Monday, November 30, 2009

Jai Ganesha: The Power of Mantra

The Power of Mantra: Jai Ganesha!

Like many this Thanksgiving, I found myself making the annual pilgrimage to visit my biological family. My second day home, I took my father to lunch after he received a transfusion from a new medical procedure he was participating in to assist with his degenerative rheumatoid arthritis. This new treatment involved infusing rat cells into his body so his immune system attacked the rat cells instead of his joints. This launched us into a conversation about animal totem medicine and the rat as a miraculous survivor-based animal and also a sacred vehicle of transport to Lord Ganesha the elephant headed deity.

Later that afternoon, my father and I worked together to assemble some advertising for his HVAC business that was recently hurting due to the temperate weather and the economy. As we were working on the advertisements, my father suddenly gasped and stood straight up and then crumpled over bracing himself on the wall. His leg had cramped up and a shooting pain had overtaken the entire left side of his body, a possible complication from the infusion. Shaking, he braced himself against a wall. I took his hand and began immediately chanting a Ganesh Mantra ‘Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.’ This is a mantra that my spirit defaults to in crisis situations. Chanting over and over aloud, holding my father’s hand, I walked him to his bed and chanted over him moving energy. I slowly repeated the chant inviting my father to repeat it too. After about twenty minutes of chanting, the pain released from his body and the ferocious energy that had previously crippled him moved through and was dissipated. I wrote that mantra down for him and he carried the mantra in his shirt pocket that evening while he taught an HVAC class at the trade school where he works part-time. Anytime pain crept up on him, he chanted the mantra and it subsided. Later that evening, a fellow teacher also approached him about hiring him for a large HVAC job that as a result would support his business that was really feeling the pinch form the economy. My father came home amazed and asked me more questions about Ganesh and I wrote down another mantra for him to try “Om Sri Ganeshaya Namaha”

Ganesh has recently become somewhat of a pop-icon in the yoga and new-age movement of the West, and why not? He is often depicted as red with a large, round belly, four arms and an unmistakable elephant head. He’s most commonly hailed as the remover of obstacles and Lord of Success. Who wouldn’t want a red-headed elephant God with a jolly belly removing their obstacles and helping them succeed? A few things about Ganesh: He resides in the root chakra, which is our spiritual center of survival, foundation, tribe, family, basic needs, which is why its useful to chant his mantra for just about anything from a travel blessings, to health, to abundance, to resolving conflict. When I travel, I chant to Ganesh. When the plane takes off and lands safely, Ganesh is my man. When I sprain my ankle, I chant to Ganesh for a speedy recovery. When I began a project, Ganesh’s name is on my lips. I carry totems to him in my house including at the front door, on every altar and even a mini alter in the bathroom, for which I’ve been repeatedly reprimanded by many Hindu students of mine who have visited my temple space. Worried that I may be offending Ganesh with this represenation of him, I chanted and meditated on the placement of this small altar. When I checked in with Ganesh about this I downloaded: "Those earnest and sincere in their worship will always be blessed." He also said that this particular statue and representation very much wanted to be in the bathroom and he felt honored in the way he was being presented in there celebrating the holy body and sensual spirit.

Jai Gnaesha! Jai Ganesha!