Do you believe in evil spirits ?
There’s a saying which goes “If you believe in Gods, then you must believe in black magic too.” What I witnessed at the temple of Balaji in the village of Mehandipur today was supernatural.
About the place :
The temple of Balaji dedicated to Shree Hanuman is in the village of Mehandipur, 110 kms from Jaipur in the district of Dausa, Rajasthan. Its named as Balaji as the place depicts the childhood of Hanumanji. ( Bal in Hindi means Child ) The specialty of this temple is that it’s popular for exorcism. As a result people from all over India flock to this place to get rid of evil spirits. Definitely not the place for the faint hearted, the scenes inside the temple are extremely distracting.
Scenes Inside the Temple :
I walked inside the Balaji temple. As I was walking inside, I could see people carrying Laddoos to be offered as Bhog to the deity. I followed the queue towards the inside of the temple. This is where the scenes changed completely. There was loud chants of Hanuman Chalisa inside the Mandir ( read temple ). Almost everyone was singing. I picked my spot and decided to sit down. My hands accidentally hit the lady sitting there. “Sorry” I said. She ignored me. 4 seconds later, she started shaking her head vigorously. And I was in shock. The singing of devotional songs by everyone continued. As the pace of song increased, her trance became stronger. “Siya Ke Ram” “Siya Ke Ram” people started shouting and the lady started shouting. “Babaaaa…. Baabaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! I pulled out my diary and decided to jot down. The chanting grew stronger. I couldn’t focus on my writing. I turned around to see what was happening. And the scenes what I saw on that hall was disturbing to say the least.
A girl aged around 17 started yelling. 10 seconds later she started doing somersaults. I couldn’t believe my eyes. After some time she started walking. She used to start walking from one side of the wall towards the another and come back somersaulting. All of a sudden her walk changed into running! She started running regardless of what’s happening around. The devotional songs continued all this while. People raised there arms in between as a gesture of respect to the God. “Bolo Shree Hanuman Chandra Ki Jai!” The girl started running towards the walls and continued hitting herself. She was in some other state. Even those strong walls couldn’t restrain her from continuing her acts.
I gradually shifted my attention towards everyone around one by one. The lady sitting next to me was in trance, the guy next to me started doing sit ups with his hands holding his ears, the girl behind me was running from one side to another. Almost everyone was in some other state. I was clueless for a while what to do. I joined the chants “Siya Ke Ram” for a while and walked out of the temple. I tried to ask some people regarding what was happening inside. But they could not answer this question. I had a cup of ginger tea just outside. The temperature of Rajasthan is at it’s lowest and Chai is the must have thing here.
The Court :
I was about to leave from where I came back. On the right there was a narrow lane. Inside I could see a glimpse of small colorful shops selling various items like toys and key rings. I continued walking straight. After walking for 50 metres, I don’t know what happened but I came back and decided to enter inside that narrow lane on the right. I did not realize this fact back then but as I am blogging now and trying to look back I feel that I was somehow drawn into that lane. I had no clue what lied ahead of the narrow lane but I just continued. There were some Jalebi ( similar to funnel cake which is an American dish) sellers on the way. “Kanpur Jalebi Wala” read one of the shops.
I continued walking to the end of this lane. What looked like a narrow lane initially led to an open ground. There was a temple of “Bhairav Baba” in the center. My eyes went towards a group of people gathered in a circle. I couldn’t resist myself from going there and checking what’s going on there. I asked a person there “What’s happening here bhaiyya” It’s a court. The evil spirits are the ‘accused’ and the Priest is the ‘advocate’. Baba is the ‘judge’. I was already more than shell shocked to see what just happened in the temple a few minutes ago and it wasn’t finished there! There was more! I decided to observe the proceedings as closely as possible. There were some ladies sitting cross-legged there. All of them in trance.
The pandit started talking with them one by one and sprinkled water droplets on them. “Nahi Jaunga, Isko Chhodke Kabhi Nahi Jaunga”, she said. ( I am never going to leave her body) The priest sprinkled some more water droplets on her and said to her “Baba will take care of everything.” A man came angrily shouting curses towards us. The priest asked him to sit down. He started cursing the priest himself. The priest sprinkled some water drops on him and said “It’s a Muslim Tantrik’s spirit”
I was startled by the chain of events. I trying asking to a guy next to me : “What’s going on here mate” He was a guy from Delhi who visits the temple once in every month. He tells me : “The person who is suffering from evil spirits (sankatwalas) get relief from sankat by the methods like arji,sawamani ,darkhast,bhog of bundi ke laddu offering to balaji maharaj
,rice and urad pulse to bhairav baba(kotval kaptan,head of army and pretraj sarkar( king of evil spirits). Saturday and Tuesday are the busiest day in temple because they both are the days of hanumanji” To my co incidence, it was a Tuesday! When I asked him about the trance and movements of people out there. He replied “Even though I am talking to you right now but I myself am moving in trance from the inside.”
I still don’t know how I ended up walking to the temple of Bhairav baba. Maybe It was Baba’s call as the priest points out “No one comes here without his invite”. Or maybe it just happened. I visited this place in search of some answers and returned with more questions!
Getting there :
Take a bus from Jaipur ( Rs 110 ) and reach Balaji Mod. Take a shared Tuk Tuk from there towards the temple ( Rs 10 )
What to Eat :
Sev Tamatar ( Rs. 50 )
Endless rounds of Tea! ( Rs 7-10)
Lessons learned this way :
- There are always two phases of the same coin.
- Believe it or not, some things exist.
- As you dig more, your perspectives go for a toss!