I offer my obeisance to you Rev. Sri Om Swamiji🙏
Young days are full of enlightening experiences and this is an ode to one such unforgettable incident.
It was the early morning month of mid September 1995, the weather seemed to be already taking a cold shift, which was a respite to many . As I sat down in my patio area, on the round cozy cane couch , snuggling myself with a light blanket relaxing with my special early morning strong hot cup of tea. Crushed ginger and bit of clove and a final touch of good jaggery added to its preparation, acted like an awakening in heaven . How sweet are these simple moments which give joy to the heart. One look at the roads , it seemed that they too had rested well and were now already dusting the smog left behind by the maddening rush of traffic of the previous day preparing for their own bhajan singing time. The environment was at work too.
After an hour I woke up my little kids, sending them off to school , I then quickly prepared to finish my household chores and sat down with some sketching work. Around noon , I got a call on my landline from one of my dear friend, stating that an amazing magical moment has happened at her place. Excitedly she said” I just finished doing my daily ritual of Pooja and offered milk to Lord Ganesha, can you believe he drank the milk from the bowl in my hands, within no time!” I was first a bit thoughtful , and couldn’t digest her words but gathered myself and showed my excitement to her, “ how lucky you are, to have darshan and blessing of Lord Ganesha like this”. (How many of us would really be that lucky? What good karma she has done indeed! )
She further added, “ have you not seen the news?”
I replied, “ what news”?
She mentioned it was flashed all over in every news on the radio that day, that Lord Ganesha is having milk from everyone’s hands, and it’s a very rare auspicious day.
“Wow,” Such magical moments do happen in our country only, I thought.
She added further rather hissing on the phone ( maybe the wires were going to leak the secret of conversations outside) as if dropping a pumpkin on someone’s head, “Ganesha will not accept milk from people who have committed great sins ( now that was scary! )” . Everything was made out to be so intense.
I was based in a religious town like Haridwar, so imagine if you are declared a sinner , you are already dead. She suggested that I should offer my prayers and milk to Lord Ganesha , without delay and inform her too.
No sooner had I kept the phone , I got few more similar calls stating the same. Some of them on hearing went to nearby temples, with milk to offer to Lord Ganesha. But more than the offering , the sinner word kept ticking my weird head, that “what if” it did not happen for me? Today indeed was a testing day of my Bhakti over the years ( we are mystically filled with a picture world within, thanks to the world of Sangha we live with) .
I waited for the kids to come back from school, and all this while was little skeptical about the whole big news. Icing on the cake , once back from school my kids too narrated that they heard from their school teachers that Bhagwan Ganesha has been drinking milk .
People were going in batches to the nearby temples to offer milk, very rare did ofcourse offer to the figures in the temple of their homes too and Lord Ganesha did drink milk from their hands.
The wide Saga of the Sangha of Ganesha devotees all over the world and it’s story rubbed on me too. But the very thought of people thronging and pushing at the temples was enough to stop me from going to temple, ever since I was a child, so how could that habit change now. But being curious I struck on a deal with myself and Lord Ganesha and I stood now in front of my little temple in the house looking at all the Ganesha figures and spoke to him rather cutely, “ I am your admirer and great worshipper, in my knowledge I haven’t hurt anyone, and I have fulfilled my duties well all through, so I now leave it up to you to have the milk I offer or refuse. I shall willingly accept your Grace!”
It was sheer luck that I had all kind of figures be it it stone or wooden in the house. dedicatedly covering my head , holding a milk bowl in my hand I politely called my kids to stand near the altar with folded hands and started offering milk to Ganesha, like one true Sadhak whose wishes were going to be fulfilled and soon I would be Blessed more.
The curiosity on the face of my kids and the utter faith of confidence in my own self had created quite a dramatic effect in the room that time. It felt like I was all set to welcome God in the temple of my sweet home. ( I guess, happens with funny atheists like me turning bhakts) And I started to feed milk with the help of a spoon to the stone figure of Lord Ganesha. The kids came closer to me , flexing their toes, opening their eyes wide to see that magical moment. I was equally excited for that grand moment.
But as luck would have it , the milk flowed down , I kept holding the spoon nothing happened. The kids remarked, “ Mom Bhagwan Ji has not consumed anything!” I sushed them and tried on the wooden figure, nope , it did not work, so lastly I tried on the metal figure, and spoke to myself thinking He would Bless His big time Bhakt, who has gone through hell in life already, and consume milk. And guess what……..,… He did not!!!
There was a whole filmy scene in my head , where your heart breaks , as Ganesha did not shown up . Oh God! I have faced wrath for so many years all thanks to my past life karmas, and in this life too I am declared the biggest sinner ? My life surely is the most unusual. What do I do now? Am I supposed to go the the temple and do the needful? But many people did try at home and the magic happened for them, then why not me?
My kids were quiet . What was more embarrassing was the very thought that my kids , are now having a mother who is the biggest sinner on this planet. Oh no! I now had to declare to my friends the TRUTH who were waiting for me to revert back on the same that here I am , and Ganesha has refused milk from my hands. This would surely spread like wild fire, in the town, and being in Haridwar a religious spot , imagine the scene would be blown out even the more.
To end all the chaotic thinking, I took it as His Grace, and thought it’s fine if He thinks I am a sinner , I shall work on myself more, and bravely picked up the phone, called my dear friend , and announced, “Ganesha did not drink milk from my hands”, I could not hear her say anything from the other end , there was complete silence ….after I kept repeating hello …hello my friend replied” Siddhika to be honest, I lied to you and many out there, the truth is nothing of this sort happened with me too but I feared that people would call me names”. That was hilarious:)) and then there were so many others , to whom I kept declaring and they too came out with the truth, saying the same, that Ganesha did not drink the milk, but no one wanted to be addressed as a sinner, hence they lied to save themselves from the wrath of the big Ganesha Sangha. Trust me this was the first time in my life I felt that Sinners have the ability to change the world ( pun intended) .
That’s history , laters what was discovered of how this miracle was happening, one can google it..https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha_drinking_milk_miracle
There were figures that got destroyed in the huge rush of people feeding milk, and eventually one could also see the sight of broken Ganesha figures in the holy Ganges.
But this incident reminded me of a little story ….
There once lived an emperor who was more impressed with showing off his wardrobe than the duties of his position.
One day a couple of weavers — or con men — come to town and tell the Emperor they are now making the world’s finest and most special cloth. A cloth not just more beautiful than anything anyone has ever seen, but also quite functional. It becomes invisible to fools and those not fit for their office, however. It’s like nothing that has ever been seen before.
“Hmmm,” the Emperor thought, “This could come in handy. I can see which of my advisors is unworthy.”
So he hires the weavers at a high price to make him this magnificent and powerful suit of clothes. He pays a high price and fills their order for the greatest silks and gold thread. (Which they promptly put in their bags for their purposes, as any good con man would do.)
They set up looms and pretend to get started. The looms remain empty. The Emperor sends his top men for a progress report. None are willing to admit they don’t see anything, so they memorize the words of the weavers telling of the magnificence of the colors and quality of the fabric. They return to the king with these reports.
More money, more silk, and more golden thread are needed by the weavers, of course. Only the best for the Emperor and the best is expensive.
The day comes when the weavers say the new set of clothes is ready. They go to dress the Emperor, praising their work every step of the way.
“Oh, Emperor, can you see how fabulous you look? The fit and quality are exceptional.”
The Emperor agrees. Oh, he has his doubts. But no one must know he is not worthy of his office. Or think him a fool. And surely all of these experts around him cannot be wrong. He must look fabulous.
He gets ready for a procession through the town, so all can be awed by his magnificence. The weavers head out of town, coffers full.
The townspeople all praise the garments as the Emperor proceeds through the streets.
“You look amazing,” they say.
“Haven’t ever seen anything so wonderful.”
A small child, who didn’t understand the apparent necessity for pretence, piped up ‘Ummm.. But he has nothing on!’ He ‘s naked”. His dad tries to cover for him, but the words of the child travel through the crowd.
The bubble of pretence burst and soon all the onlookers were repeating what the child had said
“The child says he’s not wearing anything.” And everybody starts ushering the same and eventually the whole town cried out at last.
The Emperor hears the buzz and knows it is probably true, but he can’t back down now. The procession goes on/ He stands straighter and more regally, and his advisers continue to support him.
The moral, or message, of this tale is that we must not let pride or fear keep us from speaking up. Another moral is that children speak the truth when no one else will and my kids did the same , and I really felt that in so many ways we learn from our innocent children. They are pure gifts of God and their truth matters and I have always believed, that if you keep lying to yourself that’s what the kids would pick up from you eventually, of living a superficial life rather than being themselves.
What truly frees us from our internal obstacles of right thoughts consolidating a well lived life till the very last breath is to barely worry for the consequences of the make believe or not so make believe stories of the world. Just Be!
A true Sadhna liberates the Sadhak from all the wrong doings and conditioning, one purely needs to walk the path freely chiseling the beauty of the inner Divine.
You’re the Emperor of your own life. One just needs to face his own bareness , change the so called superficial friendly ministers ( the make believe Sangha) and listen within to the voice of truth. And yes, bigger miracles do happen, but does that entitle that ones who do not experience the same are sinners? is it not depleting the miracle effect of the ones who experience it! No amount of claim of superpowers should ever be allowed to create fear or doubt to the special faith within you . The best elating bit is, aren’t we already living a life of miracles and gifts He has already bestowed on us i.e kindness , truth and compassion. Let’s keep working under His Umbrella and He forever be the Guiding force.
Now, that is what a true offering to Lord Ganesha is! which He accepts wholeheartedly than anything else everyday :))
Thanking the Divine magical being in you and for giving time to the post here. Forgive me for hurting anyone’s sentiments if at all as it’s an experience of my own truth. Divine Bless all with simplicity, peace and harmony.
pic courtesy: Prakash Lahani