ॐ साधुसन्दोहभूम्यै नमः (Sādhu: Good, virtuous, excellent, right, a virtuous (holy) man, a religious mendicant; Sanḋoha: Assemblage, multitude)
Ashtottaram 86
NewsGram Desk

By: Devakinanda Pasupuleti

Though the word sādhu actually means a good person, in common parlance it is used to indicate a sanyāsin or a religious mendicant. In our societies we praise people with good, soft, qualities. It's our nature and culture. Even in animals, we consider the cow as a 'sādhu' animal. Hindu society has given the highest place of honor to sādhus and sanyāsins and has prescribed the highest standards of morality, ethics and spiritual values.

The dharmaśhāstrās are replete with many injunctions and prohibitions which may not appear to be relevant in the modern context. Every Hindu understands a sādhu being a kind, non-threatening, soft natured person who is in the pursuit of liberation during this life time and tries to help society with his knowledge of spirituality and wisdom. The greatness of our country is that we not only have sādhus but also sādhvinīmaṇis (female monks). Showing non-difference between men and women in any field is the utmost attribute of our Sanātana Dharma.

There are different kinds of sādhus. We also call sannyāsins, yaṫis, and bairāgis as sādhus. The ochre clothes they wear are symbolic of renunciation. Wearing them reminds the sādhus about their oath and dispassion toward materialism and selfless service to the community and humanity at large. It also reminds them of their duty to practice their strict spiritual injunctions and prohibitions. The attire also assures the community that their actions are non-threatening to humanity. Some shave their heads but most leave their hair to grow matted and have long beards. People show their respect toward sādhus and offer them food.

Usually, the sādhus wander constantly and do not stay at one place for more than 3 days, unless it is the rainy season. Some sādhus spend most of their time in caves or under big trees like banyan trees. Some carry a ḋanḍam (staff), kamanḍalam (water pot), and wear pāḋukās (wooden sandals). They apply ashes all over their body as a mark of vairāgyam reminding them and us that no matter how long we live, in the end we are all going to be ashes. We come from the mother earth and at the end we return to her.

Those who are immersed in constant meditation are called munis and those who control their senses are called yatis. Ṛigveda, the oldest Veda mentions munis and yatis. Our Vedas and Upanishads placed them on the highest pedestal because of their tapas, renunciation, sacrifice, celibacy and many more virtues. Shri Ramaṇa Maharṣhi, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahaṃsa, and Shri Vivekānanda Swami belong to these categories.

Our land is 'Sādhusanḋoha Bhūmi'.

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