'Avadhoot' was used more as an abuse rather than a compliment during my boyhood days, way back in late 1940's. My mother would say, " Khainch ek avdhoot jaallenki tu maakkaan! - meaning what a born (stupid) avadhhot you are to me!
Now the real meaning of the word Avadhoot is quite different. As you may all know Hinduism is replete with not only wisdom but as much superstition and stupidities too! There is a system of enlightenment, salvation, mukti or what you will,.... known as Aghor. In brief, Aghor practitioners, or Aghoris, undergo a rigorous practice to see no difference between anything. They try to see all matter as same. Incidentally that is really the truth. Matter takes different hues and properties as perceived by the mind. It is a different subject, which I may try to explore sometime later. Now these Aghoris live in dense forests away from civilization. It is rare or seldom one can see an Aghori even in the Himalayan foot hills these days. But they existed and experts say they still exist.
Aghoris practice a lot of black magic including human sacrifice; that too sacrificing a matured but virgin female is considered the most sacred of all sacrifices. Practising mind concentration is their prime concern. They practise this for hours and days on end without food or break. Whenever I think of the cult, I recollect one of Swami Rama's experiences explained in his famous book titled "Living With the Himalayan Masters". In this book there is an episode dealing with his encounter with an Aghori, with even a photograph of the Aghori Baba. Swami Rama was not alone and there was a fellow disciple with him who acted as guide to the Swami in locating many Himalayan Masters (Hermits and Yoga Practitioners) practically living in caves. The moment the Aghori Baba looked at these two, he pointed to the Swami's guide and told that he was very hungry and thinking of Rossogolas, a Bengali sweet. And then asked both of them to immediately go down to the banks of Ganga, where he said, a half burnt dead body was floating. He asked the visitors to cut and bring a piece of an arm of the body and gave them a sharp knife. Aghois are most feared because they are not only very short tempered but also believed to possess powers to kill just by concentrating their stare at people! (Remember, the story of Kaushika Muni who so burnt a flying bird because it spoilt his meditation by dropping stools on his head?). The duo went down with much fears of the Baba, and lo! there really was a corpse floating. They cut off the an arm and brought it to the Baba who gave them a pot and ordered them to put the half rotten human flesh into it and boil on a firewood hearth which was burning at a corner of the cave. The Baba closed his eyes and perhaps meditated for a while and then asked the Bangali fellow, Swami Rama's guide, to open the pot and LO! there were lovely hot rossogolas fuming with pleasing aroma!.
Such accomplished Aghoris are called Avadhoot.
My mother used to scold me like that because I was really a stupid, careless boy often getting serious injuries while playing or doing something. Once in my enthusiasm to view the asphalting of road,- it was a new thing in our town then in 1952 or so, - I leaned over a bamboo thorn fence behind our house at the end of the kitchen garden, and it yielded to my weight and gave away making me fall a depth of around 12 feet on small heaps of stones below having head injury causing profuse bleeding. I was hardly eight years old then. A woman working in the paddy field saw this, shouted in panic as if the boy died from the high fall into the gorge! I was laughing at her, I still remember. She carried me in her arms and brought me home!
"He Deva, khainche ek avdhoot jaallerentu makkan...." the first reaction from my horrified mother!
This 'avadhoot' stupidity seems to be still there in me. See in my next blog, which I am going to title as "Will to Live"