Learning the art of detachment.
Pushkar has always had a special place in my heart. Special enough to make me go there every year for the past five years.
During my last trip, I hung out with the Naga sadhus and saadhvis at the Tarani Ghat. Now I’m a solo traveller, and a loner at best, but what I experienced here was detachment to another level.
Parvati Devi, a saadhvi and devotee of Shiva made the decision to renounce the world at the young age of 9. Her belief is that everything is temporary and fake except God. And the only way to escape the endless cycle of birth and death is to follow a path of detachment and acceptance. “Is duniya mein sab kuch moh maya hai.” The disciple must not only learn to stand apart and hold herself free, but also learn to cultivate the attitude of an onlooker and silent observer.
100 year old Kedargiri Baba gave me an insight into his life. Clothed in orange, which symbolises renunciation of the commitments of ‘normal’ life, he said sadhus are constantly on pilgrimage, travelling long distances across India. Their belongings are stripped down to bare essentials, though carrying a metal rod or spear as a devotional object like he does, seems to go against the idea of travelling light. There are other recognizable signs, long hair in dreadlocks, wound around the top of the head.
His ashram was a three storey building with a courtyard. I spent most of my time here, ruminating over life and chillums.
Parvati Devi, a saadhvi and my guide
100 year old Kedargiri Baba
Most of the day is spent in meditation
Saint Niranajangiri also known as Mouni Baba holding his spear
My welcome at the entrance of the ashram
Reflecting over life with chillums
The place spells peace and harmony
Making prayer beads
The youngest sadhu (centre) is 15 years old
He had the longest dreadlocks
When not meditating…
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By Rashi Arora
Cover photo credit: Mohan KK
Photographs by Rashi Arora