Thousands were inducted into the ancient order of the Naga sadhus in a mass initiation ceremony last week during the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj. The participants, who performed the pind-daan (after-death ritual) by chopping off their hair and participating in the sacred fire ceremony, included engineers and management graduates.
The Naga seers, who are known to be elusive and shun public life and gather mostly during the Kumbh Mela, perform extreme penances by pushing their bodies to the limit.
According to the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) ,the governing body of 14 Akharas or organisations which are based on different philosophies, over 10,000 men and women were initiated and became Nagas in the Kumbh this year. Of these, 1100 were initiated into the Juna Akhara. Niranjini and Mahanivarni akharas also plan mass initiations.
The Jana Akhara said that in each initiation ceremony, thousands were inducted. Any person can achieve vairagya (or detachment) and become a Naga irrespective of their caste, religion or colour. Many Christians and Muslims have also too also inducted.
Meanwhile, Several lakh people had started arriving at the Kumbhnagar from Sunday for the second 'shahi snan' or auspicious dip on 'Mauni Amavasya'. It is the most auspicious to take a dip on this day.