Posted in festivals, mythoughts

Ganeshotsav – 3

On this 10th day of the festival, the thought and feeling of seeing off a near and dear one very painful. It is always difficult to see off a dear one, and remember this is God. He is just not only our family member, but our Guide, who guides through various difficulties. The stay of the God at our place has broken many a shackles in our personal lives, family lives and social lives. It uplifts our feelings towards our nation too. But anything that comes has to go, is the basic education from Visarjan.

It is a teaching to us, that every Srijan ( creation) has to move towards Visarjan (destruction). It’s a part and process of the cycle of evolution of the Universe. If we think, we will know that it is because of Visarjan that we are able to enjoy life. Can we imagine an infinite life? (the scientists have been trying to find the elixir of life, but it has evaded us till now.) If we knew that we are going to have an infinite life, will we be able to enjoy life? So, the seers, wanted us to understand the finiteness of life and so they introduced us to this process of Srijan – Visarjan through celebration of Ganeshotsav.

Also let us look at it in our everyday life. Visarjan is a part of our daily life. We have to immerse many of our thoughts, beliefs and emotions, otherwise our very existence will become very difficult, living with them. Let’s understand it with an example. Say we had a fight and now we hold a grudge for the person with whom we fought. Now if we keep living with this grudge, we cannot move ahead in life. So as soon as that person goes away, we have to forget it and move on. Yes we might remember it again when we see or meet that person. But it does not or cannot stay with us for every moment of our life. Otherwise our lives will become miserable. So better immerse the feeling.

Visarjan also signifies to develop an outlook from “looking outside” to “looking inside”. Everything is destructible, but not the Love of God, the Soul. We need to understand that the flow of the river of love is within out body and keeps us going. We need to immerse the Ganesh into it. Leave our bodily desires and immerse ourselves into our souls.

Yet another way to look at it can be that death (visarjan) is going back to where we came from. Going back to our mother. Our mother will remould the Soul, and we will get a new life. We can also understand the importance and necessity and conviction about Life after Death. Why fear Death?, when we are going to come back again and again, till our Karma makes us do this. Death is only a changing of bodies, as we change our clothes, is what Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta describes. As I mentioned in my last blog, it is the Parthiv Ganesh which we bring home. Parthiv means made from earth. “From dust thou art, to dust thou shalt be, was said of the body” it comes from earth and returns back to earth.

I would request my readers to sit back and think over what we are doing. Are we doing it the way our Rishis have told us too? Is the social responsibility that Lokmanya Tilak envisaged being fulfilled? If not, then we need to ho backto our roots and correct our course as well.

May Ganesh give us all the necessary understanding and intellect to do it.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Mangalmurti Morya!

Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar ya!

Posted in festivals, mythoughts

Ganeshotsav -2

नमो व्रातपतये नमो गणपतये।। नम: प्रमथपतये।।

नमस्तेऽस्तु लंबोदारायैकदंताय विघ्ननाशिने शिव सुताय।

श्री वरदमूर्तये नमोनम:।।

(Namo Vraātpataye Namo Ganpataye. Namah Pramathpataye. Namaste astu Lambodaray Ekdantaay Vighnanashine Shiv Sutaay Shree Varadmurtaye Namo Namah.)

Today I want to talk about Ganpati as the Devi of Buddhi. What can we as students of life learn from Her? What does the Idol of Ganpati wants to convey? Does the concept of the Elephant headed God have any meaning?

My readers, our seers have done everything which has some logic and wanted to convey some understanding by celebrating a festival. They want us to ponder over many qualities and try to imbibe them into our lives. The festival celebration always has a learning part hidden in it.

Today we just want to dance to the tunes of music and pass our time. At the same time I see people being emotionally attached with Ganpati as the countdown of arrival begins many months before actual arrival, or even in some cases, from the day he leaves. People await the arrival as it liberates us from worries and sorrow and keeps us happy. But will we be stuck in this. Will we not move ahead in our understanding and let ourselves grow. Or just go on doing it the ritualistic way? At the same time, am not against rituals. We all do the parayan of Atharvashirsh every year. Many of my friends do get the Parthiv Ganesh Murti at home. But let’s try to understand it today from a student’s perspective.

The Ganpati word itself has a meaning, the leader of the masses. Ganesh means the Eshwar of the Ganas (leader of the masses). So the Lord exhibits the characteristics of a leader. And to be a good leader, we need to educate ourselves (to draw out the qualities within us).

1. The Ganpati has an elephant head. Elephant signifies wisdom. So we all need to be gaining wisdom through what we study.

2. He has narrow and small eyes. It is not so that the eyes are small, but the face is so big, that the eyes look small. But the best part about the eyes is that they can see even the smallest needle in their path. As students when we study, we need to understand the smallest of the nuances of the topic which we are learning. We need to be alert for each and every information, and in whichever corner it may be, however small it may be.

3. His ears are like the “Sup” (grain whinning plate). The Sup keeps the grain intact and at the same time removes the dirt from them. The enormity of ears suggest us to be open to listen to all but decide what to discard while we listen. As a student, one needs to be focussed on studies. We may be exposed to various things around us, but we have to decide what to keep and which to blow off. Also at the same time keep our ears open for good thoughts however far they maybe or however faint they may be. Amongst the different thoughts/informayion, we need to find out the most important one for us, as students.

4. A crooked trunk signifies the length and the reach of oneself. The knowledge we get must be kept in such a way (folded) that it does not interfere in someone’s life. At the same time it should unfold at the right time and be used for the rightful thing.

5. Ganpati is Mahakaay. A huge body. A big belly. Big belly is for keeping all things in the stomach. It is a storing place. Similarly we have to gain such huge knowledge that we need a big belly to keep it.

6. He has a small mouth. It signifies to talk less. A student needs to talk less and listen more. Keeping ones mouth shut means concentrating on what is being spoken and taught. At the same time, it also means that open up at the right time, ask questions, discuss, argue and draw conclusions.

7. The modak in his hand has its own significance. It is sweet inside even if tasteless outside. It reminds us, students, that go into the depth of every topic ones learns. Any topic is always sweet and interesting from within. Outside it is always bookish and boring.

8. He rides a mouse. It signifies a control over worldly desires. Similarly a student needs to have his own control over his desires and concentrate on his/ her studies. He needs to ride his wishes and will.

We can go on and on with lots of things about the Lord. But somewhere we need to leave the things for next time. Many thoughts still lie in my mind which need to be emphasized and talk about. But leave to it Ganesha to give me an opportunity to pen them down some other day.

Wishing you all again, a very grand Ganeshotsav.

MAY GANESHA BLESS US ALL WITH LOTS OF INTELLECT AND WISDOM

Posted in festivals, mythoughts

Ganeshotsav – 1

Ganesh – the Eashwar (God) for his followers

Ganpati – the caretaker of his followers

Ganadhish – the head amongst the followers

Gananath – the saviour of his followers

Gananayak – the leader of his followers

Frankly even after writing all the meanings I still feel that the names mean the leader of the masses. Also the different meanings convey the same thought that the one who leads.

The idea itself is so heart warming that the God himself comes to reside with us. We all go to the temples to get a regular Darshan. But today is the day when He comes to our place to meet us, to stay with us, to eat with us, to bless us. This itself is such a beautiful thought.

Ganesh at my place this year

I always wondered who must have thought of this idea of getting the God home. How that idea must have percolated to the masses! The amount of time and energy spent on this idea is something beyond the pages of history, date and time.

Such thoughts always keep me trying to find answers to my questions. And I know Ganesh, the Goddess of Intellect helps and satisfies the curious with an answer.

There is a story that when Ved Vyas, decided to write the Mahabharata, he was trying to find a writer who would wite his story. It was a humongous task and the writer too has to be of the same iintellect as the story teller. So Muni Narad suggested that Ganpati, the son of Shiva, can write it.

Ved Vyas did approach Ganpati who readily agreed. They both had an understanding that once the writing of the book was started, it would not stop till the end. Also the writer would just not write down the book as a dictation but understand every word being spoken before writing it down.

Two great personalities, and, one great epic.

Ganpati had decided not to stand up while writing, so sitting in one place would increase the heat within his body and make him uncomfortable. So Ved Vyas came up with an idea of applying mud packs on Ganpati’s body to keep him cool. Ved Vyas served Ganpati food that he loved to eat the most, Modaks.

As the mud packs were applied, Ganpati’s murti, even today, is made from mud (Shadhumaati). Yet, even after these 10 days when the wrting of the book was completed, the heat had increased inside Ganpati’s body. The mud packs too had dried and stuck to his body. So it is said that Ved Vyas took Ganpati to a nearby river to bathe him to soothe his body as well as remove the dried packs from his body.

Thus began the culture of getting Ganpati in the idol form at one’s house for 10 days and immersing them in water on the 10th day. Later, as it was found that it is difficult to get and look after such a big personality at home for 10 days, Rishis must have come up with the idea of keeping Him for 1 and half day or 5 days.

Some may disagree with this story, but it’s a start of the quest to find the reason behind it. Its going to be long journey, but will tread on it slowly and steadily. I trust that Ganpatiji will help me.

Wishing you all a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi and a zestful Ganeshotsav.

Posted in festivals

Akshay Tritiya – An auspicious day

One of the 3 and half Mahurats (auspicious time)…

A day when Treta Yug began…

A day when Bhagwaan Rishabhdev broke His year long fast by drinking sugarcane juice through his cupped hands (Varshi Tap Paarna)…

The day when Bhagwaan Vyas started dictating Mahabharat to Bhagwaan Ganesha… day when farmers in India start the farming work for the monsoon season by decorating their cattle and worshipping their fields (Bhoomi Pujan)…

A day when Maa Ganga descended on Mother Earth…

The day when Lord Parshuram was born…

At the beginning, I mentioned that its is one of the 3 and half mahurats, auspicious time to begin anything new. Akshay Tritaya alongwith Dusshara, Gudhi Padwa and Kartik Poornima (half day) are considered as the most auspicious days to begin a new venture. Akshay Tritiya day falls on the 3rd day of the bright half (shukla paksha) of Vaishakha of the lunar month. (It falls in later half of April or first half of may according to western calendar). The whole day is a day to acquire wisdom, think and begin anew.

“Akshay’ means one which never diminishes. Tritiya means the third day. So it is believed that anything that we acquire or begin on this day, will never be diminished.

It is also considered as the birthday of Goddess Annapurna (the Goddess of Food). She too is worshipped today.

The Bengalis worship Lord Ganesha and Laxmiji and begin their new audit year, this day. It is called “Halkhata” in the local language.

Bhagwaan Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankar of the Jains, broke his fast on this day. A year long fast! I always wondered how they could do it. But this is “Tap”, ( the readiness to bear both pain and happiness, not to be delighted in one’s happiness and not to be bogged down in distress). Also, they (24 Tirthankara’s) in their pursuit of finding the truth about oneself, sometimes got lost in themselves and forgot to partake food. The fire within, for this pursuit was so hot that it engulfed all other worldly desires. This pursuit of truth has always been, is and will always be “Akshay”.

Mahabharat, the great epic, was started to be written today. It has covered all relations and all topics under the Sun. There is an episode before the Mahabharata was started to be written. When Bhagwaan Vyas asked Ganesha, the God of wisdom, to write his dictation, Ganesha said that it would be possible only on one condition that Vyas would not stop once he starts dictating. Bhagwaan Vyas readily agreed and put forth his condition that Ganesha will understand what is being told and then write it down. And so it is said that Vyas would speak a few sentences which were difficult to interpret for Ganesha and would take a break. The truthulness behind the episode is difficult to be adjudged, but this conveys to us the greatness of Bhagwaan Vyas. The Mahabharat in it’s true sense is a book of undiminished “akshay” wisdom.

Mother Ganga descending upon the earth is one of the most beautiful glacial phenomenon, an human can envisage and see happening in his own lifetime. Bhagirath, the great King, was able to do this. It’s an engineering marvel. Even today, people go upto ‘Gomukh’, the caves from where Ganga appears, but the exact place of Her origin is still unknown. The flow of Ganga is continuous and divine. The divinity within Her waters is something which will never be diminished “Akshay”.

I have decided to write on Bhagwaan Parshuram, the 6th incarnate of Lord Vishnu, today in my series on Avataar. But later in the day.

On this most auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya, I wish all my readers a very Happy Akshay Tritiya.

May Goddess Annapurna bless every field with lots of crops and every kitchen with unlimited and delicious meals.

May Bhagwaan Rishabhdev bless us all with the zeal and enthusiasm in our unending pursuit of eternal truth.

May Bhagwan Vyas and Ganeshji bless everyone with undiminishing wisdom.

May the ever flowing Ganga cleanse our bodies and minds and fill them with divine thoughts.