Amar Bharati: The Man Who Kept His Arms Raised for 45 Years

Can you imagine waking up one day and deciding that you will not lower your right hand? Sticking to such a decision would require you to have some powerful motivation. Most of us have raised a hand to the sky for a specific time, but eventually, as the arm begins to ache, we would put it down or find a way to support it. Eventually, every one of us has lowered that arm. 

One man, however, decided to raise his arm and never lower it again. So what made Amar Bharati do just that?

Following a Calling

Sometime in the 1970s, Amar Bharati used to work at a bank in India. He was married with three children, living the typical life of someone in their culture. Despite all the blessings in his life, Amar felt something was missing, which led him to dive further into his spiritual life for answers. 

Surprisingly, Amar woke up one morning and abandoned everything, including his family, friends, and work. Why? Because he felt called to be a monk, living a holy life away from material things, dedicated to the Hindi god Shiva. 

Following this calling was not easy. There were many different temptations that Amar Bharati faced in the early years of his journey. But instead of leaving his calling due to his temptations, he made a different decision.

In 1973, he decided to live the rest of his life with his hand raised, showing solidarity with Shiva. That decision made him famous, with people coming worldwide to see him. 

Later, Amar explained that he was against war and that having his hand raised was to show that he wanted world peace and as a sign of respect for Shiva. 

“I don’t ask for much. Why do we fight between us? Why is there so much hate and enmity between us? I want all Indians to live in peace. I want the whole world to live in peace,” said Amar Bharati in an interview per History of Yesterday. 

Early Experiences with a Raised Hand

Amar’s decision to live with his hand raised was not easy. After some time, his hand and shoulder started to give him pain. Despite that pain, Amar Bharati did not relent. Instead, he kept his hand raised. Over the next two years, the pain began to ease. Amar lost feeling in his arm, and it began to atrophy. 

His hand is now useless because it is stuck in a raised position. Amar admits that even if he wanted to lower his hand now, it might not be physically possible. Today, his arm is completely atrophied, stuck in a bizarre semi-vertical position. 

Bharati and others acknowledge that even if he could physically bring his arm down from its raised position, his spiritual beliefs would be harmed if he did. The loss of circulation and nerve damage means his arm would require some physical therapy to bring it down to his waist. Amar Bharati believes that his eternal salute promotes world peace. 

He doesn’t plan ever to lower his arm in this lifetime. Authorities acknowledge that his arm is still intact, so his arm is not likely to snap like a twig. But the cartilage had dried up and receded, which means his arm is likely to sunder at the joint if an attempt was made to lower it, which would break his arm. 

Results of His Act of Faith

Amar Bharati’s incredible faith inspired others to consider raising their arms and keeping them there for years. His gesture also motivated thousands of Indians to take the step to become monks themselves, thus exploring their spirituality even more fully. While no one has surpassed Amar’s record of 45 years, others have gone for years with their hands and arms raised. 

According to Amar, “I am not asking for much. I always wonder why we have to fight, to compete with each other, to have so much hatred. I want everyone in the world to live in peace.” 

He has learned to work around the fact that his arm is in a raised position. Essentially, Amar is a man that lives as if his arm had been cut off. He does everything with the other hand, from eating to dressing and bathing. While it presents challenges, Amar also clearly believes this path is bringing him closer to Shiva and getting people to consider being more peaceful in their daily lives. 

While many individuals do not believe that Amar’s story is true, there is documented evidence of this man’s arm in a raised position and the damage that has resulted.

This Indian continues in his quest for peace, and a deeper connection with his god has meant that he has not lowered his arm for over 45 years. People have done many different things to show their dedication to a cause or spiritual beliefs, but Amar Bharati embodies a level of perseverance that is unlike any other. 

Many of us might be considering a drastic change in our lives, which could require us to leave behind loved ones and a promising career. But like Amar, the benefits we acquire from making that choice could be even greater. Amar Bharati lives a life aligned with his spiritual beliefs, and his decision not to lower his arm is the physical manifestation of his deeply held spirituality. 

While you might not be ready to become a monk and take such a dramatic step, Amar Bharati’s journey should inspire you to persevere in the face of challenges. You can make a decision and stick with it, no matter the obstacles. Plus, that decision can lead to greater blessings, as it has for Amar.

Others note that his family relationships have been damaged, but there is no information on how his family coped with his decision and whether they supported it. 

Amar Bharati is not dead and is expected to continue living for many more years with his hand raised. 

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