By Faisal Mohammad Ali
BBC News, Bhopal
Hundreds attended the event in Gwalior
A Japanese Hindu devotee has buried herself in an Indian pit for three days without food and water to try to bring peace to a strife-torn world.
Keiko Aikawa, 60, who practises Samadhi - a strict form of Hindu meditation - emerged from the three-metre square pit saying her body and soul felt cleaner.
Ms Aikawa had descended into the hole in the city of Gwalior, 275km (172 miles) north of Bhopal, in central Madhya Pradesh state last Friday.
As she locked herself away, hundreds of devotees who had gathered at the Gwalior fairground chanted the names of Hindu gods and goddesses and showered marigold and rose petals.
In the hole was a small cot, a bed sheet, a blanket and a Hindu trident in one corner.
The pit was covered with tin and polythene sheets and a layer of sand and earth.
Twenty-five of Ms Aikawa's Japanese disciples, who learned meditation from her, had flown with her for the event.
The pit had a small cot, a sheet, a blanket and a Hindu trident
She said she wanted to bring peace to a strife-torn world in her own way.
Ms Aikawa says Samadhi is the ultimate in spirituality.
Going without food and water for days during meditation is possible because time stops for the devotee, she says.
The event was part of a 10-day special worship organised by Ms Aikawa's spiritual guru Pilot Baba, according to Neelu Maharaj, an associate of the Baba.
However, some scientists were sceptical about Ms Aikawa's actions.
APS Chauhan, professor of political science, said such meditations might only be a gimmick for self promotion by self-proclaimed spiritual gurus and had nothing to do with world peace.
Dinesh Mishra, who heads a rationalist group, said there was no miracle in such a feat and anyone could do it with practice. Such a pit would have sufficient air for five to seven days, he said.