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All over the India, Dashnam Goswami is the order of Shivaite sect i.e. the worshipors of Lord Shiva. Dashnam means ten names. Goswami in Sanskrit has various meanings. The meanings are as follows:

  • Master of five senses
  • A ray of light
  • Master of cow

The significance of this word Goswami can vary.

Dashnam Goswami can be divided into two sub-divisions: Gharbari and Sanyasi. Gharbari is allowed to marry, however Sanyasi does not marry. Sanyasi means one who abandons the worldly pleasures for a greater purpose.


Shankaracharya is considered to be the founder of Gosains. He lived in the 8 th century. The 10 order of Gosains re derived from four disciples of Shankaracharya - Sureswar, Hastamalaka Padmapada and Totakacharya. The ten orders are as below:

  1. Aashram - Hermitage
  2. Aranya - Forest
  3. Ban or Van - The Forest
  4. Bharthi - The Goddess of Speech
  5. Giri - Peak of Mountain
  6. Parvat - A Mountain
  7. Puri - A Town
  8. Sagar - The Ocean
  9. Saraswati - The Goddess of Learning
  10. Tirtha - A shrine or Pilgrimage


Shankaracharya organized the ten sects under four heads at Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, Badrikashrama and Rameswaram which are in four directions i.e. east, west, north and south respectively. These later on became the four sacred places of Hindus.

Deeksha (initiation):

Earlier only Brahmins could become a Gosain. However, now kumbi or mali from where a Brahmin takes water can also become Gosain. This rule can differ from region to region as well. The process of deeksha or initiation starts with cleansing the person's body with the five sacred cow products i.e. go-mutra (cow's urine), milk, dung, ghi and curd. There are various steps involved in initiation, and the final step is whispering of a mantra into the person's ear.