OFFERING TO GOD THROUGH THULABARAM
A large common balance is kept in many Indian temples, notably in the famous Guruvayoor Krishna temple in Kerala, among others.
Thulabaram is a Hindu religious practice wherein a believer makes a sacred vow to make offerings to the Lord by weighment in the large set of scales kept for the purpose.
The offerings can be any single thing which the devotee wants to make, ranging from rice, sugar, fruits, vegetables, silver or currency coins… as he or she pleases.
Generally, such offerings are promised to the Lord while praying for some boon-for instance-recovery of an ailing child. In this case, the parents might undertake to give sugar, specified fruits or vegetables equal to the child’s weight as measured on the Thulabaram.
It is a matter of faith, like many other such vows across the world religions.
But I, as a firm believer had the benediction to see and experience firsthand the miracle of Lord Krishna in Guruvayoor.
It was back in the late 1990s when I was suspected to have a serious ailment and had be admitted in a well known hospital. My family members undertook to do a Thulabaram at Guruvayoor after my recovery.
As the Lord willed, I recovered fast and we proceeded to Guruvayoor to fulfill the vow. Before our turn, there was another couple with a small child who were trying to weigh their child against yam. But as we watched in utter astonishment, the priest who was overseeing the ritual kept on heaping huge quantities of yam (procured by the parents) on the pan of the balance, but the Thulabaram balance did not balance! That too against a puny underweight child!
As we all watched in awe and amazement, the priest slowly turned to the devotee parents and asked, “What indeed did you undertake to offer to the Lord?” The mother of the child replied, “Actually it was raw bananas, but we couldn’t get that in sufficient quantity at that time…”
Before she could complete, the priest lifted the child off the balance and told them firmly, but kindly, “Go get the bananas and come back! Else it won’t balance.”
As we bowed to the Lord with moist eyes, the priest related another miracle in Guruvayoor Thulabaram history- A very pious but poor lady had committed to offer her baby’s weight in coins to the lord upon his recovery from some ailment. But when she came to Guruvayoor for fulfilling the vow, she had very little money left.
As she came sobbing to the priest who was there at the Thulabaram, he said, “Let us try with what you have… The ways of the Lord Krishna are mysterious.”
With a single coin, the Lord made the Thulabaram balance!
Jai Sri Krishna!