The Eternal flame…
This incident changed the way I think about the power of prayers.
In the monsoon of 2012, I had gone to a place called Mundgod in the south Indian state of Karnataka. I use to go for my college vacations to my grandpa’s place in the same area. One fine morning, my grandpa happened to tell me about a nearby place where there is a hut in which some butter lamps have been burning from some four decades. He said that the butter lamps were lighted by a poor widow many years ago. And the miracle was that the same butter lamps continue to burn till today, till this moment.
Upon hearing this, I felt curious to go and check it out myself. That same afternoon, I told my friend and we went to see the place where the miraculous butter lamps were housed. It took us some twenty five minutes by motor cycle to reach at the place. The road was muddy and covered with grasses. Buffalos roaming on the way would not let us pass swiftly unless we honked the bike ten times. It started to rain mid way but we were determined to have a glimpse of the eternal flames in any case. When we finally reached our destination, we were drenched by the sudden downpour.
The first thing I saw upon reaching the place was a small hut made by piling up stones around a huge tree. The lamps were nowhere to be found. There was an old Indian man sitting near the hut. I asked him about the legend. He said that the lamps were lighted by a poor widow on the night before she died. He said that the locals believe that the old lady must have lighted the lamps with a strong prayer, as a result of which the lamps continue to burn till today. I was suspicious of the eternal flames. It was unscientific and illogical for me to believe in the fact that three butter lamps had been burning since four decades. How was that possible?
As I went closer to a wooden alter surrounded by rocks, I saw three small cups of earthen pots which the locals call ‘Diya’. From the black earthen pots there were flames of medium intensity flickering as if they were freshly lit. I could not believe this. I was perplexed by the sight. In my mind I had a doubt that someone must be adding oil at night so that flames burn during the day. I turned around and saw many photographs hanging on the walls of the hut. One of the photographs was of H.H.the Dalai Lama’s visit to the same place.
I know His Holiness as a master who does not believe in things without reasons. His photograph at the place cleared my doubt about the eternal lamps. I was like is this possible?? Yeah it is possible. I was convinced that the poor old lady had such a faith and devotion in her work of lighting three butter lamps that it continues to burn till this day. Perhaps the real flame is off and out. Perhaps her prayer is what we see as lamps burning to our delusional eyes. This incident reaffirmed in my heart the belief that sincere prayers made from the heart are answered sooner or later.