NATH JOGIS in Punjab are most often seen wandering in the form of Snake Charmers. Baba Gorakhnath ( literally, the Holy Man incharge of Protecting Cows) the Patron Saint of the erstwhile Hindu Kingdom of Nepal, and the Gorkhas, is fabled to have kept dark rainclouds in the form of writhing snakes imprisoned under his thighs, thus preventing stopping their movement from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayas and creating a drought leading to famine in Nepal, to teach the Nepalese a lesson when they failed to bring their annual justice offerings of fealty to his Matth in Gorakhpur. It was only when their King came down with gifts of untold gold and fed Baba Gorakhnath his favourite " khichadi" that the clouds were released and normalcy restored. So much for Climate Change in the Land of Yogis and Snake Charmers.
Baba Gorakhnath's Guru, Baba Matsyendranath, is known to have had intimate knowledge of , and control over, the subterranean world of fish, watersnakes and other aquatic species, though he is rumoured to have once fallen under the spell of Mermaids or WaterNymphs of the World of Triya (remember the eponymous Triya Charitra or the supposedly wanton, wayward, misleading, illogical and mesmerising Ways of Women), ruled and run entirely by women, from which his more clear- eyed and strong charactered Shishya, Gorakhnath, is said to have rescued him.
Gorakhpur and Eastern UP have long been under the Political hold of the Gorakhnath Matth with Swami Adwaithnath as elected Member of Parliament before his disciple, Yogi Adityanath, now 44 years of age, who has been returned 5 times in unbroken succession to the Lok Sabha as Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur, which he runs like his duchy, and which is his pocket borough.
Now that he has, in a first for his Matth's 600 year long tradition, been nominated as Chief Minister of India's most populous State of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of nearly 20 crores, of whom 18% are Muslims, it would seem, seeing present PM and RSS Prachaarak Narendra Modi's trajectory, that the Yogi, who originates from the Kshatriya caste , believed in Hindu mythology and theology to be the ruling caste, from which kings and emperors were usually drawn, is well on his way to becoming the next Prime Minister of India, which is fast turning into a Hindu Theocracy, which is what the ruling RSS BJP's goal and ideal of Hindu Rashtra really implies.
Our much- maligned religion based neighbouring country Pakistan watches in wonder, for even they till date have had no Maulana or Mullah as the head of their State or government, having confined themselves to elected members of lay civil society, or highly Westernised Army Dictators.
In fact, one would be hard put to find any such example of concentration of power of the church and the state anywhere in the Islamic World except perhaps in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where an Ayatollah is the head of State as well has the highest repository of Spiritual Power. Among the Christians, the Pope in Vatican City among Catholics, and among Protestants, the Reigning Monarch of Great Britain who is also head of the Church of England since the times of the notorious " off with her head" wife-murderer King Henry the Eighth, are the only examples that come to mind.
However, while the administrative powers of the Pope are confined to a tiny City- State, though his spiritual jurisdiction lies over the entire Roman Catholic population of the world, the Kings and Queens of England have been highly secular and worldly, and have tended by and large to leave the Church of England, under the Archbishop of Canterbury to its own devices in current times, with notable exceptions in slightly better older history.
The Jews appear to have no history of Priest -Kings, though Christ was mocked as " King of the Jews", nor really do the Buddhists, though Emperor Ashoka was a great Buddhist evangelist, and the Japanese and the Chinese saw their Emperors as the Shadow or Representative of God on Earth.
So did we, Zill-e-Subhani, or Shadow of God as the Mughal Emperors liked to be called, and in fact Akbar did try to start Deen-e-Ilahi as a separate faith of which he was very much the head, but that was a non starter, and all these can be seen as mere assertions of the Divine Right of Kings. By the way, the Nepalese also literally worshipped their Royal Family of the Bir Bikram Shahs- as long as they were in power.
The Gorakhnath Matth even today advocates that Nepal 's status as a Hindu Kingdom be restored, but with the Maoists in power, and the increasing influence of China over Nepal, that seems a mere pipe- dream now. It remains to be seen what specific form a Hindu Theocracy takes in India, but with an ill- educated population in a nation where the roots of western democracy are not very strong, and Hindu Religious Majoritarianism has taken hold of the popular imagination for direct electoral gain in a first- past- the-post system of elections, and has also become the dominant theme of the country's political discourse, atop a network of strong religio-social and politico-cultural organisations set up quietly and patiently by the Rashtriya Swaysmsewak Sangh working almost like a parallel State all over the length and breadth of the country, rest assured, it is already knocking impatiently at India's door.
Alakh Niranjan! As the Jogi's say when they greet each other, or come to a householder's door, not so much begging, as reminding him of his moral duty to give them alms As Guru Nanak said in another context in the sixteenth century, of Babar knocking at the doors of the Sub-Continent, asking for the Kanyadaan of Bride India
" Paap ki Janj lai Kabulon dhaaya Joreen mangey daan , Ve Lalo!
Saram Dharam doey chhapp khaloey Koorh phirey pardhaan, Ve Lalo!......
Qaziaan Baahmanan ki gall thhakki Agadh parhey Saitaan, Ve Lalo!....
Khoon ke Sohiley gaaveeye Nanak, Ratt ka Junjhu paaye , Ve Lalo! "
(Babar Baani in Raag Tilang Ang 360 of the SGGS ji)
" With his Bridegroom's Party of Evil he has descended from Kabul, and demands by force the gift of the Bride, India- Hark thee, my friend Lalo !
Shame and Righteousness have fled to their hiding places, and Bald-faced Falsehood reigns supreme- Hark, Lalo!
Qazis and Brahmins have given up in despair; it is Satan himself who performs this pernicious marriage sacrament- Hark, Lalo!
The Auspicious Wedding sings are Sings of Blood, and instead of the Sacred Vermilion in the Hair- parting of the Bride, the Crimson of Gore is splattered- Hark, friend Lalo, thus sayeth Nanak ! "
( Babar Bani , Page 360 of the Adi Granth )
Sadly, instead of learning the lessons of Peace, Non- Violence, Peaceful Coexistence, Universal Brotherhood, Rationalism , Tolerance , Moderation, Syncretism, Multiculturalism, the Oneness of the Creator and Preserver of the Universe and of Mankind, taught by the Buddha, by the Bhakti Saints, the Sufis, by Kabir and Nanak, India has from time to time relapsed into ritualism , intolerance , casteism, and a bloodthirsty assertion of Brahmanical Supremacy , and that has always lead to centuries of violence, before the syncretic forces at great cost to themselves and their followers , bring peace harmony and relatively stable equilibrium to our sub continent again.
The highly violent and painful partition of India in 1947, necessitated mainly by the extreme assertion of bigoted Brahmanical Hindutva forces on the one hand and the equally destructive forces unleashed in reaction by fanatic Islamists on the other, which gave the Outgoing British the perfect excuse to fragmentise the rising power of their ex-colonised nation, is the most recent example of such catastrophes in India's millenniums old history. Our parents had to bear the brunt of colonialism and the indescribably tragic bloodbath of the Partition. We have to see the birth and unfolding of yet another tragic episode and era in our history.
But while our parents and ancestors did not have to worry about other apocalyptic events, we also have an exploding planet and an unravelling environment to deal with. Good luck, my fellow travellers, with the clouded snakes, the mermaid fish, the underwater witches, the subterranean monsters- and our brain-washed and bewitched fellow countrymen! Here's a small poem to speed you on your way: ( A Vignette of a Swearing-in Ceremony as per the Indian Constitution, in Lucknow on 20/3/2017, and its aftermath in India, including in the Indian Parliament on 21/3/17 )
Snakes may be charmed yet humans harmed
Watch out those who in crowds have swarmed
You may well be Animal farmed