Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles

Om gam ganapataye namaha.” ~~ a mantra to Ganesha, known as the Remover of Obstacles

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In last week’s blog, I talked about staying committed to your  practice, and that we can use the obstacles we are presented with as stepping stones. It seemed like as soon as I posted that blog, more obstacles were thrown at me than I was prepared for, and I have to admit that it was hard not to let my frustration get the better of me. It was really challenging to think of these “kinks” as opportunities. I had to look REALLY hard in order to find SOMETHING good in all of it.

So I decided that this topic needed to be explored a bit more. After all, I’ve talked with many of you over the years, and I know I am not the only one out there who is constantly being tested and challenged to make my way through my journey in the most beneficial way. Not too long ago, I started doing more studying on the myths and legends that yoga bases a lot of its philosophy on, and the story of Ganesha really stuck with me. And this past week, I found myself reading his story again (or at least one of them…he is in many stories), as he is known as the Remover of Obstacles.

Ganesha (also known as Ganesh or Ganapati), is the elephant-headed, pot-bellied, Hindu God and he is thought to be the most beloved God in Hinduism. I know I love looking at pictures and statues of him, because he always seems so happy and full of joy. He is believed to be all-loving, no matter what religion you are, as long as you take the time to make a connection with him.

You’ll notice in the picture above that in his upper right hand, Ganesha holds a goad (an elephant prod), which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. After all, he had his head chopped off by Lord Shiva (his own dad!), who didn’t realize who he was. But once he realized what he’d done, Shiva restored him to life by attaching an elephant’s head to his body, and named him the lord of new beginnings (remover of obstacles). So if anyone knows about overcoming obstacles, I’d say Ganesha is the one, wouldn’t you?

If you’re into chanting, you might try repeating the mantra at the beginning of this post several times. It’s one of many mantras devoted to Ganesha, and is thought to be very helpful when obstacles seem to keep getting in the way. Personally, I am going to give it a go…I can use all the help I can get!



Categories Yoga

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