Becoming a Sadhu in India from USA

#1 Apr 14th, 2018, 00:33
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  • keshavasundara is offline
#1
I want to become a Sadhu. I've tried living a life of a mendicant in the US but it amounts to being homeless, and there aren't gurus around to guide the experience. I want to go to India and find a Guru who can guide me and I want to become a Sadhu.

I don't exactly know how to go about this other than just buy a ticket to say, Varanasi, and start to wander and hope I will run into people who will help me. I looked around here but didn't find any threads about starting the life of a sadhu coming from a foreign country. I do not speak Hindi.
#2 Apr 14th, 2018, 00:57
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  • OldandRambling is offline
#2
I guess many westerners think about that life.

But where will you sleep, how will you eat?

India can be a harsh country in many ways, and as a wandering westerner, I think you may be avoided, folk will not know what to make of you, or how to deal with you. You will not fit into any of the strata of Indian society?

Maybe the "sensible" option would be to first arrange a stay at an "ashram". You would have somewhere to acclimatize, and get used to "Indian ways"

Do beware that almost all the "friendly guys" that flock to western folk are probably after some financial gain from you, rather than to assist you.

Varanasi is very hot indeed in the coming months.

A big adventure, but do check in advance that the dream will not in reality become a badly thought out nightmare...

Ed.

PS I would be interested to read of your experiences with this lifestyle in USA, if you care to elaborate?
#3 Apr 14th, 2018, 12:09
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#3
Not speaking Hindi is no problem at all, just take a vow of silence. Not understanding Hindi will be much more of a problem.

Another problem: how will you carry your passport---where will you put it? As a foreigner you will be asked to show your passport. I suggest developing a special "lota" (drinking water container, the only thing a sadhu may possess) that has a passport pocket.

Leaving the country on visa runs may be a problem if you are covered only in ashes from funeral pyres.
#4 Apr 14th, 2018, 13:05
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  • Nick-H is offline
#4

Becoming a Sadhu in India from USA

Funeral-pyre ash will soon be fashionable. Then it won't be a problem. The airlines will hate cleaning the seats!

Forgive the cynicism, but guess who's going to end up lost, lonely, mad, and starving on the street.

Or moving on to their next carefully-considered troll.

Troll maybe, sincere maybe... I don't know. But should consider that there is more to being a "sadhu" than wearing rags or less.

People, when is the next Kumb Mella? That might be a great place to put one's soul up for sale and see if there are any takers.

None of this stuff is for me. I sold my soul to Google for a mess of pottage. Or, at least, a mess of maps!
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#5 Apr 14th, 2018, 18:50
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post ...I sold my soul to Google for a mess of pottage. Or, at least, a mess of maps!
"Thou sold'st thy [soul], Esau! for a mess / Thou shouldst have gotten more, or eaten less."
George Gordon, Lord Byron, more or less
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#6 Apr 15th, 2018, 02:08
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#6
People have done this. Just don't disappear leaving grieving friends and relatives. One woman had been doing this near a temple for seven years (so much for a visa). I heard, unconfirmed, that she was eventually sent back. Hindi is quick to pick up as its a systematic language. I doubt you would be doing deep philosophical discourses. But, don't confuse being a true sadhu with being a bum or expect an automatic handout. My late mother in law would chase them back down the stairs with a broom. Hope they watch out for those low hanging beams that bean the unwary or those in a hurry (like me)..
#7 Apr 15th, 2018, 02:37
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#7
For Instance when in Varanasi could visit Juna Akhara headquaters and introduce yourself there. Be clean and presentable, have plenty of time on your visa, tell them about yourself and be prepared to do as you're asked. At least have a mala and know how to do japa before showing up. If they're not your cup of thought seek out the establishments of those who you think would be.
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#8 Apr 15th, 2018, 11:46
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#8
India has changed a lot and there are not a lot of sadhus seen, as there were when I first came some 26 years ago.

I think it's a stretch to expect society to feed you for free while you pursue your own spiritual aims. I guess it's possible to find an ashram that would feed and house you for free, I don't want to say it's categorically impossible, but I think it's a bit unlikely. Those that might would expect you to follow their rules, systems, and maybe their guru too, whereas you might have your own ideas which don't match.

For example, in Ladakh (and Tibetan society), most monks come from a family who supports their stay in the monastery. I think westerners don't know this. As the monks grow up enough to feel the need to stand on their own feet and be independent of their family's daily support, they work doing rituals for local households, whether or not they believe in those rituals, to earn their living. Some are posted to positions in monasteries, and they are officially allowed (supposed) to keep all the donations left by visitors on the altar, or some other monastery income. The monastery only gets the fee charged of tourists visiting (ie the receipt book), and income from donations to the monastery as a whole, or various kinds of traditional rental income. Nowadays some monasteries have lots of money, and the number of monks is plummeting, so they have started taking young boys from remote areas, and orphaned or semi-orphaned boys, and in those cases they do support their education and stay for free.

I think it's unlikely you'll find people or an institution in India that want to feed you for free for following your own beliefs, especially since you are obviously a westerner and thus by definition rich. Even if you need little or nothing for shelter and clothing, you will still need to eat. As for keeping your passport, that's not such a problem, as you can keep it with a friend or institution if you don't want to carry a bag.
#9 Apr 15th, 2018, 22:02
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by keshavasundara View Post I want to become a Sadhu. I've tried living a life of a mendicant in the US but it amounts to being homeless, and there aren't gurus around to guide the experience. I want to go to India and find a Guru who can guide me and I want to become a Sadhu.
Sounds like a lot of "I wants". Is this desire? If so you cannot become a true Sadhu, if you could you would be able to do it wherever you are in the world. Lot's of Sadhu's in India are vagabonds/rascals. To become a true Sadhu Sannyasa must dawn within you Sannyasa is a "state" which comes about when Vairagya (Dispassion) as dawned in you, this state of dispassion dawns by the Grace of God. When one attains purification of heart & mind (Chitta-Suddha), Vairagya will come about through Grace. It is not something you can be initiated into by a Guru, it must dawn in you through Meditation practice & peacefully going through your Karma's. When this state of dispassion comes about, then you should be perfectly happy living anywhere in the world, no matter what your circumstances happen to be, there will be indifference, you will be "In the world but not of the world".

You can read more about this at beginning of Ch 5 of Gita;

2. The state of sannyasa and karma yoga, both lead to Moksha (enlightenment). Of the two karma yoga is better than the renunciation of action.

3. He should be known as always a Sannyasi, who neither hates nor desires. Indeed being free of the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed, becomes easily released from bondage.

It's your separate sense of self which needs to be renounced, not the outer world, when you disappear the world disappears. KK
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread: http://www.indiamike.com/india/uttar...012-a-t159252/

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
Last edited by kullukid; Apr 16th, 2018 at 22:36..
#10 Apr 16th, 2018, 05:06
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  • Yaatri is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by keshavasundara View Post I want to become a Sadhu. I've tried living a life of a mendicant in the US but it amounts to being homeless, and there aren't gurus around to guide the experience. I want to go to India and find a Guru who can guide me and I want to become a Sadhu.

I don't exactly know how to go about this other than just buy a ticket to say, Varanasi, and start to wander and hope I will run into people who will help me. I looked around here but didn't find any threads about starting the life of a sadhu coming from a foreign country. I do not speak Hindi.
I would give you the secret of becoming a Sadhu but first I have to know what my share of earnings would be.
My bad grammar does not make bad your grammar OK.
#11 Apr 16th, 2018, 13:06
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#11
A friend wanted to become a guru in India as opposed to working at a McDonalds. I told him I knew the way from meeting Rajneesh (what was his name when he was a Philosophy teacher at Marathwada U?). I would be his treasurer. I must look untrustworthy as he declined the offer. Therefore, I have learned the depth of meaning in working..
#12 Apr 16th, 2018, 13:23
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post A friend wanted to become a guru in India as opposed to working at a McDonalds. I told him I knew the way from meeting Rajneesh (what was his name when he was a Philosophy teacher at Marathwada U?). I would be his treasurer. I must look untrustworthy as he declined the offer. Therefore, I have learned the depth of meaning in working..
Chandra Mohan Jain - he taught at Jabalpur U.
#13 Apr 16th, 2018, 15:51
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#13
Guys please don't give keshavasundara a hard time.

Kesh the first thing you have to do is leave all your wordly belongings to me, when you get here I suppose I can arrange some ash and a loin cloth, but bettter if you just leave me your stuff and not bother me again.
Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off.
#14 Apr 16th, 2018, 17:25
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#14
From info on the net, I gather that the OP might be born in USA, but of Indian ancestry.

It is always a shame when an interesting topic arises, but then OP never shows up again.

(Possibly in this case it might be better anyway to forget the India plan.)

Ed.
#15 Apr 16th, 2018, 18:48
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#15
I may have posted it before, but there is a very interesting documentary featuring Dominic West (the actor who rose to fame in the TV series "The Wire") who accompanies a friend of his to join a sadhu gathering at the Kumbh Mela. Very well done. Here it is: https://youtu.be/0iX-F9-SXBc?t=1s
The friend is English but (due to appropriate donations and a lot of due diligence) he has been accepted as a sadhu. D.W. meanwhile is happy to go back to London.
Last edited by theyyamdancer; Apr 16th, 2018 at 21:48..

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