An Indian sage who had been declared clinically dead in January has been kept in freezer by his followers awaiting his return to life.
The guru's body has been in deep freezer for about six weeks at his ashram in a small town of Nurmahal, located about 360km north of New Delhi, in the northern Indian state of Punjab.
The seer named Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead on 29 January. The god man who headed the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) and is said to have millions of followers around the world was in his 70s.
A statement on the Mission's website reads: "His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj ji has been in deep meditative state (Samadhi) since 29 January, 2014. Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan appreciates innumerous individuals and organisations for re-affirming their commitment to the organisation through phone calls, emails, messages and personal visits. The sansthan acknowledges your pledge to stand by the organisation under all circumstances."
Maharj's devotees think that he is in a deep state of meditation and that his body needs to be preserved until he returns to life.
"Mahara-ji (a Hindi term of respect) is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body till he returns," tthe Mission's spokesperson Swami Vishalanand told the AFP.
Vishalanand insisted that Maharaja has taken Samadhi, the highest level of meditation, and was still conscious.
He said that the ashram would be open to Maharaj's followers to perform their own meditations.
Maharaj's former driver challenged in court the decision to place him in the freezer alleging that few devotees were not releasing the guru's body as they sought a share in his properties.
However, the court rejected the driver's petition.
"The court rejected his pleas after the Punjab government said that the man is clinically dead and that it is up to his followers to decide what they want to do with the body," Reeta Kohli, additional advocate general of Punjab state said.
The district police said they too "cannot interfere" following the court's ruling.