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Trunk-calling the Lord

Posted on September 12, 2010 | Author: Vithal C Nadkarni | View 507

Gouri has arrived.So Ganesh isnt far behind.In the days following,Mumbai becomes hostess to the Lord of the Hosts.But if the city seems more like a hostage,thank the ganas,or the aam junta and their Richie Rich sponsors,and not their Lord Himself for the ostentatious pandals and their kitschy panoramas.

One of them is belting out the filmi refrain,Deva ho Deva,Ganpati Deva tum se badh kar kaun (O God,O God,O Ganpati whos bigger than thou) And among your devotees,who is bigger than me asks the original track featuring a number of baddies including Amjad Khan aka Gabbar Singh.Of course the actor was not at all being serious in the movie (which,ironically,was titled Hum se Badh Kar Kaun).

Hes just being practical.After all,bigger the god,the bigger may be his appetite for adulation goes the argument.By that token,only a devotee with a comparable ego (or humility) can stand up to serve a Lord so Big! A similar point is made by the great poetsaint of the Warkari tradition of Maharashtra,Sant Tukaram.

In a moving verse he equates Gods alleged ignorance with the dumbness of a beautiful water lily.What does the flower know of its own fragrance he asks.(Kamodini kaya jane toh parimal ) The black bee enjoys it all! (bhrmara sakal bhogit-ase ).
So it is with you,O Lord,who knows not his own name.We alone know (the secret) of its loving blissfulness, adds the poet.He presses home the point with another artless image: What is mere grass for the mother is nothing but sweet milk for the child (so it is with your greatness,O Lord,none but me can appreciate it!) 

So,with apologies to Karl Marx,what if there are no such devotees Then it would be absolutely necessary to invent them if only for Gods sake! The irony wasnt lost on the great pioneers of the Bhakti tradition.Sant Jnyanadev,for example,has sung eloquently of the paradoxes of the union between the devotee and the Lord.This erases all distinctions and dualities as when one looks into the mirror and finds no reflection he says.Its like when you embrace the Beloved only to discover the complete loss of your own separateness.

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