These Sadhus live a very different life from most people around the world, especially the United States. In terms of Western experiences, the most similar lifestyle might be that of a monk. A Sadhu renounces his earthly life and all his worldly attachments, leaves his home and family (to avoid being misled and misguided by family/social pressures), and takes on a strictly ascetic lifestyle. As part of this renunciation, Sadhus leave behind their clothes and all food and shelter, and rely on the generosity of others to meet their material needs. Another way of renouncing your former life is to attend your own funeral and "die" to yourself, so that you will then be reborn into your new life as a Sadhu.
To many Hindus, Sadhus serve as an earthly reminder of the divine, and may act as healers, as it is believed they can help to rid others of negative energies.