Lal Baba has dreadlocks (jatas) several meters long, which have been growing for over 40 years.
Hindu Sadhus are ascetics; wandering monks who have renounced all earthly possessions, dedicating their lives to the pursuit of spiritual liberation. Their reality is dictated only by the mind, not material objects. Even death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion.
There is a large focus on Aghori, an intense sect of Sadhu infamous for overcoming all things taboo. They may meditate on corpses, eat human flesh as part of a sacred ritual, or keep a skull as a reminder of the impermanence of life.
For Sadhus, dreadlocks are a sign of renunciation and a life dedicated to spirituality. Lal Baba’s life is to travel. Even at 85 years old, he will continue to travel from holy place to holy place in India and Nepal.
From the photo series “Holy Men" by Joey L., shot in Varanasi, India
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