Sadhu - 1 | Watercolor Painting by Amit Dhane | 11x14
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In elderly people, painting helps them strengthen their fine motor skill. Painting helps us get distracted from our problems; it helps us take anguish out and transform it into something else, to which we given a name. This helps us identify our feelings and increase our expression capabilities.
Sadhu is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘good man’ or ‘holy man. ‘ The ash on their skin represents death to their worldly life. And the face painting is in line with the symbols of the god they devote themselves to. … They believe such severe practices will serve as penance to liberate them from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Sadhu (IAST: sādhu (male), sādhvī or sādhvīne (female)), also spelled saddhu, is a religious ascetic, mendicant or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as jogi, sannyasi or vairagi
f you’ve been to India, you’ve seen those men, rarely women, dressed in saffron robes and dreadlocks in their hair with dreadlocks; in Varanasi they can also be seen almost naked and the body painted white with ashes.
They can be confused with beggars but they are not. They are the most respected and sacred people in India, they are the sadhus.
WHO ARE THE SADHUS?
Sādhu, comes from Sanskrit, means “good man”, “holy man”. Considered the most sacred beings in the faith, they are ascetics who follow the path of penance and renunciation, cutting all the ties that united them to the material and earthly world, leaving behind their families, their jobs and properties, and even their names.
Sadhus are as old as Hinduism, in whose belief system it distinguishes four phases of life: childhood and adolescence which is that of formation, maturity where a family is formed, the pilgrim stage that coincides with having fulfilled the previous obligations, and a last stage that is asceticism to achieve enlightenment.
A sadhu is someone who follows the inner call to reach that last state of enlightenment and liberation (the “moksha”), for which they must achieve the absence of desires and perform good deeds.
It is common for them to be called Baba, “father,” “wise man,” to show them respect. Occupying a predominant place, particularly in small towns and villages.
There are about ten million sadhus in India, of which the vast majority are men, women are called sadhvis. They are generally women who follow this path after being widowed.
They are usually found on the banks of rivers, at religious festivals and in sacred places such as Gangotri or Varanasi. Many live completely isolated, in caves in the mountains or forests.
Constant movement is part of their life because they consider that staying in the same place makes them inactive.
THE SOCIAL IMPORTANCE OF SADHUS
Hinduism is not considered a “religion” in the same sense as Christianity or Islam. Its many codes are not maintained / governed by a central body but by its practitioners. Sadhus and Sadhavis play their part in preserving a part of this “way of life”, retaining and passing on the knowledge of yoga and helping people to deepen their understanding of life.
The same sacred scriptures of Hinduism as the oldest Vedas are said to have been the product of a life of solitude and meditation in remote places, where they developed an awareness that made it easier for them to ‘hear’ the truths of the Universe.
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