Jogis of Mangalore

There is a small population of Jogis in the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka. Going by the registration to the Jogi Sangha there could be around *600–800 families of Jogis in Mangalore city and in villages of the district. How they came to be there is not recorded but the presence of Jogi families around the Kadri Jogi Mutt indicates that they were associated with this Hindu monastery. According to tradition, the Kadri Jogi Mutt and the nearby Manjunatha Temple were a seat of Jogi culture since the time of Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath, both of whom arrived from the Nepal and Uttar Pradesh region and established the mutt (monastery) here.

The Jogis established the permanent  rule of the Kadri Mutt by assigning a new Jogi Arasu (ruler) once in 12 years and making it a part of the Bara (Twelve) Panths of the Jogi system. The bara panths or twelve mutts are spread across India. The word ruler is rather an exaggeration, as the Arasu, who had no military power, could hardly have ruled over any geographical or social entity. He was more of a caretaker of the graves of dead Jogi Sanyasis (saints), who were revered as demi-gods. The Arasu has no major daily rituals to perform and is expected to spend most of his time in spiritual contemplation.

The Kadri Manjunatha temple at Mangalore in the present form was founded by Jogi Matsyendranath of the Natha pantha. The Jogis and the Jogi Mutt of Kadri are involved with the administration of Kadri temple since historical days. The place was known as Kadarika Vihar. The word Natha means lord, owner or God.

A small group of Jogis in Mangalore are still keeping alive, the hope of a unified and powerful caste, by running a Jogi Sangha and conducting periodic meetings. But the small size of the caste and rapidly changing social norms are defeating such attempts. Eventually the caste may disappear into the potpourri of Indian and Global culture.

Source: Tulu Sahithya Academy and Principles of Gorakshanath.

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