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Itigelov left a testament where he asked to bury him as he was, sitting in lotus pose in the cedar box on traditional cemetery. It was done. There was also a statement, where he asked other monks to exhume him after several years.
(This is the exciting point – this means he knew that his body would be preserved). This was done in 1955 and in 1973 by Buddhist monks but they were scared to tell everybody about this, since communist regime did not leave any space for religion in society. Only in 2002 the body was finally exhumed and transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan (a residence of today’s Hambo Lama) where it was closely examined by monks and, which is now more important, by scientists and pathologists.
The official statement was issued about the body – very well preserved, without any signs of decay, whole muscles and inner tissue, soft joints and skin. The interesting thing is that the body was never embalmed or mummified.
Two years passed. Itigelov’s body is now kept open air, in contact with other people, without any temperature or humidity regimes. How Itigelov keeps this condition, nobody knows.
This is the ONLY KNOWN AND CONFIRMED CASE OF IMPERISHABLE BODY throughout the whole world. Embalming and mummifying is well known among different nations and peoples – Chili (Chinchora), Egypt mummies, Christian Saints, communist leaders and others. Some bodies were found in permafrost, however when they contacted with oxygen atmosphere they perished within several hours.
For two years after the exhumation of Itigilov’s body it does not perish nor decay, no fungus, no negative things happen to it. Itigelov said before he died that he left a message to all peoples on Earth. This message contains no words. Now it is our turn to understand it.
The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramhansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience. Had the muscle protein and blood stream of the deceased not been comparatively free of bacteria, deterioration of the body could have set in as early as six hours after life had departed. No physical disintegration was visible in Paramhansa Yogananda's body even twenty days after death.
During this period no indication of mold was visible on Paramhansa Yogananda's skin, and no visible desiccation (drying up) took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one.
For 1,000 days the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another thousand days and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls.
This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and most importantly, it made the body too poisonous to be eaten by maggots. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive.
When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed. After the tomb was sealed, the other monks in the temple would wait another 1,000 days, and open the tomb to see if the mummification was successful.
If the monk had been successfully mummified, he or she was immediately seen as a Buddha and put in the temple for viewing. Usually, though, there was just a decomposed body. Although they were not viewed as a true Buddha if they were not mummified, they were still admired and revered for their dedication and spirit.
Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha
reply to post by VegHead
No, it isn't exactly imperishable forever. I think Yogananda eventually started showing signs of decay after a certain amount of weeks/ months.
The supposed reason this happens is because the body is purified through meditation to the point where infectious disease and foreign bodies do not enter. In effect, the body becomes a purely cleansed temple! Even after the soul exits the body, it continues to resound with its former holiness for a time.
Imperishable? No such thing. But the bodies of saints tend to exhibit unusually slow rates of biological decay.
edit on 24-5-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)
As of 2005, Itigilov's body was kept outdoors, in contact with other people, without preserving any temperature or humidity regimens.