From cannibalism, Aghoris (cult in India) have also been associated with making love to the corpses as well as using human skulls for black magic and religious rituals. Here are ten practices that the Aghoris follow:
1. Aghoris are the worshippers of Shiva —the destroyer or its female counterpart Kali or Shakti—who’s the goddess of death. Now, unlike other sadhus who practice absolute abstinence, Aghoris believe that that it’s actually the goddess who demands satisfaction by consuming meat, alcohol and by practicing sex. They also believe that god exists in everything—therefore they consume feces, human fluids and putrefying human corpses. By doing this, Aghoris try to assimilate the oneness of things (both holy and unholy) and define the true perception of beauty.
2. One of the most perverted practices of Aghori sadhus is necrophilia. As per them when goddess Kali demands satisfaction in sex, they find a ‘suitable’ corpse to fornicate with. In an interview with renowned photographer Davor Rostuhar, an Aghori says ‘the reason why we do things that seem outrageous to the outside world is actually simple. To find purity in the filthiest! If an Aghori manages to remain focused on God even during sex with a corpse or while eating a human brain, then he is on the right way.”
3. The Aghoris believe in the power of black magic and supernatural, and are often found performing a rather revolting ritual whist engaging in necrophilia. This ritual explains that sex in the midst of the dead can give rise to supernatural powers. So, the Aghori clans unite in the dead of the night in a cemetery to perform this ritual. The Aghori women are smeared with the ashes of the corpse, and the consummation is carried out along the beats of drums and recitation of mantras. Also, did we mention that it’s imperative for the women to be menstruating while act is going on!
4. Aghoris never hold grudges and hate in their heart for they believe that the ones who hate can never meditate. They also find sharing food to dogs and cows from the same bowl to be rather pleasing. They think by eliminating these negative thoughts (of animals dirtying their food), they’ll be able to focus on their ultimate aim—of becoming one with Lord Shiva.
5. They move about by wearing nothing except probably a skimpy jute loin cloth, or even at times nude with just ash (from human cremated remains) smeared on their whole bodies. Ash is known to be made of the 5 essential elements of life and thus is believed to protect an Aghora from disease and mosquitoes. This is done primarily to imitate the physical appearance of Lord Shiva himself.
6. The possession of a human skull or ‘kapal’ is in fact a true sign of an Aghora. They’re meant to obtain that from the floating corpses of holy men who’ve been laid to rest in the waters. After which they will use it either as a drinking vessel for liquor, a dish for food, or as a begging bowl.
8. The sect also believes in profanity being the ultimate path to Niravana and liberation of the soul. This is the reason why they are often seen using profanities and loudly cursing for no apparent reason. This is the only way in which an Aghora can attain enlightenment. Strange as it may sound, they’re also known to give blessings to people by cursing them.
9. They are often seen sporting human skulls around their necks as jewellery—only fitting considering human skull is an important part of their life. Some of them are also reported to use the thigh bone of cremated people like a walking stick as an ‘Aghoran’ symbol. They almost never cut or wash their hair which is why natural dreadlocks have become a part of their identity.