Ganesh drinking milk.

Ruth was over at my house the other day and was talking about Ganesh Statues drinking milk. Marissa looked it up online and found this video: http://www.milkmiracle.com/
The 'miracle' involves placing a spoonful of milk at the mouth of a Ganesh statue and watching it 'drink' the milk. I recommend watching the video. One day, in a spiritual pandemic, this miracle spread across India, causing thousands of people to spoon feed statues of Ganesh with milk.

I suppose if I were from India I might not have found this so strange and humorous. I can imagine to a foreigner our 'miracles' of crying statues or representational stains take on a similar quality.

I told her it didn't seem particularly miraculous for a statue to be able to draw moisture out of spoon. Fired clay and stone, when not covered with glaze is fairly absorbent and tends to 'suck' moisture into it like a paper towel would if only one corner of it were placed in a spoon filled wit milk. This is a well understood phenomenon called capillary action.

We tried it with my Ganesh statue which is covered with a glaze and it didn't drink the milk. I then tried it with myself, and another miracle occurred, the milk went from the spoon into my open mouth and into my stomach where it turned into a beautiful bird which then flew out of my mouth and continued upward until it reached heaven.

Things like this remind me a lot of when I was manic and small things would happen that were sort of unusual and I didn't entirely understand which I would normally have not thought much of, but because of my intensified state of mind I saw as having great significance.

It is not that I think these people who believe in the Ganesh miracle are necessarily dumb or deluded. I can understand the desire to believe and how that desire can make one see more into things than they may be. Or not look as critically at some things as we should. We all do it a fair amount of time. Ever since I learned about the study which compared the minds of theists and atheists, I tend to see situations like this in terms of one's brain chemistry. Some people seem to, because of the particular way their brain chemistry is, see more into certain things then are really there (while others see less into things). Having been manic where I did that about almost everything, I very much understand what this feels like and am sympathetic towards those who do. (I wonder how much one can be conditioned to perceive one way or the other. For example, if a person were raised in a culture that placed a high emphasis on sign seeking, would a lifetime of that alter their dopamine levels making it then easier to see signs where there are none? )

I think for historically recorded miracles, the one I most impressed and mystified by is the Miracle of the Sun related Our lady Fatima.


Marissa N. Paolacci said...

look like no one likes ganesh, or milk, or drinking milk, through ceramic. psh. no internet.

Vincent said...

I found myself extra-fascinated by this post, as it addresses a part of my life which I treat as special.

My own favourite miracles are not like the ones you quote, that is shared ones. they are private ones which for one reason or another can't be shared even though I would like to. But they seem to "infect" the other moments in my life till every moment (in theory) is seen as a miracle.

When I write that, it sounds like the babble of any religious person - which is an important observation, because it is the babble of a religious person. Even though the babbler has no religion at all, and remains sceptical. All the same, I have no sympathy with the professed atheists who take pleasure in attacking religion and all its accoutrements.

On the radio yesterday in the sparkling discussion programme called "Start the Week" (Mondays, BBC Radio 4, with Andrew Marr, you can download as podcast I believe) they had a Muslim intellectual who explained Islam as being based on the supremacy of the Unseen. He didn't use the word "supremacy" though he did use the word "unseen".

It gave me a flash of insight as to which side I am on. I could never be an atheist because I delight in seeing the unseen.

And that is at bottom the fascination of seeing the statue drink milk.

carie said...

The Miracle of the Sun is really interesting.

Thanks for introducing me to my new religion.

ruthallison said...

hi chris, that is interesting about the sun miracle. what are your theories on crying virgin marys? i still just think it is perhaps the same as the ganesh miracle. it doesn't seem more or less mystifying.