Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ganesha - The lord of Buddi; learning and intelligence

Yesterday I walked the aisles of my local Indian grocery store and walked right into a colorful collection of Ganesha statues. It immediately dawned on me that this was the sign of the upcoming Ganesha Festival week in India, especially Mumbai and Pune.

I recalled seeing hundreds of large Ganesha statues being made on the street sides of the neighborhood of Wakad in Pune as I would drive back to my office from my daily morning practice at RIMYI. So obviously a blog post in honor of Lord Ganesha was in order. How could I have not thought about it earlier - but then most of my blog posts are not thought through or planned in advance - they have a way of simply coming to me and yesterday Ganesha came in all his colorful glory in all sizes and shapes.

Lord Ganesha has a special place in my life, both past and present. The front doors to my old home opened to a statue of Ganesha, that I had brought back from one of my trips from India. The elephant and elephant god has always had a special meaning. There are images of the elephant images sown through my entire house, including the table top that I am writing this blog on. Ganesha has represented the calmness and intelligence in my life. He has been my spiritual protector and guide. I left the statue behind in the old house. He is the part of the yoginess in me.

This week thousands will gather in Pune - the whole city will shutdown as they will take effigies and statues of Ganesha and immerse them in every waterway around Pune.

So other than being the son of Shiva, a god with an elephant head and a broken tusk - what is so unique about Ganesha? Well, he is a very unique diety. Ganesha is probably one of the most universally worshiped god in the hindu religion and its offshoots. The Buddhists and Jains worship Ganesha as well.

According to comments in Wiki, Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha, Vighneshvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He also represents the symbol "OM". Intelligence and OM are connected to the practice of Yoga.

So, I am trying to connect this all together on what has Ganesha represented for me as his presence has been woven into my life for many years - ever since I heard some relatives greet me with "Jai Ganesh". Despite such strong presence I have had challenges to my intelligence. I have had moments where my buddhi (mind) was completely destroyed. But Ganesha has remained in my life.

He takes central place in the little temple I maintain in my home. Not above, not below, just right in the middle. He represents the calm, the peace, the mind and body connection I strive for every day. There is not a day I don't visualize Ganesha in my mind. In moments of strife and stress, especially when I am challenged by anger and folks who have destroyed their own intelligence with pettiness and ego, it is the image of Ganesha that comes to my rescue and inspires me to remain calm and strong - not some ubiquitous yoga pose.

Yoga gives me the ability to self learn and heal. Ganesha gives me the courage to stand up and focus on my intelligence to remain calm and still. His broken tusk represents that there is beauty and art in imperfections. It represents that even the strongest can be broken, but the broken can stand up and become the strongest with their mind and intellect and compassion. Next time you see an elephant - you will see Ganesha.

I want to wish Skeptic Yogi all the best in her upcoming great day. next week.... let that be for eternity. Her last post was inspiring. I also discovered another great blog. Visions of Cody - by an ashtanga yogi in Boston. Its funny and thought provoking. I had an immediate connection to his posts. There are so many of us on parallel paths - its comforting and inspiring.


The Yogi

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