The followers of Ahutosh Maharaj at Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) at Nurmahal in Jalandhar founded by him hailed the the Punjab and Haryana High Court order allowing preservation of his “clinically dead” body, calling it a victory against forces which wanted to finish the very existence of the dera in Punjab.
The body of Ashutosh Maharaj aka Mahesh Kumar Jha has been preserved in a freezer-like chamber at the dera at Nurmahal ever since he was pronounced “clinically dead” on January 28, 2014. His followers believe he is in “samadhi” or meditative state and will come out soon.
A visit to dera after the HC order on Wednesday revealed that elaborate arrangements were being made for the coming Sunday when “Guru Purnima” function will be held. Though the main premises of the dera, watched by CCTV cameras, was off-limits for the media, some followers were seen visiting the place to pay obeisance after the HC decision. “We will visit the dera on Sunday on the occasion of Guru Purnima. Today, we came to pay obeisance after the court’s order which has given us a big relief after a long battle,” said a woman who was part of a group from Firozepur district.
“For me, this verdict is Sataymev Jayte. Whatever he (Ashutosh Maharaj) said while going into deep Samadhi has proven true for us. He had said he would come back,” said Swami Vishalanand, the dera spokesperson. “For a disciple, the order of the guru is supreme. When he told us he was going into Samadhi, it is our duty and ‘Dharma’ to preserve his body till the time he comes back,” he said.
Asked about Dilip Kumar Jha, a resident of Bihar’s Madhubani district (from where Baba hails) who had claimed that Ashutosh was his father and demanded his body for performing last rites, Vishalanand said he was a fraud planted against the dera by forces which wanted to finish its very existence. “If his claim was true, why could not he prove that in court? Why did he disappear during the course of legal battle,” Vishalanand said.
However, Dilip Kumar Jha told The Indian Express on phone, “I cannot say what I will do in future, which is in the hands of God. I will decide only after going through all aspects. To fight a legal battle, you also need money to pay to advocates.” Jha said he was living with his mother at his home in Bihar and rearing a few cows. “I can only say Ashutosh Maharaj was my father,” he said.
Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan
It was set up 34 years ago at a time when terrorism was at its peak in the state in 1983. In the beginning, Ashutosh used to say his teachings were no different from what Sikhism taught. Yet, in 1990s, there were murmurs about his discourses in some schools of Sikhs, especially about the selective use of Gurbani and its interpretation. Many clashes took place and dera’s programmes were even banned for some time by Captain Amrinder Singh, who was the CM between 2002 and 2007. The dera has 36 centres in Punjab and around 109 centres in India and abroad.