“I don’t ask for much,” said this man who has held his arm up for 50 years now. We were deeply amazed by his extraordinary gesture, and upon discovering the real purpose behind it, we couldn’t help but eagerly share his story with our beloved readers.

Meet Amar Bharati.

© ERIC LAFFORGUE / Alamy Stock Photo

A devoted Indian ascetic by the name of Amar Bharati has been tirelessly advocating for world peace for 50 years, all the while maintaining a remarkable gesture of raising his right hand in the air without ever lowering it.

A sadhu, which is a revered religious ascetic or holy individual in Hinduism (and occasionally in Buddhism and Jainism), is someone who has willingly renounced all worldly desires.

Mr. Bharati, previously a married man with three children who worked as a clerk in New Delhi, made a life-altering decision in 1970 when he resigned from his job and parted ways with his family and friends. His profound commitment led him to dedicate his existence to Shiva, one of the central deities of Hinduism, often referred to as “the primordial yogi.”

Next, he conceived a gesture that would become universally recognized.

Starting in 1973, he began raising his arm as a profound symbol of his unwavering devotion and as a powerful statement to actively advocate for peace and oppose conflicts worldwide. In his unconditional commitment, he endured excruciating pain for two long years, resulting in his arm losing all sensation and the muscles therein wasting away.

Indian sadhus frequently embark on the most rigorous forms of penance, demanding exceptional self-discipline, all in the pursuit of attaining liberation and enlightenment, referred to as Moksha in the Indian spiritual context.

Today, Bharati’s arm stands as a testament to his enduring resolve. It has become a mere skeletal structure, and his once-nails have transformed into spiraling claws.

© Biswarup Ganguly / Wikimedia Commons, © CC-BY-3.0

In a candid interview, the wise sadhu shared his heartfelt message, saying, “I do not ask for much. Why are we fighting our sons among ourselves? Why is there so much hatred and enmity between us? I just want all Indians and the whole world to live in peace with each other.”

One can only fathom the immense pain he must have endured throughout his incredible journey. It is precisely these acts of extreme self-discipline and the underlying motivations behind them that have piqued the interest of individuals outside of India, even drawing the attention of historical figures such as Alexander the Great.

Mr. Amar has adapted to life with his raised arm.

© Balone21 / Wikimedia Commons, © CC-BY-SA-4.0

He lives as if his arm is missing, using his other hand for everything, like eating, getting dressed, and bathing. Although it’s not easy, Amar firmly believes that this way of life brings him closer to Shiva and encourages people to think about being more peaceful in their daily routines.

“If you try to lower Bharati’s hand you will cause him real pain, not physical but spiritual, for he believes that his eternal salute does indeed promote world peace,” one of his acquaintances explained. Another individual addressed the practical aspect, pointing out that there’s a physical challenge as well. The cartilage in his elbow has dried out, making any attempt to move his arm a potential risk to his joint.

Amar Bharati is still alive and is expected to continue living for many more years with his hand raised in his devoted pursuit of peace.

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