While Kumbh Mela is generally known for the gathering of millions of devotees as well as sadhus who come to the holy city for shahi snan (holy bath), sadhus with unconventional nomenclature and interesting mannerisms stole the show in Nashik this year. It seemed there was not just fierce rivalry among these sadhus to become the mahamandaleshwars (head of a particular Khalsa), but there was stiff competition to grab maximum eyeballs when it came to style quotient as well. Here is a lowdown on the style quotient of some of the sadhus, who were seen sporting interesting looks.
Raghavdas Maharaj or Mahant Raghavdas ji Thyagi alias Tatamari Maharaj alias Dhuni Baba
Always covered in a gunny bag, Tatamari Maharaj has been sitting in front of a thick smoke coming out of a havan for the last 20 years, according to unconfirmed sources.
His ashram called Panchi Ghat is located in Umardha Village of Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh, where he claims to be offering free food to hundreds of poor devotees daily.
“Tatamari Maharaj usually does not talk, we talk to the devotees on behalf of him. He is a very well known Mahant across the country for his generosity, he believes in feeding the poor,” said Ramdas, a disciple.
Golden Baba aka Sonewale Baba
Born as Bittu Bhagat in a Punjabi Kakkar family in East Delhi’s Gandhinagar, his fascination for gold earned him the title of “Golden Baba”. While he is seen covered in gold jewellery and accessories worth crores, he urges his followers to live a life of simplicity. Golden Baba wears dozens of solid gold accessories around his neck and on his hands that weighs over 11.5 kg. Before becoming Golden Baba, he had gone to Haridwar with an aim to become a sadhu.
After he came back to his hometown, he built a temple and started blessing people in exchange of offerings for his ashram. He mostly accepts offerings in gold, a source from Bhagat’s Ashram told The Indian Express. When asked where he got all this gold from and why he wears so much jewellery unlike other sadhus, he replied, “Yeh mera sona nahi hai, yeh toh eshwar ki sampatti hai (This is not mine, is belongs to God.”)
This particular sadhu has been meditating and performing tapasya in an unique way. His particular tapasya involves performing all the acts by standing — even while he is sleeping, eating or carrying out other routines. This is how he got his name as Khadeshwar Maharaj.
Clad in a white cloth, Maharaj claims to have not sat down since 1988. He and his chelas (aides) call this act as khadi tapasya. When asked why has he chosen this sort of tapasya and how is it going to help, he angrily questioned back, stating, “why does the Army guard our borders?” “ I had realised long ago that these politicians, who cannot ensure safety of their own house, how can they save the country. They can only think of making money. Since olden days, this is evident that whenever the world is in danger, it is the saints, ascetics and seers who have come to the rescue. My tapasya is for the safety and well-being of the world,” he reasoned.
Ramnaresh Desai Maharaj Gujaratwale alias Underground Baba alias Bhumi Baba
Born in Gujarat and currently residing in Bihar, Ramnaresh Desai Maharaj makes a small cave like dome, a little above the ground for himself, wherever he goes. He did the same even at sadhu gram at Tapovan for the Kumbh mela. He started doing this since 1997.
“I live under the ground in search of god, this is where I find inner peace and I can feel the almighty,” said Desai.
Dr Bindu Maharaj grabbed everyone’s attention at the Kumbh Mela for his unusual ways and inclination towards gems and weird-looking ornaments. He wears 21 huge rings in all his 10 fingers. Besides sporting a tattoo of snakes in his arms, he wears ornaments across his neck, which are made of Rudraksha, bones of elephants, boars and crocodiles, he claimed.
Belonging to the Panchayati Akhara, this sadhu believes that these beeds and ornaments help him in his meditation. “While meditating, one needs resistance, which comes from the negative energy from earth and climate. I can convert negetive energies into positive energy with the help of these gems and beads. The compostion of these gems helping humans beings physically and psychology is proven scientifically,” he said. Apart from this, he also carries a silver axe with him.
“Computer Baba” alias Namdeo Das Tyagi has been creating quite a stir this year by requesting Kumbh authorities at Nashik to allow him to touch down at the ghats from a chopper. The 51-year-old bearded sadhu is known as Computer Baba since he always carries a laptop. Tyagi, who hails from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was at the forefront of a protest against Aamir Khan’s movie PK in Bhopal. When contacted, Tyagi said, “Chopper mein shahi snan ke liye prasthaan karne ki permission mangi thi humne, parantu, prashasan ne permission toh chhodo, uttar hi nahi diya ab tak” (I had written to the authorities to come for the shahi snan in a chopper, leave alone permission, the administration has not even given a reply to my request).
After there was no response to his request, he was seen travelling atop a Toyota Innova in a procession towards Ramkund for the snan on August 29. However, he is still hopeful that the administration might reply to him before the September 13 shahi snan.