We often hear the word Aghori, which we know is a term related to sages, whom we see as fearsome looking men with ash smeared all over their body. While some say they are holy saints who have divine powers and supernatural abilities, others say that they are Tantriks (those who perform black magic) who might harm anybody any time using their supernatural powers. Some others believe that all they do is practice absurd things which are actually demeaning.
Here we are going to tell you all some of the most important as well as interesting things about Aghoris. Take a look.
1. Aghoris are devotees of Shiva, who take the form of saints and worship Shiva in strange ways. In fact, people even believe that they are incarnations of Lord Shiva.
2. Aghoris believe that human beings are souls and have a number of flaws. Either they are born with these flaws or get them as an effect of the materialistic world. These flaws include materialistic tastes and pleasures such as sensual pleasure, greed, hatred, lust, anger, etc.
These come under the major eight Ashtamahapasa, the other name for flaws. Their aim is the eradication of these flaws and thus, the attainment of the supreme power, Shiva.
3. For this aim, they perform sadhana (penances) on the cremation grounds. They believe that being freed from the bondage of the eight desires, Ashtamahapasa, is the basic and the highest requirement for attaining Moksha (salvation). This is what they call attaining Sadashiva.
4. Basically, the sadhana that they do, which is the other name for penance, is of three types. These are Shiva Sadhana, Shav Sadhana and Smashaan Sadhana, which means penance before Shiva, penance before the dead body and penance in the cremation ground, respectively.
It is believed that they eat stinking flesh. Many of them even stay naked, which they believe is a way of getting rid of shyness.
5. It is believed that they stand on one leg above a dead body. The main inspiration here is Parvati standing on the chest of Shiva. They even offer flesh to the dead body as prasad.
6. While performing the Smashan Sadhana, they offer prayers on a grave and offer gangajal and sweets as prasad, unlike Shav Sadhana, wherein they offer flesh as prasad.
7. Another belief says that Aghoris search for dead bodies, which they can easily find in waterbodies when the dead are not burnt but either buried or left afloat.
8. While they sleep in the daytime, they spend the whole of their nights in cremation grounds, performing the fearsome rituals. Because a major part of the sadhanas is performed in the crematorium, they prefer staying there itself.
9. Yet another belief says that they can even talk to the dead. Through their rituals, they can connect to the departed souls and, therefore, can share thoughts with them.
10. Some say that Aghoris, while performing the Shav Sadhana, aim to invoke Smashaan Tara, the goddess who can bless the devotees with supernatural powers. She is one of the ten Mahavidyas, the ten goddesses in Hinduism, worshipped for achieving Siddhi.
11. Some texts say that Dattatreya was the founding Adi Guru of the Aghor tradition. Dattatreya has been described in the Hindu scriptures as Aghori, which there means the one who performs Tantrik rituals using the left hand. He is highly revered by the Tantrik traditions as per Hindu scriptures.
Thus, the Aghoris belong to the age-old traditions of Hinduism, which is practised until today in order to attain salvation as well as supernatural powers.