The Hush Post| 11:00 am |three-minute-read
Thousands of engineers and management graduates are set to renounce the world and initiate themselves into becoming Naga sadhus.
27-year-old Rajat Kumar Rai from Kutch has a diploma in marine engineering. However, instead of pursuing a career which would have got him a fat salary, he has decided to renounce the world. He is all set to become a Naga sadhu.
The story of Shambhu Giri, 29, a management graduate from Ukraine is somewhat similar. To join these two and thousands like them is Ghanshyam Giri. Ghanshyam is 18-year-old class XII board topper from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
At a mass initiation ceremony during the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, the three along with thousands of others had their hair sheared. After the hair chopping they performed ‘pind-daan’ (after-death ritual). Thereafter they participated in a night-long sacred fire ceremony. After which they were inducted into the ancient order of the Naga sadhus.
They are now waiting for the Mauni Amavasya. On that day they will take a holy dip, one of the most auspicious dates in the Kumbh calendar falling on Monday. The Naga sect is known for its seers performing extreme penances. They push their bodies to the limit and stay naked as part of practices to achieve spiritual growth.
Any person who has a desire for vairagya (detachment) irrespective of caste, colour or religion can become a Naga
Despite the hardships and tough regimen associated with the sect, it is estimated by the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the top-most body of the country’s akharas (sect of seers), that over 10,000 men and women are taking deeksha (initiation) and becoming Naga sadhus this Kumbh.
“Any person who has a strong desire for vairagya (detachment) irrespective of caste, colour or religion is eligible to become a Naga. Many Muslims have been accepted as have several Christians and people from other religions. So have people who have earlier been doctors or engineers.”
Once accepted by the akhara, the path to becoming initiated is a tough one. The aspirants are tested for years. And then it is decided whether they are fit to become a sadhu either due to a whim or after a crisis.
The most difficult part is to eradicate sexual desires and kill one’s ego
The process, from being accepted by the akhara, to finally being ordained, can take anywhere between a couple of years to even a few decades. According to Ghanshyam Giri, the key is to remain focused on the goal. “After I had cleared my board exams, I realised what my aim in life was. I was 16 when I moved into the ashram of my guru, Mahant Jairam Giri, in Ujjain. By his grace, I was able to receive initiation as a Naga after just two years, during this Kumbh.”
Rai, known as Nityanand Giri after his initiation, adds, “I had a dream many years back. In the dream, I saw myself dead and meeting God. It was then that I decided to become a Naga. The journey has been tough but I would have it no other way,” he says. Ask them what was the toughest part of their regimen and Ghanshyam says that it would have to be the practices which are designed to “eradicate sexual desires and kill the ego.”