Sadhu - Settlements



Sadhus live either in monasteries (called asrama, matha, or maudira ), if they have elected to lead a sedentary life-style, or at pilgrimage shrines as temporary residents. Each sect Usually maintains at least one of these religious centers. The monastic life-style is austere, emphasis being placed on the cultivation of self-control and discipline. The daily routine includes exercises intended to purify the physical body, elevate mental capacity (e.g., through the reading of sacred Literature), and enhance ecstatic experiences (e.g., through corporate prayer). Provision is also made so that the lay patrons of the monastery (who provide its chief means of support through bhetapuja, "honorific offerings") may receive the benefit of the spiritual counsel of the resident ascetics (by means of preaching and teaching). Monasteries have as their organizing concept the tradition ( sampradaya ) associated with a particular teacher ( acarya ) who first codified the belief system of the order. Monastic affiliation is usually indicated by the symbols applied to specific bodily parts, clothing color, and additional items in the ascetic's possession (e.g., rosary, water pot, and staff).


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