It is common practice to offer a coconut and sometimes fruits to the Deities during prayers. The Deities are of course, flexible enough to accept anything that is offered to them!
Yummy sweets are of course the favourites. In fact, sweets in quantity of quintals not uncommon in bigger temples! But then can it be believed that a Deity, in the form of idol, consume quintals of sweets. We have often heard, “Man proposes, God disposes.” In the case of offerings in temples, it is more like “in the name of God, man disposes”, the people around who serve the Deity get rewarded.
Around 1989, we had 11 manufacturing units on lease in Shahpura near Jaipur. They produced granite tiles which we exported. I was on a follow-up visit to Rajasthan with my business associate, Vishnu Goyal. In our casual conversation while travelling, we came around to the topic of a Goddess who is offered liquor instead of coconuts and fruits. And what’s more, she gracefully accepts and consumes it on the spot, in the presence of the devotees. This supposedly had been happening for ages.
Incidentally, Vishnuji knew one of the trustees of that temple very well and he had witnessed this himself, from very close proximity. I expressed my doubts. He said, “ anyone can visit the temple and witness the act. But if you are interested, I can arrange a visit where you can get very close to the Goddess’ idol.” I was interested indeed. He talked to one of the trustees and we visited the temple together.
I was very excited. Jeenmata temple is situated in a thick forest, about 10 kilometres from a village, Rewasa. The Goddess had a large number of followers from all over India.
As per Wikipedia, “Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb wanted to raze to the ground the Mandir of Mata (Mother Goddess). Being invoked by Her priests, the Mata let out its army of bhairons (a specie of fly family) which brought the Emperor and his soldiers to their knees. He sought pardon and the kind hearted Mataji excused him from Her anger. Aurangzeb donated akhand (Ever-glowing) oil lamp from his Delhi palace.” This lamp glows in the sacred sanctorium till date.
Off the Shikhar-Jaipur highway, a rough isolated road leads us to the Temple. The villagers with their bullock carts used this road during the day for their regular agricultural needs. However at night, it was not uncommon to see horse-riders on this road. I was surprised.
This area had hidden villages. The residents of those hidden villages were dacoits who used horses. These bandits were loyal followers of the Goddess. I was told that the bandits surrender half their loot to the temple to be used to help those in need. Some mornings, the temple authorities had found many valuable offerings lying at the entrance of the temple.
Close to the temple, rooms were available free of cost to worshippers for overnight stay. The temple offered free meals too.
I bought a bottle of brandy to offer to the Goddess. To maintain the purity of the place, the visitors are usually asked to stand about 10 feet away from the idol as the priest performed prayers. He then offered the liquor brought by the devotees.
As a very special case, under the instructions of the trustee, we were taken inside the central sanctum of the temple. It was semi-dark inside. I was just about two feet away from the idol. The idol was about 4-5ft in height. The brandy bottle was poured in a deep copper plate of about 8 inches diameter. The plate had a 2” tall rim and there was no way for the liquid to drain out.
I could smell the alcohol as it was poured out from the bottle to the plate. The priest offered the brandy to the Goddess by moving the plate from left to right in front of the Idol. After the third round, the priest took the plate to the Goddess’ lip. Aaah…..! The liquid vanished and the plate was empty!
I was told that this act was being performed, many times a day, every day of the year, for hundreds of years. No outlet could be seen nor any symptoms of trickery. No smell of the liquor either, if the liquor was being thrown away. Supposedly, there were a lot of investigations and studies by many Indian and overseas institutions, but could not find trickery, nor could they prove how it was done. The space around the temple was also dug out, but no symptoms of the liquid were found anywhere.
I visited the temple a couple more time later with friends and relatives and found the same thing happened every time. But, when I visited this place once again about 2 years ago, I was told that the practice of offering liquor has been stopped under advice from the authorities!
However, I am told liquor is being offered even now at another temple in India, Kaal Bhairavnath Temple near Ujjain.
Doesn’t the disappearance of liquor offered to an Idol, within seconds, sound unbelievable? But I had to believe after watching it myself. Just one of those miracles!
Experienced and Written By: Badri Baldawa