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SARMAD the Naked Mystic

His name derives from the Persian (Sar+Amad) word for eternal, was a gay Armenian mystic, poet and saint in India during the 17th century. Sarmad was known for espousing and ridiculing the major religions of his day, but also wrote beautiful religious poetry in the form of rubaiyats, or quatrains. He is known to have wandered the streets and the courts of the emperor completely naked. A sensual and intelligent man, this renowned ascetic came to know a tragic romantic fate as he fell in love with a 14 year old Hindu boy who wouldn’t return his affections. He would go daily to the young Indian’s door and sit there stark naked, hence his moniker--the naked mystic! Sarmad became a noted Sufi poet and composed quatrains in Arabic and Farsi. The ill-fated Mogul Crown Prince Darah Shikoh was perhaps his most noted disciple.

He was beheaded in 1661 by the Emperor Aurungzebe for his perceived heretical poetry. His grave is located near the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India.

While modern westerners may perceive Sarmad as a pedophile, the same social taboo did not exist in 17th century India.