Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Feeding time

It's those Indian statues sipping milk again. No matter how many times Rationalist International debunks these "miracles" Hindus just keep going gaga over Ganesha drinking milk. Sigh.

Hundreds of thousands of Indians thronged temples across India on Monday in the belief that statues of Hindu gods were drinking milk.

"I put a milk-filled spoon to Ganesha's mouth and he drank it," exclaimed Akhilesh Shukla, a trader in Lucknow, capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state.

He was among the countless devotees who carried milk in glasses and pitchers to northern Indian temples where Hindus worship Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of good fortune and wisdom; Shiva, the destroyer, and Durga, the goddess of strength.

"It is a miracle," said Sudhir Mishra, a priest at a Shiva temple in Lucknow. He said that at least 10 liters of milk had been offered at his temple on Monday.

"Look at the floor it is fairly dry. Where's the milk gone? It should be visible on floor. Can you see that."

But others dismissed the milk-slurping gods as the work of less miraculous forces - surface tension, which pulls the liquid toward the statues, and capillary action, through which the milk is leached into the statues by tiny pores on the surface of the stone.

"Milk disappears the same way water reaches the top of a tree through roots," said A. K. Sharma, a professor at Lucknow University.


[In 1995] a group of scientists visited a temple in New Delhi and fed a statue milk tinted with dye. The milk was quickly absorbed by the idol, and soon permeated the stone, leaving the statue coated by a colored, milky film.

(via God is for Suckers)

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