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From The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India
By R. V. Russell
Of The Indian Civil Service
Superintendent Of Ethnography, Central Provinces
Assisted By Rai Bahadur Hira Lal, Extra Assistant Commissioner
Macmillan And Co., Limited, London, 1916.
NOTE 1: The 'Central Provinces' have since been renamed Madhya Pradesh.
NOTE 2: While reading please keep in mind that all articles in this series have been scanned from the original book. Therefore, footnotes have got inserted into the main text of the article, interrupting the flow. Readers who spot these footnotes gone astray might like to shift them to their correct place.
One of the sects founded by Vaishnava reformers of the school of Kabir ; a few of its members are found in the western Districts of the Central 1 BrdJwians, Theists, p. 148. Maclagan's Punjab Census Report, 2 This article is compiled from the 189 1 ; and Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam's notices in Wilson's Hindu Sects, As. Hindus of Gujarat, Bombay Gazetteer, Res. vol. xvi. pp. 79-81 ; Sir E. vol. ix.
Provinces. Dadu was a Pinjara or cotton-cleaner by caste. He was born at Ahmadabad in the sixteenth century, and died at Narayana in the Jaipur State shortly after A.D. 1600. He is said to have been the fifth successor in spiritual inspiration from Kablr, or the sixth from Ramanand. Dadu preached the unity of God and protested against the animistic abuses which had grown up in Hinduism. " To this day," writes Mr. Coldstream, " the Dadupanthis use the words Sat Ram, the True God, as a current phrase expressive of their creed. Dadu forbade the worship of idols, and did not build temples ; now temples are built by his followers, who say they worship in them the Dadubani or Sacred Book." This is what has been done by other sects such as the Sikhs and Dhamis, whose founders eschewed the veneration of idols ; but their uneducated followers could not dispense with some visible symbol for their adoration, and hence the sacred script has been enthroned in a temple.
The worship of the Dadupanthis, Professor Wilson says, is addressed to Rama, but it is restricted to the Japa or repetition of his name, and the Rama intended is the deity negatively described in the Vedanta theology. The chief place of worship of the sect is Narayana, where Dadu died. A small building on a hill marks the place of his disappear- ance, and his bed and the sacred books are kept there as objects of veneration.
Like other sects, the Dadupanthis are divided into celibate or priestly and lay or householder branches. But they have also a third offshoot, consisting in the Naga Gosains of Jaipur, nearly naked ascetics, who constituted a valuable part of the troops of Jaipur and other States. It is said that the Nagas always formed the van of the army of Jaipur. The sect have white caps with four corners and a flap hanging down at the back, which each follower has to make for himself. To prevent the destruc- tion of animal life entailed by cremation, the tenets of the sect enjoin that corpses should be laid in the forests to be devoured by birds and beasts. This rule, however, is not observed, and their dead are burnt at early dawn.