India's spirituality has attracted people from across the globe. For centuries, foreigners come to India in quest of knowing the ultimate truth, which is God. While many of them started believing in Hinduism, some studied different spiritual paths, which India propagated to reach the ultimate reality.
Britishers were no exception. Though Britishers, during their long rule in the Indian subcontinent, built several churches, India's spirituality always intrigued them. Many of them turned devouts. They expressed faith in the Hindu pantheon and carried amazing stories about their divine experiences when they returned to their country.
WittyFeed brings you an interesting anecdote, which proves this point. A British couple rebuilt a Shiva temple in 1880s. This Shiva temple in Agar Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, was renovated by Lieutenant Colonel Martin. Why did he do that?
Read the story to know more about the incident.
Visit any ISKCON or Shiva temple and you will see many foreigners meditating and chanting mantras. Even before ISKCON came into existence, many Britishers who stayed in pre-Independent India expressed faith in Hinduism.
Hindus believe that wherever we are our Gods are always with us, keeping an eye on devotees. But do they only bless Hindus? There have been stories that claim about Hindu Gods and saints blessing people of other nationalities too. And it's only stupid to believe that Gods will ever discriminate between religions for religions are created by humans.
One such story about Hindu Gods blessing people of different nationalities is a reality. The Baijnath Mahadev Temple located in Agar Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, stands proof for it.
The British Raj in India brought slavery and destruction. But there's one tale that will truly move you as it is about love, faith, and belief.
In 1879, Lieutenant Colonel Martin was leading the British army in the war against Afghanistan and used to send messages of his well-being to his wife who was at that time living in Agar Malwa. The war continued for quite some time and Lady Martin suddenly stopped getting the messages. She was worried about her husband.
Her domestic help suggested her to worship Lord Shiva – the conqueror of Kaal (Time, Death). Soon after that, while riding on her horse Lady Martin passed by the temple of Baijnath Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and was attracted to the sounds of conches and mantra.
Lady Martin visited the temple and seeing her upset, the Brahmins worshipping there gave her the Mantra, 'Om Namah Shivaya' as part of 'Laghurudra Anushtthan'. She was asked to chant the mantra for 11 days. She prayed to Lord Shiva and said if her husband comes back home safely she will get the temple renovated.
On the 11th day of her chanting, she received a letter from her husband that read, "I was regularly sending messages to you from the battleground but suddenly the Pathan Muslims surrounded us from all sides.
We were entrapped in a situation where there was no scope of escaping death. Suddenly, I saw a Yogi of India with long hair, carrying a Trident. His personality was amazing and he was maneuvering his weapon in a magnificent style.
Seeing this great man, the Pathans started running back. With his grace, our bad times turned into moments of victory. This was possible only because of that man of India wearing a lion skin & carrying a three-pointer weapon. That 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."
After a few weeks, the British officer returned home safely. He and his wife went to the Shiva temple to seek the blessings. Seeing the idol of Lord Shiva, Lt. Colonel Martin realised that the yogi with braided hair who saved him and his army in Afghanistan resembled Lord Shiva.
Like Lady Martin, Lt Col Martin too became a devotee of Lord Shiva as now he truly believed that the yogi with braided locks was none other than Lord Shiva. In 1883, they donated Rs 15,000 for renovating the temple. Their name is still engraved on a slab inside the temple.
A section of historians say that the Baijnath Mahadev temple of Agar Malwa is the only Hindu temple rebuilt by a British officer during their rule in Central India.
There are other stories too where Hindu gods and saints have blessed people from different faiths.
Below are some examples.
Bhoghar Siddhar was bestowed with yogic siddhis by Lord Murugan. Siddhar crafted the idol of Lord Muruga at the Palani Dandayudhapani Swami Temple, Tamil Nadu, and is widely respected as one of the famous 18 Siddhas. He introduced the science of making medicines to Chinese people.
It is recorded by Sir Thomas Munro, the British collector of Bellary in 1800 AD. According to Munro, nearly 130 years after taking JivaSamadhi, the great saint Shri Raghavendra Swamy appeared before him in spirit at Mantralayam at Swami's Samadhi to bless him and clear the doubts Sir Munro had about the land owned by the Swami's Mutt.
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba blessed a British officer and his wife who were childless. The couple then became parents.
A Siddha Sannyasi, Isanya Desikar, attained Samadhi in Tiruvannamalai and exerted a strong influence over an Englishman, Ayton, who was a District Collector. Ayton affectionately called Isanya Desikar as 'Thatha' (grandfather).
He was suffering from tuberculosis and it was Thatha who cured Ayton of this ailment. The chariot of Lord Arunachaleswarar used to be pulled by Ayton chanting the name of Isanya Desikar at every Deepam festival.
Noor Fatmi, a devoted Muslim widow, built the Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple in Varanasi in 2005. According to media reports, Lord Shiva appeared in her dreams and asked her to construct the temple. She got support Hindu and Muslim communities to complete the temple in 3 months.