CREDOS : Ganesh the pilot — I

J J Gordon

In December 1997, I found myself in Sri Lanka at Mihintale, a site of immense importance to Sri Lankan Buddhism. Wandering near the principle Dagoba, I saw a simple hand-painted sign, pointing down hill behind the main site, which said “Lord Ganesh Grotto.” Despite the fact that I had considered myself a militant atheist for years, I had always had a fascination with Ganesh, the Hindu God whose lovable elephant’s head was perched improbably upon a corpulent human body. When I entered the grotto and saw the icon, I became, for a brief moment, both fully conscious and completely unconscious. It was like being struck by lightning, only completely positive. I do not know how long I spent in that grotto; I only know that I stumbled my way back up the path and tried, grinning, to explain what I had experienced to my wife. I had found my chosen deity. I resolved that, upon my return to Europe, I would pursue every piece of information I could about Ganesh.

The first major publication I obtained was Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s “Loving Ganesh.” I read and re-read this seminal book countless times. I further developed a considerable library of “Ganapati-alia” and studied many of the major scriptures of Hinduism. I immersed myself not only in the God who revealed Himself to me in that mountain cave in central Sri Lanka, but extended my study to take in Hinduism in general.

It soon became obvious that reading alone was not going to enhance the spiritual approach to life. All the major Ganesh literature spoke of the Ashtavinayaka Yatra, the holiest Ganesh pilgrimage in all of Hinduism. I resolved to undertake this pilgrimage. —