Naga's and it's Story
Naga’s are matter of attraction for most of the visitor and pilgrim’s during the KUMBH MELA, most talked about or matter of curiosity id around Naga’s . Most of foreign tourist does not feel Kumbh visit accomplished till they are able to click few Snap’s of Naga.
Lets try and understand who are they and how they become Naga’s, What are their daily routine, what they eat, how they leave.
Pre-requisites to be a Naga.
a. Celibacy : Naga’s has to renounce all its physical and mental desires before attaining a Naga life, The Gurus test them many times if different ways to verify if the aspirant is over all his desires, it’s very long and time consuming process, in some cases it take 2-10 years before GURU select him to be a Naga.
b. Service : Its considered who is trying to be a Sadhu, he is renouncing the world for the service of Guru and mankind, A sadhu has to serve his guru and many senior sadhu for many years and do all small or big Jobs at Mutt or Temple.
c. Shradh & Pinddaan : All Sadhu’s are required to do his own last rites, symbolizing that he dead for the world and his family. After this GURU gives him a new name and he is known by his New Name only.
d. Renouncing Cloth’s : Naga has to remove all his clothes at diksha bath and are not supposed to wear any cloth, if they are going in public they can wear a Single piece of cloth that too of saffron colour only. They are not supposed to wear anything else they has to put ASH on body and can decorate themselves with Ash only.
e. Bhasm & Rudraksh : Naga’s has to wear Rudrksha ( the bead considred very auspicious and represents Shiva) Naga has to remove all his hair and afterwards can keep untangled hair only.
f. One time meal : Naga can take only one time meal, that too has to be by begging, each Naga is supposed to beg only 7 Houses, if they don’t get anything they have to sleep empty stomach. They has to consume what they get (Veg Only) even if the food is not of their liking.
g. Sleeping on floor: Naga’s has to sleep on earth only, they can’t use any mattress, it’s very tough rule which all naga’s has to follow.
h. Faith in Mantra : They has to believe in only Mantra given by his guru, all his prayers and meditation has to be based on that mantra only. He can’t change his mantra ever in life.
i. Other Rules :
1. To Stay away from society
2. Not to pay obeisance to anyone other than Sadhu.
3. Not to talk evil about anybody
Procedure to be NAGA
Transformation from normal Human to Sadhu and Sadhu to Naga is very tough procedure it’s impossible for normal person to undergo the procedure, as its tougher than most rigorous Commando Training. Sadhu has to pass through many procedures few of them are as following
Investigation: Whenever one approaches to be a Naga their motive, background and family background are investigated, once Akhada are satisfied they are declared Brahmchari and their celibacy is tested for 6 months to 12 years. Once Guru is convinced that he is ready for Deeksha they are recommended for next step.
Mahapurush : The Brahmchari once successfully pass through the period they are given FIVE Guru’s to Prey SUN, GANESH, SHIVA, VISHNU and SHAKTI ( DEVI) and asked to wear Saffron Colour Cloths along with RUDRAKSH and BHASM to Decorate
AVDHUT : After being Brahmcahri for some time and serving their guru’s, they are asked to take DEEKSHA, They remove their Hair, Perform their own Last Rites and from then detached from their family and society, Their only aim is to serve the Society and Live for HINDU Religion propagation and service .
Breaking of Reproductive Organ: This is one of the toughest process but must to be a NAGA as they has to beyond all desires and show restraint in all situations. During this process they are asked to Stand under the AKHADA Flag for 24 Hour with a Stick and an earthen pot in hand. During this the akhada guards keep watch on them, here among chant of mantra’s Guru Breaks the reproductive organ to make them impotent. Thus declared out of all desires and devotee to guru and religion.
Once declared Naga they are given post of Mahant, Sri Mahant, Jamtia mahant, Thanapati, Peer Mahant, Digambar Shri, Mandleshwar, Mahamandleshwar, and above all head of akhada Acharya Mandleshwar.
Ladies can also be Naga, they undergo same procedure at all steps only exception is that they can’t remove cloths during snan even during Kumbh. Many girls of foreign origin has become naga.
Dress of Naga : Naga decorate themselves in many ways using Bhasm and Flowers.
Tilak : They decorate their tilak with minutest detail and precision, at times best makeup man will not be able to match their skill
Rudraksha : This beads are vey auspicious supposed to have come from tears of Shiva, they prey using this and these beads become very charged and if given in blessing to common man considered to be ultimate blessing.
Langot : Normally Naga does not wear anything but when they go in public the wear some drap, some of them use lnagot made up of Gold or other mettle, this is also part of their penance.
ARMS : As they are trained as warriors of religion, they carry different type of arms, word and Trishul being very common.
Chimta : This is most important companion of Naga as they use this for blessing, to burn fire near their place of stay, and sideline creatures like insect and snakes ( as they sleep only on floor and outside the society these creature are very common.
Precious Stones : All they are not attached to these things still they wear pearl, Diamond, Ruby and other stones to decorate themselves
Tangeled hair (JATA) This is one of very important identification mark of Sadhu.
Animal Skins : As lord shiva used to wear Lion Skin, similarly they wear skin of Lion, DEER and Tiger. Although Animal Skin is rare still can be seen with many of them.
HISTORY OF NAGA
The Naga system was initiated by Adiguru Sankracharya, this was the time when looters from Middle east used to invade India and loot temples or some of them will stay back to set up their rule. Adiguru stressed on Physical strength and exercise, thus Naga came into being. They were trained to save temples, Akhada word come from the place where wrestlers practice, history mentions when Ahamad shah attacked Mathura and Gokul These naga’s fought with them and saved the place. There are THIRTEEN Big Akahads the names are as following:
1. NIRANJANI Akhada: Esatablished in 826 AD at Mandavi Gujrat, they have centers at Ujjain, Haridwar, Udaipur and Benaras, their god is kartikeya swami ( son of Shiva ) the Chief commander of God’s.
2. JUNA Akhada : Established at Karnprayag ( Uttrakhand ) in 1145 AD, has its centers at Haridwar, Benaras and Junagarh. Their God is DATTATREYA .They are largest in Size has over 250000 Naga’s, when they move in kumbh devotee are spellbound.
3. MAHANIRVANI Akhada : This Akhada was formed in 681 AD at Baidyanath Dham In Jharkhand they prey Saint Kapil Muni, as per History documents their 22000 Naga’s Fought with foreign looter’s in 1260 to save a temple in Haridwar.
4. ATAL Akhada : This is considered to be one of earliest Akhada’s established in 569 AD at Gondwana they prey to lord Ganesh. They have centers at Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad Their main place is in Patan Gujrat.
5. AWAHAN Akhada : Established in 646 AD reorganized in 1603 They prey to DATTATREYA and Lord Ganesh, their main place is in Rishikesh.
6. ANAND Akhada : Established in 855 AD at Berar Madhya Pradesh they have their main temple at Varanasi with centers at Haridwar, Ujjain and Allahabad.
7. PANCHAGNI Akhada : This Akhada was established in 1136 AD they prey to Devi Gayatri has its main center at Varanasi, it has all 4 Shankaracharya as its member. They have centers at Allahabad, Haridwa, and Ujjain.
8. NAGPANTHI Gorakhanat Akhada : It was established on Sangam of Ahilya and Godavari River by peer Shivnathji, They prey to Gorakhnath, They have 12 different sects has their main center at Tryambhkeshwar in Maharashrtra.
9. SHRI VAISHNAV Akhada : This Balanandi Akhada was established in 1595 at Daraganj at the same time THREE sects were formed names NIRMOHI, NIRVANI and KHAKI. They have their main temple at Maruti Temple Trimbhakeshwar.
10. UDASIN PANCHAYATI BADA AKHADA : It was established by Guru Chandracharya UDASIN has many Mandleshwar and sadhus in its wing. Has centers at many places including Nepal and Chennai.
11. UDASIN Naya Akhada : Sri Sudhir Das ji established this after breaking away from Udasin akahada has centers at Haridwar, Benaras, Nasik and Trimbhkeshwar.
12. NIRMAL Panchayti Akhada : This was established in 1784 Kumbh at Haridwar by Sri Durga Singhji they prey to GURU GRANTH SAHIB ( Sikh Book) They have large no of sadhus in their akhada and has centers at Haridwar, Ujjain, Varanasi and Trimbhekshwar.
13. NIRMOHI Akahda : This was established by Sri Ramanandacharya in 1720 AD The disciples were taught Archery and fencing as must do.
These are main akhadas although many breakaway groups has come in existence, but all has same goal to serve the society and nation after India getting Independence they discarded their arms and now focus on religious activities only.
Worshipping god as nature intended
Naga babas have enormous stamina and they walk hundreds of kilometers to take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, and Shipra. Said to be the reincarnation of Lord Shiva, Naga Sadhus have earned enormous spiritual acclaim and thousands of devotees congregate at these places to avail the blessings of Naga Babas during the Kumbh Mela. Devotees include a lot of people from the Indian diaspora spread across, Asia, Europe, America, Australia and Africa’s.
The Naga Sadhus are one such, who never wear any cloth and are smeared in ash. They have long matted hairs and are not at all affected by the extremes of heat and cold.
Urdhwavahus, who believe in putting the body through severe austerities.
Parivajakas, who have taken a vow of silence and go about tinkling little bells to get people out of their way.
Shirshasins stand all 24 hours and meditate for hours standing on their heads.
Kalpvasis are who spend entire month of Kumbh on the banks of Ganga, mediating, performing rituals and bathing thrice a day.