Dead or alive: The curious case of Ashutosh Ji Maharaj
Jalandhar, March 13: The curiosity surrounding the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) founder and dera head Ashutosh Ji Maharaj refuses to die down as he was declared "dead" by doctors in January end after he went into 'deep transcendental meditation' but his disciples are not ready to believe that their spiritual guru is no more in this world.
The shocking case of blind faith is related to the six-week old 'mystery' over famous Ashutosh Ji Maharaj in Nurmahal village in Jalandhar district of Punjab. [My father deserves last rites, says son of Frozen Baba Ashutosh Maharaj]
According to The Tribune report, Ashutosh Maharaj, who was in his 70s, was declared clinically dead last month on February 3, but the blind faith of his devotees kept him spiritually 'alive' in the DJJS premises, spread over 100 acres.
In February, DJJS's Sadhwi Jaya Bharti said, "some changes were noticed in his skin ( as it had turned greenish). The body was then shifted to a freezer."
Chandigarh-based physician, Dr Harpal, who examined Ashutosh said on February 3, "Ashutosh is clinically dead. Last Tuesday night when I reached dera, a team of doctors from Satgur Partap Singh Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana, was already there. After several check-ups, including an ECG test, the team, too, concluded that Ashutosh is clinically dead."
Sources said, "The dera arranged the freezer, apprehending that the body might start decaying, and that the body needed to be preserved."
The HT had earlier reported that DJJS was delaying to break the news of Ashutosh's death due to the 'succession row' and dera's properties are said to be worth over Rs 1,000 crores.
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'.
On February 13, TOI published a report saying that Ashutosh's son Dalip Jha came to Punjab, from his native place Lakanur in Madhubani district in Bihar, to claim his father's body for cremation as per Hindu rites, who was dead on the intervening night of January 28 and 29 after he complained of severe chest pain.
In a controversial twist, the DJJS functionaries refuted the claims made by Dalip, who is even ready to undergo DNA tests to prove his credentials.
"Ashutosh had no family and was unmarried and a "sanyasi" (ascetic) had no family as a matter of principle and tradition", the DJJS functionaries claimed.
On February 25, the Punjab and Haryana high court had refused for directions to conduct the postmortem of spiritual leader Ashutosh Maharaj.
On January 30, TOI report said that big wig politicians of Punjab including former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and Union minister Manish Tewari had to withdraw their "condolence messages", reagarding the death of Ashutosh Maharaj, which they had earlier mailed to media.
When his thousands of followers heard about the demise of their spiritual guru, they thronged the dera premises, but his associates retracted about his death and claimed that he was in a state of 'transcendental samadhi'.
According to a report published in Indian Express, the dera has 110 centres in India and abroad and it owns properties worth about Rs.1,500 crore.
DJJS still believes Ashutosh Maharj is alive
Strangely, the official website, www.djjs.org still has not updated about the death of its founder and has maintained that "Shri Ashutosh Maharaj ji has been in deep meditative state (Samadhi) since 29th January 2014."
Who was Ashutosh Maharaj?
The controversial religious leader Ashutosh Maharaj had not found favour with the Sikh groups for allegedly preaching against their religion.
Swami Ashutosh Maharaj, who was not in the good books of the Sikhs since 1980s, when he allegedly spoke against the religious text of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib, was accorded Z-category security cover.
An India Today report said that Ashutosh Maharaj was born as Mahesh Jha, who haled from Madhubani district of Bihar. He left his home in 1970, leaving behind his wife Anandi Devi and a month old baby boy.
He founded DJJS in 1983 and had his spiritual centres across the world.