At Bheragarh, the high priest of the temple told us that Aurangzeb and his soldiers knocked off the heads, arms, and noses of all the idols, saying that ’if they had really any of the godhead in them, they would assuredly now show it, and save themselves’. But when they came to the door of Gauri Sankar’s apartments, they were attacked by a nest of hornets, that put the whole of the emperor’s army to the rout; and his imperial majesty called out: ’Here we have really something like a god, and we shall not suffer him to be molested; if all your gods could give us proof like this of their divinity, not a nose of them would ever be touched’.
The popular belief, however, is that after Aurangzeb’s army had struck off all the prominent features of the other gods, one of the soldiers entered the temple, and struck off the ear of one of the prostrate images underneath their vehicle, the Bull. ‘My dear’, said Gauri, ‘do you see what these saucy men are about?’ Her consort turned round his head; and, seeing the soldiers around him, brought all the hornets up from the marble rocks below, where there are still so many nests of them, and the whole army fled before them to Teori, five miles. It is very likely that some body of troops by whom the rest of the images had been mutilated, may have been driven off by a nest of hornets from within the temple where this statue stands. I have seen six companies of infantry, with a train of artillery and a squadron of horse, all put to the rout by a single nest of hornets, and driven off some miles with all their horses and bullocks. The officers generally save themselves by keeping within their tents, and creeping under their bed-clothes, or their carpets; and servants often escape by covering themselves up in their blankets, and lying perfectly still. Horses are often stung to a state of madness, in which they throw themselves over precipices and break their limbs, or kill themselves. The grooms, in trying to save their horses, are generally the people who suffer most in a camp attacked by such an enemy. I have seen some so stung as to recover with difficulty; and I believe there have been instances of people not recovering at all. In such a frightful scene I have seen a bullock sitting and chewing the cud as calmly as if the whole thing had been got up for his amusement. The hornets seldom touch any animal that remains perfectly still.
On the bank of the Bina river at Eran, in the Sagar district, is a beautiful pillar of a single freestone, more than fifty feet high, surmounted by a figure of Krishna, with the glory round his head. Some few of the rays of this glory have been struck off by lightning; but the people declare that this was done by a shot fired at it from a cannon by order of Aurangzeb, as his army was marching by on its way to the Deccan. Before the scattered fragments, however, could reach the ground, the air was filled, they say, by a swarm of hornets, that put the whole