29th October 2014 – Varanasi, India
Before the trip changed directions, before the long road to enlightenment, There was a failed and futile search, which turned out to be misbegotten. The aghori is as elusive as they are demurely mysterious, But in the calming talk with another sadhu, they were soon forgotten.
Ever since yesterday morning when the boatsman told me about the Aghoris, I have been searching through Varanasi for them.
The Aghoris are a sect of extreme hindu sadhus, who have been known to practise in, what may be described only as, morbid and ghastly acts of worship. They are known to smear human ashes on their bodies, and involve in cannibalistic practices with the corpses that are floated into the Ganga, that do not meet the normal funeral conditions. And they are often seen with human skulls which they use as glasses or plates for drinking and eating.
As per the boatsman’s advice, I hung around the Manikarnika Ghat yesterday and today morning, since that was where the funerals took place. I did see one Aghori yesterday evening and talked to him a bit, but he gave me a stern look whenever I tried to click a picture, and I didn’t dare to piss him off. And today morning, I went back again to the ghat, but with no luck again.
But instead, I met this Sadhu on the Ghat. For just one cigarette, he sat down next to me and gave me a vivid explanation of how he left a family, wealth and material interests behind, and became a sadhu. He spoke fluent English, and understood politics and economics deeply.
I should have left to Nepal after the conversation, but a chance meeting with some other tourists made me interested in a place called Bodh gaya, about 250 KMs away, where Buddha was enlightened under a tree. So, Nepal will have to wait a couple more days.