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Háḍi Siddha cannot have been originally a Vaishnava at all, and was never by caste a Háḍi. He is still occasionally addressed as Haripa (not Háḍipa, or Háripa), which is quite a possible name for a follower of Hari; but on going back even so short a space as the first decade of the present century, we find that Dr. Buchanan, whose powers of observation are unquestioned, describes the Guru of Mayaná Mati as a Yogí by caste, whose name was Haripa while he never once mentions the fact of his being Hádi, which is now much the commoner name. Now in the Rangpur dialect, a is frequently lengthened, and r is interchangeable with ḍ so that the change from Hari to Haḍi is easy, and such a change, having once taken common currency, would have itself suggested the idea so peculiarly Vaishnava to which I have before alluded. (Cf. Max Muller's lectures on the science of language, for evidence as to the tendency of false etymology and of phonetic decay in originating popular legends.) This Haripa, according to Buchanan was the pupil of Kanipa,* who was the pupil of Gorakshanáth. Tháná Dimlá, where these Yogís live, is close to Nipál, and we must go there to find out who Gorakshanáth is. I am now writing in Supaul, in the north of Bhágulpur, and not twenty miles. from the Nipál frontier; and what I have heard about him here, confirms in a remarkable degree what Buchanan tells of him. The dwellers of the low lands will have nought of him, and we do not find his cultus till we reach the half savage Buddhist dwellers of the interior. Here we discover
a curious mixture of the Mahá Bhárata and Buddhism. They say that during Yudhishthira's journey through the pathless tracts of the Himálaya to heaven, his brethren (as we know) fell behind, one by one, and perished miserably. Here, adds the Nipálí, only one survived, the club-bearing Bhíma. He was saved by a Buddhist saint called Gorakshanáth who after performing many wondrous acts made him king over Nipál.†
* I know of no religious teacher called Kanipa. There was a Kanapa, who was a teacher of the Jamgama sect of the S'aivas, (Mackenzie apud Wilson I. 227), who was of some celebrity, and it is just possible that his name may have been adopted by the Yogís, who were originally a Saiva caste.
+ The above is the popular tradition I have gathered from oral accounts. The following summary of what is noticeable about Gorakshanáth and the Yogís is gathered principally from Wilson.
The first teacher of Buddhism in Nipál, was Manju, who came from Maháchín and who made the valley of Khatmáṇḍu, formerly a lake, habitable by cutting through the mountains with his scymitar. He taught a pure form of Buddhism, which became afterwards impregnated with Bráhmaṇical ideas through the invitation given by Narendra Deva, king of Nipál, to one Matsyendra Náth a teacher of the Pásupata form of the S'aiva religion. This was apparently about the 7th century A. D. This Matsyendra was in reality the Lokes'vara Padmapáni, who descended to the earth by command of the Adi Buddha, and hid himself in the belly of a fish, in order to overhear Síva teach Párvatí the doctrine of the Yoga, and Wilson shows that Padmapáni came either from the east or from the north of Bangál.
It is quite natural that the Buddhists should claim him as their saint, but in reality he was nothing of the sort. He was a teacher of the Saiva religion, and one of the reputed founders of the sect of Yogis. Whether the Yogis of Rangpur are an off-shoot of the Nipálí converts, or whether Gorakshanáth and his fellows came from north-eastern Bangál, or from Asám, where the Páśupata cultus, whose followers finally became Yogís, was established I cannot pretend to decide. I am inclined to believe in the former hypothesis, for they themselves have a tradition, that they came from the west, having formerly been pupils of Sankaráchárya, who were expelled by him for indulging in spirituous liquor. Besides, they reject, to the present day, the authority of Bráhmans, and have their own priests; and this is just what would be expected from people coming from Buddhistic Nipál. They rose too to power under a dynasty of Pálas, most of the members of which family were Buddhists. Be that as it may, this much however is certain, that at the time of Mánik Chandra, the Yogís practised a Saiva religion and worshipped a deified teacher of their sect, also worshipped in Nipál, named Gorakshanáth. Gorakshanáth moreover, had already supplanted Siva himself, and was alone worshipped by his followers.
The poem annexed bears abundant witness to this. At every Nodus whether Vindice dignus or not, he is brought in as a deus ex machina;
Sixth in descent from Matsyendra Náth, in the time of spiritual teachers, comes Goraksha Náth, who, according to this, ought to have flourished in the 8th century. There must however be some mistake here, for it is known that Goraksha Náth was a contemporary of Kabir, and held a controversy with him which is extant (Gorakh Náth ki Goshṭhí, W. I. 213), and Kabír lived in the 15th century. Hence, unless the list of teachers in the Hatha Pradipa (W. I. 214) is incorrect, Matsyendra Náth must have lived at a much later period than that tentatively assigned to him by Wilson. Another Narendra Deva reigned in Nipál in the 12th century, and it is possible that it is he who introduced Matsyendra Náth, in which case the discrepancy would not be so outrageous. But, here another difficulty arises, we find that we must date Goraksha Náth's pupils' pupil as flourishing in the 14th century, a fact which agrees better with the theory of Narendra Deva II; but then, what becomes of Kabír ?
We have seen that Matsyendra Náth taught Pasupata Saivism, and it is a well known fact that the Kanpháṭá Yogis, to which sect those who sing the Mánik Chandra song belong, are the representatives at the present day of that form of religion. The above account in no way tallies with the tradition mentioned later on, in the text, that the Fogís were errant pupils of Sankaráchárya, nor is such a story borne out by the Sankara Vijaya. In chapter 41, Sankara successfully combats the Yoga doctrine, but he treats his opponents with a respect which he would never extend to backsliding disciples (S. V. c. 41. Bibl. Indica, Ed. p. 198).
That the Yogís rapidly became an important sect is evident from the numerous temples dedicated to Goraksha Náth, not only in Nipál but in the Panjab and North West Provinces. We read that the Emperor Akbar consorted with them. He was initiated into their learning, and, on one occasion, ate with them, at one of their festivals,
not as an ordinary saint, but leading the whole Hindú Pantheon, and the characters of the Mahábhárata to boot. It is Gorakshanáth, and not Siva, who grants a boon, or comforts a sorrowing widow on her husband's funeral pyre. As he is considered in Nipál, so he is here, a saint whose austerities have rendered him not only an omnipotent but The Omnipotent, and who has always been proof against the charms of the most wanton Apsarases ever sent for a holy man's seduction by a terrified Svarga. We are bound therefore to assume that the guru of the Lady Mayaná, whatever his name was, and whom for the sake of simplicity we can call the Siddha was a Yogí, i. e. a Saiva by religion, and professed doctrines which were professed also by semi-Buddhist races in Nipál.
As this introduction relates to the Mánik Chandra poem, I shall, now that I have stated my opinion concerning his identity, for the future call him as he is called in the modern edition of the poem, the Háḍi Siddha.
The Hádi Siddha was, as I have already said, of great power, but his pupil Mayaná, by dint of continued practice of her magic art, became greater still. She could control everything but fate; and the whole of the poem is nothing but a description of her struggles with that resistless passive energy.
According to universal tradition both in Buchanan's time, and at the present day, her husband, Mánik Chandra was brother of Dharma Pála. This I have before shown, is an impossibility if the names are correct.
In order to obtain an approximate date for Dharma Pála it is necessary to consider two lists of dynasties. They are now-a-days the traditional history, and they agree with Buchanan's account. The following are those I have collected :
6. Here Buchanan reasonably suggests a period of anarchy.
According to Buchanan, Nílámbara was defeated by Husain Sháh about the year 1500 A. D.; and thus, allowing six reigns to a century, (a moderate estimate), we must date Dharma Pál as having flourished