Early images of Nāth yogis in Maharashtra

Key information

7:00 pm to 8:15 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Vijay Sarde

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The Nātha sampradāya played a significant role in religious movements during the medieval period on the Indian subcontinent. Written records and oral traditions have preserved their traditions which are reflected in the archaeological sources as well. The archaeological assemblage of the Nātha sampradāya is dispersed all over India and dates from the c. 12th century to the present day in Maharashtra, where this lecture will focus. It includes temples, caves, inscriptions, images, and maṭhas .

The earliest depictions of Nātha-Yogīs are found on 12th-century temples such as Māṇakeśvara temple at Jhodge, Mahādeva temple at Mankeshvar, Kaṇkāleśvara temple at Beed, Nāganātha temple at Aundha and Daityasūdan temple at Lonar. This indicates that several Nātha-Yogīs were worshipped from the early period of the Nāthas here, images of Matsyendranātha, Gorakṣanātha, and Kāniphanātha dominate. It is also noticed that districts like Buldhana, Beed, Ahmednagar, and Pune have more images of the chief Nātha-Yogīs compared to other districts in Maharashtra.

Haṭhayoga is one of the important practices in Nātha sampradāya. Several early images of Yogic postures have been carved on the several temples. The references of several āsanas and other practices of Yoga depicted on temples and caves are seen in the contemporary literary sources.

This lecture will take us on a journey through early images of the Nātha-Yogīs in Maharashtra. It will highlight their importance, identification, and iconographic features.

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Speaker Biography

In 2019 Dr Vijay Sarde received his PhD from the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, at the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra on “Archaeological investigations of the Nātha Sampradāya in Maharashtra (c. 12th to 15th century CE)” . Previously he took a Post graduate diploma in Archaeology from PGRI Deccan College , Pune, Maharashtra. and an M. A. in History from University of Pune.

He has had several articles published on the Nātha sampradāya in various national and international journals and contributed ten entries on the Nātha sampradāya for the Marathi Encyclopedia of Government of Maharashtra. He is presently working as independent researcher in the field of Archaeology and History and has life memberships of the Indian History and Culture Society, New Delhi (IHCS) and The Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi (IAS).