Religion: The New Sadhu

Sadhu is the Sanskrit word for "straight," and the straight-living, ascetic sadhus of India were once the bearers of Hindu holiness. Robed in saffron or stark naked, smeared with ashes or painted vermilion, shaven bald or mat-haired, they wandered through the world with their begging bowls, dispensing sacred teaching, sage advice and examples of the unworldly life. Inevitably another breed of sadhu arose that was anything but straight. Trading on the enormous prestige of the holy men, these daubed wanderers move from village to village dispensing magic charms and quack cure-alls and mulcting...

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