You remember that September 21, 1995 event of Sri Ganesha idols all across the world drinking milk? Was it for real? Well the point is not whether the event was real or not. Anyone choosing to debate over that is totally missing the point. The more accurate message is this, quote from Linda Johnsen’s book:
“On that fall day in 1995 it’s possible he [Sri Ganesha] gently reminded people everywhere that the ultimate purpose of life lies not in serving themselves but in serving God.”
– Linda Johnsen, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism
To make this more poignant here is another illustration. 70 million people attended the 2001 Kumbha Mela. The point is not whether the millions who attended the Kumbha Mela were all ignorant people (Hindus are very educated and intelligent people). It goes to show a people who have not lost a deeply metaphysical connection to God. I say metaphysical because in Hinduism faith complements the intellect (as opposed to oppressing and displacing it – as it so happens in most fundamentalist religions). For that reason, in India, along with deep love for God (in whatever name and form one wishes), you find at the same time an unquenchable desire for learning and a reverence for knowledge.
“Pilgrims plodded for months in heat to get here, worn, poor and hungry, but sustained by unwavering faith.”
– Mark Twain (Allahabad, India; 1895)