A leading astrological researcher, based in Hyderabad, India.
"I was born a human
In the family of a Brahman
Childhood aspirations were a plenty
To become a yeoman, a swordsman, a bowman
And I dreaded perchance becoming
A conman, a doorman or a barman
Youth had its own delusions and dreamt
Of being an airman, a seaman or a showman
A few talents raised visions of life as a craftsman
Middle age found me slotted in a niche
And rose up the ladder to be a helmsman
But was otherwise essentially a layman
At times to frighten children, a bogeyman
Then astrology called... and I realized that
I was just a point of consciousness and no man
And this insight made me a new man
Glimpsing a realm that was
Beyond god and mammon
Now some call me a madman
While others believe I am a shaman
Being neither, I am just me, a man".
Ganesha the God an inspired story by Ram Ramakrishnan
Ganesha the God is a charming short story by Ram Ramkrishnan, Indian astrologer and researcher. What is the difference between the power of a god, and that of a charlatan? This inspired tale explores the pathway to freedom through fate, destiny, devotion and the power, not only of the god, but of one man's realisation.
Aarumugam was an astrologer. Not by choice. It was the only profession that he knew and the only qualification that he had. Bestowed upon him by his father, this had been the family vocation for many generations.
He was a simple man and aspired not for material objectives. Endowed as he was with meagre means, no woman had come forward to share his life. Arumugam had accepted his forced bachelorhood as a quirk of destiny. Acceptance was all the easier because he could see this situation clearly in his chart. His day began with a visit to the little temple of Ganesha at the street corner followed by a cup of steaming coffee and a pair of idlis at the roadside eatery beside it. Except for a brief lunch break, the rest of the day was spent in waiting in anticipation of anyone who may turn up with a chart to seek his counsel. The day would end with yet another rendezvous with Ganesha. It was during one of these daily sojourns many years ago, that Aarumugam had met Mungu the ascetic.
Generally, ascetism is associated with wisdom and wisdom with advancing age. Many take to ascetism seeking spiritual enlightenment. Some however take to it hoping for material gains in the name of spirituality. Mungu was one such. Born to poor parents as the last in a line of seven children and being a school dropout, he could see only two avenues open to him to realize his dreams of courting riches and fame. One was thuggery and the other was pseudo-ascetism. Being a softhearted and peace loving man, the first option was foreclosed. So he took to the second, endowed as he was with the gift of oration and a very fertile imagination. Starting as a roadside preacher, he quickly rose up the ascetical hierarchy to become His Holiness Mungu Baba. During his days as a minion in the ascetical order, Mungu had met Aarumugam, confided in him about his ambitions and had asked him to see his chart to see if they would be realized. The astrologer had answered in the affirmative, but had also said that this would lead to his spiritual salvation. Both the counselor and the counseled were at a loss to understand how this was to be. Aarumugam had merely interpreted the celestial positions as described in the texts.
With his rising status, Mungu's meetings with Aarumagam became progressively less frequent, partly by circumstance and partly by design. But their common regard for the street corner Ganesha provided the occasional opportunity of a fleeting encounter.
Gajanan Godbolay was one of the leading industrialists of the city. Descended from a traditional and prosperous family that claimed hoary ancestors, Godbolay had everything that Mungu aspired for. Aspiration without contentment is perhaps both a virtue and a failing. It drives one to great achievements as well as to doom. Godbolay sought peace and salvation, things that were not bequeathed to him as part of his ancestral fortunes. He prospected for the former with the latter. It was during one such exercise that Godbolay met Mungu. Taken in by Mungu's oratory, he had lavished upon the latter much of his material possessions, transforming the mendicant to a reverend. Once, when Godbolay had asked Mungu for referral to a good astrologer, Mungu had mentioned Aarumugam. It was thus that Aarumugam was in the possession of Godbolay's chart too. This chart was yet another enigma to the astrologer. It showed all the trappings of a materially fulfilling life and yet showed spiritual emancipation.
Since the time Godbolay took to being a disciple of Mungu, he too became a frequenter at the little roadside Ganesha temple.
Ganesha was God. He was lawgiver, judge, witness, scorekeeper of sin and piety, and dispenser of justice — all rolled into one. Emotion had no place in his vocabulary, thought and action. There were times when the heart-rending confessions and appeals of his three regular and sincere devotees — Aarumugam, Mungu and Godbolay, had moved him. He had wanted to shower his blessing upon them. He had wanted to change the course of their lives. He had wanted to reveal to them the essence of existence. But he could not. He just stood rooted in his corner upon his polished granite pedestal. He was God!