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The Hindu milk miracle was a phenomenon reported to have occurred on September 21, 1995. (see below) Before dawn, a Hindu worshipper at a temple in south New Delhi made an offering of milk to a statue of Lord Ganesha. When a spoonful of milk from the bowl was held up to the trunk of the statue, the liquid was seen to disappear, apparently taken in by the idol. Word of the event spread quickly, and by mid-morning it was found that statues of the entire Hindu pantheon in temples all over North India were taking in milk, with the family of Shiva (Parvati, Ganesha, and Kartikeya) apparently the "thirstiest".
By noon the news had spread beyond India, and Hindu temples in Britain, Canada, Dubai, and Nepal among other countries had successfully replicated the phenomenon, and the World Hindu Council (an Indian Hindu organization) had announced that a miracle was occurring. The apparent miracle had a significant effect on the areas around major temples; vehicle and pedestrian traffic in New Delhi was dense enough to create a gridlock lasting until late in the evening. Many stores in areas with significant Hindu communities saw a massive jump in sales of milk, with one Gateway store in England selling over 25,000 pints of milk, and overall milk sales in New Delhi jumped over 30%. Many minor temples struggled to deal with the vast increase in numbers, and queues spilled out into the streets.
Seeking to explain the phenomenon, scientists from India's Ministry of Science and Technology travelled to a temple in New Delhi and made an offering of milk containing a food coloring. As the level of liquid in the spoon dropped, it became obvious that after the milk disappeared from the spoon, it coated the statue beneath where the spoon was placed. With this result, the scientists offered capillary action as an explanation; the surface tension of the milk was pulling the liquid up and out of the spoon, before gravity caused it to run down the front of the statue.
This explanation did nothing to reduce the numbers of faithful rushing to the temples, however, and queues of people carrying pots, pans, and buckets of milk continued to gather. To those who believed in the miracle, further proof was offered when the phenomenon seemed to cease before the end of the day, with many statues refusing to take more milk even before noon.
A small number of temples outside of India reported the effect continuing for several more days, but no further reports were made after the beginning of October. However, skeptics hold the incident to be an example of mass hysteria, and when reports of the Monkey-man of New Delhi began to appear in 2001, many newspapers harked back to the event. The story was picked up, mostly as a novelty piece, by news services around the world, including CNN, the BBC, the New York Times and the Guardian. Alternative theories about how the phenomenon began have since been raised; including that Nemi Chand Jain, also known as Chandraswami, spread the rumor to take public attention away from the criminal charges that were being levelled at him at the time for harboring a murderer.
The miracle occurred again on 20-21 August 2006 in almost exactly the same fashion, although initial reports seem to indicate that it occurred only with statues of Ganesh, Shiva, and Durga. The first reported occurrance was on the evening of the 20th in the city of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, from where it spread throughout India like wildfire. However, rationalists are heavily skeptical about the issue, attributing it to capillary action yet again. The phenomenon had reappeared only days after reports of sea water turning sweet that led to mass hysteria in Mumbai.
Eyewitnesses in India began reporting accounts of statues in India drinking milk. The stock market and the federal government closed down in India so that people could feed the statues. This also continued with other statues around the world. This was only Indian statues. Within 72 hours Hindu statues around the world were consuming milk by the liter. Some of the countries were Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia and England. There has been no explanation as of yet but some people feel it was a miracle.
Television, radio and newspapers eagerly covered this unique phenomenon, and even skeptical journalists held their milk-filled spoons to the gods - and watched, humbled, as the milk disappeared. The media coverage was extensive, and although scientists and 'experts' created theories of "capillary absorption" and "mass hysteria", the overwhelming evidence and conclusion was that an unexplainable miracle had occurred.
It all began at dawn in a temple on the outskirts of Delhi, India, when milk offered to a statue of Ganesh just disappeared into thin air. Word spread so quickly throughout India that soon thousands were offering milk to the gods and watching in amazement as it disappeared. Life in India was brought to a virtual standstill as people rushed to temples to see for themselves the drinking gods. Others claimed that small statues in millions of homes around the country were also drinking the offerings of milk.
At one of Delhi's largest temples, the Birla Mandir, Pandit Sunderlal was just coming on duty at 5.30am when he got a call telling him of the miracle in the suburbs. "I went and took a spoon of milk and put it to Ganesh's mouth. He drank it and it became empty. Then I gave Shiva a drink too."
Traffic in Delhi was halted as police struggled to control crowds who gathered outside hundreds of temples with jugs and saucepans of milk for the marble statues of Ganesh, the Hindu God of wisdom and learning, and Shiva, his father, God the Destroyer in the Hindu trinity. Across Delhi, society ladies with silver jugs and tumblers full of milk were standing alongside uneducated laboring women in mile-long queues, awaiting their turn.
At one Delhi temple a priest said more than 5,000 people had visited his temple: "We are having a hard time managing the crowds." A Delhi housewife who had waited two hours to feed the white marble statue of Ganesh said: "The evil world is coming to an end and maybe the Gods are here to help us." Even the cynical professed amazement. "It's unbelievable. My friends told me about it and I just thought it was rubbish," said a Delhi business woman, Mabati Kasori. "But then I did it myself. I swear that the spoon was drained." Parmeesh Soti, a company executive, was convinced it was a miracle. "It cannot be a hoax. Where would all that milk go to? It just disappeared in front of my eyes."
Suzanne Goldenberg, a Delhi-based journalist, reported that: "Inside the darkened shrine, people held stainless steel cups and clay pots to the central figure of the five-headed Shiva, the destroyer of evil, and his snake companion, and watched the milk levels ebb. Although some devotees force-fed the idol enthusiastically, the floor was fairly dry."
India was in pandemonium. The Government shut down for several hours, and trading ground to a halt on stock markets in Bombay and New Delhi as millions in homes and temples around the country offered milk to the gods.
Very soon the news spread to Hindu communities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Nepal, Thailand, Dubai, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada. Reports were flooding in from all over the world. In Hong Kong more than 800 people converged on the Hindu temple in Happy Valley to witness the drinking statues of Krishna and Brahma alongside the small silver statue of Ganesh which priests claimed had drunk 20 liters of milk.
In the United Kingdom, Hindus reported miracles taking place in temples and homes around the country. At the Vishwa Temple in Southall, London, 10,000 people in 24 hours witnessed the 15-inch statue of the bull Nandi and a bronze statue of the cobra Shash Naag drinking milk from cups and spoons. Sushmith Jaswal, aged 20, said she was skeptical at first but her doubts vanished with the milk. "It was like a blessing," she said. Nita Mason also witnessed the statue and said, "It is a miracle -- God is trying to show people that he is here." Girish Desai, a bank worker from Edgware said: "I had heard reports but didn't believe it. But I experienced it myself. I held a spoonful of milk to the lips of one of the idols . . . and the statue started sipping it. The milk disappeared as I watched it."
At the Geeta Bhavan Temple in Manchester a 3-inch silver Ganesh lapped up the milk. Rakesh Behl, 35, fed the silver elephant several times and said: "Did you see how quickly Ganesh drank? How can anyone not believe this miracle? This has really inspired my faith." At the Southall home of Asha Ruparelia, 42, a clay statue of Ganesh was drinking the milk in her living room: "It has drunk 20 pints of milk since last night. Nearly 600 people have come round to see it."
Another amazing manifestation occurred at a major Hindu temple in Wimbledon, South London. There, milk offerings to the statue of Ganesh disappeared, and, simultaneously, in a shrine room containing a large photograph of Sai Baba, vibhuti (holy ash) poured from Sai Baba's forehead, and amrit (nectar) flowed from His feet.
Many journalists actively participated in these miraculous events. Rebecca Mae, a DAILY EXPRESS journalist, wrote: "I had a good view from the side and all I can say is that the statue appeared to suck in half a spoonful while it was held level by the worshipper. The rest was sipped reverently by the devotee. A photographer from a national tabloid newspaper was right in front of the statue. And he was convinced it was drinking the milk. He said he could see no mechanism to explain the phenomenon, after scrutinising it at length. As a lapsed Catholic I don't believe in stories of the Virgin Mary shedding tears. Indeed, I would say I was as skeptical as anyone -- but it's difficult to dismiss something you have seen for yourself."
Journalist Suzanne O'Shea also witnessed the miracle. "Following the example of others I knelt on the floor beside the statue of the bull and placed a dessert spoon filled with milk beside its mouth, steadying it with both hands. Within seconds the milk had virtually vanished, leaving just a drop in the spoon that was emptied into my hands so that I could bless myself. I tried a second time, and again the milk seemed to vanish from the spoon within seconds."
Rikee Verma, a journalist from The Times newspaper, wrote: "Being a religious person, I first went to the upstairs bedroom . . . and placed a spoonful of milk against a photograph of Ganesh and was astonished to find within seconds that the spoon was half empty. I checked to make sure that the glass frame of the photograph was not wet. It was dry. I could not believe what I was seeing. This was clearly a message from the gods saying: 'We are here, here's the proof.' I then went to the Sri Ram Mandir [Temple] in Southall. . . . I placed a spoonful of milk underneath the trunk and within seconds the spoon was empty. . . . Others who had witnessed the miracle were filled with emotion. 'Our god has finally come to us,' one said."
While the media and scientists still struggle to find an explanation for these events, many Hindus believe they are a sign that a great teacher has been born. Journalist Rebecca Mae writes: "Most of the worshippers said they only went to the temple occasionally and were certainly not religious fanatics. But they were adamant that a new god had been born to save the world from evil." Krishna Anratar Dubey, a respected Indian astrologer, explained that according to Hindu mythology such miracles happen when a great Soul arrives in the world.
At the Southall temple in London where thousands had witnessed the miracles, the chairman Mr. Bharbari offered his explanation. "All I know is that our Holy Book says that wherever evil prevails on earth then some great Soul will descend to remove the bondage of evil so that right shall reign. We believe this miracle, and those happening at other Hindu temples, may be a sign that a great Soul has descended, like Lord Krishna or Jesus Christ."
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