Introduction / History
The Bishnoi are a community of nature worshippers that live mainly in India, though some are further west in Pakistan. The guru who founded the sect directed the worship of lord Vishnu (Bishnu), hence the name Bishnoi. On one day in the year 1730, 363 Bishnoi individuals voluntarily gave up their own lives in order to spare the cutting of trees growing near their village. The first lady to resist the tree cutters said, "If a tree is saved even at the cost of one's head, it's worth it." The axe intended for the tree severed her head, the first of 363 sacrifices.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Bishnoi people in Pakistan do not fit in with the general population in terms of their lifestyle or their religious beliefs. Pakistan does not welcome people outside the Islamic faith.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Bishnoi literally means 29. That’s the number of rules given them by their founder in 1485. He saw a vision of the people destroying the environment. Their Hindu culture became intertwined with respect for nature. The rules encompass protecting animals, trees, and any type of life. Other rules cover social behavior—they don’t lie or criticize others. There are also rules about personal hygiene and health—they don’t smoke, drink alcohol or eat meat. Finally, there are rules about spiritual life that include fasting. They are forbidden from making animal sacrifices. The dung they use to fuel their fires is carefully inspected to ensure that no ants or other insects are incinerated.
What Are Their Needs?
The Bishnoi people in Pakistan need to find sustainable ways to earn a living.
Pray for Holy Spirit sent workers to go to the Bishnoi people, both in India and Pakistan. Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Bishnoi people so that they will be receptive to the teachings of Christ. Pray for a movement to Christ among the Bishnoi people this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Bishnoi (Hindu traditions) in Pakistan.