April 20, 2017

2352, 2386, 3022 INDIA - Sādhus

3022 A sādhu at Gangotri, Uttaranchal

Posted on 06.03.2016, 16.03.2016, 20.04.2017
In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit: good man, holy man) is a religious ascetic or holy person, solely dedicated to achieving moksha (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus are sannyāsins (renunciates) who have left behind all material attachments and live in caves, forests and Hindu temples all over India and Nepal. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus.

2352 A sādhu
 

A sādhu is usually referred to as baba by common people, which also means father, grandfather, or uncle in many Indian languages. There are 4 to 5 million sādhus in India today and they are widely respected. It is also thought that their practices help to burn off their karma and that of the community at large, so are supported by donations. They often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their renunciation, but there are also naked sādhus (digambara, or "sky-clad") who wear their hair in thick dreadlocks called jata.

2386 Naked sādhus

A popular characteristic of sādhu ritualism is the utilisation of cannabis (known as charas) as a form of sacrament in line with their worship of Shiva . Indian culture tends to emphasise an infinite number of paths to God, such that sadhus, and the varieties of tradition they continue, have their place. Some practice extreme asceticism while others focus on praying, chanting or meditating. There are two primary sectarian divisions: Shaiva sādhus (devoted to Shiva), and Vaishnava sādhus (devoted to Vishnu).

Within these general divisions are numerous sects and subsects, reflecting different lineages and philosophical schools and traditions (often referred to as sampradayas). Living as a sādhu is a difficult lifestyle. Sādhus are considered to be dead unto themselves, and legally dead to the country of India. As a ritual, they may be required to attend their own funeral before following a guru for many years. About ten percent of sadhus are women, called sadhvis, but most of them are old, having become sadhvi after they were widowed.

About the stamps
On the postcard 2352
 

The stamp, designed by Gulistaan, was issued on January 22, 2013 to commemorate the Shrine Basilica in Vailankanni. The Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is a Roman Catholic Church in Vailankanni, a hamlet on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, in the State of Tamil Nadu. The history of the Shrine goes back to the 16th century.

On the postcard 2386
The first stamp, depicting B R Ambedkar (2.00 INR), is part of the definitive set Builders of Modern India, about which I wrote here.


The second stamp, designed by Brahm Prakash, was issued on November 10, 2015 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

On the postcard 3022
The first stamp, depicting Mahatma Gandhi (1.00 INR), is part of the definitive set Builders of Modern India, about which I wrote here.


The second stamp, designed by Nenu Gupta, was issued on June 10, 2016 to mark the 100th Anniversary of the TATA Power Company.

The last stamp is part of the series Surya Namaskar, designed by Nenu Gupta and issued on June 20, 2016.

References
Sadhu - Wikipedia

Sender 2352, 2386: Kamran (direct swap)
Sent from ??? (??? / India), on 07.01.2016
Sender 3022: Aritro Das (direct swap)
Sent from Kolkata (West Bengal / India), on 24.02.2017

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