One day, a young woman was walking through a village. She had a basket full of stones with her.
She saw a stream and sat down beside it. She placed the basket next to her and closed her eyes.
Tears streamed down her cheeks. She seemed to be very sad about something.
Suddenly, she wiped her tears, connected to her pain from the depths of her belly, and shouted out aloud, “Universe, I can’t take this pain anymore. I need help. And I need it NOW!!”
A minute or two later, she heard footsteps approaching.
She turned around and saw a sweet little face peering at her through a thick bush.
The being had big brown eyes, large ears, and also a trunk.
“Hey, that looks like an elephant,” she thought to herself, “But something’s different about this elephant.”
The ‘Elephant Being’ smiled at her and stepped out of the bush.
She noticed that this being only had the head of an elephant. The rest of his body appeared human.
“You have such a sweet smile. Who are you?” she asked.
“I am Ganesha,” replied the Elephant Being.
“Why are you here?” said the woman.
“I heard a cry for help and I thought it was you,” said Ganesha.
“Yes, it was me asking the Universe for help,” said the woman, “I don’t understand why you are here.”
“The Universe has different ways of sending help,” said Ganesha, “And I am one of its sources.”
The woman appeared bewildered.
Ganesha walked up to her and sat down beside her.
He placed her basket on his lap and began to toss one stone at a time into the stream.
“Hey Ganesha, what are you doing?” screamed the woman, “Those stones belong to me.”
“I know,” said Ganesha, “But you asked for help remember? I am helping you clear your basket.”
“I asked for help with my life,” said the woman, sounding annoyed “Not help to clear my basket!”
“How can you make space for anything new, dear one, unless you clear the clutter you have collected? Allow me to help,” said Ganesha kindly.
The woman was quiet. Ganesha’s words seemed to have struck a chord deep within her.
After a couple of minutes, she smiled and joined Ganesha in clearing the stones from her basket.
As she tossed each stone into the stream, her basket grew lighter and lighter. Finally, it was empty.
Ganesha patted her on the back, handed the basket back to her, and said, “Well done!”
The woman closed her eyes again. She seemed to be at peace now.
“Now that you are empty, dear one, all possibilities in the Universe are open to you. Open your arms and prepare to receive when the Universe delivers,” said Ganesha.
“I will,” said the woman, eyes still closed.
She had her eyes closed for almost an hour with Ganesha sitting patiently by her side.
Suddenly she smelt a beautiful fragrance and opened her eyes.
She looked down and saw that her basket was full of fresh flowers – of many varieties, colours, and fragrances!
“Wow!” exclaimed the woman, “How in the world did these flowers appear?”
“You manifested them,” said Ganesha.
“I don’t understand,” said the woman.
“You let go of the stones (clutter from your inner world). And you received flowers (blessings in the outer world),” explained Ganesha.
“Oh my! This is incredible!” said the woman, “Thank you Ganesha.”
“You’re welcome!” said Ganesha, “I supported you. But I could have helped only up to a point. You had to pitch in too. It’s your life after all. So, congratulations for choosing to empty your basket!”
The woman stood up and hugged Ganesha tight.
After sharing a warm embrace, Ganesha said goodbye to the woman and left.
The woman picked up her basket of flowers and raced through the village until she reached her home.
She placed the flowers on her altar.
She then brought out paper and paint and created a magnificent picture of Ganesha.
Her sister appeared and said, “Hey, what is this you’re painting? An elephant?”
“He’s my new friend!’ replied the woman in glee, “He’s the sweetest, kindest, and the most helpful soul I have met. He looks like a cute little elephant on the outside but underneath that cuteness lay hidden immense wisdom and power.”
“Wow!” said her sister, “He looks divine.”
“He is,” replied the woman and hung the painting near the altar.
Now, every time she sees the painting, she knows she has someone to reach out to when she feels stuck.
But more importantly, she is reminded to live the wisdom Ganesha helped her unearth!