Vanity thought #605. Ganesh

Today went to visit local Ganesh temple. It was surprisingly crowded and they turned it into a legitimate tourist attraction with a big parking lot, a market, restaurants, live music and what not.

I didn’t give it much thought until the very last moment when I stared at the largest Ganesh I’ve ever seen, wondering what I should do there as an aspiring follower of Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON pays more attention to demigods now, when we cultivate our congregation, but I don’t remember any particular instructions from Prabhupada’s books that could justify going to demigod temples.

Ganesh is, of course, a destroyer of obstacles and I know quite a few devotees who keep his deity around to help them in business but at the moment I don’t have any interests like that. What to do?

And then it dawned on me – Ganesh was the first one to hear Bhagavad Gita, as part of Mahabharata, and he also was the first one to write it down. That is more than enough to beg mercy of his lotus feet. Just imagine how Srila Vyasadev was reciting Gita verses and Ganesh was jotting it down. I bet there were quite a few moments where they just froze, stunned in their devotion.

Sarva dharman parityaja verse most certainly knocked them out, and I bet when they reached the end – “Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality” they weren’t able to continue for days.

At the temple grounds there were also lots of images of Ganesh’ carrier, the mouse. He looked very much like Disney character but I liked one particular “invention” – there was one special mouse people could whisper their wishes to. You speak into one ear and hold the other ear closed so that the wish stays inside and gets fulfilled.

There was a little discussion what language should we use as no one around spoke Sanskrit, presumably his native language. There was a long line and I was wondering what people were asking him about. Were they asking about their own welfare? Their families? Their boyfriends? Their jobs? Their health? I bet no one asked about their country or their politics. When it was my turn I just chanted Hare Krishna mantra and that was it.

When I got home I googled around and found plenty of Ganesha stories but nothing beats his writing of Mahabharata. Apparently Vyasa recited it without a pause, but only after Ganesh understood the meaning of what’s being said – that’s why I think that they were naturally stunned when they got to Bhagavad Gita. I mean once you understand the import of those verses there’s really nothing more to be said and no more pledges to fulfill. It’s surprising that they were able to continue at all, but that’s what Lord’s Maya potency is for, that’s why inhabitants of Vrindavana are able to continue with their service, too.

All in all it was a nice trip, perhaps one day I’ll figure out how to visit Rahu temple, too, I’ve heard that there’s one somewhere. This should be interesting.

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