7 Facts About Aghori Sadhus In India

By Reshma Dewda on Jul 25, 2015
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Bordering on the bizarre, the life of Aghoris is truly something else. Beyond the imagination of anybody normal, the sect is based on unorthodox and extraordinary practices.  Aghoris are basically ardent worshippers of Shiva and Kali and believe that their rituals will free them from the cycle of reincarnation and get them closer to moksha.  Most Aghoris are found in the holy city of Benaras (Varanasi). They are by far the most feared and revered sect of sadhus in India.


Image source - Wikipedia  

So what makes them weird you ask? Get ready to stomach some gruesome details of rituals performed by this 1000-year old sect.

Stop reading if you are faint hearted. Its about to get quite graphic

1. Living as they were born

Hippies in the true sense, Aghoris are not shy of their anatomy and believe that they have nothing to hide about their body. You will find most hippies stark naked and surviving the most extreme weather conditions like that too!

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2. All is well

Yes, the Aghoris are pretty chilled out that way. Maybe some part of it is because of all the marijuana but they believe that hatred is grossly overrated and it is not possible to attain moksha if you are rude or mean to others.  Youd even find them sharing their food with cattle, dogs and cats.

3. Nothing is off limits

Aghoris have accepted cannibalism as a lifestyle. No, they dont go sprinkling salt and pepper on any human they see, they only eat the dead. What is further more repulsive is that they are also known to eat feces and even throw it around as prasad on their devotees. They even eat from the dumps and think nothing of relishing rotten left overs. It is believed that this is done so that they remind themselves to be down-to-earth at all times.

4. Masters of recycling

What would be your first job as an Aghori? To find a skull of course. This would serve as your bowl for the rest of your life.  The Aghoris use the skull to eat human remains and everything else that comes their way. It also doubles up as a bathing mug!

5. Obsessing over the dead

The Aghoris have a love affair with the dead.. quite literally so! They are known to have sex with the dead and even meditate on the cremation ground. If they convince a living woman to have sex with them (they dont believe in forcing), they make sure it is on the cremation ground and the women is covered in the ashes of the dead. Not repulsed yet? The woman has to be in her menstrual period.

6. Its for black magic

Yep. Aghoris are masters of the tantric practices. They are notorious for horrendous black magic rituals. However, Aghoris are not allowed to use the powers they derive from the black magic for anything that might be harmful. They often transfer ailments from the bodies of people who come to seek their help into their own bodies.

7. Dreadlocks are their stamp

Aghoris dont believe in haircuts. They let their hair grow any way it wishes to and dont bother with personal hygiene too much too.  No, Bob Marley was not a Aghori.


Image source - Wikipedia  

There are a lot of reasons to frown on and disgust this sect. But the fact is that hidden behind these rituals are a few basic and relatable explanations. They are:

  • There is purity in everything
  • There should be no dualities in nature
  • Nothing in the world deserves to be called impure
  • Each deity is manifestation of one god.
  • There must be no discrimination. In the end, all is one.
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