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They are the one of the most well-known iconic symbols of India in the west. They are worshiped, frowned upon and command both respect and fear among those who surround them. Yes, we are talking about Aghoris – a kind of ascetic Shiva sadhus found predominantly in Varanasi. Now, for centuries, they have mesmerized people around the globe for their eerie and mysterious lifestyle. Today, let’s take a look at 10 of the most amazing facts about them which will leave you with something more than you bargained for.
1. The Aghori Who Lived Up To 150 Years
In tracing the history of Aghoris, we will find that the very first Aghori, who laid down the foundation of the lives for future Aghoris was Kina Ram. According to urban legend, he lived up to 150 years and died during the second half of the 18th century.
2. No To Haircut
They let their hair grow to lengths without ever bothering about the need to cut it. Rapunzel, you have got competition there girl!
3. Shiva Is The Epitome Of Perfection
Aghoris believe that Shiva is Absolute and omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. According to them, whatever happens in this universe, happens because of Shiva. Among the female deities, Kali is the most sacred form for them.
4. The Revenge of Tailanga swami
One of the most well-known Aghoris to ever live, Tailanga swami was slapped and ejected from Kasi Viswanath temple by a priest when he saw him worshiping Lord Shiva with his own excreta. According to urban legend, the local king of Benaras saw in his dream that the Aghori who was insulted in the temple was a reincarnation of Lord Shiva himself. And the next thing you know, the priest died under mysterious circumstances.
5. Cure For All Diseases
Aghoris claim that they have the medicine for the deadliest of the diseases that we have today, even AIDS and cancer. These medicines, which are referred as ‘Human oils’ by them are collected from the burning pyre after a dead body is burnt. Although not tested scientifically, according to Aghoris, they are highly effective.
6. Survival In Extreme Weathers
From snow clad mountains to hot deserts to tiger-infested jungles, Aghoris are known to live in places where no other human being are known to survive.
7. They Find Purity In Filthiness
For Aghoris nothing is impure or nasty or filthy. According to them, if you are able to concentrate on god even while doing the most perverted acts, then you reach in unison with god.
8. Meditating While Sitting On A Corpse In A Cemetery
That would take the guts out of the majority of the population!
9. Every Human Being Is Born As An Aghori
Aghoris believe that everyone is born an Aghori. A newborn child doesn’t distinguish between his faeces, dirt and toys and plays with everything and starts distinguishing among them only after their parents and society tells him/her. As the child grows up and makes choices on materialistic basis, only then he/she loses the traits of Aghori.
10. Acceptance Of Nakedness
Aghoris have no qualms in being naked and are often seen covering their body with minimalistic clothes. Sometimes, they are even seen completely naked covering their body with ashes from dead bodies after they are burnt on pyre.
11. No To Hatred
Aghoris have a policy of no hatred towards any creature or thing. They believe that one who hates, cannot meditate or reach ‘Moksha’. Well, that’s a lesson we can take from them. We, who always look for reasons to hate others, whether based on religious views, skin colour, linguistic choices, political approaches, sexual orientation, gender, race ,and what not.
12. Jewellery? They Have Got A Skull- Bowl For It
Now, that’s a fashion statement which would keep you awake in the night!
13. The ‘Left Way’ Of Reaching God
They believe the ‘left way’ to reach god is quicker and effective than the conventional ‘right hand’, although very less number of people possesses the guts to do it.
14. Taboo Sexual Practices
They believe having sex in the midst of dead bodies gives rise to supernatural powers. The women partners are also smeared in ashes of the dead and the sexual act takes place while drums and beaten ad mantras are chanted. They make sure that no women is forced to have sex with them and also that the women must be menstruating while the act goes on.
15. Eating The Dead
Now, when you practice cannibalism in a city like Varanasi, where even eating non-vegetarian food is still frowned upon, you know you bring trouble to yourself. But surprisingly, even after consuming human meat in public, no particular action is taken against them. This might be because they eat dead human flesh and not kill anyone to eat them.