Ganesh And The Contest For Guardianship Of The Gunas, Myth And Legend

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“The Ganas approached Brahma with their problem, but he was unable to solve it, so he sought the help of Vishnu to persuade Lord Siva to appoint a new Ganapati (Leader of the Ganas). Lord Vishnu suggested that the Ganas select either of the two sons of Lord Siva as their Guardian: Kartikaya or the pot-bellied Lambodar, also known as Ganesha. In order to find out which of the two sons would be worthy of assuming the title of the Ganesha, the gods and subgods decided to hold a contest between the two. A day, time and site for holding the contest were decided.

On the appointed day, everybody came to watch the contest. Vishnu was appointed judge, and Lord Siva and Divine Mother Parvati were present, occupying the central seat. At the appointed time Vishnu announced the task to the audience and to the two brothers: they had to go all around the existing universe and come back to the starting point as soon as possible. The one who came back first would be appointed Ganesha, the patron of all the Ganas. After hearing the terms and conditions of the task, Kartikeya took his fast-flying peacock and flew off into space so as to travel the universe as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Ganesha remained seated on his rat and did not move. Lord Vishnu, seeing Ganesha making no effort, urged him to hurry up. At Vishnu’s constant insistence that he join the contest, Ganesha smiled and paid his homage first to his father and mother, then to the other gods and subgods, and finall took off on his rat. All the Gods and subgods were astonished when they saw that instead of heading for outer space, Ganesha simply rode around Siva and Parvati, his mother, who represents the primordial Prakriti, the cause of all existing phenomena. After thus circling Siva and Shakti, Ganesha came back to his starting point, bowed down to his parents and declared: ‘I have completed my task. I have gone all around the universe.’

‘It is not true.’ exclaimed the gods and lesser gods. ‘You did not go anywhere. You are lazy!’

Ganesha stood before Lord Vishnu with folded hands and said, ‘I know you understand what I have done, but to make everybody understand I will say this: I HAVE completed my task of going all around the universe, because this phenomenal world of names and forms is but an expression and manifestation of the Divine Mother and my Divine Father. They are the source of everything that exists. I have gone around the source, which is the Truth, the essence of all exsitence, all phenomena. I know this Samasara is an ocean of relative existence, that it is all illusory – and it makes no sense to leave the Truth behind and and go all around the illusion. My brother is still busy going around the illusory world of relative existence. When he reaches Truth, he will also reach the same Truth, which is the only Truth – all else is illusion, including you and me.’

This statement ignited a spark of true understanding in all the Ganas, who were astonished and delighted at its wisdom. Applauding his refined judgement and enlightening performance, they accepted the coarse-looking, pot-bellied Ganesha as their patron. As Vishnu was putting the mark of victory on the forehead of the elephant-headed Ganesha, Kartikeya came back sweating and breathing fast. He became angry and challenged the victory of Ganesha. The gods then told Kartikeya about the subtle sense and wisdom of Ganesha and said, ‘You went after matter, which is illusion; you went around the phenomenal world, which has a relative existence, and so you could not perceive the Truth directly.'”

– from TOOLS FOR TANTRA by Harish Johari ISBN 9780892810550

The Prostitute And The Monk – Myths And Legend

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A story from Indian mythology.

Long long ago, on the bank of a river, there lived a monk. Right across the street from him, lived a prostitute. The monk always hated the fact that he had to live next door to the prostitute. He took every opportunity to rebuke her about her profession. He would take every opportunity to show her what a horrible person she was. In his …mind, he always compared himself with her and took big pride in the fact that he was accruing so much good Karma compared to her.

The prostitute was a humble girl. She always respected the monk. She tried not to talk back when he was yelling at her. She felt bad about the choice of profession she made, but was not in a position to get out of it. She would always try to listen when the monk prayed, hoping that listening God’s name would help her wash off some of her sins.

The monk kept on his routine of massaging his own ego by comparing himself to the prostitute. Eventually he got so obsessed that he kept a jar with him and for every one person who visited prostitute, he dropped a pebble in the jar.

The prostitute kept her own routine. She was also watching what the monk was doing. She had a jar too. And every time the monk prayed, she put a pebble in the jar.

One day there was a big flood on the river. Both the monk and the prostitute were washed away and were dead. Upon their death, their souls stood in front of God of death.

To everyone’s surprise, the God of death ordered the prostitute to go to heaven and the monk to go to hell. The monk could not believe this. “What an injustice. You can still find a jar in my house. I have kept count of how many times this prostitute sinned. How can she go to the heaven? There must be some mistake.”

The prostitute also added humbly “I think the monk is right. I don’t deserve to go the heaven. But he does. I have a jar where I kept count of the number of times I heard his prayer. He prayed a lot. So I think he should go to heaven and I should go to hell.”

The God of death smiled and said “The judgement is correct. It does not matter what word is in your mouth. It matters only what is in your heart. The monk’s heart was filled with prostitute’s sins while he was saying his prayers. While the prostitute’s heart was filled with love of God while engaged in lifestyle of sins. The heart that has love of God goes to heaven and the heart that judges others and is filled with jealousy goes to hell.”

Giving and Receiving – Value Of Kindness

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“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”

~ Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

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The Tale:

Once upon a time it happened—where, then, was it? Yes, where indeed was it not? That is the correct beginning of a fairy tale,  and every myth must end with—”I once saw this; and if what happened in the spiritual world did not succumb to death, if it is not dead, it must still be alive to-day. Every story has a consequence.”

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The story of Psyche goes, she is fated to be married to a horrible monster. By day she lives in luxury in a glorious palace, and by night she shares her bed with an invisible bridegroom. All her wishes are granted as long as she does not seek to uncover her husband’s identity. When Psyche’s sisters come for a visit they are consumed with jealousy and give her bad advice. Their intentions are hateful and destructive. They convince her that her husband is a terrifying beast, that he will eventually consume her and that her only chance to save herself is to kill him.

Giving her an oil lamp and a dagger, they poison her mind against the one who, though invisible, has always been a gentle lover and a generous provider.

Once night comes and with it her unknown spouse, Psyche waits until he is asleep, takes up the oil lamp and the knife to kill him and to her shock finds a beautiful young man there, indeed the god of love himself. When a few drops of burning oil fall onto him, he wakes. As her punishment for doubting him, he flees from her and it is only after undergoing many arduous tasks for Cupid’s mother, Venus, that Psyche can finally redeem herself and be reunited with her husband. What began as a hostile gift from jealous donors ends happily with the gift of redemption and reunion. These are themes that have been repeated down through the centuries to our own times.

However, it is how we receive the gift that makes all the difference. As the tales remind us, we must approach mystery with respect, wait patiently for its gift, and accept with gratitude that which has been given. But we must also never forget to give thanks for our wits, whose sources lies somewhere between the domestic and the divine…

end on a quote:

“All you are unable to give, possesses you.”  ~ Andre Gide

~excerpted from Parabola Magazine. Theme:  Giving & Receiving.


In Search Of The Beloved – Myth and Legends

The myth of Cupid and Psyche is analogous to the story of Krishna and the Gopis.  We learn through the Krishna Myth, that he plays hide and seek with the gopis and no matter where they search for him, he cannot be found. They cannot see him. The gopis become afraid and almost mad for him. They cannot stop thinking of him and become absorbed in thought, thinking of the time they shared with Krishna in great love and affection. Also we read in the myth of Cupid and Psyche a similar situation occurs, where Cupid is invisible to Psyche. She yearns for her kind and gentle husband and finally finding her beloved, she drops hot wax on his shoulder because she is surprised by his great beauty. Best read the story for the full picture.


Cupid and Psyche

“Love and the Soul (for that is what Psyche means) had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; and that union could never be broken. (Cupid and Psyche)”
― Edith Hamilton, Mythology

Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. They were all beautiful, but by far the most beautiful was the youngest, Psyche. She was so beautiful that people began to neglect the worship of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Venus was very jealous, and asked her son Cupid (the boy with the arrows) to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible monster.

When he saw how beautiful she was, Cupid dropped the arrow meant for her and pricked himself, and fell in love with her. Despite her great beauty no-one wanted to marry Psyche. Her parents consulted an oracle, and were told that she was destined to marry a monster, and they were to take her to the top of a mountain and leave her there.

The west wind took her and wafted her away to a palace, where she was waited on by invisible servants. When night came her new husband visited her, and told her that he would always visit her by night and she must never try to see him. Although her invisible husband was kind and gentle with her, and the invisible servants attended to her every desire, Psyche grew homesick. She persuaded her husband to allow her sisters to visit her. When they saw how she lived they became very jealous and talked Psyche into peeking at her husband, saying that he was a monster who was fattening her up to be eaten and that her only chance of safety was to kill him. Psyche took a lamp and a knife, but when she saw her beautiful husband, Cupid, she was so surprised she dripped some hot wax onto his shoulder, waking him.

He took in the situation at a glance and immediately left Psyche and the magnificent palace she had been living in disappeared in a puff of smoke.Psyche roamed about looking for her husband, and eventually in desperation approached his mother, Venus. Still angry, the goddess set various tasks for Psyche, all of which she passed, with a bit of help from ants and river gods. At last Cupid found out what was going on, and he persuaded Jupiter to order Venus to stop her persecution of Psyche. Then they were married and lived happily ever after – and it really was ever after since Psyche was made a Goddess.The similarity to modern day fairy stories such as Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella is obvious.

– source. Bingley

photo source Top Left – Art.com