What Are the Major Ganesha Festivals?
Lesson of the Day
July 19, 2007
What Are the Major Ganesha Festivals?
Ganesha Chaturthi is a joyous celebration of Ganesha’s birthday. Vinayaka Vratam is twenty-one days of fasting and daily temple worship. Pancha Ganapati is a five-day family festival of harmony and gift-giving. Aum.
On Ganesha Chaturthi, in August-September, elaborate temple pujas are held. Worship is also given in the home shrine to a clay image of Ganesha that we make or obtain. At the end of the day, or after ten days, we join others in a grand parade, called visarjana, to a river, temple tank, lake or seashore, where we immerse the image, symbolizing Ganesha’s release into universal consciousness. During the twenty-one days of Vinayaka Vratam, in November-December, devotees vow to attend daily Ganesha puja, fasting on water and taking a full meal after sunset. Pancha Ganapati, December 21 to 25, is a modern five-day festival of gift-giving, dear to children. Families invoke His five shaktis, one on each day–creating harmony in the home, concord among relatives, neighbors and friends, good business and public relations, cultural upliftment and heartfelt charity. Ganesha’s monthly holy day is Chaturthi, the fourth tithi after the new moon. The Vedas implore, “O Lord of Categories, thou art the Lord, the seer of seers, unrivaled in wealth, king of elders, lord of the principle of principles. Hear us and take thy place, bringing with thee all enjoyments.” Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 98 from Living with Siva
Four Steps To Meditation
When we go into meditation, what do we meditate upon? What do we think about during meditation? Usually the sincere devotee will have a guru, or spiritual guide, and follow his instructions. He may have a mantra, or mystic sound, which he concentrates upon, or a particular technique or attitude he is perfecting. If he has no guru or specific instructions, then here is a raja yoga exercise that can enhance inner life, making it tangibly real and opening inner doors of the mind. Use it to begin each meditation for the rest of your life. Simply sit, quiet the mind, and feel the warmth of the body. Feel the natural warmth in the feet, in the legs, in the head, in the neck, in the hands and face. Simply sit and be aware of that warmth. Feel the glow of the body. This is very easy, because the physical body is what many of us are most aware of. Take five, ten or fifteen minutes to do this. There is no hurry. Once you can feel this warmth that is created by the life force as it flows in and through the body’s cells, once you can feel this all over the body at the same time, go within to the next step.
The second step is to feel the nerve currents of the body. There are thousands of miles of nerve currents in each of us. Don’t try to feel them all at once. Start with the little ones, with the feeling of the hands, thumbs touching, resting on your lap. Now feel the life force going through these nerves, energizing the body. Try to sense the even more subtle nerves that extend out and around the body about three or four feet. This may take a long time. When you have located some of these nerves, feel the energy within them. Tune into the currents of life force as they flow through these nerves. This is a subtle feeling, and most likely awareness will wander into some other area of the mind. When this happens, gently bring it back to your point of concentration, to feeling the nerves within the body and the energy within the nerves.
The third step takes us deeper inside, as we become dynamically aware in the spine. Feel the power within the spine, the powerhouse of energy that feeds out to the external nerves and muscles. Visualize the spine in your mind’s eye. See it as a hollow tube or channel through which life energies flow. Feel it with your inner feelings. It’s there, subtle and silent, yet totally intense. It is a simple feeling. We can all feel it easily. As you feel this hollow spine filled with energy, realize that you are more that energy than you are the physical body through which it flows, more that pure energy than the emotions, than the thought force. Identify yourself with this energy and begin to live your true spiritual heritage on this Earth. As you dive deeper into that energy, you will find that this great power, your sense of awareness and your willpower are all one and the same thing.
The fourth step comes as we plunge awareness into the essence, the center of this energy in the head and spine. This requires great discipline and exacting control to bring awareness to the point of being aware of itself. This state of being totally aware that we are aware is called kaif. It is pure awareness, not aware of any object, feeling or thought. Go into the physical forces that flood, day and night, through the spine and body. Then go into the energy of that, deeper into the vast inner space of that, into the essence of that, into the that of that, and into the that of that. As you sit in this state, new energies will flood the body, flowing out through the nerve system, out into the exterior world. The nature becomes very refined in meditating in this way. Once you are thus centered within yourself, you are ready to pursue a meditation, a mantra or a deep philosophical question….Click here to read more