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Tag Archives: Ganesha

All are Mother’s forms


Many years ago, I read this wonderful story in a Chinmaya Mission book.

Once, when Vinayaka was very young, he went out to play. Finding no one around, except a cat, he tried to play with her. But the cat seemed in no mood to play. Vinayaka tried to coax her by caressing her and offering her food, but she would only run away from him. After many futile attempts in getting her to play with him, Vinayaka lost patience. In a fit of rage, he hit her so hard that she fell a few yards away and  was bruised badly. Finally, Vinayaka thought that it was a waste of time and ran inside to his mother.

When he went inside his mother’s chamber, he was aghast at what he saw! Ma Parvati had bruises all over her body. Vinayaka was so sad at seeing his beloved mother in this condition that he started weeping. Ma Parvati drew him close and calmed him down. Vinayaka, crying desperately, asked: “Ma! What happened? Who did this to you?? Just tell me the name!!” Ma replied compassionately: “Darling, who can dare to hurt me? I can burn anyone to ashes by just one look. It was you who did this to me and hence, I didn’t oppose. I love you very much, my son!”

Vinayaka was baffled! How can this be? Still sobbing, he said: “What are you saying, Ma? How can I even think of hurting you? So much so that I did not even come near you all morning!” To this, Ma Parvati, with the shine back on her beautiful face, replied: “I know dear that you love me so much and wouldn’t think of hurting me. But in the morning, didn’t you hit the poor cat who didn’t want to play with you?

From now on, know that, everything and everyone that you see is my own manifestation. Whatever you say and do finally comes to me!!”

Vinayaka was stunned. Although young, he was very sharp. Ma Parvati didn’t have to say anything more. Vinayaka apologized to her. He had realized that ‘All are Mother’s forms’. 🙂

The non-dual Brahman expresses itself as ‘Purusha’ and ‘Prakruti’. Prakruti is the manifested creation and that is what we call ‘Divine Mother’. The entire creation is One being! Everything and everyone is a part of the Divine Mother.

Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi are all different aspects of the Divine Mother. She loves variety and intends that we enjoy the diversity rather than be fanatics! The knowledge of the divine mother puts to rest the inferior tendencies of the mind like greed and jealousy. We stop abusing food, wealth, power, natural resources, even our own bodies, because everything is a form of the Divine Mother.

Navratri, for me, is the time to adore and pamper the Divine Mother. And in turn, get pampered! 🙂 It is the time to relax and enjoy the beauty around and inside us.

As our beloved Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is in silence at our Art of Living Banglore Ashram, let us take time off to remember this gift of knowledge and abundance that we have received by His grace.

Jai Guru Deva!

PS: This time of the year, it is Fall season here in Utah and the Divine Mother is busy flaunting her sense of fashion. 🙂

Fall colors in the mountains of Utah, USA.

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All the way to Persia… Ganesha is Everywhere


Ganesha Chathurthi has arrived, the festival to invoke the Divine Lord Ganesha and his blessings for  prosperity and happiness. Lord Ganesha is a fun-loving, dancing, frolicking divinity and has been symbolically and graphically illustrated and modelled in different forms, from riding on His vahana, vehicle, the mouse Mooshika, to the modern day figurines, showing Him speaking on the phone, typing on the computer etc. Interestingly, all these caricatures seem to suit Him well and only go to make Him dearer and more loveable.

Who is Ganesha?

His name Ganesha, has two components, Gana plus Esha.

Esha means “the lord of”.

Gana stands for count, numbers, multitude. Which is why, the subject mathematics in the Indian knowledge system is known as “Ganitham”. The name Ganesha denotes Him to be the lord of multitudes and numbers and the faculty that is needed to count, deal with multitudes, is knowledge, intellect. It is this intellect which can help man overcome obstacles as man’s obstacles primarily stem from his mind.

Ganesha is also called Vigneshwara, the one who removes obstacles. And to channelize our mind, our thoughts and energies in the right direction to ensure successful completion of any task, we pray to Vigneshwara before we embark on any important activity, before all beginnings.

With this intellect to discern good from bad, knowledge and strength to overcome obstacles and act wisely and purposefully, it is but natural man will live the knowledge of Art of Living and be endowed with prosperity. Hence Ganesha is also considered to usher in prosperity and good luck. And to embody the humility that should go with all these wealth and wisdom, He is also called Vinayaka or the humble, approachable one.

This concept of praying for mental strength, wisdom, prosperity and to ward off all obstacles before embarking on any important activity, transcends many cultural and geographic boundaries and is not confined to India alone.

Janus and Ganesha

In ancient Rome too, the pre-Christian era had a divinity known as “Janus. Janus was a divinity who was propitiated to, during all beginnings. Images of Janus were also installed on doorways as a guardian. This Janus had two faces, one to look at the past and one to look at the future.

The God Janus

Janus and Ganesha both seem to be associated with two faces.

Ganesha had a human face before He got an elephant face. There are many interesting similarities between Janus and Ganesha including the aspect that phonetically their names are also similar. Janus is also a divinity associated with numbers, which is why, the first month of the calendar is named January after Janus.

Ganesha, Ganesha Everywhere

It is not only in Rome, but in different other parts of the world, that we find the knowledge, appreciation and reverence to the concept denoted by Ganesha.

We have sculptures of Ganesha in Central America, Persia, Afganisthan, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and in many other South-Eastern Asian islands.

Kangiten Ganesha, Japan

Depiction of Ganesha as Warrior in Persia

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and forms the major part of the south eastern archipelago. The currency, the Rupiah note of Indonesia too, has an image of Ganesha, depicting him as a divinity for numbers and knowledge.

From this example, we can see that the concept of Ganesha was prevalent far and wide from faraway Central America to Europe to Asia, more than 2500 years back itself.

This commonality and the prevalence of the concept of Ganesha across the world, brings to our attention that Ganesha is not just a Hindu divinity in the limited sense, but a divinity of knowledge and numbers, not just of India but of the multitudes across the world.

Ganesha with all His multitude of forms, symbols and stories, is a concept, Tattva, epitomising the winning formula for a good mind, intellect, knowledge, strength and prosperity, which is the direction we all need to progress in.

Sharing here a beautiful talk by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar where he unlocks the symbolism of Ganesha Festival

D.K. Hari and D. K. Hema Hari are authors, research collators and founders of Bharath Gyan. They may be contacted through www.bharathgyan.com . Email: bharathgyan@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Art of Living Wisdom

 

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A chocolaty surprise for Ganapati Bappa


“Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabha
Nirvighnam kuru mey Deva, Sarva kaaryeshu Sarvadaa”

O Lord Ganesha of Large body, curved trunk, with the brilliance of a million suns, please make all my work free of obstacles, always.

Ganesh Chaturthi the spectacular festival honors the birth of the beloved Indian elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha , popularly worshiped for his powers to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. 

Sri Sri in Ganesh Chaturthi program at Art of Living Bangalore Ashram

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji explains, “Ganeshji is the lord of all the good qualities in us. So when we worship him, all the good qualities blossom in us. He is also the lord of knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge dawns only when we become aware of the Self. When there is inertia, there is no knowledge, no wisdom, nor is there any liveliness (Chaitanya) or progress in life. So the consciousness has to be awakened and the presiding deity of consciousness is Ganeshji. That’s why before every puja, the Lord Ganesha is worshiped to awaken the consciousness.”

The secret behind making an offering to God

The Sanskrit word “prasada” means “mercy,” or the divine grace of God. IIf, as a meditative discipline, we can offer our food to God with devotion before eating it, not only are we not implicated in the karma involved in acquiring the food, but we can actually make spiritual progress by eating the offered food. Our devotion, and God’s grace, subtly transforms the food offered from material nutrition to spiritual mercy or prasada.

That definitely call for some mouth-watering recipes for the special Ganpatati occasion.

Modak means Part of Bliss

Lord Ganpati is often termed as ‘Modakpriya’ because of his love for Modaks . Actually ‘Moda’  means Bliss … ‘K’ means a part … So Modak is basically a part of bliss . Modak symbolises the Spiritual knowledge. When you look at the Modak, look at its tip.That is what you tend to see first.. It’s tip is too narrow and so is the spiritual knowledge at start , if you start getting more and more into it you tend to realize the vastness of this spiritual energy . The base of the modak signifies the same. Hence, Modak is sometimes termed as Dhyan Modak. 

CHOCO COCONUT MODAK RECIPE

Ingredients:
• 1 cup Chocolate Chips 
• 3 cups Desiccated Coconut 
• 1 cup Condensed Milk 
• 8-10 Walnuts (finely chopped) 
• Silver Warq as required (cut into half-inch squares)

Method :
In a big bowl, take chocolate chips, desiccated coconut, condensed milk and walnuts and mix well.

  • Divide into little portions and press them in modak mould.
  • Wrap the modaks with silver warq and refrigerate till set.  

Serve.

Can you think of a fruit which looks like Modak?  When I saw the resemblance of between this fruit and modak I thought why not offer a natural modak to Ganapati this Chaturthi?.
Yes, You guessed it right! Now strawberry can be prepared in different ways.

My favourite for modak resemblance, children’s delight and exotic Love is CHOCOLATE COVERED FULL STRAWBERRY 

Simple to make, yummy to taste and is going with the occasion..
Surprise BAPPA with this offering this season:

Ingredients

  • milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • fresh strawberries with leaves

Directions

  1. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add cream
  3. Holding strawberry by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.

Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into Styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

Tip: Wash Your strawberry properly pat dry and leave them to dry on kitchen roll. If they are moist the chocolate won’t stick to

And of course you can use your creativity to make faces with gems or pipe chocolate and even make small ganpatis 🙂

Yet another favourite food of Ganadhakshya is UNDRALLA

As Lord Ganpati is Maa Gauri’s favourite, this recipe is which all mom love to feed their kids::

Ingredients:

Rice Rawa – 1 cup
Jeera – 1 tsp
Chana dal (Senaga pappu) – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

– Soak chana dal in water for atleast 10minutes.
– Heat about 1tsp of oil add jeera.
– Add 2 cup of water and bring to a boil.
– To it add salt, soaked chana dal and slowly add rawa. Stir continuously to make sure that there are no lumps.
– Cook until the mixture comes together and looks like upma.
– Let this mixture cool..
– Make small balls of the mixture and steam them for about 10 minutes in a pressure cooker.

To prepareRice rava: Clean and Soak the rice for some time and drain it completely and spread over a cloth so that it will drain off excess water and leave it for an hour.Grind it to a coarse rava in whipper mode and then sieve it. Use the rava which is in sieve.
Rice rava can also be prepared directly by grinding it in the mixer in whipper mode and sieve it.

May this 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival fill your life with bliss. As you install idols of the deity with a prayer to ward off evil, may Lord Ganesha, bless everyone with wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Art of Living Review, Others

 

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