Mahesh Kumar Jha, known as Ashutosh Maharaj, who headed a religious sect called Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) in Nurmahal town of Jalandhar district, will complete one year of his “samadhi” in a deep freezer Wednesday.
Although he was pronounced clinically dead, the mystery over his “samadhi” is still alive as dera officials have been claiming that “Ashutosh will come out of his samadhi soon”. Ashutosh was declared clinically dead on the night of January 28 following severe chest pain, as per dera reports. Four doctors — three of whom devotees of the dera and one from Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana — had declared Ashutosh dead.
On January 29, the DJJS management hired two portable mortuary chambers from Nurmahal-based Baba Bhooth Nath Mandir Committee (which they admitted after much denial). Ashutosh’s body was shifted to the air-conditioned chamber to simulate “Himalayan-type sub-zero temperatures where sadhus and yogis of India usually go into samadhi”.
On December 14, 2014, days before the deadline set by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to perform Ashutosh’s last rites, dera officials organised a big ‘bhandara’ (community feast). At the satsang, each speaker reassured the thousands of devotees that “Maharaj is alive and he will be back” and sang bhajans titled “Mera Ashu ayega” (my Ashu will come back). They also appealed to the devotees to send missed calls to a number to strengthen the “Preserve the samadhi” campaign.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines