Aghori: exuberant, immense and ferocious personae

Aghoris exude vigorous energy, mostly naked, dreadlocks, ashes all over their bodies, and use bones from human corpses for crafting kapala (skull cups) and jewellery. Aghoris are a small group of vamacharic ascetic Shaiva sadhus and they often dwell in charnel grounds to smear cremation ashes.


Aghoris base their beliefs on two principles common to broader Shaiva beliefs: the first one is that Bhagwan Shiv is perfect (having omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence) and another one, Bhagwan Shiv is responsible for everything that occurs: all conditions, causes and effects. Aghoris believe that every person’s soul is Shiv but is covered by aṣṭamahāpāśa “eight great nooses or bonds”, including sensual pleasure, anger, greed, obsession, fear and hatred. The practices of the Aghoris are centred around the removal of these bonds.

Aghoris believe that we should accept our bodies as we were born, that is why they stay naked and never cut their hair. Aghori’s are said to have the cure for all the diseases. According to them, the human oil that they take from the pyre when the body is being burnt is extremely powerful and effective. They claim that they have the medicines for even the incurable diseases.

If we go through the history of Aghoris, we will get to know that the very first Aghori, who laid down the foundation of the lives for future Aghoris was Kina Ram. According to urban legend, he lived up to 150 years and died during the second half of the 18th century. Aghoris’ bodies are very strong and tolerating in nature, from snow-clad mountains to hot deserts, Aghoris are known to live in places where no other human being are known to survive.

There is no doubt our religion has such an impact on every human being. Everyone finds their own way to reach ‘Moksha’ by serving their respective adored deity or God, delving into our history gives us goosebumps.