• Hithesh Jain

From Cannibalism to Drugs, ‘Aghoris' can reason it all

Ishika Arvindani

3rd November 2020

Nestling in the folds of culture, religion, and beliefs draping around India, are Aghoris or Aghoribabas. A clan following a very unique set of practices that are often talked about with much interest, as the mystery surrounding it is often feared. The word Aghori is a derivative of the Sanskrit word Aghor which means someone who does not discriminate and is fearless.

The history of Aghoris can be traced back to no farther than the 18th century, where they are mentioned for the first time. They are believed to be the predecessors of the Kapalika, the skull-bearers, who were associated with similar practices. Aghori’s have found their origin from Baba Keenaram, who is believed to have lived for more than 100 years and apparently died in the 18th century.

The Aghoris are known to consume drugs, alcohol, and engage in sexual practices. Smoking marijuana is a way for them to elevate their religious energies as they transition into a trance state. The existence of this section of human beings in a largely traditional land like India is of great interest.

The sexual rituals performed by them hold mysteries of their own. They are carried out among burning pyres along with beating drums and mantra chanting, while the women are covered in ashes of the cremated bodies. They also perform sexual practices with the corpse to find purity in filth and to acquire supernatural powers, they believe this practice is fulfilling the deeper desire of goddess Kali. They also meditate sitting or standing on one leg, on dead bodies. Culturally diverse India which is a fast growing hub is also home to such largely religious and age old way of life.

(Source- Anita Hendrieka)

They eat dead bodies, faecal matter, and drink urine. They meditate all night, are often naked, do not cut hair, and are covered in ashes, which according to them provides safety from mosquitoes and other diseases. The Aghoris claim to have great healing powers. They do not entertain materialistic things in life, finding filth the best way to connect to God. Although it’s almost shocking that such beings are present amongst the civilized society of the 21st Century.

They live in Varanasi; the tomb of Baba Keenaram is situated at Ravindrapuri making Baba Keenaram Sthal very important to them. They also live in cold places of the Himalayas and hot isolated deserts of Gujarat. They live in extreme weather conditions. The Aghoris tend to live in conditions that usually a human being would not be comfortable in.

Living in the modern world, they believe every life is the same and share their food with animals. They believe that when a child is born he/she does not discriminate between good or bad, the society teaches them later what is believed to be right or wrong but Aghoris try to leave the societal norms completely behind.

They are known to be well versed in dark magic, which according to them enhances their supernatural powers, claiming to help them talk to the dead. Aghoris are rebels, finding peace in chaos and showing the flip side of a deep-seated narrative of right and wrong. They sure add to the mysteries of India and stories that are birthed from here.

(Sources- NDTV)

Edited by- Hithesh Jain

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