The followers of an Indian guru who died six weeks ago have put their leader into a freezer, convinced that he will soon be coming back to life.
The Daily Mail is reporting on the bizarre tale of Ashutosh Maharaji, the leader of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission), who followers claim is not dead but is in a state of deep meditation known as samadhi from where he is sending them messages.
Currently residing in a freezer in the town of Nurmahal in the state of Punjab, Maharaji is said to have complained of chest pains in late January and died of a heart attack on January 29. Although several physicians came to the complex and declared him dead, his followers are expecting him to step out of the freezer as soon as he decides to end his meditations.
"Mahara-ji (a Hindi term of respect) is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body until he returns," a man named Vishalanand told the Mail.
But that's not what the guru's driver says. He believes followers took control of Maharaj's body after he died because they want a share of the guru's properties.
A court rejected the driver's assertion and ruled that because the man is clinically dead, it's perfectly fine for his followers to decide what to do with the man's body.
The driver could be on to something, however. According to this article appearing in One India News, if Maharaji is declared dead before a successor is named, his enormous wealth will be deposited into a charitable trust - meaning it won't be accessible to his followers. This could be why the media wing of the organization claims that their leader is the only one who can announce a successor and will do so when he comes out of his meditations.
Meanwhile, Maharaji's son Dalip Jha arrived on the scene to claim his father's body for the traditional Hindu rites of cremation.
However, his followers claimed: "Ashutosh had no family and was unmarried and a 'sanyasi' (ascetic) had no family as a matter of principle and tradition" - oops!
The story is all over the news in India but his followers are unrelenting.
"When we close our eyes, we can talk to the Maharaj, who has assured us he will come back," they insist.
We shall see.