Like most sadhus or holy men, he loves to sport saffron, but his heart beats for the green cause. From handing out saplings to visitors to holding yagna at specially-built structure made of bamboos and grass, Avdhoot Baba better known as ‘Environment Baba’, is doing his bit to conserve environment in the run-up to the month-long Simhastha in Ujjain.
“We have planted hundreds of saplings since coming to Ujjain last month. I have planned a maha yagna for preserving environment by setting up 1,008 havan kunds and 3,000 tins ghee will be used,” Avdhoot Baba told Hindustan Times.
The yagna “to heal environment and mother earth” will be held from April 20 to May 24, he said. “We expect more than 1 lakh people, including foreigners from Europe and the USA, to take part in the yagna over a period of a month,” he said.
Avdhoot Baba’s green initiative is not limited to the Simhastha fair. “I have taken a vow that I will conduct a padyatra from Vaishno Dham in Jammu to Kanyakumari and plant lakhs of saplings along the way,” he said.
The holyman , is now trying to get permission from the district administration for performing rituals from a helicopter that will hover above the yagna site. “I am in touch with the district administration and am hopeful of getting a permit. At present, I don’t want to divulge how I will perform yagna from a helicopter,” he said.
More than 10 lakh sadhus, who are expected to visit the holy city for Simhastha, most of them with interesting mannerisms stand out in the crowd and are competing with each other to grab the maximum eyeballs when it comes to style quotient.
Avdhoot Baba always wears heavy gold jewellery and sports sunglasses when he moves out. But apart from the dressing style, what sets him apart is his love for the environment. His Akhara has been aesthetically designed with efficient use of natural materials to neutralise the summer heat.
He said he has preformed many yagna for farmers. “Farmers across the country are suffering from drought and other problems. As soon as I came to Ujjain, I performed a yagna for farmers in which thousands participated,” he said, adding “for me, environment comes first. While I have done a lot, there is still a long way to go.”