Standing Babas…sadhus who never sit

(Bajrang Das, a ‘standing’ baba, who never sits down, day and night.He sleeps standing too, hanging over this swing. A metal chastity belt covers his genitals.

A ‘standing’ Baba, who is called khareshwari, has taken the vow not to sit or lie down for twelve years. He may rest one leg by hanging it in the sling under his swing. It is a painful austerity: the swollen legs and feet tend to develop persistent ulcers. Khareshwaris may walk about, but usually just hang in their swing in their corner — and stand.

Some, at a mela for instance, may turn this austerity into quite a performance. The lay pilgrims are always much awed by khareshwaris and consequently very generous with their donations, in money or in kind.

A tree is the traditional place for the austerity of standing, not only because the swing can be attached to one of the branches, but also because of the baba’s identification with a tree, for it is also termed vrik-asana (or vrikshasana), meaning ‘tree-posture’.
And indeed, the khareshwari starts resembling a tree, his swollen feet look like roots, with a firm grip on the ground.

The austerity of ‘standing’ is performed by Ramanandis, Nagas, Naths and Udasin. Text and images from link


Travel Channel’s “Culture Shock” clip on Standing Babas…


1 Comment

  1. are they in mumbai?

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