Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Gnesh on My Desk

I stared at the wood carven image of the seated Gnesh. The rich sandalwood statue is about ten inches high and three inches in diameter. While he was seated in an ornately decorated chair with an upper shading canopy, it was not immediately apparent when viewed from the front. He appeared to be balanced on one right foot, which dug firmly into the pedestal base of the dais upon which he was mounted. His other left foot hovered, bent almost floating in a classic sitting half lotus position defying gravity under the weight of the formidable mass of the intricately carved figure’s elephantine body. The right hand was positioned next to his bulging belly in an outreached motion that could almost mimic the stop hand motion of a school crossing guard, but in an ever so peaceful way. The left hand had positioned itself into a delicate upright pattern with its fingers and thumb resembling the prongs of a setting of a diamond ring, with the fingers delicately propping up the left side of the upper canopy, meant to shield him from the sun, in an amazing show of willful strength and balance. Being a Gnesh , and having four arms, his other left hand also clung to the upper support on the left side of the canopy while his other right hand firmly held the right side support arm for the upper canopy on the opposite side. Draped over his voluminous belly was a set of prayer bead that hung precisely to the point where its circular ring pendant hung perfectly over his belly button, like so many concentric circles. On his upper chest another set of prayer beads were carved to position them so as to hang at the precise intersection of his two bulbous pectorals accentuating his symmetry. His massive ears were truncated to end where they intersected with the canopy’s side supports, a ritual cutting that undoubtedly would have been extremely painful for normal mortals, but of course he was a Gnesh. His wide set eyes stared intently straight out with an all knowing look that gave away nothing. His tusks were not threatening as they protruded petitely from his face appearing more as if they were a part of his ornamentation belying their use as a formidable weapon. His trunk was beautifully proportioned to the rest of his figure and he twisted it to form an exquisitely graceful curve that overlapped onto itself in a perfect demonstration of complete mind over body control. Atop his massive skull was a headdress of such an ornate nature as to put to shame the crowns of European royalty or the most elaborate headdress of a prominent Aztec chief. The tranquility that the figure exuded was like a breeze of fresh herbs in the morning garden, the scent of sage in the high desert or smell of pines on a mountain walk to the senses of the mind and the spirit. His presence on my desk is a never ending joy and a wellspring of renewable energy for me.

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