Goraka- the historical founder of the Nath Siddhas and hatha yoga, lived somewhere in the early medieval period in North India, considerred an immortal Siddha, was believed instead to be living in the Himalayas. At another level, he figured in the World of Brahman, plus as we have seen in P.1, Gorakhnath is considered to be present in one of the cakras of the subtle/occult, body. These identifications are made possible on the basis of the system of correspondences, and yogic work with the cakras, due to the esoteric presence of gods and teachers as we have seen, may be understood as the yogic way of devotion, driven by the desire towards union with these divine figures.
An important characteristic of esoteric thought consists in its flexibility. Since the various aspects of the phenomenal universe are interconnected, they are also in a certain sense interchangeable. For example, Siva and Sakti, aside from their macrocosmic ontological aspects, are also 'present' in mercury and sulfur ("Sakti is in the form of blood, Siva is in the form of semen." (The Sayings of Gorakh GBP 12: 5.), in man's sperm and woman's menstrual blood, and in the two main cakras in the human body. Accordingly, in order to establish union between Siva and Sakti - which is a desired goal of practice one can engage in work with metals and other chemical elements, which would be the approach of alchemy; alternatively, this goal may be attempted by mixing sexual fluids,
as is done in some tantric rituals; and finally, the union may be accomplished within an individual body, by making Siva and Sakti meet esoterically, which would be the approach of yoga. For the identification of mercury with the semen of Siva, and of sulfur, red arsenic or mica (abhraka) with the menstrual blood or sexual emission of the Goddess. See White, Alchemical Body, "Just as mercury is the particular element which stands for the essence of Siva, so there is a particular element which signifies the essence of Sakti, which is sulfur."
Typically, a yogi would attempt to push the semen and air upward by performing bandhas and mudra in addition to manipulation of breath. The application of mind to this process is established through its deployment in the effort of visualization and concentration. Reminiscent of Chinese internal Alchemy, the following sabad explore this correlation within the context of the practice that is expressed under the metaphor of cooking: „o sviimi, the breath is uncooked, life energy is uncooked, Uncooked is body, the bindu is uncooked.How to cook it? How to perfect it? If the fire is insufficient, water will not boil.“ The yogic body is either pakva (ripe, but literally 'cooked') or apakva (unripe, 'uncooked'). If the breath is cooked and life-energy is cooked, If body is cooked and the bindu is cooked, Then the fire of brahman bums continuously. If the fire is sufficient, water, will boil.“ The unripe body is the body not disciplined by yoga, and the ripe body is the body disciplined by yoga." (See Charles Malamoud, Cooking the World: Ritual and Thought in Ancient India, trans. David Gordon White, 1998, 1st ed. Paris, 1989).
The goal of practice is often symbolically described as a merger of the Sun and the Moon; and the successful completion of it is proclaimed in jubilant language, abounding with metaphors of light: "0 avadhut, breath should go through the sahasra . / Then,the myriad sounds will ring. / The breath will drink seventy-two Moons, / When the primal light shines.“
The practice itself is usually referred to a: „The lower Ganges has to rise up to [the top of] the Egg of Brahma, / Where the pure drinks the water pure.“ In this way, the 'gross body' is engaged through the practice of posture, aided by muscular contractions; the respiratory system is engaged; the mind is employed in the practice of visualization of and the concentration
Thus, to give another example of this principle, we read in The Sayings of Gorakh: "The subtle wind remains continuous. / Inside the body, the maharas[the elixir] is perfected. / Gorakh says, 'I have caught the unstable. / Joining Siva and Sakti, I have remained within my own house. " The correspondence between breath (subtle wind), elixir, and microcosmical reflection of the divine pair (Siva and Sakti) is evident. (GBS 130.)
As we have seen, the understanding of the human body in terms of the analogy between microcosm and macrocosm, and in the terms of the correlation between semen, breath, and mind is evidently an instance of the thought that takes seriously the concept of correspondence, one of the central features of occultism. And of course these do not exist materially, in the physical body something that is also clear to most Tantrists:
All yoga discipline postulates in theory the existence of a secondary somatic system consisting of mandala [centers], cakra [circles], or kendra [lotuses], located along an imagined spinal column in that secondary body. It is important to realize - a thing which Occidental critics and Occidental phoney [sic] esotericists alike have misunderstood - that this yogic body is not supposed to have any ontological status in the sense the physical body has. It is a heuristic device aiding meditation, not an objective system. Benevolent psychologists under the inspiration of the late C. G. lung have attempted to allocate the various nervous plexuses and ganglia to the centers of this yoga body. They may be right, but Tantrists take some pain to explain that this body and its organs have no actual existence. (Agehananda Bharati, "Techniques of Contrast in the Esoteric Traditions of India and Tibet" in The Realm of the Extra-Human: Ideas and Actions, ed. Agehananda Bharati, 1976, 93-4.)
The subtle body with its centres of energy is, imagined, through concentration. Thus, in light of magic as also a 'science of the imaginary,' the practice of yoga that centers on this imaginal body and its energies may be understood or 'translated' as the practice of magic. These stand in causal relationship with the material and spiritual effects, planted by the practice of willed and disciplined visualization, or imagination. This also is, what Renaisance occultism designated as the realm of the imaginary, the mundus imaginalis .In Tantric lore designated as meditation (dhyan), and in the West as imagination (imaginatio vera) thus we cans say correspond to each other (which is not to say that they are identical).
However like in the case of Tantric Buddhism the ultimate goal of the yogic practice, according to the Naths, lies in the attainment of the immortal or diamond body. This is sometimes referred to as the 'divine body,' divya deh. It is important to realize, first of all, that this goal is in its ultimate nature spiritual. (Some insights into Western conceptions of the 'subtle body' may be gathered from a fine discussion in D. P. Walker, "The Astral Body in Renaissance Medicine," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 2, 1958, 19-33.)
Immortality is recognized to be the quintessence of the ultimate nature of the Lord Siva, and for this reason that in common belief we find Nath Siddhas like Matsyendra and Gorakh often identified with Siva or Mahesvara. Again, the yogic aspiration to acquire an immortal body thus is comparable to an effort towards mystical union with the Divine. For to attain 'the state of the Great Lord' is tantamount to the attainment of identity with Him, and the identity is but an aspect of union. In this sense, Gorakhnath is Siva (or in the case of Tibetan Tantra, Buddha).
Similarly, to attain the siddhis means to become like the Lord who is the natural possessor of powers. What from the position of their detractors appears to be a near-obsession with the body and power, from the perspective of the Naths is an aspiration towards the sacred understood as power.Quest for immortality therefore entails a spiritual dimension: its aim is deification. The yogic practice is consequently based on the assumption of the possibility of perfectibility. In other words, the yogic practice is about the transmutation of a death-bound human being into immortal god.
The attainment of the divine body, once the physical body has been 'cooked' in the fire of yoga, establishes a mark of difference between a siddha and the ordinary human being:
Through the fire of yoga the body becomes supra-material and above all sorrows and sufferings. Such a yoga body (vogo-deha) is rare even to gods; it is a body bereft of all limitations and bondage and at the same time possessing great powers; it is limitless like the sky but purer even than the sky. The great yogin with his perfect body moves in the world according to his own will, - and as this perfect body is produced through the burning away of his physical body through the fire of yoga there is no further death for him. (Shashibhusan Dasgupta. Obscure Religious Cults,as a Background to Bengali Literature, 1962, 220.)
In a certain sense, after this ceremony the yogi ceases to be a virgin. His body is not closed anymore, there is an opening, which at the same time makes the passage of the energy through the body and the acquisition of power possible. Now, with ordinary men, whose sexuality is not sublimated and transformed, it is believed that the opening that is the place of the drainage of energy (and the cause of mortality) is in the lower part of the body. Thus the Naths attempt to keep that lower aperture closed and instead, just like Siva who was the first to wear the rings, they open a space in their heads (the abode of Siva). Instead of the energy (the semen, the elixir) draining down from head to and through the penis, the yogis are attempting to reverse the process by closing the lower hole and opening the one in the upper part of their body. This should facilitate the ascent of the powerful but latent energy of the kundalini sakti, upward along the central channel in (or near) the spinal cord.
Thus a curious element in many legends and stories about the Nath yogis is their ability to generate human beings out of 'dead matter.' A number of Gorakh's illustrious disciples, including Guga Pir and Carpati, are conceived and born in this way. The alleged story of the birth of Gorakhnath himself is a typical example: Once, during his travels, Matsyendranath enjoyed the hospitality of a child-less couple. As a sign of his appreciation, while he was leaving he offered the woman some of the magical dust, vibhuti, from his sack, ordering her to eat of it and that as a result she will conceive a child. Persuaded by her friends, she decided not to eat it but threw the dust in a pit outside the village. Twelve years later, Matsyendra returned and asked about the child. The woman admitted her deed. Matsyendra went to the pit and call the child, "Come out!" "Greetings, guru!" replied the voice from the pit. When the curious villagers removed the soil, they found a divine, beautiful child sitting at the bottom in a yogic position. The child came out and took the dust from Matsyendra's feet who gave him the name Gorakh and prophesized his future glory and fame.(Summarized in Prakash Nath Tantresh, Riijasthiin kii Niith Sampradiiy, 1993, 29-31. Camanlal Gautam, Srz Gorakhntith Caritra, specifies that Gorakh is born as a result of a boon given to Matsyendra by the Sun god pp. 5-10. A variant recorded in the Buddhapurii’,18 substitutes Matsyendra with Siva while otherwise agreeing with the story).
Other Nath yogis were also believed able to perform this type of miraculous production of human beings. David Gordon White quotes the following legend, where Gorakh' s disciple Ratannath creates a boy from the elements of his own body:
After eating the food from the first plate. Ratannath then stood before the second plate. Having pronounced a mantra, he then caused ashes to flow from his body, after the fashion of Siva. These he fashioned into a ball, which he placed before the second plate of food. He then announced that the ball of ashes would eat the food sitting in front of it. ..; The ball then split and a laughing, fully formed boy emerged from it and set about eating the food on the plate before him. (White, Alchemical Body, 287.)
But the undertones of this generative ability are also sexual. After all, sexuality is the usual avenue for generation of the living beings. It is only that with the Siddhas this ability is of a different sort. Here again we face that fact that where there are jogis there is sexuality, but of a transmuted kind. While the ordinary men obtain children by releasing the semen through the lower parts of their body, the yogis, who have allegdly shut closed those nether openings, are said to produce them through their fingers.
Although according to the traditional accounts, Matsyendranath was the first human disciple of the god Siva and the first proponent of Hatha Yoga, he preeminent position within the hierarchy of the Nath panth is, however, usually reserved for Matsyendra's disciple Gorakhnath. The reason for this attitude lies in the fact that Matsyendranath's career is less immaculate than his disciple's. Matsyendra thus is considerred, a 'fallen yogi' who had forgotten and lost his way in the company of women. (V.W. Karambelkar, "Matsyendranatha and his Yogini Cult," Indian Historical Quarterly 31, 1955, 365.)
It is a telling sign of this state of affairs that in the visual representations Gorakh is usually depicted as a young man, an eternal youth, while Matsyendra is shown as an old man with the white hair, displaying thus outwardly the negative results of what is believed to be, the loss of semen.
At the heart of the situation seems also a difference between what may be called a tantric versus yogic(or so called ‚high Hindu’) approach to sexuality, understood as an avenue of spiritual practice. What Gorakhnath stands for is an internalization of sexual dynamics within the bodymind complex of a celibate yogi. In other words, Gorakh approaches eros esoterically.
On the subject of Gorakhnath's victory over the forces of temptation that made his teacher lose his way in the midst of pleasures of the householder's lifestyle, there is a short play written by Kaviko Vidyapati in Maithili with Hindi translation, ed. Harimohan Misra, Patna: Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad, 1974). The same subject is treated by medieval Bengali Muslim author Sheikh Faizulla. For a Russian translation of his work see Pobeda Gorokho, trans. I. A. Tovstih, Moscow: Nauka, 1988).
The sexual polarity within the body of an individual yogi is established through the hermaphroditic nature of the subtle body, whose divine prototype is Siva in the ardhanari form. However, it is not correct to assume that the Ntith yogis never engage in the ritual practice of the physical sexual act.The so-called vajroti mudra is one, example to the contrary. The gist of this technique consists in the urethral suction of the commingled semen and vaginal blood. Interestingly enough, this practice is associated with Matsyendranath and, interesting, it was later "internalized in certain hathayogic sources, in which one (visualised) internally drinks the 'brilliant white-red nectar' .
It then appears that Matsyendranatha and Gorakhnath represent two distinct, and often antagonistic, schools of thought and practice related to the use of sexuality as a spiritual technique. Matsyendra and his Yogini Kaula stand for the tantric path in which the sexual act is perfonned physically and which involve the participation of women.
According to available documents, or/and since its origins in the sixth or seventh century, Tantra has essentially consisted of a body of techniques for the control of multiple, often female, beings, both for one's own benefit and as tools to use against others. At this point, these may be reduced to three principal types: (1) mantras, acoustic formulas that, when enunciated properly under the proper conditions, control said beings; (2) techniques of possession, in which the same beings act through one's own body; and (3) the gratification of these beings through sacrificial offerings, with or without the transformative medium of fire. In this last case, the supreme offering is none other than the bodily constituents of the practitioner himself. Here, coercion is replaced by an exchange of prestations, in a heroic mode. Human practitioners make the supreme sacrifice of their own person, moving the Tantric deity to reciprocate with untold powers and supernatural enjoyments. It is these three types of practice that have constituted the Tantric "mainstream" in the history of South Asian religions.
Kaula practitioners were primarily concerned with this worldly powers (siddhis) and bodily immortality, with the enjoyment (bhukti) of said powers and immortality taking precedence over any ideal of consciousness raising or disembodied liberation from cyclic rebirth (mukti), embraced by more conventional Tantric practitioners. These powers were gained by transacting with Yoginis, who, in the Kaula context, were also identified with the female ritual consorts of the male practitioner. That is, the Yoginis of the Kaula and Tantric traditions were at once regarded as flesh-and-blood women with whom male practitioners interacted, and the devouring semi-divine beings who were the object of their worship cults. In the secular literature, these Yoginis were often portrayed as sorceresses or witches, ambiguous, powerful, and dangerous figures that only a heroic male would-dare to approach, let alone attempt to conquer. It is for this reason that the fully initiated male practitioners of the Kaula termed themselves Champions or Virile Heroes; alternatively, they referred to themselves as Perfected Beings (Siddhas), by way of identifying themselves with another order of semi divine beings, the male counterparts to the Yoginis of Epic and medieval Indian mythology.
According to the Kaula worldview, the godhead - the source of all being and power in the world -externalized himself (or herself, in the case of the purely feminine hierarchy of the KalI - Krama of Kashmir) in the form of a series of female hypostases, a cluster of (often eight) great Goddesses, who in turn proliferated into the multiple circles of feminine energies (often sixty-four) that were their Yogini entourage. These semidivine Yoginis and the human women who embodied them therefore carried in their bodies the germ plasm of the godhead, called the "clan fluid", "clan nectar", "vulval essence" (yonitattva), the "command", the "real thing" (sadbhiiva), or simply the "fluid), or the "clan" (kula). While this fluid essence of the godhead flowed naturally through these female beings, it was absent in males.
Unlike the Kula before it, which openly transgressed in the public space of a town and its cremation grounds-and unlike the Tantrikas, most often householder practitioners of relatively conventional, nonsexual Tantric liturgies, whose goal was liberation rather than supernatural enjoyments-members of the Kaula tended to carry out their sexual rites in relatively remote areas and at times known only to its initiates. However, when the king and his court were Kaula initiates, this may not have been a particularly well-guarded secret. On certain nights of the lunar month 34 and solar year, Kaula practitioners would assemble on cremation grounds, or at clan "mounds" or "seats" , "clan-mountains" (kula-parvatas), or "fields". See our case study:
Where the goddesses of clans and land, play a role, these gatherings, called "minglings" (melakas, melanas, meliipas), also involved the union of female and male initiates.At these gatherings the Yoginis allegedly would descend from the sky to meet their male consorts awaiting them on the ground. These Yoginis' flight was said to be fueled by the human and animal flesh that was their diet; however, the Siddhas or Vyras, by virtue of their own practice, were able to offer the Yoginis a more subtle and powerful energy source. This was their semen (v’rya), the distilled essence of their own bodily constituents.
However according to available evidence, hard-core "Tantric sex," as such did not constitute the mainstream of Kaula or Tantric practice in South Asia. It is rather the more soft-core practices listed previously, that form the Tantric mainstream, at the same time as it has been the hard-core rituals practiced by a limited inner circle-in which pleasing supernatural beings through sexual emissions is paramount - that have given Tantra its specificity. A single Sanskrit term, bhoga, covers the notions of "feeding on," "food," and "sexual enjoyment," with the first of these being its primary meaning. Whereas the Tantric mainstream as I have described it reads and practices bhoga in its primary sense of satisfying multiple and petulant divinities by feeding them, the elite practitioners whose sexualized rituals are what have given the Tantric and Kaula traditions their specificity read the same term in its secondary senses, of giving pleasure through sexual enjoyment ambiguously understood as enjoyment through the consumption of sexual emissions as food. In both cases, the female Yogini "seizes" or "possesses" her male counterpart. However, whereas in the former case, she simply preys upon her human victim (pasu), in the latter, the male partner takes an active role, inducing a sort of "mutual possession" (samavesa) in a sexual mode. It is for this reason as well that Kaula virtuosi practiced in sites most frequently haunted by these supernatural beings: mountains, caves, forests, at the foot of isolated trees, deserted buildings, crossroads, remote temples of the Mothers, and cremation grounds. (Alexis Sanderson, "Purity and Power among the Brahmins of Kashmir." In The Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, History, edited by Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins, and Steven Lukes, 1985, p. 201).
This is to be distinguished from the "high Hindu" Tantric mysticism of the Nath exegetes we so far referred to, which was generated, in an effort to win a certain support base, of generally high-caste householders in Kashmir and, later, in Tamil Nadu, from the tenth century onward. Whereas the sexual content of Kaula practice had the production of a sacramentally transformative ritual substance (dravyam) as its principal goal, later Tantric sexual practice came to be grounded in a theory of transformative aesthetics, in which the experience of orgasm effected a breakthrough from "contracted" self-consciousness to an expansive "god consciousness," as we have seen, in which the entire universe came to be experienced as ‘Self.’ ("Saivism and the Tantric Tradition." In The World's Religions, edited by S . Sutherland et al.,1988 , pp. 670-89).
Therefore, the sole means by which a male could access the flow of the supreme godhead at the elevated center of the mandala, the clan "flow chart," was through the Yoginis, who formed or inhabited its outer circles.Only through initiation by and continued interaction with the Yoginis could these male practitioners access this fluid essence and boundless energy of the godhead. It was therefore necessary that male practitioners be "inseminated," or more properly speaking "insanguinated," with the sexual or menstrual discharge of the Yoginis-rendering the "mouth" of the Yogini their sole conduit to membership in the clan and all its perquisites. Here, the "mouth" of the Yogini was her vulva, and "drinking female discharge" (rajapiina), the prime means to fulfilling these male needs. Therefore, the erotico-mystical practice, the "Tantric sex" practiced by the Kaula practitioners, mainly involved drinking the "power substances" that were sexual fluids, either through "mutual oral congress" or through a form of genital sex called vajrolr mudrii ("urethral suction"), by which the male partner was able, following ejaculation, to draw up into himself the sexual discharge of his female partner. The "happy ending" of this body of practice is described time and again in the Tantras as well as the adventure and fantasy literature of the medieval period (most particularly in the circa 1070 C.E. Kathiisaritsiigara, the "Ocean of Rivers of Story" of Somadeva): both female and male fly up into the sky, to sport there together for eons of time.( The eleventh century Rasarnava Tantra , describes this type of ascent. (See in its concluding verses: 18.221-27, as edited with Hindi translation by Indradeo Tripathi and notes by Taradatta Panta, Haridas Sanskrit Series, no. 88. Banares: Chawkhamba, 1978).
The Kaula path, with its claims to direct access to power in and over the world, was attractive to no small number of kings and princes in the medieval period, and it was South Asian royalty and aristocracy that formed the principal clientele of Kaula specialists. The latter were of two sorts: wild, itinerant, charismatic thaumaturges, on the one hand, and, on the other, royal chaplains , literate brahmins sometimes attached to monasteries, who tended to be more sedentary and conventional in their practice and lifestyle. (Referred to by Geoffrey Samuel with reference to Tibetan Buddhist society as "shamanic" and "clerical" specialists in, Civilized Shamans, 1993, pp. 7-10).
Toward the end of the first millennium, the royal patrons of the Kaula began to commission the construction of permanent structures for the Kaula rites. This was the case in central India in particular, where a significant number of Yogini temples were constructed between the eighth and eleventh centuries C.E. Yogini temples were unique in that they were circular and roofless constructions: they were open to the heavens, and as such served as landing fields and launching pads for Yoginis. At the center of these temples, there often stood an phallic image of the Siva or Bhairava, who represented the male godhead at the center and source of the Yogini clans; as for the Yoginis themselves, they were sculpturally represented on the inner wall of these temples' circular enclosures, facing Bhairava. It was here that royal cult rituals of the Yoginis would have been enacted, with blood sacrifices and sexual transactions between male and female clan members taking place around the person of the king himself, the "god" of his kingdom.
When the king was himself a God-and this was the case in this period for certain dynasts of the royal houses-Yogini temples became the focal point of the kingdom's religious life, which would have been, by definition, Kaula. An example of such is the early-eleventh-century Yogini temple at Bheraghat (Bhairavaghat), located across the Narmada River from the site of the old Kalacuri capital of Tripuri, which would have constituted the greatest religious building project of that entire dynasty As with the Kalacuris, Kaula or Tantric practice was-and in some cases has remained-the royal cultus, in addition to being the religion of the popular masses. Such was the case, in particular, across a wide swath of central India between the ninth and thirteenth centuries (as well as the "Greater India" of the Southeast Asian kingdoms of present-day Indonesia, Cambodia, and Burma), and such remains the case in present-day Nepal and Bhutan, Himalayan kingdoms whose state ceremonial has been Tantric for centuries. There was a direct relationship between Kaula practice and temporal power, and it is no coincidence that in an eleventh-century "Mirror of Kings" from western India, "The Circle of Yoginis" is the title of a chapter on military strategies. (David Gordon White, Kiss of the Yogini, 2003, p. 13).
Much of the modern-day South Asian discourse concerning YoginIs differs but little from their medieval legacy. Now as then, "Yogini " is a term applied to female supernatural beings, usually of the wild forest, who demand blood sacrifice from the humans who venture into the wilderness lands they inhabit. So, for example, the "jungle" of the Vindhya mountain region of southern Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is the province of the ognIiwho troubles the lives of those who do not show her proper respect.! Similarly, in the Kulu region of Himachal Pradesh, ]ognis are dread goddesses of the uninhabited "jungle" to whom elaborate blood offerings must be made whenever one of their trees is cut down. According to local traditions, every February, all of the ]ognIs of the entire region, from as far away as Chamba and Tibet, come to the village of La haul, each straddling a roof beam as she flies through the air, carrying a sacrificial animal (a yak, ibex, dzo, or sheep) to consume at the feast. Villagers take every possible precaution to protect themselves from these jognis, and to keep them away from their inhabited space.sIn southern Rajasthan the temple on the outskirts of the village of Ghatiyali remains a living YoginI shrine, with these goddesses (and the Bhairavas with whom they are associated) being represented by naturally occurring stones, covered with vermilion paint and metal foil, the former representing the blood offerings that sustain their bodies . In all of these contexts, failure to show respect to these powerful, petulant female beings brings down their wrath in the form of possession, disease, miscarriage, and death.
The relationship between these supernatural or preternatural Yoginis and human "witches," in many ways the female counterparts of the male tantrikas, remains as ambiguous today as it was in the medieval period. In the Kulu Valley once again, local traditions maintain that a local Rajput ruler named Jhinna Rana, who, upon learning of the death of her husband, burned his fort (Madankor) to the ground, with her and her ladies inside. She became a Jogni and his family built a shrine to her in the ruins of the fort. Far more common is the identification of living women with YoginTs, that is, as witches. In Bengal cJ.ains (a vernacularization of the term cJakinl) are human witches who serve as accomplices to the malevolent supernatural Yoginis. An identical pattern is found in many other parts of village India, where aged, widowed, and socially marginalized women are accused of witchcraft, of consorting with the YoginTs, and of "eating the livers" j 1 of their human victims when an untimely death or some other calamity befalls a village. Like many of the unfortunate women of post-Reformation Europe and North America, accused witches are still occasionally put to death in South Asia. G. M. Cm'stairs's Death of a Witch, a study based on thirty years of participant anthropology in the Udaipur District of rural southern Rajasthan, is a classic account of this fatal dynamic. This having been said, not all "human" YoginTs are mere scapegoats or victims in traditional South Asian society. In certain cases they have a well-defined social role that affords them a certain modicum of empowerment, even if they remain socially and economically excluded. A "reminiscence" of one such YoginT was reported not to long agao, in the daily Englishlanguage newspaper of Kathmandu, the Rising Nepal. Under the title "Reminiscence: Juddha Shumsher and the Sorceress," the unsigned story begins: Nobody knew her name. She was just [a] Yogini (nun) who had come to Kathmandu from India on Shivaratri. During the Rana [r]egime .... Indians were not allowed to come to Nepal without [a] passport and visa. Only on such occasion[s as these religious festivals] they could come to Kathmandu for a day and visit the Pashupatinath temple. ; .. The hermits and yogis could remain for three days and leave The Yogini who had come during the reign of Juddha Shumsher did not go back to India [withlin [the] stipulated time. She roamed about the Pashupati area for many days and surprised people with her accurate prediction[s]. She was a middle-aged lady of dark complexion and wore a cotton sari, blouse and a shawl. She smiled while speaking but anyone could guess [that] she never cleaned her teeth. She accepted the invitation of some devotees if she was pleased, and went to their residence as well. But she never entered the house and preferred to stay out: on a bench or under a tree in the garden.. The relatives and neighbours of the host used to come to see the lady. Many of them brought some fruits and even clothes as offerings .But she did not accept anything and told the host to distribute it among friends present in the garden. Sometimes she would point towards a person and say to the host that the man was a criminal-he had taken a bribe just a day before. Sometimes she would not allow a lady to touch her feet saying the lady was a concubine of some rich person. Almost all of the devotees charged by her did not stay there [sic] and quietly returned bowing to the assembled crowd. But they spread rumours that the so-called Yogini was a sorceress and she was in command of an evil spirit called Karnapinchash [kan;apisaca]. The then prime minister Juddha Shumsher also heard ... the rumour. He ordered the police chief Chandra Bahadur Thapa to expel the sorceress from Nepal within a week. She used to stay in [the] Pashupati area and was always surrounded by devotees who regarded her [as] a divine Yogini, not a sorceress.
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