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The Strangest Books We’ve Ever Read – Part 1

There are some bizarre books out there, and we’ve been asked to list those that are “too strange to be of interest to a well-adjusted human being”, mentioned in the shop description.

Here’s a list, then, of ten of our weirdest, in a weekly series.

Aghora: At the Left Hand of God – Robert Svoboda

This one takes the cake. It’s amusing to look through the Amazon reviews for this book – “Not for faint-hearted” claims one woman, while another swears it’s “Probably the best book you will read in your life”. “I wouldn’t do what he did, but I learned a lot” says a third, but it’s safe to assume once you read the book that there may be a handful of people in this world who could put themselves through the practices described herein.

The book is about an extreme sect of Hinduism that teaches transcendence through indulgence – in the fearful, in the disgusting, in everything common society finds objectionable.

Many of their practices would make Marilyn Manson sob and run for his mother’s apron, and all of them are described in excruciating detail by the writer, who was an apprentice to a master “Aghori” for years. There is a healthy amount of the supernatural thrown in, so much so that most would think this can’t possibly be fact. And it’s rather hard to imagine human limbs and orifices being capable of what Svoboda assures us they’re designed to do. But read even as a fairy tale, this is intense and mind-blowing.


Aghora III has the author following his master around at the horse-racing track in Bombay, where the master literally “reads” people’s histories and their karma from their faces. He furnishes exact details of what sort of action cause what sort of karma, and there is a strange, twisted logic to some of his outrageous declarations. “Enlightenment” as a concept in spirituality and religion has some general characteristics that are common across many sects, but this book manages to subvert just about every aspect of that term found in mainstream religion. The racing track is used as a metaphor for life and morality in general – the latter handled and expounded with a near-mathematical precision and coldness.

Here’s the least-objectionable video on the Aghoris on youtube (search for others at your own peril):