After washing his eyes reddened by a heavy dose of marijuana, Sadhu Premdas steps into the Bagmati river, looking for some half-burnt logs of wood to light a fire at his place.
Belonging to the Aghori sect of sages, Premdas does not accept fresh firewood distributed by the Pashupati authority: he loves a fire made from logs already used for cremating a body.
Another Baba from Benaras, India, Devananda Das, who arrived in Kathmandu four days ago, has also been collecting logs partially burnt with a body. Under the auspicious setting of the temple at this time of the year, every morning of these Aghori sages begins with the collection of charred logs thrown into the Bagmati after putting out a funeral pyre at Aryaghat.
“We only use logs burnt in the pyre,” Devananda said, basking in the warmth of burning logs on a warm Sunday. “I get divine satisfaction at the warmth emanating from logs already used to cremate bodies.” According to him, Aghoris consider it pious to apply ashes of wood already used in cremation. The Aghori Sadhus, according to Premdas, are “the master of spirits” and using such wood strengthens their control over the spirits.
“People may hate us for our behaviour, but we don’t care,” he says, arranging dreadlocks above his left ear. “This is how we are.”
More fascinating info on the Aghori sect here.