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The true Aghori!

Dr. Robert Svoboda is an authority on Ayurveda (incidentally the first westerner to obtain a degree on Ayurveda from the Pune University) and author of the famous Aghora trilogy.

I have read a few of Dr. Robert Svoboda's books - the Aghora trilogy, the Greatness of Saturn etc. All of them are wonderful and gives a glimpse of the man that Dr. Svoboda is and of course his Master Swami Vimalananda. I had the fortune of meeting him at Kashi (Varanasi) when he guided us to Trailinga Swami's home, Lahiri Mahasaya's home and Swami Kina Ram's temple. It was surprising to see his excellent command of the local language when he asked for some specifics at Kashi and of course knows the city of Varanasi like the back of his palm. Dr. Svoboda likes Kuki Hojicha, his favorite tea (the aroma was heavenly), I am yet to get a taste of that - hopefully very soon.

The reason for this post is different though. I am sure most of us have a very different picture when it comes to descriptions of Aghoris. Dr. Svoboda laid bare the most important trait of an Aghori in an interview that he had given to Life Positive. Here is an excerpt of the question posed to him to describe an Aghori. Excellent and humbling! Read on!

What would you need to be or do to become an aghori?
To succeed at becoming an aghori one must reach the stage that the sage Asanga did. He lived about 400 AD, and meditated in a cave for 12 years - one whole tapah - on Maitreya, the Buddha who is yet to come. After 12 years without Maitreya appearing to him he became despondent, and gave up. He wandered into the nearby town, and there saw a dog in great misery, covered with unhealing wounds, worms crawling out of each lesion. Asanga was suddenly filled with compassion for the dog, and within him arose the desire to take the worms away to relieve the dog's suffering.

But as he bent down to do this he thought, "If I pull them out they will die, and that would not be right." He decided instead to stretch his tongue out toward the wounds, to permit the worms to crawl onto his tongue. Then he could carefully place them somewhere where they would not need to immediately die.

Unfortunately the stench from the dying dog was so terrible that he had to close his eyes as he stuck out his tongue. As he did this he was overwhelmed with a most peculiar feeling, which caused him to open his eyes - and there standing before him he saw Lord Maitreya instead of the dog.

Although he was most jubilant at having succeeded at his sadhana, Asanga's previous despondency got the best of him, and he blurted out, "How is it that I focused on you constantly for 12 years, and yet you never came? " Maitreya smiled benignly at him and said, "All this time, all I required to bring you to realization was one pure spontaneous act of compassion - and now that you have performed it, here I am."

When I can see the ultimate identity of spaghetti and worms, and experience the same purity in gutter water that I experience in Gangajala, then I will be an aghori.

Jai Gurudev!

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