An old photograph taken in 1898, residing in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Again, we see a sadhu seated on the right, with ashes smeared on his body and forehead with a garland of the seeds of the holy bodhi tree around his neck.

Some of these sadhus are in perpetual motion, with no ashram or holy site to which they are attached, begging for alms in large bowls (seen in front of them on the ground).

Becoming a sadhu is a difficult lifestyle. Sadhus are considered to be dead unto themselves, and legally dead to the country of India. They may be required ritually to attend their own funeral before following a guru for many years, serving him by doing menial tasks until acquiring the necessary experience to leave his leadership.


While the life of renunciation is described as the fourth stage of life in the classical Sanskrit literature of the Hindu tradition, and the members of certain sects—particularly those dominated by initiates of brahmin background—have typically lived as householders and raised families before becoming sadhus