From time in memorial the history of Bharath has been forged – not by kings or by technologies or natural resources – but by the ascetics of India. Saints, seers, sages, sadhus, monks, sanyasis, nagas. By any name you call them, they have contributed to every sphere of Indian thought and life. All the great contributions to medicine, mathematics, philosophy, religion, culture you read about – or which you not taught about in your westernized classrooms – are from the community of naked ascetics.  Some, who lived in the forest, were actually naked. While others who happened to pass through cities might have been clothed for the sake of society. But all of them carried in their mind the spirit of freedom; of liberation – of Nirvana.  Freedom from all conditioning.

web-banner-final-v2The Mahanirvani Peeta is the oldest apex body of Hinduism which is the thread running through the history of India and Sanatana Hindu Dharma. It is the loose confederation of this large group of ascetics who are the greatest human beings, who ever walked the earth. Starting from adi yogi Sadashiva, though the incarnations of Krishna, the Buddha and others, they are the who-is-who of Sanatana Hindu Dharma.  And if history books were written proper, it would be the story of their lives.

alexander-meets-the-naked-sadhus-of-india
Alexander meets the Nirvanis

Alexander mentions the naked sadhus he encounters when his invasion reaches the Indus river and they were a important cause for his retreat back to Greece and giving up his bloody conquest. Same happened with another King Ashoka a few centuries later. And so on.

The Mahanirvani Peeta has played two roles: To contribute and promote Dharma and to protect it from invasion.

Western historians have often considered the Akhadas of Hinduism as an anomaly. They call them “armed ascetics” and treat the Akhadas as a recent perversion of a “non violent” Hinduism. Sadly they neither understand Hinduism nor do they understand non violence. Hinduism has always never differentiated from spirituality and powerfulness. It is the onset of Buddhism and to some extent Shankara who digested Buddhism that this separation of Sadhus who only studied the Sashtras but not the tools of ensuring them happened.

naga_sadhus_protected_shiv_mandirsThe Akhadas are the backbone of Hinduism. If at all Hinduism and India survived the onslaught of two violent viscous cultures – the Muslims and the Europeans – and still stands today , albeit in a precarious state, it is because of the Akhadas and the Sanyasis who gave their lives for the land and dharma. Many cultures such as the Persians, Afghans, Syrians have disappeared without a trace or even a memory recorded someplace due to the barbaric destruction inflicted on them by the virus that is the Muslim invasion. That India survived even after 800 years of not one but two abusive rules is because of the Nirvani Sadhus: The Warriors of Mahadeva.

The Naga Sadhus played a vital role in fighting the Mughals and were at the forefront of all wars. When the country was shattered by the barbaric nature of the invaders, the front line of the war would be the naga sadhus who would charge at the enemy lines without fear of losing their lives. This gave immense courage to the Indian armies to continue the war and hold their stand.

bankim-chandra-chattopadhyaya-wrote-anand-math-that-has-vande-mataram-songThe Naga Sadhus continued to play a vital role in the war against the British. They were a key part of the army of Rani Lakshmi Bhai, the Rani of Jhansi and others. They led the “Sanyasi Rebellion” in Bengal as described in the book Anandmath by Bakim Chandra Chatterjee. The Sanyasi rebellion was the seed of the freedom movement in India and led to the ultimate eviction of the British. Anandmath is the book where the song “Vande Mataram”, the national song of India, first appears.

mahadeva-warrior-asceticSadashiva was the first ascetic warrior. He was both the source and the meaning of the Vedas teaching the principle of non-duality and oneness and at the same time a warrior who defeated the powers of negativity. Hinduism never saw a problem with this apparent duality. It all began with the death of Daksha Prajapathi – President of the Universe, father in law of Mahadeva. It is at that time that Shiva takes over the administration and protection of the land. His Ganas – warriors – become the first ascetic warriors. Thus was born the tradition of the Akhadas – warriors who defend the land and dharma. Who fight not for any selfish interest of a king but for the welfare of the dharma.
sannyasin-monk-sadhu-saint-ascetic-swami-mudra-adi-shankara-f3fwfdKapila who came tens of thousands of years later formed the structure of the Mahanirvai Akhada and the Sankhya philosophy which forms the foundation of all Hinduism. He also created the Kumbh Mela, the meeting of the liberated peoples. Shankara much later reorganized the Nirvani Sadhus into the akhadas we see today. He adopted the Dasanami naming system of Kapila and that is what we see today for most Sadhus in India (their names end in Puri, Giri, Saraswati, Bharati and so on..)
Naga Sadhus or Hindu holy men raise their arms while shouting religious hymns on the banks of the river Ganges after taking the holy dip during the third 'Shahi Snan' at the ongoing "Kumbh Mela" or Pitcher Festival, in Allahabad

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