These Vishnu, Siva, Sikh and Muslim strata of ascetics also started fighting for control of trading routes, festivals and territory. The pilgrimage centres to which they flocked became centres for trading horses and camels. Even if they were ascetics, they had big households of concubines (tawaif), slave wives, children, servants and slaves.
In early Indian colonial times – around 1750 – the British encountered to an increasing degree these militant ascetics. They became a thorn in the flesh of the British rulers as the latter slowly spread their control out over India. The warrior ascetics were often impossible to control due to their itinerant character and they embodied local competition to the British. And they were not just small fry. In fact these fighting ascetics now dominated trade and money lending in Northern India. They also dominated the religious market of festivals and travelling. Some of them – the Vaishnavite Bairagi monks – controlled religious festivals in the north taxing the pilgrims. At one festival – the kumbh at Ujjain in 1850 – it is reported that the British had to step in and protect rival religious orders attending the festival from being slaughtered by the Bairagis (Pinch 1996).
Let the forefinger touch the thumb and lower the eyelids as Yoga poses for back pain already described. During this practice, all thoughts and perceptions of the ordinary mind are Yoga poses for back pain discarded. All thoughts and perceptions which arise are cast gently but firmly aside. In other words, you stop thinking. The moment you realize you are thinking, simply will the thoughts away. Practice this technique for approximately three minutes. You must continually be aware of arising thoughts or you will lose many seconds in distraction. Through this technique you are gradually able to shut offthe ordinary mind for several minutes each day and you will soon become aware of the inestimable value of being able to do so.
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