What thoughts come to your mind when you see the Naga sadhus?
At the time of Kumbh Mela, you may have seen thousands of Naga sadhus wrapped in ashes on the body, take bath. These people are away from all kinds of attachment, but people often make a wrong impression about them. Very few people are aware of their valuable contribution to the protection of Sanatan Dharma, all because of biased historians and the left-wing opinion maker who hid their glorious story.
In this article, we will learn about the majesty of the Naga sadhus, their sacrifices, and their unforgettable contribution to protecting the Sanatan dharma and culture. We will know why the Naga sadhus are the real warriors, and how they ensured that Hindus are able to follow their festivals and traditions freely.
Who are Naga Sadhus?
The Naga sadhus are Shaivites (followers of Bhagwan Shiva), they usually live in the Himalayas. Kumbh Mela is the only time when Akharas of Naga sadhus descend into the plains and take a mass bath in the holy river. This opportunity is very important for them because this is the only time of the year when one can become a Naga sadhu.
The life of the Naga sadhus is extremely harsh and full of struggles. Before becoming a Naga Sadhu, an individual must undergo an extremely tough training, including standing on one foot for months, living for a long time without food and water, sleeping on the bed of thorns, being immersed in water up to the throat in winter, hanging upside down on a tree and doing sadhana, to dig deep pits in the ground and sit in it with samadhi. Once they go through all these ordeals, then only an individual can become a Naga Sadhu.
The Naga sadhus usually do not wear any clothes, although they wear loincloths when they make public appearances. The Naga sadhus never sleep in bed, no matter what the weather, whatever the situation, they always have to sleep on the ground. They are allowed to lay as much ash as possible, on which they can sleep.
The Naga sadhus always carry arms with them, and there are different factions of the armed Nagas. They are known by the names of Avadhoot, Aughadi, Mahant, Kapalik, etc. Naga sadhus receive four verses, such as Kutichak, Bahudak, Swan, and Paramahamsa. It is considered extremely rare for any Naga sadhu to attain the Paramahamsa position, such sannyasis are rarely seen.
Akharas of Naga Sadhus and their Military Organization
Adi Guru Shankaracharya had built sanyasi peethas on four corners of the country to protect the Sanatan dharma, this ancient system continues even today. Under this system, various akharas have been set up, where Naga sanyasis could practice arms operations and exercises. Even in the present times, there are 13 major akharas active in India.
The Akhara is a kind of monastery where the sadhus are not only given the religious knowledge but are also prepared for all kinds of battles and military traditions. Naga sadhus have a preference order for the operation of the akhadas, according to which they get administrative posts such as kotwal, bada kothari, priest, bhandari, kothari, bada kothari, mahant, and secretary.
Depending on the size and importance of the Akharas, their Chiefs are given the posts of Mahant, Shri Mahant, Jamatia Mahant, Thanapati Mahant, Mahant, Digambar Shri, Mahamandaleshwar and Acharya Mahamandleshwar. Naga sadhus are trained just like military soldiers, and their hierarchy is also similar to a military regiment. If you look, you will find that the Naga sadhus always carry weapons like trident, sword, spear, and mace with them.
The main Battles fought by the Naga Sadhus
The Naga sadhus are not afraid of death, because while they are alive, they performed their shradh and other last rites with their own hands. When the Naga sadhus descend on the battlefield, by merely seeing their maverick appearance, the Islamic invaders, and other robbers used to have a tough time. Let us know some of the main battles that the Naga sadhus have fought.
- When the Islamic invader Aurangzeb attacked the Kashi Vishwanath temple, the sadhus of the Mahanirvani Dashnami Akhara came forward to protect the Sanatan dharma. The struggle was so fierce that Aurangzeb’s army had to retreat, giving up the dream of destroying the temple.
- When Maharana Pratap was fighting with Akbar, the Naga sadhus cooperated with him. Seeing the valor of the Naga sadhus, the feet of the Mughal army was uprooted. You can still see the samadhis of the Naga sadhus who were sacrificed in the battle between Ranakada Ghat and Chapli Talab in the Panchmahua area of Rajasthan.
- The battle of the Naga sadhus against the Islamic invaders of Bengal is very famous. Renowned lyricist and writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee has written about this war in his book ‘Ananda Math’. The song ‘Vande Mataram’ from the same book is our national anthem today.
- The Naga sadhus had made a valuable sacrifice to protect the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya from Islamic attackers. About 76 battles were fought for the Ram temple, in which Sant Balramacharya, Baba Vaishnavdas, Rajguru Pt. Many Naga warriors like Devidin Pandey and Swami Maheshanand sacrificed their lives. At the same time, Sant Balanand and Mandas fought a long war against the Islamic army for a long time and kept them away from Ayodhya.
- In 1666, when Aurangzeb’s soldiers attacked the Hindus at the time of the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, it was the Naga sadhus who retaliated, and the Islamic army was beaten to death.
- In 1751, when Islamic invader Ahmed Ali Bangas attacked the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, about 50,000 Naga sadhus led by Sant Rajendra Giri took a fierce fight and drove out the army of Bangas.
- In 1757, when Ahmad Shah Abdali, the plunderer of Afghanistan, invaded Delhi, the then Mughal rulers could not stand and lost Delhi. Abdali’s army was marching ahead to desecrate the holy city of Mathura after trampling Delhi. This is when the army of Naga sadhus countered them and forced them to flee back to Delhi.
There were many more such wars where the Naga sadhus sacrificed for Sanatan, but after independence, their history was deliberately erased. For hundreds of years, the Naga sadhus struggled vigorously to protect the religion and to save the lives of Hindus, but after independence, they have limited themselves to practice only for spiritual advancement and that’s why they hardly make any public appearances.
It is very important for us to know about the struggles of the Naga sadhus and their piety, the stories of their sacrifice will continue to inspire us to organize for the protection of religion and to be ready for all kinds of sacrifices.