Posted by: cochinblogger | March 12, 2011

Nocturnal Conversations between Jesus and Ganesha

Reading a short story by V.S. Naipaul called “My Aunt Gold Teeth” (My Aunt Gold Teeth), I was struck by the following reply that a Hindu priest gave when Gold Teeth confessed to him that she had been praying to “Christian things.” Gold Teeth expected to be roundly berated, but was surprised by the priest’s answer:

And to Gold Teeth’s surprise, Ganesh chuckled benevolently. “And do you think God minds, daughter? There is only one God and different people pray to Him in different ways. It doesn’t matter how you pray, but God is pleased if you pray at all.”

My father often quotes a Sanskrit verse that conveys a similar idea: Just as the rain that falls on Earth ultimately ends up in the sea, thus all prayers ultimately reach God.

Every religion has its characteristic genius. Hinduism at its best exemplifies a unique large-heartedness and open-mindedness, which Naipaul calls its “commodiousness.”

The above photo was taken at a private hospital in Cochin. I was struck by the close proximity of Ganesha and Jesus. I imagine them deep in friendly conversation as the lights go out and the corridors darken.

And I’m sure they’ll be shaking their heads ruefully at the misguided, divisive behavior of many of their adherents, some of which is described in Naipaul’s wonderful story.


  1. great post, thanks for sharing it! Really makes one think why religious divides are ripping India, if not the world, apart.

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