On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kartik Snan, Kartik Snaan or Kartik Nahan? Either Way an Ode to the Great Element Water!

The Temple in the Sea, Waterloo, Trinidad-The temple itself above and a statue in bay in honour of the Goddess Ganga.

Some people transliterate the Hindi to English spelling as Snan some Snaan. I think here in Trinidad and Tobago it is usually transliterated as Snaan. Then some say Nahan...I was speculating it maybe be the Bhojpuri word for the same thing but today I found out that in Zoroastrianism they also refer to a 'Nahan' which is a ritual bath. So all in all what's in a word but they are all talking bout this festival in Hinduism where the great element of Water is worshiped in the Hindu month of Kartik that normally falls between October and November!And I feel 'The Ancient's' concept of elements as Earth, Wind, Fire and Water is as noteworthy as the modern day scientific coining. And really the human body is made up of 80% water some say and anyone who followed my kinda raw journey on one of my other blogs would know just how much you realise you need water and how little you need lots of food when you eat raw or even kinda raw. So I think our need for water when we eat in the purest way is far greater than that of food itself. However this festival kinda makes me scared too...and perhaps rightfully so and I'm not just some scaredy cat. I'm not afraid of the water as much as some I'd think...like I'm a good enough swimmer and I work in an offshore environment. I've been swimming since my early teens and I'm not afraid of being on the sea etc. Nor do I get sea sick. However ever since I was a child there was something bout the sea and perhaps great rivers but I've not experienced those as much as seas since I live and grew up on an island in the sea! There was something bout their enormity...their power...that made me feel so small so alone so powerless...so infinitesimally little compared to their greatness. At times you are in awe at times it is simply fear and at times you are simply unaware and even at other times you play with it and dance with it! Hinduism was first practised in India/Bharat and so there the odes to the great element took the form of the great rivers...Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati with Ganga earning the most praise. And so she is worshiped on this festival day in some forms of the festival in different parts of the Hindu world and in Trinidad and Tobago and neighbouring Guyana. In different parts other tales are involved with Kartik Snan but there are too numerous for me to go into here. I can say that in Trinidad and Tobago the festival is pretty big and it mostly centers around the worship of the Goddess Ganga. I guess Ganga is never too far from Shiv anyway as in Hindu tales he wrapped her up in his hair but it seems there is a tale too of Shiv conquering a rakshas (Hindu demon) on this day too. Tarkasur I believe...and isn't Ganga a force of Shakti so the whole Shiv Shakti thing is going on there. Interestingly in Trinidad the festival is more celebrated by the seas as there are where our biggest masses of water are...so interesting adaption of the Ganga form...but there is a statue of Ganga at the Temple in the Sea and I caught it today garlanded and all...reminds me of her in the Mahabharat tale taking the babies with her or of a lady about to drown herself...but I know it's meant as a worship to her and I mean no disrespect it is just what honestly runs through my head on seeing it...:

In Guyana on the other hand there are many big rivers and the country is mostly land locked so there in the same tradition as India the rivers are worshiped. A search on the web will easily find you footage of the festival in Trinidad and Tobago and world over. But here I just want to continue to reflect on WATER!

I already stated about how much we need it just as a fluid in our body but we also need it cause everything solid we eat also needs water to survive. We need water for everything! Yet water is also so powerful it can destroy us in one moment...think tsunami...think hurricane...think world sea level rise...think floods...It can be mankind's greatest enemy and it can be our greatest nourishment. You see I was right to be scared! I joked with a guy at a produced water conference (with my hat on as an engineer) that I strongly believe that soon we won't be worried bout finding oil we will be worried bout finding water...and water will be as valuable as oil is today. I know others share this view and I've seen at least one Kevin Costner starer that says as much...and I believe Shekhar Kapur's Paani is along similar lines...

Interestingly Hindu tales see Water in the form of Ganga in very much the same way...cause she was seen as a mother (is there any greater nourishing role?)...Maa Ganga...and at other times Shiv had to harness her in his hair cause she was so powerful she would destroy the earth! And in the Mahabharat what was really going on there...drowning the children and all of that (of course it is explained that she did it to free them from sin) and then sparing Bhishma on his father's begging...Ganga Putra....son of Ganga...making him brother to the other son Kartikeya who is fully celestial as he was not born partly of man as Bhishma. I guess in all of that sub plot upon sub plot the modern interpretation I can extract is she is as we can all see a great nourisher but also very powerful and can sometimes get very hasty! I myself have never took part in the rituals of the festival so far...and really found it hard to reach as to the significance but as part of Universal Collective Prayer the blog I've been striving to embrace and explore all forms of prayer as they occur. I guess it must make sense to worship the sea or the great rivers and sources of water though as they are so essential and also so potentially life threatening. But beyond all that I think deep down you can see the infinity of the divine in it all so vast so powerful and its presence does make you realise how much you are just this small part of a much much bigger whole!
So in closing I give in and I say Om Jai Ganga Mata! And I beg you to be merciful on us all!

Big Bay, Midway between Sans Souci and Balandra, Trinidad

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