The Hindu milk miracle was a phenomenon reported to have occurred on September 21, 1995. 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 organisation) 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.
A person offering a spoonful of milk to a Hindu idol.
It should be possible to replace this non-free image with a freely licensed one. If you can, please do so as soon as is practical.
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 colouring. 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.
Moreover, the "capillary action" explanation resulted in further doubts. Although rocks, stones and other solids are indeed capable of capillary action, their density usually is such that any capillary action performed is extremely gradual and slow. Most solids, such as those likely to be used for carvings and sculptures, are of such an extreme density that they are rendered virtually impermeable. Yet the rate of liquid absorption evidenced in the videos indicate a high rate of intake that is almost impossible for most such solid objects to achieve. The capillary action shown is more akin to the rapid absorption rates obtained by sponges and other highly porous materials.
Additionally, many of the fed idols were painted over completely. Sometimes in several different layers due to the many colors applied. Paint forms a water-resistant coating that greatly negates the absorption capabilities of porous materials like plaster and wood, some of the most common materials used to manufacture the drinking' idols . Painted rock & stone (even pumice) would have almost no capillary action capabilities left to it. Another explanation of this phenomenon attributed the "drinking" to dribble. That is to say, it was suspected the feeders were simply dribbling the liquid down from the spoons as they served it. But the amount of overflow shown in the videos trickling down in such a manner, particularly in comparison to the massive amounts of milk being offered, is negligible indeed. Even the devotees who seem to be ‘force-feeding’ the idols get much more ‘in’ than what is spilled over. Therefore, the capillary action and overflow theories presented in order to debunk the phenomenon have actually resulted scientifically unsatisfactory and incomplete to this date.
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.
PS: This is out of theme with the rest of blog, just to keep a copy of it and sharing with world!
written by Nick at Friday, September 21, 2007