Saturday, July 02, 2005
The rapid decline of plugged-in sadhus
AFP has a story on an American who came to India more than two decades ago, changed his name to Rampuri, lived the life of a sadhu, and has now written a book about it all. The report says:
Rampuri, 54, says he is a rare western witness to a demise of the ancient sadhu culture in India. The perch led him to realise that as a foreigner he could never fully understand the ways of the vast country, but equally he could never rejoin western culture back in the United States.Ha.
The traditions of sadhus in story telling, ayurvedic medicine, yoga and in giving aashirvad (blessings) played an important role in India's ability to withstand 20th century commercial trends as many people found the holy men a potent reminder against middle-class desire, Rampuri says.
"But the sadhus who were plugged into that, that's coming to an end. This is what really impressed me. These were people who could basically wander the country with no clothes, no money, nothing between you and the Earth. That is now in a tremendously rapid decline," he says, dressed in an embroidered kurta pajama in an interview at a luxury hotel in New Delhi.