6 yrs on, followers believe dead self-styled godman will return from ‘samadhi’
Six years after Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh Maharaj was declared clinically dead by doctors, his body continues to be preserved in a freezer at Nurmahal, around 34 km from here, and his disciples and the dera management still believe that the self-styled godman is in ‘samadhi’ (deep meditation) and will return on his own.
On the night of January 29, 2014, a team of doctors was called from Satguru Apollo Hospital in Ludhiana after the dera head suffered uneasiness. Later, he was declared clinically dead.
Even as eminent political leaders were given the message about the last rites of Maharaj, the dera leaders who arrived from Delhi started claiming the next morning that their spiritual guru was not dead but had gone into meditation.
NO ACCESS TO EVEN VIP VISITORS
The room where the dera head’s body has been kept is guarded by a group of followers round the clock and the people are not allowed to go inside it. The Punjab Police personnel are deployed around the dera.
Even the VIP visitors are kept away from the closely guarded room, dera insiders revealed.
Chief ministers of Haryana and Himachal, Manohar Lal Khattar and Jai Ram Thakur, and Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s wife and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur were among the eminent leaders who visited the dera last year.
Only three to four persons from the top management of DJJS are allowed to go inside the room. Besides, government and private doctors go there for routine check-ups after three months, dera sources said.
‘NO SIGNS OF BODY DECOMPOSITION’
Jalandhar civil surgeon Dr Gurinder Kaur Chawla, who is part of the doctors’ panel, told HT that there are no signs of decomposition of the body yet.
The check-ups are conducted on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which had allowed the dera to keep the body in a freezer.
“Temperature is maintained regularly in the freezer and we have been told that DJJS functionaries apply some medicines on the body on a regular basis,” a doctor who visited the dera said, on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, sect members remain busy in various chores at the 50-acre dera and some shops situated inside its premises.
Some disciples told HT that they have firm belief that Ashutosh Maharaj will return from his ‘samadhi’ despite the fact that he has been declared clinically dead. Some others, however, said that they are only concerned with his teachings.
Swami Narinder, a dera functionary, said Ashutosh Maharaj had announced during his discourses that he would go into ‘samadhi’ and will return later to spread his message around the world.
Meanwhile, Narinder denied that a rift in the management over controlling the dera was behind the decision to keep Maharaj’s body in a freezer. There are around a dozen members of the management that runs the DJJS affairs, he said.
He claimed that all followers are still associated with the sect “as they know that Maharaj will return.”
However, some insiders admitted that that there has been a slight dip in the followers of DJJS.
Meanwhile, the biggest change DJJS has witnessed in the past four-five years is that its top functionaries strongly defend the policies and decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and support Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on key issues. Dera spokespersons are often seen on TV debates and social media extending whole-hearted support to Modi and his government.