India Sadhu Portraits
The sage will leave behind the dark ways of existence, but he will follow the way of light.
He will leave his home for the homeless life and in solitude will seek the joy.
SADHU means the same as a holy man, a religious ascetic, who decided to become liberated in the fourth and last period of life, through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sadhu is a sannyasi, who gave up life achievement, home, family, caste and account - to live in a cave, forest or a temple, dedicated to spiritual practice.
In India live 4-5 million sadhus. They are widely respected for holiness, sometimes arouse concern because they can cast a spell. There are many sects, but all have the aim of achieving moksha - freedom, liberation, life in communion with God.
Sadhu is initiated by a guru, from whom he receives a new name and mantra meditation practice. The guru decides whether and when - after a period of service - sadhu can embark on the ultimate journey. Which requires every possible sacrifice. And so - sadhus are considered dead - so among themselves as well as against Indian law.
They live with donations of food. They do not take charity. Some live naked, smeared with ashes of burned corpses. Others live in caves, in the solitude of meditation. For many, sadhu brotherhood is important. They often use marijuana and hashish, which act as the holy communion.