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I saw an episode about the Karni Mata temple in a TV Show - Mano Ya Na Mano ("Believe it or not").

They showed black rats and said that people treat them as sacred, and that people also drink the milk left over from the vessels from which those rats drank. Why is that so?

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There are two main legends associated with Karni Mata Temple,

Legend has it that Laxman, Karni Mata's stepson (or the son of one of her storytellers), drowned in a pond in Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil while he was attempting to drink from it. Karni Mata implored Yama, the god of death, to revive him. First refusing, Yama eventually relented, permitting Laxman and all of Karni mata's male children to be reincarnated as rats.

and,

Local folklores say that 20,000 strong army men deserted a nearby battle and came running to deshnoke. Upon learning the sin of desertion, punishable by death, Karni Mata spared the lives but made them rats and offered the temple as the future place of stay. The army of soldiers expressed their gratitude and promised to serve Karni Mata lifelong.

It's a strong belief that If one of the rats is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid gold. Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be a "high honor"

Karni Mata Temple|Wiki

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Actually Karni Mata was charan, she was an avatar of Maa hinglaj, Maa hinglaj is kuldevi of charan where Karni Maa had taken birth.

Since I am a son Maa Karni I think I am a eligible to answer it.

It was long story where Karni Mata sister son lakhan died in river kola Yat, all the family members request Maa to revive their son, Maa has taken son into cave usually where Maa use to do sadhana of awad mata, and call yamraj the God of death, and told him to give back life of his son, at that time yamraj told to Maa Karni that he is doing this, but what will happen if the future it happen again then Maa Karni said any person of my samaj die he will become a mouse, and as he complete his mouse life he again rebirth as a human being

Jai Maa Karni, jai awad Maa, jai Maa hinglaj

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