Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Story Of Kubera’s Downfall

Kubera was a renowned God who was very popular for being the wealthiest of them all in the entire universe. He had a treasure trove of wealth and would hoard everything to himself with pride.

One day, he invited many guests over for dinner, including Shiva and Parvati. But they both could not attend the dinner, so they sent over Ganesha as their representative. Ganesha’s noticed how Kubera’s behavior was and he decided to let his antics loose. He began devouring the dinner speedily and ended up finishing all the food leaving barely anything for the other guests.

Yet his hunger was not satiated. So he ended up entering Kubera’s wealth collection and start eating all the gold and wealthy items. Still unsatisfied, Ganesha then proceeded to eat Kubera himself, who ran to Mount Kailash for protection.

Shiva, seeing the reason behind Ganesha’s doing, offered a simple bowl of cereals to Ganesha. He ate them and immediately was satisfied. Kubera learned not to amass wealth greedily and agreed to distribute it among everyone.

Moral

The story shows how greed and pride can be harmful to a person and it is necessary to be considerate towards everyone.

From: First Cry Parenting

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The Story Of Parvati’s Wounds

This wonderful story is a great example of how the entire world is a single unit.

Ganesha was known to be a mischievous child and he would indulge in a number of naughty activities. One time, he came across a cat while he was playing, and proceeded to mess around with it. He picked up the cat and threw it on the ground, pulling its tail and having fun with it, while the cat meowed in pain. Ganesha failed to notice it and played around until he was tired and then came back home.

On reaching Mount Kailash, Ganesha was shocked to see Parvati lying down outside the home, with wounds all over her body, and crying in pain. Ganesha rushed to her and asked her who did this. To which Parvati replied that Ganesha himself had done this to her. The cat was actually a form of Parvati, and she wanted to play around with her son. But Ganesha treated her unfairly and ruthlessly and his actions on the cat have reflected on his own mother.

Ganesha was utterly sorry for his behavior and took an oath to treat all animals in a gentle manner with care and affection.

Moral

This story gives a very important lesson that does unto others as you would want others to do unto you. And this also includes animals, being careful of them, and not causing anyone any harm.

From: First Cry Parenting

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The Story Of Ganesha’s Wisdom

Lord Ganesha is called the god of knowledge and wisdom and there is a spectacular story that illustrates why it is so.

Ganesha had a younger brother called as Karthikeya. Both would get along well but, just like all other siblings, they would have moments of arguments and fights. On one such day, Ganesha and Karthikeya both ended up finding a unique fruit in the forest and grabbed it together. They refused to share it with each other and started claiming the fruit for themselves.

When they reached Mount Kailash and presented this predicament to Shiva and Parvati, Shiva made a proposition. He recognized the fruit and said that this fruit is known to grant immortality and extensive knowledge when eaten by the rightful bearer of it. To choose who gets it, Shiva proposed a challenge. He asked Ganesha and Karthikeya to circumvent their world 3 times. Whoever would do so first and return to Mount Kailash, would be the rightful owner of the fruit.

Karthikeya immediately hopped onto his pet peacock and flew speedily to complete three revolutions across the Earth. Ganesha was a little stocky compared to Karthikeya and his pet was a rat who couldn’t fly. Having listened to Shiva’s proposal properly, Ganesha started walking around Shiva and Parvati and completed three circles around them. When asked by Shiva, Ganesha replied that Shiva had asked them to circumvent their world. And for Ganesha, his parents were more than the world. They were the entire universe.

Shiva was touched and impressed by Ganesha’s wisdom and saw him as the rightful owner of the fruit.

Moral

Not only does this story give a great example of how using your wisdom can help resolve a situation smartly, but it also teaches that your parents should be given the respect and love they deserve.

From: First Cry Parenting

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The Story of Shiva’s Failed Battle

Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha have many stories together. However, this story goes beyond the relationship between father and son and teaches a very important lesson.

When the elephant head was procured and Ganesha was brought back to life, Shiva heeded Parvati’s wishes and made it a rule that before beginning with any new endeavor, it was necessary to worship Lord Ganesha and get his blessings. However, Shiva forgot that the rule applied to him as well.

On one such occasion, Shiva was heading out to war with the demons and proceeded to take his entire army along with him for it. But in the rush of leaving for the battle, he forgot to worship Ganesha first. This led to them facing many problems even before reaching the battlefield. On the way to the location of the battle, the war-carriage wheel was damaged and the progress came to a halt. This seemed like divine intervention to Shiva and he suddenly remembered that he had totally forgotten to worship Ganesha before heading for battle.

Stopping all his troops, Shiva proceeded to set up the puja then and there and completed the rituals worshiping Ganesha. With Ganesha’s blessings, Shiva proceeded ahead and he and his army were successful in defeating the demons completely.

Moral

This just goes to show that no matter who you are, once you have created a rule, it applies to everyone equally.

From: First Cry Parenting

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The Story Of The Missing Conch

This is a wonderful story that showed how even Lord Vishnu had to relent to Lord Ganesha’s antics.

Vishnu was known to have a conch with him that he kept with himself at all times. One fine day, he noticed that the conch was missing and it was nowhere to be found. This got him extremely annoyed and he rallied all his powers into finding the conch.

As the search for the conch was on, Lord Vishnu suddenly began hearing the sound of the conch emanating from a distance. He began searching for it in that direction and soon realized that the sound was coming from Mount Kailash itself. As he reached the mountain, he found out that the conch had been taken by Lord Ganesha and he was busy blowing it. Knowing that Lord Ganesha will not relent easily, he sought out Shiva and asked him to request Ganesha to return the conch back to him.

Shiva said he, too, didn’t have any power of Ganesha’s wishes and the only way to appease him is to perform a puja for him. So Lord Vishnu did do that. He set up all the necessary elements for the puja and worshiped Ganesha with his heart. Seeing this, Ganesha was extremely pleased and he returned Vishnu’s conch back to him.

Moral

The story quite interestingly reveals the fun side to Lord Ganesha and his antics. Furthermore, it teaches us about humility by showing how a God as great as Vishnu, did not hesitate to worship Ganesha.

From: First Cry Parenting

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The Story of His Birth

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati would stay on Mount Kailash, making it their abode. Most of the times, Shiva would be out fulfilling other responsibilities while Parvati was alone at the mountain.

One day, on such a similar occasion, Parvati had to go to take a bath and did not wish to be disturbed by anyone at all. Parvati ended up making a statue of a child from turmeric and breathed life into him. She called the child Ganesha, and he was absolutely loyal to her. She asked him to guard the home while she took a bath.

Yet again, Shiva showed up and proceeded to enter the house. But this time, he was stopped by Ganesha who refused to move aside. Shiva did not know who this unknown child was so he asked his forces to destroy the child. But Ganesha had the powers bestowed on him by Parvati and defeated Shiva’s army. Shiva, known for his extreme fury, lost control on his temper and ended up beheading Ganesha.

When Parvati stepped out and saw the dead body of her creation, her fury knew no bounds. She lashed out at Shiva and threatened to destroy the entire universe as a consequence of those actions. Now, the universe was the responsibility of Bramha, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma witnessed the wrath of Parvati and apologized on behalf of Shiva to her, advising her to not destroy the universe.

Parvati relented on the conditions that Ganesha be brought back to life and be worshiped as the primary God.

Shiva, too, realized the mistake he committed in his rage and apologized to Parvati. He advised his troops to go into the forest and get the head of the first animal they spot. Incidentally, they came across an elephant and brought back his head. This was then placed over the body and Shiva brought him to life, also accepting him as his own son. This is how Ganesha was born as we know and is now worshiped as the god of gods.

Moral

As much as this story talks about the birth, it teaches us an important lesson on how anger can cause harm to our near and dear ones and how necessary it is to rectify our mistakes as soon as we can.

Source: First Cry Parenting

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Symbolism of the Trunk and Tusk

The trunk is a novel instrument. With its help, Ganesha removes the obstacles from the path of the aspirant. Its orientation towards the left, the right or centre is symbolic in connection with the three principle subtle energetic channels: Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi and, respectively, Sushumna Nadi. When it is raised to the sky, it signifies the ascension and stability of Kundalini at the level of Sahashrara. In the tantra tradition, the trunk and sensuous mouth of the elephant are connected to the masculine and feminine sexual organs.

The curved trunk also symbolizes the primordial cosmic sound of OM.The well grown trunk of His form represents a well develop intellect and wisdom. Ganesha’s tusk is a symbol of Unity.

Left Side Turned Trunk

In Lord Ganesha, generally trunk is towards his left side accessing a laddu (sweet ball). What does it symbolize? It represents moon and the cool power of ida nadi in our psychic body. This Ganesha helps us to access the fruit of our work in the material world and he also gives the fruits to us very easily with his trunk!

The Lord likes laddus and he gives material comforts (symbolized by laddus) to his devotees. The trunk of Lord Ganesha touches the laddus in the bowl indicates Lords readiness to give the boons using his trunk.

This pose of the left sided trunk in a bowl of laddus is unique form of varada (“boon giving”) gesture of Lord Ganesha. Recall our discussion at the beginning about the trunk of an elephant. Just like in an elephant, Lord Ganesha uses his trunk as a handy tool to either bless us or to give us the boons!

In other words, laddu indicates all material comforts. Since he enjoys the sweet, he will surely bestow them to you too. This why if we need to enjoy material prosperity and comforts, we need to worship and pray Lord Ganesha with left-sided trunk enjoying a sweet laddu! So, Lord Ganesha with left-sided trunk provides us bhoga (material enjoyment).

Right Side Turned Trunk

There is another pose of Lord Ganesha. It is with his trunk turned towards his right side holding a pot of nectar. What is the symbolism here? It represents Sun and the hot power of pingala nadi in our psychic body.The pot of nectar held by right-turned trunk is nothing but the bliss or the happiness obtained in samadhi state in traditional yoga. So, this Ganesha helps us achieve moksha (liberation).

According to Hinduism, the highest purpose of human life is to get liberation from infinite birth and death cycle. So, people who are interested in achieving the real goal of yoga i.e. moksha (or liberation) should pray Lord Ganesha with trunk turned to his right side.

Stories About Ganesha’s Tusk:

There are various anecdotes which explain how Ganesha broke off one of his tusks. Devotees sometimes say that his single tusk indicates his ability to overcome all forms of dualism. In India, an elephant with one tusk is sometimes called a “Ganesh”.

One story of how Ganesha broke his tusk is recounted in this excerpt from the Upodghata Pada of the Brahmanda Purana. Parashurama, the axe-wielding incarnation of Vishnu, had sucessfully defeated his enemy Kartavirya Arjuna and the kings allied with him, and so he wanted to thank Shiva for giving him the power to fight these enemies.

Parashurama went to Mount Kailash to pay his obeisances to Shiva, but Ganesha stopped him, saying his father was sleeping along with his mother, and he didn’t want Parashurama intruding on them in case they might be engaged in amorous pursuits. Parashurama was enraged that he was being prevented from seeing Shiva, and so he started fighting Ganesha. Ganesha was winning handily, but then Parashurama threw his axe at Ganesha and Ganesha didn’t fight back against it, because the axe was a gift from Shiva.

Perceiving that the axe had been given to him by his father, Ganesha became desirous of meaning it not to go in vain. Hence he received it with his left tooth (tusk). Chopped off by the axe, the tusk fell on the ground, covered with blood like a mountain that fell on the ground when struck by Indra’s thunderbolt.

Another story is as follows:

In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa (Vyāsa) asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterrupted, without pausing. The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha’s feather pen broke. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word.

Note:

There are other stories about Ganesha losing his tusk, most famously the story included in some manuscripts of the Mahabharata concerning Ganesha breaking his own tusk off to continue writing the Mahabharata as Vyasa was dictating it to him.

Sources:

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Ten Rules For Placing Your Ganesha

Ganesha is one of the most important deities in Hinduism. His likeness is all over the east, and many countries — not just India — have adopted his appearance and incorporated his motifs into their culture. After all, the symbolism of Ganesha is very deep. One could even say the entire point of Ganesha is to inspire others to their highest! But even though people have decorated their homes with statues of this elephant-god, many don’t understand some of the basic rules that come with it.

Don’t forget these 10 rules when placing your Ganesha at home or work.

  • Remember his Symbolism

There’s a reason why Ganesha is worshiped before undertaking new endeavors. The god of joy, happiness, and success, Ganesha has been blessing his devotees with prosperity and fortune since time immemorial. He’s thought to be the remover of obstacles, as he himself overcame lots of troubles.

  • Where to Place Your Ganesha Statue

Most people are not aware there are specific places to put Ganesha to reinforce the vibration of success and happiness. According to Vastu (the science of architecture in Ayurveda), the best placement of idols is the northeast corner of the house. This is also the best location to set up the pooja room (meditation spot), as it is known as the Ishan corner.

  • The White Ganesha

People seeking happiness, peace, and prosperity should bring White Ganesha home as this particular color represents purity of intention and spirituality.

  • Vermillion Ganesha

Those who desire self-growth should bring a vermilion color Ganapathi statue to their home. Vermilion represents the spiritual ascendancy of mankind, and the gradual opening of the thousand-petaled lotus flower at the top of the head.

  • Sitting Ganesha for the Home

The idol of sitting Ganesha is best for the house. He represents a calm, but determined demeanor- the exact kind of energy you want at home!

  • The Position of the Trunk

The idol of sitting Ganesha with his trunk tilted towards his left hand should be placed in a house. It represents happiness and success. Ganesha with his trunk tilted towards his right hand is difficult to please because it represents the power of the sun which can “burn” if strict rituals are not adhered to. Better make sure your Ganesha is fat and happy!

  • Standing Ganesha at Work

If you want to place Ganesha’s idol at your workplace, remember to place an idol of standing Ganesha. This brings energy and enthusiasm to work.

  • The Small Details

Whenever you are placing the idol of Ganesha, remember that a mouse and modak (Indian sweet) should be a part of the statue. This is auspicious and integral to his purpose! The mouse represents material desire, which can be ridden to their completion but should never disturb inner peace. Sweets represent not getting distracted by pleasure- hence, they’re left untouched.

  • One is Enough

On your altar, always keep only one idol of Lord Ganesha. Keeping two or more Ganesha idols counteracts their energy. You only need one to be effective!

  • Remember the Purpose

More important than all these rules, remember the deep meaning behind Ganesha every time you see his image! He’s meant to show us the pathway to happiness, inner peace, and success in life. He’s a symbol of perseverance in the face adversity. He is like the human spirit, in the form of an idol.

Source: Sivana East

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The Ganesh Mudra

The Ganesha Mudra is a powerful hand lock which, when incorporated into your yoga practice, can lift your spirits, relieve tension and boost confidence! It is the physical embodiment of perseverance. To achieve it, you should begin in a comfortable seated position with a long, straight spine. Then:

  • Bring both hands in front of your chest with bent elbows.
  • Position your left hand, palm outward, so your thumb points down toward the solar plexus and your pinky points up toward the collar bone.
  • Form a claw by bending the four fingers of your left hand and clasping them with the four fingers of your right hand. Your right palm should be facing your chest.
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose. Fill up.
  • Upon exhaling, forcefully pull both arms apart while keeping the claws locked. Feel that resistance open your shoulders and chest.
  • Inhale again and relax your arms, always maintaining the Ganesha lock. Exhale and pull apart.
  • Repeat this process six times, breath to movement.
  • Interchange the direction of your hands, with your right palm facing outwards and the left palm facing inward.
  • Repeat six more times.

Release the Mudra, feeling all tension melt away with it. Bring your unclasped hands to your heart, palms facing inward. Focus on slow, deliberate breaths, absorbing the restoration of equilibrium to the body, mind and soul.

Why does it work?

By uniting this Ganesha yoga pose with potent breath, blockages and obstacles are evicted from the body. With no refuge in the openness that’s been created, the clutter of the mind also dissolves. And since it’s his job to destroy what’s in the way, Ganesha has been known to place obstacles in the path of those who need to be “checked.” If something blocks your path, invoking Ganesha’s symbolic destruction with this Mudra can help to create space for what you seek!

Often honored at the opening of important rites and ceremonies, Ganesha represents new beginnings. His presence reminds us it’s only after we’ve removed the obstacles that we can begin anew. Sometimes, we must demolish the ego to rebuild a stronger foundation for personal growth. The yoga mat is the perfect place to lay that base!

Release After Resistance

The Ganesha pose can remove negativity and stress by stimulating resistance in the upper body. Sometimes, it’s only after release that we notice the heaviness of the weight we were carrying. What are you resisting? What’s holding you back? What obstacles can you remove to free yourself from what doesn’t serve you? Surround yourself with Ganesha, and all can become clear.

Here’s a Ganesha Mudra Meditation

The meditation is to be done while holding the Mudra pose.

  • Fully inhale. Fill your lungs up to their fullest capacity.
  • Fully Exhale. Empty your lungs until they are completely empty.

Every time you exhale draw your navel in, tense your chest and arm muscles and feel as if you are trying to get out of the grip, but you can’t. Stay relaxed in your face, top shoulders neck as you feel the tension. Completely exhale until your lungs are empty while visualizing and mentally repeating the obstacle (what’s holding you back).

  • Then inhale to fill your lungs while releasing the tension. Maintain the clasp.
  • Repeat this 6 times. For a total of 6 cycles.

When I do this I like to visualize myself exhaling against any resistance I might be feeling at the moment. It helps me to release the tension. I feel myself dissolving it and it opens me up and creates space.

When I inhale I visualize myself opening myself up to what I am focusing on (writing, finishing something I have been putting off), and the possibilities of exploring/learning something new.

Integrate what you are experiencing at the moment and use the Ganesha Mudra Meditation for that.

When you are done; visualize a clear path; visualize openness. Believe the pathway is clear for you to continue what you want/need to do. Believe that everything will have an outcome that will serve you in the best possible way possible.

There are many factors you can’t control, but be in charge of what you can control. Your thoughts, your actions is always within your control.

Give it a go, and see if/how it can support you. Make it your own. This meditation takes no more than 3 minutes.

Sources:

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Ganesha Lord of the Root Chakra

As per Kundalini Yoga Sutra, the human body receives its subtle cosmic energies from seven chakras that are ruled by different gods. The Muladhara is considered the “root” or “foundation” Chakra indicating “support” is one of the seven main chakras, located near the base end of the spinal column, primarily associated with the action of excretion. Muladhara Chakra is associated with survival and safety and teaches us the life lesson of standing up for ourselves.

An individual with a healthy Muladhara Chakra can be spotted out for a strong sense of security and practicality with a healthy physique. On the other hand, if this first Chakra is blocked, a person may lose the sense of belonging, have a weak physical structure, problematic bones, weight issues, and a fearful outlook towards life in general.

Lord Ganesha rules Muladhara Chakra, the root Chakra sssociated with family, stability and wealth. Mula means “main, root or original” and adhara means “base”, meaning that Lord Ganesha is the root cause of our familial happiness and domestic peace that are absent without his blessings.

Also in Ganapati Atharvashirsa it is given that “lord Ganesha continually dwells in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine, Muladhara Chakra. He resides permanently in every living being at the Muladhara. He guides all other chakras, thereby leading the forces that propel the wheel of life.”

Therefore, Lord Ganesha is the primal force that supports the foundation of every aspect of your life. He removes all the obstacles in all your undertakings. One should meditate on him every day in the morning. One can also use Ganesha Yantras or Rudraksha beads ruled by Lord Ganesha to strengthen your Root Chakra.

Source: The Rudra Centre

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Victory to Ganesha, who when dancing makes a shower of stars fall like a rain of flowers from the sky by the movement of his trunk.  ~Somadeva

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