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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2009-Discovering the Global Ganesh!

Photo copyright of Meady's Musings Production

As you know I'm taking the prayers in a different direction from now on...with no necessary intent to cover all the religious festivals on especially if I covered them in the past...

But as you might recall here good all Ganapati is officially my Ishq Devata and so as the Hindu community globally celebrates the climax of Ganesh Chaturthi this weekend with a bang or should I say a splash I figure hey...you know....

Plus somehow I'm feeling nostalgic this evening on the prayers...looking back at the year gone by...I've played a lot with Ganesh on this blog for sure...Apart from just celebrating his official festival I shared his aarti my fav one and my fav version of it here. And so this evening I'll share it again...cause...it's my favourite! :)

But as I sing my fav aarti in nostalgia I also forge ahead...my sister in UCP, Adriana likes Ganesh too as you can see he featured strongly in her design of the newly launched logo...and I just have to have to share my newest find with everyone here on the prayers! :)

It's a celebration of Ganesh Globally! :)

Just check out this website and play,dance, enjoy! :) And if you can support his lovely project! :) Go on...Discover Ganesh Globally! :) The lady behind it seems to be touched with a bit of UCP for sure! :)

She is an artist- Shana Dressler and here is her official statement on the site-Discovering Ganesh:
Artist's Statement

"Imagine a community so poor its inhabitants live in tents fashioned out of tarps attached to public buildings and city walls. Yet as you walk through you see the residents have somehow scraped together enough money to commission a beautiful, eight-foot sculpture of their beloved elephant-headed god, Ganesh. This phenomenon struck me powerfully when I traveled to India to experience the Ganesh Festival and discovered the nation’s unrelenting love of the Hindu god known as the Remover of Obstacles. For the next four years, I dedicated each September to capturing the essence of this amazing event.

In Discovering Ganesh my aim is to create a museum exhibit that brings photography, video shorts, soundscapes, and artifacts together to communicate what was one of the most palpable experiences of spirituality I have ever felt; the 10-day celebration in India known as the Ganesh Chaturthi. For this festival devotees purchase hand-sculpted representations of Ganesh (some of them over 30 feet tall), and make daily offerings and prayers to Lord Ganesh. At the largest celebration in Mumbai, the festival culminates in an incredible, citywide procession in which tens of thousands of people parade their Ganesh idols around town and ultimately submerge them into the sea to ensure that Ganesh will return the next year.

The exhibit is designed to reflect the 360 degree experience of being in India during the celebration. During the Ganesh Chaturthi, communities and businesses set up mandips, shrine-like public installations, where visitors can see Ganesh often against a colorful background with other Hindu deities, living saints and historical figures. Sometimes these displays include elaborate mechanical shows, or light and audio shows, where at the end of a parable Ganesh emerges from a red curtain as the hero. Individual families also create shrines to Ganesh for display in their homes. I was often invited into people’s homes, offered India tea, or chai, which was followed by, “Where are you from? What is your name? Come see Lord Ganesh.” I have been to many other religious festivals around world, and I have never felt this sense of openness anywhere else.

I was also struck by the simultaneous seriousness and playfulness with which devotees depicted Ganesh. Some of the most poignant tableaux included a scene with Ganesh and scenes illustrating acts of terrorism including September 11th, as well as Ganesh carried on the shoulders of King Kong, a Ganesh statue made of Astroturf, and even a scene with Harry Potter on his magical broom. In the Judeo-Christian tradition representations of God follow certain rules of propriety. You'd never see Jesus on the shoulders of Godzilla or dressed in glittery pants. It was totally refreshing to see so many creative expressions of divinity. At the public level of the festival, there was no sense of wrongdoing or sacrilegious behavior just because you used a material as mundane as spices, dried fruit, or peacock feathers.

My exhibit is conceived to be a kind of guided mandip. A variety of media are used to engage viewers, but with a lot of context to help American viewers understand this kaleidoscope of stimuli. And the show is not just for those interested in Hinduism or even any form of spirituality. Regardless of religious or cultural background, universal questions will present themselves: “What obstacles would you like removed from your life? What would your life look like if you removed all of the everyday obstacles related to money, relationships, career, and health? What would it be like if everyone in your community was connected to something beyond the material world that gave deep meaning and purpose to their lives?” The exhibit simultaneously explores the significance of Ganesh and his place in the Hindu pantheon of deities, while encouraging viewers to ponder these questions whether through a cultural, religious, or personal lens.

My first year in India challenged many of my own preconceptions. When I referred to the Ganesh idols as “sculptures,” worshippers continually corrected me, “That is not a sculpture; that IS Lord Ganesh!” until I started to understand that incredible look of devotion and tenderness I was seeing. I wouldn’t describe it as awe. It’s a kind of deep, deep love. As soon as I realized that the devotees believed they were looking at God, I changed my photographic approach. I told myself, ‘Let me just try photographing this festival from their perspective. How can I get across the feeling of the divine in a photograph?’ Not wanting to rely on digital enhancement, I chose the depth and warmth of traditional film. In order to evoke this otherworldly, spiritually charged space I used slower shutter speeds—giving a sense of motion—indicating engagement between the spiritual and human worlds. Thematically, I sought out pictures where people were relating to the idol as divine.

My experiences in India working on this project have had a profound effect on my life. I see how important community is; how one can do something much greater in a group of likeminded people with a common goal than as an individual. Many people in India live a life of squalor by American standards, but in many of the poor communities that I saw, people are not in despair and isolated. They are not broken the way I’ve seen people in America’s inner cities who fall victim to drug addiction and violence. Whenever I hear people talking about poverty in India, I can’t help but think that psychologically and emotionally Indians are not the ones who are impoverished. They have a connection to the Divine that helps them to make sense of their suffering and to move beyond it so that they see meaning in their lives.

As a culture I think we obsess about what we think are our deficiencies and shortcomings. When I worked at top global advertising firms in my twenties, I saw many of the strategies employed in the most successful advertising and marketing campaigns. The largest profits were being made in the “fix-it” industries – fashion, weight loss, relationships, get rich quick gimmicks, etc. These strategies spoke to the customer's deepest suffering and insecurities and promised a quick remedy.

But truer remedies may appear if we simply ask ourselves “What do I feel called to do? What new life would reveal itself to me if I could see through the perceived mess called my life? – if I could remove all of the obstacles in my way?” I hope this project not only instructs participants about India’s religious and cultural contributions – using Ganesh as the entry point – but also engages them in planting seeds of an interior inquiry. I believe that would be the real discovery in “Discovering Ganesh.”"

1 comment:

Ganesha Idols said...

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