Is it wrong to offer milk to Shiv ling? Many feel so, specially the youth. Even I agree to it. They say it's better to offer the milk to a poor rather than pouring it on a stone. But I've barely seen anyone supporter of this, offering even an ounce of milk to a poor on the day of Maha Shivratri(or any day for that matters).
|image source: kblog|
Let's do an analysis of the same. One thing we all are aware of is that, in ancient times(or even now) many things are associated with religion to make people follow it without questioning. So, why is offering the milk associated with religion? Answer is very simple, Business ecosystem.
If someone buys milk and flowers from the guy at the temple-stairs. The guy in turn either bought it from someone else or have his own tree(s) and cow(s). What he sells will be 60:40 (or 70:30) water-to-milk ratio, making a good profit, may be enough to feed his family at night.
|image source: martineliew|
A devotee pours the milk and flowers on Shiv ling and it has to be cleaned regularly, which in turn requires a cleaning boy. Well he wasn't able to get a spot at the stair, or didn't have enough money to start his own milk-flower venture, so he went for smaller endeavour. And he occasionally gets a few extra coins offered on Shiv ling while doing this, enough to buy few vegetables so that he won't have to eat again without it.
|image source: sid-thewanderer|
A bigger picture: It's a way (perhaps the only way) for some places to run their business ecosystem, like Baidyanath Temple, Bihar. Just to pour the milk on Shiv ling lacks of people visit Baidyanath temple, Kashi Vishwanath temple, etc, boosting tourism in the area leading to opportunities like hotels, road trips (private buses) leading to jobs for drivers and bus-boy, etc.
Writing this article doesn't mean I'm encouraging anyone to pour the milk on a stone. But every time such occasions come, you can pledge to donate to a poor family or a girl child's education or a child's food.