sivite Brahmans, and their only peculiarity lies in the 
fact that they do not perform the Sandnya prayer. 
They keep among their penates a Sivite Linga and a 
Salgram, and worship these emblems of Siva and 
Vishnu in the same manner as most of the high caste 
Brahmans do. They do not worship Krishna, Badhika 
or Kali in their own houses, but show due honour to the 
idols representing them in the public shrines. The 
only female divinity that receives their special ador^ 
tion is Sarswatiy the goddess of learning. They wear 


garlands of Rndraksfaa, and like the mendicants, utter 
every now and then the formnla, Sivoham, signifying 
"I am Siva." They are, or ought to be, like the 
mendicants, strict vegetarians and teetotalers. They 
marry within their own order, but cannot take a wife 
from a family bearing the same surname. They do 
not throw their dead into a river, as the mendicants 
do, but burn or bury their deceased relatives as they 
think fit. If buried, the corpse is placed in the sit- 
ting posture of religious contemplation. A Grihastha 
may, before marriage, become a mendicant, but not 
afterwards. The Grihasthas show great reverence to 
the mendicants. A Grihastha Gossain may eat twice 
in twenty-four hours. Among the Sankarite monks, 
there are a few who devote themselves more or less 
to the cultivation of learning ; but the rest have no 
justification whatever for the kind of life that they 


The Sankarite ascetics called Dandis are so desig* 
nated on account of their bearing a Danda or wand, 
like the ancient Vedic students. None but a fatherless, 
motherless, wifeless and childless Brahman can be ini- 
tiated as a Dandi. The process of initiation to the sect is 
an elaborate one, of which the burning of the neophyte's 
sacred thread, and the eating of the ashes thereof by 
him, are the most important parts. By these and certain 
other ceremonies indicative of a new birth, he is sup- 

Eosed to pass into the condition of a god, and he 
imself constantly expresses his belief in such transform 
mation by repeating the Soham formula. After his 
baptism, he takes a new name with one of the following 
surnames : — 

1. Tirtha. 3. Bharati. 

2. Asnuna. 4. Sarswati. 

The usual dress of a Dandi consists of five pieces of 
cotton cloth dyed red with ochre. Of these one small 
piece serves as a cover for the loins, and another of 
the same size as a girdle to keep the other in position. 
The other three pieces are of larger size, being each 
about two yards in length, and a yard in breadth. 
One of these is tied round the waist, and serves to 
cover the thighs and the legs ; another is tied round 
the breast and hangs down like a barrister's gown ; 
the third piece is wrapped round the head to serve the 
purpose of a turban. 

The Dandis are not required by their religion to 
worship any god. But, in actual practice, they carry 

( 880 ) 


about them either an image of Yishnn in the form of 
a Salgram, or a phallic emblem of Siva. The Dandi^ 
are fonnd in large numbers in Benares, where they are 
fed with great honour by the pilgrims. Bat it is said 
that a great many of the 80-K»!iIed Dandis of Benares 
are pure shams, being in fact the poorest of beggars 
whom the local lodging house-keepers and guides palm 
off as Dandis to partake of the hospitality and the 
largesses of the pilgrims. What is eaten by them 
becomes theirs irrevocably as a matter of course ; but 
the new clothes, water-pots, and other things which are 
given to them by their hosts fall to the share of the 
party acting as broker in securing them invitations. 

The Dandis affect that they do not accept pecuni- 
ary gratuities. But they Imve usually with them 
such companions as would readily accept, on their 
behalf, any coins that might be offered to tnem by any 
one. With a view to strengthen their claim to the 
hospitality of the laity, the Dandis pretend also that 
they do not touch fire on any account, not even for 
cooking their food. But when they fail to procure 
dressed food by begging, their spiritual companions 
dress their food for them. Like most of the several 
classes of mendicants, the Dandis are allowed to have 
only one meal in twenty-four hours. 


A Brahman alone can become a Dandi properly so- 
called. But the order called Sanyasi is open not only 
to the three superior castes, but to some extent to even 
Sudras. Some persons take up the garb of the Sanyasi 
without being initiated to the order. A person who 
has a wife or an infant son or aged parents cannot be 
admitted to be a mendicant of any class. When a 
man duly qualified desires to be a Sanyasi, the proper 
course for him is to apply to a Guru or superior of the 
sect, and to go through a ceremony in the course of 
which he has to put off his sacred thread, if he have 
any, and to shave off the tuft of hair which evenr 
orthodox Hindu keeps at the central part of his head. 
The Guru whispers into the ears of the neophyte the 
words Namah Sivaya or Om Namah Shaya^ and a 
Sanskrit couplet, the purport of which is as follows : — 

O thou wise man I Please contemplate yourself and myself as 
identical with the Divine essencei and roam about without pride or 
affection according to your inclination. 

The formula which the neophyte has to recite, at 

the time of saluting the Guru, is still more curious. 

Its purport is as follows : — 

Salutation to you and salutation to me. Salutation again to both 
you and my ownself. Thou art thou, and I am identical with the 
great soul pervading the Universe. Therefore I salute thee. 

At the conclusion of these ceremonies, the neophyte 
receives a new name with one of the following sur- 
names :— 

1. Oiri. 

4. Ban. 

2. Pun. 

6. Aranya. 

X Bharati. 

6. Parvata. 

7. Sigara. 
( 382 ) 


The neophyte is then enjoined to go through a 
coarse of probation during which he has to visit some 
places of pilgrimage, according to the directions of his 
spiritual superior, and to conform also to the routine 
prescribed by him for his daily prayers* 

When the period of apprenticeship is completed, then 
the following ceremonies have to be gone through : — 

1. Oeremonies for pleasing the gods, the saints, and the 

ancestors of the neophyte. 

2. His Sradha or rites performable after his death. 

3. The taking up of the saored thread for the porpooe of 

again abandoning it. 

The Sivite Sanyasis smear their bodies with ashes, and 

have generally a tiger skin wrapped round their waist 

or carried underneath their armpit when travelling, 

but used as a cushion or bed whenever seated. They 

do not, like the Dandis, shave their heads or their 

beards, bnt allow their hirsute appendages to grow 

without limit, the hair of their heads being generally 

matted and formed into coils by the accumulation of 

dirt. Some of the Sivite Sanyasis paint an eye on their 

forehead in order to be like the god Siva as much as 

possible. They carry either a conch shell or a pair of 

pincers in their hands. They are usually fonnd in towns, 

by the sides of the busy thoroughfares, or within the 

enclosures of the principal Sivite shrines. Wherever 

seated they usually kindle a fire before them, and pass 

their time in the continual smoking of ganja. They 

carry about their person various articles indicative of 

their having visited the great Hindu shrines in the 

different parts of India. One of these is an arm ring 

of iron, brass or copper having the images of various 

Hindu gods carved on its sides, and indicating that 

the wearer has visited one or other of the great shrines 

of Pasupatinath, Kedarnath and Badarinath on the 

Himalayan slopes. A smaller ring obtainable at the 

same places would be worn by the Sivite Sanyasi as a 

part of his Rudraksha garland. Those who have visited 

the shrine of Kali at Hingalaj in Beluchistan wear 


necklaces of little stone beads called Thnmra, and adorn 
their hair by a metallic sabstance called Swarna Mak- 
shi (lit. golden fly). Similar beads are obtainable 
also at the hot springs of Manikarnika on the Hima- 
lajran slopes, and are worn by Sanyasis who have 
visited that shrine. A pilgrimage to Rameshwara in 
the extreme south is indicated by a ring of conch shell 
worn on the wrist. There are varions other odds and 
ends of the same kind which are used similarly by the 
class of mendicants that are being spoken of here. 

As the Sivite Sanyasis have no objection to touch 
fire, they generally cook their own food. They would, 
without any hesitation eat cooked food ofl^red to them 
by a Brahmana. In fact, some of them profess that 
they are prepared to eat any kind of food offered to 
them by anvone. Whatever the theoretical injunctions 
may be, the Sivite Sanyasis accept both coins and 
uncooked eatables. Generally speaking, they are quite 
illiterate. Some of them have a little knowledge of 
therapeutics, and there are among them a few who 
have perhaps the best medicines for some of the most 
obstinate diseases that man is heir to. Unfortunately 
they never divulge the secrets of their healing art for 
the benefit of the pubUc. 

The Dandis ana Param Hansas are mostly Sanka- 
rites. But among the Sanyasis there are many Vishnu- 
vites and Tantrics. Those who become Sanyasis in an 
irregular manner are called Abadhuta Sanyasis. 


After a period of probation which properly ought to 
extend to twelve years, the Dandi and the Sanyasi 
become qualified to be a Parama Hansa. The word 
Hansa ordinarily means a " ^oose." But it is also one 
of the names of Vishnn, and the expression '^ Parama 
Hansa" evidently means the " Sapreme Vishnu." Pro- 
perly speaking, the Parama Hansa is neither a Sivite 
nor a Vishnuvite. He is in fact a self-worshipper. The 
Sivite prayers, which form a part of the Dandi's ritual, 
are omitted by the Parama Hansa. The latter has only 
to repeat constantly the mystic syllable Om. Like the 
Dandis, the Parama Hansas are required also to assert, 
every now and then, their identity with the Divine 

The Parama Hansas are of two kinds. Those who 
enter the order after having been Dandis are called 
Dandi Parama Ebmsas, while those who are promoted 
from the ranks of the Abadhuta Sanyasis are called 
Abadhuta Parama Hansas. A few of the Parama 
Hansas go about naked. But the majority of them 
are to be found fipracefully clad in the same manner as 
the Dandis. With reference to the class of ascetics 
under notice. Professor Wilson in his Hindu Sects 
makes the following observations : — 

Aooording to the introduotion of the Dwadoia Mahdbakya by a 
Dandi author, Vaikantha Pari, the Sanyad is of four kinds, the 
Kutiohaka, Bahudaka^ ffatua and Parama Soma ; the difference 
between whom, however, is only the graduated intensity of their 
self -mortification and profound abstraction. The Parama Hansa is 
the most eminent of these gradations and is the ascetic who is solely 

B, HC ( 885 ) 25 


occupied with the investigation of Brahma, or spirit, and who is 
equally indifferent to pleasure or pain, insensible of heat or cold, 
and incapable of satietv or want. 

Agreeably to this denuition, individuals are sometimes met with 
who pretend to have attained such a degree of perfection : in proof 
of it they go naked in all weathers, never speax, and never indicate 
any natoral want : what is brought to them as aims or food, by any 
person, is received by his attendants, whom their supposed sancti^ 
or confederation of Interest attaches to them, and bv these atten- 
dants they are fed and served on all occasions, as if they were as 
helpless as infants. It may be supposed that there ii much knavery 
in their helplessness, but there are man^r Hindus whose simple 
enthusiasm mduoes them honestly to practise such self-denial, and 
there is little risk in the attempt, as the credulity of their country- 
men, or rather countrywomen,, will, in most plaoes, take care that 
their wants are amply supplied. 

Some of the Sanyasis and Parama Hansas pretend 
that they do not eat any kind of food. One of this 
class yisited the late Babn Bam Ratan Boy of Narail, 
about the year 1854, with a lar^e nnmber of com- 
panions. Babu Boy kept him under close surveillance 
for more than a month, and was ultimately so satisfied 
as to his miraculous powers that he gAve his followers 
a bonus of one thousand rupees. Some years later 
when the Babu was proceeding to Benares, and his 
boats were anchored off some place near Monghyr, one 
of his attendants who went on shore found the quondam 
Parama Hansa, and some members of his party, en- 
gaged in ploughing some adjacent fields. When ques- 
tioned, one of them not only admitted his identity, but 
made a clean breast of the whole secret. . He confessed 
that the man had sustained himself on food vomited by 
his companions.* 

like the Dandis, the Parama Hansas are found in 
large numbers in and near Benares. They live in 
convents, and some of them are very learned men. 
The head of a Parama Hansa convent is called Swamiji. 
By courtesy, even the juniors are sometimes called 

* 1 believe there are still some men living who can vouch to tha 
authenticity of the story narrated above, i heard it from several 
officers connected with the service of the Narail Babus, and also 
from one of the old Vakils of Jessore who was the chief legal adviser 
of Babu Eamltatan. 


SwamijL Dandis, Sanyasis and Parama Hansas accost 
each other by the formula Name NarayatKu House- 
holders address them in the same manner. But thej 
respond by only ntterinir the name of Narayana. For 
in^g i£em to dinnerlhe proper formnla Is the qnes- 
tion: ^^ Will Narayan accept alms here?" The Parama 
Hansas do not bum their dead, but will dispose of a 
corpse by either burying it, or throwing it in a river. 


Closely allied to the several orders noticed in the 
last three chapters is that of the Sivite Brahmacharis. 
Properly speaking, a Brahmachari is a Vedic student 
who, after nis initiation with the sacred thread, has to 
observe certain rules as to diet and dress, and to live by 
begging, until he has mastered the Yedas. In actual 
practice Brahmanical policy has very nearly suppressed 
the study of the Vedas, and neither the few Vedic stu- 
dents to be found at present, nor the Brahman boys who 
devote their scholastic years to the study of the far more 
difficult sciences of grammar, philosophy, logic and 
theology, are now required to observe the rules as to 
diet and dress prescribed for the Brahmachari or the 
reader of our holy scriptures. The long observance of 
Brahmacharya discipline is actually prohibited by the 
later codes of the Hindus as unsuited to the present 
age, and at the present time the form is gone through, 
after the liiread ceremony, for a period varying from 
only three to eleven days. In Calcutta, some of the 
Brahmana boys are initiated ¥nith the thread in the 
local shrine of Kali, and those who go through the 
ceremony in that way are made to throw away their 
staflf and Brahmachari's garb on the very day of their 
initiation. Such being me case, Brahmacharis, pro- 
perly so-called, are very rare in these days. But the 
fertile genius of Sankara created four new orders 
of Brahmacharis, one to be attached to each of his 
four principal monasteries. These Brahmacharis are 

( 388 ) 


theoretically personal assistants and companions to the 
Dandis and tne Parama Hansas. As the latter are not 
allowed to touch fire or coin, the Brahmacharis serve 
as their cooks and as receivers of alms for them. In 
actnal practice, the line of demarcation between the two 
classes is not very broad, and many of the Brahmacharis 
live by hedging independenUy. The asnal surnames of 
the Sivite Brahmacharis are Anand, Chaitanya, Prakash 
and Swampa. They dress like the Dandis and Parama 
Hansas in red robes. 

The Tantric Brahmacharis are a difiFerent order alto- 
gether, and will be spoken of in their proper place. 


Thb word Sanjrasi denotes a person who has ctit off 
his conhectiofl with the world and his family, and the 
expression ^ Householder Babyasi ** id a contradicidoii 
in terms. Bnt in Benares and in other places also there 
are persons called Dandis and Sanyasis who marry, or 
live with female associates, like other men of the world. 
The fact is that in the days of yonthfdl enthusiasm 
some men are led to take the vow of mendicancy which 
they soon find themselves qnite nnableto maintain. 
When snch a person attains a character for sanctity, or 
otherwise becomes able to afford the cost, he tries to 
get a female, for constant association, either as a pro- 
fessed wife, or as a pions sister. The progeny of such 
unions multiply fiist, and the ultimate tendency of each 
monkish order is to become a separate caste and endo- 
gamous group ; such castes have generally a very low 
position. The householder Sanyasis are not to be con- 
founded with the Grihastha ut>8sains spoken of on 
page 378. The latter are a very respectable class. 

( 390 ) 


Thb Aglioris are a very small oommnnity. They are 
said to worship a deity called Aghori Mata. Bui, pro- 
perly speaking, they have no reUgii^n, unless the name 
oe taken to mclnde even that misgnided fanaticism 
which degrades them to a lower level than that of the 
filthiest of beasts. They profess to carry the pantheistic 
philosophy of the Vedanta to its logical consequence, 
and to look upon even fddoal matter in the same light 
as the fragrant paste prepared by the trituration of 

The Aghoris used in former times to offer himian 
sacrifices and to eat human flesh. The number of 
Aghoris in the country was perhaps never very large. 
At any rate, at the present time, an Aghori is very 
seldom met with. The race, however, is not yet quite 
extinct '* The head-quarters of the Aghori Panthia 
appear to have been always at Mount Abu and Gimar. 
Tney have such an evil reputation at Qimar that the 
authorities do not like Europeans to go there without 
an escort. The country people have a great horror of 
the Aghori Panthis or the Aghoris who are believed to 
kidnap and murder children and weak and defenceless 
persons. At Benares these objectionable people live at 
both the burning ghats, and are supposed to number 
between one hundred and two hundred. The greater 
number of them are rapacious, shameless mendicants 
who, by the terror of their attributes, horrible appearance 
and threats of eating human flesh and filth, if their de» 
mands are not complied with, still continue to prey on 

( 891 ) 

392 THE A6H0RIS. 

the credulity of the ignorant or timid. They are believed 
to hold converse witn all the evil spirits frequenting the 
burning gh&ts ; and a funeral party must be poorly off 
or very strong-minded which refuses them something."* 

^^The various meanings of the term Aghori are held 
to be, one who is solitary, separate^ distinct from other 
men. All castes can become Aghori Panthis. Not* 
withstanding the astounding wickedness of their teach- 
ings, they chiim for them that they are the doctrines of 
equality and humanity. Indifference to all that is 
should be the all-in-fidl of existence. No one really 
has a father or mother ; *it is all mere aoddent.' If a 
well comes in one's way, he should walk into it. Celi- 
bacy is strictly enjoined, but the Census returns of 
1881 for the Central Provinces and the N.-W. Provinces 
show that in this respect discipline must be very lax."* 

The Aghoris are a very ancient sect There is a clear 
reference to it in the Sanskrit drama called Malati 
MadhavOy the hero of which rescues his mistress from 
being offered as a sacrifice by one named Aghori Ohanta. 
The French writer M. d'Aaville alludes to the Aghori 
as ^^une e$pece de monstreP The author of that extra- 
ordinary Persian work, the DabistaUj or School of Manr 
ners^ writing probably about the middle of the 16th 
century, gives a brief but clear description of the 
Aghoris who practised acts of "atilia" or "Aghori," 
says that the sect originated with Gorakshanath, and 
that he saw one of them *^ singing the customary song" 
and seated upon a corpse, which he ate when it became 
putrid. M. Thevenot, whose travels were republished in 
London in 1687, alludes apparently to a community of 
these cannibals, established at a place called Debea, in 
the Broach district, and Eazi Sahabadin, C.I.E., for- 
merly Dewan of Baroda, ascertained that there is a 
tradition still extant among the people that a colony of 
cannibals did exist in the village of Walwad, on the 

* Statesman^ March 7, 1898. 


Mahi river, a century or two ago. In the early part of 
this century there were several Aghori Panthis in 
Baroda, and the remains of a temple dedicated to the 
Aghoreshwari Mata, their tutelary goddess. At the 
present day there is an Aghori Sthan between Ahmed- 
abad and Kadu. In his Travels in Western India 
Colonel Todd came across some Aghoris, ^' the jackal'' 
of their species, and his account of the superstitious 
dread with which the E^Iika shrine on Gimar and the 
Aghori Panihis were regarded, exactly coincides with 
the statements made to the late Mr. Leith by Oossains 
of the present day. 

The initiation ceremony of the Aghori Panthis is 
said to be very terrible and only practised in lonely 
spots; but the professors of the sect in Benares, 
Allahabad and other places, now-a^ays seem to have 
to content themselves with making the neophyte go 
through a ceremonial that is made as filthy and loath- 
some as possible. In Benares many old men state that 
they have seen Aghori Panthis eating dead men's flesh, 
and affirm that the custom yet prevails, especially 
among drunken men, who will seize upon corpses float- 
ing in the water and bite off the flesh. One Aghori 
Panthi boldly admitted to Mr. Leith in that city that 
this is a fact, and offered to swallow man's flesh him- 
self. On the 29th December 1884, one Krishna Das 
Babaji was fined Bs. 15 by Mr. Ishan Chandra 
Ben, Deputy Magistrate of Berhampore, Moorshedabad 
district, for committing a public nuisance, namely, 
devouring part of a woman's corpse before a number 
of people at Khagra cremation gn&t. Some Aghori 
Panthis say that their religion prompts them to the act, 
and, moreover, that if at initiation they refosed to eat 
dead men's fleshy they would be dismissed by the Guru 
as unfit for their callmg. One excuse sometunes offered 
by an Aghori Panthi is that by the taste of such flesh, he 
can acquire the knowledge otjadu or magic. The fact is 
that as^rahmanism inculcateil cleanliness and the eating 


of wholesome food, the Affhoris, who formed one of the 
sects setting np '^opposition shop" as it were, insisted 
an the utmost degree of filth, ana hoped to get alms by 
horrifying the people, and not by gaming their respecL 
Some of the Aghoris have associated with uiem 
female Aghorinis, and these people are extremely 
shameless. The doctrine enunciated by Barke in one 
of his famous speeches that the quality of modesty 
was the attribute which, more than reason, distin-* 
guished men from beasts, is certainly not applicable 
to some of the Indian sects. They are the pest of 
society, and it is much to be regretted that of late they 
have been receiving very considerable encouragement 
from some educated men of the country. The pure 
morals and the noble discipline, imposed on the society 
by the Brahmanio Shastras, are things of which the 
Hindus may be justly proud. But the beastly Aghori, 
the Bacchanalian Tantric and the dissolute vaishnava 
are a disgrace te the Hindu name. With all his clean* 
liness, vegetarianism and teetetalism, the Vaishnava is 
perhaps the most dangerous in the whole list. He has 
done great good service in civilizing the lower classes 
to some extent, and in suppressing the horrors of the 
Tantric worship. But the moral laxity which the 
Vaishnava encourages by the stories of the illicit loves 
between his gods and goddesses, and by the strong 
tendency to imitate them which his teachings generate, 
outweighs the good done by him. Every man of com- 
mon sense natorally feels a horror at the Tantric and 
the Aghori. But the Vaishnava insinuates himself in 
a manner which is irresistible. 


A VERY large part of the population of Southern 
India are Lingaits or Yira Saiyas. These alone are 
perhaps entitled to be regarded as a strictly Sivite sect> 
The oankarite seots spoken of in the preceding eliapters 
are more or less Bitdtos also. But they pay due homage 
to the other ancient gods of the Hindu pantheon, and 
they cannot be said to be exdnsiyely Siva worshippers. 

The common acconnts relating to the origin of the 
lingait sect trace it t oa renegade Brahman who had 
been excommunicated by'his caste men for some offence, 
and who thereupon revenged himself by startins the 
new cult* In all probabiliir Linga woi^p had been 
the prevailing form of idohitry in the Deccan long 
before Sankara's time. The champion of Brahmanism 
eoontenanced it in a manner, without actually eneourag-^ 
ing it. But his followers became practically Sivites, 
and this led to a very successful movement for the 
spread of the Vishnuvite cult by Bamanuja, who lived 
in the eleventh century of the Christian era. This 
innovation paved the w^ towards a reaction in favour 
of tiie Sivite religion. Basava^ the renegade Brahman, 
who was the leader of this counter-movement, was born 
in the village of Bhagwan, in the Belgium d istrict of 
the Southern Maratta country, and lived in the twelfth 
century of the Christian era. The historical facts or 
myths about this remarkable man are recorded in a 
Sanskrit work called the Baiava Puran^ and in several 
Eanarese works. At a very eariy period of his life ha 

( 395 ) 


repaired to Kalyan, the metropolis of the Ghalnkya 
Empire, and there married the aanghter of the Danda^ 
nat/aka or the chief magistrate of police. He suc- 
ceeded to the post himself after the death of his father- 
in-law, and made use of his official position to attract 
round him a crowd of followers. His chief disciple 
Machaya had been condemned by the king to suffer 
death for having killed a child. But Basava refused 
to carry out the order on the plea that it would be 
unavailing to offer any harm to a worshipper of Siva. 
The king thereupon ordered some of his other officers 
to execute the sentence, and the legend as usual goes on 
to state that Machaya saved himself miraculously. 
Two other Siviie citizens were condemned by the king 
to have their eyes plucked out. This led to the depar- 
ture of Basava from Ealyan, and the fixing of his 
residence at Sangameshwar, on the Shastri river, in the 
modern district of Batnagiri. Basava's exile, whether it 
was voluntary or enforced, was followed by an insurrec- 
tion in the course of which the king was killed, and the 
diy of E^alyan was finally destroyed. 

The founder of the Lingait sect directed his attacks 
a gainst both the ii!indus bxlA. the JaiS i The Basava 
PuTom, contains several dialogues between JangMnas, 
and Jainas in which every effort is made to convince 
the latter of the superiority nf tl^iy Saiva religion. 
Basava did not believe in any y ;od besides Siva ; hg. 
denied the superiority of the ferahmans, and tried hfe 
besi to abolisn the distinction of castel Me bad no 
liedth whatever in penance, or in the feeding of Brahmans 
for the benefit of the souls of deceased persons. Pil- 
grimages and fasts were declared bv him to be quite 
useless, and he rejected altogether the doctrine of the 
transmigration of souls. But with all these ^'atheistic 
views," as they would be called by a Brah^ian, he in- 
sisted on one of the least attractive forms of Hindu 
idolatry, and in his zeal for the phallic m ibl em went so 
far as to enjoin that his followers should always carry 


about their person gome lingas by faatening them o 
the neck and the arms with what is called the lAuf 
Satram, as opposed to Yajna Sutram or sacred three 
of the Brahman^ The object of the founder was i 
doubt to ^i^ft*:^ ft nftw K^fTfl fn plo Ae his low cag 
followers on a footing of equality or rivalry to t 
Brahmans. . The Yishnuyite sect founders have a 
given similarly new badges to their followers. I 
neither the Unga Sutram of the lingaits, nor 
necklace of basil oeads worn by the Vaishnavas, nor 
Sheli of the Eanfat Yogis have been able to comml^^^ 
the veneration that the Yajna Sutram of the Brahn^* 
enjoys. f^ 

Tne Lingaits, like most other secta^ ^havfl an ^ j is 
o f men^o^ Ti^-ft s^mnn g them. The lingait monks cff^^ 
Vaciers (lit, master or lord) have, in addition to»^ 
Imgas^ some small bells attached to their arms, so ^^^ 
when they pass through the streets the people,(^S^ 
apprised of their being in the neighbourhood, ^^ 
enabled to bestow their alms to them without^ ^^^ 
solicitation on their part. The lay Lingaits carry ^^ft^* 
veneration for the Vaders' to an extent which is? the 
unusual, and would hardly be believed by the Hin^^^^ 
Northern India. Guru-worship is naturally fa'^ there 
by the priest-ridden Hindu everywhere. But it Acient 
among the Lingaits that an image of a god wo^ Ya}^ 
humiliated for the glorification of the Guru. 
Hpnking of such Water as has been touched by i jwion ol 
of a GurUj or used to wash his ieety is common (/Sf^ 
But the Lingaits go much further. Before the 
men called the Vaders, they not only humiliatlved in 
selves, but their very idols. The \''aders are fes 
the laymen on all important occasions, and wh< his left 
is a guest of that class in the house, the host pi in that 
own linga on a metal tray, and the guest's feg the tip 
placed on the vessel are washed by tne host, t 
contained in the same being ultimately swall his no9» 
the host and his family with great reverence, ters^ and 


The Jangamas are lihe Ghiras of the Lin gaits> They 

^ -e married meiy y}ni ^avft ^ib^^f^ ^ t' matM of monaa* 

L net^ Inhere are some learned men amonff them. 

^^.e Aradhyas are Brahmana who minister to the Lin^ 

S^/ts as Gums. 

^ ^l^i^ regard to the Lingait community of Mysore, 
«- *. Narasinmiayengar makes the following remarks in 
, ^ report on the last Census :— 

A.^ .9 a oommonitj; the Lingaits are intelUgeiit, lober, indattrioii8» 
^^ fty and clannish. They ha^e brought some departmentB of 
un A ara literature to a high degree of culUure, and as tradesmen th^ 
Th A* ^ 18 in the Tan of Hindu society. As a raoe some of their divi- 
"^^ : are unmistakably Aryan in descent, their women being, as a 
to B2 object lessons in female loveliness and graoe. To them as a 
x^ ^ also belongs the credit of maintaining the strictest sobr iety and 
^r^ "UoohoUsm.— Vy»or< Cmhm lUportfor 1891. Vol. XXV, p. 238. 

i.^ Vi^e bitterness of the Lincaits is still as ffreat as 
^ J^ towards the Brahmans. But curiously enough, 

real J <^^™®<^ ^^ ^^® ^^ Census to be included among 

^aix^<uis. They made some desperatOv efforts to 

^^ ^-e that honour. But in the ena they had to be 

tion i^^ ^^^ beinjz separately enumerated as LingaitSa 

.. ^re are very tew Lingaits among the regular popn- 

^Vjj of Northern India. The Rawal or high priest of 

^|v-^rine of Kedamaih, on the Himalayan slopes in 

ff*j^y trict of Garwal, is a Jan^ma. So are the priests 

and J{ ^^P^^ ^^ Kedamaih m Benares. A Lingait 

the lai^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^ ^^^ ^^ Bengal and Behar lead- 

I ^eatly caparisoned bull, and begging for ahns by 

enieJ TS ^^^ anmial perform many curious feats, and 

gr^r-Tjnting it as the favouritec luirger of Siva. These 

CSSErwt beggars are taken by the people of Bengal tQ 

for the ^ ^® shrine of V aidyaoatn. 



views," a — — 

sisted on 
far as to 


LiTBRALLT the word Yoffi means an ** unionist.*' What 
kind of nnion the Yogis cmim to bring about, it is di£B* 
cult to say. According to one version, which is very 
far from being intelligiole to ordinary men, a Yogi is 
so-called on account of his being able, by his prayers 
and exercises, to get his individual soul united with the 
supreme soul. In the BhagavaigitOy which is tibe most 
popular work on theology in Sanskrit, the word yoga 
seems to be used throughout in the sense of' means." At 
any rate, the expressions Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and 
Bnakti Yoga cannot otherwise have any rational mean- 
ing. Whatever difficulty there may however be in the 
way of comprehending the exact nature of the intelleo- 
tual or spiritual part of the practice called yoga, there 
can be no doubt that it is one of our most ancient 
forms of religious exercise. The great law-giver Yaj- 
navalkya refers to it in his Code and says : — 

Of aU acts, soch as sacrifices, cevemomal obserraDoes. lopmaion ol 
sensual desires, harmlessness, gifts, and the study of tne vedas this 
is the scarce of highest religions, namely, viewing on^s self by 
means of the Yoga.— YajnaTalkya 1, 8. ' 

The most important physical exercises involved in 
Yoga are as described below : — 

(a) The Yogi has to sit with his right leg on his left 
thigh, and his left leg on his right thigh, and in that 
uncomfortable position to point his eyes towards the tip 
of his nose. 

{b) He must, while so seated, shut up one of his nos* 
trils by the tips of two of his right-hand fingers, and 

( 399 ) 


while repeating certain formulae mentally, he should 
with his open nostril inhale as much air as possible. 

(c) When the Inngs are inflated to the utmost de- 
gree possible, the Yogi is required to shut up both the 
nostrils, the open one being closed by pressing the thumb 
of his right hand. 

(d) In the condition mentioned above, the Togi has 
to repeat the prescribed formula a certain number of 
times again. t 

(e) When the recitation mentioned above is com- 
pleted, then the Yogi must remove his fingers from the 
nostril first closed, and go on repeating the mystic 
formula a certain number of times again. 

The whole operation is very simple and at the same 
time very imposing. It does not require any extra- 
ordinary quality of either the head or tne heart, and yet 
the man, who can go through it with a little pantomimic 
skill and seriousness, can, at a very little cost, acquire 
a character fi»r superior sanctitv. The rules relating 
to the exercise require that it should be gone through 
in a secluded place. But in practice many men may 
be found engaged in the exercise in the most open 
places on the banks of the holy rivers, and in the pre- 
mises of the great shrines. Such persons, however, 
never attain a very high place in the estimation of their 
co-religionists. It is those who are believed to practise 
Yoga in privacy that are usually credited with the 
possession of miraculous powers. Some of them are 
supposed to have the power of floating in the air, and of 
being able, if so inclined, to become immortal or to die at 
such time and place as they deem fit, death being a 
matter of option with them. ^' The Yogi is liberated in 
his living body from the clog of material incumbrance, 
and acquires an entire command over all worldly desires. 
He can make himself lighter than the lightest substances, 
heavier than the heaviest, can become as vast or as 
minute as he pleases, can traverse all space, can animate 
any dead body by transferring his spirit into it from 


his own frame, can render himself invisible, can attain all 
objects, becomes equally acquainted with the past, present 
and future ; and is finally united with Siva. * To 
pretend that some particular Yogis have achieved im- 
mortality, and are living on the Himalayan slopes from 
a remote period of antiquity, is easy and convenient 
enough. It is very difficult, if not absolutely impossi- 
ble, to explode such legends, and the charlatan who 
seeks to exact some money from credulous persons by 
pretending to have seen their great-great-great-grand- 
fathers in Thibet cannot be prevented from plying his 
trade. As to the other powers claimed by the xogis, 
they do not enjoy any similar vantage ground for 
maintaining their credit. At any rate, even among the 
most revered Yogis, there is not, I fear, one single in- 
dividual who has ever, by actual performance, proved 
his possession of the power of aerial navigation to a 
greater extent than is exhibited by the jugglers of the 
country. With regard to the Yogis and their art 
Professor Wilson makes the following remarks : — 

and the brain, in a state of overwroug^ht excitement, bodies forth a 
host of crude and wild conceptions, and jgives to airy nothii^fness 
a local habitation and a name.— Wilson's Siindu S&cti, p. 1^ 

There must be a great deal of truth in these observa- 
tions, though the case of Eanjit Sing's famous Yogi must 
remain a mystery in the present state of the science of 
physiology. As to the case of the Madras Yogif who 
floated in the air with the help of a rod fixed to the 
earth, suffice it to say that similar feats are daily exhi- 
bited by the poor jugglers of the country who do not lav 
claim to any supernatural powers. Even Banjit Sing s 
Yogi is said to have been more a mercenary caterer 
than a holy saint^ and similar performances, though for 

* See Wilson's Hindu SeeU, p. 131. 

t See Akahoy Knmar Datta's Hindu JMigiout 8tcU, Vol II, i 
p. 123; Wilson's Hindu SecUf p. 133. 

B« HO 26 

402 THE SmTB TOGtS. 

shorter periods, are given now and then by the rustic 
magicians. Upon the whole, it seems that the so-called 
Yoga, even in its most astonishing aspects, is only a form 
of gymnastics and magic, and that it has as little con- 
nection with religion as the feats of Yaneck, Maske- 
Ijn, Hossain Khan or Anderson. As for the Yoga of the 
ordinary charlatans, it may, like " gravity," be defined 
as a " mysterious carriage of the body for hiding the 
defects of the mind." 

The exercise of Yoga is allowed not only to mendi- 
cants, but to householders and family men as well. 
According to some authorities. Yoga cannot be effective 
in this Kali Yuga or age of sin. The majority of the 
so-called Yogis are regarded as mere charlatans, and 
they neither claim to be, nor are looked upon as, men of 
superior sanctity. 


The inferior Yogi mendicants are divided into various 
orders, among whom the following are the most import- 
ant : — 

1. KaEdbt Togis. 

2. Aghore Panthi Togis. 

3. Kjftnipa Togis. 

Kanfai Yogis. — The sect was founded by one Guru 
Gorakshanath, who is believed by his followers to 
have been an incarnation of the god Siva. The Elan- 
fats are Sivites, and may be of any caste. They are 
so named because their ears are bored at the time of 
their initiation. They paint their body with ashes, 
and they have the usual transverse lines on the fore- 
head which are the peculiarity of the Sivites. Like 
the Abadhutas, they allow their hair and nails to grow 
without pruning. Their dress also resembles that of 
the Abaohutas, excepting so far that many of tiiem 
wear a patchwork skull cap instead of a turban. The 
distinffuishinff marks of the sect are their earrings, 
and tne phidlic emblems called nad which are tied to 
their neck bv woollen threads. 

The principal shrine of this sect is in the district of 
Gorakpore. There are places sacred to the sect also in 
Peshawar, Hardwar and Gujrat. The temple of Fasu* 
putinath in Nepal and that of Eklinsa in Mewar apper- 
tain to this sect. There are two smau Kanfat shrines in 
Bengal, one at Mahanad in the district of Hooghly, and 
the other near the cantonment of Dum-Dum in the 
suburbs of Calcutta. 

( 408 ) 

404 17HE tNFERtOB 70GIS. 

Large numbers of Kanfat Yogis are often met with 
in many parts of Northern India. They profess to 
have renounced the world. But many of them carry 
on trading business on a very extensive scale. The 
Kanfats sometimes enlisted in the army nnder the 
Hindu kings. 

The Kanfats say that some of their saints are immor- 
tal, and are in existence in this world for thousands of 
years.' The names of some of these immortal saints 
roaming on the Himalayan slopes are given in the Hatha 
Pradipika. Madame felavatsKy's Kut Hurra is not ex- 
pressly mentioned in this list, nor does it include the 
name of King Bhartri Hari, whom every Kanfat pre- 
tends to have seen. 

The usual surname of the male Kanfats is Nath, and 
of the females^ who are admitted to the order, Nathini. 
There is reason to suppose that the Yugi caste of Bengal 
and Assam are the progeny of the Kanfats. 

Aghore Panthi Yogis. — The Aghore Panthi Yogis 
are exactly like the Aghoris, the only difference being 
that the former wear rings on their ears like the Kan- 

Kardpa Yogis,— -^01x1% of the snake-charmers dress 
exactly like the Kanfats, and call themselves Kanipa 
Yogis. These are family men, and thev earn the means 
of weir livelihood chiefly by the exhibition of their 
skill in managing snakes. 


The adult males among the inferior castes enlist 
themselves as Sivite ascetics in the middle of April every 
year, and during the week that they remain under the 
vow, they practise the most severe self-tortures and 
privations. See p. 369. 

Besides the above who are householders there are some 
permanent ascetics who subject themselves to peculiar 
kinds of self-torture in order to be revered by the 
people. The practice of austerities, and not the worship 
of any particular deity, forms the most important 
part of their religious discipline. Upon the whole, 
however, they seem to be more addicted to the worship 
of Siva than to that of any other god or goddess. The 
most important classes of permanent ascetics professing 
the Sivite faith and practising the severe austerities 
are the following : — 

1. Urdha Bahu ... Ascetics with uplifted hands. 

2. Tharasri ... Ascetics who always remain in a stand- 

ing posture. 

3. Urdhamukhi .. Ascetics who with their feet attached to 

the bongh of a tree, keep their heads 
hanging downwards. 

4. Panchadhnni ... Ascetics who keep themselves in all 

seasons constantly surrounded by five 

5. Jalashayi ... Ascetics who keep themselves in all 

seasons immersed in water from sunset 
to sunrise. 

6. • Jaladhara Ascetics who keep themselves in all 

Tapashi. seasons under a jet of water froni 

sunset to sunrise. 

( 405 ) 


7. Fanuri ... Ascetics who live only on fruits. 

8. Dadhahari ... Ascetics who live only on milk. 

9. Alona ... Ascetics who never eat salt with their 


The nnmber of such ascetics is very small ; and of 
the few that profess to practice the terrible austeri- 
ties of their respective orders, a great many are suspected 
to be mere pretenders. But there are many misguided 
simpletons who are genuine ascetics, and who actually 
observe their vow even at times when they are not 
watched by outsiders. The tortures to which such fana- 
tics must subject themselves are terrible indeed. The 
penance of Simon Stylites was child's play compared 
with, for instance, the sufferings of the Tharasri. It is 
bad enough to be perched on the top of a pillar for 
thirty years and exposed to 

Bain, wind, frost, heat, hail, damp and sleet and snow. 

But to remain in a standing posture for years together 
without enjoying for a moment the delight of sleeping 
on a bed, or of even sitting down, is a kind of refine- 
ment in cruelty which, perhaps, has never been surpassed 
by the greatest of secular tyrants, ancient or modern. 
Bad as the record may be of the Indian Police and the 
Indian Jails, they allow even the greatest criminals the 
privilege of enjoying 

Tired Nature's sweet restorer, halmy sleep. 

A suspected person may now and then be subjected 
by a zealous thief-catching official to the same kind of 
operations as those to which the Panchadhuni, the Jala- 
snayi, and the Jaladhara Tapashi voluntarily subject 
themselves. But if a single instance of such cruelty, 
though practised for an hour or two, ever becomes 
known to the outside world, the complaint is heard in 
everybody's mouth, and not only the Police but the 
British Government of India would be abused as a curse 
to the country. The far worse and quite gratuitous 
tyrannies of religion are, however, not only condoned, 
but actually admired. 



The religion of the Saktas may be regarded as a 
counterpart of Siva worship, for while the latter incnl- 
cates the adoration of the male organ of generation, the 
former attaches greater importance to the worship of 
the female organ. Some of the Sivites and Saktas 
worship the two organs in a state of combination. 

The word Sakti literally means * energy * or * power *; 
and, taking into consideration what is said abont it in 
the Tantric scriptures, it seems to be used therein in the 
sense in which the word power is used in English, when 
a person is spoken of as a political or spiritual power. 
Some of the modem exponents of the Hindu religion 
profess to entertain the view that the Sakti of the Tan- 
tries denotes Jthe same things as the terms * energy ' and 
' force' of Natural Philosophy. Such abuse of scientifio 
terms by men of religion has been common enough in 
India from a remote period of antiquity. 

The essence of the Sakta cult is, as stated above^ the 
worship of the female organ of generation. According 
to a text of the Tantras the best form of Sakti wor- 
ship is to adore a naked woman, and it is said that 
some Tantrics actually perform their daily service in 
their private chapels by placing before them a female 

( 407 ) 


completely divested of her clothing. The following 
are used as substitutes : — 

1. The Yantra or triangalar plate of brass or copper kept 

among the penates of every TSntric BnJimsui. 

2. A triangle painted on a copper dish. The jpainting is 

made and worshipped only in the absence of a regular 
plate among the noosehold penates. 

The naked female, the Yantra, and the painted triangle 
are worshipped only in private services. In public the 
Tantric offers his adoration to the naked image of a 
female deity called by various names such as Kali, Tara, 
&c., and usually made to stand erect on the breast of a 
half-sleeping image of Siva in a similar state of nudity. 
The true nature of such images is not generally known, 
though it is defined in unmistakable terms in the Dhyan 
or formula for contemplating the goddess Kali. The 
popular ideas on the subject are as stated below : — 

She (the goddess KSli) is represented as a woman* with four arms. 
In one hand she has a weapon, in another hand the head of the giant 
she has slain, — ^with the two others she is encouraging her worship- 
pers. For earrings she has two dead bodies ; she wears a necklace 
of skulls, her only clothing is a garland made of men's skulls. After 
her Tictory over the giants she danoed so furiously that the earth 
trembled beneath her weight. At the request of the gods Siva asked 
her to stop ; but, as owing to the excitement, she did not notice him, 
he lay down among the slain. She continued dancingtill she caught 
sight of her husband under her feet ; upon which, in Hindu fashion, 
she thrust out her tongue to express surprise and regret. — Murdoch 
on Svfami Viv§kananda, p. 40. 

As a matter of fact, the image of Kali, that Mr. Mur- 
doch, of the Madras Mission, has attempted to hold up 
to ridicule in the above passage, is a thing far worse 
than he has taken it to be. What its real meaning is 
cannot possibly be explained here. Those inclined to dive 
into such filth must study the ritual for Kali worship. 



The Saktas are chiefly householders, and there are 
very few mendicants among them. They are divided 
into various classes according to the extent to which they 
allow drinking, debauchery and slaughter of animals as 
parts of their ritual. The classes of Saktas best known 
in the country are the following : — 

1. Daksbinachori or the Right-handed Saktas. 

2. Bamachari or the Left-handed Saktas. 

3. Kowls or the Extreme Saktas. 

Some of the Saktas perform their worship in exactly 
the same manner as the Vaishnavas. They do not ofi^er 
wine to their goddess, and, to avoid even the semblance 
of bloodshed, they conduct their ritual without any kind 
of red flower, or any stuff of blood colour like red sandal- 
wood. The majority of the respectable Saktas are 
Dakshinacharis, and though they do not avoid red flowers 
and red sandal-wood, they offer neither wine nor flesh 
meat to the deity. The number of Bamacharis in the 
country is not very large, and even among those who 
are so by family custom, the majority are so moderate 
that, instead of offering wine to their goddess, they 
use, as its substitute, cocoanut water in a copper vessel, 
such liquor being, according to the Shastras, equivalent 
to wine, for puja purposes. The extreme Bamacharis 
offer wine to their goddess, and when it is consecrated 
they sprinkle it on every kind of cooked and uncooked 
food brought before her. The quantity actually drun^ 

( 409 ) 


by the worshipper and his family very seldom exceeds 
a few drops. Bamacharis of all classes generally offer 
some kind of sacrifice to their goddess. It is usually 
a kid. Some offer a large number of kids, with or without 
a buffalo in addition. In all cases the head of the 
slaughtered animal is placed before the grim deity with 
an earthen lamp fed by gM burning above it. In the 
case of a buffalo being sacrificed, the body is given to 
the Muchi musicians. If the animal sacrificed is a goat, 
then the body is skinned and chopped, and when the 
flesh is cooked, it is consecrated again before the god- 
dess. The meat is ultimately served to the invited 
guests, along with jbhe other delicacies consecrated to the 
goddess. Some of the Bamacharis do not offer any 
animal, and instead of slaughtering kids and buffaloes, 
as they are required to do by their Shastras, they cut 
with due ceremony a pumpkin, a cocoanut or a sugar- 
cane. This substitution may in some cases be due to 
compassion for the poor animals, but is generally owing 
to the superstitious fear entertained by all Hindus as to 
the result that must follow the executioner's failing to 
sever the head of the animal at one stroke. The sacriiSce 
of an animal before a goddess is an occasion of great 
rejoicing to some young folks ; but to the votary, it is 
a sore trial. As a preliminary, special services are belt! 
supplicating the goddess that the ceremony might pass 
off without any hitch. Even at the time of the sacrifice, 
when the arena before the puja hall is filled with the 
shouts of the bye-standers, and the discordant music of 
the village Muchi band, the head of the house may be 
found standing in one corner muttering prayers with 
an air of deep devotion, if not actually with tears. 

If, in spite of such prayers and supplications, the 
wrath of the deity is indicated by the failure of the 
executioner to make a clean cut through the neck of 
the animal by his first stroke, then the whole family is 
thrown into a deep gloom by the apprehension of a 
^eat catastrophe within the year following. Like the 



inmates of a sinking sUp, they await in terrible agony 
the Divine 'visitation. Tne fear thns engendered gives 
rise to a plentiful harvest of expiatory ceremonies 
which benefit the priests. If a death or other misfor- 
tune happen to the family in the course of the year^ 
it is attributed by all to the hitc^h in the sacrifice at the 
receding pnja. If no such disaster happen, the priest 
as all the credit. After snch an occurrence the family 
generally determine never to offer sacrifices again ; 
and in this way the slaughter of animals, as a part of 
puja ceremonies in private houses, is becoming more 
and more rare. 

The Shastras of the Sakti worshippers recommend 
homicide before their goddesses as the best and most 
acceptable offering. But there are texts also which 
interdict such fiendish demonstration of piety ; and as 
the killing of a human being, for puja purposes, might 
serve as a dangerous precedent, and recoil one day upon 
the priests themselves, the practice has never prevailed 
to any considerable extent in India. It is recommended 
in the Shastras only to make the votary ready to offer a 
goat, the flesh of which is an acceptable luxury to the 
Tantric Brahmans. See p. 88, ante. 

The Bamacharis slaughter kids and buffaloes openly ; 
but even their most zealous bigots do not offer wine 
publicly. The Kowls or Extreme Saktas themselves 
conceal as much as possible their habit of indulging in 
intoxicating drinks. Their very Shastras enjoin hypo- 
crisy, it being laid down therein that they must conduct 
themselves as Sivites and Vishnuvites in public. In 
actual practice some of the Kowls and Bamacharis are 
sometimes found in a tipsy condition. The Kowls 
usually betray their cult by painting their foreheads 
with vermilion dissolved in oil. Tne tint of blood 
being their favourite colour, they wear either scarlet 
silk, or cotton cloth dyed with ochre. The mark on 
the forehead of a Bamachari consists of three trans- 
verse lines painted with the charcoal of the sacred fire, 


dissolved in ghi. The Dakhinacharis have generally an 
nrdhapandra,or perpendicular streak, in the central part 
of the forehead, the colouring material being either a 
paste of sandal-wood, or a solution in ghi of charcoal 
obtained from a Hom fire. All classes of Saktas wear 
a necklace of Rudraksha seeds like the Sivites. 

The extreme Kowls are almost quite as fiendish as 
the Aghoris, though in public they appear to be more 
clean and respectable in tneir habits. The Kowls do not 
eat carrion or ordure. It is, however, said of them 
that, in the hope of attaining supernatural powers, some 
of them practise what they call Sava Sadhan, or devo- 
tional exercise with a dead body. But, as the ceremony 
must be held at midnight, and at a burial or crema- 
tion yard far removed from the habitations of men, very 
few have, it is supposed, the hardihood to undertake it. 
The belief that those who undertake it, and fail to go 
through the programme to the end, become insane from 
that moment, also serves to deter novices, and to 
heighten the glory of those who claim to have accom- 
plished the feat. The Kowls are, however, well-known 
to be in the habit of holding those bacchanalian orgies 
which are spoken of in their Shastras as BhairavichaKra 
and Lata Sadhan. These ceremonies are of such a 
beastly character that it is impossible even to think 
of them without horror. It is impossible in this book 
to give their details. Suffice it to state that they 
admit such females as are available for the purpose, 
and begin with the exhibition of every form of indecency 
that both the males and females are capable of. In the 
beginning some so-called religious rites are also serious- 
ly performed which, to any ordinary man, must appear 
highly comic. What follows may well be imagined, 
and, strange to say, that all this passes under the name 
of religion. 

The Tantric cult prevails to a greater extent in 
Bengal, Behar and Assam than perhaps in any other 
part of India. In Southern India, the IJindus are 


either Sivites or Vishnuvites. In the North- Western 
parts of India, the majority of the Brahmans are either 
Sivites or Vishnuvites. Tne few Saktas that there are 
in North- Western India are generally of an extreme 
type not usually to be found in any other part of India. 
In the Maharatta country the Karhadis, who are the 
only Saktas, are generally now of a moderate type. 
Among the higher Sudra castes the Kayasthas are 

Generally extreme Saktas in Upper India, and moderate 
aktas in Bengal. The Baniyas are generally Vishnu- 
vites throughout India. The Tantric religion is a 
modem institution, but it is certainly more ancient 
than the Vishnuvite sects. 

About the motive that brought such a horrible religion 
as that of the Tantrics into existence, the good and 
respectable Brahmans say that it was devised by the 
gods for bringing about the destruction of the oppressors 
of men. There is a great deal of truth in tnis view. 
To me it seems that the Tantric cult was invented partly 
to justify the habit of drinking which prevailed among 
the Branmans even after the prohibition of it by their 
great law-givers, but chiefly to enable the Brahmanical 
courtiers of the beastly kings to compete with the secu- 
lar courtiers in the struggle for becoming favourites, 
and causing the ruin of their royal masters. 




It has been already stated that the Vaishnava sects 
are all of more recent date than the Sivite religion, 
and that the worship of Krishna has been gradually 
supplanting all the other cults in almost every part of 
India. According to the Shastras the great god 
Vishnn has, from time to time, appeared in this world 
in various shapes. Almost every one of the latter-day 
prophets have claimed the honour, with more or less 
success ; but the right of Chaitanya, Yallabhachari, &c., 
to be regarded as incarnations of Vishnu^ is admitted by 
very few outside the sects founded by them. There is, 
however, no dispute as to the following being the true 
incarnations of Vishnu : — 

f It U beliered that Vishnu assumed this 
shape in order to save Manu, the pro^^enitor 
of the human race, from the universal 
deluge. On aooount of his piety in an age 
of sin he was apprised of the approach of 
submergence ana commanded to build a 
ship and go on board with the seven 
Bi jbis or patriarchs, and the seeds of all 
existing things. IVhen the flood came 
Vishnu took the form of a fish with a 
horn on its head to which the ship's cable 
was fastened. 

( 414 ) 

It As a fish. 



2. Asatortoise. 

3. As a boar. 


4. As Nara Sin- 
ha or Man-j 

( To serve as a pivot for churning the 
ocean with the Mandara mountain as a 
churning rod and the Shesha serpent as 
the string for turning the same. The 
things recovered by this process were many, 
including the Amrita or the nectar of 
immortality ; Laksmi the consort of 
Vishnu; the jewel Kaustava supposed to 
be the same as the Kohinoor wmch now 
adorns the diadem of Her Majesty, and a 
deadly poison swallowed or rather kept 

.in his neck by Siva. 

To rescue the earth from a deluge by 
which it was completely submerged. 

To deliver the world from the tyrant 
Hiranya Kasipu, and to save his pious son, 
Pralhad, from being killed by the father 
for his devotion to Vishnu. When the sen- 
tence was about to be executed against 
the boy, Vishnu appeared suddenly from 
the midst of a pillar, and in the man-lion 
.form tore Hiranya Kasipu to pieces. 

The demon Bali having become veiy 
powerful, and having offered to pve to 
every one what he wanted, the god Vishnu 
appeared before him as a dwarf and asked 
him to give as much ground as could be 
covered by three paces. No sooner was his 
request granted, than the ffod in disguise 
began to expand his form tul both heaven 
and earth were occupied bv his feet. To 
complete the promised gift, Bali placed 
his head at the third foot of the deity, and 
^the god was satisfied. 

A A. TX.....1.., ( Pai^shu Ram is said to have been a 
^ir™""^ Brahman who caused the annihilation of 
''*™*' (the Ksatriya race twenty-one times. 

7. As Ram Ohandra. See the account in the next chapter. 

8. As Balaram. The elder brother of Krishna. 

9. As Buddha. See the account in Ft. VII, post, 

f The future incarnation whose appear- 
J anoe is promised at the end of the present 

10. As KalkL j age of sin for rescuing the land of the 

vAryas from the oppressors. 

Krishna is re^rded by some as the eighth incarna- 
tion, bat according to the more orthodox view he was 
Vishnu himself, and was not a mere incarnation. Ac- 
cordingly Krishna receives the largest share of worship 
from the Vishnuvites, while of the omer nine incarnations 
it is only Ram who has regular votaries among those who 
are regarded as Hindus. Buddha has a much larger 

5. As a dwarf. 


number of worshippers, but the Buddhists are not, 
strictly speaking, Hindus. The other eight incarnations 
have a few shrines in India, but they have no votaries 
specially devoted to their worship. Such being the case, 
the question naturally arises, why are they regarded as in- 
carnations at all ? The fact that the great god Vishnu is 
believed to have appeared in the form of a fish, a tortoise, 
or a boar, seems at first sight to be incapable of any ra- 
tional explanation. The Hindu student of the European 
sciences might say that, in his descents on this world, 
the shapes assumed by God have been in accordance 
with the evolution of the species. But, admitting the 
correctness of the Darwinian theory, it is difficult to see 
why the god Vishnu should have appeared on earth in the 
forms of such animals as the fish, the tortoise and the 
boar. The orthodox might say that it is not proper to 
attempt at fathoming the depth of Divine Wisdom, but 
that amounts only to begging the question to some 
extent. If it be admitted that the Purans are eternal, 
and that thev have been sent to us direct from heaven, 
then alone the student of Hindu theology can be called 
upon not to be too inquisitive about the ways of Pro- 
vidence ; but the probability as to the Purans being 
human creations being very strong, it is certainly wortn 
while to enquire whether they contain or not any inter- 
nal evidence of their human authorship ? If it can be 
shown that their framework is of such a nature as to be 
favourable to Brahmanical policy, then the inherent pro- 
bability of their being the works of our ancient Pandits, 
becomes too strong to be rejected lightly by any reason- 
able man. The stories about the ten incarnations do not 
at first sight seem to favour anybody. But, with a 
little careful study, it must appear that the whole is one 
of the cleverest devices that have given to the Brah- 
mans the position of almost gods on earth, in the 
estimation of other Hindus. Upon going through the 
list of the incarnations, the student cannot fail to notice 
that of the four historical and human forms among 


them, only Parnshurama was a Brahman, and that while 
Bain and Buddha were beyond donbt Kdatriyas by 
birth, Balaram's olaim to the rank of even the military 
caste is doubtfal. In matters relating to the political 
affairs of the country, the Brahmans had pushea up llie 
Ksatriyas to the utmost extent possible. When, there** 
fore, Ksatriyas, like Buddha, tried to acquire spiritual 
supremacy also, the problem that presented itself before 
the Brahmans was how to make them powerless in their 
new sphere^ without actually quarrelling with them. So 
the authors of the Purans raised not only Buddha, but 
Rama and Krishna with him, to the rank of the god 
Vishnu himself. The Brahmans could not admit a 
Ksatriya to their own ranks. That would have been 
a dangerous precedent. The safest and the most con- 
venient course was to promote the ambitious Buddha to 
the rank of a ffod, together with some other great Ksar 
triya heroes. The object of the whole evidently was to 
represent that, although Buddha did not admit Brahma^ 
nical pretensions, far greater members of the military 
caste had paid their homage to the descendants of the 
Rishis. The admission of Rama and Krishna to the rank 
of the god^ not only took the shine out of Buddha, but 
served as an excellent basis for the invention of stories 
calculated to glorify the Brahmans, and to strengthen 
their position still more. In the Mahabhdrat it is 
stated that, at the Rajshuya sacrifice celebrated by 
Yudhisthira, Krishna accepted the menial office* of 
washing the feet of the Brahman guests. In the Purans 
it is stated again that the Rishi Bhrigu kicked at the 
breast of Krishna, but that, instead of resenting at the 
violence, the god meekly inquired of the Rishi whether 
his foot had not been hurt in the process. In fact» the 
Ksatriya Avatars served only to heighten the glory of the 
Brahmans in the same manner as the semi-independent 
Rajas and Nabobs of India serve to add lustre to British 

* Sabba P&ira, Obap. XXXV. 
B, HO 27 


The admission of Krishna, Ram and Bnddha to the 
rank of gods might have enabled the Ksatriyas and the 
Goalas to claim at least a reflected glor j, and to aspire to 
a higher position than that of the Brahmans. In fact 
the Ksatriyas of Oadh and the Goalas of Mathnra do 
sometimes actually claim snchhononr. The story of the 
ten Avatars therefore seems to have been invented by 
the Brahmans to be provided with a ready answer to 
snch pretensions of the Ksatriyas and Goalas as are men- 
tioned above. When a Ksatriya boasts of Ram Ohnndra 
having been born in his clan, or when a Goala boasts 
that Krishna was a member of the community to 
which he belongs, the Brahman, with his legends about 
the fish, the tortoise^ and the boar, is easily able to 
silence his adversary by saying that God can have no 
caste, and that, if the fact of Vishnu having been born 
in Ksatriya families could be claimed as a source of 
glory by the Ksatriyas, then the very boars, which 
tney daily killed and ate, would also be entitled to be 
reverenced in the same way. The story of the sixth 
Avatar, Parushurama, is evidently intended to make 
the Ksatriyas entertain a wholesome fear regarding 
the latent military powers of the Brahmans. Parushu- 
rama was, in all probability, a historical character. But 
in giving him tne credit of having twenty-one times 
annihilated the Ksatriyas, the Brahmans evidently 
magnified his prowess and his achievements to an extent 
which was neither necessary nor very rational. Anni- 
hilation can take place only once, and not twenty-one 
times. The orthodox Brahmans are themselves obliged 
to admit, when hard pressed, that the twenty-one 
annihilations mean only so many massacres on a large 


As most of the Yishnavite sects are either Bam 
worshippers or Krishna worshippers, it seems necessary 
to give a brief account of the historical facts and legends 
connected with the names of the two great hero gods of 
the Hindu pantheon. The story of Kama is contained 
chiefly in the epic called Ramayan^ which is one of the 
best works of the kind to be found in any language 
It breathes throughout a high moral tone, and furnishes 
models of conjugal fidelity and fraternal afiPection 
whi^h have perhaps contributed in much greater degree 
to the happiness of Hindu family life than even Manu's 
Code. The hero who forms the central character of tlie 
epic, was the eldest son of King Dasarath of Ayodhya* 
His father had three wives, named Kausalya, Sumitra 
and Kaikayi. The two first were on very friendly terms, 
but Kaikayi entertained against them all the bitterness 
that a female heart is capable of bearing against a 
rival. Ram was the eldest son of Dasarath, and had 
three younger brothers, namely, Laksman, Bharat and 
Satrughna. Rama was the son of Kausalya ; Laksman's 
mother was Sumitra ; and the other two brothers were 
the sons of Kaikayi. When the brothers arrived at the 
proper age for marriage, they attended a tournament 
in the court of King Janaka of Mithila, and the success 
of Rama in satisfying the required condition of string* 
ing a big bow, enabled him and his brothers to secure 
for each of them one of the daughters of King Janaka. 
After the return of the brothers, with their newly-mar-> 

( 419 ) 


ried wives, to their home, King Dasarath annonnced his 
intention to recognise Bam, the eldest, as the heir- 
apparent. The necessary preparations were made for 
a great festivity ; but when everything was ready for 
the due performance of the ceremony^ all the arrange- 
ments were upset by an intriguing chambermaid wno 
excited Kaikayi's jealousy, and prevailed upon her to 
stand in the way of the wishes of the old king. In a 
fit of excessive love, he had once promised to Kaikayi 
to grant her any favour that she might ask at any time. 
The artful queen, instigated by her still more artful 
maid, now insisted that her son Bharat should be made 
king, and that Bam should be banished from the coun- 
try for twelve years. The prayer came like a thunder- 
bolt on the old king. But he was helpless. As a true 
Ksatriya, he could not refuse to give e£Fect to his 
promise. On the other hand, it simply broke his heart 
even to think of banishing his eldest and beloved son. 
He was completely in a fix, and could not arrive at any 
decision. But Bam insisted upon going into exile, in 
order that his father might not incur the guilt of a 
breach of promise. The great hero was followed not 
only by his wife Sita, but also by his loving brother 
Laksman. Bharat and Satrughna loved him with the 
same ardour, but they were obliged to remain at home 
for the sake of their mother. The old king did not long 
survive this sad turn of afipairs. After his death Bharat 
went in search of Bam, and finding him on the Chitra- 
kuta mountain, near the modem city of Allahabad, 
besought him, with great fervour, to return to the 
metropolis of their kingdom, and to assume the reins of 
Government as the rightful successor. Bama performed 
the funeral rites of his father, but, for the sake of 
giving effect to his promise, he refused to comply with 
tne prayer of Bharat. The loving step-brother returned 
home with a sad heart ; but instead of setting himself 
up as the king, he ruled the country as regent, placing 
Ae sandals of his absent brother on the throne. 

rama's bxilb anb bbtuen. 421 

In their exile Bam, Laksman and Sita passed througli 
varions places in Central India, and ultimately fixed 
their residence at Pancha Bati, near the modem town 
of Nasik at the source of the Godaveri. Here, during 
a short ahsence of the brothers from their cottage, the 
demon king Havana of Ceylon carried away Sita by 
force. Bam secured the friendship of Hanuman, Sugri- 
va and certain other heroes, represented in the Ramamn 
as monkey chiefs, and with tneir help invaded Ceylon. 
There was a long and sanguinary war, the upshot of 
which was that Havana was killed, and Sita was recover- 
ed. She was then made to undergo a trial by ordeal 
which established her purity. The period of Hama's 
exile having expired, he then returned to Ayodhya, 
with Laksman, Sita, and some of his allies, notably his 
monkey general Hanuman. The ioy of the whole royal 
family and of the people of Oudh knew no bounds upon 
their getting their rightful king. Even Kaikayi, whose 
bitterness had worn ofiP, was obliged to apologise, and 
everything went on happily. But just at the time when 
Sita was about to be a mother. Ham was obliged, by the 
pressure of public opinion among his subjects^ to aban- 
don his loving queen, and to send her to exile. The 
episode is a heart-rending one, and forms the theme of 
the drama called UttaraRamCharita. In her second exile 
she was taken care of by the Hishi Valmiki. She gave 
birth to the twins, who afterwards became distinguish- 
ed under the names of Lab and Kush^ and are claimed 
as progenitors by most of the Hajput Elings of India. 
After the banishment of Sita, Hama could have taken 
another wife ; but such was his love for her that he 
preferred to live the life of a virtual widower. To per- 
form those religious ceremonies that require the associa- 
tion of the wife as a sine quA nariy he caused a golden 
image of Sita to be used as her substitute. The sons. 
Lab and Kush, grew up to manhood under the care of 
their mother and the Bishi Valmiki. Bam admitted 
them into his house ; but when the Hishi asked him 


to re-admit Sita into his palace, he proposed that she 
should go through a second ordeal before an assembly 
of the coief nobles and prelates of the realm. As a 
dutiful wife, Sita agreed to the condition insisted upon 
by Rama. But when she appeared before the court of 
her lord, she refrained from doing anything to be re- 
admitted into her position as queen, and instead, asked 
her mother-earth* to testify to her purity by opening up 
her bosom for giving her a final resting-place. The 
story of the Ramayan virtually closes witn the mira- 
culous but pathetic disappearance of Sita underground 
amidst a shower of flowers sent down by the gods. 
The concluding chapters of the Ramayan are apt to 
rouse a feeling of indignation in the reader snch as a 
child might feel at seeing his mother ill-treated by his 
father. But whatever the first impulse may be to 
charge Rama with cruelty and weakness, it is im- 
possible not to take into consideration the long war 
that he waged for Sita's sake, and the miserable life 
that be led during her exile. Even the verdict of the 
Hindu matrons, as evidenced by the indirect expres- 
sions of their highest aspirations, is in favour of Kama 
having been the model of a loving husband. When 
an unmarried girl salutes an elderly Hindu lady, the 
latter, in pronouncing her benediction, will say, '* May 
your husband be like Rama, your mother-in-law like 
Eausalya, and your brothers-in-law like Laksman." 

* Sita is described in the Ramayan as having been found by King 
Janak in the furrow of a field. Ramayan, Adl Kanda Chap. 67, 
▼. 14. 


Thb majority of the Yishnnvite Hindus are worship- 

Eers of the hero god Krishna. He is, in the belief of 
is votaries, the Supreme God, while the other incarna- 
tions, snch as Bama and Buddha, represented only a 
part of the great spirit pervading the universe. Krishna 
was not born in the purple, and never assumed the posi- 
tion of a de jure king in any of the countries whicn he 
virtually ruled ; but, by his ability as a political minis- 
ter, combined with his military resbnrces^ came to be 
recognised as the greatest power in the country in his 
time, and his friendship was eagerly sought by the 
mightiest of the kings in Northern India. According 
to the Mahabhd/rat and the earlier Purans, Krishna was 
the model of a great Ksatriya hero and counsellor* 
But the later Purans, while representing him as God 
Himself in human form, have connected nis name with 
a large number of legends, depicting him as the worst 
type of a shameless sensualist, faithless lover, and 
undutiful son. These stories, though they have 
served the purposes of priestcraft in more ways than 
one, have not, in all probability, any foundation in 
truth, and might well be rejected by the historian 
not only as palpable myths, but as utterly unwarrant- 
able defamations on the character of one of the 
greatest men that India has ever produced. In this 
work, however, some of these stories will have to be 
referred to, in order to enable the reader to form an 

( 423 ) 


exact idea of the doctrines and practices of our most 
important religions sects. 

The MahMha/rat is very nearly silent as to the early 
life of Krishna, but the Pnrans are nnanimons as to 
the following particulars : — 

1. That ne was a trae Ksatriya of the Yada race. 

2. That his father was Ba8adeya,and that his motber,Devaki, 

was one of the sisters of King Kansa of Matiiara. 

3. That his brother Balaram was the son of Basadeva by 

another wife named Bohini. 

4. That, in consequence of a prediction that one of the 

sons of Devaki would kiU Kansa, most of her children 
were killed by him. 

5« That Krishna and Balaram were surreptitiously removed 
from Mathura by their father, to the house of a cow- 
herd chief, named Nanda Ghosh, who lived in the 
village of Gokula in the neighbourhood. 

6. That Krishna and Balaram were treated by Nanda's 
wife Jashoda as her own sons, and that, in their earlier 
years, they tended Nanda's cattle. 

7* That when thev grew up to manhood, they invaded 
Mathura, and having killed Kansa, restored his father 
Ugra Sena to the throne. 

8. That, as Kansa was the son-in-law and a vassal of Jara 

Sandha, the Emperor of Magadha sent several expedi- 
tions to chastise those who took the lead in dethron- 
ing and killing him. 

9. That though Krishna successfully resisted these inva- 

sions, he ultimately thought it prudent to remove to 
Gu jrat with all his relatives, and that he founded there 
the city of Dwarika which was made the metropolis of 
his new kingdom. 
10. That Krishna married several wives, the chief of whom 
* were Bukmini, Kubja and Satya Bhama. 

The facts which make the life of Krishna particularly 
interesting are those that have reference to his con- 
nection with the Pandava brothers. They were the sons 
of his father's sister^ Kunti, and of King Pandu of 
Hastinapore. Pandu died while they were all very 
young, and after his demise they remained for some time 
under the guardianship of their blind uncle, Dhrita 
Bastra, who was the elder brother of their father, but 
iiad been excluded from the throne, on account of the law 
of the Hindu Shastras which renders blind, deaf and 
dumb persons incapable of taking any property by in- 
heritance. At first Dhrita Bastra sincerely loved his 
nei^ews^ and did not entertain any intention to have 


their claims overlooked for the benefit of his own pro- 
geny. But his eldest son Dnrjodhana persistently 
urged him to banish them from the kingdom, and after 
a great deal of hesitation, he gave effect to his son's evil 
counsels. On some plausible pretexts they were sent to a 
country-house at a place called Baranabat. The build- 
ing, which was given to them there for their residence, 
was, by Duryodhana's order, constructed with highly 
combustible materials, and it was planned that the house 
should be set on fire at night. Yudhisthira was apprised 
of these wicked intentions on the part of his cousins, 
but instead of betraying any reluctance to comply with 
the orders of his uncle, he quietly went to Baranabat 
with his brothers and his mother, as Dhrita Bastra 
wished him to do. In due course the agents of the 
wicked Duryodhana set fire to the Baranabat villa. But 
the Pandava brothers effected their exit from it through 
a subterranean passage which they had caused to oe 
excavated in order to be able to escape from destruc- 
tion. • The whole building was reduced to ashes within 
a very short time, and when the news reached Duryo- 
dhana he was filled with joy at the quiet removal of the 
obstacles to his ambition. The situation of the Pan- 
dava brothers was now a perilous one. They appre- 
hended that their enemies having failed to bring about 
their destruction by meanness and treachery, would 
now have recourse to actual violence, and that, as they 
were in possession of all the resources of the empire, they 
had only to order what they wished. Yudhisthira 
with his brothers and mother, therefore, determined 
to remain concealed in the wilderness, and not to let 
anyone know who they were. For years they lived 
a very miserable life, roaming through the forests, and 
eking out the means of their subsistence by various 
shifts and expedients. At last it came to their notice 
that the great King of Fanchala, whose power and 
resources were almost equal to those of the Hastina- 
pore monarchy, was about to give his daughter in 


marriage by the Swayamvara ceremony, the condition 
being that she was to be wedded to the person who 
would prove his superiority in archery by a public test. 
All the great princes of India were invited to attend 
and compete. The Pandava brothers saw their oppor- 
tunity to emerge from their obscurity. They hastened 
towards Kampilya, the capital of Fanchala, and on the 
appointed day and hour presented themselves among 
the assembled guests, in the guise of Brahmans. The 
feat of archery which was made the test was, if not 
actually impossible, a very difiQcult one. Many of 
the most renowned princes present on the occasion 
wisely abstained from making the attempt, and the 
few who risked their fame, for the sake of the prize, 
made themselves simply ridiculous by their failure. 
At last one of the Pandava brothers, the renowned 
Arjuna, advanced to the centre of the arena, and his suc- 
cess in satisfying the condition was soon followed by tibe 
decking of his neck with the garland that the daughter 
of the Panchala King held in her hand. The Esatriya 
princes assembled on the spot were greatly enraged at 
first at the triumph of a person whom they supposed 
to be a Brahman. But they were pacified by the wise 
counsels of Krishna, and Arjuna witn his bride, and all 
his brothers repaired to the lodgings they had taken up. 
Krishna, the hero god, was present on the occasion. 
He had never before seen the Pandava brothers ; but 
he could easily make out who the winner of the fair 
prize, and the persons accompanying him, were. He 
surmised that, with the help of the Panchala King, 
they would, before long, be able to recover their 
ancestral kingdom. So ne followed them, and intro- 
duced himself to them in the usual way. He prostrated 
himself before Kunti, and also before Yudhisthira, who 
was older than he. The other brothers were accosted 
as younger cousins. The Pandavas were still in a very 
miserabk plight. Arjuna had secured the hand of the 
daughter of the Panchala King, but the five brothers 


with their mother were still in the condition of poor 
beggars. Krishna saw their situation, and imme- 
diately after the marriage, sent them very valuable 
presents. These were highly welcome to them at the 
time, and Krishna thus laid the foundation of a lifelong 
friendship with them. 

The powerful alliance of the Panchala King, soon 
enabled the Pandavas to secure a moiety of their 
ancestral kingdom, with Indraprastha (modem Delhi) as 
their capital. Arjuna was then led to visit Dwarika, the 
capital of the kingdom founded by Krishna in Gujrat, 
and the opportunity was made use of to cement the 
friendship already formed by the marriage of Krishna's 
sister Subhadra with the great Pandava hero. 

Up to this time Krishna did not seek to derive any 
direct advantage from his friendship with the Pandavas. 
But the policy which led him to seek their powerful 
alliance, and through them that of the Panchala Kings, 
soon unfolded itself. It has been already seen that 
Krishna was compelled by Jara Sandha to leave his 
native kingdom of Mathura, and naturally he was 
seeking for an opportunity to crush the mighty Emperor 
of Magadha. That opportunity presented itself when 
Yudhisthira announced his intention to celebrate the 
Rajshuya sacrifice. According to the Mahdbhdrat, 
the idea originated in a communication which the 
Rishi Narada was deputed, by the spirit of Pandu, to 
make to Yudhisthira. The nature of the message that 
Narada brought may be gathered from the following 

£assages in the conversation that took place between 
im and Yudhisthira :— - 

Yudhisthira said:—" O great Ifuni, thon hast mentioned one only 
earthly monarch— viz., the royal Rishi Harish Chundra as being a 
member of the council of the king of the gods ! What act was 
performed by that celebrated king, or what ascetic penances with 
steady vows, in consequence of which he hath been e<iual to Indra 
himself? O Brahmana, how didst thou also meet with my father, 
the exalted Pandu, now a guest of the region assigned for the resi- 
dence of departed souls. O exalted one of excellent vows, hath 
he told thee anything ? O tell me idl. I am exceedingly curious to 
hear all this from thee T 


Karada said :— " O King of Kings, I shall tell thee all that thou 
askest me about Harish Cnundra. He was a powerful king, in fact 
an emperor over all the kings of the earth. And O monarch, 
having subjugated the whole earth, he made preparations for the 
great sacrifice called Baishuya. And all the kings of the earth 
brought at his commana wealth unto the sacrifice. • < • The 
powerful Harish Ghundra, having concluded his great sacrifice, be- 
came installed in the sovereignty of the earth and looked respb^n- 
dent on his throne. O bull of the Bharata race, all those monarciis 
that perform the great sacrifice of Bajshuya are able to attain the 
region of Indra and to pass their time in felicity in Indra's com- 
pany. O King of Kings, O son of Kunti, thy father Pandu, behold- 
ing the good fortune of Ebirish Ohundra and wondering much 
thereat, hath told me something. Knowing that I was coming to the 
world of men, he bowed unto me and said : ' Thou shouldst tell 
Tudhisthira, O JRiskiy that he can subjugate the whole earth, inas- 
much as his brothers are all obedient to him. And having done 
this, let him commence the great sacrifice called Rajshuya. He is 
my son. If he perf ormeth that sacrifice, I may, like Harish Ohun- 
dra, soon attain to the mansion of Indra, and there in his Sabha 
pass countless years in continuous joy.' I have now answered in 
detail all that thou hast asked me. With thy leave I will now go 
to the city of Dwaravati."— JtfaA^/iaro^, Scibha Parva, sec. 12. 

If the allegation of the deputation by Pandu's spirit 
be left out of consideration, as, on account of its super- 
natural character, it deserves to be, then the message 
must have had its origin either in priestcraft on the 
part of Narada, or in statecraft on the part of Krishna, 
with whom Narada seems to have had some mysterious 
connection as principal and agent. At any rate, when 
Krishna was sent for and consulted about the matter, he 
did not fail to take the utmost advantage of the desire 
which was awakened in the mind of Yudhisthira to 
celebrate the Rajshuya sacrifice. Krishna drew the 
attention of his cousin to the fact that so long as Jara 
Sandha reigned supreme throughout the greater part 
of the nortn-eastem provinces of India, the King of 
Indraprastha, with all his wealth and resources, could 
have no right to perform the Rajshuya. To fight with 
Jara Sandha and bring him under subjection was 
out of the question. On the other hand, as a dutiful 
son, Yudhisthira could not give up altogether the idea 
of fulfilling the wishes of his departed father. He was 
therefore in a dilemma from which Krishna proposed 
to extricate him, by offering to effect the death of Jara 


Sandha with only the help of the two brothers Bhima 
and Arjnna. They set ont on their mission in the dis- 
guise of Brahmans, and having arrived at the city of 
Giri Braja^ the metropolis of the Magadha empire, they 
easily managed to have an interview with the king. In 
the course of the conversation that took place, Krishna 
charged Jara Sandha with tyranny, and challenged 
him to fight a duel. The great emperor denied that he 
had ever been guilty of oppressing his subjects ; but 
he was, for the sake of vindicating his Esatriya honour, 
obliged to accept the challenge, and the result was that 
he was killed by Bhima. Thereupon the princes who had 
been held captive by Jara Sandha, were released, and 
not only they, but the emperor's son, Sahadeva, paid 
homage to Krishna and to the Pandavas. Thus Krishna's 
triumph over his great enemy was complete, and at the 
same time he laid Yudhisthira under a fresh obUgation. 
After these events, the Rajshuya sacrifice was duly 
celebrated by the Pandava King, and for a time he was 
in the zenith of imperial glory. But, before long, he was 
led by the wily courtiers of his cousin Duryodhana, to 
stake everything that he possessed, in a game of chance. 
The result was tiiat he not only lost his kingdom and 
his crown, but was obliged to seek refuge in the woods 
again with his brothers, and the queen Draupadi. 
At the time of their exile, Krishna does not appear to 
have maintained any communication with them. But 
when the period of thirteen years, during which Yud- 
histhira was bound by his gambling vow to rove in the 
forests with his brothers, expired, Krishna appeared in 
their midst again, and urged them to declare war 
against their cousin unless he consented to make over 
at least a moiety of the kingdom of Hastinapore to 
them. Krishna himself accepted the office of ambas- 
sador to bring about peace. But whether his real 
object was peace, or whether he used his influence and 
opportunities only to involve the parties in war, are ques- 
tions as to which there may be considerable difference 


of opinion. Even the bigoted Vishnuvites are some- 
times obliged to admit that there was a little too mnoh of 
diplomacy in the part that Krishna took on the occasion. 
1 need not refer to the other important events in the 
political life of Krishna. However interesting they 
may be, they do not come within the scope of this work. 
So I conclude this part of the sketch with some passages 
cited from the Afahdbhdraty showing how exalted his 
position in the political horizon* was in his time. The 
following is from the Udyoga Parva of the great epic: — 

Tudhisthira said :— " Without doabt, O Sanjaya, it is true that 
righteous deeds are the foremost of all our acts, as thou sayest. 
Thou shouldst, however, censure me c^fl&r you have first ascertained 
whether it is virtue or vice that I practise * * * Here is Krishna, 
the giver of virtue's fruits, who is clever, politic, intelligent, who 
is devoted to the service of the Brahmans, who knows everything and 
counsels various mighty kings ! Let the celebrated Krishna say 
whether I should be censurable if I dismiss all idea of peace, or 
whether if I fight, I should be abandoning the duties of my caste, 
for Krishna seeketh the welfare of both sides ! This Satyaki, these 
Ghedis, the Andhakas, the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, the Kukuras, the 
Sriniioyas, adopting the counsels of Krishna, slay their foes and 
delight their friends. The Vrishnis and the Andhakas, at whose 
head stands Ugra Sena, led by Krishna, have become like Indra, 
hi|fh spirited, devoted to truth, mighty and happy. Vabhru, the 
King of Kasi, having obtained Krishna, hath attained the highest 

Srosperity. O sire, so great is this Krishna. I never disregard what 
Lrisnna sayeth." 

That the friendship of Krishna was valued also by 

the enemies of the Pandavas would appear clear from 

the following extracts : — 

After Krishna and Valrama had both departed for Dwarika, 
the royal son of Dhritarastra went there by means of fine horses 
having the speed of wind. On that very day, the son of Kunti 
and Pandu also arrived at the beautiful city of the Anarata land. 
And the two scions of the Kuru race, on arriving there, saw that 
Krishna was asleep, and drew near him as he lay down. And as 
Krishna was sleeping, Durvodhana entered the room and sat down 
on a fine seat at the head of the bed, and after him entered the 
magnanimous Arjuna, and he stood at the back of the bed, bowing 
and joining hands, and when Krishna awoke, he first cast his eyes 
on Arjuna * * * Then Duryodhana addressed Krishna saying : — 
It behoveth you to lend me your help in the impending war. Arjuna 
and myself are both equally your friends, you also bear the same 
relationship to both of us. I have been the first to come to you. 
Right-minaed persons take up the cause of him who comes first to 
them. This is how the ancients acted. And, O Krishna, you stand 
at the top of all right-minded persons in the world and are always 


In the Mahdbhdratj Krishna is depicted as a great 
warrior and statesman, and as a sincere reverer of the 
Brahmans. In some places he is spoken of as a god, 
but most of these passages are open to the suspicion 
of being interpolations. At any rate, the main burden 
of the story, so far as Krishna is concerned, is to establish 
that he was a human being of a superior type whose 
example every Ksatriya king ought to follow. That 
was enough for the political purposes of the Brahmans 
at the time when the religion of the Ksatriya Buddha 
threatened to supersede tne Yedic faith and practices. 
The teachings of the Mnhdbhdrat and the Ramayan vir- 
tually asked the Ksatriya rulers of the country to follow 
their great ancestors Bam, Krishna and Yudhisthira, 
and not to attach any importance - to the revolutionary 
doctrines of the son of a petty chieftain of the Himalayan 
Terai. The plan of campaign was eminently success- 
ful, and it is only natural that the victorious party, or 
at least their camp-followers^ should have taken some 
undue advantage. The manner in which, in the case 
of Krishna, man-worship has degenerated into abomi- 
nation-worship, may be traced step by step. In the 
MahdbhdrcU it is pure man-worship. In tne Vishnu 
Purdn and the Hari Vansa^ a tendency to make use of 
the great name of Krishna for corrupting the morals 
of men is clearly visible, though under more or less 
decent veils. But the Bhagvat and the Bramha VcU" 

( 431 ) 


varta^ throw aside every kind of mask, and, in the 
most shameless manner, attempt to sanctify every form 
of debauchery, so as to enable the priestly class to 
gratify their lust. 

The Krishna of the latter-day Purans mentioned 

above has very little in common with the great hero of 

the Mahdbhdrat. In the Bhagvat and the Bramha 

Biharta the reader is called upon to admire and 

worship Krishna, not on account of his having been a 

great warrior and political minister, but on account of 

his having seduced the milkmaids of Brindavan, by 

every kind of trick that the most wicked of human 

beings could invent. The chief object of his love was 

one Iladha, who, according to some of the authorities, 

was the wife of the brother of his foster-mother. The 

very name of this Radha is not to be found even in the 

Bhagvat. But, by an abuse of scientific terms which 

was as common in ancient times as it is now, she is 

represented by the latter-day Vishnuvites as the 

Prakriti or the material basis of the Yoga philosophy, 

while Krishna is represented as the rurush or the 

Supreme Spirit by whose union with the Prakriti this 

universe was created. In almost all the modern Vish- 

nuvite shrines, an image of Radha is associated with 

that of Krishna, and in Northern India there are 

very few temples in which Rukmini or any of the 

other married wives of Krishna are worshipped with 

him. The tales and songs connected with Radha and 

Krishna cannot, for the sake of decency, be referred 

to here. The reader unacquainted with them, and 

curious to know their details, must take the trouble to 

read the two modern Purans mentioned above, and 

also JayadeVj Vidyapati, ( -handidaSy &c. According 

to the legends contained in these works, when Krishna, 

by killing .Kansa, became the virtual ruler of Mathura, 

he forsook not only Radha and the other cowherd 

women of Brindavan whom he had seduced, but, in the 

most heartless manner, disowned even bis foster-parents. 


These stories form the theme of the most heart-rending 
songs and odes, and being much more intelligible to 
all classes of women, both young and old, than the 
wars and intrigues of the Mahdbhdratj are much better 
calculated than anything else to enable the priest to 
acquire a hold on their hearts by awakening their 
tenderest sentiments. 

B, HO 23 


Of the existing Vishnuvite sects, one of the ear- 
liest and purest is that founded by Ramanuja, who 
lived in the eleventh century of the Christian era, and 
was born at a place called Sri Perambudur, 25 miles to 
the west of Madras. The Sivite religion, which had 
been flourishing since the e£Eacement of Buddhism in 
the eighth century, through the teachings of Sankara^ 
was then in undisputed possession of the field, and, 
with perhaps a very laudable object, Ramanuja directed 
all his efforts to abolish the worship of the phallic 
Linga, and to set up Vishnu as the only true god* 
Ramanuja recommended the adoration of Vishnu^ 
Krishna and Ram together with their lawfully married 
wives Laksmi, Rukmini and Sita. Radha worship is 
unknown in Southern India. Images of Ramanuja, and 
of some of his leading followers, are providea with 
special niches in the Vishnuvite shrines appertaining 
to this sect. At Sri Perambudor the birUi-place of 
Ramanuja there is a temple in which an image of the 
prophet is worshipped as the principal deity. 

Tne personal history of Ramanuja does not fall 
within the scope of this work. According to the 
Kanarese account of his life, called the Dibya Charitraj 
his father's name was Kesava Acharya, and his mother 
was Bhumi Devi. He studied the Shastras at Eanchi^ 
and it was there also that he first commenced to teach 
his religion. At a later period, he fixed his residence 

( 434 ) 


at Sri Bangam, an island formed by the bifurcation of 
the river !^veri near the town of Trichinapali. Here 
Bamannja composed his principal works, namely, the 
Sri Bhashwij the 6ita Bhasya^ the Vedartha Sangraha^ 
Vedanta Pradipa^ and the VedanJta Sara. Affcer com- 
pleting these works, the author performed a tour through 
various parts of India, vanquishing the champions of 
the Sivite creed, and converting many Sivite shrines 
into temples for the worship of "Vishnuvite deities. But 
by these proceedings, he created many enemies, and, 
through their instigation, he was threatened with such 
persecution by the king of his native countrv, that he 
was obliged to seek refuge in the court of Vetaldeva, 
Kin^ of Karnata. Vetaldeva himself was a Jaina, 
but bis queen was a believer in Vishnu, and partlv 
through her influence^ and partly by curing the king s 
daughter from a malady which threatened her life, 
Bamanuja was able to convert him to Vaishnavism, 
The Baja built a Vishnuvite temple at Yadavagiri. 
now called Mailkoti, about twelve miles to the norm of 
Seringanatam. Here Bamanuja Uved for twelve years ; 
but on tne death of his persecutor, the Chola King, he 
returned to Sri Bangam^ where he passed the remain- 
ing years of his life, and where his tomb is still in 

The philosophy of Bamanuja is popularly called 
VisMsktadwaita Vada or qualified non-<lualify. But, 
as a matter of fact, he believed in three distinct original 
principles, namely, — 

1. The Supreme Spirit ' Parabramha or Uhwara*. 

2. The separate spirits of men ' Gbit'. 

3. Non-spirit *Achif. 

Bamanuja was not altogether against self-worship as 
practised by the Sankarites. But, for the common, 

)ople, he recommended the worship of images o£ 

ishnu, Krishna and Bama. 

The most important shrines of the Bamanuja sect are 
at Sri Bangam and Mailkoti. The shrines of Badari 



Naih on the Himalayan slopes, of Jagannath in Orissa, 
of Dwarika in Gujrat, and of Tirnpati in North Arcot^ 
are also said to be connected with the Ramanujite order. 

The Ramauujites are called Sri Yaishnavas, and they 
derive their designation from the fact that they worship 
Sri or Laksmi as the consort of their god. They are 
divided into two sects, called the Yauagala and the 
Tengala. The word Yadagala means the language of 
the North, and the word Tengala is a cormpted form 
of the expression " Tri-YnmuYaya, " which means the 
language of the blessed saints. The Yadagalas, as 
their name indicates, give preference to the Sanskrit, 
while the Tengalas regard their Tamil translations as 
equal to the original scriptures of the Hindus. Among 
the Yadagala exegetes the most renowned name is 
that of Desika, who was a Brahman of Eanjivaram. 
The chief authority of the Tengala, or the Southern 
School, is Manavala Mahamuni. The doctrinal dif- 
ferences between the two sects may, to an outsider, 
seem to be too trivial to account for the bitterness 
between them. According to the Yadagalas, the human 
spirit lays hold of the Supreme Being oy its own will, 
acts and efforts, just as the young monkey clings to its 
mother. According to the Tengalas^ the human spirit 
has no independent will, and is led by the Supreme 
Spirit, just as kittens are taken from place to pkce by 
the mother cat. Another difference between the tenets 
of the two sects lies in the views they take of the posi- 
tion of Yishnu's consort. The Yadagalas regard LaKsmi 
as equal to Yishnu himself in every respect, but the 
Tengalas maintain that Laksmi is a created and finite 
being, and that she is to be worshipped only as a mediator. 

The Yadagalas are the more aristocratic of the two 
sects, and have among them very few Sudras. Among 
ihe Tengalas, the plebeians are the predominating ele- 
ment, and they use the vernacular Tamil as the language 
of their ritual, very nearly eschewing Sanskrit^ which is 
favoured by the Yadagalas. The Tamil book of rituals 


compiled by the Tengalas is regarded by them as not 
inferior to the Sansisrit Veda. These circnmstances 
may partially explain the bitter fend existing between 
the two sects. Bnt the chief oanse of their qnarrels 
seems to be the fact that a former King of Madnra 
placed all the Yishnnvite shrines within his dominions 
in the charge of Tengala priests, excluding altogether 
the Vadagalas from the profits and perquisites of the 
ecclesiastical service. 

The two sects have different forehead marks by which 
they can be distinguished without any difficulty. The 
Tilak of the Vadagalas is like the letter U, and that of 
the Tengalas like the letter Y. In both a perpendicular 
red or yellow streak, representing Sri or Laksmi the 
consort of Vishnu, bisects the space between the arms, 
which are painted with the white magnesian or calcare- 
ous clay called Tiruman. In addition to the mark 
painted on the forehead, the Kamanujites, both male 
and female, brand themselves like the Madhavas, with 
the marks of Krishna's emblems, namely, conch shell, 
and discus. Boys are branded after thread ceremony, at 
the age of seven or upwards, and girls are subjected to 
the rite after marriage. The branding is done by the 
family Guru with a red»hot metallic stamp, and forms 
a part of the rites which are performed by him when 
he communicates to his disciple the sacred formula that 
is supposed to cause his regeneration. In Norther^ 
India, branding is never practised, and the sacred for- 
mula consists of a few meaningless syllables. But 
among the Vishnuvites of Southern and Western India, 
the branding is the most important part of the ceremony 
and the sacred formula is either the eight syllabled 
mantra " Om namah Narayanaya " or the well-known 
verse of Gita wherein Krishna calls upon Arjoon to 
follow him implicitly in all things, and not to act accord- 
ing to his own sense of right and wrong. The 
Acharya clears a very handsome amount from the fees 
which are paid to him for his fiendish ministrations. 


Of the Acharyas who have the privilege of practising 
the profession of Gnru amonff toe Ramanujites, some 
are the descendants of the chief disciples of tne prophet. 
Gurus of this class are married men, and they live and 
dress like householders. The same privilege is enjoyed 
also by the superiors of the monasteries appertaining 
to the sect as, for instance, those of Ahobalam in 
the Karnool district, and Yanomamula in Tinne- 
velli. These spiritual superiors are Brahmans, and they 
minister only to Brahmans and the Satanis. The latter 
are said to nave been originally Sudras. But they 
minister to the low castes as priests, and sometimes 
claim to have the same rank as the Brahmans. The deri- 
vation of the name is not well known. Some say that it 
is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Sanatan^ which 
means ** primeval." Some of the lower class Satanis 
themselves say that they are so called because they are 
Sat Ani or yV ^^ ^ S^^' ^^^ following remarks are 
made with reference to them in the last Census Report 
of Mysore : — 

What the Brahman Gums are to themselves, they are to the non- 
Brahmans of their own peranasion. A certain number among them 
have taken to agricnlture, but, as a rule, they are employed in the 
Vishnu temples as Pujaris, flower-gatherers, toroh-bearers, ft • 

The Satanis have their own maths. But they are all 
married men, and it is said that in worshipping their gods 
they use wine, which is an abomination to all Yishnu- 

There are among the followers of Bamanuja a class 
called Dasa or Dasari. Like the Satnnis, these are of 
non-Brahmanical castes. They call themselves Dasas 
or servants of God, in fulfilment of vows made either 
by themselves or their kinsmen in times of illness, pain 
or distress. " They are of various castes, and exhibit 
rather conspicuously certain of the externals of the 
Vaishnava faith, and are much honoured by non-Brah- 
manic people on religious and festive occasions. The 
approach of the Vaishnava Brahman Gurus is heralded 
by them, and they head certain funeral and car procea- 


sions, sounding their peculiar drums and trumpets. It 
is also stated that they are active in converting to the 
tenets of Ramanuja the people of the inferior castes."* 

The formula for accosting a clerical member of the 
Bamanuja sect is Dasoihmi or Dasoham literally, 
^' I am your slave." The mantra communicated by a 
Ouru at the time of admitting anyone to his chellaship 
is a formula signifying " salutation to Narayana." 

The usual surnames of the Ramanujite Brahmans are 
Ayangar, Acharya, Charlu and Acharlu. The last two 
are corrupted forms of the Sanskrit word Acharya. 

There are many big men among the Vadagala section 
of the Sri Yaishnavas. The late Mr. Banga Charlu, 
who was the Prime Minister of Mysore for many years, 
was a Vadagala. The sect is represented in the Bar of 
the Madras High Court by such eminent Advocates as 
Messrs. Bhashyam Ayangar and Ananda Charlu. 

In the observance of caste rules, as to the cooking and 
eating of cooked food, both the Vadagala and the Ten- 
gala Brahmans are more {Puritanic than the most ortho- 
dox members of ' other communities. Sankar Acharya 
required his mendicant followers not to touch fire, and 
enjoined that the^ should live only by partaking of the 
hospitality of Brahman householders. Bamanuja, who 
first set up an opposition, allowed his disciples not only 
to touch fire, but prohibited their eating any food that 
had been cooked or even seen by a stranger. Like 
the Sankarite monks, the Bamanujite ascetics wear 
cotton clothes dyed red with ochre. The householders 
wear silk and woollen clothes after bathing, and at the 
time of taking their middav meal. The Bamanujites use 
necklaces and rosaries of basil wood, though not to the 
same extent as the other Vishnuvites. Among the asce- 
tic followers of Bamanuja there is a class who carry 
stafi^, and are called Dandis. But they wear the sacred 
thread, and do not throw it off like the Sankarite Dandis. 

* MyiWB Centui Rtpwt^ 1891, p. 238. 


Bamanuja was a bitter opponent of the Sivite oult, 
and tried to suppress it altogether. The next great 
Yishnnvite teacher of Southern India, whose name was 
Madhwacharya, and who was born in Kanara in the 
year 1199 A.C., was less intolerant of the phallic 
Linga. The worship of Krishna forms the predominat- 
ing element in Madhwa's calt, but images of Siva and 
Parvati are to be found in the temples set up by 
him, and it is said that his chief object was to re- 
concile the Sivites and the Vishnuvites. The prin- 
cipal shrine set up by him is that at Udipi in the South 
Kanara District, Madras Presidency. Subordinate to 
the temple at Udipi, there are eight monasteries in and 
near Kanara. The management of the Udipi temple, 
which is very ancient and largely endowed, is held by 
the heads of these eight monasteries in rotation for 
two years each. The Madhwas give the designation of 
heretic to both the Bamanujites and the Lingaits, the 
former being called Vishnu Pashandas, and the latter 
Shaiva Pashandas. 

According to the philosophical tenets of the Madhwas 
the essence of the human soul is quite different from 
that of the divine soul, and they are, therefore, called 
Dwaitavadi or Dualists. They admit the existence of 
difference between the Divine Soul and the Universe, 
iind between the human soul and the material world. 
Consistently with their doctrine of Dualism, they do 
not admit tne possibility of the kind of liberation called 

( 440 ) 


Nirvan, which is held by the Adwaitavadis to take 
place by the extinction of the human soul, and its 
absorption in the Divine Essence. 

The Madhwas paint their foreheads in almost the 
same manner as the Sri Yaishnavas of the Yadagala 
class, the only diflFerence being that the former have 
their central line painted black, and not in red or 
yellow as the Ramanujites. It has been already stated 
that the followers of Ramannja are, when yonng, brand- 
ed by their teachers with red-hot metallic stamps, 
having the fibres of Krishna's conch shell and discus 
engraved on uiem. The Madhwas are subjected to this 
kind of torture and degradation, whenever they are 
visited by their Gurus. A member of any caste may 
be a Madhwa ; but only a Brahman can be a Guru or 
ecclesiastic. The Madhwa mendicants resemble the 
Saiva Dandis in every respect. Like the latter, they 
destroy their sacred thread at the time of their initia- 
tion, and shave off their hair at very short intervals. 
They put on also red garments like the Sivites, instead 
of the yellow and white garments usually worn by the 
other Vishnuvites. They imitate the Dandis to the 
extent also of carrying a staff and a water-pot. 

Like the Ramanujites, the Madhwas are divided into 
two classes called the Yyaskuta and the Dasakuta. 
With regard to the latter, the following account is 
given by Mr. Narsimayangar in his report on the last 
Census of Mysore : — 

This sect (the Dasakuta) has been ji^aining some notoriety of late 
years, and its foUowers protest that they believe and practise the 
troths and philosophy inculcated by Madhava, and that they are not 
different from the main body of their feUow-Dwaitas, or believers 
in Dualism. It is asserted, moreover, b^ them that as nearly all their 
relitpous literature was in Sanskrit, wmch was unknown to, and un- 
intellifable by, the majority of the sect, certain devout personages had 
several centuries ago, in order to benefit the more ignorant of their 
countrymen, rendered into Kanarese hymns, songs, prayers, &c.. 
in verse as well as prose, the tenets taught by Madbavacharya and 
amplified by his commentators. Their Kanarese religioi s literature 
is of considerable proportions, and among the authors are the well- 
known Purandar Das, Kanalu Das, Vijaya Das, kc. The word 
Dasa or servant is espoused by them as pre-eminently the servants 


God. This bodv of the Madhvas is stvled Dasaknta, in oontra- 
difltinction to Vyaskata, of which the members follow the Sanskritac 
style of rituals, ftc. 

Many of the Dasas are at the present day in the habit of going 
aboat with the tamboarine and other musical instruments, singing 
Kanarase songs and hymns in honour of the Divine Being, and His 
manifestations in the Hindu Avatajns. The sect presents much that 
is akin to the Tengali division of the Sri Vaishnavas, especially in 
the pre-eminence that is given to the vernacular versions of the 
Sandcrit sacred writings, which remain a sealed book to the major- 
ity of the congregation.— 3fy«ortf Cmmu B^^ort^ 1881, VoL XiLV« 
p. 61. 


Thb success of Bamannja and Madhava in the South 
led to similar experiments in the North. Ramanand, 
who organised the earliest of the Yishnuvite sects of 
Northern India, was very probably a Ramanujite 
in his early life. He is expressly described as 
haying been so in the works of his school, and the 
story IS confirmed very materially by several important 
coincidences between the doctrines and practices of the 
two sects. Both the sects call themselves Sri Yaish- 
navas, and the Ramats paint their foreheads in the 
very same manner as the Yadagala section of the 
Ramanujites. The most important point of difference 
between the two sects lies in the fact that the Ramats 
devote their worship mainly to Ram and Sita, and not 
to Vishnu or Laksmi. The Ramats do not attach any 
importance to the observance of seclusion in the cook- 
ing and eating of food. They have also some other 
distinguishing features which are of a minor charac- 
ter. For instance, while the initiatory mantra of a 
Ramanujite is Sri Ramaya Namah, that of the Ramats 
is only Sri Ram. 

Regarding the personal history of Ramanand very 
little is known for certain, excepting that, during the 
latter years of his life, he lived in Benares at a place 
near tne Panch Ganga Ghat. Formerly there was a 
monastery on the spot, but it is now marsed only by a 
terrace built of stone. 

( 443 ) 

444 TUB RAMAT8. 

Unlike Ramanuja, Bamanand directly admitted the 
lowest castes among his followers. Of his chief disciples 
KshiT was a Jolaha or Mahomedan weaver, and Rai 
Das* was a Chamar or shoemaker. The religion of 
Ramanand, thongh originally adopted by only the 
plebeian classes, nas now within its fold many high 
caste Kanojia and Saroria Brahmans. The Bamats are 
very numerous in every part of the Gangetic valley 
from Hardwar to Bajmahal. The deity, who has the 
largest share of their devotions, is^ as already stated, 
Bamchandra. Some worship Bama alone ; but most of 
them pay equal homage to him and to his wife Sita. 
They nave very large and richly endowed monasteries 
in almost every part of Northern India. In Bengal 
the majority of the Yaishnavas are Ghaitanites. But 
there are, in this part of the country, many Bamat 
convents too, and the Yaishnavas, who are to be found 
in or near Calcutta with the .Trifalaf painted on their 
foreheads, are mainly Bamats. The clerical followers 
of Bamanand are divided into the following four 
classes : — 

1. Achari. | 3. Bairaf^i. 

2. Sanyasi. | 4. Khaki. 

All these are supposed to lead a life of celibacy. The 
Aoharis are Brahmans, and they enlist only Brahmans 
among their disciples. A man of any caste may be a 
Bamat Sanyasi, Bairagi or Ehaki. The lower castes 
among the followers of Bamanand receive their initia- 
tory mantra from these Sanyasis and Bairagis, and 
also from clerical Brahmans living the life of house- 
holders. There is considerable difference between the 
dresses usually worn by the three classes of celibates 
mentioned above. While silk and woollen garments 

* From the name of this fcr^at disciple of Bamanatid, the shoe* 
making; caste generally designate themselves as Rui Das or Ui Das. 

t Trifala is the popular name among the Hindustanis for the 
foreheeid mark of the Ramats consisting of three perpendicular 
lines, the central one of which is of red colour, and the two outer 
ones of white. 


alone are considered as appropriate for the sacred person 
of an Achari, a Ramat Sanyasi will wear only cotton 
clothes stained red with ochre. The uniform of the latter 
is not very expensive, but he shaves and dresses himself 
very decently like the Sankarite Dandis. Among the 
Bamats there is a class called Khaki. These go 
about almost naked, smearing their bodies with ashes, 
and allowing their hair and nails to grow without 
limit. There is another class of Bamats called Bairagis 
who dress in the same manner as the Yaishnavas of 
Bengal, putting on a small piece of rag to cover the 
loins, and having an outer piece called Bahir Bas worn 
round the waist. The Ramat monks of this order have 
generally a large number of nuns attached to their 
convents, with whom they openly live as man and wife. 
The Bamat Sanyasis and Bairagis are not very strict 
about the caste rules, and they will usually eat cooked 
food given to them bv a clean Sudra of any caste. 
The Bamats use necklaces and rosaries of basil beads 
like most of the other Yishnuvite sects. The non- 
Brahmanical Ramats accost each other by pronouncing 
'^Bama, Bama." But when they have to address a 
Brahman, they use the usual expression '^ Faun Lagi," 
signifying " Thy feet are touched." 


Mulluk DasL — The MuUuk Dasis are also worship- 

)>ers of Bam and Sita. Their sect mark is a single red 
me on the forehead. Their principal monastery is at 
the village called Kara Manikpore on the river Ganges 
in the vicinity of Allahabad. Monasteries appertaining 
to the sect are to be found also at Benares, AUahabadj 
Lncknow, Ayodhya, Brindavan and Puri. Mnlluk Das, 
the founder of this sect, lived in the seventeenth century. 
He was bom at Kara, and he died at Puri. 

Dadu Panthi, — This sect was founded by a man of 
a very low caste, named Dadu, who was originally a 
native of Ahmedabad, but who subsequently settled 
himself at a place called Naraina, about 40 miles 
towards the west of Jeypore. The followers of Dadu 
do not worship any image or any visible emblem of any 
deity. The repetition of the name of Rama is the 
only ritual that they have to observe. The Dadu 
Panthis do not paint their forehead, neither do they 
wear necklaces of any kind. The only peculiarity in 
their outfit is a four-cornered or round skull cap, with 
a tuft hanging behind. They are divided into three 
classes, namely, householders, mendicants and Naga 
soldiers. The Jeypore Raj had at one time a very large 
Naga army. The Nagas make verv good soldiers. 

The chief monastery of the Dadu Panthis is at the 
place called Naraina mentioned above. According to 
the authority of the Dabistan^ Dadu was a contemporary 
of Akbar. The followers of Dadu believe that ne did 

( 446 ) 


not die like ordinary men, but disappeared from the 
world in accordance with a message that he received 
from heaven. There is a small honse on the hill of 
Naraina which marks the spot from which he ascended 
to heaven. The Dadn Panthis ordinarily bum their 
dead, bnt the more devout express a wish at the time 
of their death that their bodies might be kept exposed 
in some lonely place in order to afford a meal to the 
jackals and vnltures. 

Sam Sanehi. — This also is an offshoot of the 
Ramat sect. The founder of this order was one Ram 
Charan, who was bom in the year 1718 at a village 
named Sura Sena within the territories of the Jeypore 
Baj. He was at first a Ramat, but he soon became a 
staunch opponent of idol worship, and the persecution 
to which he was, on that account, subjected by the local 
Brahmans, compelled him to leave the place of his 
birth. After travelling through various parts of India, 
he ultimately settled at Shahapur, the chief town of the 
Tributary State of Shahapur in Rajputana. 

The Ram Sanehis do not worship images. Their 
religious services are to some extent similar to those of 
the Mahomedans. Five services are held every day in 
their shrines. In the morning the monks assemble first, 
then the male members of the laity, and last of all the 
females. Men and women are not allowed to worship 
at the samie time. Of the two other services, one is 
held in the. afternoon, and the other in the evening. 
Females are not allowed to attend on these occasions. 

The I^m Sanehi mendicants are divided into two 
classes, called the Bidehi and the Mohini. The Bidehis 
go about completely naked. The Mohinis wear two 
pieces of cotton cloth dyed red in ochre. The mendi- 
cant's water-pot is made of wood, and he dines from off 
a stone or an earthen plate. The monks, who lead a 
life of celibacy, are the men who usually officiate as 
the priests of the sect; but householders and females 
are eligible for the service. The Ram Sanehis are not 


only strict vegetarians and teetotalers, but they have 
to abstain from every kind of intoxicating liquor and 
drug, including tobacco and opium. 

A Hindu oi any caste may be admitted to the Ram 
Sanehi sect. The baptism is effected by the chief of 
the monastery at Shahapur. The Ram Sanehis Pjunt 
their forehead ^rith a white perpendicular line. They 
shave their heads and wear necklaces of basil beads. 
When a man is admitted to the holy order, his name 
is changed, and his head is so shaved as to leave only a 
tuft of nair in the centre. 

The moral discipline of the Ram Sanehis is said to 
be very strict. There are regular officers^ attached to 
the chief monastery of the sect at Shahapur, who exercise 
supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction over both the clergy 
and the laity, and who, when necessary, hold special 
courts for the trial of the delinquents. For controlling 
the morals of the laity, there are monks in every 
village who have jurisdiction to decide all petty cases. 
In cases of a serious nature, the accused person, 
whether he is a monk or a householder, is taken to 
Shahapur, and if found guilty by the ecclesiastical court 
there, then he is excommunicated, his necklace of basil 
beads being torn off and his head being shaved dean. 
Thenceforward the convict becomes incapable of wor- 
shipping in any temple appertaining to tne sect, or of 
joining any dinner-party given by any member of it. 

The Ram Sanehi sect lias the largest following in 
Mewar and Alwar. Members of the sect are to be found 
also in Bombay, Gujrat, Surat, Haidrabad, Poona, 
Ahmedabad and Benares. 


AoooRDiNQ to a popular classification, the Yishnu- 
vites are divided into tne following fonr sects : — 

1. Sri Samprodaya, lit., the order of the goddess of wealth, 

who, accordinj^ to Hindu mytholoffv, is the consort of 
Vidinu, the creating god of the Hindu Triad. The 
founder of the Sri sect was Ramanuia. 

2. Bramha Sampradaya, founded by Madhava. 

3. Rudra Sampradaya, founded by Vallabha or some 

previoi^ teacher of the same school. 

4. Sanakadi Sampradaya, lit., the order of the saint 

named Sanaka. Nimat, the other name of this sect, is 
given to it from the fact of its having been founded by 
one Nimbaditya. 

An account of the first two sects has been given 
already. The Nimats have their head-qiiarters at 
Muttra, and have a considerable following in tne districts 
round that town ; but they have no literature which they 
can call as their own, excepting, perhaps, the poems of 
Jayadev ; and they are fast being thrown into the shade 
by the Chaitanites and the Yallabnites. 

The Nimats were apparently the first to insist upon 
the worship of Badha conjointly with that of Krishna. 
To this cult the Chaitanites and the Badha Vallabhites 
have given such impetus that there are very few Vishnu- 
vite shrines now in Northern India in which an image 
of Badha is not associated with that of Krishna. The only 
Yishnuvite temple in Bengal in which Krishna's married 
wife Bukmini is associated with him on the altar, is per- 
haps that of Ruhnini Kanta Ji or Kantaji in Dinajpur. 

The superior of the Nimat monastery at Dhruva 
Kshetra near Mathura claims to be a descendant of 

B, HO ( 449 ) 2P 

450 THE NIMAT8. 

Nimbaditya. The Nimats, like some of the other Yaish- 
nava sects, paint their foreheads with two perpendicular 
lines of Gopi Ohandan; but instead of having red 
lines in the interior like a Sri Yaishnava or Bamat, the 
Nimat has a circular mark of black colour within the 
space enclosed by the white lines of Gopi Ghandana. 
tJayadev, the author of the lascivious pastoral poem in 
Sanskrit called Gita Govind, was, it is said, a Nimat. 


Thb early Yisfanuvite teachers inculcated the wor- 
ship of Yishnn, either in his original form, or in the 
forms of Krishna and Ram, in which the preserving god 
of the Hindn Triad had incarnated among men in past 
ages. In paying homage to these, the earlier teacners 
associated with them their married wives Laksmi, 
Rnkmini and Sita, respectively ; and so the cults of the 
Ramanujas, Madhwas and Ramats were calculated to 
elevate the morality of their followers. Their systems 
could not, therefore, suit the policy of the later v ishnu- 
vites, who were led by their success to play bolder games. 
They had apparently the same objects in view as the 
Sivites and the Tantrics; but the phallic cults incul- 
cated by the latter, though they became widespread, 
have very seldom yielded the particular result which 
they were meant to bring about. In any case, the 
Yishnuvites of the modern schools saw that they must 
invent some new machinery, if they were to encompass 
the same object. The Sivites called upon their follow- 
ers to worship the male organ of generation. The 
Tantrics inculcated the adoration of the female organ. 
The plan of campaigning prescribed for the Saiva 
eeclesiastio requires him to maintain an attitude of 
passiveness and indifference. He may assert every now 
and iben that he is Siva. But he cannot go any 
Anrther. The Ttatrics, who incttloate the worahip of 
4bs female orgsn, may proceed in a m<»^ aggresBivo 
iqfttit But in their essential nature the Tintric imd the 

( 451 ) 


Sivite cults being both equally indecent, their ecclesi- 
astics cannot ordinarily dare to explain their true nature 
or claim worship for themselves as living Sivas. Their 
religions, being thus very imperfectly understood by the 
people, have very seldom served the purposes for which 
they were meant. They have led men to worship stone 
and clay emblems, but nothing more real. The Vishnu- 
vites avoided all material indecencies, and sought to 
corrupt the morals of men and women, not by obscene 
exhibitions, or by claiming undue familiarity on the 
plea of performing religious rites, but by legends and 
songs which might prove eflfective even from a distance 
by appealing to the imitative spirit of both men and 
women. The idea was first conceived by the authors 
of the Bhagvat and the Bramha Vaivarta ; but it was 
perhaps either Nimbaditya or Chaitanya who first 
made organised attempts to reduce it to practice. 

According to the chronological data obtainable from 
the literature of the Vishnuvite sects, Ballavacharya 
was the contemporary of Chaitanya. Both of them evi- 
dently followed some earlier teachers. Chaitanya was 
admittedly a Nimat, while with regard to the Ballavite 
sect, it is said that its original founder was a Brahman 
named Vishnu Swami, who communicated his doctrines 
to only Brahmanical ascetics. Yishnu Swami was suc- 
ceeded by Jnana Deva, who was followed by Nama 
Deva and Trilochana, and they by Ballabha. The 
Ballabhites worship Krishna in the character and form 
of Bala Gopala, or cowherd boy. In consonance with 
this method of worship, they originally fixed their head- 
Quarters at Gokoola, the place where Krishna passed 
tne years of his boyhood as the foster son of the cowherd 
Nand Ghosh. The Nimats and the Chaitanites exclude 
from their altar the married wives of Krishna, and, for 
the purposes of their adoration, associate with him 
the milkwoman Radha, who, according to the Bramha 
Vaivarta and the later Purans, was the chief object of 
his attentions during his bachelorhood when he tended 


the cattle of his foster-parents at Brindavan. The 
Ballabhite» worship Krishna as a cowherd boy, and do 
not usnally associate with him any of his consorts 
married or unmarried. 

The Bala Gopala worship practised by the Ballabhites 
seems to be of an earlier date than the Badha worship 
favoured by the Nimats and Chaitanites. It is true 
that Ballava and Chaitanya were contemporaries ; but 
the historical facts referred to above go very far to 
show that the faiths connected with their names did not 
actually originate with them, and if Radha worship 
originated with Nimbaditya, and Bala Gopala worship 
with Vishnu Swami, there can be no chronological 
objection to the view that the latter preceded the 
former. The positive evidence in favour of this view 
of their sequence is afforded by their very nature. 
The Bala Gopala worship is an innocent cult, the 
proclamation of which required no preliminarv pre- 
paration of the ground. But Radha worship, though 
sanctioned by some of the Purans, could not nave pos- 
sibly been floated without very serious misgivings as to 
its ultimate success, and it seems more reasonable to 
suppose that Bala Gopala worship prepared the way for 
the introduction of Badha worship, than that this last 
phase of the Yishnuvite cult had come into existence 
at an earlier period. 

Ballabha was born in the year 1479 A.D. His 
father, Lakman Bhatta, was a Yelnad Brahman of 
Telingana, whose original home was Kankarkam, near 
Raipore, but who had settled in Benares some time 
before the birth of Ballabha. The prophet had his 
education in the holy city where his father lived, and, 
as a matter of course, became a great Sanskrit scholar 
at a very early age. At that time almost the whole of 
Northern India was under the rule of the Mahomedans, 
and the kingdom of Yizianagaram in the Deccan was 
perhaps the most powerful Hindu monarchy then in 
existence. Ballabha had a near relative in the service 


of King Krishna Dev, of Vizianagram, and was 
naturally attracted to the conrt of that greats monarch* 
In all probability, the adventure did not prove very 
successful. At any rate, Ballabha could not make a 
permanent impression on th^ king or his courtiers, 
though, if we are to believe the accounts given of the 
prophet's life by his followers, he vanquished in argu- 
mentative contest all the Sankarite courtiers of Krishna 
Dev, and made the king himself one of his followers. 
In the course of his peregrinations, Ballabha visited 
Ujin, Muttra and Chunar, and the spots where he 
rested, in or near these towns, are still pointed out as his 
Baithak. During the course of his travels, he was on 
more than one occasion visited by the great god 
Krishna, in propria persona^ and directed by him to marry 
and to set up a shrine for him at Gokool. He complied 
with both these injunctions, and his descendants for 
some generations remained at Gokool in charge of the 
temples founded by him. At a later period, the per- 
secutions of Arungzebe compelled the then representa- 
tives of his family to leave Gokool for good with 
their idols, and seek for refuge in the Hindu kingdom 
of Udaipura. 

'* When Arungzebe proscribed Kanai, and rendered his shrines 
impure throughout Vrij, Rana Raj Sing oifei-«d the heads of one 
hundred thousand Rajputs for his service/' and the god was con- 
ducted by the route of Kotah and Rampurah to Mewai*. An omen 
decided the spot of his future residence. As he journeyed to go in 
the capiUil of the 8esodia the charriot wheel sunk deep into the 
earth and defied extrication : upon which the Sookuni (augur) inter- 
preted the pleasure of the god, that he desired to dwell there. 
This circumstance occurred at an inconsiderable village called Siarh, 
in the ^ef of Dailwara, one of the sixteen nobles of Mewar. 
Rejoiced at this decided manifestation of favour, the chief hastened 
to make a perpbtual gift of the village and itslnnds, which was 
speedily confirmed by the patent of the Rana. Kathji (the god) 
was raraoved from his car, and, in due time, a temple was erected 
for his reception, when the hamlet of 8iarh became the town of 
Nathdwara, which now contains many thousand inhabitants, who, 
reposing under the especial protection of the god, are exempt from 
every mortal tribunal. The site is not aninteresting, nor devoid of 
the means of defence. To the east it is shut in l>y a cluster of 
hills, and to the westward flows the Bunas, which nearly bathes the 
extreme points of the hills. Within these bounds is the sanctuary 


(alma) of Knniya where the criminftl is free from parsait ; nor 
obire the rod of jastice appear on the mount, or the foot of the 
parsner pass the stream ; neither within it can blood be spilt, for the 
pastoral Kanai de%hts not in offerings of this kind. The territory 
contains within its precincts abundant space for the town, the 
tomple and the establishments of the priests, as well as fbr the 
numerous resident worshippers and the constant influx of votaries 
fit>m the most distant regions who find abundant shelter from the 
noontide blaze in the grooves of tamarind, peepnl and simal where 
tliev listen to the mystic hsrmns of Joyadeya. Here those whom 
ambition has cloyed, superstition unsettled, satiety disgusted, com- 
merce ruined, or crime disquieted, may be found as ascetic attend- 
ants on the mildest of the gods of India. 

The dead stock of Krishna's shrine is augmented chiefly by those 
who are happy to barter *' the wealth of Ormus and of Ind ** for the 
intercessional prayers of the high priest and his passport to Haripur, 
the heaven of Hari. From the banks of the Indus to the moutn of 
the Ganges, from the coasts of the Peninsula to the shores of the 
Red Sea, the gifts of gratitude or of fear are lavishly poured in. 
The safe arrivalof a galleon from Safala or Arabia produced as much 
to the shrine as to the insurance office, for Kanai is the St. Nicholas 
of the Hindu navigator, as was Apollo to the Greek and Geltio 
sailors. A storm yields in proportion to its violence, or to the nerve 
of the owner of the vessel. The appearance of a lons^enied heir 
might deprive him of half his patrimony, and force him to lament 
his parent's distrust in natural causes ; while the accidental mistake 
of touching forbidden food on particular fasts requires expiation, 
not by flagellation or seclusion, but by the penance of the purse. — 
Tod's Bajagthan, Vol. I, p. 553 #< isq. 

The shrine of Srinath at Nath Dwara is the principal 
shrine of the Ballabhite sect. Besides this, which may 
be regarded as their head-quarters station, they have 
seven other shrines within the territories of the Hindu 
Bajas of Rajputana, and in the adjacent British districts. 
The names and local habitations of these idols* are 
given below :— 

1. Kanita ... KathaBwara. 

2. IfathuraKath ... Kotah. 

3. DwarkaKath ... Kankerwoli. 

4. GokoolKath ... Jeypur. 

5. Tadu Kath ... Surat. 

6. VithalKath ... Kotah. 

7. Madanamohan ... Jeypur. 

All these idols are said to have been originally dis- 
covered by Ballava by some kind of miracle or other, 
and to have been set np for worship by him in or near 
Ibthnra and Gokool, from whence they were removed 

* See Tod's BaiaUJum^ Vol. I, p. 529. 


to Bajpntana, at or about the same time as Nathji. 
They are all in the possession of the descendants of 
Ballabha, who are venerated as gods by their followers, 
and nsually called Maharajas. They are called also 
Gokoolastha Gossains from the fact of their having 
been residents of Gokool before their migration to Raj- 
putana. Of the five great Vishnuvite prophets of 
modern times, namely, Ramanuja, Madhava, Ramanand, 
Ballabha and Chaitanya, the first two are in possession 
of the Deccan. The faith of the third prevails through- 
out the greater part of Northern India, and while Balla- 
bha has undisputed mastery over the western provinces 
of India, Chaitanya has very nearly the same position in 
Bengal. Of the shrines appertaining to their sects, the 
Ramanujite temple at Sri Rangam and the Ballabhiie 
temple at Nath Dwara are perhaps the wealthiest. 
Ramanuja and Madhava have the highest castes among 
their followers. Ramanand admitted within his fold 
both the high castes and the low castes ; and while 
Ballabha, with an eye to the main chance, enrolled 
chiefly the mercantile castes, the Ohaitanites never 
refuse their ministration to any one, however low or 

The Ballabhites do not admit to their order such low 
castes as the Dhobi, Mochi, Darzi and the Napit. The 
clean Sudra castes, such as the Kayasthas, the Kunbi, 
the Abhir, and the Malis are admitted as disciples by 
the Ballabhite Maharajas. 

The Bala Gopala worship practised by the Ballabhites 
is apparently innocent enough. But its inevitable 
tendency, where conjoined with recitations from Bhaga^ 
vat and Jayadev, is to develop into all the immoralities 
of the Radna worship. At any rate, serious charges of 
that nature are usually brought against the Ballabha- 
charya Gossains, and were proved to some extent in 
the celebrated case of the Bombay Maharajas, which 
came before the Supreme Court of Bombay on the 
26th January 1862. The following is an extract from 


the judgment of Sir Matthew Sansse in the above 
case : — 

The Maharajas have been sedulous in identifying themselves with 
the god Krishna by means of their own writings and teachings and by 
the similarity of ceremonies of worship and addresses which they 
require to be offered to themselves by their followers. All songs 
connected with the god Krishna, which were brought before us, 
were of an amorous character, and it appeared that songs of a cor- 
rupting and licentious tendency, both in ideas and expressions, are 
sung by young females to the Mahara^'a, upon festive occasions, in 
which they are identified with the god in his most licentious aspect. 
In these songs, as well as stories^ both written and traditional, which 
latter are treated as of a religious character in the sect, the subject 
of sexual intercourse is most prominent. Adultery is made familiar 
to the minds of all ; it is nowhere discouraged or denounced ; but, 
on the contrary, in some of the stories, those persons who have 
committed that great moral and social offence are commended. 
History of the Bombay Maharajas, p. 142. 

The observations made in the above must, I fear, be 
admitted to be well grounded. But they do not prove 
that there is any immorality in actual practice. The 
corrupting influence of a religion, that can make its 
female votaries address amorous songs to their spiritual 

fuides, must be very great. But the weapon, though 
evised with diabolical cleverness, must generally fall 
short of the mark. For the sake of maintaining his 
character for sanctity, and to avoid making himself too 
cheap, the Maharaja has to keep himself at a distance 
and to be in a dignified attitude. For every act of 
condescension the Maharajas expect a regular fee, a!nd 
that they could not have exacted if they mixed too freely 
with their worshippers. Their tariff is as given below: — 

For homage by sight, Rs. 5. 

For homage by touch, Rs. 20. 

For the honor of washing the Maharaja's foot, Rs. 35. 

For swin^ng him, Rs. 40. 

For rubbing sweet ungents on his body, Rs. 42. 

For being allowed to sit with him on the same couch, Rs. 00. 

For being closeted with him in the same room, from Rs. 60 

toRs. 500. 
For eating pan from the mouth of the Maharaja, Rs. 17. 
For the priyilege of dancing with him, Rs. 100 to Rs. 200. 
For drinking the water in which he has bathed, Rs. 17. 

Whether the privileges of sitting with the Maharaja, 
or of being closeted with him, are ever sought by any 


one is a matter as to which I have no definite informa^ 
tion. Bat this mnch is well known — that, in order to 
maintain their dignity, the Maharajas nsnally keep their 
followers at more than arm's lengtn. In fact, a carefol 
sarvey of the religions of the Hindus on the one hand, 
and their practices on the other, would lead any im- 
partial and unbiased enquirer te the conclusion that the 
moral nature of the Hindus, as a nation, is, generally 
speaking, far superior te most of their religions. The 
cleverest devices of their prophets have therefore fallen 
flat upon them. 

The Ballabhite method of worship is called Pushni 
Marga, or the road of nourishing food. This name is 
given to the faith on account of its forbidding ascetism, 
and insisting upon the doctrine that the spiritual pro- 
gress of the soul is possible only by keeping the body 
and its powers in a sound condition. 


Ohaitanta, the founder of the Yishnuvite sect of 
Bengal, which is now spreading in every direction, was 
a high caste Yaidika Brahman of Nadiya, the chief 
seat of Sanskrit learning; in Bengal, and at one time its 
metropolis. He was bom in the year 1484 of the 
Christian era. His father, Jagannath Misra, was ori- 
ginally a native of Sylhet, and probably came to Nadiya, 
at a very early age, as a stndent. Jagannath was of 
the Bharadwaj Gotra, and his family professed the 
Sama Veda. Being a high caste Knlin of his clan, 
and a very eligible bridegroom, a resident Yaidika 
Brahman of Nadiya gave him in marriage his daughter 
Sachi. After his marriage Jagannath permanently 
settled in Nadiya, and was before long blessed witn 
two male children, the eldest of whom was named 
Bishwarap, and the younger, who subsequently became 
the famous Yishnuvite prophet of Bengal, received the 
names of Nimai and Bishwambhar from his parents. 
Bishwarup went away from home at a very early age, 
and died somewhere near Sri Bangam on the E^averi! 
Jagannath did not long survive the mendicancy of his 
eldest son, and Nimai, the younger, was for some time 
the only source of solace to his bereaved mother. It 
is said that he became a great Sanskrit scholar at a 
very early age, and his admirers go so far as to assert 
that he became the rival of the famous Ragunath Siro- 
mani, the founder of the Nya philosophy of Nadiya. 

( 459 ) 


That he was a very clever scholar may certainly be 
admitted. Bat there are very strong grounds for ques- 
tioning the assertion that he was superior to, or even 
the equal of, the great giants of Sanskrit scholarship 
that lived in his time. The ambition of every success- 
ful student of Nadiya is to be a professor of his own 
special branch of learning in his native town, and one 
who has the least chance of attaining any distinction 
as a teacher at Nadiya will never go to another part 
of the country to set up a grammar school. But, in the 
biographies of Chaitanya, it is distinctly stated that he 
left home after his first marriage, ana for a time set 
up a school somewhere in East Bengal. Whether this 
adventure proved successful or not is a matter as to 
which it is not necessary to hazard any conjecture. 
Suffice it to state that he returned home within about 
two years, and that he never thought of going back to 
his place of sojourn. At the time when Chaitanya 
left Nadiya for East Bengal he was only twenty years 
old. That was certainly not the age at which any one, 
in the ordinary course of things, ever has been,- or ever 
can be, a great Pandit. When he came back to Nadiya, 
his age was only twenty-two, and, as from that time 
he gave up his studies, the story that he became the 
rival of Raghunath and Raghunandan cannot be ac- 
cepted as having any element of probability in it. 
As the most intelligent students of Nadiya are not able 
to finish their scholastic career before the age of thirty, 
it seems that Chaitanya never attempted to study law 
or philosophy, and that his learning was confined to 
Sanskrit grammar only. In fact, in his biographies, it is 
distinctly stated, in some places, that his fame as a Sans- 
krit scholar rested only upon his knowledge of grammar. 
During his absence in East Bengal, his first wife 
Laksmi rriya died of snake-bite, and he took a second 
wife named Vishnu Priya. Up to this time he had 
evidently no intention of leaving home as a mendicant. 
In his twenty-third year, he went to Gaya in order 


to discharge the duties which, as a pious Hindu son, 
he owed to the soul of his deceased father. This pil- 
grimage shows again that, at the time of its perform- 
ance, the son of Jagannath and Sachi had no idea of 
his being the great god Yishnu himself, for if he knew 
himself to be so, he could have no business to go to 
Gaya for offering pindas at the footprints of Gad&dhar. 
At Gaya the pilgrim became the disciple of a Sankarite 
mendicant, and from that time a great change came 
over him. 

After his return to Nadiya, he very nearly gave 
up study and teaching, and organised the kind of 
religious exercise and singing called Sankirtan which 
was the main secret of the rapid spread of his faith. 
The Sakti worshippers then predominated in Nadiya, 
as they do still to some extent. For fear of them, and 
of the Mahomedan Governor of the town, Chaitanya's 
Sankirtans were at first performed in camera^ in the 
house of one of his collaborateurs named Sri Vasha, 
At a later period Chaitanya ordered every one of his 
followers to celebrate the Sankirtan in his own house* 
The Sakti worshippers could not tolerate such uproar, 
and upon their complaining to the Kazi, be not only 
caused the musical instruments in one of the houses to 
be broken, but strictly prohibited the repetition of the 
nuisance. Chaitanya determined to set at defiance the 
order of the Governor. He organised three strong 
Sankirtan parties, and, at the head of one of them, 
marched to the very door of the Kazi's house. The 
gate had been shut up. But, in response to Chaitanya's 
message, the Kazi came out, and, before long, they 
became staunch friends. Chaitanya took the Kazi to 
task for his un-Mahomedan conduct in not properly 
receiving a guest at his door. The Kazi, thus put to 
shame, was obliged to apologise. The result was a sweet 
reconciliation between the parties which their co-reli- 
gionists might now-a-days study and imitate with 
advantage to alL After securing the friendship of the 


Mahomedan Governor of the town, Chaitanya carried 
on his Sankirtans with redoubled vigour. His mania 
for Krishna worship was now fast developing. He not 
only held Sankirtans, but organised an amateur theatri- 
cal party in which he himself played the part of 
Rukmini, the chief of the married wives of Krishna. 
These proceedings made the condition of his young and 
impressionable mind akin to madness. As he was one 
day uttering, in a theatrical mood, the words, ^' the 
milkmaids I the milkmaids I" a Sanskrit student of the 
town took him to task for his eccentricity. At this his 
irritation was such that he actually pursued his critic 
with a stick. Thereupon the Sakti worshipping Pandits 
of Nadiya and their pupils got that pretext for persecut- 
ing him, which they wanted. When the young prophet 
thus made his native town too hot for nim, he deter- 
mined to leave it for good, and to enter one of the mo- 
nastic orders founded by Sankara Acharya. At this time 
he was visited by a Sankarite monk, named Keshav 
Bharati, who^ after taking him to Katwa, caused him to 
be duly initiated as a member of the holy order to which 
he belonged. 

The account of Chaitanya's early life given above 
includes all the material facts, excepting only the mira- 
culous portions. The circumstances that are referred 
to in his biographies, as the causes of his becoming a 
mendicant, are intelligible enough. Whether there 
were other causes or not to lead him in the same direction, 
is a matter as to which history does not furnish the 
necessary materials for a satisfactory answer. Admit- 
ting that his personal character was blameless, and that 
the only motive which actuated him was the supersession 
of the beastly cult of the Tantrics by Krishna worship, 
it is still difficult to regard him in the light of a great 
reformer. What he sought to abolish was bad indeed. 
But it cannot be said that what he gave in lieu txf it 
was unexooptionable. We may well be grateful to ham 
for enforcing teetotalism and vegetarianism amoag Us 


followers. Bat to persons unbiased by sectarian feel- 
ingSy there can be little to choose between a Tantric's 
-orgies, and a Yaishnava's imitations of Krishna's flirta- 
tions. The utmost that can be said in favour of Ghai- 
tanya is that he looked upon the illicit amours of Krishna 
in a spiritual sense, and that he never meant that they 
should be imitated by his followers for the gratification 
of their sensuality. But his whole life shows that 
though he was apparently mad at times, yet there was 
in him a statesmanlike genius which is very rare in 
this world. To suppose mat he never could anticipate 
tiie results which are now found to arise out of the 
cult that he inculcated, is the height of absurdity. 
The veriest tyro ought to be able to foresee what the 
fruits of a tree must be that owes its existence to seeds 
supplied by the BhagvaJt and the Brahma Vaivarta. 
Admitting that Chaitanya's own character was a pure 
one, and that he could have no motives to reap any 
benefit for himself, it does not necessarily follow that 
he was not actuated by a reckless ambition to spite, at 
any cost, his rivals and persecutors among his fellow- 
castemen of Nadiya. For attracting followers, it was 
certainly quite as necessary then as now to hold out 
some inducements. And is there anything Jua the life 
of Ohaitanya to show that his standard of morality was 
much higher than that of the secular rulers, statesmen 
and generals who are known to have sacrificed their 
principles for the sake of their party ? If some of the 
greatest of generals have been capable of giving direct 
encouragement to immorality, in order to keep Tommy 
Atkins in good humour, a similar trick practised by 
a sect founder need not cause any surprise at all. The 
safest and most reasonable view seems to be titat the 
prophets and incarnations that we have had were 
neitoer better nor worse men than political adventurers. 
When forced by necessity, both are capable of doing a 
great many things that cannot be justified on any 
principle of morality. 


Ghaitanya admitted not only the lowest castes, bat 
even Mahomedans, among his followers. Three of his 
principal disciples, namely, Rup, Sanatan and Hari-» 
das, were Islamites. Rap and Sanatan were originally 
Brahmans, bat were apparently compelled to espouse 
Mahomedanism against their will. They held very high 
offices in the service of Hossain Shah, the then King 
of Bengal. They quitted the service of their king, and 
became followers of Ghaitenya, with the view apparently 
of being re-admitted inte Hindu society. Haridas 
was a poor Mahomedan who had sofiFered much by his 
heresy, and whom Ghaitanya had to keep near him at 
all times for the purpose of protecting nim from the 
persecutions of his co-religionists. To avoid ofiFending 
the prejudices of his other followers, he kept Haridas 
at a slight distance. But there are various incidents 
in the life of Ghaitanya which prove conclusively 
that, he dearly loved the Yavana. At the present 
time, the Ghaitanite teachers are never found to 
minister to any Mahomedan. But they do not deny 
the benefit of their services to any of the low castes 
that can pay them adequately. Even Ghamars, Doms, 
Bauris and Bagdis are sometimes admitted within their 
fold. Sugh action on their part may by some be 
regarded as evidence of a liberal spirit. But the same 
view cannot certainly be taken of their enrolling the 
unfortunates of the towns among their spiritual con- 

Among the Ghaitanites, as among almost all the other 
sects, there are both mendicants and regular house* 
holders. The leading men among the Ghaitanite 
householders are the descendants of the immediate 
disciples and apostles of the prophet. They are 
looked down upon by the aristocratic Hindus as 
persons who live by trading on the rejected elements 
of pure Brahmanism. But some of them have almost 
princely incomes from the contributions of their disciples 
and the emoluments of the shrines of which they are 

chaitanya's collaboratburs. 465 

the owners. The majority of the Gossams of Nadiya 
are descendants of the father of Vishnupria, the second 
wife of Chaitanya. These so-called Gossains are not 
recognised as snch in any authoritative work of the 
sect, and in fact they are Sakta Brahmans partially 
converted to the Chaitanite faith on account of its lucra- 
tiveness, but yet conducting themselves now and then as 
Sakti worshippers, except when taking their parts in 
the service of the great Chaitanite shrine, of which they 
are the hereditary proprietors. Among the followers of 
Chaitanya, the highest positions were held by Adwaita 
and Nityananda. They were called the two Prabhus or 
Lords, while Chaitanya himself was called the Maha 
Prabhu or the Great Lord. Adwaita was a Barendra 
Brahman of Santipore, where a large number of his 
descendants are still living. Nityananda was a Brah- 
man of Rarhiya clan. He was a native of the district 
of Birbhoom, and was, it seems, a Nimat Vaishnava 
of the school of Jayadev, who had his head-quarters 
in the vilkges of KenduviUa, in the same district. It 
was perhaps Nityanand's influence that made Chaitanya 
a Kadha-worshipping Vishnuvite. Nityanand's de- 
scendants are to be found chiefly in Calcutta and in a 
village called Khardaha, near Barrackpore. Next to 
that of the two Prabhus mentioned above, there was a 

frade which consisted of six members called Gossains. 
hese were not all Brahmans. But their descendants 
are highly revere4p 

Among the so-called mendicants ( Vairagis) of the 
Chaitanite sect, there are both males and females. The 
males are called Babaji, and the females MatajL The 
number of real ascetics among them is very small, if not 
actually nil. The majority of flie Babajis and the Matajis 
openly live as husbands and wives, the only difference 
being that the former dress like ascetics, and the latter like 
widows. Some of the Babajis pretend to be Brikat, or 
men disgusted with the world. But these are generally 
the men who are most notorious for Drofligaoy. They 
B, HO 30 


live in monasteries, and affect snob hatred of the female 
dass that they cook their food with their own hands, 
and do not allow any member of the softer sex 
to enter their kitchens. But the vow of celibacy is 
against nature, and it need hardly be observed that 
very few are able to maintain it. 

The Chaitanites are teetotalers and very inoffensive 
people. The poorer among the mendicants live by 
begging a handfnl .of rice from door to door. There 
are a few among the ascetics who have rich disciples, 
and have incomes on which they can manage to live 
decently. These men spend a large part of what they 
earn in building and improving monasteries, and in 
feeding pilgrims. Sometimes they happen to have 
very rich men among their guests, and these not nn- 
often make very liberal contributions to their monas- 
teries. In Nadiya, the birthplace of Ohaitanya, there 
are several very flourishing monasteries where the Yish- 
nuvite pilgrims and sojourners are treated as honoured 
guests, and provided with both food and shelter. The 
Superiors of these establishments have a very high 
position in their sect, though the alien rulers of the 
country have been led somehow to treat them as lodging 
house-keepers, and to subject them to a tax as such. 
The humiliation is felt by them very keenly, and it is 
much to be regretted that these leading Divines of one 
of the most important sects in India should be so treated 
for a paltry revenue of about £40 pe]\annum. 

The majority of the Chaitanite Babajis are of the 
clean Sudra castes, the Kayasthas among them having 
generally the highest position, however much they may 
profess equality. The male element of the monastic 
orders consist to some extent of childless persons and 
persons who have suffered such bereavements as to make 
their life a burden to them. These are generally the 
most respectable members in their communiiy. There 
are among them many bad characters too. If proper 
enquiries be made, it may appear that they have in tiieir 


society many ex-convicts, criminals who have elnded 
the pursuit of the police, and persons who have been 
excommunicated by their castemen for unholy love- 
making. The ranks of the Chaitanites, as of many other 
sects, are swelled also by bachelors and widowers unable 
to get a bride for marriage in orthodox form. 

The Ohaitanite nuns are recruited chiefly from the 
superannuated unfortunates of the towns. The order 
is joined also by some of the unchaste widows of the 
lower classes. 

The dress of the Chaitanite monks consists of the usual 
lenfftUi and girdle, with a bahir bas or outer garment, 
which is a piece of cotton cloth without border and 
about two yards in length. The haUr has is sometimes 
dyed yellow by means of turmeric. But generally the 

farments of the Chaitanite monks are of white colour, 
heir dress, however, does not give to them the respect* 
able appearance that is imparted by the red garments 
of the Sankarite Dandis and Parama Hansas. The 
Ohaitanites have great regard for the basil plant, and 
not only are their necklaces and rosaries made of basil 
beads, but they eat basil leaves with every article of 
food and drink. 

The Chaitanites paint their foreheads, in different 
manners, according to the directions of their teachers. 
There are always the usual perpendicular lines of the 
Yishnuvite. But at the bottom there is something like 
a bamboo leaf or basil leaf. The usual ipainting mate- 
^ rial is the faint yellow of 6opi Ohandan. The Chaitap- 
nites paint not only their foreheads, but several other 

f>arts of their bod^. They do not brand themselves 
ike the Bamanujites or the Madhavites. But by 
means of engraved metallic stamps immersed in a 
solution of Gopi Chandan, they imprint daily on 
their arms and breasts the names of their deities. 
By such odd demonstrations of iheir devoutness, 
and especially by painting the name ^^ 6ora " on their 
arms and body, tney make themselves the butt of a 


great deal of ridicnle. The word Gora is a corrupted 
form of the Sanskrit word " goura," which means 
yellow, and is not only one of the many names of 
Chaitanya, but is applied also to the English soldiers 
of the British Indian Army, as contra-distinguished 
from the Kala or the black sepoy soldiers. From this 
double sense of the word Gora, the point of the joke 
that is usually cracked, at the cost of a painted 
Chaitanite, may be easily understood. As the High- 
land regiments are called Nangta Gora in Indian a 
Brahman wag would ask the Babaji to paint that ex- 
pression on his body, instead of having on it the word 
Gora alone unqualified by the adjective Nangta or 

Of all the great teachers of the world no one has 
done more to popularize religion than Chaitanya. As, 
on the one hand, a Chaitanite teacher need not either 
be a scholar or an eloquent speaker, so, on the other^ 
anybody may at any time, and at any place, practise 
the cult. The operation is simplicity itself. The 
devout Chaitanite need not have a priest by his side for 
performing his worship. He has only to paint his body 
and to count his beads. The business does not require 
any elaborate preparation, or knowledge of Sanskrit 
liturgy. The painting materials and the rosary of the 
Chaitanite are all his stock-in-trade, and these are so 
cheap and so handy that the poorest can afford to have 
them by his side at all times. The most potent engine 
invented by Chaitanya for spreading his reli^n is 
the musical procession called Sankirtan. The JSindu 
temples are places for silently offering flowers, money 
and other acceptable presents to the presiding deities. 
In no Hindu town is tnere any such place as a Uhristian 
church, or a Mahomedan mosque, wnere a priest might 
deliver a sermon. Then, again^ to attract an audience 
by an impressive speech requires a kind of power which 
is very rare. But a Sankirtan party for patrolling . 
the stroets may be organised without any difficulty, and 


is generally far more effective than a sermon, however 

Ghaitanja's object, like that of Buddha, was to attract 
an army of followers anyhow. But the prophet of 
Nadiya adopted a method which was far better calculated 
to serve his purpose than that of any other religions 
leader, ancient or modem. Buddha neglected the laity, 
and preached a religion which was very far from being 
intelligible to ordinary men. Ohaitanva taught that 
Bhakti, or fervent devotion, was the only road towards 
God, and that Bhakti was of the following kinds : — 

1. The devotion of a servant to his master. 

2. Do. friend to a friend. 

3. Bo. parent to a child. 

4. Do. lady to her lover. 

Ghaitanya recommended Radha worship, and taught 
that the best form of devotion was that which Badha, as 
the beloved mistress of Krishna, felt for him. Ghaitanva's 
cult is therefore called the Bhakti marga, or the roaa of 
fervent devotion, as contra-distinguished from th ) Jnan 
marga of the learned Sanskritists, the Yoga marga of the 
poor illiterate Yogis, the Earma marga of the priestly 
Brahmans, and the Pushni * marga of the Ballavites. 
To persons incapable of cherishing such feelings, Ghai- 
tanva recommended the repeated utterance of the names 
of Krishna and Radha. Such practice gives an occupa^ 
tion to votaries not inclined to think or work hard, 
and enables them to obtain a high character for piety 
at a very little cost. 

The most important feature in Ghaitanya's cult is the 
rejection of esoteric methods. The great Vishnuvite 
prophet of Bengal does not ask his followers to conceal 
anything, or to pretend to be what they are not. In 
these respects the Ghaitanite cult differs very materially 
from the Tfintric faith. 

Before the time of Ghaitanya, Mathura was the chief 
centre of Krishna worship, and Brindavan, the scene 

* See p. 4^, ants. 

470 obaitanya's rbligioi^\ 

of Krishna's flirtations with the milk-maids, was 
actually a forest. Chaitanya, with his followers Bap 
and Sanatan, not only reclaimed that place, bat after 
identifying the sacred spots in it which are specially 
named in the Parans, caused those big shrines to be 
built which formed the nucleus for the town that the 
place has now developed into. 

In the birthplace of Chaitanya, a temple for worship- 
ping his image was set up, it is said, in his lifetime, by his 
second wife, Vishnu Priya Devi. The temple itself was 
washed away, at the end of the last century, by the ad- 
joining river Bhagirathi. But the image bad perhaps 
become valuable property, and was preserved by the de- 
scendants of Vishnu Priya's father, although they were 
then staunch Saktas. During the palmy days of the 
Sakta Rajas of Nadiya, the idol had, however, to be kept 
concealed. But when the celebrated Ganga Govind Sin^ 
became, by the favour of Hastings, the most powerful 
man in the country, he successfully prevented the Nadiya 
Rajas from persecuting the Chaitanites. A splendid 
shrine was built for the old image which had been, for 
a long time, kept concealed by the Gossains. Other 
shrines sprang up rapidly, and the Chaitanites are now 
about to be numerically the predominating element in 
the population of Nadiya. Ganga Govind himself built 
some splendid temples in the suburban village of Ram 
Chandrapore to the north-west of the present town. 
But these temples were washed away by the Bhagirathi 
in the time of Lala Babu, the grandson of Ganga 
Govinda. Lala Babu made himself famous by becoming 
a Chaitanite mendicant. But instead of attempting to 
build new temples in or near Nadiya, he adopted the 
more ambitious programme of making Brindavan his 
head-quarters. He built a magnificent temple there, 
and, by affecting a zeal for restoring to the locality its 
primeval condition, he managed to acquire, free of 
charge, almost all the villages which formed the sceue 
of Krishna's sports. Nadiya has since then been 


neglected by the descendants of Ganga Govind. Bat, 
even withont their patronage, the Chaitanite cult is now^ 
nnder the aegis of British rale, floarishing in its birth- 
place. The saying that a prophet is never honoured 
m his own country enshrines an eternal truth, although 
it sounds somewhat paradoxical. But it is only a parti- 
cular case of the obvious truth embodied in the adage 
which says that no man can be a hero to his valet de 
chambre. Nearly four hundred years have passed since 
Chaitanya left Nadiya for good. His highest ambition 
at that time was, according to his biographers, to make 
himself entitled to be treated with respect by the 
Brahmans of his native town. The Nadiya people, 
from generation to generation, continued to hate him. 
But just now there is a turn in the tide. The large 
incomes cleared by the owners of the Chaitanite shrines, 
have opened the eyes of the Sakta Brahmans of the 
town to the advantages of the new cult, and already 
a good many of them are to be found with necklaces 
of basil wood on their necks to denote that they are 
Ohaitanites in faith. Some of these new converts have 
already opened Chaitanite shrines, and if these become 
successful, as they now promise to be, there are likely to 
be more converts and more Chaitanite shrines. If the 
great prophet could now visit his birthplace, he might 
not yet receive that homage from his fellow-castemen 
which was the highest object of his ambition at the 
beginning of his ministry. But what he would find 
would far exceed his most sanguine expectations. The 
sect that he organised has developed into a gigantic 
body which threatens to throw into shade the representa- 
tives of his old enemies, if not to make them all humble 



Thb Swami Narayan sect, whioh is fast raining 

fronnd in Gujrat, was founded by a Brahman of Rohil- 
hand^ who was apparently a Sankarite ascetic in his 
youth. His monastic name was Sahajanand, bat he is 
now known by the name of Swami Narayan, which he 
took up when he set himself np as a Yishnnyite teacher. 
He left his home in the year 1800, and, in the course 
of his peregrinations, repaired to Gujrat, with the object 
apparently of visiting the places of pilgrimage in the 
province. While there, he was led to place himself 
nnder a Guru, named Ramanand Swami, with whom 
he resided for some time in Junararh, and afterwards 
at Ahmedabad. At the latter place, Sahajanand, by 
his learning and fascinating manners, drew round him- 
self such a large army of disciples as to excite the 
jealousy of the local Brahmans and magnates. To 
avoid being persecuted by them, he removed to the vil- 
lage of Jetalpur, twelve miles to the south of Ahmeda- 
bad. Even here he was not allowed to remain in peace. 
On the pretence that there might be a collision between 
his followers and the other Hindus of the locality, he 
was arrested by the officials of the Gaikwar and thrown 
into prison. This unjust and cruel treatment roused 
popular sympathy in his favour, and served only to 
increase his influence. Verses were published extolling 
his merits, and pronouncing curses against his persecu- 
tors. The result was that they were before long obliged 

( 472 ) 


to release him. Thereupon he retired with his followers 
to Wartal, then a small village, now a town, in the Kaira 
District of the Bombay Jrresidency. He had now 
arrived at the stage in his prophetic career, when it was 
necessary for him to baild some temples and convents 
for giving a local habitation and footing to his cult. 
His popularity and fame were then at their height, and 
there could not be any difficulty in raising the neces- 
sary funds. 

The religion of Swami Narayan is a mixture of 
Laksmi worship and Radha worship, as would appear 
from the fact that of his two principal temples at 
Wartal, one is dedicated to Narayan ana Laksmi, and 
the other to Radha and Krishna. The worship of 
Elrishna, in his character of Banchor or fight-quitter, 
being very common in Gujrat, an image of the deity, re- 
presenting the part that he played in quitting Mathura 
is associated with those of Laksmi and ^mirayan in 
the principal shrine. An image of Swami Narayan 
himself is similarly associated with those of Krishna 
and Radha in the second temple. The town of Ahmed- 
abad has also similar shrines of the Swami sect. In 
the Yallabhite sect, the Swami had very powerful 
enemies to deal with. Their power was so firmly 
established that it was no easy work to oust them, 
or even to attain a position of rivalry by their side. 
The Swami, therefore, proceeded very cautiously, and 
the same spirit still cluiracterises not only his repre- 
sentatives at Wartal and Ahmedabad, but also his 
monks. The result is that though the Yallabhacharis 
have not yet lost much of the ground appropriated by 
them, and are yet in full possession of the middle classes, 
including the Baniyas, the Kunbis, the Ahirs and the 
Elayasths, yet the superior morality of the Swami Nara- 
yan has seriously undermined the power of the Maha- 
rajas, and there are signs that their influence is waning. 
The Swami Narayan sect is, on the contrary, in the 
full vigour of youthful growth. The middle classes 

474 hebbr's aooount op sw^lMI nabatan. 

being in the possession of the Yallabhites, the Swami, 
from the necessity of his position, was obliged to 
admit to his faith the low castes such as the Dhobi, 
the Mochi, the Darzi and the Napit, who were rejected 
by the Yallabhites. Bat the Swami did not, on that 
account, fall very low in the estimation of his country- 
men. He maintained his dignity by keeping the un- 
clean castes at arm's length, and by oniaining that 
nowhere, except in Jagannath, shall cooked food or 
water be accepted from them, though it be the remains 
of an offering to Krishna. Thus, while the Swami 
secured for his sect the adhesion of the low castes, 
he succeeded in maintaining for it a character for re- 
spectability that rendered it possible to attract followers 
from even the highest castes. The total strength of the 
sect is at present about 200,000 souls. But the rule 
being that every person admitted to it should try to 
bring in at least six others, its number is fast increasing. 
As in almost every other Hindu sect, there are among 
the followers of Swami two classes of men, namely, men- 
dicants and householders. The number of mendicants 
exceeds 1,000. They are bound by their vows to live a 
life of celibacy. They serve as missionaries, and, in their 
proselytizing work, usually itinenate in pairs to cheer, 
support and watch each other. While at head-quarters 
they live in the oon vents attached to their shrines. They 
have a regular manual of instructions and moral pre- 
cepts which they distribute among the people in the 
manner of the Christian missionaries. 

The Swami Narayanis are required to wear two rosaries 
made of basil stems, one for Krishna and the other for 
Radha. The forehead mark of the sect is like the letter 
U with a circular spot in the centre representing Teeha. 
The females have to paint a circular mark with red 
powder of saffron. The mendicants of the sect wear 
the salmon-coloured dress of ascetics. 

Bishop Heber, in the course of one of his tours in 
Western India, had an interview with Swami Narayan^ 

BISHOP HEBEB's account OF 8WAMI. 475 

and the following is an extract from the interesting 
accoant that he has left of it : — 

Aboat eleven o'clock, I had the expected visit from Svami-Kara- 
yana. The holy man was a middle-sised, thin, plain-looking person, 
about my own age, with a mild and diffident expression of counte- 
nance, but nothing about him indioatiye of any extraordinary talent. 
He came in somewhat different style from all I had expected, having 
with him nearly two hundred horsemen. When I considered that 
I had mjrself an escort of more than fifty horse I could not help 
smiling, tiiough my sensations were in some degree painful and humi- 
liating at the idea of two religious teachers meeting at the head of 
little armies, and filling the city which was the scene of this inter- 
view with the rattling of quivers, the clash of shields, and the tramp 
of the war-horse. Had our troops been opposed to each other, mine, 
though less numerous, would have been doubtless fa,T more enective, 
from the superiority of arms and discipline. But in moral grandeur 
what a difference there was between his troops and mine ! Mine 
neither knew me nor cared for me, though they escorted me faith- 
f nUy. The guards of Svami-Naravana were his own disciples and 
enthusiastic admirers, men who had voluntarily repaired to hear his 
lessons, who now took a pride in doing him honour, and who would 
cheerfiuly fight to the last drop of blood rather than suffer a fringe 
of his garment to be handled roughly. In my own parish of Hod- 
net there were once, perhaps, a few honest countrymen who fcdt 
something like this for me, but how long a time must elapse before a 
Christian Minister in India can hope to be thus loved and honoured? 
—Chap. XXV, 


The name of Mira Bai is highly revered among the 
Vishnnvites of Western India, and especially among 
the Yallabhites. She cannot be said to have been the 
founder of any sect. But the author of the Bhakta 
MalUy or biographical sketches of the Yishnuvite saints, 
gives a very prominent place to her in his book, 
and connects with her name a large number of legends 
of a more or less miraculous character. The following 
account of her life is taken from Wilson's Hindu Sects : — 

Mira was the daughter of a petty Raja, the sovereign of a place 
called Merta ; she was married to the Rana of Udayapur, bat soon 
after being taken home by him, qoarrelled with her mother>in-law» 
a worshipper of Devi, respecting compliance with the family adora- 
tion of that goddess, and was, in conseqaence of her persevering 
refusal to desert the worship of Krishna, expelled the Rana's bed 
and palace : she appears to nave been treated, however, with consi- 
deration, and to have been aUowed an independent establishment, 
owing, probably, rather to the respect paid to her abilities, than a 
notion of her personal sanctity, although the latter was attested, if 
we may believe our guides, by ner drinking unhecitatingly a draught 
of poison presented to her by her husband, and without its having 
the power to do her harm. In her uncontrolled station, she adopted 
the worship of RaAachhor, a form of the youthful Krishna; she 
became the patroness of the vagrant Vaishnavas, and visited, in 
pilgrimage, Brindaban and Dwaraka. Whilst at ^e latter, some per- 
secution of the Vaishnavas, at Udayapur, appears to have been insti 
tnted, and Brahmans were sent to bring her home from Dwaraka ; 
previously to departing, she visited the temple of her tutelary deity, 
to take leave oi him, when, on the completion of her adorations, 
the image opened, and Mira leaping into the fissure^ it closed, and 
she finally disappeared. In memory of this miracle it is said, that 
the image of Mira Bai is worshipped at Udayapur, in conjunction 
with that of Ranachhor. The radas that induced this marvel, and 
which are current as the compositions of Mira Bai are the two 
f oUovring ; — I 

Pada 1.— Oh. Sovereign Ranachhor, give me to make Dwaraka my 
abode : with thy shell, discos, mace, and lotus, dispel the fear of 

( 476 ; 


MIRA BAI. 477 

Tama : eternal rest is yisitin^r thy saored shrines ; supreme delight is 
the clash of thy shell and cymbals : I have abandoned my love, my 
possessions, my principality, my husband. Mira, thy servant, oomes 
to thee for ref uee : oh, take her wholly to thee. 

Pada 2.— If uiou knowest me free from stain, so accept me : save 
thee, there is none other that will show me compassion : do thou, 
then, have mercy on me: let not weariness, hunger, anxiety, and 
restlessness, consume this frame with momentary decay. Lord 
of Mira, Girdhara her beloved, accept her, and never let her be 
separated from thee. 

There may be a sabstratnm of truth in the account 
of Mini's life summarised in the above. But as the 
greater part of it is well calculated to make the inmates 
of royal zenanas unduly favourable towards the Vishnu- 
vite religion and the Vishnuvite mendicants, the mira- 
culous features of the story cannot but be attributed to 
the inventive genius of some clever Krishna-worshipping 
monks. It involves a phase of clerical politics which is 
well worth studyin£r. To the sharp man nothing is 
impossible. His ambition knows no bounds, and of him 
it may be truly said that 

Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage. 

The Banas of Udaipore should have given an em- 

Shatic denial to the wnole story. But the bait of re- 
ected glory was made too alluring, and they could not 
avoid fuling into the trap. 



Thb Mahaparushia is the most important of the 
Yishnavite sects in Upper Assam. It was founded by 
a Kayastha bearing the name of Sankar Dev. It is 
said that his father was a native of Upper India, and 
that he himself was bom at a place called Alipokhori 
in Assam in the year 1448 A.D. He received a sound 
education in Sanskrit in his boyhood, and, in the 
course of his peregrinations as a pilgrim, is said to 
have visited Nadiya, and to have been initiated in the 
Yaishnava faith there by Chaitanya. Sankara wrote 
some original works on the Yaishnava faith, besides 
translating into Assamese the Bhagavat and some other 
important Yishnuvite Fur&ns. In Assam there are 
several monasteries appertaining to the sect. These are 
•called Satra, and are usually presided over by a Supe- 
rior of the Kalita caste. The most important parts of a 
Satra are the Nam Ghar and the Bhaona Guslt. The 
Nam Ghar is the chapel where the followers of *the 
faith meet together for recitations and songs involving 
frequent mentions of the several names of Yishnu* 
Sankara was opposed to idolatry. But in the Nam 
Ghar there is always a copy of the Bhagavat enthroned 
on a dais. Every Satra has also, among its objects 
of worship, a block of stone with the footprint of 
Sankara engraved thereon. The followers of the faitJi 
reverentially offer their adoration to these footprints* 
The Bhaona Ghar corresponds to the Nat Mandir or 

( 478 ) 


dancing-hall of the Hindu shrines in Bengal. Sankar 
wrote some dramatic works of a religions natnre, and 
the Bhaona Qhar serves the parpose of theatres for 
exhibiting these. 

The most important of the Satras are at Bardowa, in 
the District of Nowgong, and at Barpeta in the District 
of Gowhati. The mencucants of the Mahapurnshia sect 
are called Kevalia. For the accommodation of these 
there are large convents attached to most of the 
Satras. Female devotees are allowed to live in the 
Satras, but are not allowed to mix with the other sex 
at the time of worship. The tombs of Sankar Deva and 
his principal disciple, Madhav Deva, are to be found in 
the Barpeta Satra. 






From what has been already said about the Chaita- 
nite sect, it would appear that its respectable members 
are of the following classes : — 

U The Gossains, who are the desoenda&tB of the disciples of 

2. The Vrikats, who are oelihateB. 

3. The lay followers of the faith. 

The position of the lay followers depends npon their 
secular condition and caste status, and the fact of their 

1)rofessing the Chaitanite faith does not elevate or 
ower them in public estimation. The Qossains, who are 
Brahmans, are generally looked down upon by the non- 
Ghaitanites on account of their being in the habit of 
administering the sacrament of the mardra to the low 
castes, and accepting their hospitality. The aristocratic 
Brahmans generally avoid eating any cooked food in 
the house of a Chaitanite Brahman. But alliances by 
marriage between the two classes take place very fre- 
quently, and the Qossains have, generally speakmg, a 
respectable position in Hindu society. They dress and 
live like householders. 

( *80 ) 


The majority of the Yrikats are men of the clean 
Sndra castes. They are boand to a life of celibacy, 
and, theoretically at least, they hate female society to 
snch an extent that they cannot allow a woman to cook 
their food. They are mostly cenobites, living in monas- 
teries which are supported by their disciples, and by 
the lay members of their sect. Very few of them have 
to beg for food from door to door. Some of them have 
a little education, and pass some portion of their time 
in studying the religious literature of their sect, 'and 
in giving recitations which are attended by their co- 
religionists in the neighbourhood. The majority of 
them are quite illiterate, and fritter away their time in 
a weary round of ablutions, body painting and counting 
of beads. They have a peculiar but not very graceful 
uniform. Their position in their sect is very high, but 
in Hindu society generally they are looked down upon, 
more or less, as charlatans. 

Besides the Vrikats, who never marry, and do not 
admit having any connection with any female, there are 
some classes of Chaitanites who dress and make their 
toilet like monks, but have some females regularly and 
openly associated with them. All these have, generally 
speaking, a very low position in society. They are 
divided into the following classes : — 

1. Sanjogi. 3. Sahajia. 

2. Spaihta Dayaka. 4. Nara. 

5. BaoL 

Sanjoffis. — The Sanjogis, as their name implies, 
are married men. They live, work and dress like 
householders. They are mostly descended from the 
mifortunates of the towns. 

Spashta Dayakas. — ^The Spashta Dayakas are a semi- 
monWc orde?. They assuTthe gaJb of. mendicants. 
Bat their monks and nuns live together in the same 
monastery, and it is hardly necessary to say what their 
mataal relationship is understood to be. It is only the 
low castes that get themselves admitted to the order. 

B. EC dl 


The so-called monks of this sect may be recognised at 
once by the single string of basil bead necklace which 
ihej wear. The nuns of the sect shave their heads 
clean, with only a tuft in the centre. The forehead 
mark of the Spashta Dayaka is slightly smaller than 
that of the other Chaitanites. The Spashta Dayaka 
monks and nUns openly join together in dancing and 

The Sahajias. — The Sahajias represent the most 
developed form of Radha worship. They inculcate that 
every man is Krishna, and that every woman is Kadha. 
They also profess that no man or woman need be 
attached to a single Gnni. The result of these doctrines 
is the utter absence of any bar to promiscuous inter* 
course, and the fall play of the inclinations and impulses 
of the parties. 

Nara Neri. — The Nara Neris are very low class 
Chaitanites. A Nara is a male ; and a Neri is his 
female associate. Their peculiarity is that the husband 
and wife sing and beg together, and not separately. 
They generally wear a coat of Kantha or rags ratched 
together. The following is a translation of a Bengali 
song giving a very comic description of the duties of 
the female associate : — 

Ifyoa want Goar, you must be prepared to carry on your Bhoolder 
my Kantha (bed sheet of rags.) 

^You most cany my Kantha and accompany me in my eleemo^* 
1UU7 tours. 

You must sleep at night under the shade of some tree, and prepare 
erery now and uien my pipe of hemp. 

If you want Gk>ur, you must carry on your shoulders my^Ti^^ 

In the original the song is very amusing. 

The Baids. — The name of this sect ia derived from 
the Sanskrit word ** Batul," which means a madmaii. 
The Bauls are low class men, and make it a point to 
appear' as dirty as possible. They have a regular iini«> 
form, which consists of a cone-shaped skull cap aad a 
long jacket of dirty rags patched together, extending 
from the shoulders to the lower parts of the legs. Not 


only their dress, but their musical instruments, their 
dancing, and their songs are all characterised by a 
kind of queemess which makes them very amusmg. 
The quaint allegories and the rustic philosophy of their 
songs are highly appreciated by the tow classes. Their 
oxhibitions are upon the whole so enjoyable that, in most 
of the important towns of Bengal, amateur parties of 
Bauls have been organised who cause great merriment, 
on festive occasions, by their mimicry. 

The Bauls are spoken of as Yaishnavas ; but, pro- 
perly speaking, they are a godless sect. They do not 
worship any idols, and, on that account, their religion 
may be regarded as a very advanced one. But accord<- 
ing to their tenets, sexual indulgence is the most 
approved form of religious exercise, and it is said that 
they have been known to drink a solution made from' 
human excretions. The moral condition of these and 
some of the other sects, such as the Karta Bhajas, 
Margis, Bija Margis, Pfdtu Dasis, Apapanthis and the 
fiatnamis, is deplorable indeed, and the more so as there 
is no sign of any efiPort in any quarter to rescue them. 
Aristocratic Brahmanism can only punish them by 
keeping them excluded from the pale of humanity. 
The modern religions can afiPord to give them better treat- 
ment. But they seem to be considered as too low or 
incorrigible by even the proselytising religions. If the- 
Ghaitanite Qossains, Christian Missionaries or Maho- 
medan MuUas could reclaim these they would be entitbd 
to the everlasting gratitude of mankind. 

V / • 


§ 1. — The Radha Ballabhis. 

It has been seen already that the earlier Krishna- 
worshipping sects associated with him his married 
wives, and mat they do not even now offer any adora- 
tion to his mistress Radha. The neglect of the worship 
of Lakshmi^ and the adoration of Radha as the consort of 
Krishna, originated probably in the fifteenth century, 
and it seems that it was either Nimbaditya or Chaitanya 
who introduced it. The Radha Ballabhi sect, which 
gives greater importance to the worship of Radha than 
to that of Krishna himself, was founded, it is said, by 
one Hari Vans, who lived at the end of the sixteentn 
century. Some say that the Radha Ballabhi is a sub-sect 
of the Yallavabites. The Radha Yallabhis have their 
head-quarters in Yrindaban. Radha Yallabhite Gossaina 
and shrines are to be found in every part of Upper India. 

§ 2.— The Sakhi Bhavas. 

The Sakhi Bhava sect acquired some importance 
about half a century ago, and at that time included in it 
a few of the best men of the country. But it seems 
to be now nearly extinct. Its members were taught to 
regard themselves as Sakhis or the female companions 
of Radha, and, in order to approach that character to 
the utmost extent possible, some of the Sakhi Bhavas 
went the length of assuming the female dress and 
wearing female ornaments, xhey also feigned some 
physiciu conditions which are possible only to women. 

( 484 ) 


§ 1. — The Kartabhajaa. 

Thb word Karta literally means a ^^doer." In the 
vernacalar of Bengal it is used as the designation of 
the executive head of a joint family. The expression 
Kartabhaja may be translated into English as the 
^* adorers of the headman." The Kartabhaja sect 
is the most important of the class that may be called 
as Qam-worshippers in Bengal. It was fonnded by a 
tnan of the Saagopa caste, named Bam Sarana ral, 
who was an inhabitant of the village of Qhoshpara, in 
the vicinity of the Kanchrapara Station of the Eastern 
Bengal Railway. Like most of the other latter-day 
prophets, he professed to have derived his powers from 
un invisible teacher. The Anlia Gossain, whom he 
acknowledged as the scarce of his inspiration, was in 
all probability a pure myth, invented by him for 
being better able to impress upon his followers the 
importance of having a Guru. After Ram Saran's 
death, he was succeeded by his widow, generally known 
by the name of Sachi Mayi. After her death the 

faddi of the Guru was occupied by his son Ram 
)ulal Pal, and he was succeeded by his son Ishwar 
Pal. The sect seems to be still flourishing as in the 
time of the original founder. 

Like most ower sect founders. Ram Saran was a man 
of great originality. To be ready with a pretext for 
exacting money from his followers, he declared that 

( 485 ) 


he was the proprietor of every haman body, and thai 
he was entitled to claim rent from every human being 
for allowing his sonl to occupy his body. The idea 
is very similar to that involved in tne Mahratta 
claim of chouthy and has, though on a much smaller 
scale, served very similar purposes. To enforce his 
right, and to give a pecuniary interest to his followers, 
the Karta appoints the chief men among the latter as 
his bailiffs and agents for collecting his revenue. The 
majority of the dupes of the sect are women who 
readily pay the small tax that is demanded of them, 
for the sake of securing long Hfe to their husbands 
and children. Each agent of the Karta is generally 
on very intimate terms with a childless and friendless 
widow in the village or group of villages entrusted to 
his charge, and through the instrumentality of this 
woman ne is able to nold secret meetings which are 
attended by all the female votaries within nis jurisdic-* 
tion, and in which he plays the part of Krishna. 

The agents of the Karta are required to pay over 
their collections to him, at a grand levee held by him 
at his familv residence in the month of March. At 
this time tne Karta performs the most astounding 
miracles. Leprosy, blindness, deafness and every kind 
of malady which the medical science deems as incur- 
able, are said to be cured by the Quru of the Kartabbajas 
in the course of a few moments. When a very large 
number of persons are interested in propping up a 
myth, it is no wonder that it should find reaay believers. 
To give to the reader an idea of the process by which 
miracles are achieved by the Karta, 1 may relate here 
what I once heard about the experiences of a blind 
man at one of the annual levees at Qhoshpara. The 
crowd was great, but somehow he managed to elbow his 
way through it, and to bring his case to Sie notice of the 
Karta. Quite suddenly he was seized by some attend- 
ants, and taken to the side of a tank within the 
premises. He was there laid on the ground, and, while 


holding him fast to it, some of them commenced to 
mb the sockets of his eyes with sand, in the most 
violent manner. While the process was going on, they 
Yociferonsly enquired every now and then whether 
bis eyesight was restored or not. Finding no other 
way of escape from the excmciating tortnre to which 
he was being subjected, the man, after a while, gave an 
answer in the affirmative, and then there was a shout 
of " Sachi Mayi-ki-Jai," which resounded through the 
whole village. He was made to bathe in the tank for 
washing away the sand, and being clad in a new dhooii 
he was given something like the nonour of a Bomaii 
triumph. He was borne aloft on the air, and taken 
through the crowd with the same vociferous shouts, and 
the same declarations to the effect that the blind man 
was restored his eyesight through the mercy of Sachi 
Ma^. After this advertisement of the miracle, the 
subject of it was deported from the village in such 
manner as to render it impossible for anyone among 
the crowd of pilgrims to make any independent enquiry 
about the matter. Perhaps the sequel was that one of 
the attendants represented himself as the blind man 
restored to his eyesight. 

The Kartabhajas have no distinguishing marks, 
nor have they any sacred literature which they can 
call their own. They have no monasteries or mendicants. 

The formula for the first initiation of a person to the 
Kartabhaja sect is : '* The spiritual teacher alone has 
real existence." When the neophyte has made sufficient 
progress in spiritualihr then the teacher whispers in 
his ears another formula, of which the following is a 
translation ; — 

The great lord AoUa Is the head of alL I moTO about according 
to your pleasure. I do not live apcurt from you for a moment. I am 
always with yon, O great lord. 

The exhibition of fervid love is the only form of 
religious exercise practised by the Kartabhajas. They 
do not worship any god or goddess. At their secret 



noctamal meetings they sing some songs regarding 
Anlia Gossain, Krishna or Qouranga, and while some 
of the party become so affected as to fall in a swoon, 
the rest anxiously repeat the name of Hari in their 
(Bars in order ostensibly to restore them to their senses, 
but in reality to render ondae familiarity justifiable. 
What the results of such practices are may be easily 

§ i.—Th£ Pratap Chandi Sect. 

The Pratap Chandi sect is said to have been founded 
by the unfortunate Raja Pratap Chand of Burdwan. 
He was the only son of Maharaja Tej Chand by 
his first wife. Pratap's mother died when he was very 
oung, and his father took another wife named Rani 

amal Kumari. From his boyhood Pratapa showed 
great favour to the mendicants that visited Burdwan, 
and passed a considerable portion of his time in their 
company. As he was by caste a Punjabi Kshettri, 
it is quite possible that, among the mendicants that 
paid him court, there were some spies from Lahore. 
However that may have been, he became very much 
disgusted with the kind of life that his father led, 
and the amount of power that was given in the manage- 
ment of affairs to Paran Babu, the brother of Rani 
Kamal Kumari. Things had become intolerable 
enough, and when Tej Chandra, in his old age, married 
a daughter of Paran Babu, Pratap made one desperate 
effort to bring his father to his senses. Leaving the 
palace of Burdwan, he repaired to Kxdna, and after living 
there for some time gave out that he was seriously ill. 

His object in doing so was to test his father's auction 
for him, and also to extricate him from the surroundings 
by which Rani Kamal Kumari and her brother, Paran, 
kept him enmeshed. Maharaja Tej Chand actually 
started from Burdwan with a view to see his son at 
Kalna. But the intrigues of the Rani and her brother 
led him to discontinue nis journey, and to trace his steps 


back to his palace. To please his son, the old Raja sent 
two lacs of rupees to him for his death-bed expenses, 
bnt that served only to provoke him all the more. It 
was given ont in Kaina one evening that he was dead. 
A part of the foreshore of the river Bhagirathi at 
Kama was enclosed by screens, and while a funeral 

Eyre was made to bnrn within it, the Raja efifeoted 
is escape in a boat which had been brought for him. 
It is believed that he went directly to Lahore, and that 
he left Lahore only when he heard of the death of his 
father. In the meantime Paran had managed to get 
one of his sons adopted by Maharaja Tej Cnand, and 
when Pratapa arrived at Burdwan, Paran had so 
managed matters that the real heir-at-law found it 
impossible to get admission to his palace. Pratapa then 
tried to take possession of Kalna. But the Collector 
of Burdwan befriended Paran and his son, and while 
the Raja and his men were sleeping in a steamer, they 
were taken W surprise by the troops sent against them. 
Several members of the Raja's retinue were killed by 
the musketry fire which was opened against them. 
The Rajah effected his escape by throwing himself 
overboard, and swimming across the river. He was 
arrested afterwards and hauled up before a criminal court 
on a charge of rioting. The best men among the 
witnesses deposed in favour of his identity, and the only 
men that swore against him were either the relatives of 
Paran, or persons well known as being capable of per- 

1'ury. However, the evidence in his favor was disbe- 
ievedy and he was sentenced to suffer incarceration 
for six months. After his release, he was still the idol 
of the people, and, at this time, he organised the sect 
which bears his name. Like that of the Kartabhajas, 
it favoured esoteric worship, and it very seldom came 
prominently to public notice. Nevertheless it flourish- 
ed all the same at one time. Its ramifications extended 
to the remotest villages in the province. It seems to 
be dying out now. 


§ 1. — The SaJtnami Sect of Oude. 

Thb Satnami sect of Onde was founded by one 
JagjivandaSy a Ksatriya who lived about a century 
ago, and was an inhabitant of the village of Sardaha 
on the bank of the Saruju. He died at Kotwa, a place 
lying midway between Ajodhya and Lucknow. He 
wrote several tracts inculcating, like the other sect 
founders, absolute indifference to the world And implicit 
obedience to the spiritual guide. Among his followers 
there are both householders and mendicants. The former 
recognise the distinctions based on caste ; but, like the 
mendicants of the other Indian sects, the Satnami 
monks, though recruited from dijBferent castes, stand on 
the same footing. The Satnami mendicants do not beg 
from door to door, but are supported by the lay mem-» 
bers of their sect. They have several convents, thet 
chief one being at Kotwa where Jagjiwan's tomb is still 
in existence. The heads of the Satnami convents are 
addressed as Saheb. The inferior mendicants use the 
snmame of Das or skye. A Satnami mendicant may 
be known at once by his red coat, his skull cap of red. 
colour, his perforated mantle, and the perpendicular 
mark painted with ashes or Shama Bindi clay, and 
extending from the tip of the nose to the uppermost 
part of the forehead. 

The lay members of the sect are initiated in the Bam-^ 
worshipping cult, and are taught to repeat a long 

( 490 ) 


formnla friving pre-eminence to the great hero god of 
Onde, The mendicants are also initiated in the same 
mantra, and to that extent their creed is unexception- 
able. Bnt like the Banls of Bengal they are said to 
practise the horrible rite called the Gayatri Kriya, 
which is nothing more or less than the drinking of a 
solution of the secretions fand excreta of the human 

Tne Satnamis do not worship any idol. They are 
strict vegetarians and teetotalers. 

§ 2.— The Paltu Dasi Sect. 

The Paltn Dasi sect is essentially of the same 
character as the Satnamis. The Paltu Dasis have 
their chief monastery in Ajodhya. The mendicants of 
the sect wear yellow garments and cap. Some of 
them aUow their hirsute appendages to grow without 
limits while others shave their heads and moustaches 
clean. Thev accost each other saying "Satyaram." 
They are found chiefly in Ajodhya, Lucknow and 
Nepal. They are said to perform the Gayatri Kriya 
like the Satnamis. The sect was founded by one Paltu 
Das about the same time as that of the Satnamis. 

§ 8.— The Appa Pant his. 

The Appa Pantha sect was founded bv one Munna 
Das, who was a goldsmith by caste, and who was an 
inhabitant of a place called Marwa to the west of 
Ajodhya. The Appa Panthis are practically semen 
worshippers. They dress like the Paltu Dasis. 

§ 4. — The Bija Margis and Margis, 

The Bija Margis and Margis are found chiefly in 
Kathiwar. The monks of the sect have each a nun 
associated with him, whom he would place at the dis- 
posal of any male member of the Hindu community, 
on payment of a reasonable fee, and on condition of 
observing certain rites. The monks practically serve 


as pmders of their wives. This is the peculiar and 
the most extraordinary feature of the Bija Margi oult. 
There are many religions which sanction murder, rapine^ 
drinking, debanchery and adultery. But the sect 
under notice is perhaps the only one in the world 
which expressly sanctifies pandering of the worst kind. 
The Bij Margis have, it is said, many other horrible 



§ l.—The Bala Hari Sect. 

This seot was founded about half a century ago by a 
man of the sweeper caste named Bala Hari. He was in 
his youth employed as a watchman in the service of a local 
family of zemindars, and being very cruelly treated for 
alleged neglect of duty he severed his connection with 
them. After wandering about for some years, he set him- 
self up as a religious teacher, and attracted round him 
more than twenty thousand disciples. The most import- 
ant feature of his cult was the hatred that he taught his 
followers to entertain towards Brahmans. He was quite 
illiterate, but he had a power of inventing puns by 
which he could astonish his audience whenever he 
talked or debated. His widow inherited not only his 
position, but all his powers. I met her in the year 
1872. Her first question to me was about my caste. I 
knew well about the hatred of the sect towards Brah- 
mans, and instead of mentioning that I was a Brahman, 
I used a pun to say that I was a human being. She 
was very much pleased, and after offering me a seat she 
went on propounding the tenets of her sect. The 

§^eater part of her utterances was n\eaningless jargon, 
ut she talked very fluently and with the dignity of a 
person accustomed to command. Though a Hari by 
caste, she did not hesitate to offer me ner hospitality. 
I declined it as politely as I could, but considering the 

( 493 ) 


courtesy that she showed to me, I oonld not but feel 
some regret that the barrier of caste rendered it quite 
impossible for me to comply with her reqnest. 

The followers of Bala Hari have no peculiar sect 
marks or uniform. Some members of tne sect are in 
the habit of begging for food from door to door. They 
are known not only by the absence of sect marks on 
iheir person, but also by their refraining from mention- 
ing the name of any god or goddess at the time of 
asking for alms. 

§ 2. — The Kali Kumari Sect of East Bengal. 

The following account of the Kali Kumari sect of 
East Bengal is taken from Babu Guru Prasad Sen's 
Introduction to tlie Study of Hinduism ;— 

In the district of Dacoa one Kaii Kamar Ta^re became the centre 
of a religion, the like of whi<^ sways the masses e^ery now and then* 
Kali Kumar knew only the ordinary Bengali, which fitted him to be 
the gomashia of a rich widow, of the KAyastha caste of his village. 
Beyond the Oayatri, he did not know anything of the FiwEcu, and, as 
for the JPurdnaSf he knew as much as a Bengali Brahman, or a 
Bhadralog would know from recitations thereof by others, and not 
hy reading them in the original for himself. Kor was there any 
peculiar sanctity in his life, as the mode of busineas which he follow- 
ed shows. Tet it came to be known that he had cured some cases of 
incurable diseases. His fame spread, and, within a short time, his 
home became something like « splendid fair, where a vast mass of 
people congregated every day from all parts of the district, some to 
get themselves treated for diseases, and others to have a look at a 
real live god. The prescribed mode of treatment which is said to 
Jiaw been very successful was nothing else than bathing three times 
a day, believing in the divinity of iGtli Kumar Tangore, takinjif in a 
little baU of eaixh from Kali Kumar^s house, and giving a Hari-loot. 
A warrant of arrest was issued by the Sub-divisional C^oer, in oon- 
nection with something which Kali Kumar did with regard to his 
business as a gomafhta^ and before it could be executra, he died, 
and the religion of which he became the temporary centre died with 
him. At one time Ids followers could be counted by laos* 




The Mahomedans established their empire in India 
in the thirteenth centnry, and within less than two 
hundred years, sects began to be organised with the 
avowed object of bringing about a fusion of the creeds 
professed by the rulers and the ruled. The experi- 
ments that were made did not prove very successful. 
But tiieir moral effect was great, and they tended at 
least to soften the bitterness between the Hindus and 
tibe Mahomedans, and to establish greater harmony 
tiban would otherwise have been possible. Among the 
noble teachers who undertook to bridge over the gulf, 
the van was led by a low caste poet named Kabir who. 
lived at the end of the fifteentn century. Chaitanya 
admitted some Mahomedan disciples. But the Badha- 
worshipping religion which he inculcated had nothing 
in common with the pure monotheism of the Arabian, 
prophet Kabir sought to create a new platform on 
which both Hindus and Mahomedans could meet with-: 
out departing verv considerably from the fundamental 
tenets of their on^al creeds. 

E^bir is usualfy said to have been a Jolaha or 
Mahomedan weaver. His Mahomedan followers believe 

( 495 ) 


him to have been a Mahomedan. Bnt, according 
to his Hindu biographers, he was the child of a 
Brahman widow, and having been abandoned by his 
mother, was taken possession of and bronght up by a 
Jolaha. Kabir is said to have been a disciple of 
Bamanand, and his religion is in fact a form of the 
Bamait cnlt. Kabir did not deny the existence of the 
Hindn deities ; bat he declared that their worship, and 
the performance of the rites prescribed by the Shastras, 
were quite unnecessary. Kabir admitted Mahomedans 
among his followers, and strongly criticised the faith 
and practices of both Hindus and Mahomedans. Kabir 
recommended the adoration of the Divinity under the 
name of Bama, and his followers generally worship 
Bama as the supreme god. The Kabirite monks wor- 
ship the spirit of Kabir. The priests of the sect do not 
administer any mantra to their followers. The latter 
accost the former by saying either " Dandpat" or 
" Bandgi " or '' Bam Bam." The spiritual superiors 
respond to the salute by uttering the formula '* Guru 
ki Daya," which means " the mercy of the preceptor."; 
The followers of Kabir have no peculiar dress. Some 
of them wear necklaces of basil beads, and paint their 
foreheads in the same manner as the Bamats. But they 
do not admit the necessity of these symbols. Kabir 
was a great controversialist himself. But to his follow- 
ers, he recommended the practice of hypocrisy in order 
to avoid polemics. His advice to them wtfs — 

Shab se hiUye shdb se miliye shah ha lijiye nam 

Han Ji Han Ji shabse hijiye wosa apna gam. 

Translation .''— Associate and mix with all, and take the names of 
all ; say to every one, yes sir, yes sir. Abide in year own abode. 

A large part of the low caste population of Central 
and Western India are followers of Kabir. In Ben^l 
and Southern India there are very few resident Kabi- 
rites. But there is hardly a town in India where 
strolling beggars may not be found singing songs of 
Kabir in.origmal, or as translated in the local dialects. , 


§ 1. — Nanakj the first Sikh Guru. 

Thb religion of the Sikhs, like that of Kabir, was 
•originally meant to bring about nnion between the 
Hindas and the Mahomeoans. But the actual result 
was very different from what had been contemplated. 
Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, was a con- 
temporary of Kabir, Chaitanya, Ballavachari and Martin 
Luther. In all probability Nanak was a disciple 
of Kabir. At any rate, the ethics and theology of 
the great poet and moral teacher made a profound 
impression upon him. The programme that he chalked 
•out for himself was to bring about that much-desired 
peace between the Hindus and the Mahomedans, which 
was impossible, while the latter were under the belief 
that there was great merit in spreading their religion 
by means of the sword. 

Nanak was a Kshettri of the Bedi clan. His father 
Kalloo was a resident of the village of Tilwandi, a 
place about sixty miles to the north of Lahore. 
Nanak himself was not bom there. When pregnant, 
his mother, in accordance with the time-honoured 
^custom of the country, was taken to her father's 
house ; and the honour of being the birthplace of 
the first Sikh Guru belongs to the village of Mam 
near Kot Katchwa, where his maternal grandfather had 
his residence. Nanak was married at a very early age, 
and his father tried hard to set him up in some kind 
of business. But he had an irresistible ambition for 

B, HO ( 497 ) 32 


the position of a religioas teacher ; and neither the 
remonstrances of his father, nor the blisses of domestic 
life that awaited him at home, could dissaade him 
from the line that he was bent upon adopting. He 
travelled to many distant places, and, in the course of 
his peregrinations, is said to have visited Mecca. 

Isanak's religion may be described briefly as a 
Hinduised form of Mahomedanism or a Mahomedanised 
form of Hinduism. He admitted the mission of Maho- 
met, and regarded himself as a successor to the Ara- 
bian prophet. But with this attitude towards the 
Mahomedan faith, Nanak did not deny the existence of 
the Hindu gods and goddesses, and he only deprecated 
their worship. Like Mahomet, Nanak inculcated the 
worship of a Supreme Deity. The exact nature 
of his views on the subject may be gathered from the 
following : — 

A hundred thousand of Mahomeds, a million of Brahmas, 
Yiahnus, and a hundred thoosand Ramas, stand at the gate of the 
Moat High ; these all perish, Ood alone is immortal. Tet men who 
nnite in the praise of God, are not ashamed of living in contention 
with each other. He alone is a true Hindu whose heart is just, and 
he only is a good Mussulman whose life is pure. 

Whatever might have been his views about the other 
prophets that lived before him, Nanak believed in his 
own mission and called upon his followers to have faith 
in him. It is said of him : — 

One day Kanak heard a voice from above, exclaiming, ' Kanak 
approach '? He replied * Oh God ! what power have I to stand in Thy 
presence?' The voioe said, ' close thine eyes.' Nanak shut his eyes 
and advanced : he was told to look up : he did so, and heard the 
word, ' wa' ! or ' v>$U done/* pronounced five times, and then ' loa / 
Guruji, or wril done I Teacher.' After this God said ' Nanak ! I have 
sent thee into the world in the Kaliyusa (or depraved age)— go and 
bear my name !' Nanak said, Oh God ! how can I bear the mighty 
burthen? If my a^e was extended to tens of millions of years, if I 
drank of immortality, and mv eyes were formed of the sun and moon, 
•and were never closed* still Oh God ! I could not presume ta 
take charge of Thy wonderful name ! ' I wiU be thy Guru ' Teacher^ 
paid God, and thou shalt be a Guru to all mankind, thy sect 
shall be great in the world, and thy word '* Puri Puri ! " the word 
of the Bairagi is " Ram ! Bam I" that of the Sanyasi, " Om Nama 
Narayan !'* and the word of the Yoffis " Ades ! Ades T' and the 
salutation of the Mahomedans is " Salam Alikum" and that of the 



Hindus '* Kam ! Kam T but the word of thy sect shall be "Guru" and 
I will f 01 give the crimes of thy disciples. The place of worship of 
the Bairaffis is called Kam Sala ; that of Togis, Asan ; that of the 
Sanyas is Mat ; but that of thy tribe shall be Dharma S^bEu Thou 
must teach unto thy followers three lessons ^the firstjjto worship my 
name ; the second, charity ; the third, ablution. They must not 
abandon the world, and they must do ill to no being ; for into every 
being have I infused breath ; and whatever I am, thou art, for 
between us there is no difference. It is a blessing that thou art sent 
into the Kaliyuga. After this *wa ! Guru' or 'wsU done/ TMchsr^' 
was pronounced from the mouth of the Most High Guru or teacher 
(God) and Nanak came to give light and freedom to the universe. 

Thns like Mahomet and Christ, Nanak professed to 
be the representative of the Most High, the only dif- 
ference being that while Christ called himself the son 
of God, and Mahomet made his followers believe that 
he was the trasted agent or ambassador of the Almighty, 
Nanak assumed a relationship which, thongh not identi- 
cal with any affected by any one before hinr, was equally 
intelligible to both the Hindus and Mahomedans of 
India. Nanak declared that he had the honour of having 
God Almighty for his own Guru, and that he was 
appointed by the Deity himself to be the Guru of 
mankind. By adopting this attitude Nanak not only 
showed great originality, but struck a chord in the 
hearts of his countrymen which could not fail to secure 
him their reverence and affection. As a disciple has 
not necessarily all the powers of the Guru, Nanak, in 
the above legend, takes care to attribute to God 
Almighty the observation that there was no difference 
between Him and His duly appointed disciple. 

As Nanak took the name of Guru, his disciples call 
themselves Sikhs, the designation being a corrupted 
form of the Sanskrit word Sfushya, which means a 
disciple. Nanak had a large number of followers from 
an early period of his ministry. One of them was 
Mardana, who was a Mussulman by birth. Of the other 
followers of the first Sikh Guru, the two most celebrated 
were Boodha and Lehna, the former a Jat, and the latter 
a Kshettri of the Tihan clan. Nanak set aside the 
claims of his own sons, and appointed Lehna, to whom he 


gave the name of Angat, to be his successor. Nanak 
died at Kirtipore on the bank of the Ravi in the year 
1539 A.D. The village is now one of the principal 
places of Sikh pilgrimage, though the tomb has been 
washed away by the river. Nanak had two sons named 
Lntchmi Das and Sreechand. The Honorable Baba 
Khem Sing is descended from one of them. 

Nanak's precepts for the gaidance of his followers are 
contained in the Adi Granth or First Holy Book of the 
Sikhs. The second part of their scripture, called the 
Dasam Padsha ki Granth, or Book of the Tenth King, was 
composed by Gura Govind, the tenth and last of the 
Sikh pontiffs. The Adi Granth has been translated into 
English by Professor Trumpp, of Munich. As the 
religion of Mahomet had served to give rise to war and 
rapine, Nanak was fortunate enough in being able to 
take upon himself the function of a peacemaker. The 
life of every living being was sacred in his eyes. The 
breath that was given by the Almighty was to be taken 
away only by Him. Nanak denounced war which 
involved murder and discord. We shall see further 
on 2 how the Sikhs were led, at a subsequent period, to 
adopt the very opposite doctrines and practices. 

§ 2. — Anffaty the second Sikh Guru. 

It has been already stated that Nanak set aside the 
claims of his own sons, and appointed one of his dis- 
ciples, to whom he gave the name of Angat, to be his 
successor. Angat was naturally hated bv the sons of 
Nanak, and to avoid their persecutions, ne removed to 
a place called Kudoor, on the bank of the Beas. He 
there lived in obscurity with only one attendant named 
Amar Das. His death took place in the year 1552 A.D. 

§ 8. — Amar Das^ the tliird Sikh Guru. 

Angat had no children, and was succeeded by his 
attendant Amar Das, who was a Ejshettri of the Bhalle 
;tlan. Amar Das attracted a large number of disciples. 


and resided at his native village of Govindwal, ^here 
he died in the year 1575 A.D. 

§ 4. — Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru. 

The fourth Sikh Gnrn was Bam Das, who was the 
son-in-law of his predecessor Amar Das. Bam Das 
and his successors were all of the Sodi clan. He 
obtained from Akbar a freehold grant of the land on 
which now stands the town of Amritsar, that, since its 
foundation^ has been the metropolis of the Sikh religion. 
The political importance that Bam Das acquired through 
the favour of the great monarch was of far greater con- 
sequence than the actual bounties of the Crown. When 
it came to be known that Bam Das stood high in the 
favour of the Emperor, many of the local barons enlisted 
themselves among his disciples. 

§ 5. — Arjooriy the fifth Sikh Guru, 

Bam Das died in 1582 A.D., and was succeeded by 
his youngest son Arjoon. The fifth Sikh Guru kept 

S*eat state and lived in splendour. The four preceding 
urus used to dress themselves as fakirs or beggars, 
but Arjoon was clothed in costly raiments, and kept 
fine horses. Towards the latter part of his reign, he 
removed to Amritsar, where he built his dwelling-house, 
and the temple in the midst of a tank which still forms 
the chief shrine of the Sikhs. The Adi Granth or the 
Sikh old testament was commenced by Nanak, and after 
being finished by Arjoon was deposited in the temple 
built by him. Guru Arjoon drowned himself in the river 
Bavi to avoid the persecutions threatened by the Hindu 
Governor of Lahore named Chandashah, who was a 
member of the same caste as the Guru, and whom the 
Guru had mortally ojOfended by refusing an offer of 
matrimonial alliance. 

§ 6. — Har Govind, tlie sixth Sikh Guru. 

The sixth Sikh Guru Har Govind was the son 
of Arjoon. Har Govind possessed the talents of a 


great general, and was the first to entertain a standing 
army. Dara, the eldest son of Shah Jehan, who was 
the Governor of the Panjab at the time, was a man of 
catholic views like Akbar, and did not at first give any 
trouble to Har Govind. But a very unjust and high- 
handed act on the part of the Governor's attendants 
led Har Govind to retaliate and right himself in a 
manner which gave great provocation to the Governor. 
The result was that an expedition was sent against the 
Guru. The latter succeeded in defeating and driving 
ofiP the Imperial army, but knowing well the resources 
of the Mogal Empire, he left Amritsar, and took refuge 
for a time in the jangals of Bhatinda in the District 
of Hissar. While there a second army was sent against 
him, which was repulsed in the same manner as the 
first. The Guru was equally successful in repelling a 
third attack by a large detachment of the Imperial 
army* After this Har Govind retired to a mountain 
fastness, called Hiratpore, on the bank of the Sutlej. 
He died there in the year 1639 A.D. He had five sons 
of whom the eldest died in his lifetime, leaving a son 
named Har Rao. Teg Bahadoor, the ninth Guru of the 
Sikhs, was the second son of Har Govind. 

§ 7. — Har JRao^ the seventh Sikh Crura. 

Har Govind was succeeded by his grandson Har Rao. 
The seventh Guru assisted Dara in his struggle for the 
throne of Delhi, and by doing so incurred the wrath 
of Aurengzebe. When the latter had established his 
power, he sent a threatening message to Har Rao. The 
Guru pacified him by sending his eldest son. Ram Rao, 
to the Imperial Court, with a message to the effect that 
he was only b. fakir ^ and that his only employment was 
to pray for the prosperity of His Majesty. 

§ 8. — Har Kisen^ tlie eighth Sikh Guru. 

' Har Rao died in 1663 A.D., and was succeeded by 
his youngest son Har Easen. Ram Rao, the eldest son 


of Har Rao, was then at Delhi, and, upon hearing of 
his exclusion from the succession, appealed to the 
Emperor in order to have the nomination made by his 
father set aside, and to be recognised as the lawful Guru 
of the sect. Aurengzebe summoned Har Kisen to show 
cause against the claim made by Ram Rao. Har Kisen 
obeyed the summons, but on arriving at Delhi died 
there of small-pox in the year 1666 A.D. 

§ 9. — Teg Bahadoor^ the ninth Sikh Guru. 

By the death of Har Kisen, Ram Rao derived no 
advantage whatever. The Sikhs on this occasion elected 
Teg Bahadoor, the second son of Har Govind, as their 
Guru, and Ram Rao was sorely disappointed again. 
Teg Bahadoor lived at Bukala, and, attracting numerous 
followers, became a greater Guru than most of his pre- 
decessors. The members of his own family were, how- 
over, not friendly to him, and, through the advice of 
one of his followers, he removed to Delhi with the view 
perhaps of settling there permanently, and acquiring 
the vantage ground whicn residence in a metropolis 
never fails to give to a religious teacher. But, unfor- 
txmately for him, his grand-nephew Ram Rao was still 
at the Imperial Court, and tried to injure him by 

{)oisoning tne mind of the Emperor against him. The 
Cmperor saw through the artifice, and allowed him at 
first to depart in peace. After leaving Delhi he travelled 
towards the east, and, arriving at Patna, lived there for 
some years. Guru Govind was bom here. After that Teg 
Bahadoor, with his family, returned to Delhi. But no 
sooner had Ram Rao heard of his arrival than he began 
to intrigue for his ruin again. The Emperor was led 
to summon him for answering the charges that were 
brought against him. Teg Bahadoor was alarmed, and 
he again left Delhi, settling himself ultimatelv at a place 
<5alled Mukhwal in the territories of the Raja of Kuh- 
loor. When Ram Rao came to know his whereabouts, 
he managed to get him summoned again before the 


Imperial Court. Knowing the danger of refiising com* 
pliance with the order of the Great Mogal, the Gnra 
sent for his youthful son^ and addressing him said : — 
" My son, they have sent for me for the purpose of 
taking away my life, but though they kill me, do not 
lament my death ; you will be my successor, and do 
not forget to avenge my blood." Having thus appoint* 
ed Govind Rao his successor, the Guru departed from 
Mukhwal. On his arrival in Delhi, he was thrown into 

Srison. Some days afterwards he was sent for to tho 
jmperor's presence. Aurengzebe had apparentlv no* 
intention to injure him. But, out of a kind of weakness 
which was very unusual in him, he allowed Ram Rao 
to have his own way in the matter. Ram Rao demanded 
an explanation from his grand-uncle in the presence of 
the Emperor. The Guru was not, it seems, actually 
ordered to be executed. When Ram Rao persisted in 
calling upon him to state what he had to say by way 
of defence, he wrapped a piece of paper round his neck,, 
and challenged his adversary to cut the same with a 
sword. This gave Ram Rao the opportunity he wanted. 
The executioner upon being ordered to deal the blow^ 
cut off the head of the Guru, without being able to 
cut the paper. When taken up and read, it wa» 
found to contain a few words in Hindi signifying * I give 
my head but not my secret.' Aurengzebe is generally 
blamed by historians for this act of cold-blooded mur* 
der. But considering the manner in which the Emperor 
was led to countenance the act, it seems that it must 
have been due more to the malice of Ram Rao than 
to religious bigotry on the part of the Emperor. 

§10. — Govindy the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. 

Teff Bahadoor was succeeded by his son Govind. 
By the injunction of his father he was pledged 
to avenge his death. The new Guru therefore lost 
no time to assemble together the followers of the 
faith. Messengers were sent to every part of the 


Panjab to iavite the faithful to Mnkhwal, and in a 
short time crowds began to pour into the city of the 
Sikh Gum from every direction. When they were 
assembled, Govind stood up in their midst and address- 
ed them as follows :-^ 

My father Teg Bahadoor ordered me to avenite his blood, and 
with this view I have coUected a lai^ army, but money is required 
for its maintenance. Now, my friends, every one of you must 
prepare to obey my orders and contribute money. 

In the next place you must be all of one mind, and adopt the same 
manners and nave the same relif^ous belief. Theie must be no 
castes among you as exist amonff the Hindus. Tou must be all equal, 
and no man greater than another. Tou must place no belief in the 
dhastras, or religious books of the Hindus. You must abstain from 
visiting any of the places of religious worship, such as the Ganges, 
Bndreenath, and pay no respect to any of their gods : pay respect to 
Guru Nanak and to none else. The four castes of the Hindus are 
to be dissolved from henceforth. 

At the conclusion of the above speech, most of the 
Brahmans and Kshettris among the audience openly 
declared that they would not accept Nanak or any 
other Guru as their guide. They were thereupon 
allowed to depart in peace ; but a large number re- 
mained behind who were mostly low caste men, and 
they expressed their willingness to follow the Guru. 
Next .day Govind collected them all, and formally 
initiated them in the faith by the Sikh ceremony of 
baptism, called pahooldi and also Amrita Diksha^ which 
was invented and made use of on this occasion for the 
first time. An account of the nature of this ceremony 
is given in the next chapter. 

With the military resources which Govind acquired 
in the manner described above, he proceeded to conquer 
the territories of some of the local chiefs. He attained 
some success at first. But they applied to the Emperor 
for help, and the Governors of Lahore and Sirhind 
were ordered to give them due protection. The Impe- 
rial troops, combined with those of the Rajas, marched 
against Govind, and closely besieged the Fort of Mukh- 
wal where he had his residence. His cause becoming 
hopeless, he was deserted by most of his followers, and 


with the few that remained faithful to him, he effected 
his escape. The miseries and privations that he suffered 
for some time afterwards were great. But he again 
managed to organise an army, and inflicted a signal defeat 
on the Imperial troops in a battle which was fought 
at a place called Moogatsir. The place which Govmd 
had at this time made his head-quarters was in the 
midst of an arid desert, where no water was procurable, 
except from a few tanks which he held in nis posses- 
sion. The Imperial troops, unable to obtain any water, 
dispersed, and, being pursued by the Sikhs, numbers 
of them perished. 

The news of Govinda's victory spread like wildfire, 
and large crowds resorted to him every day to swell 
his army. When Aurengzebe heard of the ill success 
that had attended the expedition sent against Govinda, 
he sent a messenger summoning him to answer for his 
conduct. The Guru not only snowed great honour to 
the Imperial messenger, but professed great humility, 
and softened the bitterness of the Emperor also by 
submitting a versified statement of his grievances in 
Persian. Aurengzebe was then having enough of trouble 
from the Marattas, and was not inclined to exasper- 
ate any other class of his Hindu subjects. Whether 
on that account, or because he was satisfied that 
Govind had been unjustly persecuted, the order sum- 
moning the Guru was cancelled, and Govind was 
politely invited to visit the Emperor. Govind, after 
some hesitation proceeded to the south in order to have 
the honour of an interview with the Great Mogal. But 
while Govind was on his way to the Deccan, Aureng- 
zebe died there. The Guru, however, was received 
with great honours by Bahadoor Shah, the son and 
successor of Aurengzebe, and was prevailed upon to 
accept service under the Mogal as a commander of 
five thousand. Govind, after tnese events, might have 
lived for a long time in peace ; but the great ambition 
of his life was frustrated. The four sons that he had;, 

BANDA. 507 

and who all promised to be his worthy successors, had 
met with sad deaths during the period of trouble that 
followed the siege of MuHiwal. There was no tie 
now to bind him to the world, and being weary 
of life he schemed to bring about his death. The 
son of a man whom he had murdered in the course 
of a quarrel, was invited to take his revenge by killing 
him. The young man had received such kind 
treatment from the Guru that he was quite inclined to 
forgive him. But the youth was taunted as a coward 
for not retaliating for the death of his father, and was 
ultimately so provoked as to inflict a mortal wound 
on the Guru. Govind's death took place in the year 
1708 at a place called Nandser in the dominions of the 

§ 11. — Govindd*s successor Banda. 

Govinda's sons had pre-deceased him, and he appointed 
none formally to be his successor as Guru. So the 
title ended with him. Before his death, he however 
charged his disciple Banda with the task of avenging the 
blood of his father and grandfather. Banda, though a 
Byragi (a religious ascetic unconcerned with the world), 
was a very ambitious man, and he did not fail to utilise 
to the utmost the opportunities and resources that the 
dying injunction of the last Guru placed within his 
reach. He aimed at nothing less than the conquest 
and sovereignty of the Panjab, and he began his opera- 
tions by the siege and destruction of birhind where 
the two youngest sons of Govind had been murdered 
in cold blood, at the time when the Guru himself was 
shut up within the walls of Mukhwal. Banda set fire 
to Sirbind, and murdered all the inhabitants, sparing 
none on account of either age or sex. The fury of the 
Sikhs being now excited to the utmost extent possible, 
and they being made to advance too far to recede, 
Banda crossed the Sutlej, and employed fire and sword 
wherever he went. He destroyed the town of Wattala, 


and proceeded to Lahore. After having bnrned and 
pillaged that city, he massacred its inhabitants. After 
these operations^ the Byragi crossed the Ravi, and 
inarched towards Jammu. When the Emperor Ferok- 
shore heard of the desolation caused by the bloodthirsty 
fanatic, he appointed one of his best generals, named 
Abdool Samad, to be the Governor of tne Panjab. On 
reaching Lahore, the new Governor pursued Banda 
closely, and succeeded in bringing about an engage- 
ment in which the Byragi was signally defeated. For a 
time, the Sikh leader obtained refuge in a hill fort, but 
the place was closely invested by the Imperial general, 
and captured by him within a short time. Banda was 
made a prisoner and taken to Delhi, where he was first 
of all compelled to be the silent and helpless spectator of 
the execution of 740 of his companions. Tneir disci- 
pline was such that not one of tnem winced under the 
excruciating tortures to which they were subjected. 
In the closing scene of this horrible drama, Banda's son 
was placed in his lap, and the father was ordered to cut 
the son's throat. Banda did what he was ordered to 
do, without uttering a word. As if that was not enough, 
the son's heart was taken out of his body, and thrown 
in Banda's face. Banda himself then had his life tortured 
out of him, his fiesh being torn out with red-hot pincers. 
The savage slaughter of Banda and his companions in 
Delhi, and the strong measures adopted by Abdool 
Samad in the Panjab, annihilated the Sikh faction for a 
time. Abdool Samad died during the reign of Maho- 
med Shah, and was succeeded by his son Ziikeera Khan, 
who proved to be a very weak administrator. During 
his viceroyalty^ the zemindars of the Panjab threw off 
their allegiance to the Mussulmans, refused to pay their 
revenue, and oppressed the ryots. The latter, who 
were mostly Jats> embraced the Sikh faith in order to 
have that protection which the de jure ruler of the 
oountry was unable to afford. About this time Ahmed 
Shah Durani attempted to hold possession of the Panjab; 


but the Sikhs collected in large numbers round Lahore, 
and inflicted a signal defeat on the Afghan General 
Jehan Khan. Upon the death of the Durani King, 
which took place shortly afterwards, the Sikh leaders 
parcelled out the territories of the Panjab among them- 
selves, and established something like a federal govern- 
ment over the whole extent or country between the 
Jamna and the Indus. The independent principalities 
thus formed were called Missuls, and at the beginning 
these Missuls never came into collision with one another. 
But this state of things could not possibly last long, 
and ultimately the whole of the Panjab came under 
the sway of the powerful Ranjit Sing. 


It has been already stated that the religion of the 
Sikhs is a mixture of Hinduism and Mahomedanism. The 
followers of Gum Nanak, like those of Mahomet, profess 
for theoretical purposes to be monotheists. But in 
practice, while the Mahomedans revere their prophet 
as the trusted friend and agent of the Most High, the 
Sikhs in a similar manner regard Nanak and his suc- 
cessors as Gurus or teachers dulj initiated and appoint- 
ed by the Deity himself. So far as belief in superior 
powers is concerned, the only difference between the 
Sikhs and the Mahomedans lies in the fact that while 
the former recognise the existence of thQ Hindu gods, 
the latter deny altogether the divinity of the heathen 
deities. Broadly speaking, Sikhism may be described 
as Mahomedanism, minus circumcision and cow-killing, 
and plits faith in the Gurus. 

Even in outward appearance, a Sikh, with his short 
trousers, flowing beard, forehead free from paint, and 
neck without beads, looks more like a Mahomedan 
than a Hindu. The only visible sign by which he 
may be distinguished is the iron ring which he 
wears on the wrist. According to the strict tenets 
of their faith, the followers of the Gurus are pre* 
eluded from performing any fasts, pilgrimages or 
rites enjoined by the Hindu Shastras. In practice 
many of the Sikhs not only visit the places held sacred 

( 510 ) 


by the Hindus,* but perform many of the ceremonies 
prescribed for the orthodox. The few Brahmans and 
Kshettris that there are among the Sikhs, take even the 
sacred thread which the last Guru ordered to be put off. 
Under British rule Sikhism is fast losing its vitality, and 
drifting towards amalgamation with the Hindu faith pro- 
perly so-called. During the decaying period of the Mogal 
power, when lawlessness and anarchy prevailed in almost 
all the distant provinces of the Empire, the Sikh faith 
became very popular in the Panjab, as it not only 
gave that protection to the people which the officers of 
tne Crown were incapable of affording, but opened out 
to the Jat cultivators a career of ambition which, 
according to the orthodox, is deserved only by the 
aristocratic Rajputs. ^'The quiet and industrious Jat, 
so long as he remained a cultivator of the field, never 
concerned himself with his neighbours' affairs or pros- 
pects ; but when he saw a lawless set of Sikh robbers, 
with numerous followers, and apparently in the enjoy- 
ment of every luxury of life, which he found it im- 
possible, with every exertion of himself and his 
family, to procure, it is no wonder that he was often 
tempted to renounce his life of toil and trouble for the 
less irksome pursuits of a robber.^t 

At the present time the acquisition of wealth or 
political power by robbery or brigandage has been ren- 
dered well-nigh impossible by the paaJBritannicaYr]noh 
reigns over the whole country, and the religion of the 
Sikns has therefore lost its chief attraction. In the 
course of a few more generations Sikhism is likely to be 
superseded by one of those forms of Yaishnavism which 
alone have the best chance of success among a subject 
nation in times of profound and undisturbable 

* The Sikhs perform relijnous ablatkms in the holy rivers in the 
same manner as the Hindus. Raojit Sing came to British territory 
in 1804 to bathe in the Ganges.— McGregor's Huicry of the SWu^ 
Vol. I, p. 156. 

t McGregor's Sistary of ths Sikhs, YoL I, p. 157* 


The total Sikh population of India is less than two 
millions. Of these the majority are Jats and Chnrahas. 
There are a few Brahmans and Kshettris in the sect, 
but their number is very small. The Sikh Gurus tried 
to abolish the distinction of caste altogether. But that 
institution is naturally dear to those to whom it gives 
an elevated status by hereditary right, and it is no 
wonder that the Brahmans and Kshettris held aloof 
from the confederacy in spite of its political advan- 
tages. The castes that eagerly joined the standard 
of the Sikh Gurus were the agricultural Jats, the trad- 
ing Roras, and the tribe of scavengers called Churaha. 
The Jats, like the Marattas, are a fighting nation by 
instinct. Perhaps the iron rule of the Rajputs repres- 
sed the martial ardour of both for ages.' But when 
the Rajputs were subverted by the Mahomedans, and the 
Mahomedans themselves became too weak to wield 
the sword with success, the Jats in the north, like the 
Marattas in the south, required only competent leaders 
at their head to urge them on to **' the paths of glory 
that lead but to the grave." The Jats are looked down 
upon by the Rajputs, and that was perhaps one of the 
great motives why the former willingly submitted to 
the leadership of the Sikh Gurus, and discarded the 
authority of the Brahmans who supported the preten- 
sions of the " king's sons." The Roras were similarly 
looked down upon by the Kshettris and had a similar 
motive to attain to a position higher than theirs. What- 
ever was the cause, the Jats and the Roras formed the 
backbone of the Sikh brotherhood. The low caste of 
scavengers, called the Churaha, were also eager to em- 
brace the new faith, as it alone gave them a chance of 
abandoning their filthy profession, and attaining a posi- 
tion of respectability, with the title of Sing. The 
Churahas were admitted to the faith by the baptism of 
pahooldt; but the high caste Sikhs refused to be placed 
on the same footing with them. The result was the 
formation of something like a new caste under the name 


of Mazabi Sikhs. The Chnraha Sikhs, called Mazabi, 
are not allowed to eat or drink with the high caste 
Sikhs. In the Sikh wars the Mazabis greatly distin- 
guished themselves. They were remorselessly cruel in 

The Sikhs have no regular priesthood^ and no reli- 
gious ceremonies besides ihe baptism of palwoldi called 
also Amrita Dikska. Even this baptismal rite was 
unknown during the time of the first nine Gurus, and 
was first invented by the tenth pontiff, Govind. As 
neither the Hindus nor the Mahomedans have any 
ceremony corresponding with it, it is quite possible 
that Guru Govind derived the idea from the practice 
pf the Christian Church. The ceremony itself is a 
very simple and rude one, and has nothing of the 
grandeur or complicacy of a Hindu rite. As 
stated already, the Sikhs have no regular priesthood, 
and it is therefore ordained that the pahooldi or Amrita 
Diksha may be conducted by any five persons duly 
initiated in the faith. When there is a candidate for 
baptism^ a meeting of the initiated members residing 
in the locality is held. The prayer of the applicant 
is brought to the notice of the assembly, and, if they 
decide in favour of admitting him, a stone cup contain- 
ing a solution of sugar in water is brought before 
them. The liquid is stirred with a double-edged sword 
by at least five of the elders present. When this is 
done a portion of the solution is sprinkled over the 
eyes, ears and head of the neophyte, and the rest is 
drunk by all present including lum. 

The Sikhs denounce idolatry, but at the same time 
worship the Granth or the Bible of their sect in the 
very same manner as the Hindus worship the images 
of their gods. In speaking of the Granth in the 
shrine of Amritsar, Sir Monier Williams says : — 

The Oranth is, in fact, the real divinity of the shrine, and is 
treated as if it had a veritable personal existence. Every momin>{ 
it is dressed oat in costly bnx^e, and reverently placed on a low 
throne under a jeweUed canopy, said to have oeen constructed 

B, HC 33 


by Ban jit Sing at a cost of 60,000 rupees. All day long chowries are 
waved over the sacred volame, and every evening it is transported 
to the second temple on the eidge of the lake opposite the cause- 
way, where it is made to repose for the night in a golden bed within 
a consecrated chamber, railed off and protected from all pro&ne 
intrusion by bolts and bars,— Sir Monier Williams' Sindtii$m and 
Brahmanism, p. 177. 

The Holy Book is treated as a living personality, also 
by the dedication, before it, of a pan of Halwa called 
Kara Prasad. After being kept before the Granth 
for some time, the Halwa is distribated among all 
persons present in the temple at the time. Even good 
Hindus are said to accept the dole* reverentially. The 
Sikhs do not nsually offer any other kind of food 
before the object of tneir adoration. 

For an idea of the contents of the Granth, the 
following passages may be referred to : — 

At the beginning is the True One. 

Know that there are two ways (that of Hindus and t at of 
Mussalmans), but only one Lord. 

By thyself all the creation is produced ; by thyself, having created, 
the whole is caused to disappear. 

Thou O Hari ! alone art inside and outside ; thou knowest the 
secrets of the heart. 

Mutter the name of Hari, Hari, O my heart, by which comfort is 
brought about, by which aU sins and vice disappear, by which 
poverty and pain cease. 

Thou art I, I am thou, of what kind is the difference ? Like gold 
and the bracelet, like water and a wave. 

By the perfect Guru the name of Hari is made Arm in me. Hari 
is my beloved, my king. If some one bring and unite (him witii 
roe), my life is revived. 

Thou art my father, my mother, my cousin, my protector in all 
places. Then what fear and grief can there be in me? By thy 
mercy I have known thee. Thou art my support, my trust. Without 
thee there is none other ; all is thy play and thy arena, O Lord ! 

The Lord is my dear friend. He is sweeter to me than mother 
and father, sister, brother and all friends ; like thee there is none 
other, O Lord ! 

Be united with the Lord of the Universe. After a long time this 
(human) body was obtained. In some births thou wast made a 
rock and mountain. In some births thou wast prodnced as pot 
herb. In the eighty-four lakhs of existence thou wast caused to 

* This practice clearly shews that the Sikhs are regarded as Hindus 
by the metnlwn of the orthodox faith. It may be also mentioned 
hei-e that the name of Guru Nanak is actually invoked by many 
orthodox Brahmans of Northern India, along with those of some 
other Hindu gods. 


wander about. No hot wind toaches those who are protected by the 
true Guru. The Guru ia the true creator. 

Protected by the Gum he is admitted to the true house and palaoe 
of Hari. Death cannot eat him. 

I am continually a sacriiice to my own Guru. 

I am become a sacrifice to my own Lord. From the Veda, from 
the book of the Koran, from the whole world he is conspicuous. The 
King of Nanakis openly seen. 

Having forgotten all things meditate on the One ! Drop false 
conceit, offer up thy mind and body.— Sir Monier Williams' Hindu- 
i9m ond Brahmanism, p. 171. 

The doctrines and sentiments contained in the above 
are such as are favoured by every Hindu. The good 
words put in at every step for securing to the Guru the 
love and regard of his followers, are the usual charac- 
teristic of the sacred literature of modern Hinduism. 

The Sikh Gurus never encouraged celibacy or men- 
dicancy, and declared that marriage and the acquisition 
of wealth were necessities of human life. The class 
of Sikh fanatics called Akalis, or ' men for times of 
danger,' do however, in practice, generally remain 
unmarried. They usually live in the Sikh monasteries 
called Dharmasala, and they are easily known by their 
blue turbans with iron discs. They are regular des- 
peradoes, and it is a very dangerous thing to provoke 
them. During the days of Sikh rule, they were gene- 
rally treated with great indulgence, and were kept as 
a reserve for great emergencies. 

The Sikhs have several 8ub-sect<», among which the 
Udasis, the Nirmailis and the Govind Shahis are the 
most important. The first two are followers of Nanak. 
The last belong to the order founded by Guru Govind. 

The Sikhs reverence the descendants of Guru Nanak 
and the representatives of the family of Govind. But 
no one has priestly authority in the sect either by birth 
or by appointment. The paJiooldi of the Sodis and the 
Bedis themselves has to be conducted in the same 
manner as that of the other Sikhs. The chief shrines 
of the Sikhs are those of Amritsar, Patna, Nander, 
Tarantara, Moogatsar, Kartarpore and Panja Shah. The 
name of the first of these places literally means ^^ the 


tank of nectar." It is the site of the tank, the dry 
bed of which was by Nanak miraculonsly filled with 
water. The fourth Gurn Arjooti first built the temple, 
and at a later period the town became the rendezyons 
of the Sikh leaders. Patna is held to be a sacred town 
qn account of its being the birthplace of Gnru Goyind. 
Nander is the name of the place in the Nizam's domi- 
nions where Guru Goyind died. Tarantara, in the 
Amritsar district, is held sacred by the Sikhs on account 
of its haying a tank the water of which is belieyed to 
be a cure for leprosy. Moogatsar is in the Ferozepore 
district, and is held sacred on account of its bein^ the 
site of the famous battle by which Guru Goyind re- 
established his power. Panja Shah is near Rawal Pindi, 
and is celebrated as the place where Guru Nanak per- 
formed certain yery extraordinary miracles. He drew 
out water from the rocky base of a hill, and when a riyal 
saint tried to crush him and his followers by hurling 
the hill upon them, Nanak kept it in position by stretch- 
ing out nis right hand for its support. The hill has 
on its sides some finger-marks which are taken by the 
deyout to be conolusiye eyidenee of the truth of the 



Although the religion of Buddha is not nsnallj re- 
garded as a form of the Hindu faith, and although it 
has disappeared almost entirely from India proper, the 
land of its origin, yet, for many reasons, it seems to me 
necessary to say something in this book about its 
history and character. Buddha rejected the authority 
of the Vedas, and strictly prohibited the performance of 
the Vedic rites, which involved the killing of animals and 
the drinking of strong liouor. But his own system was 
founded entirely upon Hindu philosophy, and as it 
recognized the gods of the Hindu pantheon, it cannot 
be said to have the same relation to Hinduism as Chris- 
tianity or Mahomedanism. In fact. Buddhism is not 
more antagonistic to orthodox Hinduism than the cults 
of the Jangamites or the Vaishnavas. The latter, though 
they reject the authority of the Yedas and deny the 
spiritual supremacy of the Brahmans, are yet regarded 
as Hindus, and there is no reason why Buddhism should 
be assigned a different footing. 

The religion of Buddha was, if not the first, at least 
one of the earliest, of the man-worshipping and morality- 
preaching faiths. The Vedic singers who preceded 
them never claimed to be superior to, or identical with, 
the gods of their pantheon. Their highest ambition 
was only to be recognised as men of extraordinary 

( 517 ) 

518 buddha's attitudb towards the gods. 

powers. Their religion oflFered chiefly tangible good 
service, and had not much to do with either the improTO- 
ment or the cormption of morality. Their success in 
secaring the reverence of men naturally led those who 
followed them to aim at attaining mgher altitudes. 
Buddha did not, like the later prophets, claim to be an 
incarnation or agent of the Most High. Ideas of that 
kind were perhaps unknown to him, and, at any rate, 
did not originate with him. However, he tried to at-> 
tain the same goal by a different route. He, in a man- 
ner, denied the existence of a Supreme Brahma, and 
spoke of the lesser gods of the Hindus pantheon as his 
inferiors. According to his elaboration of the Hindu 
doctrine of metempsychosis, the condition of a god 
is the highest stage* which every sentient being is 
capable of attaining before becoming a Buddha or 
Bodhisatwa.t In the Buddhistic scripture we read 
of a certain frogt that from simply listening to the 
Buddha's voice, while reciting the law, was bom as 
a god in the Trayastriusa heaven. In some of the 
stories of Buddha's miracles, as, for instance, in the 
one relating to his descent§ from heaven to Sankisa, 
it is stated that the gods acted as his personal attendants. 
It is also stated in some places that the gods rever^ 
enced him as a superior being, and, when allowed, con- 
gregated together to hear his preachings. His policy 
with regard to the lesser deities of the Hindu pantheon 
was, in fact, the same as that of the British Govern- 
ment of the present time towards the Indian princes, 
and not that of Dalhousie. He did not, like some of 
the later prophets, aim at being in the position of a 
^^ lonesome tower " in the midst of a level plain. Such 
being the case, his religion must be said to be a form of 
Hinduism, and not wholly antagonistic to it. 

* See Sir Monier Wmiams on BuddUUim^ ^ 121. 
+ See Glossary. 

t See Sir Monier Willianis on Buddhigm, p. 122. 
§ RockhUrs L^s qf Buddha, p. 81 ; Sir Monier Williams* Bud- 
dhism, p. 414, et seq, ; hBgg!Q*a Fu Sian^ p. 48. 


, The main facts relating to the personal history of 
Buddha* are well-known, and I refer to them only for 
the purpose of marshalling them in snoh a manner as 
to render their historical bearing and valne clear 
enough. The great prophet was the son of a Ksatriya 
chief named Suddhodana, who ruled over a small 
kingdom at the foot of the Himalayas, between the 
rivers' RaDti and Bohini. The chief town of the State 
was Kapilavastn, which has been identified with a vil* 
lage named Bhuila, in the Basti district, about 25 miles 
to the north-east of Fyzabad, and 12 miles to the north- 
west of the town of Bastu Buddha's mother, Maha 
Maya, died on the seventh day after his birth, and 
although he was taken care of by his mother's sister, 
Maya alias Gautami Mahaprajapatt, who was also one 
of bis father's wives, his childhood was in all pro- 
bability not a very happy one. In his early years, he 
-received some education under a teacher named Kau- 
cika,t and it was perhaps this teacher who awakened 
in his young mind that craving for the study of the 
Hindu philosophical systems which was very strong 
in his mind at the time that he left his paternal 
roof. He married three wives, and^ according to some 
of the accounts relating to his life, he was blessed ¥dth 
a child when he was himself twenty-nine years old. 
According to other accounts^ his wife Yasodhara gave 
birth to Rahula long after his departure from home. 
In any case, with such intellectual and physical activity 
as he possessed, the monotony of home-life was perhaps 

extremely irksome to him. Possibly the fact of ms 

*- — - - ^i^^^ 

* I shaU in this chapter speak of the prophet everywhere by the 
name of Buddha, thoa^ that designation is applicable to him only 
in the concUtion which he attained wbea he was aboat thirty-seven 
years old. His other names were :— 

L Sahva Sinfaa, Lion of the Sakya race. 
2. Siddhartha, one who has attained the ol^eet of his religioas 

4. Snffii^^ lAperaoninthepathofenUghtenmeiiU 
t AookhiU on the iH/'^r </ Bwlctta, p. la 


being motherless, and his father having other wives, 
made him very miserable. That he was not a great 
favourite with the family appears pretty clear from 
the fact that, after his voluntary exile^ his father did 
nothing whatever to bring him back to his palace. If« 
like the late Baja Pratapa Ohand,* of Burdwan, Bnddha 
wanted to test the affection of his father for a mother* 
less child, he was doomed to a sad disappointment^ 
though, for the sake of the good name of his father, or 
in order to uphold his own prophetic pretensions, he 
never expressed his feelings on tne subject. What the 
real cause of Buddha's renunciation of home was, can** 
not possibly be known. But there cannot be much doubt 
that the stories to be found on the subject in the Bud^ 
dhistic scriptures are mere myths. 

According to these legends Buddha grew up to man* 
hood without having any idea of death, disease or the 
decay caused by old age, and that when in his twenty- 
ninth year he nrst saw a dead body, an old man and a 
diseased person, he was so impressed with the miseries 
of human life, as to determine at once to leave his home 
in the search after a remedy. The stories on the subject 
are very dramatic no doubt ; but they cannot be taken to 
have any element of probability consistentlv with what 
is known to all men regarding the usual course of 
human affitirs. Even supposing that Buddha's domestic 
life was a happy one, and that the only motive which 
led him to adopt the garb of a mendicant was his phi- 
lanthropic zeal for the good of mankind, it does not 
seem reasonable to suppose that his determination was 
the result of a sudden impulse. Gases of renunciation 
like his are not of rare occurrence among Indian princes. 
In our own days Lala Babu and Rajas Protab Ghand 
and Ram Krishna have perhaps made far greater sacri- 
fices than the son of Suddhodana. In every case of 
Sanyas in high life that has taken place in recent times, 

* For an aoooant of the BaJa, see pa^ 48S, anU. 


the determination is more or less known to have been 
caused by domestic nnhappiness, or by the undue influ- 
ence of some religious teacher on the enthusiastic 
neophyte. It seems likely, therefore, that Buddha was 
influenced in the same way. At any rate, the steadiness 
which he evinced in the course of life that he adopted, 
goes very far to show that his determination was not 
tne result of a sudden impulse, but of long and careful 
deliberation. If he had been led by only an accidental 
flash of enthusiasm, his zeal would have cooled down as 
quickly, and he would have come back to his father 
within a few days. But he had evidentlv gone through 
a long course of mental preparation, and the realities of 
a mendicant's life did not frighten him. 

After leaving home Buddha repaired to Raj Giri, 
the metropolis of the Magadha Empire at the time. 
This line of action on his part, at the very outset, doeft 
not seem to be consistent with the view that it was only 
the miseries which he had found existing in the world 
that led him to leave his paternal roof. Surely he 
could have no reason whatever to suppose that Raj 
Giri was the place where the necessary remedy was 
obtainable. It seems much more probable that, like other 
men of ability and ambition, he was naturally attracted 
to the metropolis of the Empire in a search after 
adventure. According to his biographers, his sooth* 
sayers had predicted that he was to be either a mighty 
Emperor or a Buddha. This may be taken to show what 
the goals of his ambition originally were. Evidently 
he saw no way to be an Emperor, and therefore adopted 
the safer but more ambitious career that ultimately 
led to his being worshipped as a god by all classes, 
including both princes and peasants. 

It is said that the princely mendicant of Eapilavastn 
attracted the notice of King Bimbasara on the occasion 
of his very first entrance mto Raj Giri. That is not 
impossible. But it seems more probable that he 
became known to the king either through his preceptor 


Ram Patra Rudraka, or through Amba Pali of Vaisali, 
who was Bimbasara's mistress, and who subsequently 
became one of the leading Buddhistic nuns* Ram Putra 
Rudraka was evidently one of the favoured Pandits of 
the Court of Bimbasara, and as such Pandits, when 
they visit the kings who patronise them, are generally 
accompanied by their leading pupils, it seems highly 

Erobable that the Buddha's first introduction to Bim- 
asara was the result of his having enlisted himself as a 
pupil of the ^reat philosophical tocher of Raj Giri at 
the time. Wnatever the origin of the acquaintance may 
have been, the great prophet knew that to establish a high 
position in the country, or in the estimation of the king, 
by dint of Sanskrit scnolarship alone was a very difficult 
task, and was quite impossible during the lifetime of his 
preceptor. So after passing some time at Raj Giri 
as a pupil of Ram Putra Rudraka, and acquiring some 
reputation there as a scholar of great promise, he retired 
to an adjoining forest on the banks of the river Niran^ 
jan, and there for a time gave himself up to £he practice 
of the most severe austerities. The discipline to which 
he was believed to have subjected himself at the time 
raised him considerably in the veneration of King Bim* 
basara and the people of the country. But the practice 
of asceticism, though highly useful at the beginning of 
a religious man's career, cannot be continued by nim 
forever, if he has a secular ambition. At any rate, 
after six years of self-mortification, the Incarnation of 
Enlightenment discovered that penances and fasts were 
not the road to heaven. His reputation for superior 
sanctity had been then completely established, and so 
he emerged from his seclusion, giving out that he had 
discovered the true remedy for the miseries of this 
world. The panacea that ne professed to have dis- 
covered was neither very original nor of any use for 
practical purposes. His doctrines were exactly the 
same as those of many orthodox Hindus, namely, that 
our miseries are caused by desires, and that, in order to 

Buddha's austbrities. 523 

eei rid of the miseries, we mast learn to overcome the 
aesires. Sir Monier Williams* gives Buddha the credit 
of having had the power to clothe old ideas in new 
and more attractive dresses. Bat, in this instance, the 
great anti-Brahmanical prophet adopted the ideas of 
Brahmanical philosophy, without any modification what^ 
ever. (]!essation of desires was the panacea prescribed 
by both, as if it were possible for anv human being to 
feel happy without food, drink, health, and the joys of 
conjugal association. From the point of view of 
common sense, the true remedies for the miseries of life 
are the sciences of medicine, agriculture, &c., the arts of 
weaving, road-making, navigation, &c., properly managed 
political governments, and such institutions as hospitols, 
poor-houses, insurance offices, light houses, fire brigades, 
&c. A spiritual teacher may be believed to have the 
power of saving the soul from perdition after death. But 
so far as the miseries of this world are concerned, it is 
impossible to give either Buddha, or any other prophet, 
the credit of having given us a satisfactory remedy. 

However that may be, Buddha was so convinced of 
the value of his discovery, that he at first felt inclined 
to keep it to himselff instead of giving the benefit of 
it to the world. Even the gods were distressed at this 
determination on his part, and he was led to abandon 
it only for the sake of the repented remonstrances 
addressed to him by the great deityj Brahma. This 
legend affords a typical instance of the manner in which 
Buddha utilised the agency of the gods to serve his 
political purposes. In secular spheres such tactics 
would hardly be of any use even with the weakest of 
Asiatic princes. But the faith of men in the saints 
and prophets is unbounded. 

When Buddha at length made up his mind to give 

men the benefit of his discovery, he thought of making 

^^^-^— ^^^^-^ — ^^^^^^^^ 

* See Sir Monier's Buddhitm, p. lOi. 
f Mahavagga, 1, 3, 4. 
t lb., 1, 6, e. 


his former teachers Rnddaka and AUada* his first 
pnpils. If this had been possible his name and fame 
eonid have been made at once. Bnt the idea, though a 
very clever one, conid not possibly be given effect to. 
As soon as it arose in his mind^ a god, who was in wait^ 
ing, informed him that his old teachers had passed 
away from the earth. He then proceeded to Benares 
with a view to preach the new faith to the five men 
who had been aepnted by his father to attend him 
when he was studying philosophy at Raj Uiri. They 
attended him also when he practised austerities on the 
banks of the Niranjana river. But when he gave up 
asceticism, and became mindful of worldly comforts, 
these men left him and went to Benares. According 
to the Buddhistic scriptures^ the cause of their leaving 
his company was his abandonment of asceticism. But 
the fact that they did not return to their native country, 
but proceeded to Benares, seems to point to the con- 
clusion that they had been sent thither by Buddha in 
order to prepare the ground for him. flowever that 
may be, the five attendants were not, according to the 
Buddhist chronicles, at first inclined to recognise the 
Buddhahood of their former master. But they were 
soon overpowered by his commanding bearing, and 
the sermon that he delivered to them. They had 
addressed him familiarly as a ' friend,' and he spoke as 
follows : — 

Do not addresn, O Bhifcihus, the Tatba^ata by his name, and with 
appeUation *' Friend." The Tatha«:ata, O Bhikthas, is the holv ab- 
solute Sambndha. Give ear, O Bhikshu ! The immortal (Amata) hm 
been won (by me) : I wiU teach you : to you I pr«w;h the doctrine. 
If you walk m the way I show yon, yon will erelong have penetrated 
to the truth, having yourselves known it and seen it face to face; and 
you will live in the possession of that highest goal of the holy life 
for the sake of which noble youths fully give up the world and.gO 
forth into the homeless BtBkte"—Mahavagga, I, 6, 12. 

The five quondam attendants to whom Buddha 
spoke as above were all under the belief that there was 

* Mahavagga, I, 0, 2—4. 


great merit in asceticism, and, addressing him again 

in the same familiar style as before, they said : — 

By those observances* Friend Gautama, hy those practices, by those 
austerities, you have not been able to obts^n power surpassinn^ that 
of men, nor the superiority of full and holy knowledge and insight. 
How will ^ou now, living in abundance, having given up your exer- 
tions, lubving turned to an abundant life, be able to obtain power 
surpassing that of men and the superiority of full and holy Know- 
ledge and insight 1—Mahavagga, I, o, 13. 

The reply which Buddha gave to this embodies a 
doctrine which would have entitled him to be regarded 
as one of the greatest benefactors of mankind, if he 
had not insisted upon his followers to give np their 
connection with the world, and to become monks and 
nuns. He said : — 

There are two extremes, O Bhikshus, which he who has given up 
the world ought to avoid. What are these two extremes ! A life 
given to pleasures, devoted to pleasures and lasts : this is degrading, 
sensual, vulgar, ignoble, and profitless : and a life given to mortifica- 
tions, this is painful, ignoble and profitless. By avoiding these two 
extremes, O Bhikshus, the Tathagata has gained the knowledge of 
the Middle Path which leads to insight, which leads to wisdom, 
which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to the Sambodhi, to Nirvana. 
—Mahavagga, I, 6, 17. 

A nobler doctrine, no doubt, than that of those who 
taught their followers to practise self-mortification in 
every possible form. But as Buddha insisted upon 
renunciation of home life, it is impossible to give him 
even the negative credit of having done nothing to 
make men more miserable than they are by nature. 
That compliment is due to Manu and Yajnyavalkya, 
and not to any of the latter day prophets. 

To return to the story of the first conversions made 
by Buddha. The sermons which the prophet addressed 
to his attendants did not at first make any impression. 
The same questions and the same answers had to be 
repeated thrice, and, if we are to believe the Buddhist 
scriptures, the prophet had to struggle hard in order 
to convince them of the truth of his doctrines. 

Buddha's sixth convert was a young man* of Benares 
named Yasa. He was followed by his parents. While 

* MahQvagga, I, 7, 4—10. 


the neophyte was passing the first night after his con- 
version in the hermitage of his teacher, his father 
searched for him in every part of the town. The son 
had left his slippers on the banks of the Varana, Mid 
the father npon seeing them was led to apprehend that 
he had been killed by some wild beast. When thus in 
a state of terrible anxiety he met with Bnddha, who, 
upon being questioned, offered him the information he 
wanted on condition of his accepting the new faith. 
Yasa himself became a Bhikshu, while his father, 
moiher and wife remained at home f lfy/'W?f- 
Fifty-four other men of Benares were led to follow the 
example of Yasa, so that there were sixty Bhikshus m 
all at the end of the first year. Buddha deputed these, 
two by two, to preach his faith in other parts of the 
country. He himself returned to the vicinity of Oraya, 
where, before long, he succeeded in converting some 
of the greatest of the local Pandita, together with their 
disciples. The prophet had now a very large number of 
followers, and had acquired such importan^ that he was 
invited by King Bimbasara to revisit Raj Gin. A large 
and commodious garden house, caUed the Venuvana, or 
the Bamboo grove, was presented to him by the king. 
Bimbasara supplied also everything tiiat Buddha and 
his foUowers required for food, drmk and clothmg. 
Being thus able to keep his followers well-housed and 
well-fed, Buddha was able to add to the number of 
his disciples every day. These disciples spent nine 
months in the year in preaching the new faith, and 
passed the three months of the rainy season m one of 
those monasteries that either the kings or the people of 
the country buUt in different places for their accom- 
modation. , ... . . , . 

Buddha passed the second year of his ministry in 
Rai Giri. It was at this period that Sudatta,, a nch 
merchant of Sravasti,* became his disciple, and invited 

• For an aocoant ol this city, see p. 188, anU. 


him to visit the chief city of Kosala. Buddha suggest* 
ed to him the building of a Yihara for his reception. 
Sudatta built the monastery of Jetavana, and when 
everything was ready he sent word to Buddha asking 
him to take possession. When Buddha arrived at Sra- 
vasti he was received with great honour, and a formal 
gift of the Jetavana was maide to him. Buddha passed 
3ie toos or rainy season of the third year of his ministry 
in Sravasti. During his residence there King Prasnajit 
of Kosala was converted to his faith. 

Shortly after his conversion the King of Kosala sent 
a message to Suddhodana, congratulating him for hav- 
ing such a great son as the Buddha. Thereupon the 
King of I^apilavastu sent several messengers to kuddha 
asking him to visit his parents and relatives. 

After avoiding compliance for a long time, Buddha 
at last consented to meet the wishes of his aged father 
on condition of his building a monastery for the holy 
order at Kapilavastu. Suddhodana agreed to the con* 
dition, and built a Yihara, to which was given the name 
of Nyagrodhvana or Banyan grove. When Buddha 
arrived at Kapilavastu, his father and his other relatives 
gave him a warm reception. They all embraced his 
foith, and a great many of them entered the monastic 
order. Some of these Sakya monks gave great trouble 
to him afterwards. 

From the Buddhistic histories it appears that no 
teacher before Buddha had ever allowed women to 
enter any monastic order. Buddha himself had, it is 
said, some misgivings on the subject. It is represented 
that he regarded women with great distrust, and that 
he was ultimately obliged to grant them the privilege, 
for the sake of his favourite disciple Ananda, who pleaded 
their cause, and for meeting the wishes of Ids old 
maternal aunt and step-motner, Mahaprajapati Gau- 
tami. At the council held at Raj Giri after Buddha's 
death, his first locum tenem^ Maha Kasyapa, severely 
censured Ananda for the part that he had taken to get 


women admitted to the holy order.* Bat when Maha- 
prajapati Gautami and her companions were admitted as 
nuns, Ananda's age cannot have been more than ten 
years, and it is therefore difficalt to see how he could be 
responsible for enrolling them in the holy orders. The 
entreaties of Gtintami Mahaprajapati, if the story be 
based npon trnth, were certainly irresistible to Buddha. 
But it seems very probable that he wanted to admit 
iemales, more for the sake of adding to the attractions of 
monastic life, than for the sake of obliging either Ananda 
or his aged aunt. Some of the rules laid down for the 
guidancet of the Bhikshns point to the above conclusion. 

Buddha, like many other mendicants, was a great 
favourite with the softer sex. While yet engaged in his 
meditations at Gaya, he was attended by a girl named 
Suiata. Later on be went one day to a neighbouring 
village named Senika, the headman of which had two 
unmarried daughters named Nanda and Nanda Bala. 
These ladies prepared a nice pudding for Buddha, and 
after putting the same into his alms-bowl^ asked him 
to marry them. Their guest rejected their prayer. But 
he visited them again when on his way from Benares 
to Baj Giri, and on this occasion admitted them into 
his sect as lay disciples. Another of his devoted female 
disciple was the lady of Vaisali called '* Yisakha, the 
mother of Mrigadhara," in the Buddhistic annals. 

The precise time when Amba Pali, the mistress of 
Bimbasara, became a disciple of Buddha, is not known. 
Most likely the acquaintance began at the time when 
Buddha was a student at Raj Giri. At any rate, when 
he began to preach his new faith^ Amba became one 
of his most devoted disciples, and he not only accepted 
the gift of a garden house made by her te him^ but 
actually partook of her hospitality t with all the monks 

* Bee RookhUl on the lAfs of Buddha, p. 152. 

t See i&., pp. 61, 62 ; CallanvaRga X, 1. 

$ See i&., p. 129 ; Lesge's Travels cf Fa Sian, p. 72. 


accompanying him. The example thus set by the 
teacher was perhaps very largely followed by his dis- 
ciples. What the result was may be easily imagined. 

After the conversion of the Sakya ladies, Bnddha 
went to the town of Vaisali, now identified with a 
village called Bisarah, in the vicinity of Bakhra, in the 
Mnzaflferpur district. Vaisali was a sort of free city 
governed by an oligarchy consisting of its leading 
residents called the Lichavis. At Vaisali Buddha 
vanquished in argument Furna Kacyap and many 
other philosophical teachers. After these feats Buddha 
went to the Trayastrinsat* heaven, and there preached 
his faith to his mother and a host of gods. During the 
period that he was away from earth his disciples were 
oppressed with grief on account of his absence. He 
felt compassion for them, and after about three months 
came down to earth again by a Vaidurya (lapis lazuli) 
staircase, the foot of which was fixed near an Udum- 
bar tree in the town of Sankisa near Canouj. 

A few years before Buddha's death there was a 
great schism in his camp, headed by his cousin, Deva 
Datta. He had been made to enter the holy order by 
a stratagem, and was never a very sincere follower 
of Buddha. As Buddha had the confidence of the 
old King Bimbasara, Deva Datta somehow managed 
to make himself a favourite with Ajata Satru, the heir- 
apparent to the throne of Magadha. Ajata Satru 
brought about the death of his afiPectionate father in a 
very cruel manner ; but Deva Datta's attempts to put 
an end to the life of his great cousin were frustrated by 
some kind of miracle or other. After the death of 
Bimbasara, the inevitable reaction came on in the mind 
of Ajata Satru. He was sorely oppressed with 
remorse, and, through the influence of his step-brother 
and physician Jivan Kumara Bhand, he soon took stepa 
tp be reconciled to Buddha. In Kosala also there took 
place a revolution similar to that in Magadha. King 

• See Glossary. 
H, HC 34 


Prasnajit's son, Yirndhaka, was led by Ambarisha, a 
son of the royal chaplain, to dethrone nis father, and 
to compel him to leave the kingdom. The Prime 
Minister of the State at first refosed to help Yiradhaka. 
Bat the ultimate success of the heir-apparent in 
attaining the object of his guilty ambition was mainly 
due to the co-operation of tne premier. After his 
dethronement, Prasnajit repaired to Baj Giri in order 
to seek for refuge. But he died of hunger and thirst 
before Ajata Satru could do anything for his relief. 

The success of the revolution that took place in 
Rosala was in all probability due to the support that 
Yirudhaka received from the orthodox faction, and 
not to that of any schism among the followers of 
Buddha. At any rate, Yirudhaka, after ascending 
the throne of Eosala, never showed any sympathy for 
the new faith. On the contrary, he immediately declared 
war against the Sakyas of Kapilavastu, and, after con- 
quering them, effected their complete destruction. 

Buddha was, it seems, made an eye-witness of the 
ruin of his race. After the completion of the conquest 
of Kapilavastu by Yirudhaka, Buddha repaired to Baj 
Giri and lived there for some time. He had been 
reconciled to Ajata Satru. But after his humiliation 
at Kosala, the young king of Magadha apparently 
refused to treat him and his followers with the 
liberality that they had been accustomed to before. 
According to the Buddhistic histories there was a great 
famine in the country about a year before the propnet's 
death, and he was obliged to confess to his army of 
monks that he was not in position to support them, 
and that they must shift for themselves. Apparently 
the prophet felt very much distressed at the collapse 
of his ambitious schemes, and so he left Raj Giri for 
good. He had now very nearly completed the usual 
span of human life, and yet dia not think of dying 
in peace in the city which he had made his head- 
quarters, and where alone he could expect to have a 



]arg6 number of his followers round him during his last 
moments. On his way to Knshinara, on the Gondah^ 
where he intended to die, the prophet sojonmed for a 
few days at Patali Fntra, and ^e Buddhist chroni- 
cles take care to record that he was there respectfully 
entertained by Yarshakar, the Brahman Minister of 
King Ajata Satru. The biographers of the prophet 
are, however, silent as to the Hnd of treatment that he 
received from King Ajata Satru when leaving Baj 
Giri for good. The omission seems to be significant. 

After leaving Patna^ Buddha made a halt at YaisaU^ 
living there K>r a few days in the garden house 

E resented to him by Amba rali, and partaking of the 
ospitality of the old courtezan. 
The event in the life of a prophet which causes the 
greatest strain on the ingenuity of his loyal biographer, 
IS his death. For an exact idea of the manner in 
which the Buddhistic annalists acquitted themselves 
in this difficult task, the reader must refer to the 
original works. The biographers of Buddha some- 
times state the facts without any kind of colouring. 
But this is not the case throughout. For instance, in 
many places the favourite disciple Ananda is charged 
with tne responsibility of his master's death, because 
of his not asking him to prolong his life.* It is stated 
also that while at Beluva, a dire illness fell upon 
Buddha,t but he thought that it would not be right for 
him to pass away while the congregation of Bhikshus 
was scattered. So he determined to retain hold on his 
body until it had accomplished its task. 

Divested of the coating of legendary colouring, 
the plain fact was that Buddha recovered from the 
illness which seized him while he was at Belava. 
After passing the rainy season there, he went back to 
Vaisali and stayed there for a short time. He made 

* RockhiU's lAfe of Buddha, p. 162. 

f lb.. D. lao. 

t /»., p. 130. 


up his mind to die at Knshinara, and with that object 
left Vaisali for good before long. On his way to his 
intended place of death, he halted at Tarions places, 
and at one of these, then called Jalauka, he was invited 
by one Kandn, a worker in metal, to partake of his 
hospitality. The host pat some pork in Buddha's 
alm&-bowl, and that was the caase of the malady that 
brought about his death. His demise caused the earth 
to shake and thunderbolts to fall. His funeral was 
performed by the Mallas of Kushinara, in accordance 
with the directions which he gave before his death, and 
which were as stated in the following report of the 
conversation he had with Ananda on the subject : — 

"AnancUi. — How then. Lord, must the Brahmans s^nd househcddeKi 
who are believen honour the Blessed One's remains. 

jBwJdAo.— Ananda, they n^ust treat them as those of a King of 

^fiatuia.— Lord, how do they treat the remains of a King of Kings? 

jBud<2^.— Ananda, the body of a King of Kings is wrapped in 
bands of cotton, and when it has thus been wrapped, it is covered 
with five hundred layers. ' After that it is put in an iron-case filled 
with oil, and it is covered with a double cover of iron; then 
a funeral pile of aU kinds of odoriferous woods is bnUt; the 
remains are burnt, and the fire is put out with milk. Then they 
put his bones in a ^Iden casket and in the cross road they build 
f^ chaitya over his remainB, and with baldachins, flags and 
streamers, perfumes, garlands, incense and sweet powders, with 
sounds of music, they honour, praise, venerate and revere him, 
and celebrate a feast in his honour. So likewise, Ananda, must they 
treat the Tathagata's remains."* 

These directions may be taken to show what kind 
of ambition lurked in the heart of the great mendi- 
cant. As instances of suicide in high life are not quite 
unknown, so there are many cases on record of men 
in affluent circumstances renouncing home, either for 
domestic unhappiness, or for love of adventure, or 
out of a craving for variety. But Sannyash for such 
causes deserves no more admiration or honour than 
felo de se. The monarch who sacrifices his personal 
comfort for the happiness of his subjects has certainly 
far better claims to be adored by them, than a thought^ 

BockhiU's Lif9 of Buddha, p. 137, 


less heir-apparent who volnntarily sacrifices his 
prospects with a view to sink into a position of 
obscurity. A love of physical comforts and worldly 
honour is inherent in human nature, and whatever in- 
di£Perence an ascetic may profess towards such things, 
it must be impossible for him to smother altogether 
his natural craving for them. 

The late Lala Babu voluntarily left home in the garb 
of a mendicant, leaving his princely estate in the hands 
of his wife. But a close study of the methods by 
which he afterwards acquired the valuable zemindaris 
in Mathura, Aligar and Bulandshahar that he dedicated 
to his idol at Brindaban, renders it impossible to give 
him credit for being even then free from the usual 
Kayastha instincts. The case with Buddha was appar- 
ently the same. He gave up, it .is true, the certain 
E respect of inheriting the petty principality ruled by 
is father. But every act done, and almost every word 
uttered, by him show that he was actuated by a 
deep-rooted ambition for a far higher position. 


Thb instraments and measures which contribated 
most to the rapid spread of Buddha's religion were (1) 
the army of monks that he succeeded in raising ; (2) 
the admission of Sadras and women to the holy orders ; 
and (3) the rage for building monasteries that he 
managed to create. The Hindu law-givers had declared 
that it was lawful for the Vedic students to live by 
begging. The inevitable result was that many pretenders 
assumed the garb of Yedic scholars. At a subsequent 
time, ascetics like the Nigranthis, without even any 
pretension of learning, swelled the ranks of beggars. 
When Buddha commenced his preachings, the number 
of such mendicants was apparently very considerable. 
But they never had any organisation, and although, in 
years of plenty, they could procure their food by beg- 
ging, they had no firiend or patron to see that they were 
well-housed and well-clad, or properly fed in seasons 
of scarcity. Buddha was able to attract such men by 
offering them better prospects. There was generally 
no difficulty about their commissariat. That was man- 
aged by leaving them to billet themselves on the 
people. The most important thing was to provide 
them with barracks. Ex hypothesis they had volun- 
tarily renounced home, and the public could not well 
be asked to find for them what they professed to have 
abandoned suo motOj in their indifference to worldly 

( 534 ) 


comfort. The genins of Baddha, however, was ready 
with a pretext for the new requisition on the laity. 
The monks were themselves quite indifferent to physi- 
cal comforts, and discomforts ; but the practice of 
severe austerities, and the passing of the rainy season in 
an uncovered place, were stricfly prohibited by their 
master. By travelling in the rainy season, a monk 
might unwittingly cause the destruction of insects. 
That was te be avoided anyhow. 

As a specimen of the preaching by which kings and 
rich men were led te build Yiharas and Sangaramas, the 
following may be referred to : — 

To me honses to the order, a place of refage and joy, so that we 
may uiere exercise concentration and holy intuition, has been com- 
manded by Buddha as the most noble gift. Therefore let a wise 
man, who understands what is best for himself, build beautiful 
honses, and receive into them the knowers of the doctrine. He may 
give food and drink, clothes and lodging to such the upright with 
eheerf ul heart. These preach to him the doctrine which drives away 
aU suffering ; if he apprehends the doctrine here below, he goes 
sinless into iMirvana.— CWtovo^ga, VI, 15. 

From the beginning of his career as a prophet, 
Buddha saw the importance of having for his army of 
monks suitable habitations. In the second year of his 
ministry, he managed to get the Yenuvana garden 
house at Raj Giri from King Bimbasara. The next 

Srear the merchant prince Sudatta Anatha Pindada was 
ed to build the tietavanavihara at Sravasti. In the 
sixth year Suddhodan built, at his son's request, a 
monastery at Kapilavastu. llie date when An^ba Pali 
presented to Buddha her garden house at Yaisali is 
not known. In all probability the gift was made at 
an early period. Sometimes the rich were induced, or 
compelled by adverse circumstances, to make over all 
their property to the Sanra. A notable instance was 
Jyotiska, a merchant of Raj Giri, whose wealth had 
excited the jealousy of King Ajata Satru, and led to his 
persecution in various ways. To avoid further molesta- 
tion, he made over all his estates to Buddha, and enrolled 
himself a Bhiksbu, 


Theoretically, the Buddhist monks were entitled to 
live in their Vihars only daring the rains. But, as Sir 
Monier Williams* rigntly observes, such restrictions 
were soon ignored, and a residence in covered houses 
became usual at all seasons. Thus homeless beggars 
were provided with comfortable habitations at the 
expense of the toiling classes. 

Through the liberality of the pious men and women 
among his lay disciples, Buddha was generally able to 
keep his followers well-housed and well-fed. But 
there were times when neither the charity of the rich, 
nor the miraculous powers of the prophet, sufficed to 
provide his monks with the means of sustenance. 
Just before his death, when there was a famine in the 
land, he advised them to billet themselves on their 
friends and relatives. The occasions for such shifts 
and expedients, however, were rare. As a general rule, 
his followers were better housed and better fed than 
the majority of people. As Buddhism spread, kings, 
princes and the rich vied with each other for the privi- 
lege of endowing monasteries. The result was that not 
only were the monks enabled to live in comfort, but a 
career of ambition was opened to a great many of 
them. Each of the monasteries became a centre of 

Eower. The monk who could manage to become the 
ead of one of them, generally acquired princely wealth 
and influence. Neither orthodox Hinduism nor any of 
the pre-Buddhist sects had such attractions for poor 
men of ambition. Each monastery in the frontier 
stations became a fresh centre of power, and thus the 
new religion spread by gigantic strides. 

To Buddha is given me credit of doing away with 
caste. He, however, never interfered with the state of 
things he found among the laity. He ignored caste 
only so far as to admit all classes to his Sanga, and to 
allow his monks to take cooked food from even the 

• See Sir Monier William's Buddhism, p. 428. 


lowest castes. One of his greatest disciples, Upali, 
was a barber, and he made the junior monks, drawn 
from the higher castes, bow to him. This innovation 
may be regarded as praiseworthy by many. Bnddha 
however was no reformer. When it suited his policy, 
he talked of morality, to discredit the Vedic rituals. 
But his chief aim in all that he did and said was to 
attract a swarm of followers, and to that end he sacri- 
ficed everything else. He set at nought some of the 
noblest rules of discipline imposed on society by the 
Hindu Shastras. To keep his army well-fed, he made 
it lawful for them to accept the hospitality of even 
the degraded. 

What led Buddha to admit women to holy orders, it 
is not possible to say. This much seems probable, 
that thev proved one of the chief attractions to the 
new faith. As the orthodox Hindu religion does not 
favour the re-marriage of widows, and as in Hindu 
society an old widower cannot possibly get a bride of 
such an age as to be a proper mate for him, aged men 
and women, among the lower castes, are sometimes 
obliged to embrace one of the modem Vishnuvite 
faiths for the sake of marriage. It is chiefly by the 
operation of this cause that fresh recruits are now-a- 
days secured for the existing monastic orders, and their 
practice is apparently based on that of the ancient 
Buddhists, whose place they now occupy. 

By the orthodox faith, no Hindu lady is permitted 
to jperform any religious rite except in the company, 
or for the benefit, of her husband. In fact, according 
to the Hindu Shastras, the only religious duties of a 
woman are, to obey her husband in his lifetime, and, 
after his death, to live an abstemious life under the 
guardianship of her sons or some relative of her 
deceased lord. Whatever conflicts there may be in our 
ancient codes as to other points, they all agree in not 
allowing a woman to go out of the protection of her 
husband or guardian, for joining any class of mendi* 


cants« Buddha himself had adopted the same policy 
at first. The imiovation he sanctioned later on has 
been productive of a deal of mischief. The circum- 
stances which had induced him to the step have been 
referred to already. It is said that he evinced great 
reluctance in enrolling among his followers the ibhik- 
shunis or nuns. It is said also that the regulations 
originally framed were such as to keep the two sexes 
completely separate. They were not allowed to live 
in the same monastery like the matajis and habajis of 
the present day. The Buddhist nuns were not to 
reside in forest hermitages, but within the walls of a 
village or town " in huts or nunneries, by twos or in 
greater number, for a sister was not allowed to live 
alone."* " To make a journey with a nun, to go aboard 
the same boat with her or to sit with her alone and 
without a witness, was strictly forbidden."* These were 
wholesome regulations no doubt. But it is to be feared 
that the confessional invitations and observances neu- 
tralised them altogether. The nuns were required 
every half month tio ^' betake themselves to the monk, 
who had been named to them, by a resolution of the 
brotherhood, to receive his spiritual instruction and 
admonition. In the presence of another monk, that 
monk sits waiting the nuns, and when they have made 
their appearance, bowed themselves to the ground, and 
sat down before him he speaks to them of the eight 
high ordinances, and expounds to them, either by way 
of sermon or by question and answer, what he deems 
profitable of the teaching and maxims of Buddha."* 

These rules and regulations may at first sight seem 
unobjectionable. But such opportunities as they created 
for contact between the monks and the nuns were tempt- 
ing enough to celibates. 

As among the modem Yaishnavas, so among the 
Buddhists, the female devotees proved the source of 

* Olden berg's lAf$ of Buddha, translated by Mr. W. Hoey» 
pp. 380, 381. 


both their strength and weakness. Buddha himself, 
as we haye seen, had admitted a courtezan. In their 
old age the fallen women become anxious to be restored 
to society. But an orthodox Brahman cannot minister 
to any of them, without being himself degraded. It is 
only the followers of the latter-day propnets that can 
elevate their social status. 

The rapid spread of Buddhi»n at first was perhaps 
due more to the monastic system, the admission of 
Sudras into the holy orders, and the enrolment of 
nuns, than to any intrinsic merit of its own. The 
monasteries in the beginning served like military canton- 
ments and recruiting camps. The wealth of uie fallen 
women served as an attraction to the beggars. But 
the admission of such women necessarily brought 
discredit on the faith, and rendered the continuance of the 
higher classes in it quite impossible. And when the 
monasteries themselves became hot-beds of immorality, 
the whole svstem melted away under the fierce rays of 
public opinion among the Brahmans and other higher 


Buddha never recommended the worship of any 
deity, visible or invisible, and his religion is therefore 
nsnally regarded as godless. To form, however, an 
exact idea of his faith, it is necessary to examine his 
tenets in connection with those of the Vedic priests 
and the Nigranthi ascetics whom he sought to dis- 
credit. The Brahmans were interested in upholding 
the importance of the great Vedic sacrifices. To make 
their agency indispensable, the exegetes of the Mimansa 
school went so far as to declare that the gods had no 
real existence, and that it was only by the performance 
of the sacrifices in the manner prescribed by their 
Shastras, and not by independent prayers, that men 
conld hope to derive the benefit they soaght from the 
invisible powers. The weakest points in the Vedic 
cult were the denial of the real existence of the gods, 
and the encouragement it gave to the slaughter of 
animals, and the drinking of strong liquors. The 
Nigranthis were the first to protest against these doc- 
trines and practices, and Buddhaadopted their tenets with 
certain modifications so as to suit his policy. The object 
of the Nigranthis was to discredit Brahmanism, and to 
secure at least the respect of the mercantile castes. 
The Ksatriyas, whose proper profession was war, could 
not feel much aversion towards the bloody and bacchan- 
alian rites of the Brahmans. To keep the fighting 
classes in good humour, the Vedic priests had to neglect 
and lower the manufacturing and mercantile castes. 

( 540 ) 


To secure the veneration of these classes, who are in- 
terested in peace, the Nigranthis made their religion 
as inoffensive as possible. Buddha wanted to make his 
religion equally acceptable to both the Ksatrijas and 
the Yaishyas. He prohibited the killing of animals, 
but allowed his followers to eat the flesh of animals 
killed by others. Buddha himself ate flesh meat when 
given to him as alms. In fact, his death was caused 
by the eating of pork. 

The great bugbear of the Hindu theologians of all 
classes is the necessity of transmigration, and the con- 
sequent difficulty of avoiding the pains of birth, diseases, 
decay and death. The Vedic priests, with their ritua*- 
listic learning, professed the doctrine that the desired 
liberation from the bonds of flesh was obtainable either 
by Vedic knowledge, or by the performance of the 
Vedic sacrifices. The Nigranthis, who were poor and 
illiterate beggars, found it more convenient to parade 
their poverty^ and to inculcate that the practice of as- 
ceticism was the only way to attain salvation and 
superior wisdom. Buddha's object was to organise a 
large army of monks. He therefore condemned both 
luxury and asceticism, and recommended moderate 
living, avoiding both over-indulgence and excessive 
self-mortification. The way to attain wisdom and beati- 
tude lies, in his opinion, in religious contemplation and 
the practice of the rules of morality, and not in asceti- 
cism. The Vedic priests of Jaimini's school denied 
the real existence of the gods. Buddha not only ad- 
mitted their reality, but emphasized his belief in them, 
by assigning to them separate and well-defined heavens. 
He was, however, quite as interested in declaring 
them powerless as Jaimini himself. The latter taught 
that the only way to attain happiness and avoid misery 
was the performance of sacrifices, and that, as the 
gods had no real existence, prayers addressed to them, 
in any other form, were useless. Buddha taught (1) 
that there was nothing but misery in the world ; 


(2) that to get rid of this misery men most cease to- 
nave desires ; (3) and that cessation of desires could be 
brought about by eveir man, — whether Brahman, 
Ksatrija, Vaishya or Sudra, — by deep meditation, and 
the observance of certain rules of diet and discipline* 
The ultimate object of the Yedic priests was to exact 
as much ghi, meat and wine as possible, by indirect 
taxation on the Ksatriya princes. The ambition of the 
Kigranthi beggars did not extend beyond securing 
for the benefit of the class the small charities of the 
niggardly Baniyus. The purpose which Buddha evi- 
dently had in view was to collect round him a cheap 
and large army of followers, and to be in a position 
to keep them well-housed and well-fed by the method 
of direct taxation involved in the claims of the mendi- 
cants for alms. 

Buddha admitted the existence of the gods, but 
maintained that they were subordinate to the man of 
enlightenment, and powerless for good and evil. He 
did not prescribe any form of liturgy or worship. His 
object was to make himself a power in the country, 
and to make men honour him as a god. So he pre- 
scribed for recitation the following formula : — 

Baddham Saranam G^hami ; Dharmam Saranam Gachami ; 
Sangam Saranam Gachami. 

Translation:—! go for refuge to the Baddha ; I go for refuge to 
the law ; I go for refuge to the order. 

The deification of Dharma or law in a personified 
form is certainly free from any taint of selfishness. 
But as Buddha inculcated the same reverence to himself 
and to the order founded by him, it cannot be said that 
his teachings were the outcome of pure philanthropy. 
The inevitable result of the direction was to lead to the 
regular worship of Buddha with his Dharma and his 
Sanga. These three, called the Tri Ratna, or the three 
jewels, afterwards became the Buddhist Triad. Im- 
ages representing them were set up in the Yihars, and 
became reffukr objects of worship. The way being 
opened, other gods and saints were soon admitted to 


the pantheon, and the religion of the great iconoclast 
became one of the most idolatrous and superstitious 
faiths in the world. Bnddha may not be responsible 
for all the later accretions. But there cannot be much 
doubt as to his having struggled hard to be worshipped 
as a god. He put an end to the old dynasty of ^gs, 
not for giving liberty to the people, but only to step 
into the throne himself under a new name. 

For an account of the later phases of Buddhism and 
the development of abomination worship in connection 
with it, the reader must refer to treatises expressly 
devoted to the subject. 



It has been already observed that Buddhism \7as 
perhaps one of the earliest of the morality-preaching 
religions. The early Vedic faith was more concerned 
with rainfall and other worldly matters, than with the 
inculcation of ethical principles. Bnddha and his prin- 
cipal disciples professed to have miracnlons powers for 
controlling the course of natural phenomena. But they 
performed miracles by the mere exercise of their will, 
and not, like the Brahmans, by incantations — by burning 
of ghi, libation of wine, or the slaughtering of animals. 
It must, however, be mentioned here that Buddha never 
encouraged the performance of miracles by his followers. 
On the contrary, he censured them severely whenever 
they displayed tneir powers in violation of his orders. 
Thus the Buddhistic scriptures countenance the pre- 
tensions of the monks, and at the same time supply 
them with a pretext for avoiding requisitions for exhi- 
biting their powers. 

So far as Buddha preached such rules of morality as 
the Pancha Sila, his religion deserves every praise. The 
fundamental principles of his moral code were — (1) 
kill no living creature ; (2) steal not ; (3) commit not 
^ultery ; (4) lie not ; (5) drink not strong drink. For 
^aching such ethics, he is entitled to the heart- felt gra- 
titude of the world. But there is nothing in his cult 
to show that the teaching of morality was his sole 
or his principal object. The Vedic religion, which 

( 544 ) 


Buddha's mobalitt. 545 

prevailed in his timey encouraged, for sacrificial pur- 

f)Oses, the killing of animals, and the drinking of strong 
iqnors. The abuse had, at one time, become very great, 
as appears from the Mimansa and the Brahmana litera* 
tare. The first to raise the voice of protest were the 
Nigranthis. However, Bnddha also deserves due credit 
for holding np to ridicxde the Yedio sacrifices. 

Bnddha was digging for the foundations of a new 
religion, and he naturally treated without mercy the 
wei£ points of the ancient faith. But the religion and 
practices that he inculcated were verv far from being 
unalloyed blessings. The Brahmanicai Shastras caused 
no doubt a great waste of the resources of the country, 
for the cultivation of a kind of learning the value of 
the greater part of which might certainlv be questioned. 
But while the exactions of the Vedic pnests were occa« 
sional and justifiable to some extent, Buddha imposed 
on his countrymen the burden of a standing army of 
idlers. It may be alleged that some of the Buddhist 
monks were men of true piety, and did good to society 
by earnest efforts to improve its morality. But it is diffi« 
cult to suppose that the Buddhist monks and nuns were 
of a better type than the Vishnuvite Babajis, Matajis 
or Mohants that we see at the present day. The fact 
seems to be that the wifeless and childless cenobites — 
and especially those who hold charge of the rich monas- 
teries or are otherwise woll provided — cannot have any 
regard for public opinion, and their inevitable tenden- 
cy, in most cases, is to drift into a dbreputable course 
of Ufe. The preaching of morality by such men is out 
of the question. 

In his zeal for the success of his own religion, Buddha 
tried to upset even the best and most unexceptionable 
sides of Brahmanism. The Bhastrio laws relating to 
jsocial discipline are based upon an express recognition 
of the natural wants, necessities and appetites of men. 
For instance, the orthodox codes not only regard mar- 
riage as allowable^ but make it imperative on every 
B, HG 35 

546 buddba's moral teachings. 

man and woman. Such legislation is beyond all praise 
and, at any rate, is intelligible. But it does not seem 
possible to view in the same light the laws imposed by 
ISnddha on his followers. His injunctions were that all 
able-bodied and healthy men, not in the service of the 
king, should sever their connection with the world, should 
lead a life of celibacy, and should live on the charity 
of the public. If universally accepted, such legislation 
would tend to the total extirpation of the human race. 
Surely that was not the object of the great prophet. 
What then Was it ? 

A careful review of his life and teachings leads to 
the conclusion that his sole object was to make himself 
a power in the country, by organising an army of 
monks. He professed to have found a remedy for the 
miseries of this world. He professed to be a teacher of 
morality. But the actual result of his teachings was to 
increase, rather than diminish, the sum total of human 
misery and immorality. By following him, some of 
his monks and nuns derived no doubt certain advan- 
tages. But their gains were like those of the comrades 
of a Nadir Shah or a Mahmood of Ghazni. They con- 
tributed nothing, either directly or indirectly, to the 
production of wealth, and whatever they gained was 
only so much loss to the world. The demoraUsation that 
was caused by Buddha's teachings may be gathered 
from the following account of the circumstances under 
which he ruled that minors, under the age of twenty, 
were not to he ordained as monks : — 

1. At that time there was in Bajgraha a company of seven - 

t among them, 
r^di arter our 

-u.TjT»«»- - ^-li's father and 

mother said to themselves : 'If JJpaSi could learn ^itinf, he would 
after our death live a life of ease and without pain.'^ But then 
Upali's father and mother thought agidn : If UDau learns writing, 
his fingers ^Hll become sore ; but if iJpali could learn arithmetic, 
he womd, after our death, live a life of ease without iMdn. 

^ This UpsU is different from the famous Upeli who wm one of the * «i»V>f 
dlfldpleB of Buddha ; the latter came not from Raj Griha, bat from the Salqpa 



2. But then Upali*s father and mother thought aoain : ' If Upali 
learns arithmetic, his breast will become diseased.' But if XTpali 
could learn money-changing, he would, after our death, live a life of 
ease and comfort, and without pain. But t^en Upali's father and 
mother said to themselves: *If Upiali learns money- changing, his eyes 
will suffer. Now here are the Sakka Puttiya Samanas who keep 
commodious precepts and live a commodious life; they have good 
meals and lie down on beds protected from the wind. If Upali could 
be ordained with the Sakkya Puttiya Samanas, he would, after our 
death, live a life of ease and without pain.'— JfaAaoo^^a, I, 49, 1-2. 

From the above, it would appear that the Buddha's 
monks were, in his time, believea to live in greater com- 
fort than even clerks, accountants and money-changers. 
If this was actually so, the economical demoralisation 
<;aused by him must have been very serious, and such as 
could be rectified only by bitter experience. Whatever 
the case may have been in Buddha's lifetime, there 
cannot be any doubt that after his death the majority 
of the monks had to pass their lives in great misery. 
If they had been left free to marry and to work for 
bread, they might have become happier and more use- 
ful members of society. The fact that they often broke 
their vows* shows how galling the restraints were to 
which they subjected themselves. No doubt, they acted 
with their eyes wide open. But the majority of men 
in this world are utterly incapable of guiding themselves 
by their own judgment. They allow themselves to be 
fascinated by fine words and clever jugglery. When 
their guides lead them rightly, they deserve to be 
worshipped as benefactors of mankind. It is, how- 
•ever, impossible to accord that credit to a teacher who 
gave the utmost encouragement to all classes to become 
monks and nuns. 

* A great many of such cases formed the occasioDs for fresh legis- 
lation. See Mahavagga. 



From what has been already stated in connection 
with the religions of the mercantile castes, it will have 
appeared cleat that Jainism is one of the most important 
of the living cults among the Hindus. It is professed by 
at least a million men, and some of those are among the 
wealthiest and most refined in the Hindu community. 
It seems to be a very ancient religion, having apparent- 
ly a more hoary antiquity than even Buddhism. 

The Buddhist scriptures speak of certain hostile 
sects called the Nigranthis and the Tirthikas. In all 
probability these were the very sects that, at a sub- 
sequent period, came to be designated Jains. The 
Nigranthis were evidently so-called, in early times, 
on account of their having no written scriptures. They 
secured the veneration of the public by the practice 
of austerities, by pretending to work miracles, and by 
professing tenderness for every form of animal life» 
To them written scriptures were unnecessary, and even 
if their early teachers possessed sufficient learning and 
capacity for recording the tenets and legends of their 
cult, it was perhaps more to their interest to deny the 
utility of all written scriptures than to give connte- 

( 548 ) 


nance to bookish blind faith. However, their success 
soon brought literary men to the field, and the example 
of the Buddhists led them to compile canonical treatises 
on the model of those of Buddha. It was not until then 
that the members of the sect began to evince a prefer- 
ence for the designation of Jain. They never dis- 
avowed their identity with the old Nigranthis. In 
fact, there are passages in the Jain scriptures where 
their authors speak of themselves and their sect as the 
Nigranthis. But the word is now interpreted as deno- 
tative of persons who are not bound to this world by 
any tie. xhis interpretation is rendered necessary by 
the fact that, if taken in its true and natural sense, 
the old designation of the sect might serve to discredit 
the authenticity of its modem scriptures. As to the 
sect called the Tirthikas in Buddha's time, it is hardly 
necessary to observe that its very name goes a great 
way to establish its identity with the Jains who worship 
the Tirthankaras. 

The existence of the Jain religion before Buddha's 
time, is rendered probable by a great many other facts. 
The Jains believe in twen^-four deified saints called 
by them Jinas and also Tirthankaras, of whom at least 
the last two, namely, Paresanath and Mahavira alias 
Vardhamana, were historical personages. In the Jain 
Kalpa Sutras it is stated that Kumara Pal will found 
Anhilwara Patau and become a disciple of Hem Chan- 
dra 1,669 years after the death of Mahavira. There is 
independent evidence to shew that the conversion of 
Kumar Pal took place about 1174 A.D., and conse- 
quently the last Jina had passed away about 500 years 
before Christ. The Jains of Bengal reckon Vardha- 
mana to have lived 580 years before Vikramaditya, t.^., 
in the seventh century B.C. According to the Jain 
histories, Mahavira lived in the sixth century B.C. 
This date being given by authors who evidently lived 
at a much later period, and who were interested in a 
hoary antiquity for their prophets, may not be regarded 


as thoroughly reliable. Bat it is corroborated to some 
extent by ^Buddhist books. According to the sacred 
history of the Jains, Mahavira had many disciple^t 
among whom was Gosala, who headed a schism which 
led to the formation of a sect called the Ajivakas. 
This sect, and the name of its founder, are distinct- 
ly referred to in the earliest of the Buddhist scriptures. 

The Buddhist sacred writings frequently speak of a 
hostile teacher bearing the name of Nigantha Nata- 
putra, who went about naked in the streets, and whom 
Buddha vanquished in argument. The Jain Kalpa 
Sutras also speak of Mahavira by the name of Nata- 
putra. There is, therefore, good reason for holding 
that Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries. In 
the Jain scriptures, a Gautama is spoken of as one 
of the disciples of Mahavira. But the Gautama of the 
Jains was a Brahman, and the account of his life, as 
given in their sacred books, does not tally in any way 
with what is known regarding the personal history 
of Buddha. However, as Buddha himself is called a 
Jina, and as he at one time sought to attain wisdom 
by the practice of austerities, like the Nigranthis, it is 
not impossible that he was a disciple of Mahavira. 
This view receives material support from the fact that 
the Sakyamuni is sometimes spoken of in the sacred 
books of his cult as the twenty-fifth Buddha or Jina. 
As according to the Jains, Mahavira was the twenty- 
fourth Jina, it may be that Buddha was originally 
a disciple of Mahavira, and that, after organising a 
new schism, he proclaimed himself as the twenty-nfth 

If the Jains are not the same as the Nigranthis and 
the Tirthikas, they are, at any rate, followers of a 
similar faith. The Yedic Brahmans indulged in animal 
food, intoxicating drinks and other luxuries. The Ni- 
granthis were pefhaps the first to protest against these 
practices in the most uncompromising manner. The 
Jains profess the same tenderness for every living 



creatnre, and the same aversion from flesh meat. The 
Nigranthis practised asceticism for the attainment of 
beatitude. The Jain monks do the same. The Nigran- 
this went abont without any garment. The Digambara 
Jains are, according to their name, naked ascetics. 
We do not know what gods or saints the ancient 
Nigranthis worshipped. To that extent alone there is 
room for doubt as to the identity of the Jains with the 
pre-Buddhist Nigranthis. 

Whatever doubts there may be as to the period 
when the Jain religion, as we find it now, first origin- 
ated, there cannot be any question as to its apper- 
taining to an earlier stratum of religious thought than 
Buddhism. This is proved historically by the Jain's 
identity with the pre-Buddhist Nigrantnis and also 
by an examination of their ascetic nature. Their 
asceticism, and extreme tenderness for every form of 
animal life, are the outcome of a spirit of bitter hostility 
to the Vedic religion. Buddha steered a middle course. 
He preached that " unkindness cannot purify a mortal 
who has not overcome desires." He forbade the killing 
of animals, but allowed his followers to eat flesh meat. 
In fact, even to the last, he never sought to overcome 
his Rajput predilection for pork. It seems reasonable 
then to conclude that Buddhism arose in India at a 
later period than Jainism. In all probability the Jain 
faith had been established among the mercantile classes 
long before Buddha, and when Buddha preached his new 
faith he did not find it possible to secure any class as 
a whole among his followers. The Ksatriyas were 
from time immemorial in the hands of the Brahmans. 
The peaceful religion of the Nigranthis had greater 
attraction for the mercantile Banyas. Buddha found 
both the fields occupied, and addressed himself more 
to organise monasteries and missionaries, than to secure, 
among his lay disciples, any particular class of citizens. 

If the Jain faith is not the same as that of the pre- 
Buddhist Nigranthis, then it must be held to have nad 


its origin at a much later period tlian Bnddhism. It is 
tme mat the Jain scriptures place the last of their 
Tirthankaras before Buddha. But there is no reliable 
proof that any religion bearing the name of Jainism 
existed before the era of Christ. 




LiKB ihe Buddhists, the Jains reject the authority of 
the Yedas, and deny the spiritual supremacy of the 
Brahmans. But they do so more in theory than for 
practical purposes. In actual practice, they celebrate 
most of tne purificatory rites prescribed by the Brah- 
manical Shastras,and employ Brahmans as priests for the 
performance of these, as well as for offering worship 
to their deified saints. They show greater respect to 
their yatis or monks than to the Brahmans who serve 
as their priests. The yatis are recruited from all the 
higher castes. They live in monasteries, where, at 
stated times, they recite their holy books before the 
audience of lay visitors that assemble on such occa- 
sions. They also deliver extempore sermons and lec- 
tures before their co-religionists. They never do any 
priestly service in connection with the worship of any 
deity or saint, or for the performance of any domestic 
rite. The middle class yatis cast horoscopes, and give 
astrological advice to their constituents. But the 
higher class r/atis refuse to do even that kind of work. 

There are two principal sub-sects among the Jains. 
One of these bears the name of Digambara ; and the 
other Swetambara. The word Digambara means sky 
eUid^ i.e., naked, and the Digambari Jains are so called 
because some of their monks go about in the streets 
naked, and because their images are never dressed or 
ornamented. The Swetambars are so called because 
their monks wear white robes. A Swetambari monk 

( 553 ) 


may carry an alms bowl in his hand. A Digbambar 
yati is not allowed to do so, and has to receive his food 
in the palm of his hands. The Swetambaris carry with 
them a brush and a handkerchief for preventing flies 
from entering the mouth or the nose. The Digambaras 
do not attach any importance to the Chamar or the 

The Ossawalis are all Swetambari Jains. In Southern 
India, Jaypore and Behar, the Digambaris are more 
numerous tnan the Swetambaris. The majority of the 
Agarwals are Vishnuvites. Of those among them who 
profess the Jain faith, the greater number are Digam- 
baras. In Northern India, there are no Jains outside 
the mercantile Baniya classes. In Southern India^ 
there are Jains having a higher or lower caste status. 
In Punjab there is a caste called Pabra who are all 
said to be Jains. 

The Jaina monks are not allowed to marry. A man 
of any caste may be a Jaina yati. The Jaina monks 
beg cooked food, taking a spoonful from each house. 
They do not take coins. They have no regular monas- 
teries, and usually live in Dharmasalas, or guest 
houses, founded by the lay Jains. When they do so 
they do not take any kind of alms from the proprietor 
of the establishment. They always travel on foot, 
and are not allowed by the rules of their order to 
ride on a palki, carriage or horse. Formerly they were 
divided into a large number of Gachas or brother- 
hoods. Most of these have ceased to exist since long. 
The only Gachas existing now are the following : — 

1. Khartar Gacha. 

2. TapaOacha. 

3. Kamala Gacha. 

4. Lonka Gacha. 

5. Pachani Gacha. 

Each Gacha forms a distinct brotherhood. But a 
diflerence of Gacha does not imply any difference of 
religion. Tliere are, however, sub-divisions among both 


the Digambaris and the Swetambaris which originated 
in doctrinal differences. The Digambaris have the 
following sub-orders among them ; — 

1. MalaSangi ... These use brushes of peacock's feathers, 

wear red garments and receive abns 
in their hands. 

2. Kashta Sangis... These worship wooden images and 

employ brushes of the tail of yak. 

3. TheTeraPanthisThe Tei*a PantMs do not worship 

images, and have neither temples 
nor yatis. Their lay presbyters re- 
cite their sacred books and serve as 
teachers of the faith for the benefit 
of younger generations. 

4. Bis Panthis ... These worship images, but make their 

offerings in front of them and not 
on them. 

There are similar sub-sects among the Swetambaris. 
They are as follow : — 

1. Lumpaka ... Founded by Jinendra Sun in the 16th 

century. These do not worship 

2. Bais Tala ... Founded by a teacher named Raghu- 


3. TeraPanthi ... Founded by a teacher named Bhikan 

Nath, ana hence called also Bhikan 
Panthi. These discard images, and 
keep their mouths veiled when ti^ey 
go out. 

4. Dhoondias ... These keep their mouths veiled at all 

times, and affect to conform strictly 
to all the moral rules of their reh- 
gion. They do not worship images. 
They have nuns among them auled 

The Jain laity are called Sravaks (miff, Soragi). 
The word Sravak literally means hearer, and the desig- 
nation is applied to the laity, because it is their duty 
to hear the sermons and recitations delivered by the 
7/ati8. The Jain^s daily routine of prayers is neither 
long nor complicated. The yatis are not bound by any 
rules at all, and the Sravak is only required to visit a 
temple, to walk round the images within it three times, 
to make an obeisance to the idols with an offering. 



and pronounce some such mantra or salutation formula 
as the following : — 

Namo Arhatanam ; Namo Siddhanam ; Namo Aryanam; Namo 
XJpadhyanam ; Nama Loe Sabba Sahunam. 

Trantlation .-—Salutation to the Arhats ; salutation to the Saints 
who haTe attained the supreme objects of their religious life ; salu- 
tation to the Sages ; salutation to the Teachers ; salutation to all 
the Devout in the world* 

The Jain Sravaks wear neither the sacred thread, 
nor any necklace of wooden beads t.o denote their 
relirion. They do not paint any kind of mark on their 
for^eads like the Hindus properly so called. The 
chief festivals of the Jains take place on the days con- 
secrated by the birth and death of their last two Tir- 

The Jains observe some of the Hindu festivals also, 
as for instance the following : — 

1. Sri Panchami, or the worship of thej^dess of learning 

in the month of Bfogh (January— February). 


Vasanta Yatra, or the spring festival popularly called 

3. Aksaya Tritiya, or the day of the commencement of the 
Safya Tuga. 

The chief places of Jaina pilgrimage are the follow- 


1. Gimar 

2. Abu. 

3. Benares 

4. Pareshnath 

5. Kundalgrama 

6. Papapuri 

In Gujrat. 

In Raiputana. 

The place where Pftrswanath was bom. 

A hiU in the district of Hasaribag, 

Benffal, where Parswanath attains 

The birthplace of Mahavira. It is in 

the vicinity of the Laksmi Sarai 

Station, E. I. Railwa^r. 
The place where Mahavira died. It is 

near Baj Gin. 



Abadhuta Santasi— a person who professes to be a mendicant of 
the class called Sanyasi, but has not been regularly initiated to 
the order— 384. 

Abhib— The name of a tribe of cowherds found in almost every part 
of Northern India— 91, 297. 

Abhir Gor— a class of Qnsrati Brahmans who minister to the 
Abhirs of the locality as priests— 81, 126. 

AcHARi— The general name of certain classes of divines among the 
Srivaishnavas— 438, 444. 

ACHARLU— One of the surnames of the Srivaishnava Brahmans of 
Southern India. The word is formed by the addition of *' lu,** 
the Telegu sign of the plural, to the Sanskrit Acharya— 439. 
See Charlu, 


originally it meant a Vedic teacher— 27. 

in some parts of India the family Guru is also called Acharya— 

the word is now used as a surname by some families of 

Brahmans — 
it is also one of the class names of the astrologer caste— 173. 
in Western India there is a class of Brahmans who are called 

Acharyas, but who, like the Mahft-Brahmans of Northern 

India, are considered as degraded persons on account of 

accepting funeral gifts— 129. 

ADHIKARI—Lit. an oi&cer ; a penon in possession. It is the general 
name of some classes of Yishnuvite Brahmans in Ben^ and 
Orissa-eO, 02. 

Adhya— Lit. a rich man. A surname of the Sonar Baniya caste 
of Benc^— 200. 

AW— Original.— 

Adi-Brahmo Samaj— See Brahmo. 

Adi Gaur— The name of a class of Brahmans of the Kurukshetca 
country— 52. 

( 557 ) 

558 INDEX. 

Adi Sur— The name of a King of Beneal who reigned OTerl the 
country in the ninth century of the Christian era— 35, 37, 178, 

Aditya— Lit. sun. A surname of the inferior DSkshina Rarhi 
Kftyasthas of Bengal— 179. 

Adrai Ghar— Lit. two and a half houses. The name of the highest 
sections among the Sarswat Brahmans and the Kshettris of 
the Pan jab— 56, 143. 

Adwaita— A Bftrendra Brahman of Santipore who was one of the 
chief associates of the prophet Ghaitanya— 465. 

Adwaita Vadi— The school of Hindu philosophy, according to which 
the only existing principle of the universe is the Divine soul, 
and everything else is but a manifestation of it-— 441. 

Agarwala— A very wealthy class of Baniyas— 52, 202, 205. 

Agasala— One of the names of the goldsmith caste of Mysore— 244. 

AOASIA— One of the names of the washermen caste of Mysore — 
308, 314. 

Aghori— A sect of very filthy habits now nearly extinct— 344, 391. 

Agra Bhikshu— Lit. a beggar who accepts the first dole in a 
distribution of charitable gifts- 
it is the name of a class of Bi'ahmans in Orissa who are considered 
as degraded persons on account of accepting funeral gifts— 

AGRADANi— Lit. an acceptor of first gifts— 129. 

a class of degraded Brahmans in Bengal who accept funeral 
gifts— 14, 129. 

A trading caste of Upper India— 203, 212. 

Agricultural Brahmans— 131. 

Agricultural Castes- 

The chief agricultural castes : 

il) Of BenMl— 282, 300. 
2) Of the Central Provinces— 284. 
3) Of the Panjab-285. 
1) Of the Telegu country— 286. 
5) Of Mysore— 287. 
6) Of Dravira- 288. 

Aguri— An agricultural caste of Burdwan claiming to be of the 
military oSler— 166. 

Ahamdians— An inferior section of the Maravan ti*ibe of Southern 
Dravira— 164. 

Ahar— A cowherd caste of Upper India— 297* 

Ahikroo— A surname of the superior classes of the Maratta 
tribe— 148, 

ABIB ^296. BeeAbhir. 

INDEX. 55y 

AiCH — A samame : 

(1) Of the inferior Dakshina Barhi K&yasthas of Bengal— 179. 

(2) Of the Tantis or the weaver caste of Bengal proper— 290. 

Ajata Satru— Ldt. one who has no enemies. The name of the 
king who ruled over Magadha at the time of Buddha's death— 529. 

Akau— Adass of Sikhs— 515. 

AKBAB^The Great Mogul Emperor— 133. 

Allauddin— Emperor of Delhi— 133. 


(1) Abolition of idolatry leads to book-worship, altar-worship, 

monastery-worship, or guru-worship— 338. 

(2) Altar-worship is practised in some countries by poor rustics 

who cannot atford to have regular idols— 256, 2o8. 

Aluna— An ascetic who does not eat salt— 406. 

AUAR Das— The third Sikh 6uru~500. 

Amat— A clean Sudra caste of Behar— 311. 

Ambalvashi— Xamburi Brahmans of Travancore who are degraded 
by serving as priests in the public shrines— 108, 127. 

Amba Pali— One of the chief female disciples of Buddha— 528. 


(1) A caste of mixed descent according to Manu*s code, supposed 

to be represented by the medical caste of Bengal— 159. 

(2) A class of Kayasthas found in Behar— 188. 

Ambatta— The barber caste of the Dravira country— 306. 

Amma Kodaga— a priestly class found in Coorg. They are called 
also Kaveri Brahmans— 105. 

Ambita Diksha— Ldt. initiation in nectar or immortality. The 
name of the Sikh ceremony of baptism— 513. 

An and— lit. delight: 

(1) The most usual surname assumed by Sivites and Tantrics 

affecting a saintly character-^389. 

(2) The name of the favourite cousin and disciple of Buddha— ^2S. 

An AN DA Charlu— The Hon*bls— 97» 439. 

Ananda Gnti— One of the immediate disciples of Sankaracharya 
and the author of the Sankara Digvijaya-^^* 

Anayala— A class of Brahmans found in the tract of country 
between Broach and Daman. They are called also Bhatela— 78. 

Andhba— The ancient name of the north-eastern part of the 
Kiaim's dominions— 98. 

Andhra Vaishnava— The T^langi Brahmans who are followers 
of Bamanuja— 98. 

Angat— The second Sikh Oara~500. 

ANNAL8 OF Rajasthan— Tod's— 68, 203, 455. 

Anookxtl Chundra Mookjsrji— The late Mr. Jubtice— 42. 

Afabajita— A hymn, the redtal of which is sappoied to be ^ective 
in caring fever— 328. 

560 INDEX. 

Aradhya— Lit deserving to be worshipped. A class of Tailangi 
Brahmans who minister as goras to the higher olaases of Lon- 

Akakta— Lit. alforest. One of the surnames of the Sankarites— 37B- 


(1) The most heroic and chivalrous of the five Pandava brothers 

(2) The fifth Sikh Guru— SOI. 

Arjoon Mibra— The author of a commentary on the Mah&bh&vat 

Arkasala— One of the names of the goldsmith caste of Mysore. 

Aborha— A tribe of the Punjab claiming to be of the military caste, 
but living chiefly by the practice of trade— 142, 239. 

Abrain— An agricultural tribe*of the Panjab— 285. 

Artisan— The average income of the Indian artisans— 247. 

Arvatta Vakkalu— a dass of Kamatio Brahmans— 91. 

Aryelu— A class of secular Brahmans of the Telegu country— 89. 

AscETiolBii— not encouraged by orthodox Hinduism— 377. 

the advantages and disadvantages of asceticism for purposes 

of priestcraft-3S7. 
practised chiefly by the illiterate and the poor who have nothing 
to parade except their poverty— 541. 

Ash— A surname of the Tantis or the weavers of Bengal— 230. 

AsHTA Bans~A clan of the Sarswat Brahmans of the Panjab— 56. 

Astama— The name of a class of the writer caste of Upper India— 
186, 191. 

AsHTA Sahasra— Lit. the eight thousand. A class of Dravira 
Brahmans, 95, 96. 

AsoPA— A class of Brahmans found in Marwar— 66. 

AsRAM— Lit. a dwellinc-place. The styles of living recommended 
by the Hindu Ooaes of law at different periods in tibe life of 
person of the twice-born castes— 376. 
one of the surnames of the Sankarites— 376, 380. 


(1) The Brahmans of Assam— 112. 

(2) The Bez or medical caste of Assam— 172. 

(3) The Oanak or astrologer caste of Assam— 174. 

(4) The Kolita or writer caste of Assam— 196. 

(5) The Mahapurushia sect of Assam— 478. 


the various names.of the'astrologer castes— 173. 
their low position— 173» 

AsuDRA Pratiorahi— A Brahman who does not accept a Sadra's 
gifts— 230. 

INDBX. 561 


Atharva Vbdi~A class of Brahmans found in Orissar-^, 

Attu Ediyar— a caste of shepherds foand in the Dnvira coun- 
try— 306. 

AUDICHTA— lit. Northern. A class of Oujrati Brahmans— 73, 74, 76. 

AUDICHYA Pbakas— An apocryphal portion of the Skanda Po- 
rana, — 74. 

AuLiA GoeaAiN— Lit. bishop No. I. A religious teacher from whom 
the founder of the Karta Bhaja sect of Bengal professed to 
have derived his inspiration, but who, in all probability, was 
not a really existing personage— 352. 

Avatar — Lit. one who comes down from heaven. An incarnation— 
417, 418.