We often heard about Naga Sadhus, some of you have seen them on TV or in real life. Naga Sadhus are a particular group of Shaivite saints who reside in the Himalayan Caves and come to visit the civilization only during the Kumbh Mela. This is the only event when these ascetic saints can be seen amongst the general Indian population.
They look scary and are the followers of Lord Shiva. They hold tridents crowned with human skulls. Their bodies are smeared in thick ash and they wear heavy coils of matted hair on the head. They don’t wear clothes even when it is shivering chilling cold that’s why they are called as Nagas (naked). But you probably heard or saw male Naga Sadhus but did you know female Naga Sadhus also exist? Read about some facts about them:
1) Becoming a female Naga Sadhu is not easy, before becoming a Mahila Naga Sage, they have to donate their body.
2) Women have to abandon their families and society. They have to renounce the materialistic world and practice celibacy to escape from the cycle of birth and death. A woman has to show that she is a complete devotee of God.
3) They have to shave their heads before becoming a Naga Sannyasi and later the head bath is done in the river. Then they become equal to male Naga Sadhus.
4) There is only one difference in female and male naga sadhus. Female Naga sadhus are made to cover themselves with yellow cloth. They are not allowed to bathe naked and hence they have to use that yellow cloth while bathing as well.
5) When a woman becomes a naga sadhu, then all the priests in her group start calling her Mata.