Naga Sadhu is well known for its seers, performing extreme penances by pushing their bodies beyond the limit.
By staying naked with ash smeared on them, these Naga Baba are always an attraction for people visiting Kumbh Mela.
About Naga Sadhu
Naga Sadhus mostly live in Himalayan Caves and they appear during the time of Kumbh Mela. These Naga Sadhu always lashed with Trishul, sword and other deadly weapons in their hands for protecting Sanatana Dharma.
Mostly half-clothed or naked, Naga Sadhus have long Jatas (dreadlocks) on their heads. They used to smear the ashes of dead bodies on their whole body as part of their practices to achieve spiritual growth.
Maximum of them are the followers of Lord Shiva. But they possess different unique styles for praying and meditating Lord Shiva. Some Naga Sadhus have Naga or serpents on their necks like Lord Shiva. Some prefer to live completely naked while some others prefer to wear only Langota like Hanuman.
Naga generally carries a spear which is a symbol of akharas from which they belong. They worship this too before taking the ritual dip in the Ganga during the Shahi Snan of Kumbh Mela.
History of Nagas
The tradition of the Naga Sadhu is not new. Rather this legacy is moving onward from thousands of years.
Evidence is coming from the coins and images of Mohanjo-Daro, where Naga Sadhu was worshiping Lord Shiva in the Pashupati Nath form.
It is also said that Alexandar and his soldiers also met Naga Sadhu during his stay in India.
Buddha and Mahavira too were impressed by seeing the penance of Naga Baba and their devotion for people and motherland.
References are also from Digambar (naked) sects of Jain whose evidences are there in the several ancient Vedic texts.
From starting Naga Sadhu is the military force of Hindus for safeguarding Hinduism and India’s ancient culture from foreign invaders.
The Naga were first organized into military groups by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century for defending Sanatan Dharma, which is the base and entity of India.
Later on, Adi Shankaracharya set up the Dashnaami Sanyasi order which comprised of seven Akharas —Niranjani, Juna, Mahanirvani, Atal, Agni, Anand and Aahwahan.
As the members of these sanyasi groups carry arms and ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their country and religion, people started calling these groups as an Akharas.
The journey of becoming a Naga Sadhu
The process of becoming a Naga Sadhu is very unbearable, stiff and difficult. The hardship and dedication are so much that for a materialistic person, becoming a Naga Sadhu is almost impossible.