Thursday, August 31, 2006

Of Darshini Hanuman and Security Ganapaty

I am an atheist.

Hanuman and Ganapaty are my favourite gods.

Contradiction? None at all. I was born in an Indian Hindu family and that is sufficient to be on such familiar terms with the innumerable gods – and have a few favourites among them. The fact that I was raised as an atheist has no influence on this.

Because of all this, when these or any other gods are treated callously I feel ANGRY.

There is a famous Anjaneya temple in a small village called Muttatti. A colleague wanted to know where the place is. I wondered why he was so interested. The answer was “because he gives whatever you ask for very fast”. That got my goat alright. It sounded like a description of the famous Darshini phenomenon of Bangalore. These are fast food restaurants, called “something-or-the-other Darshini” that serve South Indian fast food. You pay, get a coupon, present it at the serving counter and, Hey Presto!, the food appears in front of you. You stand at a solar plexus high table, eat the stuff and get out.

Ask the Hanuman and he gives it to you very fast. Very nice and convenient. Thank you.

We should not do this to him.

Now, to the Security Guard Ganapaty; There is a superstition that the house at the junction of three roads, at a T – junction, facing the vertical arm of the T directly, is inauspicious. They even go cheap on the market. So, the owner builds a niche in the compound wall and installs an idol of Ganesha there. To assuage his guilt at having reduced Ganesha to that status or whatever, he makes it a well lit, ornate niche too. The lovable God in the form of the idol is too tempting a target for a thief or miscreant. So he gets incarcerated behind a sturdy steel door and padlock. He has to sit there and watch over the house of the man who jailed him. Earlier he was Maha Ganapaty, Shakti Ganapaty, Vidya Ganapaty but poor lovable Ganapaty is now Guard Ganapaty. Alas.

We should not do this to him.

When I told these thoughts to some friends, they tell me that there is even a Visa Venkateswara too! God forbid! (Fat chance of course). In the age of super specialities even gods have gone super special. This lord of the seven hills residing in some temple specialises in getting you the much coveted and hard to come by US visa. They tell me that another colleague applied for a visa, did not get in the first attempt, prayed to this Visa Venkateswara (and offered him some incentive, I guess) and promptly got the visa.

We should not do this to him.

We Hindus treat our gods very callously ourselves but let anyone else do or say anything that is remotely disrespectful to them, we are up in arms. Not we really but the self appointed guardians of Hinduism - against all comers.

So much so that the mighty Ganga with the power to wash away the sins of all sinning mortals is herself subjected to the humiliation of being cleansed because Musharaff visited her banks.

We should not do this to her.

It makes me mighty angry.

I dread to see the day ‘we’ take it upon ourselves to purify the all-consuming Agni (Fire god for the unknowing) for some misdemeanour by sprinkling holy water on him!

This shouldn’t happen to a god*.

* (With due apologies to James Herriot who wrote “This Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet”)


  1. Anonymous1:15 pm

    Add Vehicle Ganapathy to the not too sure if it is wrong though!

  2. Anonymous4:35 pm

    i agree. there was this fantastic kannada movie about 'udhbhava' gods. Very telling indeed. has anbody noticed a temple coming up on the hosur road (near the police training office - on the footpath between the road and the service road) in madivala. Surely this temple will become a great one soon.

  3. But funny isn't it... It happens only in India!! On a serious note, I guess all Gods are the manifestation of the Human Greed...

  4. // Om Shri Hanumate Namah: //

    No need to get angry!

    If you love Shri Hanuman Ji, you can download Hanuman Chalisa, Bajrang Baan, Hanuman Mantra Jaap Mala and other Mp3-Bhajans at:

    YouRs SinCereLy M!sTer CrippLeD SaM