Baijnath Mahadev: The only Hindu temple built by an English couple in India – Sangram K. Parhi

Lord ShivaThe British ruled India for hundreds of years, and built many churches and cathedrals. But in the 1880s, a Shiva temple in Agar Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, was rebuilt by Lt. Col. Martin — the only temple ever made by an Englishman in India.

Col. Martin was in the Afghan wars. He used to regularly write to his wife, informing her of conditions there. It was a long war, and gradually the colonel’s letters stopped. Mrs. Martin, who then lived in the cantonment of Agar Malwa, was besides herself with grief, fearing the worst.

She would spend time riding for hours to calm herself. One day she rode her horse, past the temple of Baijnath Mahadev. It was in a decrepit state. It was the time of arti, and the sound of conches and the chanting of mantras compelled her to stop. She went inside to see the worship of Lord Shiva taking place. The priests saw the grief on her face and asked her what was wrong. Mrs. Martin narrated her sad story. The Brahmins told her that Lord Shiva listens to sincere prayers of all devotees and saves them from difficult situations. She was advised by one of the priests to start chanting the mantra: Baidyanath Mahadev Temple, Agar Malwa, M.P.“Om Namah Shivaya” for 11 days. The Englishwoman prayed to Lord Shiva for the colonel’s safe return, promising she would rebuild the temple if he came home safe from the war. On the 10th day, a messenger arrived from Afghanistan with a letter from her husband. It read, “I was regularly sending you letters from the battlefield but then suddenly the Pathans surrounded us. I thought there was no way of escape. Suddenly I saw an Indian yogi with long hair, wearing a tiger skin carrying a trident. He had an awe-inspiring personality and he started wielding his weapon against the Afghans who ran away from the field in fright. With his grace what was certain death our bad times turned into victory. Then the 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.”

Tears of joy and gratitude welled up in Mrs. Martin’s eyes as she read the letter. Her heart was overwhelmed. She fell at the feet of Lord Shiva’s image and sobbed. After a few weeks Lt. Col. Martin returned and his wife told him her story. The couple became devotees of Lord Shiva. In 1883, they donated Rs 15,000 to renovate the temple. This information is engraved on a slab kept in the Baijnath Mahadev Temple.

The Martins sailed for England with the firm resolution that they would make a Shiva temple at their home and pray to him till the end of life. And they did. – The New Indian Express, Chennai, Jan. 8, 2012

Baijnath Shiva Temple of Agar Malwa, MP

9 Responses

  1. God comes any form to save us….oh! Lord you are great….

  2. Dr Zakir’s childish utterances about Shree Ganapati bring to the recollection an incident in the life of the Maharashtrian poet Sant Ekanaath who was patience in carnate. His popularity had created an animus in the half-baked minds of some of the cotemporary Zakirs {about 1530 AD}. While once Ekanaath had arranged for the communal dinner, his wife came along to serve the ghee [it is customary in Maharashtra that the hostess has to serve the ghee before the dinner begins}; one of the dissatisfied guests climbed up on her back. The retarded invitee wanted to humiliate Ekanaath and his wife to the same degree as Zakir of today wants us Hindus to undergo as a result of his vile and wild utterances about Shree Ganapati. Everybody else in the dinner party was obviously incensed but Sant Ekanaath and his wife. He said to his wife, “Do take care of the Brahman on your back; do not let him fall down and injure himself.” His wife, trained in the footsteps of her husband is reported to have exclaimed, “Do not worry yourself, my Lord; I am used to take care of the rowdy toddlers’ unseemly behaviour.

  3. Indian Vedic contribution is a reservoir of Vibrant Information and
    Harmonious Creativity. May the womb of nature embrace all with
    tranquil blessings from this day forward. Let this attract one’s
    attention affecting them positively. It is a Sanctuary of the Self a
    Creative Venue which serves as an Enduring Expression of Lightness,
    where a peaceful Atmosphere with Sunlight Flows and serene atmosphere
    prevail.

    In the storm of life we struggle through myriads of stimuli of
    pressure, stress, and muti-problems that seek for a solution and
    answer. We are so suppressed by the routine of this every life style
    that most of us seem helpless. However, if we look closely to ancient
    techniques we shall discover the magnificent way to understand and
    realize the ones around us and mostly ourselves. If only we could stop
    for a moment and allow this to happen. May all beings be happy (Loka
    Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu)

  4. What a great affirmation, thank you, such good deed, good feel, good news stories shoud bewiedly and repeatedly circulated, it helps all Hindus who are under the barrage of anti Hindu press.
    raviji

  5. A similar story runs, IS, about the great Saint, Sri Lahiri Mahashaya (1828-1895) of Kashi. He was a UDC in Indian railways or military engineering service in those days of British period. How did he miraculously cured the wife of his English office Superintendent of cancer of her breast. A glimpse can be had from Yogananda’s Autobiography, please peruse:

    http://www.ananda.org/autobiography/#chap35

    The story is long but it is a brief description given for his readers. I am sure, IS, you will be aware of so many more instances in the history. Lahiri Mahasaya had Muslims, Christians also his disciples. These Great Gurus have sublime power of transforming anything and everywhere.

    The Shirdi Sai Baba had performed so many miracles in His life time. I find the life stories of these Great Indian Masters very enlightening and educative.

    Same is the Biography of Swami Rama, another great master of His time. “Living with the Himalaya Masters” is a very moving and heartiest tale unparalleled in itself, as all of them are inspiring.

    IS, enjoyed reading it on this auspicious day. Thank you.

    • Swami Yogananda greatly insulted Lahiri Mahashaya, a saint, by comparing him with Jesus Christ who was a bloody thirsty demon- an artifice for aggression. I just don’t understand why modern day Indian babas go gaga over Islam and Christianity while there is no dearth of highly researched literature that proves beyond any shadow of doubt that both Christianity and Islam are predatory ideologies ,that Jesus and Mohmmad are blood thirsty monsters and that the Bible and the Koran are war manuals. I have read the ” Autobiography of A Yogi”. It appears to me as an eulogy of Christ. Similarly, my opinion of Swami Ram http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Rama is not so high. Because I have great aversion to Hindu Babas’ voyaging The west to collect dollar-earning white devotees.

      • Yogananda was one of the first Neo-Vedantans after Vivekananda to go to the US. He completely christianised Vedanta and the many fabulous stories in his book “Autobiography of a Yogi” have been shown to be untrue (though he apparently believed them himself). Some years ago there was a court case in Chicago brought by an elderly man who claimed to be his biological son. Yogananda was not a good representative of Hindu Dharma. At least Vivekananda critiqued Christianity and criticised Christians. Yogananda on the other hand surrendered to Christianity completely and justified the surrender with his superficial, universalist interpretation of Vedanta.

      • It is long time I read the Autobiography of a Yogi. However I would like to observe that your comment of personal aversion of these Hindu Babas going to west to collect dollars is definitely shallow. I disagree with it.

        Secondly your reliance on Wikipedia is also just as flawed. This is another American protege of Encyclopedia Britanica online. I don’t think that it can be regarded as an authentic proof. Having said, not that I don’t use it! I do but very carefully and judiciously.

        “Swami Yogananda greatly insulted Lahiri Mahashaya, a saint, by comparing him with Jesus Christ who was a bloody thirsty demon- an artifice for aggression.” I am not sure about this statement but I doubt and take it as your personal interpretation difficult for me understand and thus justify it.

        • Sir, With due respect to you I stand by my comment on dollar- greedy Hindu spiritual leaders. In my opinion a true Hindu sadhu is he who works incessantly for the defence of Hinduism and Hindu society and who makes Hindus aware of the criminal character of Christianity, Islam, communism and globalization. Such Hindus sadhus are now an endangered species. Coming to Lahir Mahashaya, I must say I do not know much about him. But if Swami Yogananda believes him to be a saint then he should not have compared him with Christ who is certainly not a saint as the term is understood in Hinduism.

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