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September 21: Ganesha Drinking Milk Miracle 1995- Science behind the idols sipping milk explained

Tulika Tandon

September 21: It was more than a decade back, on September 21, 1995, when rumours of the elephant-headed deity of Hindus, Lord Ganesha was reported to be drinking milk from a spoon. It was a worldwide phenomenon that is said to have spread across the globe faster than wildfire. People from all across the country were said to be offering milk by spoon to the idols of Ganesha to notice it disappear. "Ganpati is drinking milk", was the chant on the roads in India that day. 

The news was that the idol of the Lord was drinking milk by the spoonful. This resulted in millions of Indians on the roads in queues outside temples to offer their part to the Gods.  After a week, some questions arose- Was it an act of God that allowed idols to drink milk or an act of faith that allowed millions to believe it was possible? Read the article below to know about the science behind the Hindu idols sipping milk from their devotees. 

But before that take a look how this year's Ganpati Visarjan took place

गणपती बाप्पा मोरया, पुढच्या वर्षी लवकर या! pic.twitter.com/nd0a4M6isN

— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) September 19, 2021

Ganesha Drinking Milk Miracle: What happened back in 1995?

Millions of Hindus across the world were baffled to hear Ganesha drinking milk in New Delhi. It was early in the morning of September 21, 1995. It was the last day of summer of 95 in the northern hemisphere, when rumours of Lord Ganesha sipping milk from the spoon spread like wildfire. 

Huge crowds outside the Hindu temples across the globe became a sight to watch and an event to manage for the authorities. It was such that the queues outside the temples reached thousands at a time. It was not just in India but the Hindus around the globe that lined up outside temples to offer their prayers that day. It was a day when the entire Hindu community across the world came to a standstill. 

Loud cries of Ganpati Bappa Morayya were heard in crowds with people gushing about their God's existence. Many people called it a miracle while others called it a way of God proving his existence to mankind. 

The milk prices in the country were seen to inflate four times than usual on the day and the Hindu community's global population took many by surprise. 

Next day many international media houses hailed the phenomenon that had made its mark. Some of the headlines were- 

  • Milk miracle brought India to a standstill by the BBC 
  • Hindu world divided by a 24-hour wonder by Independent UK
  • Does God of learning drink milk? AP story in the New York Times  
  • India’s Gods milk their faithful in a brief miracle by Guardian
  • Maryland witness Hindu God’s mysterious thirst by the Washington Post  
  • Miracle awes Hindus worldwide: Many believe milk-drinking statues are an act of God by the Los Angeles Times
  • Shiv Shakti dazzles India by The Asian Age

 The King of Nepal, King Birendra was delighted by the thrilling experience he had while in India the Vishwa Hindu Parishad hailed it as the arrival of the Divine three eyed Shiva. Schools and colleges called it a day off and the offices reported low attendance that day. Even the stock markets were closed on the day while due to milk shortage many people mixed milk powder in water and offered it to Lord Ganesha. 

The very next day this Act of God came under the microscopic eye of science

Milk Miracle of 1995:  Science behind the phenomenon

Towards the end of the day the scientists and rationalists came up with their reasons. The first one to say it out loud was T Jayaraman of the Institute of Mathematical Studies. He showed that the phenomenon was a result of Surface Tension and the capillary action. That means it was not religion but physics that came into picture later. Various scientists were invited to TV News channels to demonstrate the phenomenon. 

Indian Rationalist Association president Sanal Edamaruku also demonstrated close-ups of idols and explained how milk that people were offering coated the idol, collected at the pedestal and flowed into the gutter. 

Some scientists claimed that idols made of Mahabalipuram stone accepted milk more easily than those made of Orissa stone.

The devotees while offering the milk using a spoon were so engrossed in the activity that they could not see the milk coating the idol. Also, it was hidden beneath the garlands and flowers over the idol. 

So this was the basic reason why Ganpati was drinking the milk which was actually no miracle. 

Also read| GK Quiz on Ganesh Chaturthi: Test your knowledge here

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