Sadhus in Varanasi

Namaste from Varanasi, India's Holy City. Tonight we witnessed so many things I will never forget. From the ghats at the banks of Varanasi to see the evening prayers, and for an evening boat ride on the holy Ganges River— I'm speechless and my soul feels like its received a blessing in some way I've never felt.  

 Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

What is a Sadhu you ask?

Here is a little bit on the Sadhus, the good man/holy man we are photographed with, whom may or may not be a real Sadhu.  Now I say this because it was brought to our attention by our guides that tourists, like me, want to get pictures with these interesting faces of India.  Similar to our favorite super heros and disney characters who line the Hollywood Walk of Fame taking pictures with tourists, they've all found a way to capitalize on this and make some great tips.  

 Photo by Me:)

Photo by Me:)

In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit sādhu, "good; good man, holy man") is a religious ascetic or holy person.[1]Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their sannyāsa (renunciation). This way of life is open to women; the female form of the word is sādhvī. In 2014, an all-female akhada (group of sadhus) was formed; it is believed to be the first such group in India.[2]  (Wikipedia)

Sadhus are also often referred to as Baba, meaning father and real or not, some of them we crossed paths with had intriguing energy and with curious eyes we were drawn in.  As the sun started to rise I watched this ash covered Baba Sadhu turn himself to bow and then begin a tea & smoke ritual.  Our guide helped us communicate that I’d like to have a picture with him and next thing you know I’m invited in, offered a smoke (I said no thank you and we all cracked up) and I folded my feet on top of my thighs for Lotus and he joined the party, clearly not to be out done!  We both pressed our body weight up into an elevated Lotus Posture (Utthita Padmasana) while Erik captured some really fun moments.  After it all, our guide explained he was a special Baba Sadhu, who practices hot yoga and more rare to see.  What a treat.  I’d like to believe our paths crossed and I just did some yoga with a real Sadhu.  I’m grateful. 

 Photos by Erik Almas

Photos by Erik Almas

Through the higher spiritual intelligence, there is the realization of the Light of the Self
— Lord Shiva