The Aghori (Sanskrit aghora) are ascetic Shaiva sadhus. AGHORI’s are called cannibals by some, while some view them as dirty sect which destroys the image of Hinduism in the world. The Aghori are known to engage in post-mortem rituals. 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. They are believed to be devotees of ‘Lord Shiva’. According to the Aghori’s every human is a ‘shava’(dead body) with emotions and they should try to become ‘Shiva’ by denying the human pleasures and involving in the Aghori rituals. It is believed that they possess miraculous healing power, and some even heal the person by cursing him. ‘If an ‘Aghori Baba’ curses you, that means your problems will end soon!’ – claim some people who are believers and followers of such sadhus.
Introduction to Aghori Saints
The life of an Aghori Sadhu is not easy, to become like them one has to meditate about twelve years and complete certain rituals under the guidance of an Aghori guru in order to enhance one spiritual strength. Aghoris use woods from pyre, clothes from dead bodies, and ash of burnt bodies for the various rituals. There are certain rules one must follow to become an Aghori. Firstly an Aghori must find a teacher and do what the teacher tells him to do. And Aghori must find a human skull known as “kappala”. And use only this as a ritual tool before initiation. An Aghori must apply pyre on his body to symbolically show the nature of the Lord Shiva.
The Aghori culture is quite strange and frightening for an ordinary people. They practice meditation and they usually stay in forest or by the riverside. The most frightening fact about them is they enjoy cannibalism. They eat human flesh digging the dead body from the crematory places or from the grave yards. They consider it as a Bhakti (religion). They usually live near the grave yards or crematoriums and start to dig the ground or search the flesh after the cremation process is done. They also collect the woods and logs usually left over from the crematory areas and they cook their foods from the same woods.
There are large number of Aghori community in India and many of them throng to Pashupati Nath during Maha Shivatri. They have pretty much a nomadic lifestyle. They stay in community and share their culture with each other. They justify their act of eating human flesh as holy. As per their logic when a person dies he just becomes a useless body of flesh his soul simply escapes from the body. And same things happen with the other animals so there is no difference between eating a dead chicken or other animal or a dead human being.Aghori’s not only eat dead people but they also eat other animals like goat or chicken but they never eat cows. They also drink alcohol and smoke cannabis(weed,hashish).The ritual practices of the AGHORI are symbols of their non-dualistic beliefs.
The corpse upon which they meditate is a symbol of their own body and transcendence of the lower self and realization of the Supreme Self.They are far beyond the human civilization and they do not bother to care whats happening in the outside world.. they have their own world and style of living have their own world living in between normal human beings likes us.
10 of the most amazing facts about Aghori’s
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. 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.
4. 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. 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.
7. 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.
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.