14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Smeared with the Ashes of Life !
This photo was taken when I was on my visit to Ujjain Maha Kumbh Mela- A famous Indian Fair- which is held once in 12 years. Thousands of Hindu Sages, Saints, Religious leaders & millions of hindus gather together while this fair. This person is also one of such Sadhu (sage). The Sadhu (also known as yogi and sanyasi), is a Hindu ascetic who has renounced caste, social position, money and authority, and occupies a special place in Hindu society. As one who seeks the Universal Soul in order to be absorbed in it, the Sadhu is set apart from the orthodox priesthood as renunciation is considered superior to the rituals of the priests.
The concept of the Sadhi traces its origin to the earliest images of Shiva himself, with his matted hair and the body covered with ash. A Sadhu does not have any caste and is free to attach himself to any strata of the social structure. The Sadhu is credited with much of the development of Indian culture, art, architecture, music, poetry and literature, influencing and forming the very world he has abandoned with his endless travels from one sacred site to another.
Such Sadhu usually wears on his forehead the three lines of the god’s trident drawn in ash or sandalwood paste which may be vertical or horizontal. Endless variations of these sectarian marks, depending on the sect, are possible. They may decorate their bodies with various lines and markings, cover the entire torso with ashes, carry a metal trident and wear rosaries. The hair and the beard are uncut and matted.
© Niraj Gera.
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||Nov. 30, 2016, 8:06 p.m.