Naga Baba at Kumbh Mela 2016 Ujjain
Contraddizioni a confronto tra Nudità, Tabu' e religione nella Società occidentale ed in quella indiana
Contradictions in comparison on Nudity, religion and Taboo 'in Western and in the Indian society
The Naga Baba are the highest expression of Indian asceticism. In fact, for a very long time, some men have decided to leave everything, families, jobs, villages, belongings, wives, etc.. to ignore the world, to seek refuge high up in the top of the Himalayas or in isolated forests to undertake a journey in search of onself.
These yogis adhere to strict measures of austerity, the so called “tapasya” in Sanskrit. They fast for days, they practice the control of their breath, the “pranayama”, and of their own senses. They refrain from having a sexual life, and they inflict body mortifications on themselves to the very limit of fakirism. They are completely naked, only covered by ashes, symbol of death and rebirth and symbol of renunciation of material life. Ashes are used also as a powerful energy insulator to increase the power of their deep meditation.
The Naga Baba unlike the other sadhu are ascetic warriors, troublemakers and unpredictable, wearing swords and lances and often with the trident of Shiva whom they are devotet to. Like him they have very long hair, wrapped round their head or tied in big dreadlocks, they smoke hashish and Ganja (Marijuana) to the meditative purposes, and unlike the normal sadhu, covered by saffron colour dresses, it is difficult to see them around India. They come down from the mountain for every important religious festival and the Kumbh Mela was held in Ujjain this year (2016). It is the most important religious festival in the world, which is held every twelve years, and, on a smaller scale, every three years in four different Indian cities (Aridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and just Ujjain).
Millions of pilgrims arrived from all over India for the holy ablutions to the purificatory purposes, particularly favorable during the Kumbh Mela, but specilally to receive the “darshan”, the holy vision of these extraordinary men and receive in this way their blessing.
These visions seem to be surreal and contradictory in the world in which we live. Contrary to what happens in the West where the customs seem to be more tolerant and modern, in India to hold hands and kiss in public is still taboo. While in the West television and advertisement continuously show naked bodies, Bollywood hasn’t succedded in showing images of naked people to the Indian public yet.
On the contrary, it is abolutely normal to see the Indians who live of spirituality, traditions and rituality, to prostrate themselves in front the Naga Baba and ask them for benedictions and for a pinch of ash, and it is really normal to bring their children before these holy naked men, uncombed and with long beards, smoking marijuana, only covered by ashes and they are often before them during their body mortifications.
This vision would frighten every child of the Western modern society, but in India it goes beyond any sense of shame and material restraint for a higher spiritual value.
Naga on the swing
usually the swings are used in camps as a support for those "naga" who have vowed to remain standing for years as austerity. In this case instead, a Baba dispenses its blessings directly on the swing, holding the bowl with the ashes of the sacred fire, the same that has covered throughout the body, and a stick with peacock feathers to bless the pilgrims
The "vibhuti", the holy ash, is one of the main ways in which the baba "deliver" their blessing to all the faithful, gathered for the festival (Kumbh Mela). It is part of an ancient ritual of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), based on the "yajna" the sacrifice in fire. the ashes are taken from the sacred fire, present in every function, and put on the bodies of the Baba, as a symbol of rinunciation to the material world but also as energy insulation for the deep meditation. Finally are distributed
self-mortification of the body is one of the most 'strange aspects of naga baba, are the austerities "tapasya", which serve to raffozare their power of concentration and control over the senses. one of the most tapasya 'is the practice of mortification of their penis, in order to desensitize, and so win the challenge with the most' strong enemy: sexuality
Baba Blessing two children
a naga baba blesses two small children, the little girls greeted him with hands together. (anjali mudra, in yoga hands position) Parents bring their children to these events to clear their karma, even that of past lives. The fan is strange in the kumbh, but this year in Ujjain were over 40 degrees
a woman kneeling in front of a saint Baba, in the arms her child, asking a blessing. The power in the intersection of their looks is very intense, she seems rapt, and sure that with only one nod the saint can 'erase his sins and bless her and his child. another time the male nudity in no way touches the woman in spiritual worship
A Naga baba settles his dreadlocks, between a blessing and another, only today has blessed thousands of people. Covered with ashes, with a stick to bless made with peacock feathers. In the foreground a portrait of Brahma the creator god in the Trimurti of Hinduism with four faces, in the background one of his "chela", disciple
the mad rush of a naga to return to camp
the Aarti ceremony is an ancient Hindu tradition, Consists of a burning flame rotated around the Deity as an offering, is an evocative atmosphere, in the morning at sunrise and in the evening at sunset, between the sounds of bells and drums and the fragrance of incense after the offering to the gods all the faithful come to touch the lamp, in a gesture to bring the warmth of the fire on his head
the Aarti ceremony is an ancient Hindu tradition, Consists of a burning flame rotated around the Deity as an offering, is an evocative atmosphere, in the morning at sunrise and in the evening at sunset, between the sounds of bells and drums and the fragrance of incense after the offering to the gods all the faithful come to touch the lamp, in a gesture to bring the warmth of the fire on his head. The Naga Baba pass on the lamp their pendants, often donated by the spiritual master, made nearly
at the end of a long day, after meeting and blessed thousands of pilgrims, this baba is resting, but not on a normal bed. a bed made entirely of thorns, there is no interruption to the mortification for some of them, even during sleep.
I Naga Baba sono la massima espressione dell'ascetismo indiano, da tempo immemorabile infatti, alcuni uomini decidono di lasciare ogni cosa, famiglia, lavoro, villaggio, averi, mogli, ecc per estraniarsi dal mondo, rifugiandosi sulle vette dell' Himalaya, o in qualche foresta isolata, per intraprendere un viaggio introspettivo alla ricerca del proprio Se'.
Questi yogi osservano severe austerità', dette "tapasya" in sanscrito, digiunano per giorni, praticano il controllo del respiro, il "pranayama" e dei propri sensi, si astengono dalla vita sessuale, e si impongono severe mortificazioni corporee, al limite del fachirismo. Sono completamente nudi, coperti solo di cenere, simbolo di morte e rinascita e della rinuncia alla vita materiale, cenere, usata anche come un potente isolante energetico per aumentare la potenza delle loro profonde meditazioni.
I naga baba a differenza degli altri sadhu, sono asceti guerrieri, facinorosi e imprevedibili, portano spade e lance, e spesso il tridente di Shiva, al quale sono devoti. Come Lui portano i capelli estremamente lunghi e arrotolati sul capo, o uniti in grandi dreadlocks, fumano hashish e Ganja a scopo meditativo, e al contrario dei normali sadhu, coperti dalla veste color zafferano, è difficile vederli in giro per l'india. Scendono dalle montagne in occasione dei grandi festival religiosi, e quest’ anno ad Ujjain ricorreva il Kumbh Mela, il piu'grande festival e raduno religioso del mondo, che si tiene ogni 12 anni, e in forma ridotta ogni 3 anni, in 4 differenti città dell'India. (haridwar, allahabad, Nashik, e appunto Ujjain)
I pellegrini si sono riversati a milioni da tutta l’india per le abluzioni sacre a scopo purificativo, particolarmente propizie durante il Kumbh Mela, ma soprattutto per ricevere il "darshan" , la santa visione, di questi uomini straordinari e prendere così le loro benedizioni.
Queste visioni sembrano surreali e contradditorie nel mondo in cui viviamo.
Al contrario di cio’ che accade in occidentale dove gli usi sembrano più' tolleranti e moderni, e i costumi sono diventati ormai sfrontati, in India, e' ancora un tabu’ tenersi per mano o baciarsi in pubblico; mentre in occidente la televisione e la pubblicità mostrano continuamente corpi svestiti, neanche Bollywood è riuscita ancora a sdoganare le immagini di nudità' al grande pubblico indiano.
E' invece assolutamente normale per gli indiani, che vivono di spiritualità', tradizioni e ritualità, prostrarsi davanti ai naga baba e chiedere benedizioni, e un pizzico delle loro ceneri; e addirittura e' normale portare i propri bambini al cospetto di questi santi uomini nudi dai capelli arruffati, con barbe lunghe, che fumano marijuana, coperti solo di cenere e spesso nell'atto di mortificarsi fisicamente.
Una visione che spaventerebbe qualsiasi figlio della moderna societa' occidentale ma che in India trascende qualsiasi senso di vergogna e pudore materiale per un piu' alto valore spirituale.