Each day a tray of sweets, fruits and incense is offered to Lord Ganapati, often prepared and presented by the children. Chants, songs and bhajanas are sung in His praise. After puja, the abundant, diverse sweets are shared by one and all as prasada. Each day gifts are given to the children, who place them before Pancha Ganapati to open only on the fifth day. Gifts need not be extravagent or expensive; they should be within the means of each family. Handmade presents are by far the most precious. Ganesha does not want gift-giving to promote Western commercialism but to further the great Hindu culture. Clearly, killer games should never be given. Greeting cards, ideally made by the children, offer Hindu art and wisdom, such as verses from the Vedas. Now let me explain how the five-day celebration is observed.
December 21, yellow: The family sadhana for the first day of Pancha Ganapati is to create a vibration of love and harmony among immediate family members. The day begins early, and the entire family works together to design and decorate the shrine with traditional symbols, rangoli, lamps and more. Then a grand puja is performed invoking the spirit of Pancha Ganapati in the home. The sadhana of the day now begins. The family sits together for the purpose of easing any strained relationships that have arisen during the year. They make amends one with another for misdeeds performed, insults given, mental pain and injuries caused and suffered. When forgiveness is offered to all by one and all, they speak of each other’s good qualities and resolve that in the days ahead they will remember the futility of trying to change others and the practicality of changing one’s self to be the silent example for all to witness. Gifts are then exchanged and placed unopened before Pancha Ganapati. As family harmony is important to all Hindus, this sadhana must be taken very, very seriously.
December 22, blue: Day two is devoted to creating a vibration of love and harmony among neighbors, relatives and close friends and presenting them with heartfelt gifts. The sadhana of the day is to offer apologies and clear up any misunderstandings that exist. Relatives and friends in far-off places are written to or called, forgiveness is sought, apologies made and tensions released. Gifts received are placed unopened before Pancha Ganapati.
December 23, red: The sadhana for the third day is to create a vibration of love and harmony among business associates, the casual merchant and the public at large. This is the day for presenting gifts to fellow workers and customers and to honor employers and employees with gifts and appreciation. The sadhana today is the settling of all debts and disputes. Gifts received are placed unopened before the Deity.
December 24, green: The sadhana of day four is to draw forth the vibration of joy and harmony that comes from music, art, drama and the dance. Family, relatives and friends gather for satsang to share and enjoy their artistic gifts. Then all sit together before Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture, discussing Hindu Dharma and making plans to bring more cultural refinements into the home. More gifts are placed before Pancha Ganapati.
December 25, orange: The family sadhana for the final day is to bring forth love and harmony within all three worlds. Because of sadhanas well performed during the first four days, the family is now more open and aware of Ganesha’s grace, and their love for Him is now overflowing. On this day the entire family experiences an outpouring of love and tranquility from the great God Himself. His blessings fill the home and the hearts of everyone within it, inspiring them anew for the coming year.
Today marks the beginning of the Moksha Ritau. Following the morning meditation, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami led the monks and local members out to the flagpole to raise the coral-pink flag of this new season. The group paraded through the bright cool morning. No clouds or obstructions to be seen in the glorious new sky.
From The Saiva Dharma Shastras:
Beginning with Hindu New Year in mid-April, three seasons of the year divide our activities into three great needs of humankind--the learning of scripture in the first season, Nartana Ritau; the living of culture in the second season, Jivana Ritau; and the meditating on Siva in the third season, Moksha Ritau. Thus we are constantly reminded that our life is Siva's life and our path to Him is through study, sadhana and realization. In ritau one, we teach the philosophy; in ritau two, we teach the culture; and in ritau three, we teach meditation.
The third period of the year, Moksha Ritau, the cool season, is from mid-December to mid-April. It is the season of dissolution. The key word is resolution. Merging with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Metaphysics is the focus of study and intense investigation. The colors of this season are coral-pink, silver and all shades of blue and purple--coral for the Self within, silver and blue for illumination, and purple for enlightened wisdom. High above flies the coral flag, signaling Parashiva, Absolute Reality, beyond time, form and space. Moksha Ritau is a time of appreciation, of gratitude for all that life has given, and a time of honoring elders, those in the sannyasa stage of life. Moksha Ritau is excellent for philosophical discussions, voicing one's understanding of the path through an enlightened intellect. In finance, it is the time for yearly accounting and reconciliation. On a mundane level it is a time of clearing attics, basements, garages, sheds, warehouses, workshops and desks, getting rid of unneeded things, of pruning trees, of streamlining life on the physical plane--of reengineering.
Aum Namah Sivaya
The monks of Kauai Aadheenam wish everyone a blessed Krittika Deepa! As stated in Dancing With Siva, "On Krittika Dipa, the Krittika nakshatra in November-December, we honor--with oil lamps everywhere, village bonfires and special temple arati--God Siva as an infinite pillar of light."
If you don't find yourself at a temple or religious event tonight, you can at least light yourself an oil lamp or two and connect with Siva's radiant darshan.
"Now have I realized the path of Hara. In the past I sought Him in narrow paths and strayed. Lo! All the while He stood before me like a beacon light in firmament, guiding my voyage across the sea of my soul's longing. The path of Siva is the proven path. It led them to Hara. It is the royal path that renowned souls have walked, the path divine that took the devout to cosmic space. That path do seek, enter and persevere. Still your wandering thoughts, chant the sacred syllable Si and so persevere on the path of Hara. You shall envision primal light effulgent."
Just a few days ago the monastics celebrated the final day of Skanda Shasthi with an abhishekam to Lord Skanda in Kadavul Temple. This was a perfect opportunity for Namrata Ragade to receive Mantra Diksha for Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, pledging to chant the Panchakshara mantra 108 times each day without fail.
About Lord Skanda From DWS:
Lord Karttikeya, Murugan, first guru and Pleiadean master of kundalini yoga, was born of God Siva's mind. His dynamic power awakens spiritual cognition to propel souls onward in their evolution to Siva's feet. Aum.
Lord Karttikeya flies through the mind's vast substance from planet to planet. He could well be called the Emancipator, ever available to the call of those in distress. Lord Karttikeya, God of will, direct cognition and the purest, child-like divine love, propels us onward on the righteous way through religion, His Father's law. Majestically seated on the manipura chakra, this scarlet-hued God blesses mankind and strengthens our will when we lift to the inner sky through sadhana and yoga. The yoga pada begins with the worship of Him. The yogi, locked in meditation, venerates Karttikeya, Skanda, as his mind becomes as calm as Saravana, the lake of Divine Essence. The kundalini force within everyone is held and controlled by this powerful God, first among renunciates, dear to all sannyasins. Revered as Murugan in the South, He is commander in chief of the great devonic army, a fine, dynamic soldier of the within, a fearless defender of righteousness. He is Divinity emulated in form. The Vedas say, "To such a one who has his stains wiped away, the venerable Sanatkumra shows the further shore of darkness. Him they call Skanda." Aum Namah Sivaya.
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