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Aghori

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The guru explained a lot. He comes from a line of famous teachers in the Aghori teachings. He calls his people left wing Hindus because across time they have been known for breaking conventions and superstitions. Some of the famous teachers in history did outrageous things to make the point, like drinking from a skull, dancing in cremation ash and more.

Aghoris, as a result, have had an image of being eccentric, intoxicated nomadic ascetics practicing tantra in unholy places and conducting weird habits, bodies smeared with cremation ashes, sporting a Shiva trident and garland of marigolds.

Today's Aghoris are shifting away from secrecy, seclusion and wild behavior and are becoming active socially while maintaining respect for their roots: nondiscrimination between pure and impure. Babaji treats me with respect and offers me a seat on a chair whereas everyone else sits on the floor at his feet, Indians, and Westerners. I cherish the private chats when no one is around, but I can't share the content of those stolen moments before the endless stream of devotees arrive with presents, problems, and petitions.

I left him in such a session and took a boat ride to the ghats. Many families were out washing body and clothing, brushing hair and teeth and ritual water scooping in the holy waters.

Today we saw many bodies burning. Draped in gold and orange paper the cotton clad corpse is dunked in the mother waters in a kind of grotesque dance before being set aflame.

Next: protein, fiber, and vegetarians in close quarters
, universities, museums rickshaws and scams.

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