|Intro||Shiva & Shaivas||Vishnu & Vaishnavas||Sadhvis||Tapas Shaiva|
|Tapas Vaishnava||Kumbha Mela||Foreign sadhus||Notes & Biblio||Old photos|
|There are some words (concerning se+) I cannot write in full or in the normal way anymore, because these generate unwanted interest via search engines on the internet.|
|Every foreigner in India, no matter how long he stays and how completely he 'indianizes', will always remain an alien.
Yet foreigners can become sadhus too, and the locals consider them just as holy as Indian sadhus. Especially the simple rustics — 75% of the total population still lives in the countryside — treat them with great respect and ask for their blessing. The city-dwellers, the modern, Westernized Indians often show less understanding.
Though many nationalities are represented, and both male and female, most of these foreigners are Italian or French.Some foreign sadhus are 'part-timers', who time and again plunge into the adventure of sadhu-life but keep their ties to the home-front.
[But for those who aspire to become a sadhu, see some advice at the bottom of this page.]
|A French sadhu a hundred years ago.|
|Mangalanand Giri, an initiate of the Juna Akhara, at the Kumbha Mela in 2001 at Allahabad.
|Ram Puri, an initiate of the Juna Akhara, at the Kumbha Mela in 2001 at Allahabad. In the background the old Shri Mahant of the Juna Akhara, Arjun Puri. Rampuri published an autobiography in 2005 about his experiences as a sadhu.|
Parvat Giri (left), an Italian sadhu who is a chela of Dipak Giri (right) and who has been a khareshwari — i.e. 'standing sadhu' — for over two years.
He is the first foreign sadhu ever to practise such a serious tapasya.
|Dipak Giri, a longtime baba of Italian descent, who is a Mahant in the Avahana Akhara.|
|The last contingent of the Juna Akhara procession leaves camp on their way to a holy dip in the Shipra river at Ujjain. These are the recently initiated chelas and the babas of lower stature.
All the way in the back the two foreign babas were appointed their place. The one with dark hair is Santosh Puri, an Italian baba.
So today there are at least a few hundred foreign sadhus, male and female, some of whom have been sadhu for over twenty years, and it seems that their number is still increasing.
They are formally initiated into various sects, receive their sadhu name, and in appearance and behaviour conform to the sadhu life-style.
|(Above left) Mohan Das, a Japanese sadhu, being blessed by his guru of two years, Mathura Das. According to ancient tradition, the pupil must carry out all his teacher's chores, and Mohan Das acts almost as the slave of his master. However, he does so willingly, since such work brings much positive "karma" to wipe away the sins of previous lives.
See story Holy Smoke.
|(Above right) Charan Das, originally an American, lived as a sadhu in India for over twenty years. Cheerful and without cares, he roamed the country for part of the year, going from one holy place to the other, visiting with brother-sadhus.
He has gone to Vaikunth.
|Two stories with foreigner sadhus:||An American Sadhu
A true story, all facts.
A true story, all facts
Over the years Ive had many e-mails from Westerners pronouncing their desire of becoming a sadhu, or their wish (or asking about the probability) of meeting a real sadhu. Therefore, to answer those kinds of e-mail expected in the future, Ive included the text below.
|Much more info and many photos in my book||Contact Dolf Hartsuiker|