Friday, June 6, 2014

The Sad Tale Of The Naga Sadhu At Maha Kumbh

I have known him since the Nasik Kumbh , he is a hardcore Naga Sadhu and is a disciple of my Naga Guru, he does the morning Arti , and his prowess I saw  at Nasik pulling a car with his penis - also known as penile yoga .

When I reached  Sector 4 where I was staying with my Naga Guru , I found him troubled , it turned out that he had gone for a dip he had placed his clothing on a  a parked tractor .. he is slightly short of hearing too , when he finished his prayers and came out of the river his clothing his money  and the tractor was not there ., he came back to the Guru and narrated his loss ,,

Most of the Naga Sadhus move about naked at Allahabad , so his coming back stark nude was not surprising.

He wanted to go back to Mumbai as a tragedy had befallen his family member , when I heard about his loss I gave him money for the train ticket , he hugged me and he left before the Shahi Snan .

I had taken this picture as a memory.. there were lot of thieves , pick pocketeers  at the Maha Kumbh .. and it is unavoidable , but what hurt most is they did not spare the poor who slept out in the cold at the banks of the Sangam.

I had a great Kumbh and thanks to my Naga Guru I could move around the various Akhadas , I was also scheduled to meet Swami Nityanandji , but the guy who was to take me for the meeting turned up late and Swamiji had left..

Documenting The Maha Kumbh The Naga Babas And The Naga Sadhus

I could have left much earlier to shoot the Maha Kumbh , but I had to finish my work load and besides I was short of financial resources ..but I was destined to shoot the Maha Kumbh ,,

I lived with the Naga Sadhus and as my Guru is a Naga Sadhu I had the comforts of a tent , food was free ..but yet when I left Allahabad I gave my Guru some amount for all that he had done for me , it was not much but sufficient  as he had spent a lot for his disciples that came from Mumbai and other parts of Gujrat .

I shot a lot , and I was lucky too shoot the Shahi Snan on Basant Panchami.. I also shot a group of Hijras taking the Holy Dip,..I met great Saints , Tantriks and Aghori Sadhus .

The Maha Kumbh I ca never forget , and I left the following day after  Basant Panchami.. it was the most badly managed Kumbh and if it was successful it was only because of the Sadhu Samaj and the Hindu organizations who put up a great effort despite a poor show by the Uttar Pradesh government ,,

Foreigners were being fleeced , robbed ,, and it was terrible to say the least but media will not write all that ,, the poor thankfully were taken care by the various Akhadas and Sadhu groups.

I got along well with the Naga Sahus , and I looked like a Sadhu myself , people  touching my feet , offering me money to pray for them and bless them.. all what I got as Dakshana charity I gave to the poor  and my Guru.

I had taken woolen kambhal , covering and shawls that I distributed among the shivering poor who slept on the banks of the Sangam...

I met Chandraswamiji he blessed me ..

But I cherish meeting one of the great tantrics from Hardwar Kapoor Khamakhya .. he is a bhakt and follower of Goddess Khamakhya.

My Guru called me Ashok Bhartiya .. the Hindu name he had given to me as he felt it was best I be known as that among the top Naga Sadhus he introduced me to ..I als saw the initiation of Naga Sadhus on Basant Panchaami at Junagadh Akhada , I was told to hide my camera it was a private affair .

I met a lot of Saints Sadhus from various cults , some knew me as the Malang from Ajmer .some I knew from the Nasik Kumbh.

Yes I will shoot the Nasik Kumbh if I am alive ,, it is a moment in my lifes history I would not want to miss .

The  Naga Sadhus those who knew I was a Shia Muslim were very respectful to me , and this respect was beyond the realm of my photography.

There were some sad moments at the Kumbh ..but I savor Gods wish that he wanted me to be there and be a part of my cultural inheritance and my Indianess .

The Children of The Street

a face
that has
yet not
learnt to
to be
the birth
of a girl
a curse
looked down
upon reviled

a moment lost
in agony i
shot on my

her eyes haunting
my soul captivating
my imagination
as i politicized
this beggar childs
profile ..i almost
saved her from
the jaws of a
human crocodile

she was being lured by a drunkard
i took his picture and he fled from her ..
he was offering her rs 10.. and asking her
change ..
i fired him ..but this is  mumbai where her
own parents living on the road near the jari mari temple bandra force her

The Greatest Show On Earth The Maha Kumbh ...

This is a picture of young Naga Sadhu novice , and they ere at the Holy Bath known as the Shahi Snan at the Sangam or the confluence of three rivers Ganga Jamuna Saraswati..

As I was with the Naga Sadhus dressed as a Sadhu I had clear access to the greatest moment in a Hindu devotees life and the euphoria of the naked Naga Sadhus is unimaginable ..

The worlds best photographers , photojournalists were here shooting the making of History .

And mind you if you are a travel photographer and if you have not shot the Kumbh than you are missing something.

To be this close to the Naga Sadhus is my cosmic destiny , God gave me access , and added a texture too my own spirituality that values respects all diverse faith at that moment behind the camera I was not a Muslim but a Naga Sadhu personified .

My Naga Guru from Juna Akhada was the kotwal, the Naga Police and so I stayed behind him , but honestly I think I wiill be more comfortable at the Nasik Kumbh as it is closer home and in my own state of Maharashtra.

I had one of the best Kumbhs I was barefeet , and most of the Naga Babas respected me as they knew I was a Malang of a Sufi order and some had met me at the Naik Kumbh at Trimbakeshwar..

I met a lot of old friends , familiar faces , Mr Raghu Rai was there I shot his pictures too..My nephew who works for Reuters a brilliant photographer Adnan Abidi was there too ,Flickr photographers like Shubh Singh and many more .

I could have hung out shooting pictures but I decided to move out of this glorious
sands of time with my Naga Guru, I was under his protection and I only shot what I was destined to shoot nothing more nothing less .

I have copied a page from the net for those who want to know more about the Maha Kumbh ..
The Greatest Event this side of the planet in the Land of Mysticism and Dreams India.

The Kumbh Mela in India is as mesmerizing as it is spiritual. This ancient northern Indian festival is a meeting of mystical minds. The largest religious gathering in the world, the Kumbh Mela brings Hindu holy men together to discuss their faith and disseminate information about their religion. It's attended by millions of people each day.

The Mela takes place on a rotational basis in four of the most holy Hindu places in India -- on the banks of the Godavari river in Nashik (Maharastra), the Shipra river in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), the Ganges river in Haridwar (Uttarakhand), and convergence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers in Allahabad/Prayag (Uttar Pradesh).
When is the Kumbh Mela Held

In each location once every 12 years. Theoretically, it should happen every three years in a different place. However, the exact time and place of the festival depends on astrological and religious considerations. This means that the Mela sometimes happens only a year apart at the different sites.

There is also a Maha Kumbh Mela, which is held once every 12 years. In between, in the sixth year, the Ardh Kumbh Mela (half mela) takes place as well.

The Maha Kumbh Mela is considered to be the most auspicious mela. It always occurs in Allahabad, as the confluence of the rivers there is considered to be particularly holy. The Ardh Kumb Mela occurs in both Allahabad and Haridwar.

What is the Legend Behind the Kumbh Mela

Kumbh means pot or pitcher. Mela means festival or fair. Hence, the Kumbh Mela means festival of the pot. It specifically relates to the pot of nectar in Hindu mythology.

Legend has it that the gods once lost their strength. In order to regain it, they agreed with the demons to churn the primordial ocean of milk for amrit (the nectar of immortality). This was to be shared equally between them. However, a fight broke out, which went on for 12 human years. During the battle, the celestial bird, Garuda, flew away with the Kumbh that held the nectar. Drops of nectar are believed to have fallen in the places that the Kumbh Mela is now held -- Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.

The Sadhus at the Kumbh Mela

The sadhus and other holy men are an integral part of the Mela. Pilgrims who attend it come to see and listen to these men, in order to gain spiritual enlightenment.

There are various types of sadhus:

Nagas -- naked sadhus who smear their bodies with ash and have long matted hair. Constant exposure to the weather makes them resistant to temperature extremes. Their eyes are bloodshot from constantly smoking charas (marijuana), which they believe aids enlightenment.
Urdhwavahurs -- who have emaciated bodies from rigid spiritual practices.
Parivajakas -- who have taken a vow of silence.
Shirshasinse -- who remain standing, sleep with their heads resting on a vertical pole, and meditate standing on their heads.
Kalpvasis -- who remain by the river banks and devote their time to meditating, performing rituals, and bathing numerous times a day.
What Rituals are Performed at the Kumbh Mela

The main ritual is the ritual bath. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the sacred waters on the most auspicious day of the new moon will absolve them and their ancestors of sin, thus ending the cycle of rebirth. Pilgrims start lining up to bathe from around 3 a.m. on this day.

As the sun comes up, the different groups of sadhus move in procession towards the river to bathe. The Nagas usually lead, while each group tries to outdo the others with more grandeur and fanfare. The moment is magical, and everyone is absorbed in it.

After bathing, the pilgrims wear fresh clothes and proceed to worship by the river bank. They then walk around listening to discourses from the various sadhus.


Hunger ..

Since late afternoon I have been trying to process the color image of this copy  at Aviary and it just would not work, as I type with one finger  of a permanently damaged hand Aviary has been a boon , it makes me work on my archives and  I poeticize the new image that comes through.. I add text or new evolved thought as I hardly shoot pictures unless I am shooting a festival..

Ever since I began using the Motorola G I use my mobilephone for my street photography, or for recording some nostalgic moment.

I pimp my Flickrblogs as you are aware on Twitter Tumblr and Google+ I am not on Facebook has now become dangerously killer site for the rabid who post hurtful images to attack communities ethnicity and in the end in more cases than one it is the general public that suffers  when the rightwingers hit back with a vengeance.

And Modi  Sarkar should do something about this and give priority to getting rid of father and son ruling Uttar Pradesh.

In Maharashtra sadly changing , replacing ministers is not going to be much help unless you remove those people that have let governance law order down the gutter literally.

I stay off politics I was a sympathizer of the Am Admi Party for ushering hope but now it seems a house divided from within and outside , and sadly it is one man party , of Arvind Kejriwal by Arvind Kejriwal and for Arvind Kejriwal.

And I hardly use the Flickr Forum ,where at times even in the past one member bullies another member .. by words that are a slap on the face of the complainant.

I informed both Aviary Support the worst support system on cyberspace , they take your email and never respond to you ..they hate Flickr members is what I feel sensitively as a poet.

Flickr Customer Care , has ne feelings or care , I sent them a message they sent me a acknowledgement but nothing about the issue and it is  the truth .

I dont use Pic Monkey or Photoshop I am a rough edged street photographer I manipulate my own images via Aviary ..I change tones and add my restless angst as a street poet of pain.

And I dont need self promotion my pictures are viewed.. 296,979 photos  since June 2007 and 28,442,579 views in humility and gratitude.

I dont post porn , I dont post blogs that hurt I shoot culture rituals and diverse religiosity of India my motherland yesterday , today and tomorrow ..

My pictures are marked Safe at Flickr , and those pictures of the Maha Kumbh with frontal nudity of the Naga Sadhus has been moderated and can oly seen by Flickr members.. Even my Moharam pictures that gets on the goat of pseudo fundamentalists anti Shia brigade I have moderated and I cut my head every year to protest againt the muder of Imam Hussain. at Karbala by the enemies
 of Islam  within Islam.

And because of all this sectarian hate , I chose the path of peace became a Malang or semi ascetic.. I am happy and my happiness should not hurt others ,.

Even here at Flickr I abide by the rules and regulations , I only comment on those who are my followers friends .. and favorite and encourage newbies on Flickr .. the best photo blogging site ,,

And the picture that inspired me to fill this blank space with text is about Hunger ,, the only greater reality on Earth much greater than GOD .. whether you believe  in him or dont ... Hunger does not go it attacks the dignity of a beggar more than anybody else , and ironically those that give coupons to feed beggars have become multi millionaires .. they have not opened a widows home or a children s home .. there is so much hypocrisy in my
own community that I stay away from everyone .. I shoot beggars I dont sell images and I showcase Hunger ,Deprivation of the Basic Right to live with Dignity ,, Governments should even respect those that did not vote for them.. the homeless the beggars the urchins the demarginalized.

I guess this is the gist of my picture I gave the boy money to buy food , but as you know it will be taken away by his parents guardians that have bought him here to beg at Ajmer The Urus Of Khwajah Garib Nawaz Saint of the Poor ..It was shot in 2010 .. Everything has changed old faces gone new faces in but Hunger is there stalking man making him steal rob beg..

I dont know why he rapes but I guess that is another Hunger for which I have no answer.. And I hope Uttar Pradesh is made free from the clutches of filthy evil fiefdom...

Google search will show Badaun-type incidents in other places too:..and
Hope you did not face any danger.. is not holistic healing at all .. the touch of the saviour cannot be the gift of Rs 5 Lacs to a rape victims family ...

And we were all hung from the mango tree in Badaun.. all India beyond caste color or creed .

Yes this is a Blog On Hunger