The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex body of the country's 13 recognised Hindu monastic orders, has strongly condemned actor Pooja Bedi for comparing actor Milind Soman's nude photograph with Naga sadhus.
ABAP president Mahant Narendra Giri said, "Pooja Bedi does not have any knowledge of Naga tradition" and invited Pooja to the Maha Kumbh in Haridwar next year to know more about Naga ascetics.
Milind had posted his naked photo on social media recently on his birthday, evoking strong reactions.
The Goa Police had registered a case against Milind for allegedly promoting obscenity.
Giri said it is wrong to "compare the nudity and vulgarity of a model film artist to the tradition of Naga ascetics". He advised Pooja to educate "herself by knowing more about Naga sanyasis. She should spend some time in Kumbh and see the hard penance of Naga Sanyasis go through."
He said Naga sanyasis are found both in Vaishnav and Digambhar Jain traditions and follow severe austerity and sacrifice in life as per the convention that has been alive for centuries.
Bedi had defended Milind and compared his picture with those of Naga sadhus.
She tweeted, "Absolutely nothing obscene about @milindrunning aesthetic pic. The obscenity lies in the minds of a viewer imagining more! His crime is being good looking, famous & setting benchmarks! If nudity is a crime all Naga babas should be arrested. Smearing ash can't make it acceptable!"