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Sadhus: The Great Renouncers

Pashupatinath, Kathmandu, Nepal

DUDHAHARI Baba (dudh means milk in Nepali). He has chosen a penance of taking only milk for his diet.The diet of sadhus varies tremendously according to their income, environment, where they live or wander and can be quite extreme consisting of only a specific food such as milk or fruit to the truly omnivore diet of Aghori sadhus who occasionally eat human flesh. Many sadhus condem eating sweets, garlic, onion, meat as they believe in over stimulates ones sexual drive. Hindu scholars classify food into several different categories, and resulting temperaments namely, Sattivik ; consisting of vegetables growing above the ground level, that promotes harmony of the spirit and body, increases life and energy. Rajasik food tastes sour, bitter, salty, has a pungent odor and gives heart and stomach burn. Chilli is a rajajsik food. It gives rise to disease and pain and is believed to arouse sexual desire and excitement to the mind and body. Tamasic foods are root vegetables grown underground in complete darkness. They cause inertia, dullness, envy and anger.Sadhus support Sattivik food. Despite all these beliefs, most sadhus eat sparingly from more common foods such as rotis, or flat wheat bread, prepared over a fire with the aid of tongs.

all text & images © Thomas L. Kelly
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