Indian Man Keeps his Arm Raised for 38 Years in Devotion to Shiva deity.
Hoax or Fact:
This is a story about an Indian Sadhu who supposedly kept his hand raised for 38 years, in devotion of Lord Shiva. The story refers to Sadhu Amar Bharati, who does claim so.
Story of Sadhu Amar Bharati
Popular story about Amar Bharati says that before becoming sadhu, he was Mahant Amar Bharti Ji, a clerk from New Delhi, who raised his right arm above his head in 1973 -- in honor of Lord Shiva. It is said that the sadhu continues to do that since 38 years and has never put his raised hand down -- despite pain and arm deformation.
According to an April 2011 article on OddityCentral.com that describes the story of Sadhu Amar Bharati, after 38 years of raising, his hand is just a useless piece of skin and bone with thick and twisted nails (that are not clipped). His arm is completely atrophied and stuck in an unusual, semi-vertical position. About his life before becoming Sadhu, it is said that until 1970, Amar Bharati was a normal middle-class Indian with a job and family, but one morning when he realized none of that mattered, he gave up everything and dedicated his life to serving the Hindu god Shiva. Then after three years, in 1973, when Amar realized he was still connected to worldly pleasures, he decided to separate himself from them by keeping his right arm raised.
There are some other sources which claim Amar Bharati felt disillusioned by all the fighting going on in the world, and then he decided to raise his right arm for the sake of peace. His past aside, Sadhu Amar Bharati is in fact respected at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. The Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar is considered as the largest peaceful religious gathering of world. Amar Bharati has also inspired other Sadhus to raise their arms for peace and harmony; some of whom are reportedly doing it for seven, thirteen, and even 25 years.
Sadhu Amar Bharati Interviews
In a 2010 interview with Rediff.com, Sadhu Amar Bharati Urdhavaahu said that his spirited discourse is to address the bitterness and strife in today's world, and how humans are destroying fellow humans, and that it is crucial to live in peace and harmony. When asked if his raised arm does not pain, Sadhu Amar Bharati said that it used to pain, but he got used to it. Like most saints, he wasn't willing to talk about his purvashram, i.e. the life before he took sanyas. As the Rediff reporters leave at the end of the interview, the Sadhu says, "I want all Indians to live in peace. I want the whole world to live in peace".
In 2010 again, in another interview reported by News.OneIndia.in, Sadhu Amar Bharati explains what he is doing is a type of penance that was done in the past by various sages, and that he is just carrying forward that tradition:
"This is known as Oordhaman Tapasya (a type of penance where you devote a part of your body to the Almighty). It is something, which the saints have been doing for long; I am just continuing the tradition. It is not essential that it has timing."
Although there is no documented proof that the Indian Sadhu Amar Bharati has kept his hand raised since 38 years, Indian Sadhus do perform unusual tasks in the name of religion, like sleeping in an up-right position, or fasting for long periods of time. Prahlad Jani is a Holy man in India who claims he didn’t eat or drink anything for 70 years. His case is tested and documented by doctors.