Overlooking God

16January 2002,En route to Madras

Ganesh temple in Tamil Nadu

Just at dusk, somewhere in Tamil Nadu, Amma’s South India Tour buses stopped at a countryside temple to Lord Ganesh.

The pujari was there, anointing and garlanding the murthi; the local devotees gathered near, and the people travelling with Mother stood close by, respectfully.

A temple houses a murthi, an image meant to help focus one’s mind on God, perhaps on a particular aspect of God. An avatar embodies God, perhaps can be seen as a “living murthi”. Amma, embodying unconditional love and compassion, is, to many, Devi, the Goddess, in human form.

Amma arrived at the temple location and sat among Her children near the far end of the temple compound. The bells began to ring for the evening arati-the waving of camphor before the deity. Amma sat in respectful silence, Her eyes closed, as, in the inner sanctum, the pujari waved the camphor before the stone image. Amma’s devotees, seated on the ground close to Her, could be forgiven for instinctively looking back towards the temple, imagining that next the priest would approach Mother.

But he didn’t.

Portrait of Amma

Of course he had no idea that right behind him, within the boundaries of his own temple compound, God had really come.

He saw a few hundred people taking a break from their arduous journey. That’s all.

God’s ways of appearing among us are often so simple and humble, so ordinary. I know about one pujari who missed God’s visit one night-—but how many times have I missed God’s visits?

I must remember to look in the most unlikely places for God.