Ganesh Chathurthi

Lord Ganesha in Blue

Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha. Although there are contradictory views on the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, most people celebrate it on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada lunar month and the day is popularly known as Ganesha Chaturthi.

On Vinayaka Chaturthi day, students place books in front of the Ganesa idol and offer worship. They pray to the deity to illumine their minds. Hence Ganesa is known as “Buddhi Pradayaka“, one who grants intelligence.

All the sacred festivals celebrated by devotees are full of significance spiritually and socially. Every festival is regarded as a holy event surcharged with divinity. On such a holy day, each house is cleaned up, everybody takes a sacred bath to purify the body, special pujas are performed, coconut is offered to the deity and prayers are offered during the day.

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Thoughts about Meditation

meditation hallThe word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘man’ meaning mind, and ‘tra’ meaning tool. Mantra meditation is used to protect practitioners from a constant onslaught of unhealthy and repetitive thoughts. A purified intellect reflecting the Atmic light confers true wisdom. When the intellect is full of God, naturally one will follow the correct path and experience Peace and Bliss. If the mind follows the senses, one is ruined. Hence, meditation is of use.

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St Maximus The Confessor

St Maximus The ConfessorSt Maximus the Confessor is one of the most significant Byzantine saints in the Orthodox Christian tradition. Within a comprehensive Christ-centred worldview St. Maximus engaged and clarified difficult sayings in the writings of St Gregory the Theologian, expanded upon the thought of St Gregory of Nyssa, and wrote extensively on the nature of the Church, asceticism, and self-sacrificial love in Christ and the life of holiness.

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The Dormition / Assumption of Mary, Mother of Christ

The Dormition / Assumption of Mary, Mother of ChristCatholics celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven on this day (15 August) while the Orthodox celebrate what is called Her “Dormition,” since the Orthodox Church does not teach that Her body ascended into the heavens. This day is also known as Our Lady’s Herb Day.

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Sri Aurobindo: Thoughts on Buddha as an Avatar of Lord Vishnu

 Sri Aurobindo shares his thoughts on Buddha as an avatar of VishnuSri Aurobindo (15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950), also known as Yogi Arvind, was an Indian philosopher, yoga guru, maharishi, poet, and Indian nationalist. His birth anniversary is annually held on August 15. In 2022, it is the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh (Yogi Aravind). There is an ongoing controversy among scholars and a section of devotees as to whether Buddha is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Sri Aurobindo shares his thoughts on Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu.

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Magical Thinking: Superstitions and Other Persistent Notions

Whether it is a lucky bracelet or a hamsa keychain amulet, superstitions believed to bring good fortune or ward off the bad are almost universal. They are the inspirations for a provocative new art exhibition: Magical Thinking: Superstitions and Other Persistent Notions, accessible virtually and at the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at Hebrew Union College in New York through January 15, 2023.

Black cats, wishbones, and mirrors are among the symbols chosen for exploration by over 50 contemporary artists. Jewish (and North African/Middle Eastern) amulets such as the hamsa, an outstretched hand to ward of the “evil eye,” are among the most popular motifs. The striking works include oils, watercolors, acrylics, paper cuts, and photographs.

Several artists explored the use of red ribbons or string to ward off the evil eye in Jewish settings, such as tying a red ribbon on a newborn’s crib, string bracelets given out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem today, and bracelets worn by celebrities who are taken with Jewish Kabbalah teachings.

Characters from Jewish folklore, like the golem and the dybbuk, are also featured. In legend, the golem is a mythical figure molded from clay and brought to life to aid its creator, while the dybbuk is a phantom creation, often a revenge figure that interferes with the real world.

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Full Moon August 2022

Full MoonThe last month of winter is here in the southern hemisphere and with it brings another lunar event: the sturgeon supermoon on 12 August 2022. There is a strong influence of Mars at this time of Full Moon, and there are challenges in managing the mind, managing thoughts, managing behaviour – particularly to those close to us, and those who form our social capital. It is a good time for mantra siddhi.

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On Buddhism

On Buddhism

Buddhism originated in India, based on the teachings, of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as Gautama Buddha. A Buddha is one who is said to be awake to the truth of life.

Over the centuries his teachings spread from Nepal to Central Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, and now Europe and North and South America. Theravada Buddhism is most common in South Asia; Mahayana further north. Buddhism exists in many different strands today, but all schools and sects share basic ideas. About seven percent of the people of the world are Buddhist.

While many people see Buddhism as a religion, others see it as a philosophy, and others as a way of finding reality.

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