My Saraswati arrived after 2 months in the hands of a hotel concierge, customs, after travelling on rough waters, in transit, from the Bay of Bengal westward to the Arabian Sea, and then eastward following the curve of the Indian sub-continent to continue her journey on the Andaman Sea towards Port Klang. In true Indian style!
Isn't she lovely? Isn't she won-der-full...?
I was on a very short trip to procure some generic medication in Chennai. Carrying a thick wad of cash, I met up with a stranger in a hotel lobby carrying a brown box. We did an exchange. He counted the cash and I counted the contents in the brown box. Mission accomplished. I looked forward to spending the rest of the day just wandering around the little side streets. The thought of a Ganapati had been on my mind on and off over the last few months, so this trip might be a good time to look for one. On a tight schedule, finding one I liked (and that liked me) would have been a miracle, so I was not hoping at all. And I'm not one to just grab an item for the sake of buying something. Just to give you some perspective, it took me half a lifetime to find the perfect Buddha head.
But hey, I found some delish pani puri from a roadside stall!
And gulab jamun
And stumbled across this!
I entered a shop. There was nothing really that interesting at the window. I walked in for some cool air because it was blazing hot outside. The shop was packed from floor to ceiling with wood and stone carvings, bronze and brass statues of deities and replicas of relics from the Harappan civilisation. Nothing caught my eye and I continued to walk until the end of the shop into a dimly lit store room. The owner followed me and switched on the lights. Still, nothing appealed to me although there was quite an impressive collection. And then I saw her - on a dusty shelf right at the bottom near a corner, in the dark.
"She's beautiful! Why do you keep her hidden here?" I asked the owner. He shrugged and replied that she had been in the shop for many years. Perhaps it was because he couldn't sell her that he decided to place her in this dim annex right at the back of the shop.
"You know," he said several minutes later, "they say that every statue, at the time of its creation, has already decided who it belongs with".
I understood exactly what he meant. Even though I was looking for a Ganapati at that time, and many other deities in the past ... deep down I knew it was a Saraswati that I have always needed. You see, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, of the arts & science, of music and dance, of literature. She is the goddess of learning and wisdom. In Sanskrit, "Sara" means essence. "Sva" means the self. Together, they mean "essence of self knowledge".
She has come home
A journey into the self is the most exciting journey of all. This time, I am taking the road least travelled.