The experience to know who Naga bawa is and why they are so important during Kumbh mela is completely out of the world. I always wondered about these clan who roam without clothes and live in the jungle and practice world’s weirdest cult. Many of us always thought that they practice witchcraft and harm people for their own advantage.
But in my research of last many years I found that they are purest ones to pray to Shiva and they enjoy the first right to take a dip in the water during the best timings of Shahi snan in Kumbh mela.
This time, I got one more chance to know and meet them personally and understand what they and why they do. If you have patience than read on.
Naga Bawas are generally found in many communities across India. They pray to only Shiva in its purest form. They don’t practice any witchcraft but surely pray to Shakti and many follow the tantric stream of philosophy. It certainly doesn’t mean that they harm any human beings. They many times smoke purely because they reach to the highest form of purity of heart and soul while worshiping Shiva and they need something stronger to come to back to the existing life and be normal. The material they smoke doesn’t make them addicted or spoil their health as it only works on their mental balance and due to their spiritual power, it doesn’t harm their body. They apply fresh ash on their body to keep the temprature of the body down which grows due to their sadhna or practice. They don’t cut their hair as most yogis believe that to be the part of shiva. They are mostly vegetarian and eat very less through out their life. They obviously don’t get married as they don’t want any more responsibility. They belong to Shiv Akahdas – a group of people from various school of thoughts but always worship Shiva.
I just loved to take their blessings and was so happy to know them again so closely. Every Kumbh I attend I get closer to the reality of life and our religious identity. I was really fortunate to see them going for bath early in the morning at 3 am at Ram Ghat. I managed to take bath immediately after that as that is considered auspicious. I also found that there majorly two akhadas – Shiv and Vishnu. The followers of both the akhadas come for holy dip in different sides of the river.