Jan 27, 2016

The Naked Gods of Southern India

When I was visiting my friend Viju in India, I saw an occasional guy walking around naked, and figured he was an ascetic of some sort.

 Turns out that most of the naked guys belong to Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world, with about 5 million followers in India and abroad.  You must seek moksha, or pure consciousness, by practicing non violence, not exploiting or attempting to control others, and detaching yourself from the world.

As you detach, you will give up human associations, including romantic partners.  But for those of us who haven't gotten that far in our quest for moksha, there's nothing wrong with being gay.

 About half of all Jains belong to the Digambara sect, and go skyclad, rejecting the use of clothing for comfort or display of social status.  It's ok to look.

Jain icons are usually nude, too.

The most commonly revered of the Jain Siddhas is Bahubali, the first person in our cycle of the universe to reach moksha.  Like the Buddha, he was born with wealth, power, and an enormous penis, but gave it all up to become a monk.  But the fellowship of the monastic community was an impediment, so he went off by himself to meditate, skyclad.

There are many statues of Bahubali in Kamakata, the state of southern India with the largest Jain population

The most famous is the Gommata Shvara Bahubali,  57 feet tall (that's 10 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty), carved out of a single block of granite in 983 AD.  It's an important pilgrimage site for Jains, but members of other faiths are welcome as long as they show proper respect (no giggling or making sleazy comments).

There are four other statues nearly as tall.  Each of them is the subject of a ceremonial cleansing every 12 years in a Mahamstakabhisheka, a festival that draws crowds from all over the country.  In 2014, it will be held for the statue of Bahubali in Dharmasthala.

You can also see many smaller images of sky-clad Tirthankara, enlightened beings who return to our level of consciousness to help us.

And Mahavira, the founder of Jainism (540-468 BC).

It's about a 3 hour flight from Delhi to Bangalore, but worth the trip.

I'm just wondering how you can clear your mind of worldly attachments with so many images of hot guys around.

See also: The Top 10 Public Penises of Hinduism; Pehlwani Wrestling of India; and Zoroastrians Do It Six Times a Day

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