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A New Cognizance

Image Source: www.cianellistudios.com

Once in a while my colleague from the next room walks into my office during lunch time and makes himself comfortable at the chair by the desk. The other day he walked into my room, his attention turned to the three small picture frames on my desk. There sits an old picture frame of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati traveling with me since the day I moved to my hostel room in Calcutta. Guilty of not following the ritualistic Hindu religious prayers, my spirituality ended in to bowing in front of the frames whenever I felt I needed some extra boost. I must confess that few of those prayers, mostly the ones which used to occur at inappropriate hours of the day, were tainted by selfish begging for wisdom, knowledge and to avert obstacles.

Recently there had been a new addition to the team of gods, another small frame bearing a picture of Goddess Lakshmi. I am afraid that in one of the future selfish prayers, wealth and prosperity might as well get added to the list. There is no end to greed, you know.

Now this time, my friend who comes from a mono-theistic religious background, stared at the pictures and started to study them intently. Having nothing else to divert his attention, I found myself fumbling to answer his queries. I was trying my best to give a comprehensible idea of Hindu denominations and our love of idolatry. Being no expert, and being brought up in a religiously liberal household, my efforts faltered soon.

I tried to explain why one of the Gods has a head of an elephant, how the four hands indicate God’s divine omnipresence, how each arm depicts a special aspect, with the lower right arm always in a blessing positions. My friend stopped me at this point. “Well, this goddess in white clothes, she is not blessing you. She is not even bothered. She seems more interested in playing her instrument”, he lamented. I looked back at the picture frame, the same pictures I have been seeing everyday for the past one decade of my life. And here it is. Obviously, the right arm of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi is in a blessing position, while Goddess Saraswati is just using that arm to play her Veena. I gave up, and thankfully lunch time got over.

Later that evening I came home and checked out the deities again sitting in my cupboard.

After a stressful time of reasoning and re reasoning, I thought I got an answer to my friend’s question. I could not remember if I had read it somewhere, or heard somebody telling it to me in childhood. But these were the words, while all the Gods and Goddesses always bless their devotees; Goddess Saraswati wants you to work hard to earn her blessings.

Hmm, so this clarifies why after each math paper, my desperate prayers for good marks were answered with some numerical digits which bestowed me with the honour to just able to pass the paper, bringing the average percentage down. All the time, She was sitting there on my desk, with her right arm retrieved from the blessing position, daintily playing the Veena, hinting me to work hard on my math lessons. It is me who could not decipher the meaning. Only it is too late to realize this now.

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