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Paintings > Mughal > Kanaphate Jogi
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Kanaphate Jogi

Kanaphate Jogi

Kanaphate Jogi

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Water Color painting on Old Urdu Paper

6.2" X 10.0"
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Kanaphate Jogi

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Viewed 3692 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This miniature, a classic of Avadha, or Provincial Mughal art style, depicts two royal damsels seeking the blessings of a 'faqir' who belongs to Gorakhnatha's Kanaphate sect and is hence a Kanaphate Jogi. The sect of Gorakhnatha is known to have bifurcated in later days into several branches of which Kanaphate was one. Kanaphate was a tantrika branch of the Natha sect and the ascetics of this branch were capable of accomplishing worldly desires, work miracles and dispel evil spirits and influences by the means of their tantrika powers. 'Kanaphate' literally meant 'kana', that is, 'ear' and 'phate', that is, 'cleave', meaning an ascetic who had his ears cleft. The ascetics of Kanaphate sect were required to pierce their ears and wear in them heavy rings made of clay, soft stone or copper like non-precious metals before they were admitted into the sect. Piercing ears was a ritual exercise in Kanaphate sect. Kanaphate Jogis were regular ascetics who, having renounced the family and worldly life, lived in forest, fed on alms, wore animal skin and had nothing to belong to them save a string of Rudraksha beads, an arm-rest and such few other articles. Wherever went or stayed a Kanaphate Jogi, there assembled people for seeking accomplishment of their desires. Under his spiritual influence in his vicinity neither a tiger harmed a rabbit nor a rabbit feared a tiger.

In this well executed portrait of a Kanaphate Jogi the artist has depicted him with all his attributes. He is seated on a deer skin and is clad in another one of a black buck. His left arm is on arm-rest and the right one on the head of the lady who has come to him seeking his blessings. She is paying her homage to the Jogi by caressing his feet. The other lady, almost as richly clad, is standing behind her with her hands folded in reverence. They are obviously from the ruling or at least upper rich class, however, out of reverence to the holy saint have come to him bare footed. Their confidence in the Jogi is wide writ on their faces.

The artist has placed the Jogi amidst a hilly terrain which save a few shrubs, barren plants and quite strangely a couple of Cyprus trees, an Iranian element, has hardly any vegetation. The rocks appear to have a little tilted for providing him umbrella like shade. Just in front of his seat there is a small pond with clean water and a few aquatic birds. A deer seated just by his side is attentively listening to its master. The upper column constituting the background has a couple of rabbits, a deer and a lion sitting close to each other like friends.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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