This story has its beginning a few weeks ago. I had asked my cousin who now lives in Tamil Nadu, the length of a South Indian dhoti to compare it with what we get here in Maharashtra where I live.
Instead of answering, he simply ordered me to accept two dhoties as gifts from him and that he will arrange to procure them and send to me. Naturally, I was delighted and gratefully accepted his gift which duly arrived.
During the same conversation, he asked me if I had an image of our Kuladeivam (family deity) in my puja alcove. I responded with a no. He did not mention anything further but, I felt that now being the head of my rather dispersed family, I should have the same in my puja alcove and found a studio in Tamil Nadu who was capable of making one to my liking.
I ordered four of them to be sent to me, another cousin now resident of Maharashtra, my sister in Bengaluru and for the cousin who had asked me the question which led me to this activity. On being advised about this, the last on the list regretted that he would not be able to accept the gift as he already had one and had limited space in his retirement home. I therefore got left with one extra to my need.
Yesterday, I was in one of my periodic streamlining exercises and decided to part with a rare PDF spiral bound printed version of a very popular prayer. I offered it to a Vedanta classmate of mine who can read Tamil and she promptly accepted it. While I was getting it ready it occurred to me to ask her if she would like the spare deity too and she was overwhelmed. It turned out that we shared the same family deity and she too did not have the image in her puja alcove.
I sent both the PDF and the image to her earlier this morning and she is simply ecstatic.
I have been left wondering about the sequence of events that led to this development and can only come back to my favourite explanation “synchronicity”.
I had gone visiting three friends yesterday and one not only extended me great hospitality but, also gifted me with a nicely wrapped packet with the title “Predictions Of Agastya”. He not only wanted me to take it home before opening it but, also requested that I read it and give him a feed back about the efficacy of the predictions. I duly did as requested on reaching home and found this book. He further informed me that since I am a Vedica / Advaitin, I should find Agastya interesting and that is why he had bought this for me.
As I lifted the book off the table after unpacking the packet, I found another item at the bottom made out of a piece of paper printed with random numbers pasted on a cardboard with a subdued subtext in Sanskrit reading Om. Nothing crude about it and a very nicely done job.
As I inevitably do with new books, I also wrote on the first page the date on which I got the book and from whom. I settled down comfortably in my recliner and opened the book to find that each numbered page gave a general balderdash about stars and planets and below that a particular prediction for the immediate and long term future. I went back to the first page to see what this was all about and read the preface to the book giving instructions to keep the numbered grid near one’s puja alcove and place the flower one offers to one’s personal deity with shut eyes on the board and see the predictions for the number in the corresponding page number in the book.
In other words, just a lot of horoscope mumbo jumbo like one would find in any daily or weekly horoscope published in our news papers and periodicals here. Like what I had written in my blog post Horoscopes.
I went to the last page to find if I could find some more information and found a couple of paragraphs introducing the reader to the writer and artists involved in the production of the book with nary a line about the name of the publisher!
I rang my friend up to give my feed back and started off by saying that it is a rip-off and he had a good laugh saying that he too had found it to be so and decided to play a practical joke on me! I went online to find some details and found that the package would cost $15.37 a pop! I very expensive practical joke indeed!
That is my nephew Deepak with my grand nephews Kedar and Sarang on his lap performing a traditional puja.
Look at the tattoo on Deepak’s shoulder! One would associate that with a biker more than a modern young man performing a traditional Indian puja.
Here is the same Deepak with Sarang in another situation.
I wonder what fascinates Sarang among the dials! What have you got there Deepak?