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
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!