Tag Archives: Hinduism

Deity of the Day for Feb. 23rd – Ganesha, Hindu Elephant-Deity

Deity of the Day

Ganesha

Lord of Success

All About the Hindu Elephant-Deity

 

Ganesha — the elephant-deity riding a mouse — has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.

The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.

However, there’s another less popular story of his origin, found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her, all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani, the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on Parvati’s insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child’s head was severed instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant, and joined it to the baby’s body, thus reviving it.

Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the personification of material universe in all its various magnificent manifestations. “All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief,” says D N Singh in A Study of Hinduism. “He is both the beginning of the religion and the meeting ground for all Hindus.”

Ganesh Chaturthi
The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.

 

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The Daily OM for Feb. 17th – Connecting with the Divine

Connecting with the Divine
Puja

by Madisyn Taylor

Performing a Hindu puja ritual is a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

Forging a spiritual connection with the divine is the ultimate goal of many forms of worship. In our devotions, we transcend the limitations of our humanity using prayers, rituals, and invocations, or we seek the celestial in sacred items such as statuary, imagery, or natural objects. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings can enjoy communion with one another. Though participants show reverence for their chosen deities, puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Performing a puja ritual is thus a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

There are no limits as to whom may serve as the focal point of your puja. You need only choose a spirit guide to commune with and an object to represent them. Preparing for the puja ritual, however, can take some time, depending on the number of devotional acts you will perform. A classic puja includes 16 acts, including meditation, chanting, the reading of sacred texts, offerings of food and drink, and cleansing. You may also wish to present gifts of incense, flowers, and jewelry during the ritual. An altar or table covered by an altar cloth provides space for the representation of the divine and the seat of the puja. To begin, prepare your offerings and place them to the right of the altar. Then center yourself and release any stress you may feel—the puja is meant to be a joyful experience. Typically, the ritual begins with the ringing of a bell and an invitation, and progresses from chanting to the cleansing and dressing of the deity to the offerings to meditation. You can modify your puja in any way you wish.

Though the elaborate puja rituals performed in Hindu temples take place at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight, puja performed in the home primarily takes place in the mornings and evenings. When your intention is to invite your spiritual guides into your home and heart, however, the time of day matters little. With practice, you will create a direct path to spiritual oneness that allows you to experience an amazing sense of closeness that reinforces your connection with the divine.

The Daily OM

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Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments
Let’s Talk Witch – Karmic Consequences

Karma is a Hindu concept that has been adopted by many Westerners, especially those in the New Age and Pagan communities. While many people talk about karma, not everyone fully understands it. Its effects over several lifetimes are also often misunderstood.

What Is Karma?

Karma is the Hindu law of cause and effect. For every action you take, there is a reaction, although it’s not equal and opposite. When you take beneficial action, you receive a beneficial effect. When you take baneful action, that will come back to you, too.

Your karma is a part of your soul, and it determines, in part, how your life will play out. If you live a just life, you will receive more just benefits. If something negative befalls you, look to your history and see what might have caused it.

Leftover Karma from Past Lives

The karmic backlash or reward for your actions is not always immediate. Sometimes it takes years to feel the full karmic effects of any action. The span of time between an action and its karmic effect can actually stretch over more than one lifetime. The actions you took in your past lives affect your current life to some degree. They might decide your role in this life, or how your life is lived. You can rest assured that really evil people will receive appropriate punishments in their future lives. Hopefully, you weren’t a terrible person in your past life, but if you can’t see any reason why so many things in your life seem to be going wrong, you might be dealing with retribution for mistakes you made in a previous life.

The Hindu concept of time is not strictly linear, so there can also be a karmic influence for an action you’ve not yet taken. Living the best life you can in order to balance out the negative weight on your karma is the best solution for dealing with karmic effects you had no role in creating in this life. A Hindu’s goal in life is to carry out his dharma (duty). If you attempt to serve your life purpose, it will benefit your karma and counterbalance the mistakes of the past or future

Source:
Author: Selene Silverwind
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Your Ancient Symbol Card for Dec. 16th is The Medicine Bowl

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Medicine Bowl

The Medicine Bowl is an essential shaman’s vessel for preparing and dispensing sacred blends of herbs and other items used to keep both clan and individuals physically and spiritually healthy. Often The Medicine Bowl and the hallowed potions made with it are cornerstones to tribal ceremonies and member’s rites of passage. The Medicine Bowl represents both the practical and spiritual aspects of healing the body and cleansing the soul through the use of natural remedies and the affirmation of your spiritual self. In a broader sense, The Medicine Bowl symbolizes the health of a clan and strengthening of  ties within the clan.

As a daily card, The Medicine Bowl suggests that now may be a good time for you to take a holistic approach to ensuring both your physical and spiritual self are in top form. If there has been strife within your core social circle lately, the appearance of The Medicine Bowl suggest the time is right for your group to reaffirm their basic connection to both the group as a whole and the individuals within it.

Celebrating Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Dewali (Festival of Lights)

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November 15 and 16

Dewali (Festival of Lights)

It is around this time of year that Dewali, Hindu Festival of Lights, ushers in the New Year. Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest living religions. It was not founded bu rather evolved over a period of 4,000 years. The religion is made up of many sects, and beliefs include the doctrine of Karma, as well as the worship of numerous Gods and Goddesses considered to be forms of the one Supreme Being.

The word dewali means cluster of lights, and the illumination of lamps, bonfires, and fireworks all play an important part in the weeklong festival. The devotees of Vishnu hold that this was the day he killed the demon, but the most popular belief is that Dewali celebrates the coronation of Rama, a manifestation of Vishnu, following his conquest of the demon ruler of Sri Lanka, Ravana. During Dewali, effigies of Ravana are burned, merchants settle the past year’s accounts, games of chance are played and presents are given.

 

Calendar of the Moon for October 14th

Calendar of the Moon

14 Gort/Puanepsion

Durga’s Day

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon a red cloth place many sticks of incense, bowls of saffron rice, spears, and the figure of Durga riding her tiger.
Offerings: Acts of courage.
Daily Meal: Indian food.

Invocation to Durga

Hail to Durga, Warrior Goddess
Of the Hindu people!
Uma the Maiden gives way to Parvati the Mother
Who then give way to you!
Slayer of Demons
Inaccessible One
Who defends her children
Shasthi, Queen of the Mothers
We call you on this day
To protect mothers and babes.
For she who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or lion.
He will not be wounded in battle
For in him rhinoceri
Can find no place to thrust their horn,
Lions no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so?
Because she has no place for death to enter.
Tiger rider, many-handed one,
Your serene gaze comforts women
And causes oppressors to quail
Before your feline steed.

(The hour should end with drumming and dancing with spears.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Your Ancient Symbols Card for October 8th is The Open Door

Your Ancient Symbols Card for Today

The Open Door

The Open Door signifies the presence of new opportunities. However, to reap the benefits of these prospects you will have to move beyond where you are now–forsake the comforts and safety of your current life and head out in new directions. Moves like those symbolized by The Open Door require courage, because fresh opportunities signify the chance of gain, but do not guarantee they will be realized. Regardless of the benefits that may be reaped, with the transitions like those required to explore these new found opportunities, something is always lost. Before launching on a voyage down new paths it is a good idea to objectively assess your current state of being and decide whether what you have now is worth jeopardizing.

As a daily card, The Open Door indicates a time that is primed for you to pursue new goals and dreams. For you opportunity exists, but there are no assurances that they will lead to a richer life. Weigh your current circumstances carefully, and if you feel there is a more fulfilling path for you, then this is the moment for you to begin your walk down that path–the moment for you to walk through The Open Door before you.

What is Reincarnation?

What is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the concept that souls are continuously reborn in different bodies at different times and places. Many belief systems around the world embrace reincarnation, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and a variety of New Age religions. Each religion professes different beliefs about the cause and purpose of reincarnation, but some facts remain consistent. In most every case, reincarnation is a natural and very important part of the development of a soul; it is the process of struggling against some negative force, such as desire or karma, toward a higher state of being; and it applies to all human beings, if not all living creatures.