Sadhu - Religion and Expressive Culture

Generalizations with regard to the religious beliefs of sadhus are not easily made due to the heterogeneous character of Hindu asceticism. Their worship is directed to diverse gods of primary and secondary importance in the Hindu pantheon. Of the various sadhu religious rituals, that of the dhuni (sacred fire) seems more or less common to all sects. This fire is lit in a hollow pit wherever the ascetic camps. These sacred fires are also found in monastic centers and in the homes of household ascetics associated with certain sects. The liturgies, literature, and bodily adornment of the sadhu may be cited as manifestations of the artistic impulse within the rious ascetic communities of India. With regard to options for medical treatment, the following are available to sadhus: Ayurvedic, allopathic, indigenous, homeopathic, Tantric, and naturopathic. At least one anthropologist has noted a decided preference for Ayurvedic medicines, there being some belief that these decrease the chance of medical relapse.

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