While spiritual gurus and matas are not unheard of in India, a minor girl who is considered a 'goddess' in her village near Agra was put on house arrest as she has decided to go into samadhi, described in Hindu culture as the final stage of spiritual bliss, when one's body attains death and one's soul reunites with god.
While some publications are mentioning her age as 14 and some are saying that young Neeru Singh is only 11 years old, the girl, seen wearing an embellished dupatta and heavy jewelry on television news, is seen only nodding, or shaking her head in answer.
That is because since the age of six, she has taken up maun vrat i.e. pledged never to speak a word.
According to a report in India Today, Neeru Singh is the daughter of Hari Singh, a retired headmaster. She wrote on a piece of paper for her parents, communicating that she was about to go into samadhi, and that she would only bathe in and drink milk or water.
The whole spirituality thing began for Neeru and her family when she was three. According to a report in ETV Uttar pradesh, Neeru, who is her father's fifth daughter, fasted and prayed in the fields when her village was facing a drought situation. Reportedly, she told the villagers to organise some religious activities, after which, it immediately started raining.
As the news spread, more and more 'devotees' gathered, prayed and even built a temple according to her directions, says an article in The Times of India. Her parents even started to hold festivals and fairs in her name. And with the samadhi news, large groups of people had started coming to visit and offer prayers to Neeru.
But now, the district administration has told her parents to not promote superstition and have also lodged an FIR against the girl's father. Pinhat circle officer Karamveer Singh shifted Neeru to her residence where she was placed under house arrest. A team of doctors was also deployed from the health department, as she had been on a liquid diet for the last few days.
According to TOI, it was Neeru's father who had allegedly provoked her to take the extreme step of going into samadhi. By claiming that the girl is a goddess, he was reportedly earning money from her fame.