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Malaysia-Singapore Visit Report Part 2

Bodhinatha continues his report on his visit to Malaysia and Singapore (part 2). Bodhinatha gave a wonderful talk, "My friend, Lord Ganesha," at the Sakti Vinayagar Temple in Penang, and now reads an inspiring testimony by Kamala Veylan about how practical and useful the worship of Lord Ganesha can be in our life.

Unedited Transcript:

We had a nice presentation at the Ganesa Temple in Penang, Sakti Vinayagar Temple. Some 600 or so people there, a very big turn out. Each of them came up for vibhuti afterwards. Arumugaswami said, "It was ten a minute, it took an hour. Therefore, there were 600.", which seemed about right.

Anyway, it was a prepared talk which was translated ahead of time, 'My friend, Lord Ganesa' . Of course, you have heard the talk. The challenge was for Ahila, the translator. She had to sit there and read the translation, which was a first for her. She did very, very well. Fortunately she did not try and translate a few of my spontaneous remarks, which would be more challenging.

I was hoping to get a few examples in the talk, real life examples. One came in late, came in during the trip. I thought I would read it anyway this morning. It is such a nice story. It is from Kamala Veylan. We all know Kamala, it was a number of years ago when she was going to university.

She says, "While I was going to University, it was a general practice of mine to vow to Lord Ganesa to complete a certain religious task for a specific duration of time and ask for blessings and help with exams and school work. For example, I would often vow to attend puja at the temple everyday for a week straight and pray for the devas' help to do well on my exams.

During the last year of my degree, I was facing a very important interview for entrance into an internship program. Without acceptance into an internship program, I could not receive the professional designation of 'Registered Dietician' and would not have achieved the goal of four years of University study. The process was highly competitive and as it turned out only one in eight students in my class were admitted into the internship program. As the interview drew near, I went to the temple and sat and prayed to Lord Ganesa. I told him that I would be coming to see him daily, a priority in my life for a minimum of two weeks and as long as I could after that. I prayed to Him to remove any obstacles blocking my path from having a successful interview and being accepted to the internship program. The next day the routine began, I woke up early in the morning and went to the temple for the early morning puja. Only after my attendance at the puja would the rest of my day begin. This routine continued and the day of the interview drew near.

On the day of the interview, I was getting ready and reviewing some possible interview questions my family and I had prepared. I remember I was brushing my teeth when three different interview questions just entered my mind. It was not like the questions had popped up into my mind or that they came up suddenly like a bolt of lightening. It was more like they were there just like I knew what my name was. The interview questions were somewhat unusual and a little complicated to answer. So, I mentally prepared answers to them as I drove to the interview.

As it turned out, I was asked all three questions during the interview. They were asked in exactly the same way they came to me. Thanks to the devas, I had already prepared my answers and was easily able to handle three tough interview questions and finish the interview successfully.

That night I went to the temple and thanked Lord Ganesa and the devas for helping me. A few months later I was accepted into the internship program."

Isn't that a great story? It is just so real. I remember she made reference to it many years ago, but never told the whole story. So I asked her for it and she sent it and said, "You can use my name." She wasn't shy about it. But it is a wonderful story in that, it shows how practical our religion can be and that it should be practical. The worship of Lord Ganesa should help us do better on a test, it should be that practical to us. It should help us get a better job. It should not be something etheric, intangible. It should be pragmatic, something we can see in our lives in a very definite way, how the worship of Lord Ganesa helps us. So, that was the general theme, without this example.

'My friend, Lord Ganesa', as you know, is designed as a theme for children's class, a catchy title for one of the topics in this series of classes for children. We are hoping that the teachers there, which are the Thanabalan family, and also those in Singapore and Klang will use this topic as one of their themes for teaching children.