Avadhuta

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By Jit Majumdar


  1. removed; shaken away; discarded; rejected; washed away; shaken (agitated); destroyed; fanned; kindled; repudiated
  2. one from whom all (impurities) have been shaken away; one who has discarded all ignorance, bondage, limitations and obligations; one from whom anything false or impure has been rinsed away; one who has repudiated or rejected any falsity or ignorance or limitation (of personality)
  3. a class of spiritual adepts, mystics, saints or mendicants, going back to very ancient roots, who were/are generally antinomian, eccentric and liminal in nature and characteristics, and who have achieved a state of being beyond ego-consciousness, duality and worldly concerns and acts without consideration for standard social etiquette. Such personalities are considered to be free from the consciousness of the individual ego, and to live and behave “free like a child”. By definition free from standard ritual observances, injunctions and affiliations, they are associated with apparently crazy or eccentric modes of behaviour and lifestyle, who dramatize the reversal of social norms, and transgressing of the boundaries of conventional standards of social mores, which is a behaviour characteristic of their spontaneous lifestyle. As a rule belonging to the Śaiva Nātha, Śākta and Sahajiyā Buddhist traditions, they are as a norm classed into several sub-groups, each distinguished by their own ways of dressing, appearance, personality, behaviour and way of life, such as Brahmāvadhuta, Śaivāvadhuta, Vīrāvadhuta and Kaulāvadhuta (Bn. Tantra / MhN. Tantra).