Allahabad, Jan 28: What rings fear in others is their identity. At the Kumbh Mela, weapons like trishuls, swords and canes signify the sadhus identity and their avowed duty as perceived by them.
The weapons or 'sastras' are like precious jewels for the nude Naga sadhus. The trishuls and the swords form an important part of the Akhara culture and a dialy ritual is followed to worship them.
Before being installed, they are purified by dipping in the holy Ganga. Every day in the morning and evening these sastras are worshiped like gods and goddess.
Devendra Giri of Naga sadhus Akhara says that the weapons reinforce the belief that the Naga sadhus are the protectors of ancient culture and Hindu dharma. The practice of carrying weapons seems have to attained prominence during the period of Mughal empire when the Hindu seers felt threatened by the Muslim rulers.
In the modern era, these weapons caused a major stampede at the Kumbh Mela. In 1954, a rampaging crowd of Naga sadhus scared the public with their display of weapons, riding elephants and horses. Seeing the naked Nagas with weapons, the public ran on a rain-soaked slipper ground, resulting in trampling and deaths.
Meanwhile, a 108-feet long ‘Trishul' of Juna Akhada has become the centre of attraction at the Kumbh Nagar. The weight of this Trishul is 33 quintals and made in Punjab.