Had a lovely first-time visit to a gorgeous big old Ganesh temple here in Jaipur, on behalf of an acquaintance in California who asked me to propitiate on her behalf; here’s (a modified version of) what I wrote to her describing the moment.
First of all, thank you for reaching out and asking me to put in a good word for you over here in India. Tonight I had a chance to visit a beautiful, big ol’ Ganesh shrine here in Jaipur that I’d never been to before: the Moti Dungri near the huge new-ish white marble Lakshmi-Narayan temple I’ve driven by dozens of times in recent years, never realizing this sweet old Ganesh was chilling in the shadows around the corner, underneath a massive old turreted set of ruins on the ridge above.
While I was in Jatipura last week, hanging out with the satsang in an old Shri Gusainji baithak where Shyamdas had lived for 18 years with his Guruji Shri Prathameshji, I asked one of his old buddies and fellow Pushti scholar and practitioner, Prof. David Haberman, if he knew of any sweet local or Jaipur-based Ganesh shrines. He hipped me to this one in Jaipur—ancient and great, he said. It had the right ring. I mentioned it to my good friend and fellow Krishna bhakta Raju here in Jaipur when I was visiting him today, and his eyes lit up too—he said “oh, that is a very nice mandir, very old. It’s very good for speaking with Ganesh too—really, he speaks to you…” So all the signs seemed favorable…
So, around 830pm here (so 7am CA time today on Feb 20th) I had my darshan there and spoke to Ganesh ji about your wishes. Seeing others using cameras, I also felt comfortable taking some photographs of the Mandir, which was an unexpected pleasure.
So, it turns out it’s a major temple. And Ganesh is big! I dunno, maybe 8-10 feet high, and all orange, full on resplendent. Sweet vibe. It was semi-busy, but plenty of room for me to get close and take my time, and settle in. I did my best to represent your prayer and wish, in my own way. A steady stream of pilgrims kept the 2 priests busy offering Prasad to Ganesh, taking elaborate fresh flower garlands and touching them to the Nandi bull facing Ganesh then returning them to the offerers, etc. At least 2 or 3 pairs of newlyweds were there too, getting blessed as they began their journeys together. A kind, gentle, slightly busy scene.
After a while, I offered the nearby priest, the friendlier looking one, a 500 rupee note (almost $10)—much more than the usual donation, but I wanted to make it noticeable to the Big Guy. Instead of sliding it right into the slotted lock boxes they used for everyone else’s bills, he kind of gave me a look as if saying “you want something special for this?” and I gave him back the classically ambiguous Indian head wobble, allowing him carte blanche to go with the flow. He turned and walked directly up to Ganesh, touched the 500 rupee note to Ganesha’s legs and feet and then placed the bill at his feet, coming back to me and giving me a smile. I took it as a good sign.
I remained for a while after, kneeling and offering my own prayers for myself and those I love. It was a lovely scene, and I’m really glad to have gone. I slowly ambled out, not in much of a hurry at all. After finally rejoining my sweet driver and readying to go, I made eye contact with a young boy who with his uncles was manning a laddu shop right where we parked across from the temple. You probably know that laddus are Ganesha’s fave—he is often depicted holding a big bowl full of them. Anyway, the kid looks at me and smiles, and holds out a laddu, offering it to me with a great vibe. I got out of the car, gratefully took it, and with a series of delicious smiles with all three boys in the laddu shop, got back in the car and shared it with my driver ji. A perfect conclusion to a lovely little Ganesh darshan.
Anyway, there you are. I do believe God knows all before we even utter it from our own lips, so while I hope in some way my seva has been helpful for you, I do believe your own heart and intention were heard by God in both Ganesh’s form and every other form, and I hope the purity of your desire and hope to be of service in the healing path goes straight from your heart to God’s ears and back to you again, even more deeply that the depth you articulated so sweetly with me.