How I got inspired to start making Ganesha idols?
In the month of March 2000, in a dream, I saw magnificent Lord Ganesha, big as sky, clad with ornaments, bright and shining. I was thrilled with this dream. After plenty of thoughts and discussions with my husband, I decided that I will definitely do something extraordinary on Lord Ganesha’s subject, which perhaps nobody might have done before, even though I did not know what to do and how to start. I prayed to my Jineshawar Parmatma and Lord Ganesha to guide me fulfil my wishes. In the afternoon, while making a pot, it suddenly came to my mind – why not make an Idol of Ganesha, as seen in the dream? After plenty of efforts, I was able to make it. Then I made a few more, in different poses, and was very thrilled to show these idols to my friends.
At the time of next Golden Jubilee event at the Ashram, when I met Swamiji Shree Chaitanya Swarupdasji, I told him about my dream and about the idols that I had made. The very next day Swamiji visited my house to see the idols. He liked them very much; he appreciated my work and congratulated me for making very beautiful idols. I expressed my desire that I intend to do something unique about Lord Ganesha. Swamiji blessed me. During the further conversation, I suddenly asked Swamiji if the Ganesha Idols made by me can be exhibited in the Ashram’s Hall, and it can be one of the events of the Ashram’s Golden Jubilee Celebration. Swamiji liked this idea and said that this was a novel idea and a new subject for the institute’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations, as the Ganesha Festival is celebrated with a lot of joy and enthusiasm. Swamiji immediately accepted this idea, encouraged me to make as many idols as possible, and promised me to organize this event. He planned this event to be just before the Ganesha Festivals. The dates of the exhibition were finalized soon, being 19th, 20th and 21st August, 2000.
Swamiji left it to my wish the number of Idols to be made and displayed at the exhibition. He advised us to keep the whole idea a top secret. Initially I did not know how many idols I will be making, but one thing was sure that I will make all the idols with my own hands, without using any block or mould, and all the idols will be different from each other. Swamji and Swami Shree Hariprasadji visited my house regularly to see the progress of my work and encouraged me to make more and more idols. With growing confidence, I decided to make 9999 Idols of Lord Ganesha. I chose this figure because I consider “9” as a lucky number. Also, I planned to complete this work in 99 working days. I made all the idols while listening and chanting Bhajans of Lord Ganesha and in a very holy atmosphere, with full respect towards him.
– Rama Satish Shah