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Ganesh Ganache

Listen to Ganesh Mantra

11 April 2010

Jessica Maxwell

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I don’t drive much anymore. Partly because my last-century workhorse Range Rover is corralled in the garage until we can replace it with an electric car. And partly because I have a private chauffeur. Like most guys, Tom loves to drive. He’s also an ace navigator, so I’m spoiled. (But then he has a private chef.) He was busy with work on the day I was invited to “be the program” at the midweek March meeting of the mysterious women’s organization called “P.E.O.” so I had to drive there myself.

The meeting was at a member’s home an hour north of us in one of those complicated golf course communities whose streets were laid out by the same folks who design golf holes named “Extreme 19th” (accessible only by helicopter…really) and “Amen Corner.” I started to pray before I left our driveway. Then it hit me: “This is a job for Ganesh!”

Lord Ganesha, as his devotees call him, is India’s patron saint of obstacle obliteration. He’s the charming deity (or aspect of the Divine) with an elephant head who helps spiritual seekers find their way…and makes sure they get there. As luck would have it, a decade earlier Ganesh had appeared to me in a vision (see Chapter 25 in Roll Around Heaven) and certainly helped clear the way for this pilgrim’s progress…along with predicting Tom’s miraculous arrival in my life later on. I didn’t even know who Ganesh was back then, and so wouldn’t have thought to ask him for anything. It was, as my Huffington Post hero Dr. Susan Corso likes to say, “a God job.” Such were Ganesh’s gifts that it had seemed inappropriate to ask him for more after that. But maybe a small request for a little temporary spiritual GPS help was okay?

“O, Lord Ganesha!” began my fervent prayer, and thus did the flood-waters break. Monsoons suddenly drenched my face as waves of unexpressed gratitude shook my entire being. “Lord Ganesha!” I heard myself cry out. “Please forgive my long silence! I have been a terrible… devotee! But I do love you with all my heart and I always will and I still don’t know why you chose to help me but I’m so glad you did. You changed everything!! Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”

To call this eruption expected would be like calling springtime a surprise. In its awakening wake, fragrant emotions bloomed within me like plumes of fresh lilac: happiness turning to joy becoming pink-cheeked glee. Who knew giving thanks could be so sweet? And who knew that an everyday request for simple guidance could unleash such a deluge?

I flew to the meeting with confidence complete, even though my directions were backwards, written for those driving in from the north not the south. Only at the end did I seem lost and asked a kindly gentleman parking a golf cart in his garage for help. He smiled and pointed to the house opposite his. I was already there.

The P.E.O. women were an elegant lot and I truly worried whether RAH and its mystical messages were a good match. But once I began my talk, lights went on in eyes all over the room. Soon most of the thirty-some attendees were smiling and many were nodding in agreement. At the end I was mobbed for books and signings. One stately Maggie Smith look-alike whispered: “I know why you were here today. We are on exactly the same path.”  Thus did she prove my suspicion: P.E.O. clearly stands for Perceptive Enlightened Ones.

The icing on the cake – a rich Ganesh Ganache – appeared when I arrived back home: a mail truck was blocking our driveway. I stopped and waited and when the mailman saw me he jumped in his seat and quickly backed up to clear my path. I waved a thank-you. When I got out of the car the man was running my way. “Mees! Mees!” he cried out in what can only be called perfect Bollywood English. “I ham so soory to block your drrive!” He’s from India??! Where was our usual mailman?! I told him there was no harm done, and turned to go. “Mees, mees!” he said again. “Ees there eenyting morrre I can doo for yoo!??” I stared speechless and shook my head, then blurted out: “Where are you from?” He smiled: “Oh, India, Mees. New Delhi, en the nort.” “New Delhi!?” I replied. “Isn’t that where the big Ganesh festival is?” “Oh, yes, yes,” he sang. “Twenty-four February, Mees.” “But…” I sputtered. “That’s my husband’s birthday!” “Ohh, happy birdday to husband, Mees!” he offered with a bow. “He wery blessed by Lord Ganesha!” And then he was gone.

— Oink!—