Hinduism abounds with legends of miracles; of superhuman deeds of gods born as humans; and of mortals claiming to have been visited by one of the various Hindu gods. But the following story is quite unique.
A Hindu sights a Hindu god in his dream or has a vision of a god in real life, that’s believable because the person reveres that god. But a Christian claiming to see a Hindu god who ends up saving the man’s life…is something which is unheard.
Lord Shiva – The Saviour
It was 1879, and the British were ruling India. An officer in the British Army, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malva, was leading the army in the war against Afghanistan.
Col. Martin would regularly send messages of his well-being to his wife. The war went on for a long period of time and Lady Martin stopped getting his messages. This naturally worried her.
One day, while riding on her horse, she passed by the temple of Baijnath Mahadev. The sounds of the conch and mantras attracted her. She went inside the temple and came to know that the Brahmans were worshipping Lord Shiva.
The Brahmans saw her and noticed that she was sad and tense. They asked her what the matter was and she explained everything to them. They told her that Lord Shiva listens to the prayers of devotees and takes them out of difficult situations.
On the advice of the Brahmans, she started the ‘Laghu-rudri Anushtthan’ of the Mantra: ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, for 11 days. She prayed to Lord Shiva that if her husband reaches home safely, then she would get the temple renovated.
On the last of the ‘Laghu-rudri’, a messenger came and gave her a letter. It was from her husband. He had written – “I was regularly sending messages to you from the battle grounds, but suddenly the Pathans surrounded us from all sides. We were entrapped in a situation where there was no scope of escaping death. Suddenly, I saw a Yogi of India with long hair, carrying a weapon with three pointers (Trishul). His personality was amazing and he was maneuvering his weapon with a magnificent style. Seeing this great man, the Pathans started running back. With his grace, our bad times turned into moments of victory. This was possible only because of that man of India wearing a lion skin and carrying a three-pointer weapon (Trishul). That 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 fell down Lady Martin’s eyes as she read the letter. She fell into the feet of Lord Shiva’s statue and burst into tears.
After a few weeks, Col. Martin returned. They both visited the Baijnath Mahadev Temple to thank Lord Shiva for saving Col. Martin’s life. It was then that he realized the striking resemblance of Lord Shiva to the Yogi who’d appeared on the battlefield to save his life.
Both became devotees of Lord Shiva. They helped in rebuilding the temple premises and donated money for its maintenance. The British couple’s name is engraved on the slab inside the temple premises. Till date, the Baijnath Mahadev Temple is the only Hindu temple in the country that was built by British!