Who is Naga Sadhu ? Naga in Sanskrit refers to a mountain and people residing in and around this mountain area known as Pahadi or Naga.
Historical background (Naga sadhus history)
The history and tradition of Naga Sadhus can be dated back to the early centuries. Their traces have been found on Mohenjo-Daro coins. Images have spoken out a legacy in which Naga Sadhus have been depicted worshipping Lord Mahadev in his Pashupatinath form. Various other facts like Alexander and his soldiers meeting Naga Sadhu during their stay in India, Lord Buddha, and Mahavira being impressed by Naga Sadhus’ devotion for people and their motherland exemplifies the existence of Naga Sadhus and their rituals since ancient ages.
Role of Naga Sadhu as the savior of Hindutva
Since ancient times Naga sadhus have being involved in protecting Hindu culture and Vedic tradition of India with saffron flags.
During those days there are those were taught to fight anti-Vedic invaders and hence were equipped with swords, Trishul, Gadas, Dhanush and other weapons to protect temples and maath. Aurangzeb special army that was supposed to disintegrate Hindu temples and structures during his reign were killed by Naga Sadhu while protecting Lord Shiva temples even in Muslim dominated areas.
Stringent rules for becoming a Naga Sadhu
Becoming Naga Sadhu is not an easy task. There are a lot of difficulties and hardships a person has to go through to become Naga Sadhu.
1) To pursue a life of Naga Sadhu, a devotee of Lord Shiva has to have control over his sexual desires, lust and worldly feelings. He has to practice Brahmacharya employing moral values giving up up every liking and desire for physical things. After passing through several norms of Brahmacharya, he has to prove self-control seeking permission known as Diksha to become Naga Sadhu
2) Once the permission is granted, the would-be -NagaSadhu, following order of his Guru, has to remove self-ego and be fulfilled with a sense of patriotism, devotion toward Almighty and has to pledge to protect his country and people. Rashtra Dharma is embedded in him along with selfless devotion toward God.
3) Performing own last rites
one of the last and important tests that a Naga Sadhu has to go through is performing his last rites which proves that now onwards he should be considered dead for his family and the society. Becoming Naga Sadhu is like a new birth for him in the world of Nagas. The last rites consist of Pind Daan and Shraddh which are performed by the person himself. After these rituals, Guru gives him a new name and identity.
4) Giving up clothes
Naga Sadhu is not supposed to wear clothes like normal people. He has to carry a single saffron color cloth wrapped around their body but that too doesn’t cover the body fully. To completely give up his love for his physical appearance he is supposed to rub ashes on his body, giving up all kinds of ornaments.
5) Jata and Rudraksha
Naga Sadhu has to wear Rudraksha beads around his neck. Removing his Choti and hairs from his head, he has to live by Jata and not Shikha.
6) Restricted food intake
Naga Sadhu is supposed to eat once a day, including day and night cycle. He has to beg a maximum of 7 houses for his sattvik food. Just in case he not offered food from these houses, he is not supposed to beg any further and has to starve for the day. Neither he has any choice in food, whatever he gets he has to consume it happily.
7) Stay connected with the earth
A Naga has to sleep on mother Earth covering it at the most with a piece of cloth. He cannot use a bed, couch, mattress or quilt.
8) World’s renunciation
Naga Sadhu cannot reside in cities or physically populated towns. He has to reside in places far away from the common people. Not allowed to greet or disrespect anyone, Naga has to bow in front of another Sadhu. After attaining Diksha, he has to perform penance with the GuruMantra given to him by his most revered Guru.
Process of becoming Naga Sadhu
The person has to go through unbearable pains, stringent rules, and laborious activities before becoming a Naga Sadhu. It takes at least a decade or sometimes 20-30 years to become a Naga Sadhu. The intense process through which a Naga Sadhu has to go through proceeds in a below-listed manner:-
1) Permission of Akhada
A person interested in leading his life as a Sadhak has to seek the permission of Akhada who investigates the background of that person with the utmost care and diligence. The person interested in changing his life passes various tests to prove his capabilities to attain brahmacharya. After clearing the tests, the person has to take the training.
2) Becoming a Mahapurush
There are five Naga gurus namely Panch Parmeshwar; Bhagwan Shiv, Bhagwan Vishnu, Shakti Mata, Bhagwan Surya, and Bhagwan Ganesha. As a part of becoming Mahapurush, the Saddak is offered Rudraksha and other spiritual things that he has to carry along himself as a part of his attire.
This is the stage of reaching a higher level of consciousness leaving behind all the worldly attractions, attachments and worries behind.
As part of the ritual, the head of the Sadhu is shaved off of hair. Thereafter he performs Pind Daan of himself followed by Vedic rites under the guidance of Akhada priest. After this, his only responsibility is to protect Sanatan Dharm and Vedic tradition.
4) Physical testaments
Sadhak has to go through a torturous and unbearable stage in which he is made to stand for 24 hours continuously under the Akhada flag without food. All through these hours, he has to carry a dand on his shoulder and hold water pots in his hand. Akhada member keeps a close watch while Naga practices this exercise which is meant to weaken his phallus and destroy libido completely.
Lastly, the phallus is bitten slowly with Vedic mantras to make it inactive under the Akhada saffron flag. This completes the process of becoming Naga Sadhu.
Women as Naga Sadhvis
Women are not very far behind in becoming Naga Sadhu. She is committed to serving people following the same norms as that of Naga Sadhu. But she is allowed to rap her body with the yellow cloth. She is not allowed to remove her clothing even while bathing during Kumbh Snan.
Out of the way Naga practices for self-control
To test their self-control Naga Sadhu undergo pain and physical torture which is believed to elevate their austerity. To have a look at different kinds of penance Naga Sadhus practices, have a visit at Kumbh Mela where hundreds of Sadhus perform Yogasana for hours at a stretch. Some examples of hardships are lifting their hand in the air for 10 to 12 years or head in the ground or lifting a leg for years, etc.
A living place for Sadhu
Naga Sadhus lives in forests, hills, and Himalayas which are usually not inhabited by common people. Some of them reside in very harsh conditions like too cold or too rainy. The reaches these places with yogic teleportation. It is believed that they have control over time and distance at their will.
Highly siddh Naga Sadhu does not need food but just a secluded place to perform his Sadhana for hundreds of years.
To re-energize their body, it is believed they do not sleep and keep on meditating for years.
Some lesser-known power secrets of Naga Sadhu
- His hairs are coiled like wires that are believed to conduct his bodies electromagnetic energy causing induction. His coiled hair is one of the reasons that they do not feel much of the change in weather and stay healthy and strong.
- To care for their Jatas, Nagas soak their hair in typical black soil from morning under sunlight to rejuvenate their body extracting the power of the sun.
- Beard acts the same as it is believed to be the receptor of positive energy when Surya Pranam is performed in the river by Sadhu.
- Shri Adi Shankaracharya as Naga Sadhus’ Supporter
- Adi Shankaracharya took the responsibility of protecting Sanatan Dharm from evil clutches. Thereby he increased the number of Naga Sadhus to manifold to the protector of Dharma. For this, he formed several Akhada where the Yogis were trained and armed with the weapon after becoming Naga under stringent conditions.
- These Akhadas were instructed to be merciless towards those who attack Hindu temples and devotees. There has been historical fact and archive of the ASI, Archaeological Survey of India, which mentions that several historical encounters proves the participation of more than 40000 Naga Sadhu to protect Sanatan Dharm and the culture of Bharat from Muslim invaders and mlecchas.
- It is believed that after visiting kumb sans, Naga Sadhu can vanish in the air at their will, as they have immense power to transfer their body.
Naga chants only mantras and never speak any other language. They meditate in the Himalayas from 10 years to 1000 years.
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