Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ganpati Pandal Hopping, Mumbai: 10 lessons I learn from Ganesha!

Come Ganesh Chaturthi and suddenly Ganesha, the elephant headed God is everywhere - in pandals (canopied tents), stories, rituals, practices, symbols, sweets, social media, friendly neighborhood chats - I mean, literally everywhere! It's also a time when everyone gets busy hopping the innumerable pandals that have been artistically put together bang in the middle of the the street! there's the music, the modaks and of course the arti-puja routine that everyone loves to be a part of. But amid all this Ganpati pandal hopping frenzy, there is more than meets the eye. Dig deeper, crane your neck and put on your spiritual glasses, you see a crackle of light that He wants you to see and hear a faint voice that He wants you to hear.

Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, decorated with lights, flowers and coconuts during Ganesh Chaturthi aarti

So unlike previous years where we took delight in His physical beauty alone, this year let's pandal hop with a difference. Let's be an obedient student this time and try to enrich our lives with the simple lessons He wants us to learn. Let's hear it out from the man of the moment - Ganesha Himself!

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His gaze is striking – small, petite eyes, never wavering, looking in a straight clear direction, always ahead.

Ganesha says --> Stay focused.

Ganesha at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
My eyes are my favorite part of me. Not for how they look, but how they see. ~ Chris Sebastian
Lesson # 1: No matter what the obstacles in life, they should never cloud our vision, and the aims should never dwindle, those hopes that harness our dreams should never die.

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If you ever want to open your heart out – He is the one. His ears are enormous and that, for a good reason.

Ganesha says --> Keep ears open to the realities of life
and listen to your inner voice.

Ganpati with Ashtavinayaka theme at Mumbai Ganesh Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi
Don't think or judge, just listen. ~ Sarah Dessen
Lesson # 2: Our world is full of varying opinions that many a times force us to see things from a different perspective. Listening makes us humble in a way that we develop the ability to accept cases put forward by others which entails discarding the case we put forward in the first place. Similarly, the inner voice that resides within each of us, telling us, at every step of our lives, what to do, what not to do, how to and when to do becomes all the more audible – all we need to do is listen carefully and experience the things that are being expressed. And then, when we start to listen, we can truly change the world.

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His head is huge; He is a patron of learning and wisdom and is often seen holding a feather pen in His hand.

Ganesha says --> The sky of spirituality has no limits,
flap your wings of wisdom and see yourself rise in a blissful flight!

Mumbai Ganesh Pandal Hopping, decorated with lights, flowers and coconuts
I am still learning ~ Michaelangelo
Lesson # 3: Always keep an open mind and look out for ways to expand your mental horizon. Stepping out of the comforts and embracing the changes with renewed enthusiasm enables life to churn out the best which we truly deserve. When we start looking at life like a lesson, stress walks out making room for wisdom which we gain through experiences. This wisdom acts as the gateway to inner peace and spiritual expansion. 

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His trunk is powerful, He has a big mouth but He keeps it curled – perhaps, He believes in speaking less and is an introvert!

Ganesha says --> Silence is golden.

A large Ganesha at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation ~ Rumi
Lesson # 4: When was the last time you scrapped off a piece of time and had it for you to restore yourself spiritually, mentally, physically? Scriptures say where words end truth begins... Even Gautam Buddha had kept a vow of silence for a complete week before He attained enlightenment on the full moon day. The society is bound in a stereotype and many a times people who speak less may be labeled as introverts, even dumb. Truth is, this society has never been exposed to the immense power in the sound of silence which is both healing and enlightening. Silence is a form of meditation where our frequencies of mind, body and heart automatically tune with the frequency of our soul.

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What do we do when our pens stop writing? We go to the market and get a new one, right? Well, He decided better. Without giving it any second thoughts, He broke off one of His tusks to continue uninterrupted writing of the epic Text Mahabharta.

Ganesha says --> Root out the selfishness and blossom in selflessness.

Cute Ganesha with a durva at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. ~St. Francis
Lesson # 5: The kernel of wheat has to die and fall to the ground before it can grow again into many seeds. Mother Teresa was a bright example of selflessness. By dedicating her entire life to the service of the needy, she chose to become an selfless instrument in the hands of God. Live your life to give – love, peace, happiness – not to receive, free yourself of all selfishness and fill yourself of selflessness so then we can work as a humble servant to uplift, care, share and love all our brothers and sisters in the world.

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He Has 4 hands, one of them holds a weapon – the axe.

Ganesha says --> Detach – Karm kiyeja phal ki chinta mat kar.
(Act on, without attachment to the result)

Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, decorated with flowers and coconuts
The root of suffering is attachment ~ The Buddha
Lesson # 6: Life is in continuous motion; each day we are striving hard to earn money, name, fame, recognition, approval, etc. In doing so, it becomes easy to get attached to the outcome. Failure leaves us depressed while success brings us joy. Gandhiji had once said, My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet. The key here is to find a balance and cut ourselves from the result while living in the moment and doing our karmaDevelop this habit of surrendering all your possessions and expectations, whatever they may be, release control, and allow life to gift all that it wants to. See what happens.

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He rides on a mouse – for a demeanor as gigantic as His, the mouse comes across as tiny and feeble but it really doesn't matter, He is proud of Him - the mouse is His most faithful follower.

Ganesha says --> Resources are never less or low – All power lies in you!
You have it in YOU!

Ganesha and His vehicle Mouse at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
If you think you're too small to be effective,
you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Betty Reese
Lesson # 7: How often have we complained of life not offering us enough to soar high and achieve our goals? A mouse riding Ganesha tells us – Don’t! The deeper layer of His answer can be found in one of His stories itself.

Once His parents, Lord Shiva and Parvati, threw a world tour challenge to Him and His brother Kartikeya with the clause that whoever finishes it first shall be adjudged as the winner. Next moment, Kartikeya with His swift vehicle peacock had already set out. Ganesha knew the challenge was tough for Him and with His mouse; He would never be able to win this one. But, instead of fretting over and crying and cribbing, He got thinking. Soon enough, He was struck with a solution and was on the way. He circumambulated His parents 3 times over saying that parents mean the world for Him and His world tour was complete!

Success or winning is never about resources but about us. We are powerful souls and if we concentrate on the solution rather than the problem, there is nothing in the world that we can’t achieve!

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He LOVES modaks, He has a big sweet tooth and loves to indulge in the sweetness of life.

Ganesha says --> Uncover your sweet side and take delight in the natural sweetness of the world.

Ganesha with a Modak at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Live in this world as a traveler, and leave behind you every sweet memory. ~ Imam Ali
Lesson # 8: We are attracted to anything that is naturally sweet because that gives us delight. Pleasant words, gentle manners, a bright smile are like honey - sweet for the soul and beauty for the environment we inhabit. Sweetness is inherent in our innate nature – that’s how we were born, that’s how we were meant to graduate. Just like honey. Do we ever wonder why honey is so sweet. No. Because, sweetness is its basic nature!

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The cup of His hand is always open, brimming with love and blessings and once we bow beneath, out flow the fortunes in our lives.

Ganesha says --> Trust Me, all your obstacles shall be removed.

Ganesha and His blessing at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
The odds may be against you and obstacles may be in front of you,
but have faith and know that God will guide you ~ Unknown
Lesson # 9: All obstacles, whatever they may be, shall be rooted out by worshiping Ganesh, assures an ancient Hindu scripture. Today, following the same assurance anyone beginning a new undertaking worship and often invoke the elephant God Ganesh’s name at the start of their projects. He is the God of the common people, and this He affirms by descending on the earth for 11 days during His birthday, sitting and celebrating as one amongst us. People relate to Him easily, take Him to be a true friend… a friend who is approachable, a friend who is affable and a friend who can be trusted to come to aid in times of need.

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His love for food does not end in modaks! His pot belly stands testament - He is a BIG foodie!

Ganesha says --> Large stomach – Savor all that life serves out to you.

A big idol of Ganesha at Mumbai Ganpati Pandal Hopping, during Ganesh Chaturthi festival
When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is,
remember the teacher is always quiet during a test. ~ Unknown
Lesson # 10: Like a wheel in motion, life is constantly rolling. No two days are exactly same. Like the changing seasons, life changes according to the people we meet and situations we face. Sometimes these situations make us happy bringing the best out of us, at other times it makes us sad pushing us on a back foot. Ganesha says – Accept all with a smile. Everything happens for a reason and the questions life poses at us sometimes have their answers nowhere else but in the very experiences we are going through. Savor them.

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These were my lessons.
What about you? Do you learn anything from Ganesha too?

|| Ganpati Bappa Morya ||



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21 comments:

  1. The pictures of your Ganesha are very lovely. All that Ganesha is saying are really truth. I like that "all power lies in you." It makes us positive. The one that I'm interested in is "silence is gold". We have the same proverb ,"沈黙は金”in Japanese. It's like Japanese but it's a wise saying for Indian,isn't it.
    Have a nice day!

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  2. Wonderful post. I just kept seeing all the Ganesha pictures, all of them are so majestic. :)

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  3. Hey Arti, Wonderful Insight! I'm indebted for this new way of looking at Ganesha :)

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  4. Good Photo collection and nice lessons

    thanks

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  5. He is divine in every form. I love this festival.

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  6. Yes, my learning is be perfection is an attitude and is inside you not in the way you look outwards.

    Wonderful pictures! Festive season is on!

    Thanks for the learnings!

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  7. Arti, Great to read your post, wonderful and thanks for beautiful photos.
    Ganpati Bappa Morya _()_
    Thanks ~ da

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  8. Very powerful post with lucid narrative and pictures! Lord Ganesha truly portrays the wisdom! Thanks Arti!

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  9. Well you have covered a lot in this post, there is a lot to Ganapati we can learn from besides just celebrating it as a festival. Ganesha inspires all of us to do better and be better.

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  10. Awesome lessons with super images, Arti!
    Ganesha teaches us a lot.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for the virtual tour of so many Ganapathis Arti.

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  12. Very wise lessons, Lord Ganesha indeed portrays the wisdom. Lovely photos as well.

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  13. Hi Arti,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and I enjoyed seeing the photos and reading all of the life's lessons.
    enjoy your weekend
    Carolyn

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  14. Great lessons! I totally agree with staying focused and concentrated. It's crucial for my health!

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  15. I remember your earlier posts about this festival and it was very good to learn more in depth about this Divinity. Such beautiful pictures.

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  16. Very smart post with the learnings from Ganesha :). And very beautifully compiled, adds that essence to a festival :)

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  17. Great post -- loved the one about spirituality.

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  18. I am impressed with great lessons you got from Ganesha! I also believe "everything happens for a reason and the questions life poses at us sometimes have their answers nowhere else but in the very experiences we are going through". The great existence is inside all of us to guide us.
    Thank you for your great message, Arti!

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  19. Such a long article!
    Great right up. Sorry couldn't read it completely (lack of time :()
    Will do one thing follow your blog more such articles.

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  20. A great post - learning and beyond all packed together! I am yet to learn a lot of lessons in life, some from here too.

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