Man explains why he’s been standing up for 12 years and won’t sit down

Gregory Robinson

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Man explains why he’s been standing up for 12 years and won’t sit down

Featured Image Credit: Travel Channel

A man in India took a vow to remain standing - and he hasn't sat down in 12 years.

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In an episode of the 2007 Travel Channel series Culture Shock, host Shenaz Treasuryvala travelled to the 'fun, buzzing and energetic' city of Mumbai, India to search for Standing Babas.

A Baba is part of a 'subculture' Treasuryvala finds living in a neighbourhood in Mumbai. They 'renounce' material possessions and take 'incredible vows' to get closer to God.

The host explains that Babas are 'reclusive, Indian holy men' who 'refrain from all human pleasure and lead very simple, austere lives'.

Baba Raj Nath hadn't taken a seat in 12 years. Credit: Travel Channel
Baba Raj Nath hadn't taken a seat in 12 years. Credit: Travel Channel

Some of the Babas have chosen to stand for the rest of their lives while others have chosen never to speak again.

The honorific term 'Baba' is of Persian origins and is used in several West Asian and South Asian cultures.

Treasuryvala finds Baba Raj Natha - who is called a 'Standing Baba' - at home just when she thought the search would be unsuccessful.

He has been standing for the past 12 years and as a lot of us feel like we've stood for 12 years while waiting for a bus, this act of spirituality is incredible.

So, what made Baba Raj Nath accept this incredible vow? The answer may surprise you, especially if you're a baker...

"I was inspired by something my spiritual teacher did to me," he recounts.

"He asked me to bake some bread, but I didn't know how.

"I burned the bread. He got angry, he beat me and kicked me out.

"So, out of anger, I took this vow for 12 years."

Treasuryvala finds another standing Baba around the corner who hasn't sat down in nine years. He was also motivated by his spiritual teacher, however this time no bread was harmed or burned.

"My teacher told me I should keep standing in order to please him," the unnamed man said.

"So, I'm just following his instructions."

Treasuryvala found another Standing Baba. Credit: Travel Channel
Treasuryvala found another Standing Baba. Credit: Travel Channel

The man often raises and lowers his legs and hasn't reported any serious physical pain or harm despite standing continuously for almost a decade.

"But when I do have a little pain, my friend massages me," he added.

To quote Dionne Warwick, 'That's what friends are for'.

Treasuryvala explains that for Hindus, 'spiritual enlightenment has always represented the highest goal in life'.

She adds: "The Babas believe that by putting their bodies through extreme hardship, they can burn off all their bad karma, escaping the cycle of life and death and hit directly towards salvation."

We're never taking sitting down for granted again.

Topics: News, Life

Gregory Robinson
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