[The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 6, March, 1883, p. 131]
The Surya Prakash, of Surat, says that a Hindu ascetic, in company with a few of his disciples, has recently arrived at that place. He does not receive alms, but only accepts drugs like ganja and sooka. He does not require any food. On the wooden shoes that he wears, and on the bench and on the planks of the cot he sleeps upon, are fixed “some hundreds and thousands” of pointed nails. A large crowd of people, among them being European ladies and gentlemen, daily assemble to witness the self-imposed infliction. The ascetic appears to be a very learned man.
The Indian Mirror, in noticing the case, sententiously remarks: “Such is asceticism in India. It is asceticism in
name only.” It is right; a Sadhu who uses ganja and sooka —intoxicant drugs—is but a sham ascetic. Instead of leading his followers to Moksha, he does but drag them along with himself into the ditch, notwithstanding his walking and sleeping on spikes. A pretty business that, for a religious teacher!