Dead or in a trance? After 6 weeks, we pretty much know the answer. (UPDATE: Murder?)

Body still in limbo: See update below

Originally posted March 13, 2014

He’s not dead, they say. Faith or some other motivation behind their actions?

BBC News – Dead Indian guru frozen by devotees.

Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead by authorities in Punjab on 29 January after a suspected heart attack.

But, confident that he was merely in a state of deep meditation, his followers froze his corpse.

“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,” his spokesman Swami Vishalanand told the BBC.

“The body did not decompose before we put it in the freezer. It was a spiritual experience. We thought of embalming it, but somebody told us that his chances of revival were less if we did it,” Swami Vishalanand said.

This is pathetic. Note that this is even after the man told his people he was getting old and they should think about having another to do his work. Talk about denialists! That’s extreme. The put him in the freezer after they noticed some skin changes. He had not announced his successor. His followers won’t either. However, they believe he will reawaken to do the honors.

If Ashutosh is declared dead before the announcement of his successor, then his empire of wealth will be deposited in a charitable trust. However, media wing of the sansthan said, “Only Maharaj ji will announce his successor after coming out of his samadhi’.

Ashutosh Maharaj

So, they are confident. Gee, that’s pretty arrogant considering it’s not a common thing for a dead person to rise again, especially after 6 weeks! He has been declared dead. A man claiming to be a former driver of the guru has taking the case to court saying they were not releasing the body because they wanted a share of the guru’s properties. His claims were rejected. The followers can do whatever they want with the body and the police won’t interfere. Activity at the DJJS headquarters has declined but people continue their usual duties as if he is still alive.

From his website:

His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj ji has been in deep meditative state (Samadhi) since 29th January 2014. Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan appreciates innumerous individuals and organisations for re-affirming their commitment to the organisation through phone calls, emails, messages and personal visits. The sansthan acknowledges your pledge to stand by the organisation under all circumstances.

In 1993, the body of guru Balak Brahmachari sat for nearly two months, his followers also insisting he was in a trance. The police took the decomposing body away for cremation despite protests of his faithful.

Wow. Weird.

Clinically dead Ashutosh Maharaj completes 1 month in freezer – The Times of India.

UPDATE (24 May 2014): It gets weirder. An unacknowledged son has said it was murder. Indian guru’s frozen body now in legal limbo

The body of an Indian guru, sitting in a freezer since January, is entangled in a new controversy after a man claiming to be his son appeared this week alleging murder and seeking to cremate the body.

“It is all part of a conspiracy,” Dalip Jha, who says he is Maharaj’s son, told on Thursday. Jah claims that Maharaj’s close associates, who lived with him in his ashram are attempting to take over his estate.

“This is all being done for the property of my father. He is dead,” Jha said.

Jha alleges his father was killed when his associates found out about Jha as the legal heir. They were afraid the money would go to him even though Maharaj never publicly acknowledged the son and they have not been living nearby. Convenient, eh?

It’s going to court. Jha has agreed to DNA tests to prove his case.

  15 comments for “Dead or in a trance? After 6 weeks, we pretty much know the answer. (UPDATE: Murder?)

  1. xxicenturyboy
    March 13, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    “We thought of embalming it, but somebody told us that his chances of revival were less if we did it.” The only sentence that makes sense in that entire article.

  2. Bob
    March 13, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Maybe he is just pining for the fjords.

  3. March 13, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    They may not understand what death is, but someone should explain to them what embalming means.

  4. Bob
    March 13, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I know some people who might like to help. (That was a joke for the cool kids who watch Virtual Skeptics.)

  5. John Nowak
    March 13, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    The body wasn’t decomposing, but they froze it anyway, expecting him to wake up later.

    I wonder if they could be tried for murder?

  6. Rex Dart
    March 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Well, not really. His chances of revival are, in fact, exactly the same whether they embalm him or not.

  7. Lee
    March 13, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Who you gonna call? The Evangelical Christian group named The “Dead Raising Team”! Hey the proof is in the risen dead! They claim 11 so far brought back from the land of the demised! I wonder if they sell insurance of some kind. This group was mentioned on here.

  8. Nos482
    March 14, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    11 already?
    Now, where did I put my shotgun and chainsaw…

  9. One Eyed Jack
    March 14, 2014 at 7:22 AM


    If he wasn’t dead, they just committed murder.

  10. John Nowak
    March 14, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Exactly. I can’t imagine how the correct to do with someone in a state of “deep meditation” is “freeze him solid.”

    I’m trying to look at this from the point of view of someone who genuinely believes he’s still alive, and it just makes no sense to me.

  11. G
    March 14, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Freeze him solid, I don’t know. But maybe their thoughts were …something… along the lines of hibernation and torpor? Lowering the body temperature to allow it to survive without nutrition?

    Please don’t ask me to elaborate further, because *I* have no idea. Seriously, the man is dead.

  12. fred
    March 18, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Does anyone else remember “The news tonight: Francisco Franco is still dead.”?

  13. Rocky Mac
    May 24, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Pining for the fjords?! What kind of talk is that???!!!

    (Yet a very accurate reference given the circumstances…) 😀

  14. John Nowak
    May 27, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Hard to say, I agree. I took the use of the word “freezer” to mean temperatures low enough to freeze water, as opposed to refrigerator or cold room. “Frozen solid” isn’t supported, you’re right.

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