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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 Hanuman temple:

In 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 popularity:

        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 conclusive findings:

        Several 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:

        It is 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.

       The Story:

       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 respite.

 Nevertheless, I 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”.

The 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 mentioned.

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 anywhere.

Having lost 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 largesse.”

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.

Since that day I have come to truly believe “that the present moment contains an eternity”.

Links to some other short stories on this Blog by Rajeev Prasad:


  1. Dhruv Kumar Seth has commented:
    "Sir kiya really aisaa hot hai?"

    1. Seth sahab, Keh nahin sakte. Lekin yeh hamare saath hua tha karib 20 saal pehle. Hum na toh "believers" ki category aur na hi "sceptics" ki category mein aate hain. Lekin aaj tak is "darshan" ko explain karne ki koshish kar rahe hain.

  2. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented:
    "The experience appears to be beyond logic. There could be similar places where such temples of other deities are located. One such temple is 'Gangapur' (गाणगापूर) in Karnataka which is about 95 kms by road from Solapur to Ganagapur. It is one of the famous places having 'Jagrut' (means - Awakened) 'Shree Datta' temples. I am sharing one link - If you open the link you will get a video clip of the Gangapur."

  3. Satyajit Pratap has commented:
    "Indeed Rajeev Prasad very's a matter of faith , besides experiences may not be the same to all is unique to each one ..."

    1. Yes, indeed, Satyajit. However, after almost 20 years, we have still not been able to explain as to how comfortably we got the "darshan". It definitely was not a "virtual reality" show.

  4. Bineet Pandey has commented:
    "Amazing boss Balaji ki mahima Jai Balaji. I also went to the temple once but had no such luck the crowd was huge I just had darshan from outside n came back but the locals told me about lot of such tales it seems Balaji himself blessed u"

    1. So true, Bineet. If we had not experienced it ourselves, I would have never thought that the "Darshan" that day was possible, what with the huge crowds of devotees and all. I had even said my goodbyes to Balaji, when everything simply happened to fall in place for an "amazing darshan".

  5. Rattan Nath has commented:
    "The most common evil spirit is methanol. That the hanuman idol is able to change it into something less harmful is remarkable. It is probably worth getting the chemists at National labs involved in so that the chemistry can be reported.
    Hopefully methanol afflicted can regain their sight and make deaths due to wood alcohol a thing of the past."

    1. Quite an interesting observation Rattan. I wonder if the scientists who had researched this "phenomenon" at the Balaji temple also examined this aspect, during their researches. Here what happens is that the "possessed person" is brought to the temple compound screaming & shrieking like a banshee. His/her attendants camp here for weeks on end. The "patient" is kept chained by the hand to the railing leading to the main temple and is moved closed by about a foot to a metre every day towards the temple. Finally the attendants take the "patient" inside the temple, after which the patient is "completely cured" and can go home. We were quite shocked at this seemingly "inhuman treatment" but the belief is that "it works".

    2. Rattan Nath has further commented:
      "This process (or minor variants thereof) is seen in many churches too. Indeed one can visit a Pentecostal congregation and see remarkable scenes every Sunday--sometimes even more often."