The Karni Mata temple is one of the several temples in the country that have numerous stories and legends attached to them. Here are a few tales that you might here come across.
Goddess Karni when married off to a man called Depa, was already dedicated to serving the poor. She then took on to her choice of celibacy and suggested to her husband that he should marry her younger sister, Gulab. He agreed and soon, Gubal and Depa were blessed with four children, Naga, Puna, Stitha and Lakhan.
However, there was a time when, the youngest of all her step sons, Lakhan fell into a tank whilst quenching his thirst. Karni Mata then went ahead to request his life back from the God of Death, Yama. However, he declined the request as Lakhan had already taken rebirth as a rat. yet, he promised Karni Mata that all her male descendants would reincarnate as rats in her temple at Dhesnoke. And as they give up their lives as rats in the temple, they would take birth as human beings once again. There are over 20,000 rats in the temple.
The temple is being taken care of by the Depavats, There are a total of 513 Depavats who take turns as priests at the temple. It is also considered to be auspicious if the rats feed from a devotee’s hands. What is even more auspicious is, if a devotee eats food that is nibbled on by the rats. Most rats in the temple are considered to be diabetic due to consumption of the sweet prasad.
A rather fascinating rule of the temple is, if a rat is ever killed by any of the visitors of the temple, another one made of solid gold or silver has to be offered as an apology. There have been no specific records of any of such incidents. However, on an annual basis, several rats end up dying due to ironically poor living conditions for the rodent.
Indian mythology, keeps animals and every kind of living creature at a very high radar. It is unacceptable for them to be treated poorly. Rats not being any different are highly regarded by people who firmly believe in these legends.