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g o d s - o f - i n d i a ++ GANESHA

MOON CURSED ---- How Ganesha Cursed The Moon.
I HAVE HEARD THAT IN THE OLD DAYS OF AUSTRALIA BEFORE EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT, ABORIGINES CONSIDERED IT BAD LUCK TO STARE AT THE MOON. It is not quite the same thing, but they do have a similar myth in India. On the night of Ganesha's birthday, the night of the Ganesha-Chaturthi (which in 2012 falls on September 19), Hindus are strongly urged not to look at the moon. Here is an account of how Chandra, the Indian moon god, was once comprehensively cursed by Ganesha, the elephant-trunked supremo of the pantheon of Hindu gods. To look at the moon on this auspicious night, means you will be condemned to be falsely accused before the year is out (so Hindus believe, anyway). The moon is cursed, and that curse will befall you, if you are unfortunate enough to gaze upon its crater-strewn surface, on this holy night. How did this curse originate, and what cultural purpose does it serve? that is the reason for being of this webiste. It has been said that the Ganesha Moon Curse serves as a reminder of the dangers of vanity and narcissism... I can see the truth in that. The account comes from the Ganeshapurana, which I picked up on Elephanta Island off Mumbai, done up like a children's story book. There are plenty of variations to this legend! As one of them go, once Lord Brahma (The Oldest God of the Cosmos) was sitting with Lord Shiva when Narada made an appearance on the scene. Narada had brought a beautiful and tasty fruit with him -- it was a real one of a kind -- and Narada offered this fruit to Lord Shiva with great and loving devotion. (In another version of the tale, Ganesha receives from his devotees an enormous amount of modak (sweets).) It was a generous and humble act -- little did Narada know that he was setting in motion a battle of the egos that would resonate through to today, and affect the lives of billions of people on Earth.

Seeing such beautiful and strange fruit, both Ganesha and Ganesha's brother Kartikeya began hounding for it. You will have to remember that Ganesha has a sweet tooth! As the hounding rose in pitch, Lord Shiva (ever wise) intervened: "Lord Brahma! Both my sons want this fruit. Now I leave it to you to decide who should be given this fruit."

THE GODS START STRUGGLING ---- Who Will Win The Fruit?
IN HIS DIVINE WISDOM, LORD BRAHMA SAID: "Since Kartikeya is the younger of the two, it is he who should be given this fruit."

And so Lord Shiva gave the fruit to Kartikeya. This made Ganesha terribly hurt, angry, and resentful. Later, when Lord Brahma returned and resumed his job of creation, Ganesha (sometimes prone to impetuous behavior) began creating mischief! For example, he suddenly materialized in front of Brahma in a most terrifying form (talk about a spoilt-brat little Elephant-Man!) But his trick worked -- seeing Ganesha in such a terrible form, Lord Brahma (the grand-daddy of all gods) actually began trembling with fear!

Just at this time, another player in the story (Chandradeva, the Moon God) suddenly burst into laughter. All of Chandra's followers followed suit and soon the air was swamped with the fell sounds of mockery. Already enraged, the sounds of all this laughter punched Ganesha through the roof. He cried: "Chandra! Now you will become unworthy of being seen by anyone! Someone seeing you by any chance, shall have to reap the consequences of a sinful act."

GANESHA APPEASED ---- He Is A Softy At Heart
GANESHA LEFT THE PLACE AND WENT AWAY FROM THERE, LEAVING CHANDRA TO REPENT FOR HIS DEED. The fact that Chandra had been made so unworthy saddened the other gods of the cosmos. Just imagine a world where nobody was allowed to see the Moon or look up at the Moon -- that would be a sorry world indeed! The God of Fire (Agni) and Lord Indra went to Ganesha and began offering their prayers with great devotion. They pleaded with him to change his mind, to let go of his elephantine pride, and forgive the Moon!

It worked! It has to be said that Ganesha is a softy at heart, and can be easily appeased. He was very happy and all buttered up hearing all these devotional prayers, and on being requested by them to extend his forgiveness to Chandra, he said: "Gods! One who sees Chandra on the fourth day of the bright half of the lunar period of the sixth month of the Hindu year, knowingly or unknowingly, will be cursed. He will undergo many difficulties!"

Then the gods went to Chandra and gave him a one-word mantra and advised him to silently chant it again and again in order to win Ganesha's forgiveness. Chandra moved to the southern bank of Jahnavi and began leading a life of austerity and penance.

Ganesha was pleased to receive the worships and mantras of Chandra. Finally, he said: "Chandradeva! You will regain your earlier status. People observing the fast on the fourth day of the dark half of the lunar month, shall have to offer their worship to both you and I. They also must be able to see you on that day, else they will be deprived of any benefit and virtue of observing the said fast. I allow you to remain on my forehead with a fraction of your existence and you will be saluted by everyone on the second day of every month."

And thus Chandradeva regained his former status!

THUS THE MOON IS CURSED ---- And Also All Those Who Look Upon Her... For One Night a Month At Least!
AS A CONSEQUENCE OF LORD GANESHA'S CURSE: It has been said that anyone who looks at the moon on the night of the Ganesh Chaturthi will be falsely charged with theft or a similar crime. If someone inadvertently sees the moon on this night, he/she may remedy the situation by listening to (or reciting) the story of the Syamantaka Jewel. For Hindu novices out there, the story can be found in the Bhagavata and the Vishnu. Alternatively, one may remedy the curse by looking at the moon on the third and fifth nights of the lunar month, which is 2012 fall on September 18 and September 2012, respectively (source: HariOm Group.

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at coderot@gmail.com. Copyright August 2012.

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f e e d b a c k

purushottam (purshu@gmail.com) says: "What a comprehensive view of the gods of india..really enjoyed it. I thank u for the clarity this article has given me in my seeking.
"I used to be a die hard atheist since childhood-praying to Shiva, vishnu, krishna, ganesha, saraswati, hanuman etc. I beleived in ONE omnipotent,omniscient, omnipresent God.
"But my recent experience with a spiritual master and organization took me towards Advaita philosophy-which makes possible the existence of many gods and the god inherent in every one of us. With the possibility of man becoming GOD one day, it has obviated my belief in 'one GOD for all'.
"So my allegiance shifted from Dvaita(dualistic) to the Advaita(non dualistic) shcheme of things, where there is no radical difference between man and god as man is god's low frequency existence,capable of reaching godhood by various means(bhakti,gyan,karma,meditation,etc).
"All this was fine till i realized that this advaita concept of GOD is effectively atheism in the eyes of a monotheist.
"Nevermind, 'reailty is relative'-I said to myself and continued my journey inwards.("One should have the courage of following truth to wherever it takes").
"WIth my beleif in God shaken, I decided to test my second most prized belief-the concept of Atman through the Advaitic Lens...."


What are your thoughts on Hindu gods? Who is your favourite god (the One you worship?) Or are you losing your religion, as the old REM song went?
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