The Mysterious World of Great Naga Sadhus Revealed
Hinduism is the dharma that advocates peaceful living taking into cognizance human relation with nature. The cycle of birth and death is only medium for the soul to finally reside in human body to elevate the conscious level to reach Bhagwan (God).
People ignorant of great Hindu Bhakti and tradition simply make mockery of Hindu ethos and rituals without knowing that Sadhus who practice these high conscious tasks take penance to an impossible level which is unimaginable for common people even if they take hundreds of birth in human form.
Naga in Sanskrit means mountain, people residing in and around mountains are known as Pahadi or Naga.
The history of Naga Sadhus is very old, the traces of legacy are found in Mohenjo-daro coins and images where Naga Sadhus are shown worshiping Bhagwan Shiv in Pashupatinath form. Alexandar and his soldiers also met Naga Sadhus during their stay in India. Buddha and Mahavir were impressed to see the penance of Naga Sadhus, their devotion for the people and motherland. Jainese Digambar tradition has roots to Naga rituals.
During invasion of mlecchas (mughals), there were series of attacks on the Sanatan Dharmis and Hindu structures, at that point of time, a massive exercise was carried over by Naga Sadhus to organize their strength and form Akhadas so that they all fight under one Saffron flag to protect Hindu culture and Vedic tradition of India.
- 1 The Great Naga (नागा) Sadhus (साधु) and Their Way of Life to Protect Sanatan Dharm
- 1.1 Naga Sadhus Protected Ancient Hindu Temples from Invaders
- 1.2 The Rules and Rituals of Becoming Naga Sadhu
- 1.3 Journey of Becoming A Naga Sadhu
- 1.4 Designations of Naga Sadhus
- 1.5 Women Naga Sadhvis Protecting Vedic Culture
- 1.6 Impossible Feats for Common People Performed by Naga Sadhus as Penance
- 1.7 The Adornments and Ornaments of Naga Sadhus
- 1.8 The Legacy of Naga Sadhus Continued
- 1.9 List of Major Akhadas of Naga Sadhus
- 1.10 Surprise Me More:
The Great Naga (नागा) Sadhus (साधु) and Their Way of Life to Protect Sanatan Dharm
Naga Sadhus Protected Ancient Hindu Temples from Invaders
Naga Sadhus are sages about whom very few people have knowledge – how they become Naga Sadhu, What they do to achieve the position of Naga, What makes them unique, How they actually become a driving force for the world to stay in sync with nature.
Only fortunate few become Naga Sadhus – strongest commitment makes a Naga. The process to achieve Naga position is very difficult and the exercises are so hard that it cannot be compared to the most strenuous preparations of any army around the world.
During ancient times, Naga Sadhus were taught to fight anti-Vedic invaders ferociously. Naga Sadhus were equipped with talwars, trishuls, gadas, teer dhanush and weaponry skills to protect Mandirs (मंदिर) and Maths (मठ). Naga Sadhus successfully protected Shiv Mandirs from invaders and mughals. Aurangzeb’s special army of muslims who were established to denigrate Hindu temples and structures were defeated hundreds of times. These terrorist muslims were butchered to death like mad dogs are killed by brave Naga Sadhus. The courageous Naga Sadhus protected Mandirs and kept alive Shiv Bhakti for common Hindus in even muslim dominated areas.
The Rules and Rituals of Becoming Naga Sadhu
1) Strong Celibacy and Penance: A person who is interested in pursuing a life of Naga Sadhu, he should have complete control over his lust, s*xual feelings and er*tic libido. Practising Brahmacharya is not limited to only physical body but also on moral values. Mentally a person should renounce material wealth and desire for worldly things. First such person is tested rigorously on the norms of Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य) then it is ensured that he attained self-control, he is admitted in the group for training to become Naga. This permission to become Naga is known as Diksha but there are many other conditions which need to be fulfilled before the permission is given.
2) Service to Bhagwan, People and Country: A person who attained control over his senses is of no use if he does not have love for the Bhagwan, people and country. Ego-centered person is liability on society and country. He cannot be trusted to perform Rashtra Dharm.
Servicing and following orders of his Guru help the person in removing self-ego. Selfless bhakti sows the seed of developing human loving nature to protect people and country. Youth (age:16 to 18) belonging to Varna system: Brahman, Vaishya, Kshatriya and Shudra come forward to serve the country as Naga Sadhus. There is no restriction for anyone provided he is ready to undergo immense penance offered in the process of achieving Naga position.
3) Last Rites: It is very important to perform last rites, considering himself dead for the family and society. It is like new birth of a person in a new world of Nagas. The last rites, Pind Daan (पिंडदान) and Shraddh (श्राद्ध) are performed by the individual himself, relinquishing his connection with the family members and friends. After this, Guru gives him new name and identity.
4) Renouncing Clothes: Naga Sadhus cannot wear clothes. They can don a single saffron cloth that too not to cover the entire body.
A Naga Sadhu cannot use worldly things to decorate his body, he can only rub his body with ashes, which is his only shringar (श्रृंगार).
5) Embracing Tress and Rudraksh: A Naga has to wear Rudraksh mala on his neck. He has to remove choti (चोटी) and hairs from his head. A Naga Sadhu cannot keep Shikha (शिखा) and he is allowed to only keep Jata (जटा).
6) Once a Day Meal: A Naga Sadhu can only eat once in a day – including day/night cycle. Naga Sadhu can beg (भिक्षा – bhiksha) in maximum seven houses for sattvic food, if in any of these seven houses he is not offered food, he has to starve for the day. There is no choice of food, whatever is offered by the donor, he has to accept it and eat happily.
7) Sleeping on mother earth: A Naga can sleep only on mother earth, at the most it can cover the ground with a piece of cloth, but he cannot use cot, couch or bed to sleep.
The rule is so stringent that Naga Sadhu cannot use mattress or quilt to sleep on the floor. Every Nadhu Sadhu has to follow this condition.
8) Guru Mantra: After attaining diksha, Guru gives a mantra to the Naga. His entire life revolves around this GuruMantra (गुरुमंत्र). He must completely trust Guru and perform penance (तपस्या) with the Mantra given to him.
9) Secluded Life: A Naga Sadhu cannot reside in cities or thickly populated towns. He has to take shelter in places which are far away from common people. He cannot greet or disrespect anyone. He should only respect and bow in front of another Sanyasi or Sage. There are many such stringent rules which needs to be followed by every Naga Sadhu.
Journey of Becoming A Naga Sadhu
The process is so unbearable, laborious, stiff and difficult that materialistic person becoming a Naga Sadhu is almost impossible.
The army training the world over is inspired by the training and yogic process of the Naga Sadhus but still it cannot be compared to the intolerable exasperating circumstances that a Naga Sadhu has to go through.
It is not an exercise of 2 or 3 years but takes at least a decade, in some cases 20 to 30 years to become a Naga Sadhu.
Let us check out the intense process that a Naga Sadhu has to undergo before attaining Naga position:
Investigation: Whenever a person (Sadhak) shows interest in pursuing his life as a Naga. The Akhada does not permit him easily in the fold. Akhada investigates the background of that person with due diligence. After getting assured that the person is keen in changing his life, he is given entry in the Akhada.
Later, the person has to undergo a series of tests to determine his capability to attain Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य) – duration of this test range from 6 months to 12 years. After assessment, the person is allowed into the next level of training. The Diksha is only given when the person excels Brahmacharya rules.
Mahapurush: After passing the test of Brahmacharya, the person is moved to next level of making him Mahapurush (great personality).
At this level, the Sadhak has 5 gurus. These gurus are Panch Parmeshwar (Bhagwan Shiv, Bhagwan Vishnu, Shakti Mata, Bhagwan Surya and Bhagwan Ganesh). Sadhak is given Ash, Saffron, Rudraksh and other spiritual things which is part of his attire.
Avdhoot: After becoming Mahapurush, Sadhak is made Avdhoot. Avdhoot is reaching a stage that is beyond all worldly attachments and worries.
Head is cleaned – hairs are removed from the head of the Sadhak. After cleaning head, he has to do Pind Daan of himself following Vedic rites. This Pind Daan is done under the guidance of Akhada priest. Sadhak is considered dead for the family and world. The only responsibility of Naga is now to protect Sanatan Dharma and Vedic tradition.
Weakening of Phallus: This is one of the torturous and unbearable stage. In this process, Naga has to stand without food for 24 continuous hours under the Akhada flag, for all these hours a dand is kept on his shoulder and hands are made to hold water pots. Members of the Akhada keep watch on the Naga while he practices this tough exercise to weaken his phallus and thereby destroy libido completely. Lastly, phallus is beaten slowly with Vedic mantras, this makes phallus inactive. All the activities are conducted under the Akhada Saffron flag making the Naga a Yodha (योद्धा) for the Sanatan Dharma and Bharat. This is the final stage, now the Sadhak is complete Naga.
Designations of Naga Sadhus
The responsibility and authority of Naga Sadhus are based on their designations. As years pass by, the responsibility of Naga Sadhu becomes more significant. Designation with greater authority in ascending order.
- Shree Mahant
- Jamatiya Mahant
- Thanapati Mahant
- Peer Mahant
- Acharya Mahamandaleshwar
Women Naga Sadhvis Protecting Vedic Culture
In recent years, there are hordes of women who have become Naga Sadhus, they enroll in Akhada and undergo the same tiresome process to become Naga Sadhvi. Impressed with the culture and tradition of connecting with Bhagwan Shiv thereby serving people, women from several countries flock to Akhadas to become Naga Sadhvis. The rules are almost same; leading life devoid of lust, s*x, greed, desire, money and ego.
The only difference being, Naga Sadhvi should wrap her body with a yellow cloth. She should bath with her body covered. Even during Kumb Snan, Naga Sadhvi is not allowed to remove the cloth.
Impossible Feats for Common People Performed by Naga Sadhus as Penance
Naga Sadhus undergo deep pain and tiresome process to test their self-control. They elevate and enhance their austerity testing their limits to the extreme. Naga Sadhus are living super humans of the world. The image below showcases few glimpses of traumatic penance that Naga Sadhus put themselves to. During Kumbh Mela, you might find hundreds of such Naga Sadhus penancing in their shelters or in open.
The Adornments and Ornaments of Naga Sadhus
Adorning the body is part of the ritual of Naga Sadhus. They don different type of spiritual things all over their body to feel closer to Bhagwan Shiv.
Bhasm भस्म (Ash): Bhasm keeps body safe and unaffected from environmental pollution and is like second skin for the Nagas. Other Shiv Bhakts also rub their body with ash to enact the Avghad (औघड़) form of Shiv Bhagwan, they give respect to Mahadev while portraying themselves in the form of Shiv.
Flowers फूल: Marigold (गेंदा) is preferred by Hindus for dharmic traditions because marigold represents Saffron and remain fresh for longer time. Naga Sadhus like to wear fulmala (string of flowers around neck). Mostly they use marigold flowers to make this mala. They make mala of different sizes to wrap it around the Jata, on hands, neck and around shoulders. Some Nagas do not like flowers others like Bhasm. It is their choice to adorn themselves the way they want.
Tilak तिलक: Naga take good interest in decorating their forehead with tilak. Tilak signifies identity and strength. It should remain same whole day, tilak should cover entire forehead or the middle part of forehead. The style of putting tilak is not changed, it is uniformly spread across forehead. They consume ample time applying tilak to manage perfect symmetricity. Tilak adds saffron and red color to the personality of the Naga, showing the purpose of their life for Sanatan Dharm and Bharat. It is not necessary that all Naga Sadhus have same approach in decorating tilak on their forehead, others like to keep it simple and firm.
Rudraksh रुद्राक्ष: Bhagwan Shiv goes through the emotions of pain and feelings as we humans undergo (but the magnitude of pain is divine and unimaginable by common people) so that the principles of life are properly followed and no one is allowed to break the system laid by the Bhagwan Shiv himself. Not even Bhagwan Shiv breaks it, even though he has choice and right to do so. Rudraksh came from the tears of Bhagwan Shiv. Rudraksh is blessing of Shiv and there are stringent rules to be followed before wearing it as RudrakshMala.
Naga Sadhus also don Rudraksh Mala on their neck and hands. Rudraksh Mala is made more powerful with the mantras and years of Siddh process. After Siddhi, the original Rudraksh Mala protects the Dharak Naga.
Rudraksh Mala glorifies and enhances the aura in and around Naga Sadhus.
Some of the Naga Sadhus also offer their own Rudraksh Mala to their disciples or sevak (common person) if they are impressed with their selfless seva towards Dharm. The one who receives it can become fortunate and successful person. It only energizes the person if it is happily offered by the Naga – stealing or cheating a Naga to obtain Rudraksh from him can lead to even death of the person.
Langot लंगोट: Mostly Naga Sadhu remains naked to follow complete renunciation.
Few of the Nagas use Langots when they interact with commoners so that people do not hesitate to meet them.
Some Naga Sadhus practice Hathyog (हठयोग) – they use metals like iron and silver to make langot. Others also use langot made out of wood. It is very difficult to wear such heavy metals for long hours, Hathyogis do this to take their Yog and penance to highest level.
Weapons हथियार: As explained before, Naga Sadhus are Yodhas, you might be surprised to see their immense power and inner strength. These activities seem Super Humanic efforts for us but it is very basic exercise for the Nagas.
Nagas respect their weaponry and ornaments a lot. Being Yodhas, they are expert in martial arts, brave, courageous, angry and powerful. They keep swords, axes, trishuls and mace (gada) with them. The weaponry not only help in self-defence and protection of dharma but also add brilliance to the outlook of the Nagas.
Big Pliers चिमटा: The pliers are not exactly the pliers that you see in modern times, it is one of the musical tools that is used by Hindu sages since ages. It is important and compulsory for Naga Sadhus to keep Chimtas with them. It helps in concentrating towards Bhagwan.
Some Nagas also bless keeping Chimta on the head of the Bhakt.
Jewels रत्न : Many Naga Sadhus prefer wearing jewels which correspond to navgrahs to get in sync with the nine planets. Some of the Ratnas – Munga, Pukhraj, Maanik are part of the shringar of Nagas. Remember, the donning of the Ratnas is not done for lavishness but to enhance their spiritual reachability. The science of Vedic astrology which revolve around the Navgrahs is also thousands of years old.
Jata जटा: Some of the Naga Sadhus do not have hair cut, they do not get involved in the mortal and materialistic activities of common people. They take great care of their Jatas which is result of not having a hair cut for decades. There is deep science behind keep long hairs.
A Yogi with long hairs is more energetic, tireless, powerful and fearless.
Hair is a natural conductor of our body’s electromagnetic energy. Coiling hairs causes induction. The science of coiling wires in electronics comes from ancient Hindu science of interlocking hairs in the coil form to induce energy in the body. Coiling hairs enhances electromagnetic energy. That is also one of the reason that Yogis and Nagas never gets affected from heat, cold or change in weather. They are always healthy and strong.
Mleccha invaders, Mughals knew from locals about this science of Hindu Kings and Brahmins so they started forceful mass cutting of hairs while insulting Hindu rituals to weaken the community spiritually and culturally, to facilitate forceful conversions to anti-Vedic islam.
Naga Sadhus take good care of their Jatas – they clean it with a typical black soil, soak it in the morning under sunlight and rejuvenate their body energy extracting power from the sun using hair as receptor. Out of care, they also decorate the Jata with fruits, flowers and Rudraksh.
Beard दाढ़ी: – Similarly, proper care and cleaning is done on long beards. Beards make face muscles stronger, they act as receptor of positive energy when Surya Pranam is performed in river – salutation to Sun. It is done with folded hands, before taking river water in palms then dropping it in the direction of Sun in the river again.
Skin Seats/Clothes पोषाक चर्म: Shiv Bhagwan don and sit on Baaghambar (skin of a tiger) in Kailash. So few of the Naga Sadhus prefer to sit on skin of animals. The strict rule is that no Yogi can use skin of an animal which is killed or tortured. Seats are made from animals who had natural death. Nagas also wrap the skin of tiger or deer around their body. It is very difficult so find such Nagas, as getting fresh skins from animals (tiger/deer) dying natural death is almost impossible.
The Legacy of Naga Sadhus Continued
Hindus of India owe a lot to ancient Nagas and Shri Adi Shankaracharya. Shri Adi Shankaracharya was born in 8th century AD. By that time the world was fully under effect of Kaliyug. Opulence of Bharat became focal point for invaders, many Mlecchas were planning to invade India and rob off her prosperity of wealth and culture. Shri Adi Shankaracharya took the responsibility of protecting Sanatan Dharm and its culture from the evil clutches of demonic Mlecchas. He wanted to increase the number of Naga Sadhus to manifolds so that Sanatan Dharm is protected from invaders.
Some of the invaders looted wealth of India and went back others tried to forcibly impose their anti-Vedic religions on Hindus. The splendor of Bharat was so enticing for them that these Mlecchas actually settled here to promote their demonic, inhumane rites. Their settlement lead to massive unrest among native Hindus. The attack on the Vedic tradition of India was on the surge, need of the time was to properly plan and restructure the norms of Hinduism. Shri Adi Shankaracharya took the task of deciphering the Vedic texts and simplifying the meaning for commoners. He took several steps to reestablish Sanatan Dharm to its past glory which include setting up of 4 Peethas in the four corners of India – Govardhan Peeth, Sharda Peeth, Dwarika Peeth and Jyothirmath Peeth.
Shri Adi Shankaracharya also formed several Akhadas who had fearless Yogis to fight bravely with the attackers. The first rule was to train the Yogis and arm them with weaponry after they followed stringent conditions of Nagas. Several attempts of Mlecchas (muslims) to loot and denigrate Hindu temples, devotees were averted by the brave Yogis under guidance of Shri Adi Shankaracharya. He ensured that people from all walks of life become Yogis and contribute to the protection of Vedic culture and Hindus.
Shri Adi Shankaracharya was visionary, he knew that only performing Kathas and chanting mantras will not protect natives against armed aggression of enemies. A peaceful approach would only strengthen the enemy so the aggressive retaliation has to be massive and fearless, then no one can dare to denigrate Hinduism. He made it compulsory to only allow youth who renounce worldly life and become ferocious warrior of Sanatan Dharm. The process of turning a Yogi into Naga was made stringent following ancient Naga practices which involved difficult exercise, developing weaponry skills, controlling mind and leading a stress free life. The Akhadas became the centers of powers which later frightened even glorified terrorists – Akbar, Aurangzeb, Tipu Sultan and Shah Jahan.
The formation of Akhadas also lead to the inspiration to develop several Kushti Akhadas that comprises of celibate wrestlers.
Shri Adi Shankaracharya clearly instructed Akhadas to never show mercy on those who attack Hindu temples, devotees – their only purpose is to denigrate and decimate the values of Vedic culture. Later on several Hindu Kings took help from these Akhadas even to fight Mlecchas (muslims) in battlefields. There are several incidents when the Akhadas successfully won battles for Hindu Kings. The archive of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has mentions of several such historical encounters. In some battles, more than 40,000 Naga Sadhus participated to protect Sanatan Dharm and culture of Bharat. There is also mention of one of the epic incidents when Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked Gokul and Naga Sadhus on their own protected Gokul slaying mlecchas bravely.