The Saffron Clad Sadhu
7:04 A.M., 2 October, 2018
I’ve always been intrigued by the Sadhus of India. Some Sadhus have a mystic charm, some a sly, scheming modus operandi and some just puff their souls to the twirling smoke of chillum***. In India there are different sects of Sadhus; the much in news; Naga** Sadhu or the naked sadhu) and the Aghori Sadhus who actually feed on dead human flesh. Bizarre, don’t you think?
On my recent short trip to Haridwar, I had a longing desire to shoot portraits, having discovered that option recently on my iPhone 8 plus camera. Inspired by a dear, blogger friend, Parul’s posts, who shoots the most wonderful portraits I’ve ever seen; I left for my morning walk armed with my phone, which I usually disown when I travel. At the cost of sounding immodest, I believe this is the best portrait I’ve ever taken, and that too without any filters. The morning sun was just perfect for a shot like this.
My subject, a saffron clad sadhu* from Mathura was a gentle soul, who obliged by smiling for the camera. His soft demeanour was a welcome respite from my pre-conceived perceptions and notions about Sadhus. He came to enjoy a cup of tea and fan (a dry biscuit). We were offering the same to the many homeless people in the Harkipauri Ghat of Haridwar, Uttarakhand. He patiently waited for his turn, while others jostled to get ahead of each other.
No ordinary Sadhu this!
*Sadhu: Is a religious ascetic, monk or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as jogi, sannyasi or vairagi.
** Naga Sadhu: They are a particular group of Shaivite saints who reside in the Himalayan Caves. They come to visit the civilization only during the Kumbh Mela. The Naga Sadhus have unique characteristic features drawing inspiration from the famous Hindu god Shiva. They hold tridents crowned with human skulls.
****Chillum: A small pipe used for smoking cannabis.
(all the asterix information is gathered from google.com)
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