Aghora-panthi

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By Swami Harshananda

Aghora-panthi literally means ‘a follower of Aghori school of Śaivism’.

Aghorapanthis are the ascetics of a relatively obscure Śaiva order, who worship Śiva as ‘aghora’ (‘the non-terrible’). The origin of this sect is unknown.

This group revels in abominable practices like cannibalism, eating from a human skull, besmearing themselves with ashes from funeral pyres and consumption of spirituous liquors. The few surviving members of the sect are to be found mostly in Bihar, Bengal, Rajasthan and Assam. Owing to the natural abhorrence of people towards such sects, their number has dwindled.

References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore