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.
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.
MysticIn Hinduism, sadhu, or shadhu is a common term for a mystic, an ascetic, practitioner of yoga (yogi) and/or wandering monks.
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.
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
Sadhus engage in a wide variety of religious practices. Some practice extreme asceticism while others mainly focus on praying, chanting or meditating.
Sadhus traditionally cover their bodies in ashes from holy fires. This symbolises death and regeneration.
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