For a considerable length of time, Varanasi has been home to Indian reasoning, magic and mysticism, Varanasi, subsequently, has various Muths and Ashrams. At Varanasi distinctive religious outfits have their own particular Muths and Ashrams. A large number of these Muths and Ashrams have made due for quite a long time and focuses in mysticism and religious exercises. Sadhus and Aghori are the main residents of these Ashrams and Muths in Varanasi. There has been a long association of these Sadhus and Aghori with these Ashrams.
To understand it more about it we first to understand what are the differences between Aghori & Sadhus and between Ashrams & Muths.
Ashram: This is a word derived from a Sankrit word ‘Srama’ which means physical exercise. In ancient Hindu world people used to go into these Ashrams for meditation and learning different kind of Yogas. These Ashrams used to be located far from human habitation such as in forests or in mountains. The basic reason for this far location was for maintain peace and calmness. The persons used to live in these Ashrams used to perform daily physical and spiritual exercises. The main purpose for the visitors of these Ashrams where to know the reason for living beings, knowing about life purpose, discover the truth of being on earth and many philosophical facts relating to all human beings. In recent days the purpose of the stayers in these Ashrams has changed and so it has made its many versions. For example, there is a widow Ashram in Varanasi where all of its residents are widows. In rigid world of Hindu world specially in far located rural areas still there are group of peoples who thinks and believe that after a woman husband dies that woman becomes widow and cant remarriage and therefore these ladies loose their main support for survival in this modern world.
Another is Yoga and Meditation Ashrams. These are the places where Yoga and mediation are practiced. This has become the profession in Varanasi and a lot of people are involved in this profession directly and indirectly in Varanasi. There are more forms of Ashrams and same can be found in different part of the world.
Muths: These are also a form of Ashrams. A little difference between these is that these are used to stay and are very similar to inns. These are very cheap and used by monks for stay purpose mainly. These muths are now used also to preserve a particular religion alive. Like in Varanasi, Kabir Muth is the main center of the followers of Kabir. Some people has termed Kabir as Lord. There are Muths in Varanasi which has been named after a particular state or city and gives its services on priority to the residents of that particular state and city.
Sadhus: In Hindu World, Sadhus are those persons who has sacrificed this physical world, his family, relatives, his worldly desires and are on way to liberation also called Moksha in Hindi. In other words these are also called Sanyasi. The history of Sadhus and Sanyasis dates back to the beginning of Hinduism religion. When after completion of three stages (Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanapratha) of life they used to sacrifise their home, family and all world desires became Sanyasi or Sadhus. Their single aim of life was to be free from this cycle of birth and rebirth.
Aghori: These are also a type of Sadhus. The main difference is that these are Shaiva Sadhus and ascetic. They mainly perform post-modern rituals. They are mainly found near cremation grounds and smear cremation ashes on their bodies. They collect bones of dead humans and wear it as jewelry. They use human skulls to drink water etc and smoke ganjas. Since their practices are very contradictory to orthodox Hindu rituals, they are eventually opposed my other Hindu followers. What is unusual to see here is seeing Aghori meditation. The main pilgrimage of Aghories is in Varanasi’s Baba Kinaram’s hermitage in Ravindrapuri.
Make sure you don’t go alone to meet or photograph Aghoris. They could be offensive.
At Varanasi you may see a numbers of Muths and Ashrams attributable to non-secular individuals, variety of individuals of various faith came to Varanasi and settle here in Muths and Ashrams. Several of those Muths and Ashrams have survived for hundreds of years and are centers of spiritualism and non-secular activities. Muths provide a window to explore this Varanasi holy city of moksha through many spiritual and intellectual personalities.
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