Ashutosh Maharaj Ji (1946–29 January 2014), born as Mahesh Kumar Jha and also known as Ashutosh Maharaj, was an Indian spiritual leader, preacher, and founder head of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS), a non-profit spiritual organisation. On 29 January 2014, he was declared clinically dead by a team of doctors after suffering a heart attack.
However his followers believe him to be alive and in the state of a samadhi or deep meditation. Since then his body has been kept in a freezer by the management of DJJS, hoping for him to come out of meditation. Although worshipped by his followers, Shri Ashutosh maharaj ji was seen as a controversial figure by the Sikh community and was often accused of distorting Sikh teachings
Ashutosh was born as Mahesh Kumar Jha in 1946 at Lakhnaur in Madhubani district, Bihar into a Hindu Brahmin The conventional Hindu caste system divided society into four sects and Brahmin was known as the learned class who gained the knowledge of sacred texts written on Hinduismfamily. There are claims that he married Anandi Devi and that the couple had a son, although this is disputed. According to media sources Ashutosh left his family in 1973. He was associated for some time with Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti, headed by Satpal Maharaj.
On 29 January 2014, Ashutosh suffered a heart attack and was declared clinically dead by a team of doctors. His followers however believe him to be alive and in a state of deep meditation called samadhi.Since then, his body has been kept in a freezer by the management to create Himalayan-like environment suitable for meditation.
Ashutosh's former chauffeur, Pooran Singh, suspected wrongdoing. He filed a habeas corpus writ, seeking the release of Ashutosh's body. After the writ was rejected, he petitioned the court for a post-mortem examination of the corpse. Ashutosh's son, Dilip Kumar Jha, also appealed to court, demanding that the body be brought to his home town in Bihar for cremation according to local rituals.
The DJJS management have claimed that Ashutosh was single and had no family. On 1 December 2014 the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered that the last rites for Ashutosh be performed in 15 days. The ruling was later suspended, with further hearings postponed to 9 February 2015