Karni Mata – Goddess of Rats
Karni Mata is the Hindu goddess of the rats in her temple.
She is a protective goddess. This goddess can perform miracles. She heals the sick.
Karni Mata also brings success and protects her followers from harm lurking in the shadows.
This temple is famous for the thousands of rats residing there. These rats are scared. They are highly auspicious.
All the rats at the temple are believed to bring good fortune. Do watch out for the white rats. There are only a few of them.
Anyone who encounters a white rat at the temple can count their blessings, they are considered extremely lucky. Seeing a white rat is a sure sign your prayers have been heard.
The rats at the temple are very tame. If you visit the temple, you must be prepared to have rats approaching you from every direction. They are all over the place. If a rat comes to sit on your lap, it is your lucky day. You have been chosen to receive special blessings from the goddess.
Her main shrine is located in Northern India in Deshnok, Rajasthan.
The Rats are Fed Generously
The rats at the Karni Mata Temple are fed regularly and generously. These rodents are prioritized even during hard times. The rats always get food first, the humans second.
Eating food scraps that have been nibbled on by one of the rats is thought to bring good luck. Any food or drink which has been first given to the rats is thought to have special sacred medicinal powers.
During outbakes of epidemics many turn to the temple in hopes of getting the opportunity to drink a little of the milk or water that the rats first have tasted.
It is told that the temple rats never have transferred any illness to a human being.
On the contrary, believers insist that these rats have healing powers if you have good intentions.
Do Not Harm the Rats of Karni Mata
Killing a rat that lives on the temple ground is extremely unlucky. It does not matter if you do it on purpose or accidentally.
If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation there is one thing you can do to make amends. You need to donate a rat sculpture make of silver to the temple. This obviously can cost you quite a bit.
Believers will explain that the rats of the Karni Mata temple are no ordinary rats. They are actually human souls waiting to be reborn.
Who is the Goddess Karni Mata?
Karni Mata is told to be an avatar of the goddess Durga. (Durga is the wife of Shiva. She is a war goddess who combats demons. Her mission is to keep stability in the cosmos. She rides a tiger or a lion.)
Karni Mata was born as a human girl. Her name was Ridhu Bai and her birth date was October 2, 1387.
Growing up Ridhu Bai soon showed that she had supernatural powers as far as healing was concerned. People were amazed as this young girl cured unfortunate individuals who had been bitten by deadly snakes.
Out of admiration and respect they gave her a new name; Karni. The name “Karni” means something like “She will do wonders on Earth”. “Mata” means mother.
Now known as Karni this special young woman was married off to a prince. Karni felt this was wrong.
She informed her new husband that there was no way she could consummate the marriage. She was a goddess and her first loyalty must be to help and serve all people. Karni suggested that her new husband also should marry her sister. He agreed to the proposal.
The prince and sister of Karni were married and had children. Everyone was happy.
The Goddess Saves Her Nephew
One day tragedy struck. A step-son/nephew of Karni drowned in a nearby lake. Karni carried the body of her nephew out of the water and brought him to a cave.
Karni was determined to rescue the boy. As it turned out she had to battle long and hard with Yama, Lord of Death. Finally she managed to restore the boy’s life.
It was after this dramatic episode that Karni Mata vowed that none of her followers should ever have to deal with the Lord of Death. Instead their soul was to be transferred to a rat as they waited to be reincarnated back to her people.
Karni Mata disappeared with a blaze of a bright light on March 21, 1438. Her followers believe she is always present to help anyone who comes to her with faith and good intentions.