You might be aware of the term Kumbh Mela by now. On Makarsankranti 2019, this special mela began that invited thousands of individuals. Many people lined up at the Sangam (confluence of rivers), including the tourists since the first day.
People see the Kumbh Mela as one of the greatest and purest shows on the planet Earth. You can observe a sea of sadhus and mystics in this place after every 12 years. The groups of eye-catching sadhus in different attire attracts the tourists and people around the world.
Several Naga babas and other mystics spend their day in the Kumbh Mela. They wear attractive and uniquely styled ornaments that attract people.
One of the babas wore many Rudraksha malas and a crown studded with the same. You can easily observe such things around the mahakumbh every day. These babas and mystics would attract you by posing differently and utilization of animals.
You can also see many foreigners wearing traditional Indian clothes to connect with the babas. You can find these Naga babas on all the 4 places of Kumbh Mela after every 12 years individually. The Kumbh Mela us full of auspicious and special things. But what is the most common aspect in the world full of mystics? To me, it is the sea of Naga Babas.
Who are Naga babas?
In a literal sense, the Naga babas are called “Naked Sadhus or Yogis” throughout the world. They are critical aspects of Shaivite Sadhu association. Physically, they cover their bodies specifically with grey ash and wear matted locks. Such an attire resembles Lord Shiva, identifying as a follower of him.
You can find these sadhus, especially in the Himalayan region. They are also available during these days in the Kumbh Mela places. This, however, is the only time for their arrival in original attire.
The initiation ceremony of the Naga babas takes place in the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. In fact, they are the first mystics to bathe in the holy rivers of Shipra, Yamuna, Godavari, and Ganga.
You will find many of these sadhus in 13 akharas or arenas established by Adi Shankaracharya himself. Naga Sadhu life is difficult since they don’t have a single place for living. Even if they want to stay, they will live away from the city places.
Their initiation ceremony
Indeed, the life and initiation of Naga sadhus are both hard and unique. You can find the sadhus covered with ashes without any clothes. They attend such level of austerity after much struggle.
People are curious about the Naga babas and their everyday life. The Juna Akhara is the most important of all. The Naga sadhus in this akhara especially excel in fighting quality. That is why people call them warrior sadhus.
If you happen to see the initiation ceremony, you would observe the uniqueness of it. The individuals are first supposed to do funeral rituals of themselves. The spiritual master gives individuals a new name and identity.
Before the complete transformation of the Naga sadhu takes place, the aspiring individual goes through tests. The only selected individuals that control senses can become one. The test period includes the examination of mental and physical control of the person. The initiation happens after the individual passes in the test.
The story behind their special outfit
In Sanskrit, their attire is called “Digambar” which has a deep meaning. The word itself has two sections: dig and ambar. The word dig identifies with earth, and you can translate ambar as the sky. In a literal sense, the individuals sleeping on earth like bed wearing sky as blanket are naga sadhus.
Ancient Indian texts say that the demigods from heavenly planets come down on earth during Kumbh Mela days. It is noted that the nectar falls down the sky on the ground these days. That is why you would find Naga babas going around in their special outfit or form.
Generally, the Naga babas used to move throughout the place having similar attire. Today, however, you would find the increment in the number of Naga Babas. Also, the decrement in the ashram places forces the individuals to live in the society.
The history behind the naga babas and their existence
The naga baba history dated back 2500 years ago. Adi Sankaracharya, an Indian philosopher, and well-known commentator established the concept of akharas. After that, the Naga babas started learning several skills of spiritual and fighting aspects. The kings also used to take help of sadhus during the foreign invasion in those days.
The lineage of akharas goes back to the age of Treta, during the time of Dattatreya. He also had the similar attire of nakedness and matted locks.
Historically, you would find that the goal of akharas was different from that of the present. Earlier, Adi Sankaracharya had established akharas for the protection of temples and worshipable places. After the independence of India, however, the primary focus headed to the protection and establishment of eternal dharma of the human being.
Unknown secrets of Naga Babas
You can find many secrets of naga sadhus every now and then. Their initiation is itself one of the greatest mystery. Not everyone can get an entry in the association of Naga sadhus and Akharas. The individuals go through critical processes or tests. It leads one to the initiation of a particular person as Naga Baba.
A Naga baba goes through several critical procedures in the Kumbh Mela festival every 12 years. They spend their days as celibates for three years, practicing and testing their renunciation skills. Lastly, these individuals take a bath in the holy river of Shipra 108 times.
In these akharas (arenas in a literal sense), the Naga sadhus go through other procedures as well. You wouldn’t realize, but each Naga sadhu has 5 gurus or spiritual masters. These masters give five unique things to wear as attire including both ash and Rudraksha.
The rituals of Naga sadhus initiation include being awake all night to chant the holy mantra. This mantra is related explicitly to Lord Shiva. After that, they perform fire offering in the same Akhara. That is how the Naga Sadhu power comes to life.
I would urge you to go to the Prayaga Kumbh Mela and see the Naga Sadhu miracles with your eyes. Due to their austerity, they have developed higher consciousness and bodily detachment that makes them powerful. Indeed, they attract many tourists in the Simhastha Kumbh Mela every 12 years.