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As the fourth day of Ganesha Utsav culminate, let us understand three more forms of the 32 forms of Ganesha, namely; Kshipra Ganapati, Herambha Ganapati & Lakshmi Ganapati.

Kshipra Ganapati:

Kshipra Ganapati is the 10th of Lord Ganesha’s 32 forms. He is also known as Ganapati who is easy to appease and gives quick reward to the devotees. He is depicted to have a broken tusk and four hands holding a noose, goad and a sprig of the kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling) tree. In His uplifted trunk he holds a tiny pot of precious jewels which is considered as a symbol of the prosperity that he bestows upon followers. Mrigashirsha Nakshatra is related to Kshipra Ganapati. Worshipping this form of Ganesha is believed to increase wisdom in devotees. He appears to have a red-hue in colour.

The shloka to invoke Kshipra Ganapati is:

दन्त कल्प लतापाश रत्नकुंभां कुशोज्वलम्
बंधूक कमनीयाभं ध्यायेत् क्षिप्रगणाधिपम्

Danthakalpa lathaapasa rathna kumbham kusojjwalam,
Bandhooka kamaneeyamam dhyayeth kshipra ganadhipam.

Meaning:

I meditate on the easily pleased Lord of Ganas who holds a blue lotus and shining sprig of paddy Who holds a climbing plant , rope, gem studded pot and as pretty as Bandhooka tree.


Herambha Ganapati:

The 11th form of Ganesha is the Herambha Ganapati.  He is five-faced, white in color, known as the “Protector of the Weak,” and rides a big lion. He extends the gestures of protection and blessing while holding a noose, japa beads, axe, hammer, tusk, garland, fruit and modaka. Thiruvathira nakshatram or Ardra nakshatra is related to Heramba Ganapati. He is known to impart wisdom to the seekers and strength and confidence to the weak.

The Herambha Ganapati Shloka is:

अभयवरद हस्तः पाशदन्ताक्षमालाः सृणि परशु दधानो मुद्गरं मोदकं
फलमधिगत सिंहः पंचमातंग वक्त्रो गणपति रतिगौरः पातु हेरंबनामा  

Abhaya varada hastha pasaa danthakshamala sruni parasudhano mudgaram modhakam cha,
Phalam adhigatha Simha Pancha mathanga vakthro Ganapathi rathi gaura, pathu heramba nama.

Meaning:
Let me be protected by the five elephant headed Ganesa riding on a lion who is very serious, who is called Heramba,
Who shows signs of protection and boons, who holds the rope , his tusk, rosary , sickle , axe, hammer , citron, and Modhaka.


Lakshmi Ganapati:

Lakshmi Ganapati is the 12th form of Ganesha. He is depicted to have the Goddess Siddhi (The Goddess of Achievement) and Goddess Budhi (The Goddess of Wisdom) on both thighs. He has 8 hands, gesturing Varada mudra, Abhya Mudra and other hands holds green Parrot, a Pomegranate, a sword, a noose, elephant goad, sprig of Kalpavriksha (Wish fulfilling tree) and water vessel. Both his consorts hold white lotus flowers. Punardham (Punarvasu ) Nakshatra is related to Lakshmi Ganapati . Worshipping this form of Ganesha is believed to give wealth and wisdom.

The Lakshmi Ganapati Mantra is :

बिभ्राणश्शुकबीजपूरकमलं माणिक्यकुंभांकुशौ पाशंकल्पलतां खड्गविलसद्ज्योतिस्सुधानिर्मलः
श्यामेनात्तसरोरुहेणसहितो देवीद्वयेनान्तिकेगौरांगो वरदानहस्तकमलो लक्ष्मीगणेशोऽवतात्

Vibrana suka bhjeeja poora kamalam,manikhya kumbha angusan,
Pasam kalpa lathaancha gadga vilasath jjyothi sudhaa nirjjara,
Shyamenatha saroruhena sahitho devi dvayenaanthike,
Gourangavara dhannaa hastha kamalo Lakshmi ganeso avathath.

Meaning:

All over is spread the white Lakshmi Ganesa who holds a parrot , pomegranate , lotus flower,
Gem studded pot, goad , noose, the wish giving creeper, sword and shines like a flame fulfilling all wishes.
Sits near a blue lotus filled lake along with his two consorts and shows the boon giving hand.

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The Mugdala Purana lists Siddhi Ganesha, Ucchista Ganesha & Vigna Ganesha as the next 3 forms amongst the 32 forms of Ganesha. Here is a brief on these.

Siddhi Ganesha:

Siddha or Siddhi Ganapati is the 7th of Lord Ganesha’s 32 forms and signifies “the Accomplished”. Golden-yellow Siddhi Ganapati is the epitome of achievement and self-mastery. He sits comfortably holding a bouquet of flowers, an axe, mango, sugar cane and, in His trunk, a piece of sesame sweet. Bharani Nakshatra is related to Siddhi Ganapati and he blesses the devotee with Ashta Siddhi’s – the eight forms of success in any tasks.

The Mantra to worship Siddhi Ganapati is:

पक्वचूत फलकल्प मंजरीं इक्षुदण्ड तिलमोदकैस्सह
उद्वहन् परशुहस्त ते नमः श्रीसमृद्धियुत देव पिंगल

Pakva chootha kalpa manjarim ikshu danda thila modhakai saha ,
Udwahan parasu hastha they Nama sri samrudhipatha deva Pingala.

Meaning:

Salutations to the reddish brown coloured god armed with axe in his hand and signifies plenty, who holds ripe mango, bouquet of turmeric, sugarcane and sesame sweet.


Ucchista Ganapati:

The 8th Form of Ganapati is the Ucchista Ganapati. Ucchista Ganapathy means “the lord of blessed offering and the lord of superiority”. He is depicted in sitting posture with six hands. The Devi Shakti is seen seated on his left thigh. He is seen holding Japa beads thread, a pomegranate fruit and a fresh sprig of paddy in his right hands. His main left hand embrace the Devi Shakti, second hand hold the Veena and third/upper hand holds blue lotus. The tusk is not curled and Ucchista Ganapathi appears in blue complexion. Karthika Nakshatra is related to Ucchhishta Ganapathy. He is said to bless his devotees with success and promotions in work, and superiority in life.

The Ucchista Ganapati Mantra is:

नीलाब्जं दाडिमी वीणा शाली गुंजाक्ष सूत्रकम्
दधदुच्छिष्ट नामाऽयं गणेशः पातु मोक्षदः

Neelabjam dadimi veena saali gunjaksha suthrakam,
Dadadad uchishta naamaayam Ganesa pathu mokshadha.

Meaning:

Ganapati devouring the remnants of the meal. The blue coloured one with six arms holding the rosary, pomegranate, the paddy ear ( shalyagra ), the nocturnal lotus, the lute ( vina ); his sixth hand sometimes bears a berry & embraces the goddess.


Vighna Ganapati:

Vighna Ganapati is the 8th form of Ganesha and is known as the ‘Vighnaharta’ – the remover of obstacles.  He is the ruler of the Rohini Nakshatra. He appears with 8 limbs similar to Lord Vishnu and holds Shankha (conch) and Chakra (wheel) on both left and right upper hand. The other hands holds his broken tusk and Modaka , noose and elephant goad, flower arrow, sugarcane and a battle axe. Vighna Ganapati’s trunk is curved with bouquet of flowers. The lord wear plenty of ornaments and his complexion is of golden hue. Worshipping this form is believed to help devotees to overcome difficulties and remove all obstacles and bad influences on the path to success.

The Vighna Ganapati Mantra is:

शंखेक्षुचाप कुसुमेषु कुठारपाश- चक्रांकुशैः कलम मंजरिकागदाद्यैः
पाणिस्थितैः परिसमाहित भूषणश्रीः विघ्नेश्वरो विजयते तपनीयगौरः

Samswekshu chapa kusumeshu kutara pasa chakramkusai kalama manjarika gadhahyou,
Panisthithai pari samahitha bhooshana sri Vigneswara vijayathe thapaneeya goura.

Meaning:

Hail Vigneshwara who is saintly white and holds a conch, sugar cane , flower , axe , rope, wheel, goad paddy and Dhruva grass in his hands and who is decorated by the correct samhithas.

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As we complete the second day of the eleven day long Ganesh Utsav, let us understand three more forms of the 32 forms of Lord Ganesha.

Veera/Vira Ganapati:

Veera Ganapati  is 4th of Lord Ganesha’s 32 forms. In this form he is depicted as a valiant warrior in a proud and commanding pose. Veera Ganapati represents the Fire element. He is depicted with 16 arms, each holding weapons like bow, arrow, wheel, sword, trident, victory flag, club, serpent, noose, goad, mace, hammer, shield, spear, battle axe, and a goblin.  It is believed that Veera Ganapati vanquishes both ignorance and evil.

The Mantra associated with Veera Ganapati is:

वेतालशक्ति शरकार्मुक चर्मखड्ग- खट्वांगमुद्गरगदांकुशनागपाशान् ।
शूलं च कुन्तपरशुध्वजमुद्वहन्तं वीरं गणेशमरुणं सततं स्मरामि ॥

Vethala sakthi sara karmuka chakra gadvanga, mudgara, gadhaam angusa naga pasaan,
Soolam cha kuntha parasu dwajam udvahantham , veeram ganesamarunam sathatham smaraami.

Meaning:

I always meditate on the Veera Ganapati (Valiant) who is armed with Bhetala – the weapon of power, arrow, bow, wheel, sword, club, hammer, mace, hook, nagapasha – serpent noose, spear, plough, and the shining axe.


Shakti Ganapati:

The 5th form of Lord Ganesha is Shakti Ganapti. Shakti Ganapati is the last form representing the primordial element – Space. He is seen seated in the tantric position with 4 hands and embracing Devi Shakti seated on his left knee. His lower right hand is in Abhya Mudra bestowing blessings on his devotees, both the left and right upper hands hold noose and goad and his left lower hand is seen embracing the Devi. The colour of Shakti Ganapati is in orange red hue like that of the sunset sky. The Devi is represented with Green colour. Shakti Ganesha is the protector of the householder, vanquishing evil and brings peace to the house.

The Shakti Ganapati mantra is:

आलिंग्य देवीं हरितां निषण्णं परस्परस्पृष्ट कटीनिवेशम्
संध्यारुणं पाशसृणी वहन्तं भयापहं शक्तिगणेशमीडे

Aalinghya devim harithaam nishannam parasparaslishta katou
Sandhyarunaam pasa sruneem vahantham bhayapaham Shakthi Ganapathi meede.


Dvija/Dwija Ganapati:

Dwija Ganapati or Dvija Ganapathi is the 6th of Lord Ganesha’s 32 forms. Regarded as the Twice Born, Dwija Ganapathi is depicted to be equivalent to Lord Brahma, since he is believed to have undergone the ‘Upanayanam’, a ritual by which the Brahmin’s of young age are taught about Gayatri Mantras and go through the be-threading ceremony to become Vada pandits. He is represented with four heads and four hands holding palm-leaf inscription, a staff, meditation beads, water pot, noose and goad. He is associated with Ashwani nakshatra and is said to bestow devotees with all materialistic gains, name and fame.

The Dvija Ganapati mantra is :

यः पुस्तकाक्षगुणदण्ड कमण्डलुश्री-निर्वर्त्यमान करभूषण मिन्दुवर्णम्
स्तंबेरमानन चतुष्टयशोभमानं नित्यं स्मरेत् ध्वजगणाधिपतिं धन्यः

Ya pusthakaksha guna dhanda kamandalu sreenirvruthyamana kara bhooshana mindu varnam,
Sthambera manana chathushtaya shobhamanam thwaam samsmare dwija ganathipathe dhanya.

Meaning:

‘Ganapati the Twice-Born. He has four heads and four arms. He is white in colour. His hands hold the rosary, the washing pot ( kamandalu ), the walking-stick of an ascetic or the ritual spoon ( sruk ) and the manuscript on palm-leaves ( pustaka ).’

Salutations to Ganapati, who is seen embracing his wife, Shakti. He is red in colour. He has four arms. His low right hand shows the movement of lack of fear (abhaya); the two others wear the elephant goad and the noose; the last hand, who holds a lemon, embraces the goddess. With the top of his trunk, Shakti Ganapati holds a cake.

 

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The stories and legends of Lord Ganesha are referred in many sncient texts and scriptures, out of which Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana are totally dedicated to Lord Ganesha. As per these puranas, Lord Ganesha got manifested in several forms out of which eight forms were referred to as his incarnations. These incarnations over different cosmic ages include Vakratunda, Ekadantha, Mahodara, Gajavaktra (Gajaanana), Lambodara, Vikata, Vighnaraja and Dhoomravarna. Lord Ganesha is said to have fought with a demon symbolizing a human weakness in each of these forms at different times. For instance, Vakratunda, his first incarnation defeated the demon Matsaraasura symbolising ‘Matsara’ – Jealousy. When he took form of Ekadanta, he defeated the demon Madaasura symbolizing intoxication or arrogance. His third incarnation as Mahodara defeated the demon Mohaasura and his weakness ‘Moha’ (delusion). Likewise, Gajaanana defeated the demon Lobhaasura and his weakness Lobha – Greed, Lambodara defeated Krodhaasura symbolizing anger, Vikata defeated the demon Kamaasura representing lust, Vighnaraja (Remover of obstacles), defeated the demon Mamaasura representing ego & possessiveness and his 8th incarnation as  Dhoomravarna defeated the demon Ahankaraasura symbolising pride. It is believed and said that Lord Ganesha was in existence in all the Yugas.

The Mudgala Purana was the first to list the 32 forms of Lord Ganesha. These 32 forms may also represent a co-relation with 32 paths and spheres of the tree of life. The first 16 forms of Ganapati are known as the ‘Shodasa – Ganapati’ and the rest 16 forms are known as the ‘Ekavimsathi.’

Here is a sneak peek into the first 3 forms of Lord Ganesha, their symbolic representation & the mantra to invoke their blessings.

Bala Ganapati:

Bala Ganpati is the first of the 32 forms of Ganesha and also the most widely worshipped in India. It is the child-like of the lord and represents the Earth element signifying abundance and fertility. The colour associated with Bala Ganapati is the colour of rising sun – Red. The idol of Bala Ganapati is elephant faced and has four hands holding the fruits of the Earth – Mango, Jackfruit, Banana and Sugarcane in his four hands. His trunk garners his favourite sweet; the modaka.

Bala Ganapati is to bestow his devotees with good health and help them get rid of ill habits. He is believed to forgive sins help with the progress of children.

The Mantra to invoke Bala Ganapati is:

करस्थ कदली चूत पनसेक्षुक मोदकम्
बालसूर्यप्रभं देवं वन्दे बालगणाधिपम्

Karastha kadali chootha , panasekshuka modhakam,
Bala soorya prabhakaram, vandeham bala ganapathim,

Meaning:

I salute the boy like Ganapati who shines like a young Sun,
Holding in his hands Banana fruit, mango fruit, jackfruit, sugarcane and Modhaka.


Taruna Ganapati :

Taruna Ganapati is second in the 32 forms of Ganesha and it represents the Air Element. This eight-armed form of Ganesha represents youthfulness, progress and newness. His brilliant red colour like that of the mid-day sun, reflects the blossoming of youth. He holds a noose, goad, modaka, wood apple, rose apple, his broken tusk, a sprig of paddy and a sugar cane stalk in his eight hands. Taruna Ganapati is mainly worshipped on Sankashti Chathurti, Ganesha Jayanti, and Durva Ganapati vrat. Worshipping this form is believed to help in getting good health, happiness, joy and remove obstacles.

The mantra associated with Taruna Ganapati is:

पाशांकुशापूप कपित्थजंबू-फलं तिलान् वेणुमपि स्वहस्तैः
धत्ते सदा यस्तरुणारुणाभः पायात् युष्मान् तरुणो गणेशः

Pasangusa apoopa kapitha jamboo phalam thilan venumapiswa hasthai,
Drutha sadasya tharuna arunabha paayath sayushmaan tharuno Ganesa.

Meaning:

May the young Lord Ganapati , who is carrying in His hands the noose, hook, rice-cake, guava fruit, rose apple, own (broken) tusk, bunch of corn ears and sugarcane and who vividly shines forth with His brilliant youthfulness, bless all.


Bhakta / Bhakti Ganapati:

Bhakta or Bhakti Ganapati form of Ganesha is the 3rd form of the Lord. It is the devotee form of Lord Ganesha. Shining like the full moon during harvest season and garlanded with flowers, Bhakti Ganapati is the dearest to devotees. It carries a very calm and soothing energy around it. He holds a banana, a mango, coconut and a bowl of sweet payasa pudding. He represents the Water element and is mostly worshipped on Sankashti Chathurti, Ganesha Jayanti, Durva Ganapati vrat or Putra Ganapati Vrata. Worshipping this form of Ganapati is believed to help in controlling temper, relax the mind, feel joy and remove obstacles.

Bhakta Ganapati Mantra is:

नालिकेराम्र कदली गुडपायस धारिणम्
शरच्चंद्राभ वपुषं भजे भक्तगणाधिपम्

Nalikeramra kadali gula payasa dharinam,
Sarthchandra bhava pusham , bhaje bhaktha ganapathim.

Meaning:

I worship Bhakta Ganapati , who is the Lord of His devotees and who shines like the autumn moon, with coconut, mango, plantain, jaggery and sweets in his hands.

Art of Living Wisdom, Yoga and Meditation.

When I think of Lord Ganesha, I see a very pleasing, fun looking, completeness harmless & innocent looking being, who is every child’s favourite for various reasons. I have been told he is the remover of obstacles, grants all wishes whispered in those elephant ears & auspicious for new beginnings. Little did I know that this mighty but cute elephant-headed God, is steeped in symbolism head to toe, inside out!

The essence of Ganesha is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankaracharya in this shloka;

अजं निर्विकल्पं निराकारमेकं निरानन्दमानंदमद्वैतपूर्णम् ।
परं निर्गुणं निर्विशेषं निरीशं परं ब्रह्मरूपं गणेशं भजेम ॥१॥

Ganesha (the Lord of all groups) is unborn, unchanging, formless, the one,
Beyond bliss and full of bliss, who is the fullness of non-duality,
The supreme, devoid of qualities, without differences, and beyond desire,
I worship Shri Ganesha, the Supreme Brahman personified.

The Birth

The story of Shri Ganesha’s birth states that he was created out of the dirt on Goddess Parvati’s body, to guard the home while she bathed and not allow passage to strangers. When Lord Shiva returns from an errand, he is forbidden entry to his own home by a strange little boy. Infuriated at being barred from entering His home, the Lord cut off the boy’s head. Devi Parvati is shocked and inconsolable when she discovers what the Lord had done to their own son. To alleviate her suffering, Lord Shiva commanded his troops to get the head of the first living being facing north, they come across. The first living being they chanced upon happened to be an elephant calf. And so the Lord placed the head of the calf on the boy’s body and restored life to him. Thus Lord Ganesha was created.

Devi Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies how celebrations, in the absence of knowledge, tend to develop ‘Rajasik’ tendencies like feverishness, greed or stress and take you away from your centre. Shiva, on the other had represents wisdom & balance. When feverishness dawns it obstructs or refuses to recognize wisdom. However, knowledge cannot stand ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off Ganesha’s head and replacing it with elephant head.

The Form

Lord Ganesha’s physical form is also very symbolic of the deep knowledge of the vedas. His elephant head is symbolic to wisdom & effortlessness. It represents the power of wisdom & his size represents the power of strength. His large ears indicate that he has gained wisdom through listening and reflecting on the eternal truths of the vedas. His head and trunk are curved into the shape of the Om, our most sacred of symbols, representing the primeval sound of creation and our most powerful mantra in prayer and meditation.

It is believed that, with his large ears, Lord Ganesh converts the language of sound (Nāda Bhaashaa) into the language of light (Prakaash Bhaashaa), so that prayers made by humans can be understood by Deities. His big ears pick up on the softest of prayers whispered by his devotees and hence is known to be the remover of obstacles.

Ganesha – means, ‘the lord of all energies (beings)’. Gana means group and a group cannot exist without a lord (Esha), a supreme energy which holds it together. The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha. Lord Ganesha’s huge belly represents generosity and total acceptance of all.

His single tusk represents one-pointedness or focus. The elephant’s trunk can perform both gross and subtle actions to perfection and hence Lord Ganesha’s trunk signifies the need for us to be able to develop our intellect, in both the gross or material world and also in the subtle or spiritual world.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed God has a small mouse as his vehicle.  Philosophically, the mouse is a connotation of the human mind. Our mind is always full of desires and is often selfish, just like the mouse. The mouse is depicted as an obstacle that we create by negative thoughts and ill feelings. Lord Ganesha seated on the mouse depicts the lord’s supremacy over all negativity of the little mind. The relation of Lord Ganesha and his mouse also symbolises the fact that when God does not discriminate between big and small, then who are we to be judgmental?

The four arms of Lord Ganesha depict his protective hand over his devotees. In His right hand he holds a hook or Ankusa and in His left hand he holds a noose or Paasa. These tools are used by elephant-trainers to tame wild elephants. Symbolically, the mind is like a wild elephant, in chaos, running helter-skelter. Praying to Lord Ganesha, will help calm their wandering mind and bring them onto the path of righteousness. Finally, the fourth hand holds a sweet modak which shows his eternal childlike nature.

Ganesha Chathurti

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. The occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi gives us, as spiritual aspirants, an opportunity to remember what Lord Ganesha stands for.

The 32 Forms of Ganesha

Impossible as it is to contain Him, ancient Sanskrit texts list thirty-two forms of Lord Ganesha that give us a glimpse of His manifold attribute. The Ganesha Purana describes the 32 forms of Lord Ganesha and among them, Mahaganapathi is widely worshiped. The first 16 forms of Ganesha are known by the name “Shodasa Ganapati” and the later ones are known as “Ekavimsathi”.

In the coming 11 days of prayer, meditation and celebration we shall know more about these forms, there significance and the shlokas that glorify their meaning.

Stay tuned for more blogs on the 32 forms of Ganesha coming up in the subsequent days.

Om Shri Ganeshaya Namah!

 

Anamika Khosla

Anamika Khosla is an Art of Living Teacher, a Cranio-sacral therapist, a Gourmet-Chef, a blogger & much more. Her blog is beyondname.blogspot.in.

 

Art of Living Wisdom, Gurus, Saints & Sages, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Long time ago, there was a magician in Tibet. He was so powerful that with a small guest urge of his hands, he could topple the mountains, huge trees , cause heavy rains and floods. He would set fire to the paddy fields and destroy the live stock.

 

 

The villagers were terrified of this magician. They would cut him out of fear. He was intoxicated with the power he could wield on the poor hapless villagers. One day he decided to get married. He got married and started a family. Once while crossing a river, his whole family drowned in the river. His eyes opened after that incident. He realized that the extent of the distraction he had caused devastated him. The death of his family opened his eyes. He was depressed and desolate. He could not set his mind on anything. He was overcome with remorse. But he was not able to control his emotional outbursts at his will. By the sheer force of habit, he would indulge in his heinous activities.

He fell at the feet of a saint and sought his help. The Saint consoled him and said” to realize one’s own mistake is a big step on the path to liberation. The main reason for the sorrow in this world is self centeredness. In reality, there is nothing like “I” . The thing that makes “I” work is the consciousness. This consciousness is present in everything and everywhere in the universe . The primary thing that is present in everyone is the consciousness. There is nothing other than that. Hence consider everyone as your own self since the same consciousness is present in everybody. Find your happiness in the happiness of others. There is a lot of potentials in the actions that you do. Be a pillar of support to the needy and helpless. Serve those who are in misery. Pluck the violence like a thorn and discard it sow the seabed of happiness and peace.

These words struck a chord in his mind. He understood that mere liberation from the action will not help. But only liberation from the mind will help.

People thronged to meet him , fell at his feet to take his blessings, not out of fear, but out of veneration.

This is a beautiful story. The hero of the story is “Milarepa” the sad guru of Tibet. He lived in a cave on the way to “Kailas Parvath” . He was a man of immense power. He would fly to the top of the Kailas Parvath at sunrise and come back at sunset. One day he left in the morning and did not come back in the evening. Even now The Tibetans believe that his spirit still lives there

 

 

As our beloved Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says””When you are deeply pained by something, the pain will rid you of that habit. If you are pained by your shortcomings, then you are a Sadhak – a seeker. Pain takes you out of addiction. If by your skill you could move your desires deeper within you towards the center of your existence, another dimension of everlasting pleasure , thrill, bliss and undying love will be yours. Lust, greed ,power and jealousy are powerful because they are nothing but energy and you are the source of it. – the pure electricity. With dedication and devotion maintain the purity of your electricity, moving you upward”

 

Jai Gurudev

Geeta Murthy

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom, Gurus, Saints & Sages, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yoga and Meditation.

It is Guru Purnima again. The most precious day for a devotee. Each Guru Purnima has been revealing a different facet of mine to myself leaving me in utter amazement! It has ranged from just celebrating the day with Sadhana, Seva and Satsang to understanding in depth the Guru Principle, experiencing the infinite vastness of our Master and slowly recognising the same within me, gratitude flowing out as grace and finally dissolving in love. The process of mellowing into ‘Somebody to Nobody to Everybody’ has been very humbling. The blissful journey continues.

 

 

Now, the baffling question. Where am I?! Frankly, the answer is ‘I don’t know!’ and I don’t care. I have been running to sit on the conveyor belt. Now that I am there, I have stopped running. I will reach home. I have nothing to do but RELAX. I just watch the world go by with amusement and wonder! The scenery has lost its power to affect the Seer to a great extent.

I watch Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji go through the nitty gritty of Maya world and I know He is putting Himself through it all to uplift humanity.

The story of Ekalavya shared by Gurudev recently elucidates the power and compassion of a Guru. Ekalavya, a low caste boy who was not qualified to get archery lessons from Dronacharya , keeps a stone idol of him as his Guru and practices the art of archery. He excels in the art to an extent that Arjuna becomes insecure. Arjuna wanted none else to exceed him in the proficiency of archery. Dronacharya, seemingly to please Arjuna, asks for Ekalavya’s thumb as Guru Dakshina knowing very well that he won’t be able to shoot arrows without his thumb. Ekalavya, without a moment’s hesitation cuts his thumb and offers to his Guru.

 

 

Can anything be more confusing than this relationship of Guru-Disciple? How can Dronacharya be so unjust, cruel and heartless? What right had he to ask for such a Guru Dakshina?

How can Ekalavya be so naïve as to offer his thumb and sacrifice his years of practice to a Guru who did not teach him with his physical presence?

These questions are natural to surface at the superficial level. A devotee who has experienced the unconditional love of a Guru will see beyond the event. In Puranas, Ekalavya has been accorded an elevated place as a disciple par excellence because of his unflinching faith in surrendering to his Guru’s command. In fact, his place is higher than that of Arjuna. It is understood he would have excelled Arjuna had he continued his practice of archery.

Let’s look at the compassion and skill in thought, words and action of the Guru, Dronacharya. Without disappointing Arjuna, has elevated Ekalavya to a place we look up to for ever. Dronacharya is seen as unjust, unreasonable and partial Guru. But, a Guru does not care about his reputation. All he wants is to uplift his devotee. Even when He does a seemingly unfair act, deep inside He has the best intention for His devotee. Difficult to digest but happens to be the truth.

Do I see glimpses of Dronacharya and several Ekalavyas on this path? Yes, I certainly do. Many a time, nothing makes sense but then if everything makes sense where is the element of wonder? Where is the element of faith?

Faith is beyond doubt. When the prana is low, it is natural to dwell in doubt. The scenery also pulls one towards doubt. Retracting senses, moving from the scenery to the Seer, doubts are removed and faith becomes steadfast.

Lord Hanuman, a perfect example of a devotee, puzzled even Lord Rama. He wondered ‘Why is Hanuman so devoted to me when I am not doing anything for him! In fact he is helping me out by doing extraordinary feats.’ ‘Show me what is inside your heart’ commands Rama, out of curiosity. Hanuman tears his chest apart and shows Rama who dwells in his heart. Rama sees himself and Sita residing in Hanuman’s heart. Hanuman says ‘It is the strength and power of chanting your name that enables me to do extraordinary feats’.

In Kannada, we have a Dasara Pada, (Song of a Saint) ‘Neenyako ninna hangyako, ninna namada bala ondiddare sako’, means, I do not need you or your obligation. I only depend on the power of chanting your name. Gurudev has said ‘Whenever you are in trouble, whisper my name and I will attend to you’. What more reassurance does one need? Wherever in the world He is, He is available to us in an instant! Inner technology! Log in to the power of devotee, Inner Net. . It will connect instantly.

‘Connection with the Guru is already there. Or else, we cannot even come anywhere near Gurumandala’- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

 

 

The moment we recognise the connection, we become part of our Guru. Just as Guru dwells in our heart, we too dwell in the heart of our Guru. He has already sung years ago ‘My home is in your heart and.. Your home is in my heart’. That’s why I am an Antevasi, an ‘In-dweller’ in my Master’s heart.

Leela Ramesh

Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

A rich man lost all his wealth in share market. Overcome with grief and fear, he lost his confidence and thought his life was not worth living. He was contemplating on committing suicide, but his good friends took him to a saint. He fell at the Saint’s feet and broke down while telling the guru about his misfortune.

 

 

The guru patiently listened  to his story and said, “Son, come out of your grief, remember the happy moments of your life, just like bad moments good moments are also part of your life, life’s happiness and sadness are like two sides of a coin. Now tell me about one happy incident in your life”.

 

The man stopped crying  and his face instantly showed some pleasure when he started narrating the happiest moment of his life. He said that the happiest moment of his childhood was when he learnt that he had topped the class in 10th standard exams.

 

Guruji asked him.”Is it so? Did you have all the money you have lost now at that time? “.  The man replied, “not at all”. My father was a school teacher. We led a simple life. We were happy and contented because the whole family stood together. “That was the happiest moment of my life”.

 

Guruji said, “Son,  the materialistic things that you think you have lost , were not there with you when you were a small boy, still you were happy.  This shows that the materials were not the cause for happiness. It is only the thought that you possess them made you happy. Just as you were happy when you were a school boy,  you could be happy now too. Because you have enough to survive. There are scores of people on this earth who don’t know if they would survive the next day. They are not even sure of one square meal every day, Or shelter.  Sometimes, a person might be having everything, but still unable to enjoy life. A happy and healthy man can lose his life in a mishap, life is unpredictable. So be happy when you have health.

 

“Life is testing you. You know how?  We plant a sapling, we add manure, we cut the unwanted branches besides the pain of going through this, the plants have to bear the stench of the manure yet the plants never complain and use these setbacks to their advantage by blossoming profusely and yielding fruits.

 

“A complete man is shown as sitting on lotus. “ You know why? Lotus plant grows in the slush but when it blooms, not even a single drop of slush sticks to the leaves or the beautiful flower.  “Trimming is necessary for the growth of a person remember happiness and sorrow are part of every life. Every drawback in your life is an opportunity for you to emerge stronger and successful.”

As our Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says “Keep your money in your pocket, not in your mind, because happiness does not depend on the money you have, it is only “the state of your mind”. He says “see life from a bigger perspective, success and failure are temporary. Everything will change. Even a most successful man is going to perish one day. Have faith in the supreme power and take life each moment as it comes..”

Jai Gurudev
Geeta Murthy

About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Projects, Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

An organisation should be like a picture frame. The frame shouldn’t eat away the picture.” In other words, just as it isn’t possible to hold a picture in the absence of a frame, without an organisation any work, whether spiritual or social, can’t happen. At the same time, if the organisation becomes too bureaucratic, it’s like the frame eating the picture.

 

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar words rings true as we watch the Art of Living volunteer based organisation grow by leaps and bounds. Knowledge, service and celebration …the three pillars of joy experienced by the chosen fortunate ones on this path know instinctively that picture spills out of the frame all the time! Knowledge is boundless.  So is service, that emanates from knowledge culminating in celebration.

God loves fun! He creates situations where in frame and the picture seems to be in conflict. As we realise there is no duality, it makes us steadfast in faith and gives conviction of our purpose.

 

 

As I watch the picture getting divided inside several frames to ease functionality, my vision refuses to lose the whole picture, the masterpiece with the caption ‘crime free and stress free society ‘ where there is a smile on every face. This is the grand picture that He is painting as an ongoing service. Frame, in other words the organisation is only a loose structure to contain the picture. If the frame is unable to it, the frame maker has missed the boat! As simple as that.

Gurudev mentioned in one of His talks that although He has created many positions in the organisation, there are many volunteers who are doing excellent service without any label, infact some, more than those holding positions.

When I came into the Art of Living about 2 decades ago and read about ‘ frame and the picture’ in a Knowledge Sheet, it was only bookish knowledge not yet a living reality at the experiential level. Today it is an experiential truth… volunteers who work without any selfish agenda for the good of others are found everywhere if we have eyes to see. These unsung heroes need not even belong to any NGO. They do well because they can’t help but do good.

 

 

These thoughts are stirred up in me after meeting an illiterate villager from Gadag, a district in Karnataka who had come to take Gurudev’s Darshan and blessings in Bangalore Ashram last week along with Gadag team. He has invented a wind mill and a spray device that can be used in a tractor or motor bike to water the fields and has several other brilliant ideas. He says he was invited by a reputed company in England to share his knowledge in return for whatever amount of money he quotes. He was also offered the services of an interpreter as he cannot speak any other language apart from his mother tongue.

The lure of money did not deter him from serving his mother land. He has stayed put here, patiently waiting for Gurudev’s grace and directives.

People, the good samaritans do not care for worldly riches. For them richness lies in caring and sharing. They know the value of a good contented sleep after doing a deed that benefits the larger society. Working for greater good is being rich. In Karnataka, India, we had a poet called D.V. Gundappa (DVG). He has composed a huge volume of poetry that holds universal truth and knowledge. When the society recognized the worth of his writings, they wanted to honour him with cash prize. But, DVG refused to accept on the stage saying he had no use for money. Not that he was reeling in luxury. He just had an elevated sense of greater good. He announced the same money to be used to print 1000 copies of his poetry and to distribute it free in schools. What a noble thought! He knew the value of imbibing knowledge and values in young minds.

Likewise, we find many examples of selfless service, the redeeming factor for a good society.

Picture is always bigger than the frame because the world is full of good people who do well.

If the frame cannot contain the ever burgeoning picture, the only thing to do is expand the frame! It is shortsightedness to think picture should fit into the customised frame. Frame can never be customised nor can picture ever be bound in that for long! The frame and the picture, both are made by our Gurudev and both are fluid. All that we can do is watch the phenomenon called Guru Principle in awe and wonder!!!

Smile and serve is the only mantra that works here in any given situation, never for an instant forgetting there is only One Doer!

 

 

 

I always remember that great quote which has been my favourite since I was young.

 

“For when that One Great Scorer comes, He asks not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game”.

 

Leela Ramesh

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sudarshan Kriya, Yoga and Meditation.

Existence has two aspects – the visible and the invisible; the gross and the subtle; or the tangible and intangible. Our body is concrete, it is visible; but our breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and the spirit is the invisible aspect of the same reality.

Contrary to popular belief, the invisible aspect of our existence is much bigger and powerful than the visible aspect. Usually we think that our mind is inside our body, however in reality the body is inside the mind. Mind is much bigger than the body. Mind is also much powerful than the body. The body can’t take a single step unless the mind tells it to do so. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says, “A strong mind can carry a weak body but a weak mind cannot even carry a strong body.”

It is the invisible aspect of our existence which governs the visible aspect. But ironically, the invisible aspect of our existence is the most neglected aspect. The root cause of all the human suffering can be traced, by one way or other, to this gross neglect of the subtle aspect of existence.

Sadhana is one way to take care of this invisible aspect of our life. Sadhana refers to the discipline of spiritual practices like yoga, pranayama, meditation, japa, chanting etc. undertaken to elevate and enliven the spirit inside. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says, ‘Sa’ means true and ‘Dhana’ means wealth. Sadhana is the real wealth, which nobody can take away from us.

Sadhana gives benefits on all levels of existence; physical, mental as well as spiritual. Sadhana enhances the process of evolution of individual consciousness. Consciousness evolves from animal to human and finally to the Divine consciousness.

Sage Patanjali says, “Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara sevito drudha bhumihi”. We can get firmly established in the Abhyaasa (practices), when we do our practices with regularity, without break, for a sufficiently long time and with honour and love (devotion).

Honour and love for the Self, for the technique and for the Guru accelerate progress on this path. Here, doing Sadhana as an expression of honour and love is the key. Respect helps us to maintain a one pointed focus, discipline and gratefulness. Love helps to maintain an unbroken connection with the Self, with the technique and with the Guru.

Gurudev says, “Repetition either leads to boredom or elevates you to perfection.” Our daily Sadhana is nothing but repetition. When the Sadhana is done mechanically as a routine job, it may lead us to boredom. However, when the same Sadhana is done with honour and love, it elevates us to perfection.

When Sadhana is done as an expression of honour and love, then there are no expectations from Sadhana (Achaah), no doer-ship (Akinchan) and a natural effortlessness (Aprayanthna).

The benefits of Sadhana increase manifold when we do our practices in a group. Scriptures say that, ‘Sanghe Shakti Kaliyuge’. In this age of Kaliyuga, if you are in a group, if you are united, that has more power than an individual. Thousands of years ago, the individual mind was very simple, focussed and full of faith. In present age, mind has become overloaded with information and concepts. Mind has become highly complex, stressed and divided. Individual mind has lost its original strength because its energy is dissipated multiple directions. However, when many minds join together in a group activity like Sadhana, the synergy produced benefits everyone.

 

 

Quantum Physics says that the whole world is made up of waves or vibrations. Individual mind or individual consciousness is also nothing but vibrating energy. When many individuals come together for some spiritual practice like meditation, chanting etc., it produces effect similar to ‘resonance effect’ in Physics. This helps in amplifying the effect of Sadhana for every individual in the group.

To have a better insight into the mechanics of ‘Group Sadhana’, let us understand the phenomenon of mob psychology.

Have you closely observed small kids in a play group? If couple of children start crying, it is very likely that the whole class starts crying.

Have you listened to any powerful speaker who is making some emotional appeal to a large mob? The mob simply gets carried away. The logical, intellectual part of the individual brain simply stops working and the mob blindly believes in the speakers appeal.

Have you ever ventured out on the roads where riots and arson is going on? If you have ventured out, you might have noticed that your mind also gets affected by the mob violence. You also want to throw a stone or burn down something, even if you are a law abiding citizen.

The above phenomenon of mob psychology can be used in a positive or in a negative way. It can be used to unite people or it can be used to spread hatred and violence.

During Group Sadhana, the phenomenon of mob psychology is used in most positive way to unite minds of people to spread peace and love.

 

 

 

 

In 1993, Maharaishi Mahesh Yogi effectively demonstrated the power of Group Sadhana. A two month study was conducted in Washington D.C. where up to 4000 Transcendental Meditation practitioners regularly practiced group meditation. It was observed that the violence crime rate in the city reduced by up to 23.3% during this period. This came to be known as Maharishi Effect. This experiment proved that Group Sadhana not only gives benefits to the individuals, but also spreads positive vibrations in the environment. It gives benefits to all the people in the vicinity.

When we practice our daily Sadhana individually, it is called as ‘Tapas’. When the same Sadhana  is done in a group, its benefits increase manifold and it is called as ‘Yagna’.

A ‘Yagna’ has three essential aspects:

  1. Deva Puja: Acknowledging and honouring the Divinity, honouring the subtle existence.
  2. Sangatikarana: Bringing everyone together, taking everyone along with you. Hastening the process of evolution by bringing together all elements and people in creation. Another meaning is bringing harmony among your different faculties like body, mind and the breath.
  3. Dana: Sharing and giving what one has been blessed with.

Group Sadhana has all the three aspects of a ‘Yagna’.

Deva Puja: Scriptures acknowledge that God or the Divine is omnipresent. So Divine is also present in every individual. Spiritual practices are nothing but acknowledging and honouring that Divinity inside.

Sangatikarana: In Group Sadhana, individual minds are united together. All minds vibrate in harmony. In a group, even if one person is doing Sadhana with total love and honour, this will influence the whole group. The whole group consciousness will get elevated to a higher level.

Dana: The benefits of Group Sadhana do not remain limited to the group but the whole subtle environment gets blessed. The prayer at the end of Group Sadhana is for the benefit of entire humanity.

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu, Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||  

Om, May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness.
May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer.

May there be peace on physical level, mental level and spiritual level!

 

Sanjay Sabnis