New Delhi: The phenomenon of idols "drinking" milk could be explained scientifically by the theory of capillary action or the movement of liquids within spaces of porous surfaces due to surface tension, adhesion and cohesion.
The reason behind people thronging temples with pots and pans filled with milk could be termed a ‘mass religious hysteria’ caused by gullibility and scientific ignorance, eminent scientist Prof Yash Pal said.
The surface tension phenomenon can be witnessed in the ubiquitous water tap, where a drop of water stays suspended and drains away when touched, he said.
Similarly, when a spoonful of milk is touched to the idol, the surface tension of the milk pulls the liquid up and out of the spoon, before gravity causes it to run down the front of the statue.
As the level of liquid or milk in the spoon dropped, it coated the statue beneath where the spoon was placed.
A similar phenomenon had frenzied devotees making a beeline at temples on September 21, 1995 with some even carrying bucketful of milk for the Lord.