The Aghoree at Assi Ghat. (part 1)

by thebeautifulpeopleblog

I first met with an Aghoree Baba in November 2002 at Assi Ghat in Benares, although at that time I did not know or care that he was an Aghoree; he was sat sharing a chillum with a few young foreign travellers, many of whom appeared more fashionably ascetic than him. I think stoned and wanting to impress the crowd he pulled a few almost impossible Yogic positions in what appeared an uncomfortable couple of sweaty minutes for him. We talked together for a while in short sentences that were made up of broken words of English and Hindi, a hybrid language that I now refer to as Hinglish.

I took a couple of frames of him I said goodbye and I moved on. One year later I bumped into him again and once again he sat entertaining a small crowd of impressionable young foreign travellers who had congragated at Assis Ghat. Recognising me he embraced me and he took me to his home. His home was also a shrine, built for his gods, it was leaning against  a small growing tree, it was perched high on the muddy rivers bank, at the very western end of Benares’s Ghats, safe from the river in full flood. Aghoree Baba

Next day though I found him sobbing close to the steps of Assi Ghat. He told me he was crying because earlier that morning a few police men had raised his small shrine to the ground and now his home was gone. He pleaded with me to do something for him . I asked, what could I do? He looked terribly disappointed in me, he almost expected me to have some sort of power over authority that I could help him to restore his home and his shrine.

‘Ghats’- concrete step at the rivers edge.

Jason Tilley