In the Indian state of Maharashtra, a tīrth yātra (pilgrimage) to visit eight ancient temples to Gaṇeśa (Aśṭa Vināyak) is mentioned in the puranas and considered very sacred. These eight temples, each with exquisitely beautiful Gaṇeśa murtīs, are in tiny villages, scattered around the mountainous terrain between Mumbai and Pune. After much procrastination, last February we were called on this short, beautiful and spiritually uplifting tīrth yātrā. [Read more...]
Shree guru charan saroj raj, nija manu mukuru sudhari |
Baranau raghubar bimal jasu, jo dayak phal chaari ||
With the mirror of the mind, cleansed by the dust of the lotus feet of my Guru;
(listen) to the unblemished glory of Hanuman, exalted one of the Raghu dynasty, who can bestow the four fruits (dharma, artha, kaama and moksha)
Wishing you all a wonderful Hanuman Jayanti!
Wishing you all a Wonderful Dassara.
The GSB Wadala Muth Ganapati holds some of my fondest memories of sarvajanik (public) Ganapati. At 8 ft, it is not the largest of the Ganapatis, but certainly one of the most artistically excuted and ‘constant.’ Even though the artisans craft a new murthy from clay each year, this murthy has not changed one bit over the last three decades. The size is limited by the doorway to the hall where this Ganapati sits. The GSB Seva Mandal Ganapati contrarily, is built on and sits on a trolley which is covered under a huge outdoor tent. On visarjan day, the stage is dismantled and the trolley with the Ganapati is pulled out. The Wadala Ganapati is wheeled/carried out of the hall, placed on a trailer and taken to Shivaji Park for immersion.
The GSB Seva Mandal is one of the largest Sarvajanik (public) Ganapati celebrations in Mumbai. The murthy is 14 ft tall and all pujas ( devotional services) are performed in Sanskrit following traditions prescribed in ancient scriptures. See pics from our 2009 visit here.
In an ancient stone portico (bhojan mandap) outside the Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu, Nepal), several sanyasinis (female monks) were resting and enjoying meals. Here donors arrange free meals for monks and the needy. Loved the colors.
Jai Hanuman Gyan Guna Sagar
Jai Kapis Tihun Lok Ujaagar
Glory to Hanuman
Limitless ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Glory to leader of primates
Whose fame lights the three worlds
In the New Year!
May the gracious Hanuman guide you
To overcome weakness, and
Use your strength to serve the Divine!
Meera, M & A
Hanuman murthy from the Chinmaya Mission, Andover, MA
Our Bharat trips are planned around visits to popular temples. Meera too loves temples and has figured out what is required, and promptly removes her sandals on entering. She gazes at the murthy in awe, speaks in hushed tones and respectfully bows. She delightfully receives the aarti, looks forward to prasad and asks me for money to place in the Hundi (donation box). She is fascinated by the different animals and birds carved in relief, painted on murals or on calendars inside, and points to each of them. As she leaves, she even turns back for a last glance. Meera’s fascination with temples makes it easy for us to visit our favorite temples.
On this joyous Diwali,
Wishing you and all your loved ones
God’s amazing grace.
Coz, with it comes
Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra tarakam
nema vidhyuto bhanti kutoyamagnihi |
tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati ||
Sun cannot illumine him, nor the moon, nor the stars
Lightning cannot, much less this little flame I wave |
Verily, when he shines everything is illuminated
By his light alone all of us shine ||
~ Kathopanishad II v 15