I was reading an interpretation of the birth of Ganesha from Amma's website this evening, and I could not help myself, I have to share ...
The Birth of Ganesha
One day goddess Parvati was at home preparing for a bath. She told Nandi, Shiva's (her husband) bull, to guard the door and to let no one pass. Nandi intended to carry out her request with all sincerity. Yet, when Shiva came home and wanted to go inside, Nandi, being loyal to Shiva first and foremost, had to let him pass.
Parvati was angry at this slight on Nandi's part. Yet, she was even more enraged by the fact that she had no one as loyal to her as Nandi was to Shiva. So, Parvati took the tumeric paste (that she was using for bathing) from her body and breathed new life into it to create Ganesha...declaring him to be her own loyal son.
The next time Parvati wished to bathe, she posted Ganesha on guard duty at her door. In due course, Shiva came home, only to find this strange boy telling him that he could not enter his own house!
Furious, Shiva ordered his army to destroy the boy. But they all failed. Seeing that this was no ordinary boy, the usually peaceful Shiva decided he would have to fight himself. Shiva's divine fury severed Ganesha's head, killing him instantly.
When Parvati learned of this she was enraged and decided that she was going to destroy all of Creation. Lord Brahma, The Creator, naturally had his issues with this and pleaded with her, asking that she reconsider her drastic plan.
She said that she would, only if two conditions were met...
1. That Ganesha be brought back to life, and
2. That he be forever worshipped before all other gods.
Shiva, having cooled down by this time, and realizing his mistake, agreed to these conditions. He sent Brahma out with orders to bring back the head of the first creature he crossed that was lying with his/her head facing North.
Brahma soon returned with the head of a strong and powerful elephant, which Shiva placed on Ganesha's body. Breathing new life into him, he declared Ganesha to be his own son as well and gave him the status of being foremost among the gods and the leader of all the ganas (classes of beings), Ganapati.
Significance of the Story
Parvati is a form of Devi, the Parashakti or "Supreme Energy". In the human body she resides in the muladhara chakra (root chakra), where the kundalini shakti resides.
It is said that when we purify ourselves, ridding ourselves of the impurities that bind us, than Shiva automatically comes into us. As in the story, Shiva arrives un-announced while Parvati is bathing (is purifying herself). Nandi, Shiva's bull, represents the "Divine Temperament". So devoted to Shiva that his every thought is directed to Him.
This shows that the attitude of the spiritual aspirant is what gains access to Devi's, Kundalini Shakti's, abode. One must first develop this attitude of the devotee before hoping to be qualified for the highest treasure of spiritual attainment, which Devi alone grants.
Ganesha is the deity who guards the muladhara chakra. Devi, Parvati, needed to create Ganesha as he represents the earthbound awareness: a shield to protect the divine secrets from unripe minds. It is when this awareness begins to turn away from things of the world and points to the divine, as Nandi had, that the great secret is revealed.
Shiva is the supreme teacher. Ganesha here represents the ego-bound Jiva (jee-va) or "living being". When Shiva comes, the Jiva - surrounded by murky clouds of ego - usually doesn't recognize Him and even ends up fighting with Him!
It is the duty of Shiva, in the form of a teacher/guru, to cut off the head of one's ego.
Parvati's threat to destroy creation indicates that when the ego dies, the liberated being loses so much of their interest in the material world and merges more closely with the Divine.
Shiva restoring life to Ganesha and replacing his head with an elephants means that before we can fully let go of these attachments to the material world we must identify with the Universal Self rather than the individual self. In this way our life is renewed.
Ganesha is given dominion over the ganas (classes of beings) manifest for example as insects, animals, humans, etc. These beings all contribute to the government of creation. If we can honor the ganas than we are treating all life as sacred. In this honoring we bow to Ganesha, in this way we receive the grace of Ganesha and he removes any potential obstacles, enabling us to succeed!
even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth,
"you owe me."
look what happens
with a love like that,
it lights the whole sky.
as i sit with these words, i think to myself "sometimes i have the capacity for this kind of love, and sometimes i struggle to access that genuine and real truth inside myself." at the moment of reading this, i had that genuine feeling of "ya, i want what is best for others, i want others to feel joy, to feel loved, to feel cared for. and i want nothing in return" and then, i recalled passed moments, days, weeks where this was hard to access. periods of time where my mind told me otherwise, my mind told me that if i give, i best get something in return. so then, the inquiry becomes...how can i make my most earnest efforts to choose what "wolf" to feed? can i continue to feed the wolf of unconditional love, the wolf that gives without expectation of a return? can i recognize sooner when i am feeding the wolf that has expectations upon expectations, and becomes angry and resentful when nothing she expected comes back to her. can i remember that apples for apples is usually not the painted picture, but rather we give apples and trust the mystery, rest in the knowing that offerings and surprises are set in motion and on there way back to us...and will arrive at a precise time in a precise way. in this, we can surrender our fears, worries and concerns about "getting something back." the gift has already been given as we give. the light
musings on abundance
Is it fullness? Is it an undeniable feeling of wholeness from inside the heart, from inside the body? Is it $100,000 thousand dollars a year?
These are questions I have been digging into. What I have been discovering is that the more I feel the wealth of each and every experience, for what it is. The more I feel the wealth! The more I focus on all that I appreciate, for all that I am receiving and believe and know that more is yet to come, as nature recycles again and again and again. Yet nature recycles if we take the actions to help her recycle. As I bring my compost to the compost pile I am saying yes to the abundance of more food. As I give a gift to a dear loved one I am saying yes to receiving gifts down the road from other sources. Abundance is teaching me that she is never ending, yet that there are limits to support the freedom that comes from honoring my own limitations. The limits can actually be my freedom. Our freedom. As the limits are like the banks of a river, the river is full, powerful and dynamically moving because of the boundaries of earth that surround it. I feel such gratitude for the continued prosperity that shows up again and again in eclectic forms, surprising me delightfully each time. Saprema...Om, Jahara