My wife and I just spent a good part of the last week in the Indianapolis area with two dear friends of ours. I became acquainted with one of them through this very weblog in the spring of 2012 when he corrected my wording in relation to the story of Ganesha transcribing the Mahabharata as Vyasadev spoke the verses. We live a few states away, but he with his husband and I with my wife have exchanged visits summerly this year and last and I can foresee it becoming an ongoing tradition even if not yearly. Over the course of the last three years we have become close first due to our shared, and complementary, experiences with Hindu practice. We’ve challenged, and taught one another. We’ve gotten to know each other more as individual personalities in the last year or more, whereas before that our association was to a great extent focused on Hinduism in general. But it was a good solid foundation for a friendship as I think we revealed a lot of the kind of people we both are through our attitudes and views on things.
While he and his husband visited me and my wife last year, he invited us to come to spend some time with them this year, and we’ve anticipated it since. Our arrival this year fell on the anniversary of my current birth. When we arrived they’d prepared a nice vegetarian meal over which we all sat down to catch up. They presented me with a birthday cake and a gift, which included a booklet of bhajans, another publication commemorating a recent kumhabhishekam at the Indianapolis temple, and another giving a very unique and charming interpretation of the Gita. Along with these were small murtis of Kartikeya, Devasena and Valli.
A little background: My friend is a very sincere Ganapatya. When he presented the murti gift to me he reminded me that Murugan and Ganesha are brothers and he’s a Ganapatya, and I am his bhai. It was a very touching gift to which there is no sufficient response except a smile and to say “Thank you”. But in my head I was thinking about my mandir back home and how I might give Murugan (Kartikeya) the place in it that he requires. I lean toward Vaisnavism and my friend knows that but he also knows that I look for ways to expand my vision of what my Hindu practice is and entails.These accessories to jnana and bhakta are a welcome nudge in that direction.
What I was also thinking of, to provide further background, was how this friend of mine knew me for a little over six months back in ’12 when I had a terrific accident and broke my leg. His response to the news, and the concern he showed, told me even then without question that I could look upon him as a brother.
He and his husband opened their home to us during our visit and I am grateful for having been able to spend more time becoming closer friends with both of them. We visited two Hindu temples in the Midwest, and one of them, not being sufficiently handicapped accessible for me to go and obtain prasad after a Ganesha abhishekam, he asked my wife to come with him to get prasad. Not only was I able to receive prasad vicariously through her, but my friend also gave my wife – a cautious seeker, I’d say – the chance to take a step toward something that she is likely interested in but just doesn’t quite know how to proceed. In doing so, he’s helped to show me how I might guide her steps, should she deem it necessary.
Aum Gam Ganapataye Namaha!
Aum Sri Subrahmanyaya Namaha!