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Holy Rats of Karni Mata



It seems to be a universal truth that a thing reviled is also a thing revered, depending on location. While rats are an annoyance and a pest (as well as known harbingers of disease) in most of the world, they are sacred inhabitants of the Hindu temple of Karni Mata in India. Accidentally killing one of these holy rodents brings a hefty fine of replacing the rat with one made of gold, while having one skit over your feet is a blessing.

The story of Kari Mata, revered as an incarnation of the goddess Durga, the rats, and lots more pics of the temple are on The Ark in Space. Link

Image: owenstache

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Okay, let me point something out, while idolatry of this sort exists everywhere, everywhere there is a higher reason. The Hindu culture consists of many traditions and texts. The Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, etc.. I just want to share with you a more direct experience of Hindu religion, I'm sure this is also sub-categorized Vedantic.

The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita (Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda) As remembered by his disciple Swami Kriyananda

(2:47) Action is a duty, but let not your ego crave the fruits of action. Be not attached to either action or inaction.

(2:52) When your perception pierces the dark mists of delusion, you will become indifferent to everything you have heard about this world and the next.

(2:57) He who, under all circumstances, is without attachment, and is neither elated by goodness nor depressed by evil, is a man of established wisdom.

(4:25) Some yogis there are who make sacrifices to the devas (deities); others see sacrifice (yagya) as an offering of the self into the cosmic fire of Spirit.

(4:34) Understand this: By surrender, by questioning, and by service, those who have realized the truth will convey their wisdom to you.

(6:29) United to the Supreme Self by the practice of yoga, he beholds his Self in all beings, and all beings in that one Self.

(7:3) Among thousands of men, scarcely one strives for spiritual perfection; and among those blessed ones who seek Me, scarcely one perceives me as I am.

(9:3) Men who lack faith (and even interest) in this dharma, (seeking their fulfillment elsewhere) do not attain Me, O Scorcher of Foes (Arjuna)! Again and again they take the path of samsara (delusion) and mortality.

Sound familiar? It is a constant theme in this book (The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita) that Krishna's words to Arjuna are remarkably similar to those of Christ. The author does appear to lose grips with reason on many subjects however. I've simply quoted the translation of the Gita -/+ a few bracketed comments.

The rats of Karni Mata may be related to 4:25 making sacrifices to the devas. It's a big book and I only dug so deep for this exercise. These are generally considered minor acts of the spiritually naive. Similar to Christianity's rites. A hierarchy of importance is given by Peter: "And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues." (1 Cor 12:8-10) These minor acts signify some kind of desire for repentance and they are not discouraged. The weight of divine wisdom is considered too much for them. They will reject it, not because of sufficient reason, except to say psychological(spiritual) instability. They are egotistically invested in the fruits of action and inaction (desire and fear). They evaluate truth based on how it makes them feel, not it's reality. Religion is like a smorgasbord for the mind, if you want refuge for your ego it's not hard to find in religion, but if you want higher wisdom its got that too.

Om purnamadah!
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Yup! Been there, just last month! The temple is located in a village called 'Deshnok'. The weird part about the town was, it never had any rat epidemic or anything of that sort.
The rats never leave the temple and the history of the temple is actually a very interesting story!!

@Alex & Adrienne Crezo - The rodents are not holy. The people of Deshnok are the rodents, as in, once a person of that village dies, its believed that he/she is reincarnated as a rat in the temple. Once the rat dies, it comes back into the village born as a human. Thus helping the people of the village to be born in the same village in every life. As I mentioned, the rats are not holy, they are considered as people (in a different form). Would you consider the guy/gal next to you holy? No! But, we wouldn't accidentally kill them either.
There are also 1 or 2 White Rats in the temple, and it is believed that if you can sight the white rat its considered auspicious. And besides that, if one of the rats is killed,the person should replace it with either Solid Gold or Solid Silver depending upon his/her income. AND the gold/silver rat has some specifications for weight (its not in Kilograms thankfully.). In the 5 centuries since the temple has been built, there was never a murder of any rat ;)

You gotta talk with the Priests of the Temple (like a Father of a Church) if you need the exact details about the gold/silver thing.
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