IN PICTURES: 'Naga baba', the naked Hindu sadhus who only care about the bare necessities of life

Published: 12th January 2019 03:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2019 05:27 PM  

The 'Naga babas', (Naked hindu sadhus) are the most fascinating type of Shaivite sadhus, also the most feared ones. They get angry if touched or photographed without permission. IN PIC: A horse mounted Naga Sadhu, or a naked Hindu holy man rides during a religious procession towards the Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, as part of the Kumbh festival in Allahabad. (Photo: AP)
The ardent lord Shiva followers sport no clothes, ash smeared bodies with long dreadlocks, a very close resemblance to the lord himself. They are very respected and have a reputation due to which these are the first people to take 'snan' or bath in the holy sangam. (Photo: AP)
IN PIC: A naked Indian sadhu climbs a ladder to raise a flag during a Dharam Dhwaja (religious flag) ceremony in the Sangam area, ahead of the upcoming Kumbh Mela festival.(Photo: AFP)
Naga babas are known to stay in caves of Himalayas for most part of the year only descending down the country for the revered kumbh mela. IN PIC: Devotees put garlands on to a Naga Sadhu. (Photo: AP)
Often seen smoking marijuana or chillum, the images of these babas have become quite an attraction for people. But do not mistake their marijuana for the type easily found. It is said that these naga sadhus source their marijuana from the hilly regions and is very potent. The smoke helps them keep their bodies warm as does the ash that they smear over themselves. (Photo: AP)
There are various stages one has to undergo to become a naga sadhu. Only a very few who have strong commitment abilities can make it to the clan. IN PIC: Naga babs sitting for a meal in pandals. (Photo: AP)
There is a common misconception and confusion that both the naga babas and aghosris are the same. Aghori sadhus consume human flesh whereas the naga babas don't, but they too eat meat. Also Aghoris stay near the crematoriums living the life like nomads. IN PIC: A naga baba atop a camel during the procession before Kumbh. (Photo: AP)
Not everyone is accepted by these sect to become a naga. Once anyone approached them, a thorough background check is being done by the older nagas. If they clear the person of that first step the next step is to renounce sex and family and go into penance. After this is done, they have to perform the last rites of themselves symbolizing they no more belong to this world. They have no family, friends, worldly feelings. IN PIC: A procession of naga sadhus. (Photo: AP)
After renouncing the world, in the next step they accept the rudraksha and vow to never cut their hair. Rudrakasha is a holy bead considered to have formed from lord Shiva's tears, hence the name, Rudra meaning Shiva - Aksha meaning tear. After they become a naga they have to eat only once a day after taking bhiksha (begging) from 7 houses and sleep on the floor. After successfully completing all the stages the person is given a sacred mantra and accepted into the clan.
According to old stories and reports, the naga babas helped save Hinduism and temples from the Mughal invaders. The origin of these babas can be traced back to Mohenjo-daro coins. IN PIC: The naga babas enjoying a light moment, taking a selfie. (Photo: AP)
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