First of all I want to tell how I know about this society. I worked with MTV Italy as local assistant. My job to find the characters and schedule appointment for interviews. They were interested in strange Sadhus and Aghoris. They didn’t want normal looking Sadhus and Aghoris, but they were more interested someone with dread locks, beard, without clothes etc. I had only three days to arrange 5 days of shooting. I went to lots of monasteries, met a lot of babas, sadhus, and Aghoris. I went to all the big Aghor monasteries of Varanasi including Kina Ram Aghor Peeth, Bbhagwan Avdhoot Ram Ashram, Baba Harihar Ram Ashram, Baba Anil Ram Ashram and many others. I went to both cremation places of Varanasi, Manikarnika Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat, in search of a few Aghoris and it worked. I met few very interesting Aghoris. So, that is how I came to know about them and their society.
Aghor society people are Hindus but their philosophy is different from the typical person’s. They pray to the same Gods whom Hindus pray but sometimes their rituals could be different. Like on the night of Diwali all the Hindus pray to Laxmi (goddess of money) but all the Aghoris go to funeral place and meditate and try to make their mantras more powerful, try to achieve some super natural powers or just try to make connections with ghosts to make them work for Aghoris in the future. Hindus light up the candle, clean their home and practice few rituals on Diwali but Aghoris like to go in dark and peaceful place like cremation ground. So these are the kind of differences between Aghoris and general Hindus.
Aghoris connect their religion to the cremation ground at every level. If you go to any Aghor monastery, you always find a place where some wood is burning all the time and that wood comes from the funeral place. Real Aghoris put that ash on their forehead and naval to make them feel secure and they use it get rid of diseases. I met a lot of Aghoris and asked them about significance of that Ash and everybody said that it is all matter of belief. If someone has belief in that ash then it could be better than a medicine and if they don’t have any faith in it then it could make them sick because then the person would worry continually about ash that has come from a cremation. All the people whom I met at Aghor monasteries had great faith in that ash. They said that they apply it everyday and if they are going somewhere out of the city then they keep some ash with them all the time. Some body said that once he had some strange disease and no doctor was able to treat him then he went to that monastery and applied some ash on his forehead and naval it made him get rid of that strange disease. All the fake Aghoris use that ash to attract people and sometimes to make them threatened.