Hinduism 101

Ganesh Utsav and Healthcare Chaplaincy


A Very Shubh Ganesh Chaturthi, everyone! May your days be filled with unobstructed life situations and full of sheer bliss and peace.

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सुर्यकोटि समप्रभ
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa

O Lord Ganesha, of Curved Trunk, Large Body, and with the Brilliance of a Million Suns,  Please Make All my Works Free of Obstacles, Always.

Mentioned above is the Ganesh Mantra. Invoking the presence and blessings of Lord Ganesha is the first step of any rites, rituals, puja (worship). A lot of devotees also begin their daily tasks in the same manner. Personally, I recite this mantra during my morning worship as well as when I step out of the house for the day. As the English translation explains: Asking for all my tasks to be free of obstacles by Lord Ganesha’s grace.

It is extremely important to note that every Hindu deity is symbolic and that devotees understand that images are pointers to the Supreme Reality that pervades everything that exists.

Lord Ganesh is a representation of one who has realized the Ultimate Reality. Lord Ganesh encourages seekers to aspire for and reach the Supreme State through proper spiritual practices.

The large ears and elephant head of Lord Ganesh represent wisdom through sravana – active listening – to the eternal truths of Vedanta and manana – independent reflection upon those truths.

This works as daily reminders for me as I put on the badge of a chaplain when I enter the hospital. As chaplains, the very thing we are taught is to listen to the patients, to really hear what they are telling us. Following that, we are encouraged to reflect in an independent, unbiased manner upon what transpired within the patient room and figure out any lessons learned.

So the manifestation of Ganeshji reminds me every morning what I am to aspire for : Active listening and independent reflection.

May your days be filled sheer bliss.

Until next time,



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