Are you ready to honor Ganesh and the Divine Mother?

A few days ago, I was tempted to post Eddie Stern’s latest blog update. I resisted because it was this:

Way Behind

by ayny Posted on August 25, 2012

I am so far behind on my posts, I don’t even know where to begin.Maybe I’ll wait till tomorrow…

Now there’s something a bit more worth your notice, especially if you are in or around the New York area:

The Ganesh Festival at the Broome Street Temple is just around the corner. From Eddie’s post (and the Temple’s email):

September begins the festival season at the Broome Street Temple, starting with Ganesh Chaturthi from September 15th to 19th.  During the fall season the days shorten, and we naturally become more quiet, inward and reflective. Ganesh, with his small eyes and trunk of discrimination, symbolizes our reflective nature, and removes the obstacles that cloud our consciousness that prevent our inward journey towards Self-knowledge. He is therefore also regarded as the bestower of the wisdom that accompanies inner reflection.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that after her two weeks training with Tim Miller, Bobbie’s going to embrace Ganesh Chaturthi more fully than ever this year. She has a whole series of Ganesh mantras that Eddie sent her, so she is prepared.

In addition at the Broome Street Temple (and everywhere), there’s also Devi Navaratri, honoring the Divine Mother, and then Deepavali, the festival of lights.

Via AYNY, Abhayankara Maha Ganapati, installed by Guruji, September 26th, 2001

Here’s what I really want to pass on, though, and apologies for plain old taking so much of AYNY’s post, but this is good, good stuff:

There are three levels that all of these festivals, and all spiritual practices, address: personal, elemental and collective.

* On the personal level, we devote ourselves to internal purification, clarification of our intentions, and intensify our spiritual practices;

* On the elemental level, we see that we are an intricately woven part of the natural world, and therefore strive to respect and care for nature and our planet;

* On a collective level, we strengthen our understanding that at our core we are one, unified field of consciousness, and through mantra, ritual, yoga and other practices, seek to move beyond differences to a state of wholeness, compassion and understanding.

When we chant ‘Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi’ at the end of our prayers, we are acknowledging these three levels.

That strikes me as a concise and precise reminder of the “goal” (if you will) of our yoga practices. As one who struggles with how my yoga practice is supposed to affect my existence in the world (should you be political, do you need to “get off your mat and into the world,” etc.), this is a clear way of thinking about how I should approach the larger world that’s greater than my sense of I.

I’ll also note this: “Our special additions to the schedule this year include Veda chanting and arati on Pier 40 at the Hudson River to inaugurate the festival on Saturday the 15th, from 4-6 pm, and the Ganesh Utsav procession on Wednesday the 19th, at 6 pm.” And a final note, these festivities do shut down AYNY, so if you were planning to visit and practice, check out the AYNY web page for more details.

At the Confluence next year, we all obviously have to process across the street and down the beach to the Pacific during the opening ceremony, right?

One final, final note: I see at Yoga Workshop that applications for the 2013 month-long intensive with Richard Freeman will be available Monday, Nov. 26.

Posted by Steve

Timji on Deepavali, King Bali and when Mysore gets loud

I was expecting a good Tuesday with Timji this week, and I’d say Tim Miller delivered:

It is a time when we are more prone to “Vata Derangement”—a disturbance of the vital winds of the body, which could result in gastric distress, flatulence, or constipation.


October 26th also marks the beginning of Deepavali—the five-day “festival of lights” which is celebrated in India and other parts of the world where there are significant Indian populations. In different parts of India, Deepavali (often shortened to Divali) takes different forms—the common theme being the celebration of the forces of light over the forces of darkness.


One of the stories associated with Divali involves King Bali, who was an Asura (demon), son of Devambha and Virochana and grandson of Prahlada, who was his Guru. Prahlada instilled in Bali a sense of righteousness and devotion, and his reign was characterized by peace and prosperity. Eventually he succumbed to the desire for power and defeated Indra and the Devas and became the ruler of Earth, the Heavens, and the Underworld.


The second day of Divali is known as Balipadyami. This is the day that King Bali is remembered and worshipped. In Mysore this has come to be called the firecracker festival.

You’ll have to swing on over to Tim’s blog to find out what the firecracker festival foretells.

Posted by Steve