Yanadi Kondaiah is an 80-year-old Hindu holy man who claimed , who that those who touched his leg would be cured of illness or have wishes granted. It appears that the leg was too tempting a prize for some: Two men lured the holy man into private — saying that they wanted to buy him a drink for having touched his magic leg. They then cut off his leg with a sickle — presumably to use it for other magical cures. Yet, such beliefs are not confined to the Hindu faithful.
Of course, such beliefs seem bizarre when they are part of someone else’s religion. It is worth noting that Christians have a long history in such magical body parts. The bones of saints were long viewed as having special powers. Indeed, some Christians dug up graves of saints to retrieve such relics. Moreover, the concept of healing touches is equally deep-seated in many religions including Christianity. Today, it is easy to find healing clothes sent to television viewers after being blessed by evangelical holy men.
Consider 2 King 13:21: “Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the main’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”
Or, Acts 19:11: “People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by… and all of them were healed.”
Of course, a shadow is harder to steal than a leg.
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