Australian ascetic becomes the centre of attraction at Kumbh Mela: The Atheist-turned-ascetic Australian man sits in sharp to the dark-skinned sadhus around him at Kumbh, smoking from a chillum, his white hair tied atop his hair. And even then, he too is an ascetic.
In front of the dark-skinned sadhus, in Aquarius, he smokes with a whip, his white hair is bound by his hair. And yet, he is also a monk.
At the Kumbh Mela 2019, it turns out as an Australian baba has become the centre of attraction.
The ascetic, named as Sharabhang Giri, says that he was an atheist before he became a Hindu monk and his name was given to him by his first guru, Baba Mangal Giri.
On talking about his name, Giri said, “Sharabhang was the name of an ascetic in Ramayana, whom Lord Rama had met when he had visited Dandakaranya.”
Giri further revealed that his change in faith was at Girnar hill in Gujarat where he met his guru Dattatreya.
Giri also mentioned that before getting into the life of a monk he was not much aware of Hinduism. He said, “I had some experience in Yoga. But it was only after I came to India that I was introduced to Sanatan Dharma.”
It was the time when Giri first visited India in 1998 and afterward was taken to Mount Girnar in Gujarat.
He remembers saying, “That experience changed the course of my life.” “That is how my journey started.”
On speaking about his dual life, he lives in both Australia and India, Giri discloses that he does not roam around much in the continent Down Under, but rather has a small ‘kutir’ in Melbourne where he stays.
However, When in India, he usually is in constant motion from one place to India. He also added saying, “the only place I stay for any period of time is my Guru’s ashram.”
Sharabhang Giri says that the ashram of his Guru is in Rudraprayag, in Uttarakhand, on the banks of the River Alakananda.
Giri while speaking as a Kumbh veteran says, it’s his tenth Kumbh which includes his 4th time in Prayagraj.
He continued saying that he had first come to Kumbh in 2001, and on adding to this he told that earlier there in this grand festival, the constructions were only made from bamboo, canvas, and mud, now there are all kinds of buildings in Kumbh.
Now, he’s the part of the famous Juna Akhada which is known for its barbaric naga sadhus.