Via Eddie Stern @ AYNY / The Broome Street Temple :
Hari Om !
I hope you have all had a happy and relaxing summer ! As September approaches, the festival season at the Broome Street Temple begins, starting with Ganesh Chaturthi from September 15th to 19th. During the fall season the days shorten, and we naturally become more quiet, inward and reflective. Ganesh, with his small eyes and trunk of discrimination, symbolizes our reflective nature, and removes the obstacles that cloud our consciousness that prevent our inward journey towards Self-knowledge. He is therefore also regarded as the bestower of the wisdom that accompanies inner reflection.
The Ganesh festival is followed by Devi Navaratri, where we seek the blessings of the Divine Mother in her aspects Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati - She who removes difficulties, bestows spiritual merit and prosperity, and makes us fit to receive divine knowledge. It is also the fall harvest festival, when the Divine Mother is thanked and celebrated for giving the bounty of food and nourishment.
The season culminates with Deepavali, the festival of lights, where we celebrate the light of realization, the inner light of divine consciousness that resides equally in all beings, with music, dance and worship.
There are three levels that all of these festivals, and all spiritual practices, address: personal, elemental and collective.
* On the personal level, we devote ourselves to internal purification, clarification of our intentions, and intensify our spiritual practices;
* On the elemental level, we see that we are an intricately woven part of the natural world, and therefore strive to respect and care for nature and our planet;
* On a collective level, we strengthen our understanding that at our core we are one, unified field of consciousness, and through mantra, ritual, yoga and other practices, seek to move beyond differences to a state of wholeness, compassion and understanding.
When we chant Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi at the end of our prayers, we are acknowledging these three levels.
So, please save the dates of September 15th - 19th for our grandest festival of the year. Our special additions to the schedule this year include Veda chanting and arati on Pier 40 at the Hudson River to inaugurate the festival on Saturday the 15th, from 4-6 pm, and the Ganesh Utsav procession on Wednesday the 19th, at 6 pm.
In the next email we will send a detailed schedule, and ways for you to get involved in making our 11th annual festival a huge success!
Eddie, Ankur and Kaustubha Das