Day: May 30, 2014

Dead or Meditating?

Dead or Meditating? - James Hamblin - The Atlantic

‘One of the wealthiest spiritual leaders in India has either been dead or in a transcendental meditative state since January. The Telegraph’s Dean Nelson reports from New Delhi that a court has now been asked to settle the matter.

Ashutosh Maharaj is presently in a commercial freezer in his ashram, guarded by elders within the multinational sect or, self-described “socio-spiritual-cultural, not-for profit organization” that he created. His followers insist that Maharaj is in a state of transcendent bliss called samadhi, a central tenet of traditional yoga in which a yogi becomes one with the universe. Upon moving all of your prana currents of energy up your spine and into your head, according to the seminal yoga manual Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a yogi can become “as if dead.”

This would seem to be at odds with the assessment of a team of local physicians who examined Maharaj in February. After performing an ECG that showed no heartbeats, noting that he had no respiratory movements, and seeing that his pupils were fixed and dilated, the physicians declared him “clinically dead.”

The sect’s website states, “His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji has been in a deep meditative state (samadhi) since January 29, 2014.” Though, a representative from the sect did say on February 3, “About 4:00 PM yesterday, some changes were noticed in his skin (it became greenish). The body was then shifted to a freezer,” which may or may not be part of the traditional protocol for transcendent bliss.

The guru’s son and wife corroborate that he died of a heart attack in January, and that his followers are keeping his body in order to retain control of his financial empire, including the ten billion rupee ($170 million) estate where the corpse resides.’ (The Atlantic).