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Who are Aghori Babas? Controversial and mysterious monks or maybe dreadful Neckrophiles?

Aghori Baba

In India, one can come across countless different denominations and sects, as well as the associated with them monks called Sadhus or Babas, who usually play the role of holy men or gurus.


                                  

One of the most mysterious communities in India is Aghori Baba (in Hindi Aghori means horrible, frightful, hateful: also vile, filthy, disgusting, loathsome ) or members of a small sect (we speak of the number of several hundred followers) who belong to the ascetic tantric movement. They are associated with posthumous rituals and cremation. Most of Aghori Baba live in cremation sites and cemeteries. They can also be found in Varanasi, where smeared with human ashes and a human skull in their hand are sometimes noticed on the ghats in Varanasi or Pasupaniath in Nepal.
                                 


                                                



Aghora's Faith

Aghoris are worshipers of Shiva deity, mainly the avatar of Bhairawa -  the form of the god Shiva associated with death and his female counterpart, the goddess Kali. Their ascetic way of life is often seen as a pursuit of a higher level of spirituality. They believe that each god is a manifestation of Shiva, considered by them as the only deity, thus rejecting the divinity characteristic of Hinduism. According to the baba, god is in everything, even in things what are commonly considered unclean or dirty by society, thus they violate the taboo of impurity, which is strong in Hinduism. Aghori seek spiritual enlightenment and do not practice idol worship, instead relying on meditation in conjunction with drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana to increase concentration. They claim that it takes them to a different "spiritual level" and brings them closer to God.
                                           

Controversial Religious Practices

Aghori sadhus are known for necrophilia and other strange practices regarding the dead. These practices involve meditating on the dead corpses, having sexual intercourse with women during menstruation in the middle of the cemetery, drinking blood and urine, eating decaying human body found in the river and smearing human ashes all over the body. After the cremation, Aghori also collect bones and skulls, which they later use for rituals and meditation. All these rituals are done for one purpose only - to accept what society considers "dirty" and to go beyond the spiritual level to reach God. Aghori rejects the traditional division into good and evil, completely reevaluating the commonly accepted code of values. It is argued that the practice of performing sexual intercourse among dead bodies gives sadhus supernatural powers that allow them to practice black magic and prevent them from using it on others. It is also believed that Aghori Baba knows medicines for many incurable diseases, but for ethical reasons they are not approved for use. There are also mentions of their Guinness record for treating leprosy.


                              

The origin of the cult

The cult of Aghori has not been present for a very long time. Their origin can be traced to Baba Keenaram, an ascetic who died in the middle of the 18th century, allegedly living 150 years. Dattatreya was the founder of the Aghori lifestyle adi-guru. Dattatreya is believed to be the incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, all three deities combined into one. Aghori practices also include tantric practices, and the most important pilgrimage center of Aghoris is the Ram Cinema ashram in Ravindrapuri in Varanasi. Besides, cemeteries and cremation sites are also considered sacred sites for Aghori ascetics.

                             

Aghori Baba and the Naga Sadhu

Aghori Babas are often mistaken for other Naga Sadhu-like, but the differences between these 2 sects are significant.

1. Both aghori and naked sadhus eat meat, but only aghori sadhu eat human flesh.
2. Sadhu Naga live in "Akharas" or the Himalayas and usually leave their hiding places during the "Kumbh Mela" - festival in India to take part in ritual ablutions in the waters of the Ganges.
3. Aghori baba usually live like nomads and are more often near crematoria because they bathe in cremation ashes, eat rotten corpse meat and drink from human skulls. They also meditate on corpses that symbolize their growth from "shava" to "shiva"
4. Sadhu Naga usually walk naked. Aghori sadhus usually wear animal skin garments or other cloth covering the lower body.
5. Nagas are usually known as warrior sadhus and are ready to go into intellectual skirmishes or combat at any time.
Aghori are mainly engaged in meditation and black magic. Naked Sadhu and Aghori have superhuman powers, the latter also use black magic, and many practices are associated with the dead.

Although Aghori babas arise a lot of controversy, as well as disgust or fear, it is hard to call them mad or just necrophiles, it would be too much of a simplification due to the spiritual and mystical dimension of their religious practices, which they perform with total dedication, renouncing the family and completely the temporal material world going beyond the common social and moral framework.

Film about Aghori Babas on U tube below

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