Cleanliness is next only to godliness. Or so the saying goes. And this is what does Lord Jagannath of Varanasi in for 15 days every year. So often is he bathed by the faithful that he catches a cold and cough that have to be treated. So who will medicate the ultimate doctor of souls?
Well, in the Hindu pantheon, there are no holy cows. The gods are all too ‘human’ with the frailties and foibles that we mortals have. Ganesha is quite the gourmet, even gourmand on occasion. His love for laddoos is shared by many of us. He wears his excess baggage with panache, while the rest of us sweat it out in the gym. Krishna’s ability to reel in the beauties has long been the envy of many who would gladly trade places with him. Not too many can resist the idea of playing the flute and eating calorie-laden butter while the more humble among us work our fingers to the bone for a living. For those who like a drop or two, Shiva would be the role model. That is the beauty of Hinduism, its gods and goddesses are just like us, they fall on their faces every now and again, but pick themselves up and carry on.
They reflect all the human emotions: anger, envy, lust, happiness. The stories of their lives are colourful, they have no rigid tenets by which we should live and certainly no strictures which curb the human spirit. And we certainly don’t have one size that fits all. We have a god for every occasion so we’re quite spoilt for choice. Thank God for that.