taking care of the gods

Don’t tell my parents, but the maid from upstairs dropped by the downstairs office with a little plastic bag containing a garland and two cookies for Ganesh (our corporate deity). Since my friend and big boss, being the boss, was not planing on coming down to work today, he asked me to take care of the god. This involves kindly placing the orange, white and yellow garland around the god’s effigy, lighting incense and twirling it in front of his face a few times, and finally offering the couple of egg-less, no-bake cookies to him (from Tewari Confectioners); this i dutifully carried out.

The fact that a (post) christian who spends his time deriding the gods can be conferred this religious task, obviously calls for a number of important observations. I shall make a few unimportant ones.

  1. Obviously, i am now irreparably damned to burn in the everlasting fires of hell (probably being fed nothing but “egg-less, no-bake cookies” for all of eternity). But i already knew that.
  2. There was no mystery or ‘specialness’ about the ceremony that required a bona-fide, believing hindu. It just needed to be done, and anyone would do.
  3. This is the very antithesis of christianity: it is religion stripped down to its barest practical and material features. No faith, only deeds.

If anyone happens upon some of the ‘important’ observations that should be made, i’d be most appreciative.


3 Comments to “taking care of the gods”

  1. If you take Ganesh and the cookies with you to hell, Ganesh would probably protect you and the fires might bake the cookies quite nicely. I assume Ganesh is willing to share.

  2. When I was a kid, I’d often see my maternal gran doing puja. Sitting besides her, the kid version of me scrubbed and clean will carry these images all my life. To my gran, God isn’t a bronze statuette…she cooks for him and serves him before her family is fed every meal. Her love for him doesn’t include swapping duties of getting fresh flowers or making elaborate meals. Her face holds such a beautiful look of serenity that I would sit for half and hour and just watch her recite mantras and adorn her puja place.
    I don’t think that the rituals are as important as the feelings one carries them through with. On contrary to what most non-Hindus and a lot of Hindus (sadly) believe….idol worship is a dimunitive physical manifestation of Hinduism. Tewari egless cookies or incense lightning (and twirling the sticks a couple of times) are an expression of one’s spirituality…where spirituality itself is a chore.

  3. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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