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IN People ON 04 Jan, 2016
The Aghori sadhus, followers of Shaivism, are certainly one of the most feared ascetics of India. Often making the 'Samshaan Ghaat' their dwelling place, they keep themselves smeared with the ashes of the dead bodies. They are at times engaged in cannibalism and necrophilia. This clan inspires both awe and fear in the common people. However, are they only about these? Let's take a look to know, if there is more to this mysterious clan of ascetics.
Black-clad, tangled-haired, and ash covered individuals are very easy to spot even in a crowded place. They are often found in drugged or drunken state. However, their eyes have an unsettling and strange calmness.
Shiva or Mahakala – the destroyer and Kali or Sakti – the goddess of death, the Aghoris follow the rules and regulations necessary to please these gods. They are the only ones who go through everything needed to please Kali or Shiva.
Goddess Kali wants to be prayed through alcohol, meat, and $ex. This is what the Aghories believe. Interestingly, for the other sadhus, these are the things which are banned. However, these ash-smeared sadhus believes that the only way to please the goddess is to eat every form of meat. The practice is guided by the belief that this is a way to eliminate discrimination and spread awareness about the oneness of every being.
Like other Sadhus celibacy is what the Aghoris follow with one exception. Finding an appropriate corpse and having $ex, this is where the sadhus break their celibacy. Why did they do it? According to one of the prominent Sadhu of the clan, it is what the goddess Kali demands. This act may seem outrageous to others, but for them, it's a way of finding purity amidst the filthy. They remain focused on fulfilling the gods will even when it involves necrophilia.
$ex with a corpse or a woman is a ritual to conjure the supernatural power in self. This is another specific belief which allures the Aghoris into getting engaged in this form of $exual activities.
The ritual starts in the graveyard, at the dead of night, when the whole world takes a leap in the comfort of sleep. With chilly breeze and scattered ashes, the whole clan unifies to perform the ritual. Amidst the sound of beating drums and recitation of high-pitched mantras, the woman is smeared with ashes. The consummation takes place among this mysterious and terrifying surrounding.
The woman needs to get involved in the act willingly and need to be menstruating at the time. Also, the man cannot have an orgasm until the whole ritual is over. Interestingly, this whole ritual means the unification of Shiva and Sakti. It is believed that this act releases high $exual energy which ultimately takes the form of supernatural power.
Death is something we all fear. But, not Aghoris! They relish this phenomenon of life and live their life around it.
The most feared clan of sadhus do not believe in the concept of hate. They don't pay heed to incidents like animals dirtying their food and are often found sharing food with animals from the same plate. Their aim is immersing themselves in meditation to attain oneness with Lord Shiva.
Aghori sadhus love their ashen appearance. Why? Not only it saves them from disease and mosquitoes, but it helps them in resembling their highest power of worship - Lord Shiva.
Initiation in the clan takes time and is performed through different steps. Firstly, the beginner needs to procure a floating corpse. Secondly, he receives incantation from his Guru. Thirdly, he eats the remnants of the dead and take a bath in the ice-cold water of the holy river Ganga. Then, he becomes one with the clan and choose a life of Aghori.
The oil from burnt human body or the ashes from pyre, these are the elements which are often used by the members of the clan to cure 'stubborn diseases.' However, there is no scientific proof for the medicines.
This clan is also known for practicing Black Magic. Despite being feared, it is the norm of the clan never to use those powers to harm anyone. They use it to consume diseases and plagues.
Smoking is an important part of their existence. They smoke marijuana and believe it increases their focus. It helps them in concentrating on their tenuous practices and to stick to their rituals. However, they never consume it for pleasure. The illusion from the weed is considered as a part of their religious journey.
The whole world is busy finding the right way to worship, the Aghori clan have found their own way. Who is to decide if their methods are wrong.