Lord Kartikeya (the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati) is believed to be reincarnated as Baba Balak Nath in the Sat-Yuga. He was born to kill the demon Tarkasur.
Baba Balak Nath was born to Vishnu and Lakshmi (in a Brahmin family) in Kathiawad, Gujarat. There are two famous legends behind his birth and life. According to one tale, he was named Dev and meditated with Lord Shiva in his mind. He was not married and left home to attain Parma Sidhi. On getting Parma Sidhi, Dev became popular and came to be known as Baba Balak Nath.
As per locals, there is another story regarding Baba Balak Nath. As a child he was named Bal Shiva by his parents Vishnu and Lakshmi. He was not an ordinary child. Once when he was five years old, his parents slapped him. After this incident, Bal Shiva decided to go to his original parents Lord Shiva and Parvati. On seeing their son so sad, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati appeared before him and gave him a blessing that he will be a twelve year old boy for the rest of his life and never grow old. Lord Shiva also gave him a Singhi (Lord Shiva’s dumroo). After this incident Bal Shiva came to be known as Baba Balak (child). His devotees refer to him as Baba.
Baba Balak Nath’s Temple in Himachal Pradesh: Baba Balak Nath is a Hindu deity who is worshiped in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. There is a very popular temple in Chakmoh village, Himachal Pradesh which is dedicated to Baba. The shrine of Baba Balak Nath is also called ‘Deotsidh’. In this temple there is a small cave in which an idol-image of Baba Balak Nath is placed.
Another popular place associated with Baba Balak Nath is located in Punjab (Pakistan). The place is known as ‘Tilla Yogian’, near Rohtas Fort and is similar to the one in Himachal Pradesh.
Some Facts About Baba Balak Nath:
- Baba Balak Nath was the disciple of Dattatreya.
- Goats are offered at the Baba Balak Nath temple to show love. These goats are not sacrificed in the temple, but properly fed and taken care of. Devotees take these goats from one side of the temple and leave them on the other side of the temple where they have been fed.
- Some devotees get the Mundan ceremony (hair cutting ceremony) of their children done in this temple.
- There is an idol of Baba Balak Nath in the temple which cannot be visited by female devotees. Instead of direct darshan, there is a raised platform directly in front of the idol from where females can pay their obeisance. It is believed that once upon a time Mata Parvati became very eager to meet her son. So she appeared before Baba Balak Nath in the form of a cat. Since Baba was fond of cats, Baba Balak Nath played with the cat for one or two days, after which the cat left. Since Baba Balak Nath was missing Mata Parvati, he went to see her. He saw scratches on his mother’s face. These scratches were given to her by Baba Balak Nath when she visited him in the form of a cat. This is when Baba realized that women are very gentle and Baba is harsh like a stone. Hence he restricted women from coming to his temple.
- Sunday is considered to be an auspicious day to worshippers of Baba Balak Nath. Devotees offer Rot (deep fried sweet thick roti made from wheat flour, sugar and milk) and karah (Prashad).
- In the month of April, devotes also offer newly harvested wheat crop to Baba Balak Nath.