Ganesha Puja

I’m always seeking varying ways of worship. These days, my focus is either The Mother or Ganesha. Worship, within the context of Maa and Ganesha, is particularly interesting to me. Their worship runs the entire gamut from piling up some rice and saying a simple prayer to hours-long pujas and homams. Ganesha is known for being the most approachable of all Hindu conceptions of the divine and also the most easily “appeased.” As such, I’ve never understood why Ganesha isn’t the go-to god of bhaktas.

Included below is a video of a mid-grade Ganesha puja. All basics aside, the only other thing someone would benefit from before attempting this exact puja is a little familiarity with Sanskrit religious words. For ease, everything spoken during this puja is put into text on the screen.

Interestingly, about forty seconds into the video a handful or two of vaishnav epithets are employed, followed by a number of more encompassing prayers and mantras – further proof of Ganesha’s status as THE unifying God of the Hindus. He’s also the only god consistently referred to as a manifestation of Om/Aum, which itself is non-different from Shabda Brahman (the most subtle expression of Brahman possessing any form at all, only one step away from Nirguna Brahman.)

At any rate, I’m sharing this for your education and mine and because of the puja’s simplicty. Watch the video, and enjoy it.

Om Shanti


For the Love of God

I was very glad to have the weekend away from the spa. I’m finding lately, and since about last fall, I seem to require more and more “down time.” I have no idea what’s up with that, but whatever. I slept in today and then started a few new posts for Sthapati. Eventually my beloved awoke and we found ourselves setting out from home on a mission. I needed a picture frame.

I have a photographic rendering of my ishtadevata that I grabbed up quite inexpensively at a sale at my temple once, over a year ago. It’s not an orthodox image of Him, and in fact has a spotted and even debatable history. Nonetheless, it’s a depiction I’ve been able to appreciate and have even been drawn to in theory. Conveniently enough, the image is somewhat three-dimensional and also comes with a brass plate on the back upon which has been inscribed Ganesha’s yantra/mandala. These characteristics, however, make finding a suitable and well-fitting frame nearly impossible. This has proven frustrating for me. I have plans for this item and wanted it inside a frame with glass to protect it. The tricky part is that since I’ve moved my Ganesha murti into His fancier and more spacious abode (the new mandir is all kinds of fancy, but not nearly as photogenic), I planned to devote some of that space to holding this questionable but endearing other image, meaning that the framing needs to do its job but still cannot be too bulky. Below is a photo of the new digs for my murtis that I pulled from online, followed by one from my cameraphone of the real thing in my puja room…



The result of my search is that I ended up paying $100 to have the thing professionally framed. I sure didn’t plan to do that. I sure didn’t have the $100 when I paid it, either.

But then, interestingly, I found myself aware of some craziness internally. I know, I know – what’s new there, right? Here’s a glimpse of the weather in my brain while I was at the checkout counter:

Initially, I was like, “whoa – you’re going to charge me $100 for THIS little thing to be framed?” And then almost as instantaneously a thought that is very much unlike me ran into the room with, “Anything for God! $100 is nothing! This will be a great chance for you to express a bit of bhakti. Do it and surely Ganesha will bless.” And while my rational and devotional sides duked it out, something rather sly crept in. Something from another framing experience earlier this year came back to me… In January the same framing place (which is actually pretty much the cheapest around) robbed me when I had two He-Man posters framed for my beloved’s birthday. After giving them more than a couple hundred dollars for two piddly posters in simple black wood framing, they actually confiscated the posters and retained them during the framing process – I received a call two weeks later telling me they were ready.

Suddenly, and quietly although not peacefully, I realized the same was about to happen with my prized Ganesha image. Oh the turmoil! I so hated the feeling of parting with that thing! I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the whole experience began the formation of a lump in my throat. I seriously considered requesting to hang on to it and just leave them with the dimensions required for the framing. I’m sure they would have obliged, but I withheld my request and instead forced myself to face an attachment I wasn’t aware has become so strong.

I can’t imagine an instance in which I’d ever need to take my mandir’s mahamurti anywhere to be worked on – in fact, the very idea is ridiculous – but you can be sure I’d be camping out in some store’s back room until said work was done. Why? Because, often, I’m also ridiculous.

Om Shanti