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Aghori: The Human Flesh Eaters

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Aghori with his kappala
India is a land of various sect and religions. Out of its vastness of belief, the sect known as Aghori or Aghori sadhus (sadhu means sage) is unique. Aghori Sadhu is associated with cannibalism and rituals using human skulls and animal sacrifices.  Aghoris are distinguished from other Hindu sects by their alcoholic and cannibalistic rituals. Aghoris in India are beyond human imagination with their rituals and mysterious practices.

History of Aghori

Wading through the serpentine, shape-changing, and sometimes controversial, history of Aghor, or Aghor-like groups and characters, it seems to represent an ancient body of practices which, while retaining a lot of practices of yore, has also changed itself according to the times. 

Aghori: The Human Flesh Eaters
Aghori with his kappala

Aghoris eat left over from human dead bodies on the banks of river Ganges. They drink in a bowl made of human skull. They apply ash from the human pyre. They are the followers of Hindu God – Lord Shiva, they are the “Aghoris”. A place considered dreadful by others is home for Aghoris, the Hindu cremation ground. Out of the various sect of Hindu priest, the most extreme and the most feared of all are the Aghoris.

Aghori Secret Life

The term “Aghori” is derived from the Sanskrit word – “Aghor” which has various meanings. Aghor means not to forget or non-terrible in one perspectives. And on the other, it means absence of darkness. Aghor implies a simple and a natural state of consciousness in which there is no fear or disgust. But on the contrary, the Aghoris have rituals that has seen as being disgustful and feared by common people. As for the Aghori sect, the true meaning of the term Aghories the one who is fearless and who does not discriminate. The followers of Lord Shiva, the most powerful of all Hindu Gods and considered as a destroyer. The practice of cannibalism, animal and human sacrifices are mostly related to tantric rites of the worshipers of the Mother goddess in any of the worship form – Kali, Dhurga, Kamakhya or Chammunda.


The life of an Aghori Sadhu is not easy, to become like them one has to meditate about twelve years and complete certain rituals under the guidance of an Aghori guru in order to enhance one spiritual strength. Aghoris use woods from pyre, clothes from dead bodies, and ash of burnt bodies for the various rituals. There are certain rules one must follow to become an Aghori. Firstly an Aghori must find a teacher and do what the teacher tells him to do. And Aghori must find a human skull known as “kappala”. And use only this as a ritual tool before initiation. An Aghori must apply pyre on his body to symbolically show the nature of the Lord Shiva. The final part of ritual requires eating of rotten human flesh and also meditating sitting on a dead corpse. It symbolizes the rise from Savak(human nature) to Shiva.

Aghori Sadhus in Kumbh Mela

Aghori follows the simple rule that the universe recites in them. And they try to attain enlightenment by self-realization. Many of the Aghoris roam around naked representing the true human form and their detachment from the world of mortals who according to them live in the world of illusion (“maya” in Sanskrit). Through this they transcend human feelings of love, hatred, jealousy and pride. There are many Aghoris walking in the streets of Northern India, with their own kappala ( bowel made of human skull). They eat things like rotten food and left over food from garbage tins, animal’s fesses and animal’s urine.  They regularly perform the rituals to highest level in “agaratuva” (enlightenment).
Like the Buddhists, Aghoris also regard a fixation on the objects of the senses, therefore, to be a folly in that all form changes and ends, to cling to it, therefore, leads to a waste of time that life provides for investigating one’s real nature. Desire for objects of the senses is what ties one to this world, and a freedom from objects of the senses, desire, is what frees one from the clutches of illusion, and leads to a perception of reality.
Aghori: The Human Flesh Eaters
Aghori: The Human Flesh Eaters
Aghories belief the God exists in everything whether it is cow dunk or food.  Nothing is unholy or not auspicious for them, but everything is sacred. They gain their powers by doing things that is considered unholy or unclean by societies. They believe true Aghori should break all ties with families, friends and all earthly possessions and should live entire life at the cremation ground and eat and drink only through the human skull. They roam freely anywhere they want to, wherever they go they will find their home – cremation ground..

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