Friday, January 20, 2012

Mahadev and Martins

Many times good inputs flow into our ears from our friends and relatives.Only then we come to understand the significance of like minded people around us. We call the group  as "sathsang". They share whatever they have enjoyed and experienced . A true devotee does not stop there. He wants others also to experience the same bliss. Saint Thirumoolar went further by saying that he wished the entire Universe to be blessed in the same way. I have great pleasure in thanking my dear friend Shri Mani who has forwarded an article published recently by The Indian Express.I appreciate his desire to share the inspiring article among devotees who might have missed reading the Newspaper. The true story from the article,captioned as "The only Indian Temple built by an Englishman" written by Sangram K Parhi is retold here without reproducing the text entirely.

Agar Malwa is located in Bhajapur District of Madhya Pradesh. The Indore - Kota Highway passes through the picturesque region, surrounded by mountains and lakes. It was the capital of Parmar Kingdom during 10th century. It is also known for its red soil which can not be found even 1-2 Km outside the town. It was also a cantonment when the British ruled India. Lt Col Martin,who  stayed here with his wife in 1880 s had to move to Afghan to participate in the war, leaving Mrs Martin at Agar Malwa. Although he used to write to his wife regularly , he could not convey after some time because of the grim situation at the war front. Fear gripped Mrs Martin and she could do nothing except keeping her fingers crossed.

One day , Mrs Marin was riding her horse and came close to the Temple of Baijnath Mahadev which was in a dilapidated condtion. She heard sounds of Mantras chanted over there along with noises of conches at the time of "arti". As she was absorbed by the Divine atmosphere, she alighted from the horse and went inside the Shrine. She was delighted to see the prayers offered to Shri Shankar Mahadev. On seeing the sorrowful face of Mrs Martin, the priests enquired her about the reason for her grief. She narrated them the cause of her worry. The priests consoled her by saying that Lord Shiva always saves His devotees from difficulties and advised her to chant the Mantra "Om Namah Shivaya" for eleven days.

Mrs Martin prayed Lord Mahadev with great belief by chanting the Mantra every day for the safe return of her husband. She even promised that she would rebuild the Temple if her prayers were answered. She was delighted to receive a letter on the tenth day from her husband. Readers will definitely admire the portion of the text of the letter published by Indian express. The letter, brought by a messenger from Afghan battlefield read as follows:

" I was regularly sending you letters from the battlefield but then suddenly the Pathans surrounded us. I thought there was no way to escape. Suddenly I saw an Indian Yogi with long hair,wearing a tiger skin carrying a Trident. He had an awe-inspiring personality and he started wielding his weapon against the Afghans who ran away from the field in fright. With His grace,what was certain death , our bad times turned into victory. Then the great Yogi told me that I should not worry and that he had come to rescue me because he was very pleased with my wife's prayers."

On seeing the letter, Mrs Marin fell at the feet of Baijnath Mahadev at the Temple and sobbed and tears rolled over her cheeks with gratitude. Lt Col Martin returned after few weeks and she told him the entire story. The couple donated Rs 15000 in 1883 for rebuilding the Temple. The slab in this Temple still carries the information engraved on it. The Martins who became staunch devotees of Lord Shiva went back to England with a determination of building a Temple for Lord Shiva at their place and spend remaining part of their life. And they were blessed.