The Lord Dranketh

An excerpt from "Hinduism Today" :

""The" Supernatural Event of This Century Is Experienced Simultaneously Worldwide

    It all began on September 21st when an otherwise ordinary man in New Delhi dreamt that Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of Wisdom, craved a little milk. Upon awakening, he rushed in the dark before dawn to the nearest temple, where a skeptical priest allowed him to proffer a spoonful of milk to the small stone image. Both watched in astonishment as it disappeared, magically consumed by the God. What followed is unprecedented in modern Hindu history. Within hours news had spread like a brush fire across India that Ganesha was accepting milk offerings. Tens of millions of people of all ages flocked to the nation's temples. The unworldly happening brought worldly New Delhi to a standstill, and its vast stocks of milk-more than a million liters-sold out within hours. Just as suddenly as it started in India, it stopped in just 24 hours.

    But it was just beginning elsewhere as Hindus in India called their relatives in other parts of the world. Soon our Hinduism Today offices were flooded with reports from around the world. Everywhere the story was the same. A teaspoonful of milk offered by touching it to Ganesha's trunk, tusk or mouth would disappear in a few seconds to a few minutes, not always, but with unprecedented frequency. Reuters news service quoted Anila Premji, "I held the spoon out level, and it just disappeared. To me it was just a miracle. It gave me a sense of feeling that there is a God, a sense of Spirit on this Earth." Not only Ganesha, but Siva, Parvati, Nandi and the Naga, Siva's snake, took milk."

What I have seen, heard and experienced.

    I hail from the tiny republic of Singapore and there too did Lord Ganesa drink milk and honor me by taking milk from my very hand before my unbelieving eyes. Being on my way to becoming an engineer, I couldn't help but ask what most any technical/scientific person would ask ; why and how? I discussed this phenomenon with my peers and professors, both Hindu and non-Hindu in search of an explanation. Here is a summary of the views, debates and explanations offered to me :

The Believers

The Hindu View

  The basic explanation by most of the Hindu believers of this divine phenomenon lies in the ancient Hindu myth of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu, also known as Dhasavatara. Vishnu is said to have 10 avatars or incarnations of himself. The last avatar, Kalki is yet to come in Kaliyuga, the final and current yuga or phase of this universe. He will appear at the end of this world riding a white stallion to punish the wicked and reward the pious. Ganesa, being the Lord of beginnings and the remover of obstacles, is thought to have arrived on earth to initiate and clear the way for the imminent arrival of Kalki. He is thought to be a warning to all mankind to mend their ways and seek the path to dharma before Kalki arrives and judges mankind and annihilates the universe. Furthermore, several interpretations on the predictions of Nostradamus and the increasing surges in  of the many cults that believed that the world would come to an end in 2000 fueled belief in this explanation.

The Christian View

  Some staunch Christians offered the following explanation. They, as good Christians did not believe in  Lord Ganesa nor for that matter in Hinduism. But they did believe in the Christian myth of the coming of the false prophet or the anti-Christ who, with an uncanny parallel to the Hindu myth, is a "forewarning", if you will, of the arrival of their one true God for the final judgment. They strongly believed that Christianity was the one true religion and that all the others were pagan or false religions. They also believed in the Biblical connotation that the worship of an idol, especially one that is theriomorphic (fully or partially in the form of an animal) was considered to be the worship of the anti-Christ. Ganesa, having the head of an elephant and displaying the sign of the svastika, personified, to them, the arrival of the anti-Christ. Also, the sudden increase in the number of believers of Ganesa, both Hindu and non-Hindu,  held true to their myth where the masses of the world would wrongly believe and be misled by the false prophet. These prophecies seemingly coming true through the drinking of milk by Ganesa, strengthened belief in this Christian explanation.

The Non-believers

    Despite being a Hindu, I can't help being partial to the non-believer's scientific explanation for this seemingly divine occurrence as an engineering student. This theory lies in the principles of capillary action. Those familiar with Indian artistry will know that Indian sculptures are carved intricately with many a fine line. The sculptures of Ganesa are no less different. Hence, when milk is held up to the sculpture of Ganesa, especially around the trunk, the milk is "sucked up" into the fine lines of the sculpture through capillary action. Upon trying to feed Ganesa, I myself noticed that the milk sucked up, collected at the feet or base of the figure. Once the milk reached a certain level, the feeding stopped and continued only when the milk accumulated at the base was emptied. I also noticed that when initially feeding a totally dry sculpture, the milk did not in fact collect anywhere. It seemed to have vanished into thin air. But again, upon closer inspection, I realized that the stone sculpture was itself, a little moist. The explanation : just as a rain drop falling onto the pavement disappears but having darkened the spot where it fell indicating that the concrete pavement has adsorbed it, so too did the stone sculpture of Ganesa I was experimenting with, darken. It also felt a little heavier, although I must admit that I did not weigh the stone sculpture before and after Ganesa consumed the milk.

    Some have argued that if capillary action was the culprit, why did other liquids such as water or honey not have the same effect of being sucked up? The answer, again lies in science, more specifically the science of liquid viscosity.  Water is a less viscous or less thick a liquid than milk. It is too fluid by nature to be simply sucked up through capillary action. Honey, on the other hand, is simply too thick. It is so heavy and highly viscous that any capillary action does not have an effect on it. In this case, milk coincidentally had the correct viscosity to produce a seemingly divine occurrence. If this theory is correct, then, any other liquid with the same viscosity as that of milk will reproduce the effect of sculptures consuming milk.

    The Hindu part of myself, however fails to acknowledge the above scientific thesis. It makes me wonder if I were a modern day Kubera, feeding Lord Ganesa in search of a scientific explanation, failing miserably to see his divine grace. No matter how much I refute the fact, I have to admit that I did feed Lord Ganesa with a critical eye without faith, devotion, love nor humility. Maybe, the Lord of Obstacles made me see what I wanted to see, obscuring his divine message to me. I can't help but recall an ancient Hindu poem I read a long time which reminds me of my predicament.

Though the story seems a lie,
Truth is hidden from the eye.
What's a lie?
What is true?
Make a guess,
Its up to you.

The Symbolism of Elephants in Indian Culture
Mythical Origins
Historic Origins


Related  Link :
The Great Ganapati Milk Udyog