IN SEARCH FOR LIFE
The Aghoris maintain that all opposites are ultimately illusory. The purpose of embracing pollution and degradation through various customs is the realisation of non-duality (advaita) through transcending social taboos, attaining what is essentially an altered state of consciousness and perceiving the illusory nature of all conventional categories.
Aghoris believe that every person’s soul is Shiva but is covered by astamahapasha “eight great nooses or bonds” – sensual pleasure, anger, greed, obsession, fear and hatred. The practices of the Aghoris are centered on the removal of these bonds. Sadhana (rituals) in cremation grounds destroys fear; sexual practices with corpses help release one from sexual desire; being naked destroys shame. On release from all the eight bonds the soul becomes sadashiva and obtains moksha.
An Aghori sadhu set out to obtain a human skull with which powerful rituals can be performed. After the initial ritual of purification the human skull can be used for the main sadhana (ritual).