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20181031_120816Accepting the offer of a cup of coffee or chai and sitting down for a chat or just to spend some time together with the Babas at the lake was one of my favourite experiences in Pushkar.  Most even have paper cups so you don’t need to worry about hygiene, and the pots and pans are kept very clean as the fire is considered holy and cooking a spiritual practice.  Some speak English, some don’t, sometimes a passing friend will act as an informal translator, or if not it’s okay to just sit.  Their home is their temple, respectful visitors remove their shoes, do not take photographs without asking, and offer something; money, blanket, ghee, milk, food, either at the time or as a gift at the end of one’s stay in Pushkar.

Naga Baba (above)

Naga Baba who is currently staying by Pushkar Lake, went to live with a Baba when he was ten years old.  Apparently sometimes parents give their child to a Baba to give thanks for help they have received.  Naga Baba can lift great weights with his penis.  ‘If you meditate for fifteen years, you become very strong.’

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Ram Dass (above)

Ram Dass was taken in by a temple at the age of seven when his parents died.  He has lived by the lake for ten years.  Like Naga Baba he lives out in the open.  He cooks his meals and makes chai on his holy fire which never goes out.  He built the fire pit himself, and built a second one while we were there.  He is preparing to move into a small tunnel like a cave under the bridge, at nights during the winter.  In the hottest months of the summer he goes to stay with other Babas in the Himalaya mountains.  He mediates every morning from three to six am, meditating on all the world and all the people.  ‘That is my work.’


Aloo baba (above)

A few miles outside Pushkar is Aloo Baba (potato baba), he has eaten only potatoes for the past thirty five years.  Now in his seventies he looks fit and well and says he still walks up the nearby mountain to keep fit.  As well as advocating physical work to make and keep the body strong, he also believes in control.  Control eating- hence the potatoes, which he cooks with salt and a little chilli; control speech, and control looking:  ‘Every woman is my mother or my sister.’  ‘No family, God life or family life, can’t have both.’


Towards the end of our stay I did see a female baba in Pushkar, presumably newly arrived amongst several other ‘new’ Babas we had seen here for the upcoming festival.  Ganesh from the guesthouse told us that there are Western women Babas in Varanasi, ‘As white as you,’ he said to me.  ‘And do they also sleep outside?’  I asked.  ‘Yes.’  ‘Are they safe?’  ‘Yes.’

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