The word 'Dasnami' means ten-named, there being ten classes of mendicants descended from this remarkable man. However, only three of them have so far retained their purity as to entitle them to be called Sankara's Dandis. Their contributions are levied particularly upon the Brahmanical class, as whenever a feast is given to the Brahmans, the Dandis of this description reach there without any invitation. One can get rid of them by offering them a share of the viands.
Many of the Dasnami dandis practise yoga and profess to work miracles. The author of the 'Dabistan' informs about one person of this sect, who could keep his breath suspended for three hours, bring milk from his veins, cut bones with hair, and put eggs into a narrow-mouthed bottle without breaking them.
The remaining members of the Dasnami class, though they have degenerated from the purity of the Practice necessary to the original Dandis are still religious characters. They have only given up the staff or wand, the use of clothes, money, and ornaments. They prepare their own food and admit members from any order of Hindus.
These Dasnami dandis are often called as Atits and they frequently gather in Maths. They mix freely in the business of the world and carry on trade. They often accumulate property and some of them even go for marriage when they receive the name of Samyogi.
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(Last Updated on : 16-09-2009)
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