In this modern world, the way of life has become urbanized to a great extent and the common man has moved quite a distance from the religious cults and practices of the past; you may call it the effect of education and development. We may also assert that the growth of humans as logical, enlightened beings is a result of this development; yet, this does not mean that the secrets of religious practices and secret cults and mysticism, voodoo, magic and tantra have ceased to exist.
The practices, secret or open, have been nurtured by the experts, the religious-minded and through secret practices by hidden and forbidden clans.
Aghoris are a living example, they are visible quite frequently but not their internal secret practices, rituals and occultism; coming across an ascetic with ash rubbed on his body may not tell you that the ash is from a funeral pyre. Aghoris are actually reclusive ascetics who follow Shaivism and have, through the practice of the secret arts continued the practice proximity to the dead; because, it is believed that they are the link between the dead and the living.
In fact, we may state that they are the Hindu version of magicians and witch doctors; because they have these black powers, they are shunned and abhorred by the normal Hindus. They normally smear ashes from the funeral pyres on their bodies; the higher rituals require eating rotting human flesh. Their ultimate aim is to transform the Shava (corpse) to Shiva which they attain by meditating while sitting on a dead corpse.
- Their main characteristics:
- They are smeared with human ash,
- They are known to stay in burial or cremation grounds,
- They engage in Post Mortems, and
- They use the human bones for preparing jewelry and performing rituals.
- They do Sex with dead bodies and if they ever do sex with women’s and they only do during their menstrual days.
For them Sex is not for pleasure, it is a way to channelize the energies of Kundalini and there are certain Aghori rituals which can be performed during Sex only. For them it is a way to attain the supreme power and a way to merge Shakti with Shiva. Shakti is represented as Kundalini which is located at the base of spine and Shiva resides at the crown chakra. So during Sex normally Kundalini rises from Root chakra (Mooladhar Chakra) and travel towards Crown Chakra.
The Hindus believe that, if the Aghoris and other Tantrics are able to get hold of a complete human carcass from the cremation grounds, the body parts and the bones may be used to create powerful black magic; therefore, after cremation it is a practice to hide one bone of the body so that no one can get hold of it to complete the human carcass for conducting the rituals.
Aghoris are highly venerated and the common people have fanatical belief in their powers; they engage in exorcism and conduct healing against possession by evil spirits.
They are believed to be very effective in treating hauntings and freedom from evil spirits through worship and mantras; renunciation, tapasya and mantras are their potent weapons for fighting of supernatural entities.
Beliefs and aims
Aghoris are devotees of Bhairava, a manifestation of Lord Shiva in his most fiery form; he is a destroyer and causes annihilation at will. Aghoris are believers in monism which means that everything goes back to one single thing which can divide arbitrarily or by artificial means divided into many different things all of which are distinct by themselves.
Through their way of living, they also seek moksha or freedom from the perennial cycle of birth, death and reincarnation; this aim is sought to be fulfilled through the unification of the identity of the self with the absolute; that is in keeping with their monistic philosophy.
They also have the firm belief, in keeping with their belief in monism, that all the opposite forms have no reality and are simply illusory. Their philosophy in accepting degradation and pollution while leaving behind the social taboos in modern Hinduism, is supposed to provide them a typically special level of consciousness making the concept of non-duality (advaita) that much clearer.
The Aghoris have another similar group with which they are likely to be confused; they are the Shivnetras who are similarly ardent devotees of Lord Shiva but differ from the Aghoris in one vital aspect.
The Shivnetras (eyes of Shiva) are known to be following the Sattvic form of worship that is based on purity and goodness but the Aghoris form of worship is diametrically opposite due to the practice of Tamasic form of worship which is denoted by the following qualities:
- Inaction, and
Though the Aghori Traditions might differ in their beliefs and practices, the broader principles of Shaivism are very deeply rooted in their strict following of their faith.
The two cardinal principles that they adopt and observe religiously in keeping with their Shaiva principles are:
- Shiva is perfect: Since he is Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent, and
- Shiva is the doer: All occurrences and conditions, effects and their causes are the doing of Shiva.
This entails that all existing things are perfect; denying their perfection is to deny the existence of the Supreme Being.
Aims of Aghori meditation
The ultimate aim of an Aghori is to become a Sadasiva which is a state where you attain moksha or freedom; this state can only be attained if they are able to get rid of eight restricting bonds that they need to be free of; these are jointly called Astamahapasa i.e. eight great restricting bonds that come in the way of salvation.
The Aghories seek to remove these bonds to achieve moksha – Shame, Fear, hatred, sensual pleasure, greed, obsession and anger.
- Sexual acts conducted under certain conditions help in attaining victory over sexual desires,
- Sadhana in a burial place or cremation ground removes fear,
- Shame is eradicated when you are naked during the rituals and otherwise.
Kina Ram was the founder of the Aghori faith in the modern world and is stated to have been about 150 years old when he died in the late 18th century.
According to some accounts, Dattatreya was the adi-guru who founded the aghori faith appeared to Keenaram at the top of the Girnar Mountains in Gujarat and fed him on his own flesh to bless him with certain extra powers like clairvoyance while accepting him as his disciple.
Dattatreya was considered as the incarnation of Vishnu, Mahesh and Brahma and is highly respected in all the sects practicing Tantra; he appears frequently in the Puranas, the scriptures and performs the left-hand Tantric worship which is considered to be highly effective.
Asshava samskara is one of the most the famous rituals involving a corpse as the altar to invoke their mother-goddess called Smashaan (Cremation ground) Tara who, like Kali, is one of the ten wisdom-goddesses of which Bhairavi, Baglamukhi and Dhumavati are the most powerful mahavidyas and worshipped by Aghories.
Also worshiped by Aghoris for attaining supernatural powers are Avadhuti, Mahakala, Virabhadra, Bhairav and some other manifestations of Lord Shiva.’ The Shava Sadhana, worship with a corpse is another practice that is popular among the Aghories.
The Kuldevi (Patron Goddess) of the Aghories is Hinglaj Mata and the main pilgrimage point is Kina Ram’s ashram in Varanasi which houses the Samadhi of the Aghori saint.
While the cremation grounds are the natural habitat of the Aghories, those which are in the vicinity of the 51 Yoni Pithas are the most famous; they are found all over South Asia and the Himalayas.
Aghories are famous for exorcising haunted houses.
Patients afflicted with severe ailments believe that the Aghoris can heal your ailments by transferring the weak health to their sturdy and healthy bodies and then transferring the health state back to your body; this is an amazing form of Transformative Healing method.
But mainly Aghoris are known for their darker powers and it is believed that if they do any kind of black magic or some tantra on anyone than it is really difficult to get rid of it. They are very aggressive, having fierce energies and these days it is really difficult to find a true Aghoris.