Why a sadhu and not a monk or a priest?

He who considers himself free is free indeed and one who considers himself bound remainds bound. “As one thinks, so one becomes,” is a popular saying in this world, and it is quite true. – Ashtavakra Samhita 1:11

Why a sadhu? Why not a monk or a priest?

First of all, a sadhu is the only one that one can be “unofficially”, at least in my interpretation. Some say, “Noooo… you must be initiated and have a living guru,” and all this, but I don’t believe so. To be a sadhu, one must desire a life of simplicity with a future aspiration of reaching absolute freedom, freedom in the earthly realm and freedom in the beyond realms. When one “officially” becomes a monk or a priest, one is forced to give up so many freedoms. In my mindset, this would be a step back from the goal that I eventually hope to achieve. I will explain more about this “goal” as time goes by.

For a link from Wikipedia on sadhus, please go here: Wikipedia

Impermanency of Sadhu status

When one lives the life of a sadhu, there is no obligation for it to be a permanent “job” or status. Many individuals live as a sadhu for a time period and when they are ready they change back to their old lives or into whatever they choose to be. Once one accepts the vows of a monk or a priest, it is a lifelong commitment. It is hard for me to imagine what I will want to be even one year from now, so how could I willfully make a commitment for the rest of my life. This is a great freedom the sadhus enjoy that others do not.

Dress Code

If one becomes a monk or a priest, one is forced to wear a certain “outfit” or style of clothing that identifies him or her as a monk or a priest. With a sadhu, this is not the case. I see sadhus of every style and form in my travels. They all dress differently, but it is usually easy to see who is a sadhu and who is not. Like them, I have my own style of dress that is my “sadhu” outfit, even though you may not know it from seeing me on the street. I only have one set of clothes but I can make different “outfits” out of a few parts of clothing.

Freedom to follow my own path.

Monks and priests are “forced” to follow the “beliefs” of the group or religion that they belong to. On the other hand, there are thousands of different paths to follow for sadhus in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and other countries across the world. Just because I am building my own “style” or “way” of being a sadhu, doesn’t make it wrong or incorrect. I have been living this lifestyle for sometime now. This is just the first time that I am sharing it with others.

Perhaps I would also consider myself a yogi and a sanyasin. A yogi may be considered to be one who practices yoga (in it’s many forms), which specifically means “union with God”, or it could mean one who has fully united him or herself with the divine. A sanyasin is a renunciant of the current order of things. I am surely that. I have renounced the current state of affairs, what the world expects of me and I will be a proponent of the way that I see the world heading, which is towards a more peaceful, loving, and joyous time for all. I am not saying everyone should be a sadhu, but I do believe everyone in the future will have a much deeper connection to the spirit within and will seek out it’s purification on a mass basis.

Overall, monks and priests are members of a specific group and they are forced to live within the rules of the group that they choose. Sadhus have no such rules to follow and are free to travel whenever and wherever they like. This is the freedom that I talk about. Freedom of movement and freedom of belief. There are so many types of sadhus it is impossible to distinguish which ones are “official” and which ones are “unofficial”, which ones are “real” and which ones are “fake”. Hopefully, as people read this blog they will be able to see that although I am not “official”, I am also not “fake”.

Why is it beneficial to travel anonymously and solo when on the spiritual path?

Traveling anonymously allows us to constantly be on the outside who we are on the inside even if who we are on the inside is consistently changing. When we stay in one place and are always around the same people, whether family or friends, we are expected to act and behave in a certain way. Either in the way that they act or the way that we have acted in the past.

When we change on the inside, but are not allowed to on the outside because of pressure or restriction, it creates great misery within. That’s why people tend to find their “true selves” for the first time when they go somewhere where no one knows who they are. Strangers have no way of establishing a preconceived judgement against them so they are forced to be judged by who they are at that moment. This is extremely liberating, especially for those with a desire to be “good” rather than “bad”, or even visa versa.

Because of the anonymousness that traveling provides, it makes walking the spiritual path a much smoother and enjoyable process than being stuck in the same place one’s whole life. Furthermore, how can one learn to combine their spiritual practice with the outside world unless one travels in the outside world? Not only anonymously, but solo travel is also very important to my quest. When I travel solo there is no one to second-guess my decision making and which way I shall go. If I want to go left, I go left. If I want to go right, I go right. If I want to slow down, I slow down. If I want to speed up, I speed up. This is a huge freedom that is very important to my life.

Before we can bring our gifts or work to the collective, we must establish a strong individual and independent perspective of life. We must learn how to survive individually before we can survive as a family. Furthermore, in this day and age, it is tough to find someone else that is always at your same level spiritually. Sometimes I wish to go up or down in my spiritual level and traveling with someone makes this difficult, flip-flopping back and forth. During this trip, I will make a strong effort to step-by-step increase my spiritual level without falling back as I have in the past.

Donations link and Dana Bank Up

This blog is now setup to accept donations on Paypal from credit and debit card. All donations are tax-deductible and are through the non-profit P.T. Charities. Furthermore, the “Dana Bank” has been “built” and can be found on the sidebar and the menu list. On Day 1 of the journey, these numbers will start to fluctuate daily as expenses will be drawn and donations given. I will also have an average of how much is used and given daily and there will be an approximate days left until empty. Yesterday, the blog received it’s first $100 donation. He mentioned how he liked the idea of the blog and how it is sort of like “globalization of karma.” I like this term and may use it in the future. I am very thankful for this donation and hopefully the karmic “effects” of what the blog is created for will begin to manifest shortly for this person.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and weekend! Tomorrow for weekend reading, I will post up an extended “Dharma talk” that I gave last month. I will leave it unedited and so there may be some things that I may feel differently about now. Whatever I write I always consider to be what I believed at that moment. My thoughts and perspectives are constantly changing and so please always take what I say at the present moment to be my current “truth”, even if I post something from my past writings.

Blessed

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine. – Shunryu Suzuki

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This American Sadhu

Wandering traveler, writing a story, contemplating spiritual stuff, living austere, and helping random strangers... all rolled into ONE. What fun!

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