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Jangama

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Jangama (wandering religious teacher)

Jangama is the third Ashtavarna that is peculiar to Veerashaivism and such concept found no where in other religions. Jangama is a nomadic Jeevanmukha travelling around in the country for guiding the devotees in their quest for spiritual and cultural exercises. Hence, he is considered to be equal to Guru as well to the Godhead himself, the Linga.

The goal of the soul is the liberation from its earthly limitations. The liberated soul therefore possesses unlimited knowledge; it can transcend time and see the past, the present, and the future. The person with liberated soul has neither fear nor sorrow or pride nor anger. He/She has no desire to possess family, property, wealth, or anything of that nature, which are considered to be commodities of ordinary persons. In essence, the liberated soul has no desire. Such persons are Jangamas. The spell of Maya is nothing but soul's activities of desire, knowing, and doing. Jangamas are completely out of Maya's spell and hence require no place to live in or things to enjoy. They travel around selflessly and reveal the ultimate truths of religion. They tender valuable guidance regarding spiritual discipline and religious exercises and hence they are indispensable.

Jangamas are very distinct in their nature. If the body perishes at the liberation it means that all the fruits of the past actions have been experienced. If it does not, it follows that there are some acts still left whose fruits the body has yet to experience. Thus, there are two kinds of liberated souls; (1) those that leave the body at liberation, and (2) those that continue with the body even after liberation. The Jivanmukta Jangamas belong to the second kind. These Jangamas possess infinite love for God and they shower that love onto not liberated souls.

Jangamas are unique in the sense that they occupy dual position in the society. They are human beings and God in one and are hence are useful to human beings in both capacities. They are the embodiment of God, and hence demonstrate to us the existence of God. They are human beings like us, and hence we can understand and communicate with them. We can derive the meaning of true love, true knowledge, and true action. Their very presence brings us joy and sense of uplift in us. They are Shivasharanas (saints) as well as men of endless spiritual powers. Therefore, they are the best objects of our worship. Worship of them is considered to be equal to the worship of God. This is why the Jangama is the third shield and is to be worshipped as reverentially as Linga and Guru. In actuality, no distinction is justified between the first three Ashtavarnas, the Guru, Linga, and Jangama

Jangama is one who is endowed with the true knowledge, sacrificed his life for the soceity, and avoided all the worldly happiness and attained the divine happiness.

The Jangams are the priests or gurus of the Lingāyats. They migrated from Basavakalyana, Karnataka in order to propagate the Lingayat relgion, and to act as priests for those who do not avail the services of others for performing religious rites.

Jangama , a Sanskrit word, etymologically means that which moves. When this word applied to a person, in the context of Lingayath religion, it symbolizes a man who moves from place to place preaching moral and religious values.

ಜಂಗಮ ಜಂಗಮವೆಂದು ನುಡಿದು,
ಜಗದ ಹಂಗಿಗರಾಗಿ ಇರಲಾಗದು.
ಜಗದ ಕರ್ತನ ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಡಿದುಕೊಂಡು
ಜಂಗುಳಿಗಳ ಬಾಗಿಲ ಕಾಯಲಾಗದು.
ಜಂಗಮದ ಸುಳುಹು ಎಂತಿರಬೇಕೆಂದರೆ,
ತನ್ನ ನಂಬಿದ ಸಜ್ಜನರ ಸದ್ಭಕ್ತರಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಲಿಂಗವಾಗಿ ಗಮಿಸಿ,
ತಾ ಕಂಡ ಲಿಂಗಾಂಗವನು ಅಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ನಿಕ್ಷೇಪಿಸಿ,
ತಾ ನಿರ್ಗಮನಿಯಾಗಿ ಸುಳಿಯಬಲ್ಲರೆ, ಜಂಗಮಲಿಂಗವದು
ಇಂತಲ್ಲದೆ ಕಂಡವರ ಕಾಡಿ ಬೇಡಿಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಕೊಂಡಾಡಿ, ಕೊಡದಿದ್ದಡೆ ಜರಿದು,
ತಾಗು ನಿರೋಧಕ್ಕೆ ಗುರಿಯಾಗಿ ನೋವುತ್ತ, ಬೇವುತ್ತ ಧಾವತಿಗೊಂಬ ಗಾವಿಲರ
ಎಂತು ಜಂಗಮವೆಂಬೆ, ಬಸವಪ್ರಿಯ ಕೂಡಲಚೆನ್ನಬಸವಣ್ಣಾ?/2146

English
If you say you are jangama
you must not be in the obligation of the world;
holding the creator of the world in hand
you must not wait at the door of all and sundry.
If you wish to know how the conduct of a jangama it is:
to the house of the virtuous devotees
who trust him he goes as linga
he leaves the wealth of the unity
of the linga and the body where he saw it
and moves freely, that isjangama-linga.
Instead he who begs all
flatters those who give
and scorn those who do not
get arrested, suffer the pain,
Basavapriya Koodala Chennabasavanna
how can I call such ignorant ones jangama? / 2146 [1]

The two main categories of Jangama are

1) Sthira

2) Chara.

Sthira Jangama:
is a person who, staying in math (mutt) i.e., a Lingayath monastery, has to carry on mass education, preaching to the local people, and giving them the necessary guidance to achieve spiritual progress, and to perform certain rites and rituals concerned with birth, marriage, death, holy communication on special occasions etc.

Chara Jangama is one who constantly moves around, preaching as he goes, without settling himself at any particular place and without accumulating any property of his own.

ಜಂಗಮವಿರಹಿತ ಲಿಂಗಾರ್ಚನೆ :ಓಡ ಬಿಲಲೆರೆದ ಜಲದಂತೆ.
ಜಂಗಮಸನ್ನಿಹಿತ ಲಿಂಗಾರ್ಚನೆ :ಇದೆ ಭಕ್ತಿಗೆ ಪಥವಯ್ಯಾ
ಜಂಗಮಪ್ರಸಾದಭೋಗೋಪಭೋಗವು :ಎನಗಿದೇ ಲಿಂಗಾರ್ಚನೆ.
ಬೇರೆ ಮತ್ತೊಂದನರಿದೆನಾದಡೆ,
ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವ ನರಕದಲ್ಲಿಕ್ಕುವ./199

English
Worship of linga without jangamais
like water poured into a cracked pot.
Worship of linga with jangama
It is the path of devotion.
Partaking with joy the prasaada of jangama
Is the worship of linga for me.
If I think something else
Koodalasangamadeva will place me in hell.
/ 199 [1]

[1] Number indicates at the end of each Vachana is from the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.

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