A GANESH MEDITATION ON KINDNESS
You may have noticed my prayer to Ganesh (the elephant-headed Hindu Deity) in the sidebar. He is one of my favorite Deities. There's a week-long festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, every year in his honor, I gather usually the first week in September. I celebrated it in 2006 for the first time, setting up an altar dedicated just for Him. (Altars to various Deities tend to spring up around my apartment rather readily. Some remain, waxing and waning over the years, others exist only for a certain time and then are gone.)
Traditionally during the festival, Ganesh is given flowers, sweets, and valuables. Every morning after lighting the candles, I said my prayer to him, gave him a flower and a sweet, then sat quietly and gazed at the altar. Every evening at sunset I lit the candles, added another coin to the little gold bag on His altar, said a traditional prayer to Him, and stood in gratitude before the beauty of the altar.
One day of this festival as I stood quietly after the evening prayer and gift giving, I had these following thoughts:
August 28 to September 3
Thoughts after evening prayer on August 30, 2006
Kindness is not something we earn or deserve, it is a need. We are all imperfect. We are all broken, whether we are conscious of our wounds or not. In this respect, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers: we all need to give and receive kindness.
Kindness is the purest gift we have to offer ourselves and each other. There’s little we can effectively give to others and to ourselves other than kindness, in thought, in word, in deed.
Kindness is limitless yet until we can tap into it for ourselves, we cannot truly give it to others. And the less kindness we give, the less we are able to give -- to others, to ourselves.
We do not have a personal supply of kindness that waxes and wanes, fills and empties. There is only one source, one well of kindness into which we all can tap. A limitless well, beyond our full comprehension. A profound well whose only purpose is to be tapped. It makes no demand or judgments of us and has no needs of its own. It is and it awaits our opening to it. Kindness: waiting, resonating, here, now, always.
The reference to broken comes from the fact that one of Ganesh's tusks is broken. It is said He was acting as Shiva's scribe and when His pen no longer worked, He broke off one of His tusks to use as a pen. And, at least to my admittedly not extensive knowledge of Ganesh, He is known for His kindness, among so much else.
Traditionally in India, at the end of the festival the temple Ganesh statue is taken down to a body of water and submerged, with much wailing and mourning. My feeling is this represents a return of Ganesh to our collective unconscious, where He's always been. So at the end of the festival week I submerged one of my small Ganesh statues in water, dried Him off, put Him back on the altar, and covered the entire altar in a purple cloth. All the while thanking Him for His presence that week. I left the altar as it was for quite some time, then dismantled it. (I.e, returned the flowers, stones, gems, various Ganesh pictures and statues, etc. to the altars from which they originally had been borrowed.)
I'll close with a "found Ganesh." Years ago I worked across the street from Macy's Department Store in Manhattan, New York City. It was the Holiday Season and I just happened (for some long forgotten reason) to have a camera with me with one picture left on the roll. And this is what I stood in front of in awe and delight:
It may be hard to discern, but it's Ganesh as Santa Claus, sitting in a high-backed chair! His right arm is raised, there's a little animal/elf on His left shoulder, and His left hand is on His left knee. To be true, a traditional Ganesh would have four arms, but Deities appear in many different guises, times and places.
May the gifts of Ganesh be apparent in all our lives, in whatever form we need them. And may we remember to gift ourselves and others from the well of kindness that only waits for us to tap it.
Resource: Ganesh on Wikipedia.
‘til next time, keep dreaming,
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.