One story that Maharaji told was about an old pujari, an old temple priest, who left a young boy in charge of his temple when he went away. The way it happens is that you bring food and you offer it to the murti and the pujari takes it in behind the curtain, he draws the curtain, and he offers it to Hanuman. Then usually what the pujari does is he takes a little of the food and he keeps it to distribute to the poor and the rest he gives back as Prasad that comes from the murti. Everybody does it at different levels, some think it’s a game and some accept it as the living prasad.
This young boy didn’t know what the routine was behind the curtain because he had never been behind the curtain. So when the first food was brought he went behind and offered it to Hanuman and Hanuman didn’t take it. The boy got freaked since he didn’t want to take the offering back to the people unaccepted, so he took a stick and threatened Hanuman and said, “You have to take this!” So Hanuman took the whole thing, everything on the plate disappeared. He went out and told the family that Hanuman took the whole thing and they beat him, thinking he had stolen it. When the old pujari came back and heard the story he said, “All my life I have been waiting for this to happen, but I was never pure enough for Hanuman to do it for me.”
The stories of murtis manifesting in India are so common that most of us who have lived in these temples have developed a tremendous amount of honor and love and respect and realize that the murti is, just like the avatar, a manifestation of the living God.
Ram Dass, 1976
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