Sadhu’s ‘The Silent Ones’
The first time I ever got to see a Sadhu was when I went to Varanasi in India. Varanasi is a city with incredible contrasts, its one of the oldest, holiest cities in the world. Its a place where reality and a fantasy world are infused together. The city creates a very surreal and unfamiliar surrounding to visitors from the western world.
This was a spiritual journey for me. After a little research, Varanasi was one of the first places that was on my list. I read about it briefly and booked the trip, however I had no idea of the culture shock I was going to receive. I have always been open minded and I was drawn to India. The contrast of this city was exciting and full of life changing experiences.
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While walking along the Ghats of the Ganges River one chilly afternoon, I had my first encounter with a Sadhu. First impressions can be a little scary as there are many different types of Sadhu’s and some use very extreme atheistic practices. Luckily this was not the case for my first meeting. I noticed a strange little man draped in orange cloth and prayer beads, sitting in the Lotus position while staring out onto the Ganges. We exchanged a brief moment and I realised what an incredible journey he has been on so far and he let me take this picture.
Sadhus live fascinating lives as they renounce all worldly possessions in search for spiritual liberation. They have been around for over 2000 years and they are well respected in the Hindu faith. Hindu’s believe that being a Sadhu is one of the stages of life that a person is expected to pass through. They are given food in return for prayers and blessings. The Ganges River plays an important role to Hindu’s so it attracts Sadhu’s across India and Nepal.
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Coming from the western world we don’t often hear of people who completely severe ties with their homes and families, take vows of chastity, poverty and survive purely on charities…. all in search for enlightenment. My fascination comes in where on the opposite side of the world you find people working 24/7 to buy the latest car or the biggest house. It is incredible how completely different the two extremes are. We all search for something, for some people its wealth, others fame and for some it’s simply something spiritual.
Have you ever met a Sadhu? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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