PHOTOS: Step Into The Mystical World Of The Wandering Hindu Monks Of Nepal

Nepal, Sadhus

Photo: Kieron Nelson

Photographer Kieron Nelson who documents the lives of vanishing tribes and cultures worldwide give is a glimpse in the world of Sadhus in Nepal.This caste has renounced all material and sexual attachments and its members live in isolation taking vows of silence or to hold their hands in constant prayer position for dozens of years.

Designs on the forehead, called tilakas, show a sadhu's religious and sectarian affiliations. They can be a simple daub of colour to more complex designs covering the entire face.

Source: Kieron Nelson

This sadhu's tilaka that converges on the bridge of his nose shows him to be a Vaishnava, or follower of Lord Vishnu, known as the Preserver in the Hindu Pantheon of Gods.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Source: Kieron Nelson

MysticIn Hinduism, sadhu, or shadhu is a common term for a mystic, an ascetic, practitioner of yoga (yogi) and/or wandering monks.

Source: Kieron Nelson

In addition to bestowing religious instruction and blessings to lay people, sadhus are often called upon to adjudicate disputes between individuals or to intervene in conflicts within families.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Drug use is seen as an important spiritual practice itself.

Since the god Shiva is admired for his ability to transmute poisonous substances into harmless or beneficial elements, drug use is seen by many to be an important spiritual practice unto itself. In this way, the intoxicating properties are felt to be the blessings of Shiva, Lord of Charas.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Smoking cannabis and and contemplating the cosmic nature and presence of God.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Sadhus engage in a wide variety of religious practices. Some practice extreme asceticism while others mainly focus on praying, chanting or meditating.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Yoga posture

Source: Kieron Nelson

He is smoking a mixture of tobacco and hashish, or charas, in a straight clay pipe called a chilum.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Covered in ash

Source: Kieron Nelson

Sadhus traditionally cover their bodies in ashes from holy fires. This symbolises death and regeneration.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Yoga posture

Source: Kieron Nelson

A Sadhu is usually referred to as Baba by common people.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Om

Source: Kieron Nelson

Om or Aum is of paramount importance in Hinduism.

Source: Kieron Nelson

Morning ritual

Source: Kieron Nelson

Beard

Source: Kieron Nelson

Painted forehead

Source: Kieron Nelson

Applying makeup

Source: Kieron Nelson

Lost in thought

Source: Kieron Nelson

Preparing body paste

Source: Kieron Nelson

Smoking - The Hindu god Shiva is said to have enjoyed smoking cannabis.

Source: Kieron Nelson

If you liked this gallery, now..

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Tagged In

features home-us