Jan 6, 2008

Rapid Rhetoric: SADHU

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Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

sadhu (SAH-doo) n. a Hindu ascetic holy man; a practitioner of yoga; a wandering mendicant who eschews worldy concerns in favor of the pursuit of spiritual truth.

The word sadhu comes to English directly from the Sanskrit, and has connotations from the root word sādh suggesting "accomplish" or "practice." A sadhu is one who follows a sadhana ("path"), and while a sadhu is traveling on the path, he is known as a sadhaka. When the sadha reaches the spiritual quest, he becomes a siddha ("one who has accomplished").

Sadhus are often referred to as baba ("uncle," "father") by people they encounter. While many revere the sadhus for their holiness, the fear of sadhu curses causes them to be viewed with suspicion by some members of Indian society.

Criminals and con artists sometimes pose as sadhus in an effort to prey upon tourists, which is a source of concern for Indian law enforcement officials.

1 comment:

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