“Vedic Sadhus…the source of inspiration for me. I learned by following them and hope i can use that for benefit of mankind…” UK BABAJI
Sadhus are wandering ascetics affiliated with a wide range of Hindu religious orders and schools. Found throughout India and Nepal, they are seen in towns and cities and walking along roads with begging pots and staffs. They are respected by Hindus and given food in return for their blessings and prayers. They are also known as babas. A fakir is a holy man who lives by begging.
Sadhu have been around for at least 2000 years . They were called “the silent ones” or the “the long haired ones” in ancient Vedic verses. In ancient times sadhuism was regarded as the highest form of religious life and the power of sadhu penance was such, it was said, that the gods unsuccessfully set down cosmic beauties to try to seduce them and generals laid down their arms rather than wage war against a city protects by a sadhus .
Originally only Brahmins were allowed to become sadhus. Now members of any caste can become one. They take vows of chastity and poverty, adopt ascetic practices, observe certain religious regulations, survive on charities, and provide religious services to those in need. They are expected to severe ties with family or home and wear markings and clothes associated with the sect they belong too.
There are believed to be around five million sadhus belonging to several thousand schools or sects in India. Most sadhus are males. The few females ones are called sadvin (the feminine of sadhu). The most conservative sadhus, the nagas , wear only a loin cloth and have long stringy locks of hair that resemble dreadlocks. Some have nicknames like “Long Haired Man” in honor of locks that if uncoiled would reach the ground.
Sadhus are revered by Hindus as representatives of the gods. Being a sadhu is one of the stages of life a person is expected to pass through. Even so in the caste system sadhus often occupy a position roughly equal to that of domestic servants.