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Warrior Ascetics in Indian History

David N. Lorenzen
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 98, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1978), pp. 61-75
DOI: 10.2307/600151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/600151
Page Count: 15
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Warrior Ascetics in Indian History
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Abstract

Warrior ascetics first arose in India some time after the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. The earlier existence of violent conflict between kings and temples is documented for Kashmir in the Rājataraṅginī. The basis of this conflict was in large measure economic. Under Muslim rule this economic conflict continued but was also given religious sanction. This seems to have altered the situation sufficiently to provoke the creation of military orders of ascetics. Even so, these orders became politically significant only after the collapse of the Mughal Empire, and more particularly after British activities created political and economic chaos in the second half of the eighteenth century. One result of this chaotic situation was the so-called Sannyasi Rebellion, a complex phenomenon whose main participants were in fact Muslim fakirs. After the consolidation of British rule no scope remained for the different groups of warrior ascetics and they rapidly declined in importance.

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