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Thread: where to begin?

  1. #1

    where to begin?

    I'm pretty new to all of this stuff being raised in the west. I believe in giving respect where respect is due and Siva seems to me to be the purest form of God in any religion. I try to honor him through his son. I have a Ganesha murti on a small table in my home which I light incense to a few times a week while chanting "om gam ganapataye namaha". what I would like to know is what rituals and prayers are there to better respect God and what scriptures can I read to learn them and better understand. I've read the Bagavad gita and Ramayana both are beautiful but didn't give me much insight into daily prayers or how to make offerings to God.

  2. Re: where to begin?

    I recommend Sri Ramakrishna Kathamritha, the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, this explains very much. . . 'what need for a fan when the Southern wind blows of itself?'

    Above the rest, more than anything is remembering God. Nama Smarana, remembering the name of God.

    It is correct to worship Lord Ganapati before any endeavor, and customary. Ganapati, Ganesha, Gananatha, Gajanana are all names for Ganapati.

    There is an endless amount of information on spiritual topics. . . It's truly infinite.

    As to your main question, offering food to God is one of the main activities. But the main point is the feeling of love, and devotion.

    If love is there, all other practices are secondary. But rituals are useful and important, it helps keep one steady to have a daily routine. (Of good habits).

    Most important is truthfulness, peace, kindness, and so forth.. So sending time alone is very good.

    Main thing above all is to care for every being as much as God, as sacred, and wish for the welfare of all of them.

    When we see every being, from an ant to a tree to a deva (God or angel,) as being holy and divine, a manifestation of God and love, that's when we will see God.

    Meditation is helpful and important, and it's good and possible to spend a lot of time in meditation.

    Health of the body is important, physical tapas (austerity)..

  3. #3

    Re: where to begin?

    Most of what you said seems pretty straight forward. How does one go about offering food to God? Do I leave a bowl of food before an idol like I do with incense? Is there some sort of ritual prayer I should do while performing this act? how long must the food sit there? can or should the food be eaten after? where can I find in scriptures answers to questions like these?

  4. #4

    Re: where to begin?

    There are many types of worshipping Ganesha. There are laghu pooja(short poojas), shodasa upachara pooja(worhsipping using 16 services) etc. IMethodologies are easily available in the net. Choose one type of method. Yous hould start your pooja by cleaning the place where you are going to invite someone who is superior to mortals,who is very powerful. After cleaning which is known as shuddi, You should take resolution by stating your name,location,day,time..etc and intent of worshipping Lord. This is known as pravra. After resolution,you should do dhyana(meditate) on the image of lord and invite lord's energy into the vigraha or idol or picture. In inida it is tradition to wash the feeet of elder. So wash his feet. Worship him by offering whatever you can to make him happy. Our ancestors used to praise Kings because that will make them happy and a happy king is always a blessing to the kingdom. So praise Ganesha by using flowers,leaves or grass by praising his guna(qualities),his different names(nama),karma( by remembering his stories) etc. then offer him some clothes and then sing,dance etc to entertain him. Then offer him some delicious food. Light deepa(lamps) and have darshan of lord in the light of lamps. and then pray for his mercy using different stotras and apologize for any inconvinience. You can also elaborate these services and add many services if you have time.

  5. Re: where to begin?

    I am remiss for not writing sooner.

    I'm writing on a phone...

    Flowers have their place.

    I can't express except with all my heart I feel it's incorrect to kill them..

    They are making oxygen, they also feed bees.

    Bees are in crisis, we can see from many articles.

    Opened eyes, Bhajans are wonderful.

    There are several different types -- some are a conversation between God and the devotee; some are simply praise of God, and some are instructional.


    Ah I thought I lost this so I started over..

    Flowers beautify the earth, and they are creating oxygen. Also they are important for bees. Bees are currently in crisis.

    I cannot express except never to do any harm to flowers.

    Words can't express this feeling, but it's a great feeling.

    If we look closely, we can see how important they are.

    We can even feel them.

    If we are patient, we can spend time as they grow, and feel and care for them.

    All this is very inept to express something not easy to express in words.

    Once Swami Vivekananda said, few people believe in God he knew, and he gave this example.

    If a thief knew an immeasurable treasure were next to him, he would do everything to get it.

    He would break down the wall.

    So, he said, if someone really believes there is an infinite source of love, bliss and peace, i.e. Sat-Chit-Ananda, they will also do everything to experience it.

    So we should - set aside all in the search for God.

    Meditation is very key. And tapas.

    Nature is helpful. Being in nature.

    Formless and form. . . We worship God with a form, so we can experience God formless.

    Dattatreya took form, and gave himself to us. He didn't take a name, other than this, "Atri's gift."

    Hari Hara Brahmanu, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva became one as him. Smartrgami

    Narayanam vibhum vande smartrgami sanovatu

    I pray to Lord Dattatreya, who is a shelter for the poor and afflicted and
    grants deliverance immediately to those having firm devotion in him and remember
    him sincerely.
    From Datta Stavam means, he responds instantly.

    Time is interesting thing of life. Peacefully, we should always be.

    If we realize Sat-Chit-Ananda, if we become perfect, we can be happy anywhere. We can be beyond material things.

    One pair of clothes is all we can wear at one time. Why do we need so many?

    To reach God is best - how to do so?

    Meditation, penance, Japa and bhajans are best.

    Constant meditation on God's name, it becomes easy after some time.

    Divya Nama Sankirtana, same thing musically.

    A bhajan can be like an Upanishad.

    They expand and deepen our understanding.

    They improve our intellect, and memory.

    Gam Gam Ganapathy

    Om Om Om Gam Gam Gam

    Pahi Pahi Gajanana

    Joy and energy.

    Mahatmas always pray for all beings. We should pray this way.

    Ekadanta, Vakratunda, and Vinayaka and Lambhodara are also names for Ganapati.

    Whatever we do will be done by others.

    Plant many trees, plants and flowers and don't take any. That is my preferred.

    Make God happy by keeping his paradise watered, and cared for.

    Well kept and peacefully cared for. We very much need to.

    For a good article about bees, I found:

    Ten years after the crisis, what is happening to the world's bees?




    (From the article)

    The blue banded bee ! is very pretty.

  6. #6

    Re: where to begin?

    Namaste openedeyes,

    I have a Ganesha murti on a small table in my home which I light incense to a few times a week while chanting "om gam ganapataye namaha"
    How does one go about offering food to God? Do I leave a bowl of food before an idol like I do with incense? Is there some sort of ritual prayer I should do while performing this act? how long must the food sit there? can or should the food be eaten after? where can I find in scriptures answers to questions like these?


    Bhagavad Gita Chaper 9 Sloka 26

    patram puspam phalam toyam
    yo me bhaktya prayacchati
    tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
    asnami prayatatmanah

    SYNONYMS
    patram—a leaf; puspam—a flower; phalam—a fruit; toyam—water; yah—whoever; me—unto Me; bhaktya—with devotion; prayacchati—offers; tat—that; aham—I; bhakti-upahrtam—offered in devotion; asnami—accept; prayata-atmanah—of one in pure consciousness.
    TRANSLATION
    If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit a water, I will accept it.

    Mostly in offerings the utensils that one would use should be exclusively for offering. If one offers foods, water or flowers ( will get to this in a moment (timetraveler), keep it simple, a small plate with fruits will be nice.

    If you offer simple foods Ganesh Ji likes Laddu and sweets, its custom to eat the prasade after and distribute to others, 5 to 10 mins is enough for the offering, there is no need to make it complicated, whats important in offerings and in reciting the mantra and the thoughts is desire-less meditative devotion.

    Its fine to keep with the mantra you chant at the moment when you make offering, and build up more practice as you go along as you naturally learn more, but what you chant is enough, as timetraveler says so nicely and Bhagavad Gita its the devotion that is most important, and listening to bhajans also is a great way to learn and be connected in any activity.

    Timetraveler, while I agree with you about flowers and bees, as it is important to be aware of environmental issues. Its always a good idea to grow your own flowers, marigold flowers are very popular, simple to grow, and if done right the amount of flowers will surpass the daily offerings and they grow back very quickly and will attract bees, so the devotional growing will be good for the environment, of course this is optional. Many temples and devotees homes will have flowers in abundance. Its also a good devotional practice to grow Tulsi if one can.

  7. Re: where to begin?

    Flowers do not harm any, not any plant, nor animal.

    They live on sun and rain.

    I offer my life before any flower.

    Humans have cut down more than half of earth's forests.

    Offer a leaf.

    That has fall colors.

    Don't take it from the tree.

  8. #8

    Re: where to begin?

    Timetraveller, I agree full heartedly with you, although some balance is needed, and in gardening its actually healthy for the plant to take the flowers in bloom and pruning. problems mostly come from exploitation.

    Neither do fruits of vegetables and grains, cause any harm, but we eat them. The whole idea of offering is to promote the awareness of the source and offering it back with devotion, its all optional. While I think Bhagavad GIta has more internal source it can be replicated outwardly for punya. Its always a choice.

    If things are taken to an extreme, people end up wanting to become breathatarians, in which a few people have died or caused themselves severe health issues, or developed neurosis more commonly. Or people within the Jain tradition fast to death, which was not what Mahavira rishi wanted or even taught.

  9. Re: where to begin?

    There is nothing much to say.

    Killing flowers is a sin.

  10. #10

    Re: where to begin?

    Timetraveller I admire your commitment, but there is more to say about this, and as krsna says said it becomes a choice, the choice of devotion which is an aspect of love, not a forced rule, but seeing as the word sin keeps coming up its best to make a distinction between the word sin and pap, sin is a man made concept to control perception an idea made to control the outer and is associated as a gross or solid fixed rule, its best not to say the word, which is not related to any sanatana dharma source or the natural awareness of ones swadharma, one own true nature., pap gets translated as sin, pap means wrong intent, its the intention, that gets purified, by bhakti, jnana and the yoga systems.

    The intent is to offer with devotion in devotional sattvic mood. Many deities and even your own guru Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji adorns flowers and leaves and also makes offerings of flowers, do you see him as a person who promotes killing, is he a sinner, this is not a concept or thought within the sanatana dharma tradition. Life is cycle and each being lives to serve another in whatever capacity is its nature, there are no extremes, its about intention. Sri Krsna, who removes all pap or wrong intent is giving simple ways where he promotes and accepts devotion in sattva, to beautify his outer from, Sri Krsna doesn't actually need whats offered, he is looking for the inner quality, outside is always conditioned by duality.

    Sri Krsna himself says that this knowledge becomes a choice once learned or is taught, of course here he is using divine diplomacy, there are no fixed ideas, only guidelines for the upliftment of consciousness to all pervasive love and compassion, which is accompanied by wisdom. People are often taught to only think in terms of good and bad, right and wrong, but life itself or the nature of life is not like that, unless we impose man made ideas related to outer appearances and become fixed in that. Some traditions offer flowers, others do not, they co exists in their own way just fine and learn from each other naturally.


    Like within some areas of Christian religion, they say one is born into sin, thats a very cruel concept, but maybe right if one says one is born into a system where there is bad or wrong intent, this causes a few problems in our world and is a bad condition taught from birth where wrong intent leads to wrong view, wrong view leads to wrong action, this is where sanatana dharma's pap is related to conscious view as different from mainstream Christianity's man made control mechanism of sin.

    in peace


    to conclude here is sri krsn's word himself, which can expand and keep expanding when we align in bhakti and jnana within the teaching of Bhagavad Gita.

    TEXT 63
    iti te jnanam akhyatam
    guhyad guhyataram maya
    vimrsyaitad asesena
    yathecchasi tatha kuru

    SYNONYMS
    iti—thus; te—unto you; jnanam—knowledge; akhyatam—described; guhyat—confidential; guhyataram—still more confidential; maya—by Me; vimrsya—by deliberation; etat—that; asesena—fully; yatha—as you; icchasi—you like; tatha—that; kuru—perform.
    TRANSLATION
    Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 28 April 2019 at 05:55 PM.

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