Tuesday, November 11, 2014

93. Megh : Kashmir and cult of Rishi

"The first place of peculiar interest is the Mahometan convent of Baba Pam-Rishi (Father Smoothbeard). The name of Rishi does not, considered as a Musalman title, appear to be connected with the seven Rishis or Hindu sages, who spring direct from Brahma. The Rishis of Kashmir do not marry, and in that particular resemble European monks more than any other of the Mahometan ascetics, excepting perhaps the Mevlevis, whose founder died at Conyah, A. D. 1273. The Rishis seem to be peculiar to Kashmir, as the Dervysh to R6um, the Kulundur (signifying pure gold) to Iran, the Sofi to Bagdad, and the Khak-nishin (sitters in dust), or Fakirs, to Hindustan. The Kashmirians aflirm, that the founder of the sect of Rishis was a fakir named Khoja-Awys, who lived at Kurun, avillage of Yemen in Arabia, in the time of the Prophet; and they add, that Mohamed would never marchthere, saying, that the odour of God came up from Yemen, because the holy Khaja Awys lived there with his mother whom he took care of. The Rishis do not eat meat, and originally were wanderers in the jungul, living upon wild herbs, particularly one called Wopulhak. The lands and convent which belong to them, were given to them originally by the Mogul emperors, since which time it is said that no real Rishi has existed in Kashmir. Akber, when attempting to take Kashmir, was three times defeated, it is said, by the Chakk kings, in con sequence of the prayers of the Rishis. The tomb or shrine of Rishi Malu is at Islamabad, and has already been noticed. Abu Fuzl, says, that in the time of Akber, “the most respectable people of this country are the Rishis, who though they do not suffer themselves to be fettered with traditions, are doubtless true worshippers of God. They revile not any other sect, and ask nothing of any one. They plant the roads with fruit trees, to furnish the traveller with refreshment. They abstain from flesh and have no intercourse with the other sex.” He adds that there are nearly two thousand of this sect in Kashmir." Pages-163 to 165

Reference
"TRAVELS IN KASHMIR, LADAK, ISKARDO, THE COUNTRIES ADJOINING THE MOUNTAIN-COURSE OF THE INDUS, AND THE HIMALAYA, NORTH OF THE PANJAB"

BY G. T. VIGNE, Esq. F.G.S.

VOLUMES. VOL. II.
LONDON:
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. Publication: 1842

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