Exorcism at Harsu Baramh, Bihar

I grew up in the society where talking about ghosts, demons, spirits… is part of life. There were places where I asked not to go during certain time of the day and nights because it was believed that there were ghosts around those areas and I literally followed it. There were minimum of 10 such places only around my home. Anyways, I have became more interested in ghosts within past 10 years but my interest is in finding why people believe in ghosts and how it affects their life. I never want to miss visiting a place which is supposed to have some power of dealing with ghosts or just talk with someone who says that he is affected by ghosts or can deal with ghosts.

I have already visited so many such places and have talked with so many such people. I have been hearing about a place called Harsu Baramh for really long time which is only 70-80 KMs from Varanasi and is supposed to be the place where one can get rid of any kind of ghosts and demons. The word Harsu Baramh is made of two words- Harsu Baramah. Harsu was a bramhin guy and Baramah is a particular kind of spirit which has access to limited number of people in certain area. Baramahs don’t fly or take a train to affect the people away from their locality.

Another belief about Baramh is that it is unsatisfied or disappointed soul of a Bramhin who wants to be worshiped. The story of Harsu is that he lived in a village called Chainpur, in modern day Bihar, with his family and worked as a Bramhin. He was donated a huge house which was located right in front of the King’s palace. His home had two minarets which were in fact taller than the minarets of King’s palace which made the queen upset. She saw it as her disrespect and asked the king to do something so that minarets at her palace looks taller than the minarets at Harsu’s home.

The king also did not like that Harsu home’s minarets were taller than the minarets of his palace and he ordered his army to knock down the minarets at Harsu’s home and burn the whole house. His solders knocked down the whole building and burnt it. Harsu was on work when his house was being burnt but when he heard about it, he ran towards his home. When he reached home, he saw his family dying by being burnt alive and building completely destroyed. Harsu got so angry that he cursed the king that he would become a Baramh by killing himself and would then take the revenge.

Harsu Baramh also jumped in the same fire and killed himself. Harsu was back later in the form of Baramh and killed the king. This idea is so strong amongst the community that they recognize Harsu as the king of Baramh and now there is a shrine located in the same village where Harsu came from. People believe that if a person is affected by ghost and no one is able to help him getting rid of the ghosts then he should come to Harsu Baramh. I also decided to visit Harsu Baramh in order to learn more about the idea of ghosts and exorcism. It was a Sunday the day I visited Harsu Baramh and I was expecting to see a lot of people but shockingly there were not many people.

When I visit any regular temples or holy shrines then I try to be respectful to the people and their beliefs but don’t follow all the rules. I don’t feel comfortable making any kind of offering, whether in form of cash or food or sweets or anything, at the temples because I know that as per real religious rules these things are not important. But when I reached to Harsu Baramh, I was so nervous that I decided to go with all the rules of that particular place. I was nervous because I knew that it was not a regular temple and the people who were there believed in the ghosts more than the God himself.

Anyways, I bought some sweets to offer at the shrine in order to be completely normal visitor. I don’t know how to explain what I was feeling when approaching to the shrine but I was not feeling the way I usually am but at the same time I was so excited. I arrived at the shrine but found it black, smoky and really strange place. There was nothing going on, that place had a really empty feeling. There were a few people working as a priest and maybe 20-30 people behaving strangely. The regional idea in my locality is that when somebody is affected by ghosts they move their head in circle, women open their hair, hit their head on the ground and try to hurt themselves and we call this process in Hindi- the person is playing.

And another idea is that when someone affected by ghosts arrive at such places like Harsu Baramh then they immediately start to play. So I saw those 20-30 people playing. One of them was really funny. I saw him arriving inside the shrine premises. He looked completely normal when he arrived. He was holding a towel and went at a corner and sat their quietly. He looked at the shrine for a few minutes, folded his towel, kept it right in front of himself on the ground and started hitting his head on the ground which means he started playing.

He used the towel so that he doesn’t hurt himself. I saw another lady who was playing. She would play by shaking her head, rolling her body on the ground, making some strange noises and then look at others around her and then sit quietly. Anyways, it was very interesting to see those people but I felt so sorry for them. I was like how come someone could really hurt themselves only in the name of ghosts who are never ever been seen by any person in the whole world. I understand it very well that we get to see what we want to see and if there are people who believe in ghosts then they get to see them.

Its sad for me to see that there are people who are more concerned about invisible pain than the visible pain. Its impossible for me to imagine the mindset of such people who believe in the ghosts and kill their time, money and themselves by going to such places where they can get rid of their ghosts. The shrine at Harsu Baramh was so strange that I did not even think about taking a picture. Every place has a unique feeling but Harsu Baramh had no feeling at all. When I go to temples or other religious places I feel something there because there are a lot of people doing the same thing.

Especially when I go to any Hindu place then I find it very energetic because Hindu religion is a very loud religion and people sing chantings loudly, play drums, recite mantras together which makes the place very energetic but Harsu Baramh was a sad and strange place with complete empty feeling. Later I learnt that it was my mistake that I went to Harsu Baramh on Sunday because Thrusday is the important day for the shrine when hundreds of people come. Anyways, it was good that I got some entertainment and went on a long drive which I always enjoy. I think this journey of finding a ghost will continue for me as I have not been successful so far!!!

Is beer sacred than Whiskey?

I have a friend who has a strong belief in spirits, ghosts, demons and they affecting your life because somebody (usually your enemy) has sent them to destroy your life or sometimes you just made a mistake like peed on a grave yard or on a Pipal tree or there are a lot of other mistakes one can make to make ghosts destroy their life. This friend believes that he has some kind of unknown supernatural power which affects his and his family life. He has been trying to know about this power by taking help of a Guru (exorcist) so that he can make his life better.

Its very hard for me to believe in such things but it has always been a very interesting subject for me hence I follow such people and like to talk with them. The Guru who has been helping my friend told him that the spirit which is related with my friend needs certain kind of attention and respect and if it doesn’t get that respect or attention then it will destroy my friend’s life. The Guru suggested certain kind of rituals which usually take minimum of an hour everyday. The Guru suggested my friend to come see him on every Thursdays as it is some kind of special day for dealing with spirits and don’t drink whiskey or any other strong liquor.

He also suggested my friend to spit on every eatable item, especially milk, before bringing it inside the home and only then consume it. He said that there are so many people on the street who can damage his food (mean send ghosts in his food) only by looking at it from their evil eye. The interesting thing is that my friend literally follows it. The Guru suggested him to not eat anything alone, if other people don’t want to share his food then he should throw a small part of the food. I have heard about such believes several times but the issue with alcohol and spitting on the food is something really strange.

My friend says that his Guru has become very famous, powerful and rich now because his suggestions are always very helping and all kind of people come to him and like to give him money. Now the Guru owns several buildings in Varanasi and now he has three assistants. I asked my friend what was the difference between beer and whiskey, after all both of them have alcohol but my friend said that the spirit who has affected his life doesn’t like whiskey and in any case his Guru also drinks beer. Sometimes his disciples bring him bottle of beer as offering. Now I knew the answer why beer is more sacred than whiskey.

Since his Guru likes beer now he has made a rule for all of his disciples that spirits don’t like whiskey and they like beer. hahaha. But one thing I never understood that why he suggested to spit on all the eatable item before bringing them inside the home. It sounds disgusting but sad thing is that people believe in such things. I should really appreciate the smartness of the Guru that he is make people do such things that they won’t ever do usually. My friend sometimes seem to like his Guru a lot and sometimes he seems kind of disturbed. Sometimes he says that his life has not changed at all since he has been seeing his Guru and sometimes he says that whatever he has is because of the blessings of his Guru.

He says that there was huge tension in family before he started going to this Guru but now there is no tension at all. But whenever there is any tension he is upset with his Guru. He says that his sister was having problems with her husband. In fact the husband was kind of prepared to divorce his wife and then my friend suggested his sister about this Guru and Guru solved all of the problems by organizing some rituals. The Guru said that there was a ghosts in their house who was creating all of the problems but he controlled the ghost and thrown him out of the house by the rituals.

It still doesn’t matter to me if someone believes in such things or not but I feel sad when people with limited amount of money go to such Gurus and loose all of their money and finally they nothing to do. The something happened with my friend also. He is unemployed but he had a plan to start a business. He worked on a project, made some money and seemed so excited for this new business. The same time Navratri (nine nights festival) also came which is a very important time for the people who believe in the ghosts. They do some special rituals during this time.

My friend also started going to his Guru everyday during Navratri and by the end of the festival he had already spent good amount of money he had made by working on that project and now he did not have sufficient balance to start the business he wanted to. He was unemployed before working on the project and he is still unemployed. I feel when I see him but it is impossible to make to him understand that he should believe more on himself rather than his Guru. Anyways, I hope someday things will get better with him.