The Aghoris believe that their tradition was started by Shiva himself, and was propounded further by Jagadguru Dattatreya. Baba Kinaram (1563-1714), a very renowned saint in Banaras, revived the tradition.
The followers of the Aghora path try to cultivate a state of mind and social practice totally non-discriminatory. Seeing the Divine in everything and everybody, they transcend all category distinctions, all prescriptions and proscriptions of the “normal” social structure such as high and low, purity and pollution, pure and impure, or male and female.
In the twentieth century, Aghoreshwar Mahaprabhu Baba Bhagwan Ram (1937-92) was the greatest avadhut in the Aghora tradition. He had an overwhelming spiritual quest ever since his infancy, and attained enlightenment at the age of fourteen or fifteen. He thus became an Aghoreshwar, the highest of all spiritually realized saints in the Aghora tradition, a walking, talking deity, Shiva incarnate. People felt that Baba truly loved everyone who went to him. His life was no longer for his own self; he lived for those who came to him. Hundreds of thousands of devotees, simple villagers, spiritual seekers and high dignitaries would flock around him.
In the holy city of Banaras Baba laid the foundation of Shri Sarveshwari Samooh in 1961, an organization to fight social evils like leprosy, dowry and illiteracy. To fulfil hese goals, Baba started an ashram and a leprosy hospital by the name of Awadhut Bhagwan Ram Kusht Sewa Ashram (The Awadhut Bhagwan Ram Leprosy Service Ashram) at Parao, Varanasi.
Baba’s teachings were imparted more through everyday conversations rather than through sermons. On his advice, his words were compiled into a book that will have the essence of all his messages. Thus was written Aghor Vachan Shastra in Hindi and the present book, its English translation.
Baba Bhagwan Ram is credited to have changed the place that Aughar ascetics occupy in society. While earlier they were regarded as being, literally, on the social fringe, inhabiting cremation grounds, today they have become a part of the mainstream of religious life in Banaras and elsewhere, using the powers of their spiritual practices for social benefit.