Since last Wednesday I haven’t felt 100% well. Thank gods, no stomach or real GI issues, but a head cold for sure. I think the most frustrating thing about it for me is that I’m not sick enough to simply stay home and rest, yet the entire time I’m downing decongestants and going about business as usually as possible, I’m feeling run down and sleepy, and wondering if my continued activity will lead to a further decline of my health. <Sigh>
At any rate, I made it through the rest of last week, including one night of class and a day at my part-time job cutting hairs. Typical for nearly every Saturday, my best friend wanted to come over for our oft-held game night. I consented, although I didn’t feel like it. What happened instead of game night, though, was something that made us giggle. We ordered Chili’s take out online, picked it up, and headed home for a relatively quiet night in… making doll clothes.
Earlier that evening, right after leaving the spa, we went to a Dollar Store-like place in search of cheap artificial flowers to make garlands, and to JoAnn Fabrics’ for some, well, fabrics. And after securing our dinners, we huddled around my dining room table surrounding my home mandir’s mahamurti. Scissors, needle and thread, measuring tape, and newly purchased fabric in hand, we set about the task of creating garments for Ganesha.
Any time I think of adornments for a murti, the Hare Krishnas come to mind. Most vaishnav murti adornment is elaborate, ornate, and interesting- true works of devotion. And why not? Seems easy, considering humans are used to dressing a human form and, excluding the earliest avatars, most modern vaishnav conceptions of the divine take a decidedly human form (Krishna, Radha, Ram, Venkateshwar, Chaitanya…). So it reasons that Vaishnavs would be well-practiced at making human doll clothes fitted for human-shaped gods.
On the other hand, however, Ganesha transcends human form. His head alone makes fitting a murti for garments challenging, nevermind that His form doesn’t usually stop with only two arms. When was the last time you fitted a shirt for Someone with four or six arms? In contrast to the typical dress code for vaishnav murtis, at least half of all Ganesha murtis I’ve ever even seen dressed are usually wearing a dhoti at best, or otherwise some kind of devised wrap. I wanted more than this for the murti presiding over my personal home mandir.
So we found ourselves creating precisely-measured paper patterns, cutting fabrics, sewing, dressing the murti and assessing the necessary adjustments only to start the process again, hoping for better results. The whole bit required a lot of attention and concentration, and patience as it was pretty much trial and error. We went through a number of prototypes before finally calling it quits. I can honestly say that garland making is a walk in the park compared to this.
The difficulty and complexity involved in this task, though, is was made it a true endeavor of bhakti. Only just tonight, alone in my dining room with the aforementioned supplies, did an actual working garment come to be realized. I’m pleased as punch, and warmed in my heart chakra, to see the mahamurti back in its seat -only this time fully dressed.
Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha