Editor’s note: The following e-mail was received yesterday, following a deadline lapse by Frater Isla. In lieu of an actual article, we have decided to print this e-mail, as it may be the last time we hear from him (if he is to be believed). As always, the opinions put forward within this communication belong solely to Isla, and in no way reflect the feelings of the editorial staff here at Right Where You Are Sitting Now.
I apologize for the lateness of this e-mail. I understand you are a very busy man, and my untimely response is incredibly unprofessional.
I might as well let you know that my promised article on the so-called “black-eyed children” phenomenon is at a dead end, and will probably never be written. To be honest, the subject has no real substance, and from what I can tell, seems to be just more internet mumbo jumbo. The stories that I have read are unsubstantiated at best, and shockingly plagiarized at worst.
But while digging through the sloppy bog of internet prose, I made contact with someone who claimed to have witnessed one of these children in the flesh. His obviously fraudulent story wasn’t what interested me, though, it was his (equally false) claim that he had spent a number of years among the Aghori, a Hindu sect in India. He said they were cannibals, sexual deviants, and all-around weirdos. I’d never heard of them, but it sounded much more interesting than some spooky kids who knock on your door and give you the heebie jeebies.
I spent the rest of the night reading some very strange accounts of these mystical madmen, who appear in striking photographs, covered in the ashes of dead men and drinking from human skulls. The Aghori are a sect of Shaivite Hindus. They believe that the universe was created in the image of Shiva, meaning that everything under the sun must be a perfect manifestation of the divine, including death, putrescence, and all manner of nastiness.
In Sanskrit, “A” is a negative prefix, while “ghori” means “venerable, awful, terrible, dreadful, etc” making the literal translation something like “not-dreadful” or even “beautiful.” Labeling someone who meditates in a crematorium and eats feces as “not-dreadful” has to be an exercise in irony. Or, as I’ve come to believe, it may be the key to understanding our faulty perception of dualism in the universe.
To become one of the Aghori sadhus, one must find a teacher, undergo certain rituals, and practice yoga for a full twelve years. Before initiation, the student must find a human skull, which will act as a constant reminder of death, to act as a vessel for all the food and water they will be consuming for the rest of their life. All earthly ties (family, friends, and belongings) have to be given up in the pursuit of the path.
The exact rituals of the Aghori are unknown to outsiders, but have been said to include acts of cannibalism, the ingestion of liquor and drugs, genital mutilation, and physical interactions with corpses. By immersing themselves in the darkest aspects of the human experience, they believe they are breaking down the illusion of duality, leading to the path of liberation (moksha), and ultimate union between the individual ego and the perfect unity of Shiva.
The practice of black magic is another aspect of Aghori practices, which has apparently been the most instrumental in ostracizing them from the greater Hindu community, which demonizes the use of “left-hand” sorcery as “short-cuts” for those harboring jealousy, greed, lust, and other negative emotions. Self-proclaimed Aghori sadhus have even been known to offer up their black magic services for pay, an act that is most definitely frowned upon by the more traditional Hindu believer.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Why is he e-mailing this to me instead of just writing the damn article?”
The truth is, after researching the Aghori, I feel that I may have a place among them. For some time now, I’ve questioned the validity of a dualistic reality. All opposites, when viewed from an objective standpoint (one outside of our personal standards of judgment), become extremes on the same scale. Much like “hot” and “cold” on a thermometer, the difference between “good” and “evil” seem to be mere increments of the same thing, and the Aghori appear to have found a way for us to experience this view as a reality.
I have decided to sell all of my belongings and use the money to fly to India, where I hope to find a teacher. There, I will participate in practices which I may find abhorrent (smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and having indiscriminate sex), but which will destroy the illusion of dualism which my subjective experience has nurtured for so long.
It sounds like a tough job, but I think I can suffer through it. As long as genital mutilation isn’t a requirement, anyway.
This may be the last you hear from me for a while. I will no longer be able to send articles on a regular schedule while following the path, since I will not have access to a computer. Once I have become a full initiate, in twelve years or so, I plan to return to my duties.
In fact, I already have an idea for a piece about the new human-to-human brain interface we’ve been hearing about recently. My hope is that by the time I’m finished with this expedition, the technology will be perfected, and I can have it on your desk by 2026.
Your favorite reporter, Frater Isla