Allahabad, Feb 10 (PTI) For onlookers and visitors at the Kumbh Mela, a seer whose right hand is pointing vertically straight towards the skies, in a close resemblance to the iconic Statue of Liberty, is a symbol of both intrigue and amusement.

He claims he has been in the posture for nearly eight years, since 2011, for world peace.

‘Mahant’ Radhey Puri said it was his ‘tapasya’ (an act of suffering for the greater good).

“The main aim is to ensure peace across the world and welfare of all citizens,” he said.

The ‘tapasya’, Puri asserted, will continue until there is peace across the world.

“This is an ‘akhand tapasya’. I maintain this posture through the day and also through the night,” the seer said with a smile on his face, even as visitors at the Kumbh stood surprised.

“I was amazed to see him. To me, he seemed to be a living symbol of the Statue of Liberty. If he holds a torch, he will certainly resemble the statue,” Rahul Bajpai, an onlooker, said.

Another onlooker, Adesh Shukla, who runs an event management company in Lucknow, said, “Seers like him are the highlights of this Kumbh. I wonder how he has been in this posture for nearly eight years.” For whatever duration, continuing the posture must have been painful. And Bajpai too seemed curious. “I am astonished he can ignore the pain in his hand, which has become very stiff.” Asked about the pain, Puri exulted, “If I were doing this for personal gains, it would definitely have been painful. That it is for world peace, there is no reason to worry.” “This is not ‘Kalyug’. It is ‘Karyug’. One has to perform with his hands for the betterment of humanity.” He said people should look for positivity in everything, which will eventually lead to happiness.

Bhaskar Singh, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, said it was nice to see seers like Mahant Puri, who make huge sacrifices for world peace.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.