Mumbai: The Babulnath Temple has approached IIT-Bombay as the Shivling is cracking. However, the temple authorities have said that the lingam is not 'khandit' [cracked or damaged].
As per Hindu belief, prayers are not offered to a Shivling which is khandit or damaged and it is usually immersed.
Temple disallows the use of milk as offering
The temple authorities have disallowed using milk or other liquid offerings on the lingam except water. The practice was stopped during COVID; despite the restrictions being lifted, the authorities continued with rule to disallow devotees only water.
Even during the recent Mahashivaratri festivities, the devotees were allowed to only offer water since milk is being considered to be the reason among others for cracks to appear on the lingam.
Ironically, the temple uses milk when doing 'Abhishek'. Abhishek (ablution) is the practice of offering water, honey, curd and other offerings. It is common among Hindus and other temples.
Trustees approached IIT a fortnight ago
Speaking to Free Press Journal, Mukesh Kanojia, Manager of the Trust looking after the temple, said, "The cracking of Shivling is an old thing. Currently, devotees are permitted to offer water only between 6 am to 12 pm. A devotee recently arrived to offer milk but was not allowed to do so. Even during Mahashivratri, it was not allowed."
He further added, "The temple's trustees had approached IIT for a report. The Bhatjis had approached Mangal Prabhat Lodha and he had informed them about the same. We gave them a report 15 days ago; until their inferences come out, only priests can offer milk and curd."
Mangal Prabhat Lodha's intervention sought
Temple trustees had approached Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha before Mahashivratri who suggested temple authorities only offer water and flowers. "The temple wanted to stop offerings due to increased load for the occasion since many devotees flock to temple on Mahashivratri. However, Mangal (ji) mediated the situation and suggested only water and flowers be accepted as offerings," said Nilesh Kale, private assistant to Lodha.
Priest says adulteration in milk causing cracks on Shivling
A priest told FPJ that cracks mean Shivling is 'Khandit' and that offerings cannot be made.
"If there are cracks, then the Shivling is considered Khandit and prayers cannot be offered. The lingam is immersed. Babulnath is an ancient temple where the Shivling is Swayambhu (on its own). Prayers still take place if the cracks have developed around the lingam but not when it appears on the Shivling. It is immersed in water unless corrective measures are taken," said Acharya Shri Sanjay, a priest.
Sanjay added that the adulteration in milk is a problem and is causing cracks on the Shivling.
Manager of the Trust maintains Shivling is not Khandit
Meanwhile, Kanojia has maintained that the Shivling is not khandit. He added that the examiners came to the temple for inspection a fortnight ago.
Pradeep Shroff, one of the Trustees, did not answer calls or messages when FPJ sought to know when was the crack spotted and when did they approach IIT Bombay.
The story will be updated whenever Shroff and officials from IIT respond.
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