Charles Cowling

The ascetic’s refusal to accept worldly comforts is venerated by Hindus, but the awesome, horrifying renunciation of the AGHORI sadhu seems to defy the norms of civilized life. He will live only in the cremation ground, cook his food on the fires of the funeral pyre, eat and drink from a hollow skull that he uses as the sadhu’s bowl. No food or drink is taboo to him and aghori is known to eat faeces and human corpses and drink urine. He will wear a necklace of bones or one of human skulls, use shrouds and shawls removed from the dead at the cremation ghat for his bedding, smear himself with the ash of the pyre and generally stay naked or use the bark of a tree as a garment. The aghori will make his medicant’s bowl by cutting a man’s skull just above the line of the eyes and use the hollow scalp both in rituals and for his daily needs; the aghori code specifying that only the skull of a dead male may be used. Sadhus normally keep a bowl to collect alms in and to eat from and will use a kamandalu for water. The aghori uses the skull-bowl for all purposes, including the shamanistic tantric rites, with wich he aspires to achieve the powers of the secret mantras.


8 thoughts on “Aghori

  1. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    Er, actually, no Astrix, I don’t believe in Jesus,other than as a very brave man who said some very true things. And reality may be what they believe in, and that’s fine, but it leaves me well outside their circle of belief, feeling compassion for how they live. With which I would never interfere, provided it didn’t impinge on my life and the lives of those around me. Reality may be what they believe in, but I don’t believe in it, so it is unreal for me. And from where I stand (relativity works both ways) deeply unpleasant.

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    This is for you Gloria from India, like you believe in Jesus who in your virtual reality lived happy 112 years in Pakistan who was just another hippie and that he awaking on the sabbath being a fairy tale….

    Relax this is reality is what they believe in.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling

    Oh yes, there is rationale and logic. It is but a version of asceticism. And it’s not unremitting. They do use a lot of nice drugs.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling
    Jon Underwood

    I think that there is method in this ‘madness’

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    Absolutely – especially, should it come to it, in my case…
    Though disapproval is not necessarily a right to interefere; that, seems to me, depends….

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Thank you, GM. A somewhat illiberal response, perhaps, but fearlessly honest as ever. I take it you (testily/sadly) deplore sati, too?

    I think it would be rather groovy to have a few of these guys lurking in our cems and crems.

    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    OK, I’ve tried to be liberal about this, apply the cultural relativism filter, watch for any signs of culturally determined personal imperatives, facile judgements, etc etc, I accept that it doesn’t help to say that in their culture they may be shamen, but in ours they’d be seen as unwell, but – sorry…

    I find it a horrifying waste of life, a dreadful constriction, and I feel nothing but pity for them, alongside compassion for the state they live in.

    I’m all for living with the knowledge of, and acceptance of, death, but – this seems to me quite close to a living death. Poor things.

    Interesting, thought-provoking, horrid.
    Good one Charles, this is why I open your blog with a mixture of intense interest, curiosity, and – a slight apprehension! Let me see, what’s it to be today? A new line in embalmers’ hooks, a nice silly joke, or something that will put me off my breakfast? Ah. Shit-eating “holy” men….

    Always rewarding, whatever the offering.

    Charles Cowling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>