Sadhus Inititation - Thomas L. Kelly
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Sadhu initition at Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.

Sadhu initition at Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.

Young sadhus sits with his guru (teacher) around fire and chant mantra a night before his initiation. Around 500 sadhus were initiated this year at Kumbha Mela in Allahabad. In the late afternoon half a dozen of barber shaved their heads. The monks sat by patiently as this went on, occasionally raising their hands and shouting "HAR HAR MAHADEV!" of "OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!" Shortly the procession to the ghat began, with hundreds of thousands of devotees lining the road. Every time the sadhus would shout "OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!", the crowd would shout the words back with loud devotion.

Once at ghats, the two hour long initiation was conducted by head Pandit or head priest and several other senior priests, whose privilege it was to conduct the initiation of sadhus. As the ceremony went on, all the 500 or so sadhus would perform the same action at the same time, the offering of incense and flowers; bathing in river etc. The ceremony concluded with the donning of new loincloths and sacred thread. India.

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