Gosain, Hindu traditions in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Gosain are very religious. By tradition, they have removed themselves from material pleasures and live by collecting alms and looking after temples. They worship the Hindu god Shiva. They live in many parts of India but particularly in Uttar Pradesh in the Gonda and Gorakhpur regions.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many of the Gosain have now turned to other things for a living like agriculture, breeding cows for milk and government services.

The Gosain are landowners except in Maharashtra and the Punjab where most have no land. In Punjab they do rickshaw pulling, carpentry and other things while some beg. Some are weavers. They eat grain, lentils and vegetables and meat except for beef. Smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol happens a lot among them. Education takes place with the boys and the literacy level among females is much less than among males. They do family planning and use local and modern medicines.

Families usually arrange marriages. They believe in monogamy. Most marriages are now adult ones. If the wife cannot have children, the husband is allowed to keep his wife while marrying again. Divorce is allowed in such things as adultery, cruelty and impotence. Divorcees and the bereaved can remarry.

Only the sons inherit property and the oldest son becomes leader of the home. Women usually are only involved in social, religious and ritual matters. The Gosain have organizations that are national, regional and local that look after social, economic, religious and educational needs. A traditional community council is elected in the villages. They judge on things like divorce and family matters. When found guilty, fines are given or the guilty are boycotted. The money from the fine is given to a Shiva temple or a feast for the local people.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Gosain are Hindus and give their offerings to Hindu gods and goddesses. Shiva is their main god. Also they worship male and female clan gods. They do ceremonies they believe will rid them of evil spirits and please their god.

The Gosain go to the main Hindu pilgrimages that they believe to be holy. They celebrate all the Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali. They particularly celebrate Maha Shivaratri which means the great night of Shiva. It is they believe to do with the destruction and renewing of the universe.

Most Gosain bury their dead except in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi. Bodies are burned in big cities to avoid crowding of dead bodies. The dead are buried in a sitting down position towards the Kailash peak in the Himalayas as they believe that is the heavenly home of Shiva. There is death pollution for a set period and that is followed by a funeral feast at the end of it.

The Gosain are devoted to Shiva and are looking to find peace and happiness in God. They hope to be redeemed by living a life of hardship that they put on themselves and by a life of denial. (As they are wanting to find happiness in God, that may be an opportunity for the gospel message to be given to them).



Profile Source:   Anonymous  

Video Links:
A Pilgrimage
People Name General Gosain, Hindu traditions
People Name in Country Gosain, Hindu traditions
Population in India 1,528,000
World Population 1,531,000
Countries 3
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Ajnasi, Aranya-Gharbhari, Atit, Baba, Bairagi, Ban, Bangali, Bawa, Bharadi, Bharati, Bharti, Daure Gosaviati, Gairagi, Gasain, Gasawi, Geria, Gharhari, Giria/Yati, Girigosavi, Girname, Gosai, Gosaib, Gosain, Gosavi, Gosayi, Gossain, Goswami, Gussain, Kamphode, Mathkar, Nath Panthi Gosavi, Sanyasi, Saraswati-Parbat, Van
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Name General Gosain, Hindu traditions
Ethnic Code CNN25g
People ID 16862
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  22  (up to 20 largest shown)
Uttar Pradesh (545,000) Maharashtra (375,000) Madhya Pradesh (199,000) Gujarat (76,000)
Uttarakhand (69,000) Bihar (69,000) Chhattisgarh (59,000) Jharkhand (52,000)
West Bengal (28,000) Odisha (13,000) Karnataka (13,000) Rajasthan (9,200)
Himachal Pradesh (8,500) Telangana (4,000) Goa (2,600) Haryana (1,900)
Delhi (1,400) Daman and Diu (600) Dadra and Nagar Have (300) Tamil Nadu (300)
Total States on file:  22  (up to 20 largest shown)
Uttar Pradesh (545,000) Maharashtra (375,000)
Madhya Pradesh (199,000) Gujarat (76,000)
Uttarakhand (69,000) Bihar (69,000)
Chhattisgarh (59,000) Jharkhand (52,000)
West Bengal (28,000) Odisha (13,000)
Karnataka (13,000) Rajasthan (9,200)
Himachal Pradesh (8,500) Telangana (4,000)
Goa (2,600) Haryana (1,900)
Delhi (1,400) Daman and Diu (600)
Dadra and Nagar Have (300) Tamil Nadu (300)
Languages & Dialects on file:  41  (up to 20 largest shown)
Hindi (778,000) Marathi (294,000) Bhojpuri (79,000) Gujarati (69,000)
Chhattisgarhi (43,000) Awadhi (40,000) Kumaoni (38,000) Bengali (25,000)
Konkani (14,000) Kanauji (12,000) Garhwali (11,000) Oriya (10,000)
Malvi (10,000) Panchpargania (8,700) Ahirani (7,000) Konkani, Goan (6,600)
Kannada (6,400) Magahi (4,700) Khandesi (4,200) Kangri (3,800)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Hindi 778,000 Marathi 294,000
Bhojpuri 79,000 Gujarati 69,000
Chhattisgarhi 43,000 Awadhi 40,000
Kumaoni 38,000 Bengali 25,000
Konkani 14,000 Kanauji 12,000
Garhwali 11,000 Oriya 10,000
Malvi 10,000 Panchpargania 8,700
Ahirani 7,000 Konkani, Goan 6,600
Kannada 6,400 Magahi 4,700
Khandesi 4,200 Kangri 3,800
For Primary Language: Hindi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1806-1962)
New Testament Yes   (1811-1998)
Complete Bible Yes   (1818-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Visuals General
Bible: Hindi Holy Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Hindi Holy Bible Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Christ for the Nations Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Following Jesus (India, JF Project) Film / Video
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Hindi Bible Text / Printed Matter
Hindi Bible stories Audio Recordings
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Hindi Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online Bible (Bibles India) Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.98 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.02 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.