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A woman’s life is a music of many leaves. I have always loved being a woman. The word woman also contains man. Have you ever thought of it? Even I had not, till this moment. Wo  Man. Yes, we have the traits of both genders, perfectly balanced and utilized as the situation demands. Sthree shakti  has no measure to gauge. As Sri Sri says, all the important portfolios in God ‘s kingdom are given to women. Finance to goddess Lakshmi, education to Saraswathi and defence to Durga. Despite their powerful positions, the three goddesses exude gentleness, poise and beauty.

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A dialogue between Lord Shiva and Parvati after she takes Durga avatar and kills the demon Mahishasura comes to my mind. Mahishasura, a bane to the mankind is ordered to be slain by Devi Parvati  by none other than her husband, lord shiva. Parvati becomes pale at this assignment. Shiva asks why the otherwise cheerful Devi is dull and quiet. She shares her dilemma with her lord. “on one hand you order me to slay Mahishasura and on the other hand, the demon’ s wife, my staunch devotee , is praying to me to save her husband’s life. How do I decide what is the right thing to do?”

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Lord Shiva replied, “When there is a conflict between a situation and your emotions, you should always do what is ordained by dharma. The demon is a bane to the world. For the welfare of the world, you have to disregard your devotee’s prayers. That is your dharma” .Hearing this, Parvati relaxed completely. The next day she donned a fierce Durga avatar and takeing a lion as her vehicle, slayed demon Mahishasura with total conviction.

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After fulfilling her lord’ s bidding, Parvati entered her husband’ s premises with soft steps and an innocent smile! She catches Shiva staring at her with amusement and wonder. “what makes you stare at me like this my Lord? ” she asks  playfully. Shiva says “I can’t believe it Parvati. Just a while ago, you were fierce and dreadful and now you are feminine incarnated with no traces of fierceness. I am amazed!” .

Such is the power of a woman. In one of His talks, Sri Sri says, ” a woman should rebel against injustice. She should not take any nonsense lying down.At the same time , she should retain her delicate feminine qualities.”

Every woman has the inherent sense of the perfect balance between strength and fragility in their nature. That is what makes her beautiful inside out. That is what makes her a true woman of substance. That is what makes her evolve to perfection. Bring harmony into being.

Harmony is when you are in touch with your inner beauty. Rediscover your naturalness at the International Women’s Conference 2014!!! voicesofiwc
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Art of Living Wisdom.

The speech of Swami Vivekananda at Chicago conference on September 11th, in 1893 was only for 6 minutes consisting of 887 words but what he stirred up with that has been echoing across continents for 120 years and will continue to resonate for centuries to come.

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Indians rediscovering India

This short speech recreated an interest about India in the west for the 20th century. It also helped Indians discover Swami Vivekananda and through him Indians were able to discover themselves, the strength of their tradition, culture and the respect for their own spirituality. The awakening of Indians among the American intelligentsia had resonance back in his homeland in India.  This strength later paved the way for the Indian independence movement. In many a ways, 11th September is the day the Indians through Swami Vivekananda rediscovered their own strength.

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Harbinger of yoga and spirituality in the west

This speech also gave impetus to Indian yoga and spirituality. Today, yoga is a thriving industry in the west but its seeds were laid by Swami Vivekananda in the west.

Religious Tolerance

People today talk of religious tolerance. The seed of this idea of religious tolerance and the idea of religious tolerance was sown by Swami Vivekananda at this speech.

4 years in America

After this speech, Swami Vivekananda kept getting invitations to speak at different occasions and was compelled to stay on in America for 4 years. This momentous speech catapulted Swami Vivekananda, an unknown swami of the orient to become one of the most powerful thought providers.

A true prajapathi, a thought leader in every sense!

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Right from my childhood I was always fascinated by the elephant headed deity “Lord Ganesha”. Whenever I saw a Ganesha idol or picture, I would wonder why he has an elephant head? I found the story of birth of Lord Ganesha also very intriguing.

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The story goes like this – One time, Lord Shiva’s consort, Devi Parvati wanted to take a bath and there were no attendants around. So she created an idol of a boy out of mud and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Ma Parvati ordered little Ganesha to sit at the entrance of the house and not allow anyone inside.

Ganesha obediently followed his mother’s orders. After a while, Lord Shiva returned from outside and as he tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated. He told Ganesha who he was, and demanded Ganesha to let him go in. But Ganesha would not listen. Shiva lost his patience and fought a fierce battle with Ganesha in which he severed Ganesha’s head with his powerful Trishul (Trident) and flung it far away. When Parvati came out and saw her son’s lifeless body, she felt so enraged and insulted that she decided to destroy the entire Creation. Lord Shiva then attached an elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body and brought him back to life.

Art of living blog.significance of ganesha

Most stories in ‘Puranas’ are symbolic of a deep meaning. To understand the significance of this story we have to understand the meaning of different characters in this story.

Shiva indicates all-pervading pure consciousness, the substratum of this whole creation (Purusha). He is the most subtle layer of creation which is beyond time and space. He inexpressible. He is unknowable.

Parvati is ‘Shakti’ (Prakruti). Shiva is the un-manifest and Shakti is the manifest form of the same consciousness. The whole creation is a primordial dance of Shiva and Shakti.

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Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is the layer of consciousness in between Shiva and Shakti. Ganesha is sitting at the boundary between Prakruti and Purusha the manifest and un-manifest, the expressible and inexpressible, the knowable and unknowable, the gross and the subtle. Ganesha gives us knowledge and understanding.

He can be looked at as the beginning of everything. He is the beginning of the Subtle and beginning of the Gross. One can reach the divinity only through Ganesha. So Ganesh Puja’ has to be carried out at the beginning of every ‘Puja’. Ganesha encompasses all the contradictions in this creation. His vehicle is a ridiculously small, coward mouse at the same time he carries the head of a majestic and calm elephant.

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The story of birth of Ganesha is eternally happening in the creation. When Ganesha is having a small human head, he prevents the ‘Shiva-tatwa’ from meeting ‘Shakti’. The real meaning behind this is the small ego and concepts in our mind (mud) prevent us to experience the truth or divinity in its purest form. When the small ego is slain by the grace of divinity (Guru) then the driving force of existence itself vanishes. This may lead to dropping of the physical body. For the world to go on, it is necessary to replace the small ego by big (all encompassing) ego. This is indicated in the story by replacing the small human head by big elephant head. . This is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ consciousness.

art of living blog.ganesha.aham bramhasmi

‘Aham Brahmasmi’ consciousness is the benevolent consciousness. With this the human beings seek the good of every one. Life becomes dedicated to service of others. Divinity dawns in life. Life merges with its goal!

Written by: Sanjay Sabnis