Amar Bharati, an Indian Sadhu, was just a regular guy living a normal life with a wife and three children. That is, until 1973 — when he raised his right arm in the air in honor of a Shiva deity and reportedly never put it down.
On the day he changed his life in 1970, Bharati reportedly decided to abandon everything in his life, including his wife, kids and job, and devote himself to the Hindu god Shiva, Oddity Central reports. He started wandering the roads of India dressed in Sadhu clothing, carrying only a metal trident. After three years, he realized he was still too connected to his regular life and decided to separate himself from it by raising his right arm.
Years later, Bharati said his arm is still raised. It is no longer able to be used, making Bharati’s arm simply a symbol of his religious devotion.
Bharati’s act of devotion inspired others to do similar things for their faith. Several Sadhus have allegedly kept their arms raised for years in a similar gesture to that of Bharati.
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The man’s arm is completely atrophied and stuck in the vertical position due to his unwillingness to put it down, and the useless arm is complete with thick, twisted nails that Bharati never clips.
Sadhus perform unusual tasks and rituals in the name of their faith, including sleeping in an upright position, fasting for long periods of time ,and not taking baths.
Bharati’s strange display of religious devotion prompted criticism from many readers on Oddity Central.
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“Just one more example of the insanity of all religions," one reader commented. "This man has not only hurt himself, but has encouraged others to do the same."
Others defended his act, applauding his dedication.
“People [worship] him as an idol of Shiva," one reader commented. "That is a HUGE thing to anybody that even remotely knows what’s going on. He is trying to strip away physical reality to what our [souls'] true home is. The easiest way to do that is to devote something of yourself. An arm is pretty extreme in my opinion but then again I don’t have people in awe and a constant reminder of what’s what."