Three weeks after death, monk’s body still glows

by PK Surendran, DNA India, October 7, 2008

BANGALORE, India -- The body of an 80-year-old Mundgod monastery monk who died three weeks ago has shown no signs of decomposition.

The KLE hospital in Belgaum had declared the Buddhist spiritual leader, Trippa Lobsung Nyama, dead but his followers insist he has attained samadhi (a deep, blissful, meditative state).

All these days the body was kept inside an air-cooled hall where his followers offered prayers. Their belief only got strengthened when the body showed no signs of decomposition weeks after the death.

The Mundgod monastery soon turned into a pilgrimage centre for Buddhists.

A KLE medical team then studied the body. Senior Dr Vinay Mahishal, who was part of the team, told DNA that they sent their “confidential” report to the KLE medical trust chairman. “There’s no doubt that he is clinically dead. And I am surprised how putrefaction has not yet set in. The body was as serene and shining as on the day of death,” the doctor said.

The hospital authorities explained that when a person stops taking water and food, water content in the body dries up, slowing down, or even temporarily arresting, putrefaction. The monk in question had stopped eating from some time before his death. It does not, however, mean that his body will remain that way for long. It could seem fresh for a while only. The only way to keep it intact for ages is to mummify it and his followers are doing that.

The hospital authorities said the monk’s relatives and associates agree that he is not going to be the same again. But “he was no ordinary mortal” they are convinced. “How else does one explain the non-decomposition of his body,” asks a monk. They are already working on a ‘samadhi sthal’.