Have you ever just wanted to walk away from it all? Require no home, no car, no job, no responsibilities, and just wander around without a care in the world. Your only concern is finding enough food to eat and a warm dry place to lay your head at night. This at first glance actually sounds like homelessness, poverty, and a very unappealing as a lifestyle. However, in India and Nepal there are a group of mainly men that roam around the country living an ascetic existence. These people are called sadhus.
The sadhus goal in life is to concentrate totally on the development of their spirituality and achieve moksha. All other concerns and pursuits take a back seat to the sadhus main focus of devoting all of their energy to their religious and philosophical improvement. The sadhus believe that the more suffering and austere their everyday life is, the closer they become to their aim of being free of ego, materialistic desires and more in tune with their religion and the meaning of life. The sadhus walk away from it all and dedicate a time or their entire life to becoming liberated from attachments.
To be free of the ego is to completely let go of trying to impress others and to not be enslaved by the shackles of desire. Desire is constantly striving to have more and more and more and creating a chain of events in one’s mind were the person is totally consumed with having it all. Desperately attempting to accumulate one thing after another: whether it is wealth, appearances, sex, power, status, or other desires will leave a person feeling empty, full of anxiety, and depressed. This in turn creates instability in one’s mind which leads to a constant state of non-fulfillment and suffering. The Holy sadhus of India and Nepal understand these ancient principals of happiness and turn their back and laugh at the foolishness of trying to have it all. There is no such thing as having it all!
Looking at the sadhu lifestyle from an opposite end of the spectrum, one can also come to the conclusion that walking away from the responsibilities in life is all fine and dandy to grow the inner spirituality of a person, but what would happen if every person on earth decided to just walk away and leave everything behind and wander around? Obviously nothing would get done in the world. Everyone cannot and by far most people would not wish to be wandering holy man with only the possessions that they can carry around with them. It can be said that the true secret to life is living in moderation. Find a middle way or a middle ground and do not be one dimensional. However, in today’s highly materialistic and power hungry world, it is refreshing to see the sadhus of India and Nepal living simply and unconcerned with ego.
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The Hermit Poet