The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(984 words)

1. Derived from the Sanskrit verb sadh (‘to attain,’ ‘to perfect’ or ‘to improve’), sadhu is the designation for holy men (and/or, rarely, women) in India. Any religious ascetic or holy person can be called a sadhu. In the more proper sense, sadhus are initiates of various ascetical orders, who either live in settlements (matha) similar to monasteries, or wander about homeless. Although most of these orders, like Indian religions across the board (→ Hinduism), can be considered …

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Gietz, Karl-Peter, “Sadhu”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 28 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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