A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Yogeys

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*YOGEYS, (SANAISYS, or SUNASEES,) Hindoo Devotees, who practise a variety of self-tortures, and mortify the body in order to merit heavenly felicity, and obtain the immaterial nature of Brahma, the supreme. In the Mahabarat, a Yogey is thus defined: "The man who keepeth the outward accidents from entering the mind, and his eyes fixed in contemplation between his brows; who maketh his breath pass equally through his nostrils; ...... keeping his head, his neck, and his body steady without motion, his eyes fixed on the point of his nose, looking at nothing else around," &c. he is a Yogey —and is forever blessed.

These Yogeys, as practices of self-devotion, cast themselves down on spikes stuck in bags of straw, walk on fire, pierce themselves with pins, and bore their tongues; but the most famous act of devotion is swinging by means of honks drawn through their backs and sides, and fastened with ropes to trees, by which they will spin round very rapidly for half an hour or more. And some poor creatures, in order to be sure of going to heaven (as they suppose) cast themselves under the wheels of the chariot of Jaggernaut,[1] and are voluntarily crushed to death.[2]

Original footnotes[edit]

  1. In the interior part of Hindostan an idol, called Jaggernaut, is worshipped by immense numbers, who make frequent pilgrimages to his temple in Orisa. On these occasions the idol is brought forth on a stupendous car or tower, about sixty feet in height, amidst the acclamations of hundreds of thousands of worshippers, who resort thither from various parts of India. Many of whom sacrifice themselves to this idol; numbers of pilgrims die on the road; and their bodies frequently remain unburied. See Buchanan's Researches, p. 1, 5, 106, and his Apology for Christianity in India.
  2. Sketches relating to the Hindoos. Ward's account of the religion and manners of the Hindoos.