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.
The 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 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.
The 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.
The 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.