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Miracle @ Pushkar: The Sabudhana Kind!

Related by Pranavee M to Tarun & Celia Cherian.

  Lord Shiva and Sabudhana Khicdi

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They looked at her puzzled. ‘Kumari behn who?’ asked the rows of satisfied ashramites, who had just feasted on Sabudhana Khichdi… Hmm… we perhaps need to explain. Or rather Pranavee does…

Pranavee was on a trip procuring Indian handicrafts for her store near Ajmer, when a day became free, and the lure of The Pushkar Mela became irresistible.  

And The Pushkar Mela for anyone who has been there is a feast. There’s colour a thousand stalls. Strange foods. Weird Rajasthani desert delights. Topis and turbans. Swords, shields. Toys from 5 centuries ago. And of course, turbaned and moustachioed camel drivers. Then there are temples. Especially the glorious Bramha temple… The energy is palpable… A sub-temple with women’s bangles even more so. And of course how forget The Pushkar lake ringed by religious mutts of all kind. Here a rock smeared with orange evokes Lord Hanuman, there a trishul smeared with ancient oblations… And the evening air ringed by the sound of supplicants and birds winging up into the sunset…

So there you are… dusk falling rapidly… air cooling with desert abruptness. You can take a cab back, but ‘at latish’ it doesn’t seem so attractive. Or you can do what Pranavee did, knock on the doors of the hundred and one hotels and lodges. But a mela being a mela there is no room. Now one can just visualize the concierges looking at Pranavee, a single woman, with all their sly sniggers and coarse wonderings… And not to mention the noisy groups of happy drunks hiding their rums in steel tumblers… cracking their usual phuttas… with a frustrated edge of boredom, longing, and yuckiness…

After the 3rd, no 5th motel Pranavee decided to approach the nearby Ashram.

So there you are knocking on the gates only to have the durwan tell you “Sorry, there’s no space”, {if you are from an Abrahamic tradition it’s hard not to think of Mary & Joseph knocking on the closed inns of Bethlehem, but hey there’s no Mary, and Pranavee’s tum is only filled with Pushkar culinary delights…} but you know how the mind likes to invent weird scenarios after a tiring day when all you’d like is some shelter, hot food, a nice shower…} Just then arrives the first miracle. A nun interrupts and asks if you are Mr Mody’s daughter. Surprised and delighted Pranavee answers “Yes”, and discovers The Nun knew her father… they were both from the same town so, the doors of the ashram open…

After refreshing herself, not unnaturally, Pranavee decides to be helpful {Oh God what stupidity} and asks if there’s anything she can do to help? 'Yes, of course' they say, and send her to the kitchen to make Sabudhana Khichdi for 40 people, on her own. Sabudhana is a form of tapioca root, and Sabudhana Khichdi is to the uninitiated a yum, staple food, especially from Western India. In all fairness, a Gujju housewife is expected to know it. But Pranavee was and is not a trad housewife, rather an executive/entrepreneur who can produce a slap up meal, parathas, pulaos, but with holes in her trad menu list.

So there she was in a huge traditional kitchen with outsized bartans, with no clue as to how to make a fine sabudhana khichdi. Now these were the days before the internet could come riding to the rescue. Yes, there were days when google didn’t exist. When people were just learning emails. When celphones… didn’t… Now sabudhana khichdi is a staple, but like the idli, it can be tricky. One can end up with a sticky mess, or a bland glutinous monster.

Right you are back in a huge kitchen, clean, but soot covered, with a giant heap of sabudhana leering at you. For a moment Pranavee thought of packing her bags and fleeing the ashram out, into the now chilled desert, darkness. And oh did we forget to mention, there’s no Uber as it hasn’t been invented yet.

So Pranavee did, what Pranavee does when faced with a tad of difficulty, call on Lord Shiva. Did he appear? With a pre-cooked swiggy delivery? No, as hard it is for you to think of it, there was no swiggy then. Just when she was about to give up, and race out, when in bustles a nun, a non-nonsense nun, Kumari Behn, with a brusque manner, and a rasping tongue. She bossed Pranavee around. ‘Don’t know how to make sabudhana? Cluck, cluck.’ Heat this, so much oil, this spice, toss it, add this, no-not that and in 10 minutes Pranavee ended up with a fragrant and glorious feast of sabudhana.

She proudly served it. And to her delight, there were a host of compliments. Unusual because you have to compete against memories of a Grandmother’s Khichdi.

Surprise, surprise, in the battle between Kumari Behn & Pranavee versus the redoubtable unbeatable, world champ, grandma… Grandma went sprawling.

So when they complimented her, Pranavee graciously acknowledged that she had help… Kumari Behn… Which is when the Ashramites asked Kumari Behen who? Perhaps she had got it wrong, so Pranavee described the nun, only to be confronted by a puzzled silence… There was no such nun in the Ashram…

Interrogating The Miracle:
Ok… so you have… before you… a miracle wrapped in a puzzle. Who was Kumari Behen?

A simple answer would be one of Lord Shiva’s many helpers. Or Pranavee’s ancestral spirit. But will that satisfy the intelligent? The psychologist will pontificate that Pranavee after a busy day had a fugue state in which a dominant personality took over and did the cooking. Won’t work, for Pranavee works much longer days. The conspiracy theorist will offer another explanation. The Ashramites play these games on people so they go back with miraculous stories. Again, no-go, have you heard of Ghantordas Ashram in the same breath as Lourdes? And besides Pranavee is a non-nonsense ‘bijiness-womahn’ and highly sensitive to cons. The quantum theorists will sniffle at such an explanation. Clearly Pranavee’s anxiety caused a wormhole to open through which Mary Poppins popped through. Besides maybe one of India’s nukes was located close by and causes the quantum pillars to bend. Yes this sounds plausible doesn’t it? Or perhaps we should gravitate towards process-bio-theorists who say we carry reality in our heads, radically shift the assumptive base, and a new world can open. That’s a fancy way to say Maya…

Among the million and one explanations, lies a miracle… Someone who had never cooked Sabudhana Khichdi whipped up a feast… with… more than a little help from… Lord Shiva?!

Why is Lord Shiva entering The Kitchen?
Now we associate Lord Shiva with a Trishul and not a cooking spoon, but the simple truth is that while the Gods are Gods, vaster than galaxies they are deeply interested with the small joys and tragedies of our lives. Why? because some of those joys are not so small in their eyes. For example, one day as I peeked at Celu’s aura, she was downstairs and I was upstairs I saw it was flaring with light. Er… what was she doing? Meditating? Reciting a mantra? Nope! She was cooking.

God Shines Light on The Miracle:
Says The Cosmic to us, Tarun & Celia, “When a devotee calls us with deep surety, we have to arrive… What we do when we arrive is another matter… For example, to take Pranavee’s example, when I looked at it, five principal choices emerged, I could either have driven her into the night, this would have pushed her Kundalini awakening, or I could have got her to ask for help, but this would have made her weak at a time when she needed absolute conviction. Third I could have given her an intense memory of her grandmama cooking. Fourth I could have given her a runny stomach upset and so someone else would have had to take over. And fifth, I could send a being to help her…

“Why did I answer? You see, we are cosmic beings, so you all emerge from us… You are all fingers of our being… If you move we sometimes move in ways you consider miraculous…

“Why did I choose the astral being miraculous possibility over the other less energy consuming possibilities… I saw that she would be changed by it… that her example would make a deep difference to one person reading about it…

“Where did the action emerge and where does it end? Let's delve furthur, 7 centuries ago a woman died, her spirit touched Pranavee as she walked through the mela. The woman had been mean with food to a beggar child, and so was caught up in rage and guilt… By touching Pranavee that guilt was released… Meanwhile in the present, a nun in the Ashram had unmet sexual needs that formed the energetic base of the miracle. Why was such a huge task of feeding 40 given to Pranavee? Because the person in charge felt she needed to be pushed. The mean woman’s spirit is still wandering and one of you will escort her to the light. Kumari Behn is a composite being or spirit, principally a helper of mine, but as you see a composite… If Pranavee had spoken of Kumari at the turn of the century, a temple would have been raised to her… But now someone reading the story will 3 years hence build a small shrine… and it will…”

 

 

   
 

Take a look @ Other Articles on Lord Shiva:

Shiva is Smiling... by Ravi Tiwari, Feb 2017.

Encounters with God: Lord Shiva: Video by Tarun Cherian

 

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