The Gods Are All Around Us

The Gods Are All Around Us May 28, 2014

Driving down the main drag of Olympia, Ganesh stares out at passing drivers and pedestrians. His bright visage adorns a curry house. He’s been there for months. My family almost always cries out ‘Jai Ganesh!’ as we pass by. Seeing him so publicly makes me smile. My three year old daughter always wants to know why he looks angry. I’m guessing the artist didn’t mean to make him look that way; Ganesh is rarely angry! My daughter insists I know the answer, so I have to make something up.

Larger view of Olympia’s Ganesh

Today, on the way to my son’s kindergarten classes, we saw a new addition to the curry house wall: Kali! My son and I both shouted out loud with glee! We decided that after class we would go by for a closer look. We did so, but we also took offerings. I doubt these murals were intended as sites of reverence, but as there is no Hindu community nearby and I have a devotion to these two, I thought….. why not? Why not use them as sites of reverence?

Olympia’s Kali

So after class my son and I went to a flower shop to buy some flowers. I was hoping for something red for Kali, but they only had red gerbera daisies, which didn’t feel right. But – they had marigolds! Marigolds are used in Hindu pujas all the time, but they are rarely found here. I chose a bunch of them. Oh, they smelled so good. Next we bought a big ol’ cookie with cheery pink icing for Ganesh. I was hoping to find a macaroon, but they cookie looked lovely and no macaroons were to be seen.

In broad daylight we went to the parking lot with the murals. I took some pictures, laid the offerings, said some mantras, and bowed. My son wanted know what would happen if someone took the cookie or the flowers. My hope is someone does! Traditionally, after puja offerings are handed put as blessed. I hope someone enjoys the cookie!

I really hope more murals are forthcoming!

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  • Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I also hope someone enjoyed that cookie.

  • Lupa

    This is lovely! We acknowledge the sacred wherever we find it.

  • Cibi Singaravel S

    Great, But the painting of Kali seems to give kali a less divinely, the native American look. It would have been better if they have painted like Ganesha.

    • The painting wasn’t completed. I need to put up a finished photo! But it is done in street art style, like the Ganesha.

  • JRajBali

    I actually really like your writing man.

  • JRajBali

    Also if you want to give an explanation for Ganesh’s eyes read Devadutt Pattnaik’s 99 thoughts on Ganesh. Its amazing and a quick read. In that painting in particular it could just be the style of the artists bhava coming out. I’ll be honest I’ve thought the same at times and wondered and the thoughts I’ve come up with are that possibly the loving nature of “elephant eyes” has become hard to portray in a human context. I’ve also thought that perhaps since Bappa is the one that can clear our paths maybe the un-emotive look is meant to portray that he’s looking beyond or scrutinizing those things that offer assistance or impede our success. Have you noticed though how children seem to be drawn to Ganesh always?

    • I think it was just the artist’s limitation, honestly. But my 3 year old INSISTS Ganesh is angry and I always have to come up with an answer! I usually say that someone must have been greedy or unkind. 😉 But I like your answers!

      Children love Ganesh! What’s not to love? I love him, too!