Sadhu - The Man of Virtue


This flamboyant person with an attentive look is called "sadhu” (from Sanskrit - "the man of virtue") Sadhus are ascetics in the Indian culture. To be such a person must be a conscious choice. Sadhus meaningly renounce all terrestrial, whether it is property, habitation, money or even a family and children. These people are satisfied with the least and live practically in full poverty, having only the most necessary things - clothes, make-up accessories and a bag to store it all. Some even do not need clothes and live naked. There were about 4-5 million sadhus in 2007 in India. There is also a great number of them in Nepal.


The basic mission in life of a sadhu is "mocksha" or, in other words, "nirvana" - liberation from the circle of births and deaths ("sansara").  A prominent aspect in life of many Hindus including the sadhus is Yoga. In contradistinction from the European understanding of Yoga, where the emphasis is put first of all on physical exercises, in India Yoga is both a reasonable clarification and control over feelings, and discipline.


The make-up and the coloring put on body hold religious meaning. Generally, the color of ochre symbolizes renunciation. This or that make-up and color of clothes allow to define the religious direction to which the ascetic belongs and also a deity which he worships.

Sadhus paint not only their face and body but also a beard...

... and hair.





Each sadhu tries to prove the fidelity and sanctity in his own way. Some make a silence vow. Some starve for a long time. Some go with a hand lifted up and don't lower it for years. A great number of sadhus grow hair from the cradle to the grave and go with huge, long dreadlocks.

Sadhu's Social status is hard enough to understand for many of us. They are considered to be dead both for themselves and for the society. But as a whole people treat sadhu well, even sometimes respectful although not without exceptions. The majority of people esteem them as teachers but in big cities relation to sadhus can be miscellaneous.

There is also a negative phenomenon - many of sadhus aren't true ascetics, and simply pretend to be poor and sacred. For them it’s a good way of begging for money from tourists notwithstanding it is offensive for real sadhus.

This colonnade is a dwelling of one of sadhu communities. It is not a place for "parties" or concourses. The corridor of eight columns is about two meters wide, it is a house for a group of ten men. Here they live, sleep, eat, smoke, meditate, talk and pray.

Another interesting fact about Nepal. In Katmandu there is a pigeon temple. In one half-closed court yard  is a Hindu temple, round which absolutely every inch is covered with pigeons. Birds are everywhere - under foot, on special stone sculptures and wooden stands, on roofs and benches...

And here everyone can buy corn and feed the pigeons.


via ezheg

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