A Hindhu Sadu

There are many, many different kinds of people here in Boudha. So many stories to learn.

This man is a Sadu. In the Hindu tradition, when a man reaches the later years of his life, after raising his family and sending them out on their own, he can become a wandering beggar, renouncing his possessions in order to concentrate on his own spiritual growth. The sadus wear distinctive dress and carry a pail to beg with. (One usually sees sadus at the Hindu temple, not at the Buddhist shrine, but these distinctions do not seem to hold. He fits in well with the array of other people streaming through the streets here.)

When I met him, the street was indeed crowded, busy and noisy. School was out and the rain was about to come, so everyone was hurrying to get their errands finished and be on their way. In the midst of the bustle, this sadu stood out, because of his peacefulness.

I had been caught up in the swirl of activity, but when our eyes met, it was as if I had stepped out of time into the moment, or perhaps as if I had been plucked out of a raging river by his hand, saved from drowning and placed gently on the shore.

We looked each other in the eyes for a long moment, and then silently I gave him a little money. Moved by I know not what, I bent before him and he gave me blessing, placing his hand on my head.

The moment passed, and just as the crowd began to press again and I felt the current pulling us apart, I asked if I could take his picture. I did not want to ruin the moment this way, but I also wanted to remember it and to let you know of these many blessings I am getting here in Boudhanath.