You must have seen that group of devotees who have long dreadlocks, are covered in ash and go around stark naked. They were widely photographed during the Mahakumbh of 2014 in Allahabad. They are the Naga sadhus, and looking at their appearance it makes us wonder how isolated an existence they might be leading.
But it appears that we are wrong: the Nagas have smartphones and use WhatsApp just like us.
At this year’s Kumbh Mela in Nashik, many of these Naga sadhus are not only chatting on WhatsApp but also checking themselves in at Kumbh Mela on Facebook.
Satyanarayan is one such Naga Sadhu, who, before embarking on his spiritual journey, was a Physics graduate and had performed his own ‘pind-daan’ (last rite) and shed every piece of cloth on his body to live the life of a Naga sadhu.
Times Of India recently spoke to Satanarayan and asked him about his life and daily routine.
The monk admitted that it largely revolved around ‘sadhana’ (meditation), but candidly confessed that a part of it also revolved around social media.
He revealed that he is active on WhatsApp, and frequently loggs into Facebook to check updates and posts.
He said that he used Facebook to check what his gurus and acharyas have put up on their home pages.
If this was not shocking enough, Satyanarayan also revealed that Naga’s, who live a life far removed from all things material, have started connecting with each other on social media.
Were they not supposed to be detached from everything material? Satyanarayan, replied:
“We are part of the society”
He reasoned that in this day and time it is was important to stay up-to-date with all that is happening around the world and this new way of learning and communicating was helping them remain a part of the society.
Thus they have accepted all modern means of communication.
To drive his point home, he added that Nagas were averse to travelling in modern cars or even flying in planes and few of them also wore ‘angravastan’ (saffron) cloths when they went into the society.
It is, therefore, foolish of the society to think of Naga sadhus as just naked monks who were not aware of what is going on with the society.