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The Curious Case Of Ashutosh Ji Maharaj: Clinically Dead, Yet In Deep Transcendental Meditation?

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By Sukanya Sarkar:

The shocking case of blind faith is yet again round the corner with regards to the curious case of the dead body of Ashutosh Ji Maharaj. The question is whether he is dead or as his disciples call it, he is in his “deep transcendental meditation” ? Ashutosh Ji Maharaj is the founder and the dera head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), who refuses to die even after the doctors have pronounced him clinically dead in January end. The disciples are not ready to believe that their spiritual head is no more in this world. The guru was thought to be in his seventies with more than 30million followers in 15 countries round the globe. One of his spokesman Swami Vishalaland told the BBC, “He is not dead. Medical science does not understand things like yogic science. We will wait and watch. We are confident that he will come back,”.


After a suspected heart attack, Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead by the authorities on 29th January. But his followers froze his body considering him to be in his deep meditation. Ashutosh Maharaj had often assured his followers that he would not be with them for long and it would be the task of the followers to look after the organization in his absence. Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, ( according to its website) says was established in 1983 aiming to achieve “world peace”. Dr.Harpal, Ashutosh Maharaj’s physician had conducted all tests that were required in medical science including ECG, to confirm that the guru by all means was “clinically dead”. But the followers, with their blind faith, refused to understand the undesirable news from the doctor. Hence, the sources said that the dera arranged a freezer, apprehending that the body might start decaying, and the body was preserved.

The controversy over his body became all the more interesting when DJJS was delaying to break the news of his death due to the “succession row” and also when sources leaked out that the dera property are said to be worth Rs 1,000 crore. If Ashutosh Ji is considered dead before the announcement of his successor, then his empire of wealth would be deposited to a charitable trust. The media wing of the sansthan said , “Only Maharaj ji will announce his successor after coming out of his samadhi”. On February 13th, TOI reported that Ashutosh Ji’s son Dalip Jha came to Punjab from his native place Lakanur in Madhubani district of Bihar to claim his father’s body for cremation as per Hindu rites. The controversial story got even more twisted when the DJJS functionaries claimed that Ashutosh Ji had no family, was unmarried, was “sanyasi” (ascetic) and had no family as a matter of principle and tradition.

Swami Vishalaland told the reporters that even though the Maharaj was in his meditation, the followers could come to the ashram and continue with their individual prayers and meditation. Vishalaland even said, “Mahara-ji is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body till he returns”. The decision to place his body in the freezer was challenged in court by a man claiming to be his former driver. The former driver even brought out some crucial facts alleging that the followers were not releasing the body of the Maharaj as they wanted share of his property. Reeta Kohli, the additional advocate general of Punjab, said that the court rejected his pleas after the Punjab Government confirmed that the man is clinically dead and it is up to the followers to decide what they wanted to do with the body.

These drama of deceptive sadhus and their followers are nothing new. Many people in search of peace, hope and prosperity are often fooled by these impostor ascetics. Their philosophies being extremely illogical. For them, their yogic science is the ultimate truth and would not accept a shift from yogic to mainstream medical science. Also, with the amount of donations received by them from all across the world, it makes such organizations a mere lucrative business. In 1993 as well such a case came into our focus where it took 55 days and 450 policemen to drill in to the minds of the Santan Dal that their guru Balak Brahmachari is no more in this world and not cremating the decaying body could be a serious health hazard for the society. But their notion of meditative trance stops them from thinking for the larger good of the community. The 450 policemen did finally enter the ashram premises and took the body for cremation, but what was alarming was that though the ashram was sealed, some explosives were found in there. Some other land grabbing charges against sect also made the Santan Dal controversial.

The pressing question that might be disturbing us would be 1) are these ascetics worth worshiping? 2) Is Ashutosh Maharaj Ji and his DJJS community same as the Santan Dal? And 3) are the DJJS followers actually hungry for the 1,000 crore property or do they seriously have love and faith for their deceased guru?

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