Monday, August 24, 2009

Ganapati Bappa Morya!

For those of you who havent read this fantastic talk by Gurudev HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, I am posting it as is... Enjoy! The Symbolism of Ganesha His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ganesha is the formless divinity - encapsulated in a magnificent form, for the benefit of the devotee. Gan means group. The universe is a group of atoms and different energies. This universe would be in chaos if there was no supreme law governing these diverse groups of entities. The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha. He is the supreme consciousness that pervades all & brings order in this universe. The essence of Ganesha is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankara. Though Ganesha is worshiped as the elephant-headed God, the form (swaroop) is just to bring out the formless (parabrahma roopa). He is ‘Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam’. This means Ganesha is Ajam (unborn), he is Nirvikalpa (attributeless), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he symbolizes the consciousness which is omnipresent. Ganesha is the same energy which is the reason for this universe, from which everything manifests and into which everything will dissolve. We are all familiar with the story of how Ganesha became the elephant-headed God. Parvati became dirty when she was celebrating with Shiva. When she realized this, she removed the dirt from her body, created a boy out of it and asked him to keep guard while she bathed. When Shiva returned, the boy did not recognise him and obstructed his passage. So Shiva chopped off the boy’s head and entered. Parvati was shocked. She explained that the boy was their son and pleaded with Shiva to save him at all costs. Shiva then instructed his helpers to go and get the head of someone who was sleeping with the head pointing to the north. The helpers then got the head of an elephant, which Shiva affixed to the boy’s torso and Ganesha was born! Does this story sound strange? Why should Parvati have dirt on her body? Didn’t the all-knowing Shiva recognise His own son? Was Shiva, the epitome of peace, so short-tempered that he cut off the head of his own son? And why an elephant head on Ganesha? There is a deeper meaning to all this. Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies that celebration can easily become Rajasik or feverish and can take you away from your center. Dirt is symbolic of ignorance and Shiva is symbolic of the Supreme Innocence, Peace and Knowledge. So when Ganesha obstructs the path of Shiva, this means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the head, does not recognise knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off the boy’s head. And why the elephant head? Elephant represents both gyan shakti and karma shakti. The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies Wisdom and Knowledge. Elephants don't walk around obstacles, neither are they stopped by them. They just remove them and walk ahead – signifying effortlessness. So, when we worship Lord Ganesha these elephant qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities. Ganesha's big belly represents generosity and total acceptance. Ganesha’s upraised hand, depicting protection, means, “Fear not - I am with you,” and his lowered hand, palm facing outwards means endless giving as well as an invitation to bow down symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into earth one day. Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness. Even the implements Ganesha wields are symbolic. He carries in his hands, the ‘Ankusa’ (signifies awakening) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifies control). With awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire. And why does Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travel on something as small as a mouse? Isn’t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism that runs deep. The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha. Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words, since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged. Let us keep the deep symbolism in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti." PS. I love listening to the Ganapati Atharvashirsha. Here it is for all of you as well. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Radhe Radhe Maan Bole

From an agitated mind, to a restless soul- the journey is exciting, with numerous roller coaster rides. One of these rides was around Janmashtami this year- needless to say, the landing was safe and as usual, I am left with many happy sunshine smiles. Here’s an account of what did happen- The days leading up to Janmashtami were tumultuous, to say the least. Not just was there enormous activity happening all around me, but that wily mind of mine, loves the chaos and chose just those opportune moments to wreck my brains and make my emotions its new game partner. So, there I was, at the disposal of a whirlpool of thoughts and tornado of emotions… The rest of the story would be have been very different if it wasn’t for many years of boring sadhana and zillions of intimate moments, interactions and glances from my Master. So, I tried everything in the book, everything that had worked for me in the past… only that this time- all of these gave me only very sporadic and momentary relief. After many days of this internal strife and struggle, it suddenly came to me- the reason for this restlessness. And then, Aloha! I knew how to sort this out. It’s fairly simple you see. You are longing for your master. You identify the longing and then, you book your tickets and off you go- to meet HIM in person. But, alas! If only, it were so simple… Here I was in Hyderabad; HIM in Bangalore. I without holiday and HIM with Pakistan up his sleeve and many more sudden unplanned trips (that are so much a part of HIS life). But then, every cloud has a silver lining- mine had more than one- the upcoming TRM (for those of you who are new to my blog, I associated with The Art of Living and the TRM's are the masters’ gift to some of us) and a fabulous satsang with Swami Suryapad ji in Hyderabad itself! I thought to myself, the satsang will help me hold on till August end, till I finally do get to meet HIM. With such happy and hopeful thoughts in my head, Siddhartha and I made our way to an evening of bliss with Swami Suryapad ji on the occasion of Janmashtami. As obvious, a brilliant satsang followed and just when all was going very quiet in my head-mind, Swami ji in his melodious voice, full of devotion said to all of us, “Radha means longing. This Janmashtami pray that the longing increases. Pray that the longing becomes more intense.” Those words struck me like lightning… here I was, doing all that I could to overcome the longing and here is Swami ji saying pray that the longing increases… what an irony! When I mulled on this a little later, I stumbled upon something that Gurudev had said years ago (In the Knowledge Sheets) about most of us not experiencing any emotion in its intensity and how even studying and probing into physics and meta physics thoroughly will lead people to the classic ‘I Don’t Know’ as will total ignorance. He went on to say, “Attainment of the Divine depends on the intensity of longing and not on the time and qualification. There is a proverb among the villagers in India, which says that it may take some time to pluck a flower but it takes no time to meet the Divine! Abilities, qualifications are not the criteria. It is simply the intensity of your longing. Intensify your longing for the Divine right away. This you can do when you know that you want nothing and you are nothing” Strange are the ways of the Divine… May be in that intense longing, Sayuja can happen. This Janmashtami, I’ve prayed for the longing to grip my soul, my very being…

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've changed!

I am posting something after very long... Actually, I didnt know what to write- so many things assimilated in my brain, but none took birth- looks like the gestation period is still on... So, till then, I thought of changing the look of the blog. How do you like it? Do drop your comments and let me know. I really want to see from all of you. Who knows, it might inspire me to write ;) See from you really soon...