was an influential founder of the Nath Hindu monastic movement in India. His Shaivite followers are powerful monks and yogis found in India's Himalayan states, the western and central states and the Gangetic plains as well as in Nepal. They are called Gorakhnathis, Darshanis or Kanphatas; they venerate the Hindu deity Shiva and are famous for having been part of India’s warrior ascetic movement since the 14th-century CE, to militarily resist the Islamic and British colonial rule and develop martial arts.
Gorakhnathis are distinguished by their huge earrings which they wear in the hollows of their ears, and their name Kanphata refers to their unique practice of having the cartilage of their earlobes split for the insertion of those earrings. It is said that the tradition of splitting the ears originated with Gorakhnath himself.
In the final stage of their ceremony of initiation a specially chosen guru splits the central hollows of both ears with a two edged knife. The slits are plugged with sticks of neem wood; and, after the wounds have healed, large rings are inserted. These are a distinctive symbol of the yogi's faith. The rings are made of various substances; the rule seems to be that the initiate first wears rings of clay. Some yogis continue to wear earthen rings. But, since these are easily broken, others of more durable substances are usually substituted (e.g. rhinoceros horn and leather, ivory, wood, jade, silver).
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