अघोर, aghora

Aghora is an ascetic Shivaite spiritual tradition. Known for its extreme and defiant practices, that reject orthodox Hinduism. It goes back to the Kapalikas, Mahanubhavas, Kaulam, Nathas and other ancient sampradayas. Aghors mention Brahma Giri Baba, who also took upadeshas from Gorakshanath.

The word "aghora" can be translated from Sanskrit as "absence of horror, ignorance", "fearless". Ghora also symbolizes samsara (the ocean of suffering of the "dukha"), the aghora is outside of samsara. Aghora is one of the five faces of Shiva, which is associated with the aspect of destruction.

Aghori wear mala from bones or teeth, kapala, black clothes, since black color is a symbol of the dissolution of all other colors, it includes all of them. As their asanas, they often use the bones of humans and animals, because bones already contain the realized experience of the given being, and when the aghora-sadhana is performed, this experience is being realized by sadhaka as a specific form of Shakti.

Aghori believe in the rite of human sacrifice to their Deity, they have no restrictions in food, they can even eat corpses. Also, unlike the sadhus of other traditions, in their rituals Aghori consume alcohol and other intoxicants, meditating in places of cremation (shmashan). From the metaphysical perspective, the shmashan for the Aghori can be not only the place of cremation, but also any place where there is a calm atmosphere: forest, field, river bank, empty or abandoned buildings. To gain inner silence, first solitude is required, after which the Aghori can live anywhere, perceiving the whole world as shmashan.

Shiva Rudra is generally worshiped in places of burning, which is present in the decaying dead bodies burning in the fire. Rudra is always present, in all phenomena of life. Death and life are two sides of the same coin, they are inseparable from each other. All forms will be destroyed, therefore, the truth is only in the reality from which they appeared and in which they return, thus shmashan is the very symbol of the supreme truth that exists always and everywhere. The external shmashan is simply a symbol of the internal shmashan that is everywhere, whether we see it or not.

The aghoric tradition, like Nath's, is called the Augharian. In total there are two passages in the tradition – one for the grihasthas (householders), the other for the sannyasis – the avadhut-aughars who have renounced the social life. When a neophyte is consecrated, Guru shaves his hair on his head, then gives him a drink of prasad in the form of alcohol from the kapala, then the disciple goes to collect alms (dakshina) for Guru from the people of the lower castes, after which the Guru-mantra is passed to him.

At present, the most famous aghoric site in India is Varanasi, there are several aghora ashramas open to public: "Kinaram Baba Ashram", "Bhagavan Ram Aghori Ashram", ashram of the disciple of Bhagavan Rama – Baba Harihara.