My Master was an ascetic yogi – much of what you think you know about the Yogin, the Aghori, the Naga & Nath Babas, from Wikipedia or Discovery Channel, may be incorrect.
When not covered in ash, with stern continence like Mahakal dancing in the burial ground, His demeanor changed easily to the benevolent form of the Preserver, and giver of Life.
What’s mind-blowing about the yogin of the Himalaya? Well, what do you know already? What are your stereotypes? Yes, we sit in open fields wearing naught but a lunghi and several string of mala when it’s warm, wrap a shawl about us when it’s cold.
We smoke, more charas than tobacco, but local brands are cheap, sold by the single cigarette for half a rupee at the chai walla’s stand, or sometimes a European will come by with a pack of the good stuff.
We wear anything, go anywhere. My master was of a lineage that, on the one hand He might term Aghora and show me the face of Mahakal; sometimes He could be quite tamasic. But that’s not the whole picture. He was every guna rolled into the Whole. And He was vegetarian. Sattvic, quiescent, and belonging to no lineage at all. I am an American, of my master’s lineage and yet Shivnetra is my own disposition; many say sattvic. That is not entirely true. I like meat and tend to vitriol and while identifying with the Lord, my heart belongs to the Goddess.
A Yogi cannot be rolled up into any one idea; we will immediately confound that understanding by rolling you up in another.
Only a Siddha Yogi will play inordinately with his awareness, and yours. But the other yogin also are entirely activated. We’ve but to ask for rain, and there will be rain. The animals understand our language, and we theirs. If a snake ventures too close, we’ve but to hiss in warning. If the mice want to share our food, we come to an understanding. We are powerful, like tenth degree martial arts experts – so powerful we will not hurt even a fly. We are protectors of the Universe. Of the innocent. So don’t fool around. Don’t test. One glance is all it takes to mangle your karma but good. Conversely, our hand upon your brow in blessing is all it takes to make all your dreams come true.
Mind blowing facts about the Himalayan Yogi? There are many photos of the dreadlocked, naked, carefree, levitating, meditating, dancing, smoking, ice-bathing Babas all over the internet. Here’s what you can’t see:
- Every Baba was born to a human mother and has an experience of growing up.
- Like Yogananda, many are well-educated and speak multiple languages.
- Many have held jobs like police officer, fire fighter, school teacher.
- Many are married with kids.
- Aghori are NOT cannibals.
- Shivnetra are NOT pacifists.
- Many yogis can heal many diseases with a brief gust of their breath.
- Many can easily read minds and discern otherwise hidden information. (I’ll not get into a list of all the siddhis though.)
- Although they will smoke hash, they will not touch alcohol. Show me a drinking baba and I’ll show you a man who has lost his way. (And still, I will sometimes shoot tequila and go dancing with my wife.)
- Yogis DO NOT practice hatha yoga for the most part (the yoga of poses). Some will practice pranayam for various reasons, not least of which is to aid the lymphatic system in detoxification. Charas is after all a poison.
- Yogis DO NOT sit around chanting mantra all day, drawing yantra or practicing tantra. For the most part, we sit silently, watching around wherever we are, sometimes responding to external stimuli, messages from above, personal inclinations.
- Yogis have a routine. ALWAYS waking up before the sun rises. Unless very old and then sometimes sleeping in until six-ish.
- We read the newspaper, keeping up with world events, lending our prayers for the same.
- We are generous, giving as much as we have, knowing it will always come back; there will always be enough to share.
I could go on, but I have to wonder if anybody’s mind is actually blown by any of this yet..
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.