Gosain Dasnami in India

Gosain Dasnami
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Hari Mahidhar - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Gosain Dasnami
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 480,000
World Population: 480,000
Primary Language: Hindi
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Dasnami Gosain were traditionally a group of wandering, begging mendicants living a life devoted to Hindi god Shiva. Many today do not follow this ascetic lifestyle and work jobs in north and central India. The largest population lives in Uttar Pradesh. The primary language of the Dasnami Gosain is Hindi. They also speak regional languages of India. Many resources are available in Hindi including a complete Bible, the JESUS Film and radio programs. Many Gosain men are college educated and speak English.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Some Gosain men still follow their ancient life of begging, praying and teaching the Hindu sacred writings. They are celibate and strict vegetarians. Many more Gosain own land and work in agriculture and in the dairy industry. Gosain men have occupations in government, education and the professions. Wives are encouraged to stay home and care for their children. Men generally have higher status than women in this people. A man may marry another wife if his first wife is infertile. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. The Dasnami marry within their group or sometimes in the larger Gosain people. Some Gosain are strict vegetarians while other eat meat except for beef. Caste associations enforce cultural norms. A Gosain person who violates their rules is fined or shunned. A Gosain who becomes a believer could face being ostracized by family and neighbors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Dasnami Gosain consider themselves to be devoted Hindus. They pay special reverence to Shiva, the destroyer god of the Hindu trinity. The Dasnami also worship and serve other gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Gosain visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Gosain people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

The Dasnami need to understand that their devotion to Shiva will not lead to forgiveness of sin or eternal life. Only Jesus can do those things. Dasnami women could benefit from literacy training so they can read the Hindi Bible for themselves.

Prayer Points

Pray that Gosain people will see that their old systems of ethics and religion are not working, and that their only hope is in Jesus Christ. Pray that intercessors worldwide will regularly pray for salvation of Dasnami Gosain people. Pray for Spirit-filled servants to disciple them, and plant churches among them. Ask God to raise up entire Gosain families and communities until their culture is transformed to fully glorify God and represent His Kingdom here on earth.

Text Source:   Joshua Project