People turn to deities in HP for answers to Covid-19 as temples give freely to CM’s relief fund
Baba Balak Nath temple in Hamirpur, the first Hindu shrine in the state to join the battle Covid-19, has donated Rs 5 crore to the chief minister’s Covid response fund.Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 19:44 IST
Its mountains almost touching the heavens and its numerous ruling deities truly make Himachal Pradesh dev bhoomi (land of the gods), and now, with the battle against Covid-19 getting fiercer, people are turning to temples and the gods and goddesses for aid… and answers, as they have done through centuries during a crisis or calamity.
Last week two temples, Baba Balak Nath shrine in Hamirpur and Chinmastika Dham or Chintpurni Temple, one of the state’s richest shrines and an important Shakti peetha (spiritual power centre), donated Rs 5 crore each to the chief minister’s Covid-19 relief fund
Two other major temples, Jawalaji and Brajeshwari Devi in Kangra district are proposing to donate Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh, respectively, again to the state’s coffers.
Temples across Rohru and Jubbal have opened their treasuries for the second time after the Sino-India war in 1962, when the country faced a financial crunch.
Deity speak: Wait for a month
Deities, speaking through their gurs or priests, who also act as interlocutors between the gods and devotees, have predicted that Covid-19 will continue to spread for another month. Some have blessed rice to be distributed in villages. “We had invoked the local deity Jaga Mata, believed to be the manifestation of Lord Krishna’s mother Devaki, and she predicted that the impact of virus will reduce in the coming month but it will continue to wreak havoc for a few years,” says Vinod Boris, kardar or manager of the Mahasu Mandir Committee in Balsa, Shimla. “The deities have decreed that rice be given to every person in the village to protect them from the virus.”
In Kullu the committee of kardars had invoked the town’s supreme deity, Hadimba mata, wife of Pandava Bhim, who presides over the Hadimba Temple in Manali, which was built by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in 1553. “People here have firm faith in the goddess, she has vowed to protect us and our people in Kullu valley,” says Jai Dev Thakur, head of the Kullu Devi Devta Kardar Sangh, an association of a committee which manages various temples across Kullu. They are also donating cash and other relief material.
The temple committee in Gothan village in Theogh, which has the influential Dhoom Devta as its principal deity, has decided to donate a ventilator to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) in Shimla. “We will shortly donate a ventilator to IGMC,” says Madan Lal Verma head of the temple committee.