Growing up in a Tibetan Buddhist household, South-&-Central-Asian deities were part of my cultural milieu. While few Hindu figures made it into my childhood view of the world, Ganesha captivate my whimsical adoration. Taking my mother on a pilgrimage to Nepal, to my delight, the one deity I saw displayed was He-of-the-Broken-Tusk. One night, while circumabulating the stupa at Boudhanath 21 times with my mother, we heard what sounded like a squeak-toy. Maintaining the flow of recited mantra, I went to investigate: a small pack of dogs surrounding an overflowing trash bin, the sqeaking coming from the overflow. Having established a companionable rapport with the street dogs of Boudhanath, I boldly shooed them aside to find what appeared to be a grievously injured rat, tangled in a plastic bag. Scooping up the wee-one, bag and all, I rejoined my mother in our circling. Having been exposed as a child to stories of animals finding the foundation of their enlightened liberation--future lives hence--chasing each other around a stupa three times, I bore the rat round three times. After, we came to a low section of the stupa wall and, bag-o-rat in hand, I scaled the wall. There, by a small shrine, I set the bag down. Out popped the rat, seeming in full health as it darted into hiding near the shrine. Genesha's mount is a rat, so it felt further connection with him had been created by this gift of service. A few days later, I came across another rat on the sidewalk, elegant in its crushed repose. Later still, in the Himalayan foothills, near a combined Buddhist-and-Hindu shrine-complex for the local nagas, I found this roadside shrine dedicated to Genesha, and, out of character, posed with him for a picture. All feeling connected.
#ganesha #brokentusk #rat #nepal #longstory #pilgrimage #animalrescue #boudhanath #stupa #circumabulation #hinduart #shrines #blue #death #roadkill #transmigration #omahhumvajragurupadmasiddhihum #miracle #naga #deity #silver #unexpected #sidewalk #roadside #bluewall