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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Kumbh special: Hath yogis’ ‘freeze feat’ for world peace`

Smriti Malaviya, Hindustan Times  Allahabad, December 29, 2012
First Published: 14:23 IST(29/12/2012) | Last Updated: 14:30 IST(29/12/2012)

Having surprised the world by their ability to conquer hunger, thirst and sleep and practising penance of an extreme kind, a group of 'Hath Yogis' have now resolved to 'freeze' one of their limbs in a particular position for a specified period of time for world peace.

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The mystical feat would be performed during the Kumbh Mela, to be attended by crores of devotees and onlookers.

Though the date is yet to be finalised, the hath yogis, mostly associated with Akhadas like Juna and Awahan, have already started arriving to the Kumbh Nagari for the colossal celebration. Coming from different parts of the country, they have travelled miles.

Unbelievable as it may sound, the followers of this ancient yogic art can maintain the same position of a specific limb for years and can eat, sleep and even cook food in this position.

"We even travel in this way, be it in bus, train or any other vehicle. We don't take it as a problem as it's part of our tapasya (penance)," says Sanjay Bharti aka Khadeshwari Baba of Awahan Akhada, who is believed to have been standing for last five years.

Balancing himself on a swing tied from the roof of a hut in Awahand Akhada's camp in Kumbh Mela, Khadeshwari Baba says he took the vow to remain in standing position all through his life to pray for the welfare of people.

"The first few days were difficult but with the blessings of our guru, I am now comfortable in this position," says the Baba who even sleeps on the swing with his legs firmly touching the ground.

Another noted Juna Akhada saint Amar Bharti, who raised his right arm 29 years ago and has kept it in the same position since then, will also be a part of the prayer for world peace.

"I took this vow (of keeping his right arm raised) 29 years ago in Prayag as an offering to my revered guru in Daraganj. Since then it has not come down," adds Bharti, who resides in Kullu, Manali.

His arm held in a raised position for years has resulted in overgrowth of nails so much that it had pierced inside the palm. But, it hardly bothers the yogi.

"Even if I want, the hand cannot come down as the bones have become fixed in that way," he adds with a warm smile.

Mahant Radheshyam Puriji, whose right hand is also in a raised position for last one year at Juna Akhada, says he had vowed to keep his hand in this way for at least 12 years to promote the feeling of brotherhood.

"I took this vow in Ujjain during the Chaitra Navratri. This sadhna is called Urdbahu. I don't feel the pain anymore though the first few weeks were very painful. One can do this tapasya only with the blessings of Lord Shiva and our revered guru," he adds.

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