Over 5 lakh devotees and tantrics have converged at the temple to mark the menstrual cycle of the goddess
GUWAHATI: For the last two decades, Bhola Baba, a sadhu, has become much sought after at the revered Kamakhya temple in Assam during the Ambubashi Mela, a four-day festival that began Sunday, for his "miraculous powers".
Bhola Baba belongs to the secret Aghor cult, whose adherents meditate in graveyards at night. And ever since the Baba stepped into the temple of goddess Kamakhya three days ago, streams of people have been queuing up for his blessings.
In the queue waiting for blessings from the Baba was Arun Das and his wife Maitree, both in their late 30s. "We were childless for 10 years until we heard of the Baba in 2006 when he came to Kamakhya during the Ambubashi Mela. The Baba blessed us and made my wife drink a concoction of some alcohol poured into a monkey skull after chanting religious hymns," Das said.
Soon after Baba blessed the couple, Maitree conceived and a baby boy was born last October. "We owe everything to the Baba and today we are here with the baby to pay our respects to him," a beaming Maitree said even as the infant cried with the temple chock-a-block with devotees and the sun blazing overheard.
Like Bhola Baba, thousands of Hindu mystics have gathered at Kamakhya, long been considered the highest seat of tantra, a sort of black magic that has been an integral part of India's folklore for centuries.
For many of the seers, the Ambubashi Mela is a meeting ground and an occasion to exhibit their psychic powers—from standing on one leg for hours to another burying his head in a pit and standing upright. Mystics who gather at the temple claim they can perform wonders—make a childless couple conceive, find a distressed loner a spouse, or even cast an evil spell on others.
"The Kamakhya temple is a different world altogether—a paranormal world where most of the sadhus are capable of doing miracles... though most people would like to dismiss such claims as rubbish," said Jeevan Baba, his body smeared with ash and sporting a long beard.
Blessings apart, many people approach the mystics to cast evil spells on their adversaries. "More than 90% of the people approach us to harm their foes. Although I am capable, I use my conscience whenever such offers come," Bhola Baba said, even as he was showering blessings on a stream of childless couples.
More than 5 lakh devotees, including thousands of monks, have converged here for the ritual. The festival is being held to mark the menstruation period of the goddess, during which the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine remains closed to worshippers. The temple gate would be opened Wednesday.