In a Nutshell
One day in 1973, in an extreme act of religious devotion, Sadhu Amar Bharati raised his hand in the air to honor the Hindu deity Shiva (or to promote world peace, depending who’s telling the story). He claims his hand has been in this raised position ever since, and it would certainly appear as if he’s telling the truth.
The Whole Bushel
Extreme religious devotion can be a little shocking to outsiders. Self-inflicted whippings, painful ceremonial piercings, and even self-crucifixion are examples of rituals still practiced by religious devotees today. However, one act of extreme devotion may take the cake for the most bizarre.
In 1970, Sadhu Amar Bharati, abandoned traditional lifestyle and decided to completely devote himself to his religious beliefs; in particular the Hindu deity Shiva. Everything was going fine until three years later when he decided his devotion wasn’t strong enough. He wanted to show his devotion in a unique way that would also disconnect him from worldly luxuries. Amar decided to raise his right hand to the sky and keep it there, indefinitely. He’s also told journalists that he intends the act to be a protest for world peace, from neighborhood to neighborhood and around the world.
As expected, Amar experienced the typical numbness and tingling that we all feel when a limb “falls asleep.” And even when that light tingling turned to extreme pain, Amar endured. After a certain amount of time, he claims the pain subsided and now the arm stands erect, seemingly on its own. The muscles have atrophied and the girth of the right arm has shrunk in relation to his left. Since clipping his nails would have required bringing the arm down, Amar hasn’t trimmed them in decades. His nails now are mangled and curl around his fingers.
Perhaps even more strangely, Amar isn’t alone in his one-handed salute to Shiva. He has begun to develop a following of other Sadhus who also have a raised a hand toward the sky. Some of his followers have held their hands high for over 10 years.
Show Me The Proof
Featured photo credit: Yahoo!7 News: Man raises arm for 38 years
Rediff News: ‘Hands up’ sadhu does it for world peace