Bhakti

The greatest misconception about Bhakti is calling it dualistic.There is nothing dualistic about Bhakti. There are no oppositions in devotion. The concept of duality can never be applied to Bhakti, the eternal relationship between the soul and God. The individual soul and God are never separated because God is omnipresent.

– Aghoracharya Vishnuswami

Mother

“Come o mother, stand in the temple of my heart in the thrice bent pose of Krishna!
Come show yourself in your bent form with shri Radha at your side.Take off your skirt of human arms and put on the yellow dhoti. Stick a peacock feather on your head and put one feet across the other. Drop off your garland of skulls and please wear a garland of flowers. Reveal Yourself as the dark charmer and not the black destroyer! Just once, drop the sword and pick up the bamboo flute! Fulfill the yearning of the devotee, o mother.”

– Ramprasad Sen

On Aghoris

At the Aghor kuti in Shivapur I asked my Guru: Would you please tell me about the Aghors and the history of the lineage of the Aghor siddhas so that the Nepalese people would know the truth of the Aghoris. Baba said to me: “ I am happy to see your devotion, concern to the society of your country and I’m going to tell about the Aghor and the lineage of the aghor siddhas but I would like to warn that never tell the person who does’nt have the faith in the Aghor siddhas because they might insult you! So you have to tell those people who have faith in Aghors. The word Aghor literally means, that which is not difficult or terrible. Aghor is simple and natural state of consciousness. There is no place for feelings of fear, hatred, disgust or discrimination in the eyes of an Aghor.
Aghor with constant practice when the soul is established in that state, such a person becomes an Avadhut regardless of his path. An Aghoreshwar is an Avadhut who has gone through all the various stages of Aghor and then has returned to society for the benefit of others. Even though an Aghoreshwar remains above and beyond all social and material illusions, distinctions, and categories, he can bring many social reforms into effect.
Realizing his divine nature, retaining the carefree and unattached Aghor state of being, he may have at the same time the appearance of one observing the contemporary social norm rather than a recluse.
The term Aghor goes back to the farthest reaches of time. One of the five faces of Shiva was known as Aghor. The word is as old as the oldest of legends. There is a hymn to the glory of SHIVA in Shiva Purana, one of Hinduisms oldest legends. There is a hymn to the glory of Shiva by Pushpadanta, head of the Gandharvas, called the Shiva Mahima Stotram. One of its verses is: “Aghoranna paro mantra
nasti tatvam Guru param”. It means:
“The very name of Aghor (Shiva, or the one who has attained the state of Aghor) is a mantra that is above all other mantras. There is nothing higher to be known than the real nature of the Aghor Guru”.
In the past the word Aghor implied something mysterious. Slowly, over centuries, its meaning came to include methods and practices used by Sadhus to overcome their limitations.
After the prehistoric association of Aghor with Lord Shiva, another legendary being was not only considered by the ancients to have realized the state of Aghor but was also believed to have propounded and taught the knowledge of it to others. This was Lord Dattatreya. Many other saints and mahatmas who embodied this Aghor state arose at their destined times in history, while at other times the Lineage became to be communicated in Guru-disciple relationships. They lived alone, in seclusion. They lived in the caves in mountains. For some, their search to be alone drew them to cremation grounds where people go for a little time only.
A person cannot cross the boundary demarcated by the social arrangements called dharma and traditions. If he does, he is considered a fool, a man lacking in discrimination. However an Aghor Sannyasi, Aughad, Avadhut is under no such limitations. He does dismantle such boundaries. Take the Lord Buddha who also went into Aghor Sadhana. He set up a new order suited to those times climate. He spoke with crystal clarity. Just as we need a modern physician and a modern ruler,we need modern Aghor saints and Aghor Gurus who prescribe what is relevant to the present times. It is their prescription that will work. Such men are born in every age, in every society, in every religion. They know no boundaries, no limitations. They wear no threads, observe no rituals. They are beyond purity and impurity. We worship Shakti, so that we may gain strength and we may have new ecstasy that could turn our wrongs into rights. The timeless lineage of Aghor Siddhas in Nepal and India has been flowing like the Ganges of wisdom from time immemorial. Pashupati (Kathmandu) and Kashi is known as the City of Shiva. This lineage of the Aghor Siddhas of Kashi has emanated from Lord Shiva himself. This lineage has produced unparalleled spiritual giants at various times.
In Nepal Aghoracharya was the first known Siddha at the time of Aghor Bhairavacharya in kashi (5th-6th century). This lineage continued in a sleepy state, as if embers under ashes. In the 16th century Baba Kinaram after receiving darshan with Bhagwan Dattatreya in Girnar mountains, awakened it for the welfare of humanity at large – the embers hidden under the ashes began to glow again. In the presence of Baba Kinaram spontaneous relief was received by the suffering, answers to questions came automatically, and mind experienced calmness naturally. One would experience the higher Self merely by being in his presence. Baba Kinaram travelled far and wide in all the four corners of India and by witnessing the suffering of people, engaged himself whole –heartedly in alleviating their suffering. Finally on the bank of the river Ganges in Varanasi, he established his dhuni (sacred fire) and continued his sadhana of service. The akhand dhuni (continuos burning fire ) of Baba Kinaram fed by the leftover wood from the near by cremation grounds, and the samadhis (tombs) of all the siddhas of the lineage in the same compound, are witness to the continuum of this intact lineage of Aghor Siddhas. Today, this yoga – bhumi (land of sadhana ) of Aghor Siddhas of Kashi (Varanasi) is called Kring Kund. The recorded history of the Siddhas who headed the seat of Aghor in Varanasi at Kring Kund after Baba Kina Ram established the Akhand Dhuni is as follows: 1. Baba Kalu Ram (Bhagwan Dattatreya) 2. Aghoracharya Baba Kina Ram (16th century) 3. Baba Bija Ram 4. Baba Dhouta Ram 5. Baba Gaibi Ram 6. Baba Bhavani Ram 7. Baba Jainarayan Ram 8. Baba Mathura Ram 9. Baba Saryu Ram 10. Baba Dal Singar Ram 11. Baba Rajeshwar Ram 12. Aghoreshwar Baba Bhagwan Ramji 13.Baba Sidhartha Gautam Ram (Present)
In this lineage of Aghor Siddhas of North India, Baba Bhagwan Ram ji emerged as an Aghoreshwar for our modern times. Heeding to the call of our time, he gave a new turn to this safeguarded tradition of Siddhas and expanded its field of activity.

– Mangaldhan Ram

Austerity

Aghor austere practices, austerity and Aghor are complements of each other. On coming face to face with Aghor austerities even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, even the divinities become willing to give everything they have. Austere practices or Aghor can be adopted by divinities, demons, humans and spirits. Anyone can adopt them, and when one does the entity called God is obliged to fulfill one’s desires. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva all bow before Aghor practices. They are ready to serve the Aghor. The treatise on Bhakti also says this.

– Aghoreshwar Baba Bhagavan Ram

Khanda Manda

Khanda Manda Yoga is said to be one of the most terrifying and difficult sadhana of all Aghora sadhanas. The practitioner of Khanda Manda Yoga cuts off her/his own limbs with a sharp cleaver, and throws them into a roaring fire while chanting a specific mantra. After twelve hours, these limbs re-emerge from the fire and rejoin the body. Most sadhus can do Eka Khanda Yoga that implies cutting of one part of a single limb, like a toe, a finger or a foot or hand. Few can do Teen Khanda Yoga, signifying three parts, like the foot, the lower leg, and the thigh. However, there are very few sadhaks who can perform the Nava Khanda Yoga, using nine body parts, including the head. The severe stage of Khanda Manda Yoga comes after the Nava Khanda Yoga, which is called the Agni Khanda Yoga, in which a guru heats the fire tong red-hot, and then inserts it under the disciple’s skin at the nape of the neck, running them down parallel to the spinal cord. A yogi who has reached the absolute point of spirituality does not even flinch when this happens.

Benefits of Khanda Manda Yoga

The benefits of the physical Khanda Manda Yoga are many, including imperviousness to any weapon, and even physical immortality. The evolvement of Khanda Manda Yoga was to abolish the love for body. One can only perform Khanda Manda Yoga, once one has developed certain objectivity about the body. Khanda Manda Yoga is possible once the sadhak have full control over Kundalini Shakti. However, the mental Khanda Manda Yoga is somewhat different; it has to be done with thought.

The true khandana is absolute and permanent destruction of false personality, which is composed of all the desires, tastes, aversions, and everything that have accumulated over millions of births. Only when all the imperfect projections are eliminated can one be able to see what is real. The other side of khandana is mandana, and the true mandana is projection of an everlasting form, construction of a true character. Mental khandana and mandana make up the real Khanda Manda Yoga. External and internal khandana are the two ways of performing Khanda Manda Yoga.

Thakur temple

Radha Vinod Ji Jamai Thakur temple in Vrindavan.

The deity of Vinod Ji was mysteriously found in a river by the great devotee named Vancharam in eastern Bengal. Once while taking his daily bath in the river he heard a voice saying “take me out of the water and bring me to your home” but Vancharam couldn’t locate the source of the voice. The next day the same thing happened. On the third day when he was going out of the water something clung to his foot and to his surprise it was the beautiful deity of Sri Kṛṣṇa.
Vinod Ji as Vancharam called Him was very luxurious there was no end to His demands. When Vancharam couldn’t fulfill His demands He either urged someone else or He Himself brought the things wanted somehow from somewhere, sometimes He had to steal or plunder. Once Vinod Ji wanted to eat vegetable made of mustard flowers. After sunset He went to the field of a farmer and collected the flowers. At night He said to Vancharam in a dream “since long I haven’t eaten vegetable prepared from mustard flowers. You offer it today”. Vancharam didn’t know where he could get mustard flowers, with tension in his mind he visited Vinod-Thakur Ji in the morning and saw that the deity was decorated with mustard flowers and had more wrapped in a pitambara cloth. Vancharam was well known for his hospitality and his door was open for anyone. One night when he and his wife were sleeping, three guests knocked at the door. Vinod Ji didn’t want their sleep to be disturbed so He received the guests Himself. Vinod Ji went to the shop where Vancharam used to purchase provisions and said to the shop keeper, “Vancharam has sent me to get some things on loan” the shop keeper asked, how can I give provisions to someone I never seen or heard of before? Vinod Ji gave him a gold bangle and said “return this to Vancharam”.
The shop keeper agreed. Next morning Vancharam surprised and confused asked the guests when they had come and who opened the door? Your son opened the door and made all the arrangements for the food. We did not want to disturb you. At noon when the shop keeper came with the gold bangle, the mystery was solved. Vancharam used to smoke hukka water pipe and offer it to Vinod Ji who enjoyed it after every meal, because it was shared with love. Even today Vinod Ji still enjoys His Hukka. And he really smokes it by Himself. For a long time Vinod Ji was without a consort, sportive as He was He began to think of marriage. He decided to marry the royal landlord Rajarishi Banavari lal’s daughter whose name was Radha. Vinod Ji inspired and sent one of His devotees to the Raja landlord to tell him about the mysterious deity of Sri Kṛṣṇa found by Vancharam and worshipped in his home. The Raja heard all about the daily pastimes and miracles performed by Vinod ji and decided to visit the place with his wife and daughter Radha. As they were looking at Vinod Ji Radha clasped her mother and said, look mother how He is smiling and looking at me! Foolish said the mother. The sweet smiles of Vinod Ji so captured the heart of Radha that she thought of Him day and night and often visited Him together with her father who also grew stronger affection for Vinod Ji. One day Radha said to her father in front of Vancharam that she wanted to take Vinod Ji home. But will Vancharam let us do so the father replied? Vancharam directly said, who am I to say that you should or should not? At night Vinod Ji said to Vancharam in a dream, “Let Me go with the Raja. I am pleased with you. Don’t be sad, for you will soon realize Me”. Radha served Vinod Ji with heart and soul, she arranged His meals, clothing and decorations. Vinod Ji was very much pleased with her service but He often teased her. He would sometimes after eating rub His dirty hands on her dress sometimes pinch her and sometimes even spit at her. Her love for Vinod only increased and so did His love pranks. One day, He caught the corner of the princess’s sari and said, “You must marry Me.” she told her mother about it who first didn’t believe. After some time, the princess became ill. Vinod Ji told Radha’s mother in a dream, “Radha will not survive but you need not worry. She will die to live with Me as My bride. You should make one deity of Radha from the wood of the dry cedar tree in your garden and marry her to Me.” And so it happened that as soon as the deity of Radha was installed, the princess Radha passed away. The cremation of princess Radha was carried out at the same time that Radha’s deity form was being installed beside Vinod Ji . Sri Vinod Ji now became Sri Radha-Vinod Ji. After some time, the landlord Raja later known as Sri Vanamali Das went to Vrindavan and brought Sri Radha-Vinod Ji with him. He constructed and established a temple at this place.
Rajarishi Ray Vanamali Das became a great devotee of the Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya by the mercy of Sri Radha Vinod Ji.
Photo of Aghoracharya Vishnuswami Totagopinathdas Suryasu Ram
At Radha Vinod Ji Jamai Thakur temple in Vrindavan