One of the images most often have an impact when we arrived at one of the sacred cities of the India is the of the sadhus, those ascetics or monks who follow the path of austerity to attain enlightenment. Writes Mayte Aguado (Maheswari).

(c) Can Stock Photo / olegd

Some of you maybe you are thinking about going or perhaps have already been in the beautiful India, the country wrapped in that omniscient mysticism that will not let you indifferent. There where the senses seem to experience a wild party, by its thunderous noise, the incredible variety of its scents and colors, the harmony of the chaos of its people, that poverty sitting smile together with those who were the grand palaces of maharajas... Endless things that you make be awake in the more absolute present, that that without knowing exactly when and how, you change.

Because since the know already nothing is going to be equal in your life, already is by love or by rejection. Some and others try to interpret how its people live simply assuming the role that has touched them, in a manner worthy and positive, coupled with the religiosity that is present in every second, in every corner of any city in India, making all of this possible.

One of the images most often have an impact when we arrived at one of the sacred cities of the India is the of the sadhus, those monks who follow the path of austerity to attain enlightenment. When you see one of them, it surprises you. But when you are lucky enough to see a large group of sadhus without just robes, with very long hair and forehead plotted with drawings, you have the first impression of the "exotic" of the India. But the question is: who are they?, why would they adopt that kind of life?

A simple and simple to describe a sadhu definition would be that it is a hindu ascetic who has renounced caste, social status, money and authorities, occupying a special place in the hindu society.

The concept of sadhu has its origin in the earliest images of Shiva, with matted hair and body covered with ash. As I said before a sadhu has no caste and is free to link to any stratum of the social structure. To the sadhus relates them with much of the development of Indian culture, have influenced and shaped the world who have left with his endless travels of a place sacred to the other, singing songs and reciting poems and carrying icons, paintings and other objects that are sanctified.

Recognize physically to a sadhu is easy because usually takes in the front the three lines of the Trident of Shiva drawn with ash or sandalwood paste. Depending on the sect to which belong, there are an endless variety of these signals, that can decorate your body with several lines and markings or cover your whole body with ashes, carry a metal Trident and use rosaries, or take always tangled your hair and beard and uncut since they are initiated. Is for them a form of recognition is.

And to know us a little more than they can highlight two main lines and some of the branches, such as:

Shaivite sadhus: Followers of Shiva, which are divided into several branches, such as:

  • The Dasanami (monk with ten names), sect that has several subsidiaries scattered across India, and each one of them with an armed militant branch called Nagas. They were originally warriors defending Hindus from the Muslim invasion; they are practically naked and covered his entire body of sacred ashes. Tantrism and the shaktism follow, and although they say that they are strictly vegetarian - as all the Sadhus--in ancient texts acknowledged that the Nagas ate meat, taking stimulants and in society were criticized for their erotic practices.
  • The Gorakhnathis are characterized by wear long earrings. In the ceremony of initiation, the guru divided them hollow Central of both ears with a knife, then by the slot is placed a small stick of wood and then, when them wounds have healed, is inserted ones rings large (mudra), that represent the symbol of the faith of the Yogi. They say that divide the ear helps to ascend into the mystical path and access to the powers that make them immortal.
  • The Aghori Yogis are known for their rituals involving the dead. They lead a life of extreme meditation and spirituality and in general they tend not to wear any type of clothing, only in some cases appear dressed in the shroud of a deceased. If it doesn't we see them smeared with ashes from a cremation. They tend to carry a human skull used as a bowl for drinking. You can eat raw meat of dead bodies that appear floating in the Ganges River, or burned meat from a cremation. For them, a corpse is not more than a natural matter that it lacks the vital force. With the consumption of meat human, prove that nothing is profane or is separate of Dios, and that the matter dead simply passes from a State to another.
  • The Lingayats focus their worship on the lingam as a symbol of Shiva, they rejected the authority of the Vedas, the caste system and the rituals.

Vaishnavas sadhus: Are the devotees of Vishnu and represent a development back to the of them Shaivite. Commonly called Vairagi (separated), they are members of several schools of Bhakti (devotion). Do not emphasize the Shaivite ascetic ends. Their common identification signal is a white "V" on the front, plus a line in white or red in the Center. They normally range from white and carry accounts of the tulsi (Holy Basil). A curiosity is that, unlike the common hindu that is cremated, the sadhu is buried usually seated. The place of burial usually becomes a place of worship.

  • Ramanandis is one of the larger branches. We tend to see them around the plains of the Ganges, notable for its devotion to Vishnu and branch. They are sadhus who based his life in meditation and strict ascetic practices.
  • Tyagi, use ash to the initiation and, like the Nagas Shaivitas, go naked, living outdoors, practice hatha yoga and tend to make long fasts.
  • Sakhis, characterized by a strong sentimental devotion and as total to one of their earthly incarnations.
  • Hijras, that are completely castrated after the initiation in his order. Are considered as eunuchs, neither man nor woman, but is dressed up as women and their gestures are effeminate and very exaggerated.

Bhagavad Guita Cap.8.10:
At the time of death, with the still mind, devotion, and the power of Yoga, with all the vital breath concentrated between the eyebrows, you reach that person Supreme resplendent.

Maheshwari (Mayte Aguado). Yoga teacher certified by the Sivananda school in Rudraprayag (India). Disciple of Fernando Diez. Collaborator of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation and Professor of yoga in Guadalajara.

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By • Jan 16, 2017 • section: Signatures