The world of Tapas, and we don’t mean the food
Mahant Radhey Ji, a holy man or ‘sadhu’, plans to reach enlightenment during his lifetime by performing “tapas” – a gruelling act of voluntary corporal punishment. His chosen deed? Holding his right arm up in the air, which he’s been doing for a whopping 19 YEARS. Most of us struggle keeping an arm up for 10 minutes while blow-drying hair so massive props to him.
“Penis” and “sword” probably shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. But for the sadhus, wrapping their package around the sharp object and getting other holy men to balance their entire bodies on the sword is another way to fast-track their path to enlightenment. As much as we appreciated the spiritual concept around “penis yoga”, we might stick to Bikram.
Aghori Chinta Haran believes consuming the dead “helps souls travel from this world to the next”. He’s eaten over a 100 dead bodies. Yep, let that settle in.
In scenes that were stomach-churning and confronting for many – Sampson included – as Todd explained, what may seem totally abhorrent to those practising more “traditional” customs surrounding death, the Aghori’s practise is a beautiful ritual between the existing Aghori and those who have passed away.
Reality telly and chill? Not for the Iraqi Army. After a day spent escaping death, you’d think they would settle in to watch something a little light-hearted. Shockingly, part of their nightly ritual includes enthusiastically watching motivational (and incredibly violent) shooting videos.
Weapons of mass destruction
Knocking over a bedside glass of water in the middle of the night can be somewhat explosive. But nothing compared to what might happen if a soldier rolls over and falls onto a bedside pile of rocket launchers and hand grenades. If it were us, we’d be sleeping with one eye open.
Hunting sloths in the Amazon
For the Matsés, a remote tribe who live deep in the Amazon, a quick trip down to the local Woollies just isn’t an option. They’re hunters, and their wild animal of choice is the noble sloth. While sloths aren’t known for their speed, they are known to chill at the top of very high trees so there’s a lot of climbing involved in the catch.
They’re also know for starring in Ice Age, the fans of which probs shouldn’t watch this.
Acate, a rite of passage for the Matsés, is the form of collecting and injecting poison into their arms to supercharge their senses. However, one of the side-effects is to purge. As unsettling as it was to see young boys throwing up uncontrollably, their elders believe this ritual transforms them into men.
And are the side effects all that different from an 18-year-old’s first time getting wasted?
Everybody was kung-fu fighting
In the Wudang Mountains of China, Master Chen Shixing teaches students the ancient art of kung fu.
It sounds fun, until he starts smashing heavy wooden beams over the back of his students to strengthen their techniques. A students’ response to the pain and a potentially life-threatening move? “No hurt”, and he had his “Qi” aka “life force” to thank for it.
Qi looks way too difficult to master ourselves - any chance we can grab some of it in tablet form?