Portrait of a holy Sadhu.
To Hindus, spiritual enlightenment has always represented the highest goal in life, the one thing that gives it meaning and purpose.
Moreover, enlightenment is a state of being that is in principle attainable by everybody.
The average individual, however, would need many incarnations to become enlightened, to see God, to become one with the Absolute, to merge one's mind with Cosmic Consciousness -- in short, to become holy.
But since time immemorial shortcuts have been available for people wanting to become enlightened in this life rather than the next.
Those who follow the fast track, mostly men, are the sadhus, the 'holy men' of India.
For thousands of years they have been around. Once they must have been more numerous, but even today there are still four to five million sadhus, constituting about half a percent of the total population.
Organised in various sects, they passed on the wisdom of old, the method of yoga, that is 'yoking' soul and Soul together.
Usually they live by themselves, on the fringes of society, and spend their days in devotion to their chosen deity.
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, 2011.
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