Updated: 03/13/2014 14:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Dead Indian guru in freezer for 'deep meditation'

An Indian guru declared dead has been in a deep freezer in his ashram for nearly six weeks with followers confident he will return to life to lead them, his spokesman said.


Dead Indian guru in freezer for 'deep meditation'

Followers of Indian spiritual leader Ashutosh Maharaj gather outside the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan in Nurmahal on the outskirts of Jalandhar, after his death, January 29, 2014 - by Shammi Mehra

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.

Vishalanand told AFP that followers were now waiting for him to end his meditation. Until then, the ashram in Nurmahal town would stay open with followers performing their own mediations and spiritual sessions. 

"Mahara-ji (a Hindi term of respect) is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body till he returns," he said earlier this week.

The decision to place him in the freezer was challenged in court by a man claiming to be his former driver, who alleged several followers were not releasing the body as they were seeking a share of the guru's properties, local media reports said.

But the court rejected the man's petition after receiving information from authorities confirming his death, reportedly from a heart attack, said Reeta Kohli, additional advocate general of Punjab state.

"The court rejected his pleas after the Punjab government said that the man is clinically dead and that it is up to his followers to decide what they want to do with the body," Kohli told AFP.

Senior district police officer Gurinder Singh Dhillon said police "cannot interfere" now that the court has made its ruling.

Maharaj's website, which says the mission was founded in 1983 and has spiritual centres around the world, has thanked its followers for standing by the mission while the guru undertakes his meditation.

Vishalanand said scores of spiritual leaders throughout history have traveled to the Himalayas for months of samadhi in freezing temperatures, before returning to life.

Another spokesman, who heads a nearby village where many of Maharaj's followers are living, has told local media that they will simply wait.

"When we close our eyes, we can talk to the Maharaj, who has assured us he will come back," Lakhwinder Singh told the Indian Express newspaper.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。