– Dr. Rinkoo Wadhera
Mān Singh (1783–1843) was the last independent MahaRājā of Mārwār Kingdom and Jodhpur State (r. October 1803 –September 1843). He was designatedheir apparent by his grandfather MahaRājā Vijay Singh on 7th November 1791. However upon Vijay Singh’s demise, Rājā Mān Singh ’s cousin, Bhīm Singh seized Jodhpur and proclaimed himself as the ruler of Mārwār.
Lt Col James Tod, the cebrated author of (Annals and Antiquities of Rājāsthan, 1971) writes:
The biography of Mān Singh would afford a remarkable picture of human patience, fortitude and human constancy, never surpassed in any age or country ….. I receive the most convincing proofs of his intelligence and minute knowledge of his past history, not of his own country alone, but India in general…. He was remarkable well read and at this and other visits, he afforded me much instruction. He had copies made for me, of the chief histories of his family, which are now deposited in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Rājā Mān Singh ‘s intellect, penetrating glance, intelligence, courage, audacity and achievements in the field of art and architecture have been documented in various treatises and poetry. Besides being a patron of art and architecture, Mān Singh leftbehind a rich legacy of prose and treatises on topics of religious and social importance which stand testimony to the multifaceted personality of the scholar king.
Divine Kingship and Religious Legitimation:
The creation of divine kingship and its legitimation through religion is a carefully crafted process, ritualistic in its aim and precision. The king, by glorifying the deity( or Yogī) places himself in an exalted position—of someone blessed by a higher power, protected by gods. The king contributes to the deity’s authority through grants and gifts and the deity channelizes divine authority by becoming a tool of gods’ favour, thereby legitimating kingship.
The Nāth Yogīs have contributed to this process for a long time. In the 19th century, the absence of a supreme power in India, the long warfare between the Company’s forces and the Marathas, the government of Rathores rife with internal conflicts, the disturbances caused by the conflicts between the ruler and the chiefs and the consequent necessity of defence of the state made the possibility of the dawn of the British interference in Mārwār inevitable. In fact, the weakening of Marathas and the Rathores facilitated the British to cherish the ambition of the expansion of their political sphere of influence in Mārwār.
Rājā Mān Singh presents the typical Indian view of kingship and its legitimation through a religious tradition. To place his kingdom under a cult’s patronage and draw his power from a deity or a guru is a common way for a king to legitimate his power. The core of the legitimation was created by the double-helix of sacred authority and temporal power. The legitimation of the early medieval Guhila state, first through their patronage of Brahmins and later, through linkage with Ekalinga and the Pashupat sect presents an excellent example of the same. The aid provided to the Gorkha King Prithvinarayan Shah( 1723-1775) by Yogī BhagvantaNāth whose magical exploits bestowed upon the king, conquering power and steadfastness, are documented in the GorakhNāthVamṣavali(The Chronicle of the Gorakha). So, it is written that the Yogī’s powers directly aided him in consolidating the small western Nepalese kingdoms under the rule of the Gorkha.
In the case of Mārwār , this first mythic level, the kingship of Rājā Mān Singh was aided by the Jodhpur Nāths, the kanphata Yogīs and as such, the religious heirs of Guru GorakhNāth. The most prominent among the Nāths who associated themselves with the king –Āyas Deo Nāth, Lado Nāth and their followers have numerous legends associated with them following the norm of Nāth hagiographies that indicate their contemporary legendarisation and a posteriorideification.
Ludlow & the King’s ‘Insanity’:
Draped in a thin white cloth, hair matted, sitting in perfect composure in the burning heat of the desert of Mārwār in 1843, the majestic and spiritual ruler of the Rajput kingdom of Jodhpur, Rājā Mān Singh appeared to Captain J. Ludlow, the British political agent, a “religious mendicant. He had already abandoned his palace a year before and begun living a small house in Jodhpur city.
Mān Singh had long been known for his religious idiosyncrasies, so Capt. Ludlow wasn’t perturbed by his strange appearance. In September 1839, the British, through a show of armed force, had persuaded Mān Singh to remove Nāth Yogīs from positions of political power and expel them along with their followers from Jodhpur. This action had provoked a bout of rage in the king and resulted in a show of open defiance to British authority. In the autumn of 1841, the the Nāth Yogīs were once again reinstated in the city, much to British chagrin.
In 1804, MahaRājā Mān Singh kicked the British offer for a friendly alliance and advanced assistance and shelter to the most prominent anti-British elements of his day including Jaswant Rao Holkar, Amirs of Sindhand Appa Sahib of Nagpur. The king, far from co-operating with them in their policy of suppressing the anti-British Chiefs, flamed anti-British views and refused to allow the British to interfere in his internal matters.
Ludlow remembered that the Jodhpur State had ‘insulted the British supremacy’ a number of times, and ‘rendered itself insensible to treaty obligations- The king even refused to comply with the request of the British Government to assist them in their operations against the ‘Thugs’. On being asked by the Governor-General not to give shelter to the anti-British elements, the king insisted upon his right to afford shelter to the refugees. He treated letters of admonition from the Governor General with supreme indifference and refused to attend even the Ajmer Durbar of William Bentinck in 1832 . It was only after leading a major expedition against the Jodhpur State in 1839 and making a show of their armed strength that the British Government could impose upon him, a resident. Mān Singh ’s career represents a life-long struggle against the forces of British interference and towards the end of his reign when the British arrested two of his religious directors, he preferred, in sheer disgust, the career of a recluse to that of a puppet prince.
Ascendency of Nāth Power:
In 1803, the nobles led by grandee Thakur Sawai Singh were thinking of supporting the cause of Dhonkal Singh for the throne of Mārwār. The existence of Mān Singh as a ruler was threatened. At that time Mān Singh wasoffered by the British Government an alliance which was very favourable to him. It was an alliance between two independent sovereigns. Mān Singh could secure his lost territories from Sindhia through this without paying any tribute to either Sindhia or the British Government. But Mān Singh , a shrewd and astuteruler, was well acquainted with the methods of the British and was therefore, wary of any treaty with them. He anticipated that the British will put a stranglehold on his state through employment of an agent , ” interfere in all their private concerns, countenance refractory subjects against them and make the most ostentations exhibition of their exercise of autonomy” and subsequently undermine him. He refused to ratify the treaty and went as far as siding with the Maratha generals Jaswant Rao Holkar and Daulat Rao Sindhia whose predecessors had wrought much misery upon the Mārwār state in the past.
In 1835, the Jodhpur Government was asked to make an annual payment of Rs. 1,15,000 towards the Jodhpur Legion (which was then raised) in lieu for the contingent of 1500 horses and in 1839 a military expedition was undertaken against Mān Singh . The Nāths, with their slit ear-lobes presented a fierce and strange aspect as administrators to the British. Known as Jogeshur Sarup or Āyasji, Nāths have been Gurus of many Rajput clans. During the period of MaharaRājāMān Singh ‘s rule (1804-1843) the Nāth influence was one of the dominant factors in the history of Mārwār. Its origin can be traced to the days when Man was caught in the throes of misfortune and when the unexpected death of MahaRājā Bhīm Singh freed him from all the perils and placed him on the gādi (royal seat) of Mārwār. But he was threatened by the presence of another claimant to the throne, Dhonkal Singh (the posthumous son of Bhīm Singh). After withstanding a long siege at the fort of Jalor to escape his enemies(the supporters of Dhonkal Singh) a dejected Mān Singh was almost on the verge of surrendering to the besieging troops of Bhīm Singh, when Āyas Deo Nāth pronounced that “no capitulation was inscribed in the book of fate whose page revealed brighter days for Man(the king)”. The British, however, viewed Āyas Deo Nāth and his successors with a jaundiced eye as power abusers and lackadaisical administrators. They justified British interference in the affairs of Mārwār state on the grounds of mis-government, the ascendancy of Nāths, and the consequent disaffection and insurrection.
MahaRājā and the Nāth-s:
The long history of Rājā Mān Singh ’s activities and his various letters to associates reveal anti-British feeling and national fervour that guided his relations with the East India Company. When at the fag end in the affairs of the state the king was so disgruntled with the British and his subsequent toothless state that he preferred to be a renunciate than bear humiliation at the hands of foreigners. In 1814 the circumstances in Mārwār were so adverse to him that the MahaRājā feigned madnessand became a recluse, abandoning all power to the Nāths and the ruling junta headed by Pokrana faction.
In his letter of June 12, 1840, Ludlow objected to Mān Singh allowing Jasrup and Rawat Mal (Nāth Sadhus), to interfere in the internal affairs of the State and poisoning the ears of Mān Singh against the British Government, to come to Jodhpur. This perception was also a result of highly antagonistic relationship between the British and MahaRājā Mān Singh , in whose reign, the Nāths of Mahamandir became extremely assertive. They had been instructed to move to the outskirts of Mārwār, but in flagrant disobedience of British order, Mān Singh ’s open encouragement allowed the ascetics to visit Jodhpur openly. The letter shows that even Mān Singh was suspected of having helped the ascetics. Through his Kharita of July 6, 1840, he protested against the interference of the Nāths in State-affairs and their influence over Mān Singh . He even objected to the apathy and indifference shown by the MahaRājā and referred to various irregularities in the state administration, stressing over MahaRājā’s non-compliance with instructions from the British Government. These threats reveal the extent of British interference in the states they administered.
The Legends of Nāths:
As the narratives of Charans were fading from public memory, other narratives throve in the rural social space patronized by pastoral and artisanal groups in the Thar desert. These narratives were sometimes religious in nature like the epics of Pabuji, Devnarayanji, Ramdeoji, Gugaji, Tejaji, Harbhuji or times they centered on long lost tales of love and separation like DholaMaru, Moomal-Mahindro, Umar-Marvi etc. It is significant that almost all these narratives feature Nāth Yogīs. This shows the entrenched presence of Nāths in the Thar social, cultural and religious spheres. These epic poems were sung in particular gatherings and had been recreated several times over in the past. Like the narration of bats, these narrations were also marked by observance of strict rituals and etiquette, with clear demarcations of the prescribed and proscribed.
The epic of Pabuji is part of the warrior cattle protector tradition, in which Rajput heroes have emerged as the protector deities of pastoral castes. A most fascinating connection emerges among the panjpirs, as the pentad of deities is addressed in the Thar. Gugaji a Chauhan hero is believed to protect cattle against snakebites. He, along with Harbhuji, a SankhlaRajput, MalliNāthji, a Rathor Rajput and Ramdeoji a Tanwar together are worshipped as folk deities in the Thar and in some cases, individually by particular communities.
The Epic of Pabuji reveals the presence of GorakhNāthand his followers in the lore of panj pirs:
Pabuji, who is believed to have lived sometime in the fourteenth or the fifteenth century CE was the son of Dhandhal Rathor of Kolu. He was born of a celestial nymph, who extracted a promise from Dhandhal that he would never spy on her. She gave birth to two of Dhandhal’s children Pabuji and Sonabai, who had two other children from another wife Kamalade, called Buroji and Pemabai. Dhandhal failing to overcome his curiosity decided to visit her unannounced and found her in the form of a tigress suckling the infant Pabuji. As Dhandhal had spied on her, she left him and Pabuji was raised by Narratives of Mobility and Mobility of Narratives 233 Kamalade, the first wife. Pema Bai was married to JindraoKhichi of Jayal, in order to settle a feud that had resulted in the death of Sarangde the father of Jindrao, while Sona Bai was married to the Devraruler of Sirohi. Buroji’s marriage was contracted with a Guhilot clan of Dadreva. Pabuji resisted his own marriage, but later was convinced to marry the Sodha princess Phulwanti of Umarkot, a marriage that was never consummated. Panaji displayed his miraculous powers even as a child and though all lands and authority rested in Buroji, as he was the elder son, Pabuji continued with his exploits around Kolu. Seven Bhil brothers, Chando, Dhembho, Khapu, Pemalo, Khalmal, Khangro and Chasal, who had become involved in a feud with Ano Vaghela of Gujarat, and thus sought refuge in Mārwār, approached him. The Bhil brothers became his companions and followers as they realized that he was no ordinary mortal. Along with the Bhils, a Raika named Harmal and Salji Solanki, an augerer, also accompanied Pabuji in all his pursuits. Meanwhile, one day Pabuji’s sister Sonabai was whipped by her husband when she entered an argument with a co-wife, who was the daughter of Ano Vaghelaover Pabuji`s association with the Bhils. She appealed to Pabuji who decided to revenge the insult meted out to his sister and settle the feud of the Bhils with Ano Vaghela. For this he needed a mount, which he got in the form of the black mare Kesar Kalami, given to him by Charani Deval, who had moved to Kolu with her cattle and clan. She had earlier refused to give the mare to Burojias well as to Jindrao Khichi. The reason for this was that the mare had in previous birth been the mother of Pabuji. In return Pabuji promised to protect the cattle of Deval, particularly against Jindrao Khichi, who had set his heart upon the mare. He also granted her the pastures of Jujaliyoand the Nibali Tank. As promised he defeated Jindrao and extended his protection to the cattle wealth of the Deval. At the occasion of the marriage of niece Kelam with Gogade Chauhan of Sambhar, Pabuji promised Kelam the gift of ratibhuri (red-brown) shecamels from Lanka. On being teased about the she-camels by her sisters-inlawKelam appealed to Pabuji, who decided to send Harmal Raika to spy on the she-camels in Lanka. Harmal reluctantly went to Lanka in the garb of aNāth ascetic and won over the trust of the camel herders, with the help of the powers that his guru GorakhNāth had given him. While coming back he branded the she-camels in the name of Pabuji. When Harmal Raika returned with the news of camels, Pabuji set off with his men and magically crossed the seas to reach Lanka. After a fierce battle with Ravan, the camels were obtained. Half of these were given to Kelam, who left them to graze in the gardens of her sisters-in-law in Sambhar, while the other half was entrusted to Harmal Raika. On his way back with camels, Pabuji passed Umarkot where the Sodhi princess Phulwanti beseeched her parents to marry her to Pabuji Rathor. After the camels had been delivered a date was set for Pabuji’s wedding but Pabuji still prevaricated and desired to plunder the saffron fields of Lakhu Pathan to dye the turbans of the wedding party. Finally after the saffron was obtained and the turbans dyed in the fashion of Rajputs going for climactic battles, Pabuji agreed to go to Umarkot to marry Phulwanti. Chando, who was marrying off his seven daughters around the same time, was left behind in Kolu. As the wedding procession was setting off, the Charani Deval approached it and demanded to know who would protect her cattle while Pabuji would be gone. He promised to return as soon as she called even from the wedding pavilion. The wedding party encountered a number of ill omens and was advised to return by the sagani Salji Solanki, but Pabuji refused as he had made a commitment to the Sodhas. As Pabuji was getting married, Jindrao Khichi stole the cattle of Deval. She appeared as a bird and appealed to Pabuji. He immediately cut the nuptial knot and rode out to fight the Khichi. The seven Bhil bridal parties of twenty Bhil archers each, who had arrived to marry the seven daughters of Chando also joined the battle. Dhembo and Pabuji freed the cattle of Deval. Pabuji made Dhembo spare the life of Khichi as he was his sister’s husband. In this battle his fiercest companion Dhembo was killed, as he had fed his entrails to the vultures on the way to the battle. As they were returning the cattle to Deval, she insisted that Pabuji water the cattle from a well that she had already caused to be dried up through the agency of Susiyo Pir. Pabuji defeated the Pir, and watered the animals but Deval found a one eyed calf missing who was finally located in the opium box of Dhembo. In the meantime, Jindrao Khichi managed to enlist the support of his uncle Jaisingh Bhati and attacked Pabuji, who at the climactic moment ascended to heavens in a palanquin while his brother Buroji was slain in battlefield. The Sodhi princess and Dod-Gehali, the wife of Buroji both committed sati. Buroji’swife was pregnant at the time and she cut her belly and gave away the child who was called Jharadoji, to be raised by her mother. On being finally told about his father’s and uncle’s death, again through the agency of Deval, he killed Jindrao Khichi and sought his revenge. He later became the Nāth sage RupNāth, who is worshipped along with his uncle Pabuji.
The other aspect of the imagery of Rajput warrior was that of warrior as an ascetic. Pabuji is revered as a warrior-ascteic, Lakshman jatti as the celibate warrior, the renunciant who is prepared to give up worldly pleasures for the sake of his duty. Harmal Raika is initiated into the Nāth tradition and he fulfils all conditions of ‘becoming a Nāth’, including visiting his mother and wife in the guise of a jogi. “This part of the Pabuji epic has similarities with the tradition of Rājā Bharthari and Gopichand which requires the former kings to test their resolve by visiting their palaces as jogis.”
The Legend of Nāths in Jodhpur- MehrangarhFort:
The Jodhpur Fort of Mehrangarh is situated on a hill called Bhakucheeria . According to a legend, Rao Jodhadisplaced the hill’s sole human resident, ChidiyaNāthji, by soliciting help from the goddess Karni Mata, the patron deity of the Charans. While fleeing the old hillock of Bhakucheeria , ChidiyaNāthji cursed RaoJodha and his descendants that the fortress would always remain short of water and power. To pacify the devatas and neutralise the curse, Rao Jodha buried a man named Rājāram Meghwal alive at the foundations of the fort as narbali. This spot is now named RaoJodha falsa and, even today, members of the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur make a gift to the descendants of the Meghwal family every year on the anniversary of foundation of the fort.
Nāths Yogīs in Rajputana:
Nāth Yogīs in Rajputana had attained a pre-eminencelong time ago, which can be traced to the formation of the Guhila state. Bappa Rawal’s Guru Harit Rishi was a Siddha Yogī. Chauhans of Jalor and the Parmars of Abu were also great devotees of the Yogīs of the Rawalbranch. The kings of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and earlier Jaipur also had Nāth Yogīs as preceptors. The Nāthawats and Champawats of Jaipur, and the Kumpavat Rajputs of Mārwār were also Nāth devotees. Their tents, flags and even the drapes of their saddles were saffron. Jalor was the most important centre of JalandharNāth’s disciples in Mārwār. The chief guru of the sect in that area was ChidiyaNāth, who practiced sadhna at the Chidiya Toonk Bhankri of the Bhīmsenhills. Later Palasani also became an important place for the Nāths wherefrom, after the arrival of RaoJodha, ChidiyaNāth removed his dhuni. The Nāths were known by various epithets– Sadhu, Yogī Nāth, JogesharSarup and AĀyasji.
Nāths Yogīs in Mārwār:
Although Mān Singh was born and brought up in a family devoted to Puṣti mārga branch of the Vaishnavasect, in his formative years , he came under the direct influence of Shri AĀyasdev Nāth, the chief priest of the ‘JalandharaNāth Peeth’ of Jalor and a powerful siddhawho wielded great power in Mārwār due to his ascetic powers. In a memo dated 7th March, 1831, the superintendent of Ajmer, Cavendish wrote to Major Octerlony about the Nāth’s dedication to public service combined with his fierce asceticism which had entrenched him firmly in the fabric of Mārwār society. He had the power of prophesy and was feared for his disciplinary zeal.
In 1762, Mān Singh started visiting the Nāth math located near the fort and gradually, his relations with AĀyasdev Nāth became cordial and he developed ardent devotion to the Guru and the sampradaya . He mentions the same in his letters of 1851 and 1852 written to Singhvi Fatehmal. Reciprocatively, AĀyasDeo Nāth also supported Mān Singh in his political ventures by collecting funds, cavalry, food grains and mercenaries to aid his ascension. Also, Mān Singh ,once he ascended to the gādi of Mārwār, he believed it to be through the blessings of JalandharNāth due to the prophecy of his Guru. In 1804, the MahaRājāpublically accepted AĀyas Deo Nāth’s tutelage and donated ten thousand rupees (annually) as well as property to him and his brothers. He built numerous temples dedicated to Nāths, in Punjab and Rājāsthanand granted tax-collection rights to Āyas Deo Nāth and his brothers. He built the grand temple town of Mahamandir dedicated to Āyas Deo Nāth outside the Nagori gate on April 1804 (Vikram Samvat 1861 that could house nearly 2500 people and had 570 houses. The overall construction cost including its extensive walls, canals and terraces is estimated to be 40 lakhrupees. The king also passed orders to construct Nāthtemples in all parganas of Mārwār. This gives an idea of the Nāth power and prestige in Mārwār state.
Mān Singh ’s correspondence with Nāth-s in other parts of India:
Mān Singh was initiated into the Nāth sampraday on 23rdSeptember, 1805 in a grand ceremony which involved large grants of monies and property to Nāths invited from all over the country. The king’s dedication and patronage of the sect drew Nāths from various parts of India to Rājāsthan. Many common people were inspired to be initiated into the order. Infact, Rājā Mān Singh made Nāths an official part of his state administration by setting protocols for their welcome and inscribing the name of JalandharNāth on his official correspondence, land grants, parwanas and sanads.
Through his connection with the Nāths, Rājā Mān Singh tried to consolidate power and network all over the country. He started to consult important Nāth siddhasacross India on important religious and political questions matters and started to use their services not only to collect books on religion, tantrashastra,astronomy etc. for his library, but also to get information about the expansion of British power in India. It is known from the king’s correspondence with prominent Nāth Sadhus living in Agra, Kashi, Haridwar, and other remote places of the country that he used to provide financial aid to these ascetics in exchange for detailed information on developments related to British administration. There isn’t enough evidence available to prove that Mān Singh established relations with the Nāth ascetics specifically for anti-British activity or that his association with the ascetics actually transformed into a consolidation of power but his keen interest in British activities in Punjab, Sindh, Hyderabad and other places does indicate his involvement in the larger landscape of India under British rule. Therefore, his correspondence with Nāthscannot be limited to merely to esoteric aspirations.
The dominance of Āyas Deo Nāth in Mārwār:
Āyas Deo Nāth received a lot of influence and prestige in the state. He not only acted as the spiritual teacher of the MahaRājā, but the MahaRājā often consulted him in matters relating to state policy. The treaties of Mārwār state with Bikaner in 1808 and Jaipur in 1810 are directly credited to the efforts of Āyas Deo Nāth.Though the successors of Āyas Deo Nāth were neither as worthy nor wise as their ancestor, they continued to exercise great influence in Mārwār politics for many long years. They did help the MahaRājā escapedethronement at British hands once, but his influence and mental stability are known to be in decline after the death of his revered preceptor, Āyas Deo Nāth.
In the midst of dilemma and grave anxieties over MānSingh ’s ascension following Bhīm Singh’s demise ĀyasDeo Nāth acted as the king’s guide and mentor, who was unquestionably trustworthy and who tried his best to neutralize many of his enemies and earn public trust and reverence for the king did. His magnetic personality drew kings and commoners alike and he used it to enhance Mān Singh ’s stature as the ruler ofMārwār. That his followers and chieftains were not annoyed by the surrender of power and influence in favor of Āyas Deo Nāth by Mān Singh is evident from the parwanā dated 10 December 1806, signed bySinghvi Indra Raj and Nawab Mīr Khan through which, Mān Singh donated land to the Nāth Maṭha-s and gave them many facilities and a part of the non-agricultural income of some of the parganā-s. It contained signatures of all Champawat, Kumpawat, Udavat, Mertiya, Karnot, Jaitavat Thakurs and chhabbees(26)Joshis, Pushkarna brahmins and Mutsaddis with a sacred promise that they would honour the donations and facilities given to all the Nāth temples.
The praise and power showered by Mān Singh upon LadoNāth, BhīmNāth and Lakshmi Nāth alienated many important people in the state of Mārwār. The increased following of Nāth sampraday( more so in the hands of corrupt Nāth sadhus like the trio mentioned above) also created a threat of usurpment of the ancient puṣti mārga vaishnavism of the Mārwāri people by another tradition. In a letter to Maddock dated 17thApril, 1839, Sutherland has clearly expressed his anxiety over threat to British power in other parts of India due to increasing Nāth influence on the Mārwārking who was already in close correspondence with other abbots based in Punjab, Sindh and Hyderabad. In response, Sutherland was directed to remove Nāthsfrom all influential positions in Mārwār administration and the British agents worked to consolidate Nāthopposition to pressurize the king. The king was forced to keep the corrupt but loyal Nāths along his side to remain in power.
The British View of Nāths:
During the reign of Mān Singh , the reins of Jodhpur state administration remained more or less either in the hands of the Nāths or the political agents. In his letters to James Princep, Alves rues over the theincreased Nāth influence over Mān Singh since his accession to the gādi, through his Guru Deo Nāth. This also led the payment of tribute to the British Government fall in arrears, and accumulation of debt by the State and the MahaRājā needing to borrow money for his domestic expenses. He also writes that a considerable portion of the State territory was held by Nāths, Charans, and Jogis as jagīr, and no tax waslevied on them due to the dominance of the Nāths in the administration, and that a number of evils had set in by 1838. He goes on to write that lax governance made the country unsafe for travelers and that the frontiers of Jodhpur, on the side of Shekhawati and Bikaner, were in a continued state of plunder and confusion.
Mahāmandir, the centre of Nāth power in Jodhpur at the time, is a work of Yogīc art, best known for the murals of eighty-four āsanas (postures) in the main, central enclosure.
Mān Singh ‘s behaviour has also been interpreted as a convenient facade that kept him from facing many difficult situations regarding his rule and vis-a-vis, the British, more specifically. Though his insanity is often interpreted as a convenient facade to escape accountability, since it was capable of being diminished and heightened at will, the king’s anguish at the death of his preceptor, his tradition and the imminent threat to his ruler ship cannot be ruled out as probable reasons for his behaviour . That he remained strangely composed through the coronation and sudden demise of the crown prince and yet, displayed bizarre madness in the presence of his wives, is a perplexing aspect of his persona. He was also suspicious of a plot of his assassination and exercised due care to protect himself.
Mān Singh patronised the composition of works on yoga and the Nāths, and the collection and copying of a large number of existing manuscripts on yoga. A large collection of these manuscripts is housed in the MānSingh Pustak Prakash at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. The collection provides an account of the development of yoga in northern India in the first half of the nineteenth century. Mān Singh commissioned a lot of artwork on Yogīc themes that reveals Jodhpur asan important centre for the production of knowledge about Haṭhayoga.
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Dr. Rinkoo Wadhera ICSSR Post Doctoral FellowSarayu Trust Fellow
Core Faculty- CHSR, Sarayu Trust.