They live on Hindu cremation grounds, eat the left-out flesh of the human dead body, wear ash, and drink in a bowl made up of human skull. Yes, we are talking about the most revered and dreadful cult of Indian society; the followers of Lord Shiva – The Aghoris.
The Aghoris And Their Origin
Once you go through Shiva Purana you will be baffled about whether Shiva was good or evil! Lord Shiva is considered as the origin of everything and also the end of everything, he is considered to be the most beautiful (Sundaramurthy) and also the ugliest, he is the creator and also the destroyer. The word Ghor means “extremely bad” and Aghori means “beyond the terrible”.
Into the world of Aghoris
Aghori being derived from the Sanskrit word Aghor implies a simple and natural state of consciousness. However, in the cults found in India, they practice certain rituals that are feared by the common people. We can often find them engaging in unorthodox practices. They are unique completely unlike the other priest sects found in the Indian society.
The Aghori sadhus are associated with cannibalism and perform rituals using human skulls and animal or human sacrifices. They are believed to be black magicians (Tantriks). They worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali.
The objective of the Aghoris is to attain a higher level of spirituality and for that one supreme purpose, they first find a Guru and under his guidance meditate for 12 years, performing certain rituals, such as rubbing ash from burnt dead bodies while meditating, finding a human skull (Kapala) and using it as a food bowl. The final stages include eating raw, rotten flesh of the human body and meditating while seated on corpses (from Saba to Siva). They clothe themselves with the shrouds of dead bodies.
What’s so terrifying about them???
- They roam around naked. This is their way of accepting the human body in its true form. It means the renunciation of materialistic expectations, etc.
- Cannibalism and unusual eating habits. They eat things like rotten and leftover food as well as human flesh from the corpse.
- They believe that everything is Shiva. They say God exists in everything and nothing is unholy or impure. They gain their powers by doing things that are considered unholy by the common people.
- Medicine and cure for all. The Aghoris extract human oil from the funeral pyre of the dead, which they consider to be extremely powerful. They claim it to be effective against many incurable ailments like cancer and AIDS.
- Performing black magic. The Aghoris have the power to talk to the dead using various tantras and rituals. They claim that by performing dark magic they clear out diseases from their bodies and it increases their healing power.
- Sexual activities in Shamshan. They believe that having sex in the cremation ground gives them supernatural powers. They can be seen as having intercourse with dead bodies. They even have sex with menstruating women with their consent in the cemeteries. All such activities happen with the beating of drums and chanting of mantras.
- Away from civilization. The Aghoris hardly care about what others feel about them. They claim to have achieved self-realization and are not under the influence of ‘Maya’ or illusion. They embrace everything that society considers dirty.
- Smoking Marijuana. Also known as ‘Baba ka prasad’ which they use as a means to attain higher spiritual experiences to come closer to Shiva.
Avadhuta Gita is the holy book of the Aghoris. According to the book, Baba Keenaram is the founder of the Aghori tradition and his prime follower Dattatreya, an Avadhuta, is believed to be an incarnation of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, all united in one. The prominent pilgrimage for the Aghoris is the Ashram of Keenaram in Ravindrapuri, Varanasi.
For achieving Nirvana/Moksha (ultimate peace and happiness), their life revolves around “5 Ms” namely, Madhya (alcohol), Mamsa (meat), Matsya (a twin fish), Mudra (yoga positions), and Maithuna (sexual intercourse).
Read Also: Eccentric Temples in India: Belief and Quirky Factor.