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Bairagi Sect In Hinduism – Vaishnava Bairagis

Bairagi in Hinduism is a group of religious mendicants. They form the group themselves. The term ‘Bairagi’ is derived from the Sanskrit Vairagya meaning asceticism. They came to acquire that name on account of their mendicant life.

The founder of this order was Ramananda (14th -15th century AD).

The founder of this order originally belonged to the Vaishnava sect of Sant Ramanuja became unacceptable to his fellow members as he deviated from the code of conduct prescribed for them. This resulted in division within the order. The followers of Ramananda who came out were called Bairagis or Bavajis.

Bairagi so formed were Tengalai Vaishnavites who practiced a kind of strict mendicant life. They took meager food once a day and lived mainly on alms. They put a prominent Vaishnavite mark on the forehead (namam), and wore a necklace made of tulasi leaves and lotus seeds.

Scantily dressed, they grew long beards and tied their hair in a peculiar knot on top of their head.

They invariably carried a Shaligram stone which they worshiped even while they were traveling. Their God was Lord Rama.

Among the famous bairagis may be mentioned Sadhu Madho Dass who, it is said, converted to Sikhism when Guru Gobind Singh passed away in 1708. He was called Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. He checked the Mughals in the northwest and paved the way for the establishment of a Sikh kingdom. In this regard, there is a Bairagi association in Punjab.




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