This blog is meant to display my coins/currency notes/stamps, in an informative manner, which would be useful to users in knowing about the history of the period when these coins/banknotes/stamps were minted/printed and events/persons they honour/depict, both on Indian and foreign coins/banknotes/stamps. The content would be more in the nature of a walk down memory lane through my collection/articles.
Search This Blog
Monday, 17 April 2017
482) Leisure Time Short Stories (3): The present moment (split second) contains an eternity: A strange experience at the Balaji (Hanuman) Temple near Jaipur:
482) Leisure Time Short Stories (3): The present
moment (split second) contains an eternity: A strange experience at the Balaji
(Hanuman) Temple near Jaipur:
The location of the Balaji
the Dausa district of Rajasthan, there is a Mehandipur Balaji temple
dedicated to the Hindu God Hanuman. (The term “Balaji” comes from a
Hindi/Sanskrit word “Bala” – meaning
childhood) or the God in his childhood. The village of Mehadipur is located
near a small hill and is managed by a “Mahant”
(“Chief Priest”). In front of the Balaji temple is another temple dedicated to
the Hindu God, Rama. The temple is situated about 60-odd kilometres from Jaipur
on the Agra-Jaipur National Highway and is about 140 kms from Agra.
The reason for its immense
This temple has a reputation for spiritual
healing and exorcism of evil spirits and in cases of persons on whom a black
magic spell has been cast. The process takes several days or months sometimes,
with the possessed person trying his or her level best not to be taken to the
temple and is shifted a small distance towards the temple every day and chained
to the railings/supports on the way while physically resisting being brought
nearer. The resistance is the severest when the possessed person enters the temple
sanctum sanctorum, and wails and shrieks like a banshee, It is believed that a
person who is possessed with evil spirits gets relief by just being in the
presence of the Hanuman idol and strangely, once he or she is in the presence
of the idol, the person immediately calms down and the “evil spirit” leaves him
or her for good and the person is cured forever from such possession.
Scientific studies have not given
scientific studies conducted by psychiatrists and scientists both from India
and abroad have also not been able to arrive at a plausible conclusion as to
how this happens, except couching their “findings” in a lot of “psycho-babble”.
(Psycho-babble is a form of writing which uses psychological jargon, buzz-words
and esoteric language to create an impression of truth or plausibility. In
addition, it implies that the content of the research deviates much from common
sense and good judgement.)
Balaji grants boons to its devotees who
have immense faith:
also believed that Balaji Hanuman fulfils every wish (boon) that a devotee asks
for when visiting the temple and our landlady in Kanpur where we were staying/posted
at that time (around 1998) insisted that when we make a trip to Agra, we should
also visit the Balaji Hanuman temple, as her three storeyed house, her car, her
prosperous and happy life et al had come with the blessings of Balaji and that
her family visited the temple every other year.
Our amazing experience:
My wife Sumita, my sister-in-law
and I planned a trip to Agra by car to see the Taj Mahal and also planned to
visit the nearby places of Fatehpur Sikri, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and although
we are not given much to a religious disposition, on our Landlady’s insistence
that we should definitely visit the Balaji temple, put it on our itinerary, as
it was just a short distance from the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
When we reached the Balaji temple, we were astonished
to see a long line comprising thousands of devotees snaking out way beyond the
nearby hill that I have mentioned above. I thought that there must be at least
1,00,000 to 1,50,000 people already present there waiting patiently for their
turn to enter the temple. Somewhat disappointed, I asked someone the reason for
such a long line. I was told that we had come on a special day for the God
Balaji and that thousands of people had been waiting in line since early
morning to get a “Darshan” (“pray at
the Altar”) of Balaji. I was also told that it would take at least five to six
hours of waiting in the line/queue before we had any chance of getting a “Darshan”.
So, if we had waited in line, we would have to forego/curtail
our remaining site-seeing programme (viz.: the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and
Fatehpur Sikri , as well as, reach back to Agra very late at night, which we
wanted to avoid at all costs.
Somewhat disappointed, I climbed up on the steps of the
Ram Temple, opposite the Balaji Temple from where I could see the face of the statue
of Balaji over the heads of the milling crowds. To me Balaji looked absolutely
harassed with so many people streaming in since morning and not giving him any
smiled apologetically and mentally spoke to the idol saying that we were not
able to make it this time due to our tight itinerary and promised to come some
other time on another visit.
The God’s idol seemed to be telling me that he could’nt
help the unprecedented rush of pilgrims on this festival day and if I left
without entering the temple, then I
would never come again this far, so I had to get an audience with him on this
very trip itself.
Suddenly, there was a commotion and a group of three to
four volunteers with bamboo sticks who had been managing the stream of devotees
into the temple and maintaining their line, suddenly halted the line of
devotees, while the ones in front were ushered into the temple leaving a long vacant
gap. My sister-in-law and Sumita lost no opportunity and climbed into the line.
I protested that “breaking the queue” was not a right thing to do as all the
devotees had been waiting to get a “darshan”
for hours. But it seemed that everyone was waiting for me to get into the queue.
As soon as I joined the line bare-foot (after kicking off my new sandals), the
gap in the line closed. One of the volunteers even admonished me (to my chagrin)
that “breaking the queue was not a very civilised thing to do”, but no one else
seemed to be bothered.
I noticed that there was a young girl in the queue behind
me, perhaps in her early twenties who took upon herself the task of guiding me
through the “Balaji’s darshan”. She
told me that all three of us should buy “prasad”
(sweets offered by the devotee to the God and after getting the God’s
blessings, getting them back for distribution among the pilgrims). An elderly
shopkeeper from across the road sent his young helper with three sets of “prasad” for the three of us. I offered
to pay him the cost for the three sets, but he smiled & said “pay me when
you come back after the “darshan”). I
thanked him and moved forward along with the orderly line being ushered into
the main temple.
Suddenly, I saw that many people in the line, who were
being ushered in, started wailing as if “possessed by evil spirits”, two ladies
even let down their hair and while wailing like banshees, tried to flee the
line, but were restrained by their attendants. The young girl behind me told me
not to be afraid because the wailing would stop once they reached the God’s
presence and they would be completely cured of their “afflictions”. I was
amazed to see the wailing persons suddenly became calm as soon as they
touched/gripped the railing placed before the God’s idol.
The young girl told all three of us to give the “prasad” to the priest attending to the
God’s work at that time, who returned the packets after taking Balaji’s
blessings, but the girl warned us not to eat the “prasad” once it was returned. Then as we were making our way out of
the temple, I asked her why we should not eat the “prasad”. She replied because it could be “possessed by evil
spirits” and a little way up, she made us turn around and fling the “prasad” packet over our shoulders into a
heap of “prasad” which had been
disposed likewise by the devotees who had gone before us.
We thanked her profusely for guiding us throughout the
entire “darshan” which had hardly
taken 15 minutes from start to finish.
She laughed and said she had enjoyed the experience
very much and was going back to join the end of the line of devotees for
another round of “darshan”. I
cautioned her that she would have to wait hours before she got another “darshan”, but she simply shrugged her
shoulders and went on her way to rejoin the line by saying “I have got all day”.
present moment contains an eternity:
I now turned to thank the volunteers who had helped us but there were no volunteers.
Amazed, I asked people in the line of devotees waiting to get a “darshan” as to
what had happened to the volunteers with the bamboo sticks who were managing
the line of devotees. They told me that there was no one who had been managing
the line and that they had not encountered any volunteers. Shocked beyond
words, I went to see the “mahant” (chief
priest) at his residence. He also told me that the devotees’ line manages
itself and he was not aware of any volunteers helping out, like I had
Intrigued, I went to pay for the “prasad”. Instead of the elderly kindly gentleman,
a young man was attending to customers. I tried to pay him for the
three sets of “prasad”, but he said he would not accept any money from me,
because he had not given me any. I told him that it was “Babuji” (elderly gentleman) who had given us the “prasad” through a
little boy. He looked at me quizzically and said “Babuji” could not have given you the “prasad” because he had passed away a few years ago. I stood rooted
to the ground when I saw “Babuji’s”
photo on the wall of the shop. Another look at the boy tending to the customers
made me realise that he was the young boy who had brought the “prasad” packets to us, but somehow he
had grown by several years. I did not pursue the matter further with him, because
he was busy with his customers.
Not one to give up easily, I tried to locate the young
girl who had guided us through the “Balaji
darshan”, but I could not find her
all my sense of reasoning and rationality, I stood up on the Ram Temple
steps again and looked towards the Balaji idol. This time it seemed to be very
pleased and laughing. I told him mentally, “It was you who had guided me through
the young girl on your “darshan”. Also, you did not let me pay for the “prasad”,
because the “darshan” was organised at your wish so you got the past to merge with the present and
become one with the present because you got “Babuji” to send us the “prasad”
on your behalf as your ambassador. The four volunteers with the bamboo sticks
were also sent by you, so that we could join the “darshan” line. Thank you Balaji for giving us a memorable and
unbelievable experience that I will never forget and always remember your
Before leaving the temple area on our onward journey I
looked around a last time, everything seemed to be going on as usual. It was as
if the 15 minutes of “Balaji’s darshan”
had happened in a split second, so fast that no one had ever noticed the “tear
in the fabric of time” which made us get an audience with Balaji.
that day I have come to truly believe “that the present moment contains an
Links to some other short stories on this Blog by Rajeev Prasad: