The following story is about events that occurred one day in September,
1995. A similar phenomenon, I’ve learned, was repeated in
2006, 2008, and 2010. The phenomenon is one of
dematerialization and nobody has clue to explain it. I’ll start to
worry when people start to dematerialize.
Just before dawn (on a day in 1995) a man from New Delhi dreamed that Lord Ganesha,
the elephant-headed god of wisdom, wanted milk. The man
dashed out to the first temple to make a milk offering to the statue
of Ganesha; much to his amazement he watched the milk disappear
before his eyes. The impossible nature of what he saw was obvious.
Others joined him and witnesses multiplied. By the end of the day,
reports of statues “drinking” milk were coming from all parts of India
and from Hindu communities in London and other parts of the world.
The entire phenomenon, witnessed by millions, seems to have ended
after about 24 hours. “The `milk-miracle’ may go down in history as the most important
event shared by Hindus of this century, if not in the last millennium,”
reported Hinduism Today in 1996. Ordinary life in New
Delhi came to a standstill while liter upon liter of milk vanished
into thin air. The stock market in (what was then called) Bombay
came to a halt as people rushed to temples to witness and participate
in the wonder.
Disbelievers sneered and called it “mass hysteria.”
The initial response of the Indian press condemned the reports as
ignorant and superstitious. Newspaper reporters who witnessed the
phenomenon from the UK, USA, Denmark, Germany and Canada
were less glib. Reporters from the Washington Post did not reject as
illusion what they personally witnessed at a Maryland Hindu temple.
UK reporter Rebecca Maer visited a temple in Southall and wrote in
the Daily Express, “It’s difficult to dismiss something you have seen
for yourself.” The diehard denier will simply respond by saying that
people can be convinced they saw something that was in fact an illusion.
True, but proof is needed that it really is an illusion. What I
saw on CNN was no illusion. It was perfectly clear; the white liquid,
from inside its container, slowly diminished in size until it was all
Two Hindu students of mine were in India at the time of the
phenomenon and wrote accounts of what they personally observed.
One of them confirmed a fact I had read about in the newspapers.
There was a milk shortage around the country as a result of all the
milk that Lord Ganesha drank up! Here is the story from my other
student, Deepak Bhagchandani: “I have personally witnessed and experienced
the opportunity to feed the Lord with my own hands in a
temple, in New Delhi. I stood and waited in a queue at the Ganesha
temple. It was astonishing and unbelievable when my turn came to
offer milk to the Lord. I took a spoonful of milk in my hands and
placed it near the sculpture. The milk disappeared slowly and gradually.
It was not flowing down or being wasted. As a matter of fact, I
could see no traces of milk anywhere.” Deepak adds that he returned
to the queue three times for a repeat performance. (Deepak also wrote
an account of his witnessing “bhabutti,” or sacred ash, materialize
from a Sai Baba photo, a widely reported phenomenon.) Remarkably,
this story of Ganesha, altogether astonishing, quickly vanished from
public consciousness; it seems to have made a very slight impression
on the Western mind.
Disbelievers came up with lame objections. A reporter for the
Indian Express complained about wasting milk! Others bemoaned
the loss of time on the job, so many people having fled their workplaces
to witness the wonderfully amusing but superfluous miracle.
They complained about the “absence of a scientific temper” without
putting the issue to a test themselves. The disbelievers were so frantic
they moralized about the “failure of the education system.” Miracles,
according to Malini Parthasarathy, writing for Chicago’s India Tribune,
were “anachronisms incompatible with the vision of a secular
and scientifically oriented India.” How rude!—how lower class of
miracles! Don’t they know their place?
(For the full story, see my book, Smile of the Universe, available on