Sunday, June 26, 2016

UPDATED::Dead Indian guru Ashutosh Maharaj in freezer for ‘deep meditation’ |

UPDATE::  So what if he’s in deep freeze? Guru Ashutosh Maharaj still commands a following
In January, 2014, when Ashutosh Maharaj was declared “clinically dead” by doctors, following a suspected heart attack, he was believed to be in his seventies. Immediately after four doctors (three of them sect followers and one from Ludhiana’s Apollo Hospital) declared him dead, the dera authorities claimed Ashutosh Maharaj wasn’t actually dead but had gone into a samadhi (a deep meditative state). In order to replicate Himalayan temperatures – the traditional destination of gurus and yogis seeking a quiet samadhi spot – a cooling system was installed in Ashutosh Maharaj’s chambers at the Nurmahal dera to keep the temperature near freezing. And thus, the frozen guru and his legend was born.

You can’t avoid the story if you visit the dera. As devotees approach, a public announcement system relates anecdotes which remind and re-emphasise that Ashutosh Maharaj will be back. When we made our visit, we heard a disembodied female voice tell us that she had been one of the people that Ashutosh Maharaj had confided in and he’d told her that one day, he may have to leave his flock. “Fir woh bole, jab main wapas aaunga to tehelka mach jayega. Ye unke mukh ke shabd the,” she said, her voice ringing with certainty. (“Then he said that when I come back, there will be a sensation. These were his words.”)

To an outsider unaware of the cult of Ashutosh Maharaj, such proclamations sound incredulous and illogical. But for believers, the resurrection of Ashutosh Maharaj is not only plausible, it’s also imminent. And so they flock to the dera, feeding off each other’s belief, anchoring themselves in their community and soaking in the messages that dera authorities broadcast. Once you’re in the dera, there’s no absurdity in the idea of keeping a dead body in near-zero temperatures.
Devotees placed Ashutosh Maharaj, whom authorities declared clinically dead on January 29, in the freezer and have been watching over his body in the sprawling ashram in a small town in northern Punjab state.

Maharaj, reportedly in his 70s, is one of India’s many gurus or god-men who headed the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) and claims to have millions of followers around the world.

Mission spokesman Swami Vishalanand insisted their leader was not dead but was in fact in a state of samadhi, the highest level of meditation, and was therefore still conscious.

Dead Indian guru Ashutosh Maharaj in freezer for ‘deep meditation’ |

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