An aghori lives in the cremation ground and is able to support himself there – his clothing comes from the dead, his firewood comes from the funeral pyres, and food from the river. When a person is cremated, an aghori will coat himself in the ashes of the body and meditate on the dead. Aghoris survive by begging with a bowl made from a human skull. The most shocking aspect of the Aghori life is their cannibalism. Dead bodies that are found floating in the river are gathered up and meditated on. The limbs are then removed by the Aghori and eaten raw.
The corpses, which may be either pulled from a river (including the Ganges) or obtained from cremation grounds, are consumed both raw and cooked on open flame, as the Aghoris believe that what others consider a “dead man” is, in fact, nothing but a natural matter devoid of the life force it once contained. Therefore while for ordinary folks cannibalism may be seen as primitive, barbaric as well as unclean, for aghori’s it’s being both resourceful and subverting the common stereotypes placed on such taboos into a spiritual ascertainment that indeed nothing is profane nor separate from God, who is hailed to be all and in all. In fact, the Aghoris see it as a scientific approach in trying to discover how matter converts from one form to another.
There are many aghoris walking the streets of northern India with their skull cups. These aghoris eat anything, including rotten food, food from the dumps, animal feces, animal urine, etc. They regularly perform rituals to attain the highest level in enlightenment.