The very mention of the term “Aghori or Aghori Sadhu” brings a very fearful reaction from most people and it is not without a reason. They are perhaps a different kind of yogis and possibly one of the most misunderstood mystics. As legend would have it, there are many tales about Aghoris. We will now discuss some more about Aghori and what are the facts and how much is fiction?
NB: Some people may find the info bit disturbing so caution is advised while reading this article
The Basic Meaning
The term Aghori is basically an Indian concept. This usually refers to sadhus who have powers that are supernatural. The Aghori involves in post mortem rituals. They deal with the dead and that makes them social outcast. There are many stories that have been doing rounds about the Aghori and what they are capable of.
The Aghori lives in places where no living being will enter. They do not fear the dead or death. They can be found in places where human bodies are cremated or burnt as per Hindu customs. They smear the ashes of human bodies on their own body. They can be seen holding a human skull. This is also true that many Hindu gods like Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali can also be seen holding skulls.
The Aghori is seldom liked by the normal people and they prefer to stay away from them. The beliefs and activities of the Aghori are quite against the Hindu religious sentiments. Some say that the Aghori can cure many diseases using their powers to heal. These powers are acquired as the Aghori lives in haunted houses and often use the ghosts and the spirits for this healing.
Followers of Shiva
Some say that Aghori is a follower of Lord Shiva. They try to get salvation from the cycle of birth and death by following these strange rituals. They want to get free and connect with the supreme power that controls the whole universe. The Aghori believe that all we see around us in an illusion and they want to make people realise this. This is exactly why they accept those things and places that are often discarded by the living human beings.
Sadhna & Tamasic Rituals
The Aghori involves in a lot of sadhna and tamasic rituals that make their practices quite difficult to follow and understand. They are not even tantric. They are beyond all these and much more powerful at times.
The Aghori belive that Lord Shiva is the one who is responsible for all that is happening around us. He is the one who controls all the conditions and effects. This is why even death and dead bodies are perfect and they must be accepted and appreciated in some form. If we do this we will be able to appreciate the sacredness of life and its manifestations.
The Aghori goes to the extent of believing that the Lord Shiva himself dwells in the soul of all living beings. The soul of the Lord is trapped by the eight feelings that humans feel. These feelings are shame, anger, fear, obsession, greed, sensual pleasure and hatred. The Aghori tries to remove these bonds from the soul and set it free so that it can connect with the supreme power.
How the Aghoris do it is explained below:
- When they do sadhna in cremation ground it automatically removes fear.
- They perform sexual practice on dead bodies at times this helps them to get rid of sexual desire.
- As the Aghori is naked all the time it helps them to get rid of shame.
As the Aghori goes on practicing these soul of the Aghori is set free and it obtains Moksha. The Aghori is known by many names across the country. They are often not looked at with a lot of respect. Most of the people are actually scared of the Aghori and their powers.
Another reason for this fear maybe that very little is known about the practices of the Aghori. Some fear that they do sadhna on small children. Some also do belive that they kill innocent people in order to get super power. This is why often the Aghori are considered responsible for some crime or the other.
Separating Fact from Fiction
However, this may not be true as Aghori perform sadhna on dead bodies but they do not kill people for their needs. Some people also believe that Aghori has super powers and they want to make the most of these powers and get benefited. Some Hindus say that it is true that Aghori can help with a lot of problems but if we seek help from an Aghori to solve a problem it may give rise to many more. The Aghori do not bother about what society feels about them and they live secret lives without any intention to get social recognition.
The Aghori is also known as kapalika and kalamukhas. The Aghori culture was started by a person called Kina Ram. He is said to have lived for as long as one hundred and fifty years. He died in the 18th century but his followers continued to spread his teachings.
Avadhuta Gita: Holy Book of Aghoris
The Aghoris also have a sacred text or holy book that contains all their teachings and beliefs. This book is called the Avadhuta Gita. The book specifies that Baba Keenaram was the founder and the adi guru of Aghori tradition. The book also justifies that Lord Shiva spent most of his time in cremation ground doing sadhna and the Aghori just follows this. Lord Dattatreya also became a disciple of Baba Keenaram and started to learn Aghori traditions.
Some say that Baba Keenaram was the incarnation of Lord Shiva himself. The Hindus do belive that Lord Dattatreya was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva all in one body. The Aghori goes into complete darkness and lives there till they get self realisation. They use corpses to invoke the mother goddess known as Shamshan Tara.
They consider Tara as one of the ten wisdom goddesses and she has the power to bless the Aghori with supernatural powers. The mahavidyas that the Aghori religiously worship are Bhairavi, Bagalamukhi and Dhumavati. The male god which the Aghori worships is Lord Shiva in the form of Bhairava, Mahakala and Virabhadra.
Each One An Aghori?
The Aghori has many interesting concepts. They also say that when a human is born he is an Aghori it’s the society that changes him slowly. For example a baby will play with toys as well as in his filth he has no discrimination between the two. It is the parents who teach him or her to differentiate between the two.
As the child grows up he learns to do this discrimination and moves away from his or her original form. The kids are born fearless and they are innocent it is the world that makes them otherwise. The Aghori is basically trying to make people realise that all that we have made around us is an illusion. We must go back to our original form that is Aghori.
Let us also try to find out from a neutral perspective about the truths behind these and how the aghoris themselves perceive this.
1. An aghori performs all seemingly nasty acts because it is a way to realize that nothing is impure or unclean. Even a corpse is as beautiful as a living being
2. If one can see purity in everything, that is the highest state of Divine Bliss
3. At the core of these seemingly raw and savage sadhus is a highly realized soul who is above all dualities of nature
Please remember that this only holds good for genuine aghori sadhus and not anyone pretending to be one.