CREDOS : Ganesh the pilot — V

J J Gordon

Then came the second day’s final port of call: the cave temple at Lenyadri, Sri Girijatmaj, the sixth temple. To reach this, one must climb 307 sheer steps along the cliff face. The temple is exceptional — one large hall carved out of stone leads directly to the sanctum. To get to the eighth Ashtavinayaka temple, Sri Varadvinayaka at Mahad, we had to cross back over the low mountain range that divides the Maharashtrian coast from the inland plain. Sri Varadvinayaka at Mahad, the fourth temple, is the most controversial of the Ashtavinayaka temples for the simple fact that, a few years ago, the trustees decided that the ancient swayambhu murti was too worn to continue using, so they consecrated a carved icon in its place. The original Deity sits in front of the sanctum, next to the offering box. Sri Ballaleswar Temple at Pali, the third, is one of the most distant from Pune. It’s the only one of the Ashtavinayaka Temples to be named after the devotee who discovered the swayambhu murti. Some time in antiquity a young boy at this site became a devout Ganesha devotee. It is said that if you make 21 circumambulations of this temple your problems will be sol-ved and your desires fulfilled.

As we left the site, it struck me that it was over. We had completed my dream and performed the sacred Ashtavinayaka Yatra. I was consumed with a mixture of elation and sadness and deeply overcome. I wanted to start the whole process over again, but I realized that it was the internalization of my experiences that mattered now. All blessings to Vinayaka for allowing me a safe pilgrimage. Our Lord Ganapati as Chintamani is, indeed, the pilot of our lives. —, concluded