In early 2009 when my flirtations with Sanatana Dharma were in their beginning stages, I was still working in earnest on a blog about my disability, spina bifida. But the tone of the blog had shifted from 1 part anger/2 parts silliness to a bit more of a pensive tone. Spiritual even. In fact I began to end many of my posts with “Aum, Peace.” I felt Aum was widely recognized by the general public, but “Shanti” may not have been quite as digestible (though I now know that the concept of Aum is galaxies more complicated than Shanti. Oh well, moving on, you don’t have all day.
Anyway, you know that Christian story about a man dreaming he was on the beach/in a dessert, and he saw there were two sets of footprints in the sand, yet during the most difficult parts of his life he noticed there was but one? And he asked God why did you disappear at those times? And God says I did not, you twit, it was then that I carried you! Okay well in early 2009, I rewrote that on my spina bifida blog. In my version a set of foot prints walk alongside a set of wheel tracks in the sand. And the man in the chair says to God “I understand God that you pushed me through the tough parts. To which God replies “No, it was then that I walked before you, removed the downed tree trunks in front of you, but you still had to get yourself through the sand.
Yeah. I was that close to becoming a Ganapatya. And looking back, it would have made a LOT of sense, being disabled, living in a world that is full of perceivable physical, mental, emotional barriers, and Lord Ganesha being the remover of obstacles. But I never really came into Hinduism as a reaction to how my disability made me feel. Though I think in many ways “removal of obstacles” is a very large aspect of “sustenance” so if my religious leanings did have anything to do with my disability and how I felt about it, then Vishnu was the next logical choice if not Ganesha.
In my early days in the world of Hinduism, as I tried to work out just what in the world it was I believed, I discovered that That which is the one God was equipped with three main components, The Trimurti, three aspects of Divinity being Creation, Sustenance and Destruction/Transformation.
I found that in Hinduism, for reasons I never was clear on until recently, the “Creator” Brahma is not worshiped. I thought I read that it was inauspicious, but I am told that it simply fell out of popular practice to worship Brahma. They say once the Universe was created there was other business to go about beyond Creation. I say Creation never stops happening, but whatever.
As for Shiva (Destruction/Transformation) at the time I just could see no point in worshiping this aspect of Divinity. I saw it as a necessary part of the process but felt no devotion for it. I did not really understand how much more their was to Saivism. I’ll cover this more expansively in another post, I suspect.
So naturally I landed upon Vaisnavism, and the worship of Vishnu, sometimes as Krishna, sometimes as Narayana, not very often as Rama, you’ll be surprised to know (in fact that may be the first time I have mentioned Rama here and there is no reason for that at all), but usually just as Vishnu. Kind of makes it sound like it was a process of elimination, I suppose. But this in no way diminishes my devotion.
So…I think in the last post I promised a “reason” why I am not a Ganapatya. Well, unfortunately it doesn’t really appear that there is a reason. I guess in my early, intense decision-making days, I saw that Ganesha was the “Son of Shiva” and therefore thought “why worship a Deity who is the Son of another one? I’d already been doing that as a Catholic! 🙂