Two Aghori men in India
Joining the ranks of the Aghor is no small undertaking. Each of the religion's practitioners receive a minimum of 12 years of 1-on-1 training.

CNN recently sent a religious correspondent into northern India to learn about the Aghor religion, a unique sect of Hinduism notorious for its extreme ritualistic practices, such as eating human flesh. What the reporter found was exactly that and more.

A camera crew that followed along to document the trip captured the various Aghor rituals up close. The reporter was first asked to smear cremated human ashes on his face. He drank from a human skull full of alcohol that was passed around. Finally, he joined the locals in eating human brains that had been cooked over the fire.

Up until then, the meeting had been fairly friendly. But then things turned sour. Annoyed by the reporter's prying, one of the cannibals proceeded to threaten him: "I will cut off your head if you keep talking so much." Turning to his camera crew, the reporter said nervously, "I feel like this may have been a mistake."

To make matters worse, the Aghori man then began to eat his own feces and hurl it at the CNN crew. Not your typical way to end an interview, but it was effective.

Sounds crazy, right? So who are the Aghori people?

Aghor person carrying a skull
Aghor people carry skulls, which they use to eat and drink out of.

Method to the Madness

In the Sanskrit language, Aghor translates to "something very frightening". While this certainly rings true, there is more to the story; Aghor religious beliefs are highly complex and help explain the strange behavior. The Aghor believe that modern Hinduism serves to protect the unfair caste system that has governed life in India for centuries. Rather than a steadfast commitment to beliefs, "mainstream" Hindus follow cultivated social norms that only perpetuate unjust division in society.

Central to the Aghor belief is a quintessential quest for the truth -- proudly casting away the trappings of social propriety, sectarian labels and the world of appearances.

Eating human flesh and excrement are merely extensions of this idea -- that at times one must venture into the extreme, unafraid of both casting away and being cast away by society, in order to be true to the deities and religious teachings.

**Going Against the Grain


While many sects of Hinduism have trended toward more conservative and traditional beliefs, the Aghor have moved in the opposite direction. India no longer has laws that enforce the caste system, but something so deeply ingrained is not easily destroyed. In reality, its impact on society endures.

In direct contrast with such divisions, the Aghor believe that the gods created everything to be beautiful. This means that everyone deserves the utmost respect and reverence as perfect creations of their deities. In line with this thinking, they oppose all forms of discrimination.

The Aghori people refuse to conform to standards of normalcy as a form of protest.

Where Can I Sign Up?

Joining the ranks of the Aghor is no small undertaking. Each of the religion's practitioners receive a minimum of 12 years of 1-on-1 training with a guru.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most who travel down the path to becoming an Aghor do not make it past a few months of training. Can you blame them? Of all the religious trials on earth, spending 12 years eating human flesh has got to be up there.


  1. Jess Martin's Avatar Jess Martin

    Primitive death worshipping cults... ewe.

    1. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

      And christians worship a dead guy nailed to a cross! and pretend to drink his blood and eat his flesh! You are the biggest cult of all!

  1. Barry's Avatar Barry

    Sick.Really Sick

    1. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

      Just as sick as christianity! To think it is to do it! You pretend to eat human flesh and drink human blood of your so called god! So I'd shut up if I were you!

      1. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

        Land of tolerance? the f!!k it is!

    2. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

      Lightning doesn't appear to think as fast as he types, Barry.

  1. inga's Avatar inga

    i'll have mine medium rare. thanks. bahahah.

    1. inga's Avatar inga

      when in Rome..??

      1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick


  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    From whence do they acquire the human flesh? Do they commit murder to get it? Do they eat human road-kill? I'm sure someone will defend them, but that will tell you something about that person defending them.

    1. Dan's Avatar Dan

      Found another article that said they pull dead bodies out of the river... because apparently that's a common enough thing in India

    2. Devendra Sharma's Avatar Devendra Sharma

      Aghoris are the devotees of lord Shiva. Lord shiva is the supreme power of all destructions.

      They pray to the power I charge of crematory hence feed on the dead bodies that are left from cremation. They use all natural resources available during their penance.

      Don't you thing it's just like eating any other dead bodies of beef pork chicken rats etc. That is sold in shops.

      It depends on the environment you are brought up.

      At least they are not killing people like our civilised people do. They don't take others life. Hinduism believes in soul that is similar in all living things. Either it's cat, dog, cow, chicken or human. Every thing has feelings pain and affection towards each other.

      Hope I have thrown some light to clear your doubt. Thanks.

      1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

        Seriously How lost are you to have sympathized with Cannibals.

        1. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

          Not as lost as YOU! Ignorance and hate is bliss!

      2. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

        Thank you! someone with a BRAIN!

        Christian people think anything that isn't christian is automatically evil! The Nazis had very similar ideology!

  1. Rev Michael Clark's Avatar Rev Michael Clark

    Do they suffer from illness that we are told would happen when eating human flesh or feces? Do not many other people around the world eat human flesh in secret, yes. Do not our very government and some of our citizens threnten to do your if you are recent unknown visitor if you ask to many prying questions. Do we continue to inject new laws to address the horror some impose upon others because of race, color, or religious beliefs and how much money one has, yes. In short we have a tendency to over look the similarity in our actions and in doing so require judgement by degree or set level which are not always obeyed. Who are the savages the ones who knows better and decides not to obey in secret as they pretend normalcy. No I would not like to live there and believe the same for them of us. One day we will let God do His job on us and give back free Will. Amen

    1. Neolestat's Avatar Neolestat

      No, the disease is from eating the brains only. Squirrel and monkey will give you the same effect. Human flesh itself is quite tasty, especially thigh. Think of a strong tasting pork roast.

      1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

        Why do you know thus?

  1. Robert's Avatar Robert

    i do not know about teh rest of you but i am signing up for this gig! lol

    1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

      okay that is funny.

      1. inga's Avatar inga

        thats not a bad angle to take. it would keep the "mother in law" and any other "unwanted"company like solicitors etc away if "they" think this of you. im going to try it. bahahah

  1. Beth K's Avatar Beth K

    Aghoris hang around cremation grounds in India. Most of the dead in India are cremeated, while a relatively few are thrown into the river. Aghoris take bodies from the river too. Almost no one in India is buried.

    They don't eat human road kill. They don't take accidentally killed people, naturally dead bodies, or murdered bodies before they have had a standard Indian funeral. They don't commit murder. If we thought of them in terms of behaviors in the animal kingdom, they'd be considered scavengers, not predators. As they are under the umbrella of things Hindu, they do insist that their human flesh have been subjected to all of the religious laws.

    1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

      Who do Aghoris worship?

  1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

    The autrosities and murderousness of Pagans.

    1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

      I retract my comment. I wrote before I read Beth K.'s post. Still...only in paganism.

    2. Troll King's Avatar Troll King

      Christianity is very much a Pagan smoothie. Was Jesus really born on the winter solstice? No, this was created to have a "like day to celebrate."

      If you're practicing modern, westernized Christianity, you're a 1st cousin to Constantine's Pagan/Christian practices, not what was being taught by Jesus.

      You might want to study 1st Century Christianity, what was done/undone in all the councils and how the religion was shaped.

    3. Barry Rosen's Avatar Barry Rosen

      Learn how to spell before you cast aspersions on others!

      1. Rev Nji Fornishi's Avatar Rev Nji Fornishi

        I am very repulled by your comment on the fellow Minister. We should learn to be more compassionate and view idiologies in diffrent light. Similar to conventional reality, christianity is a worship system that has evolved like any establishment. However, the most recent article about the Abghor society cult might just be a reason why we should continue to pray for them, and if we duely belive God is the ultimate master, they will receive the ample correction in due time. Give prayers with compassion and empathy and compassion Jesus will do, not cast a stone like we are not all sinners.

  1. inga's Avatar inga

    for various reasonings, different countries put pictures of their products on their packaging so ALL people can be aware of what they are purchasing. it became a little bit of a problem when gerber baby food donated baby food with pictures of the little smiling white baby on their product.. lol. ooops. can we say a little miscommunication ??!! lol. bahahah.

    1. inga's Avatar inga

      yes it was interpreted that white people puree their babies and sell them. yeah. thats made THEM raise an eyebrow at US. lol.hmmm. food for thought. pun intended lol. bahahah.

  1. Linda Happenny's Avatar Linda Happenny

    I almost threw up reading this. BTW Pagans don't eat humans. They celebrate the earth. Get your fact right!!!

  1. Preacher Girl's Avatar Preacher Girl

    This is not a religion but a cult and a rather unhealthy one. Eating human flesh and brains is disgusting and probably leads to human brain disease. Think of how mad cow disease was rekindled in the UK. Cows were being fed food that had the nervous tissue of sheep.

    1. Troll King's Avatar Troll King

      No, they were fed tissue that was already infected with scrapie. It didn't come from eating flesh, but rather infected flesh. Eating human flesh doesn't lead to "human brain disease" either.

      There's nothing worse, than someone blabbering their BS and trying to pass it off as factual.....spread the ignorance!

      Human flesh, at least a lean build & not a fatty lard butt, would actually be a healthy choice, if it wasn't changed into a huge taboo a few millennia ago.

      Do your research, before sharing ones' ignorance, with others.

      1. Dr. Dakota Longsuffering's Avatar Dr. Dakota Longsuffering

        This is why you should never eat "hot dogs" or "ground round beef"...its numerous animal(s) body parts left over from lean cuts, all ground up together and then shoved in the casings....with addictive sugars, artificial flavorings and this really something your body wants and needs to consume, or your children? Disease spreading minimize the population...they must get you addicted to the sugar first, which destroys your immune system in your small colon, then back to the Doctor to feed his pockets for your "diagnosis" of IBS, C. Diff, Crohn's, SIBO and Acid Reflux...and diabetes....then you swallow 4 billion units of expensive probiotics and antibiotics to try to heal over the next five-ten years....then the antibiotics feeds yeast and then you treat the yeast with another antibiotic that re-feeds the SIBO and C. Diff....SOUNDS like a winner-...LOL....wake up...

  1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

    Every major religion has cult-like offshoots that tend toward the bizarre, i.e.Mormons.

    1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

      Mormons are not a Christian off shoot as you'd imagine. The LDS is for its own sake a separate and distinct religion.

  1. Rev Nji Fornishi's Avatar Rev Nji Fornishi

    As practicing Christians, we should continue to do as God requested us to; pray for the weak and bless their souls, with the faith that God will change their mentality through the ultimate teaching of Jesus Christ. Its clare that these people are in darkness, casting heavy bolders at them will not remedy the situation, but praying for their salvation will extinct such malpractice at God's given time. We must learn to grow in faith and resent from following circular ideology, which is the first limitation to human humaness. Ministers should be of examplary character, thought and actions. If we falling short of Gods glory, what happens to our divine flocks. Think exponentially when you make certain comments about those who severly need us in times of difficulty.

  1. CS's Avatar CS

    It seems that if we are all children of God this would include the Aghoris. Bizarre ,yes but religious beliefs are our rights.isn't that what we fight for?

    1. Joseph E Knopick's Avatar Joseph E Knopick

      They would not actually be able to practice their beliefs in the US. Cannibalism, whether of a murdered person or of someone who passed away "normally" would be out law by the laws governing the treatment of the dead.

  1. Rev Nji Fornishi's Avatar Rev Nji Fornishi

    Aghorism Philosophy is morally wrong, ethically disposable, and psychologically tormenting. However, I critically frawn at my dear brothers and sister who spew out harsh and condensendig statement at these group of people, who clearly need our help. Instead of figuring the best solution to this problematic social issue, we make evil out of evil by casting hateful and unnecessary comments towards them. Ask Yourselves as fellow followers of God's message, are we doing what Jesus will expect us to do. I say we because I am not an exception to this debacle. Let's refrain from unproductive ideologies and emback on spiritually advanced models to uplift and raise mankind's consciousness to God's approval. Much love.

  1. Rick Pascal's Avatar Rick Pascal

    Two Aghoris were eating a clown as part of their ritual. One turned to the other and said, "Does this taste funny to you"

  1. John Smithkey lll's Avatar John Smithkey lll

    With this type of belief system, the public health code violations must be numerous to day the least!

    1. John Smithkey lll's Avatar John Smithkey lll

      I meant to write " the public health code violations must be numerous to say the least" . I'm sorry for the mistake.

  1. Thomas Lightning Bolt's Avatar Thomas Lightning Bolt

    No worse than christians simulating the eating of the flesh of christ and drinking his blood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get over yourselves!

    1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

      A LOT worse. A whole LOT worse. Get over YOUR insane self.

  1. Sean's Avatar Sean

    There are multiple problems with your discussion of the meaning of 'aghora.' First of all, the Sanskrit is 'aghora,' not 'aghor.' The latter is Hindi, which dropped most of the word-final schwas ('uh' sounds) from Sanskrit words. Second, 'ghora' means 'terrible.' 'Aghora' means 'not terrible.' The 'a' is an alpha privative, similar to the 'a' in 'apolitical.'

    Also, there is diversity in any sect; I don't believe that most aghoris practice cannibalism. Those who do are relatively few.

    Have a great day.

Leave a Comment

When leaving your comment, please:

  • Be respectful and constructive
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Avoid profanity, insults, and derogatory comments

To view the full code of conduct governing these comment sections, please visit this page.

Not ordained yet? Hit the button below to get started. Once ordained, log in to your account to leave a comment!
Don't have an account yet? Create Account