Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Constantly marvel in wonder at the ordinariness of it all!
Constantly marvel in wonder at the ordinariness of it all!
(a reader at zen-forum.com posts the following):
So OK, I am one with the Kosmos; what next?
This is difficult for me to put into words; please have compassion. Perhaps every Zen practitioner has realized that he or she is inseparably part of a cosmic whole in which everything is connected with everything else; and that the words "part of" do not mean very much in this context.
But still, this piece of cosmos known as 'I' has to negotiate its practical existence, and that is as difficult as it ever was. The fruit of fearlessness has not yet come my way.
For all its apparent intellectual detachment, this problem seems real to me and troubles me a great deal; can any of you help? I would be grateful.
A lotus to you all,
Excellent post! Excellent title! Excellent question.
Several useful sayings and anecdotes come to mind.
I am trying to remember one Zen saying which more or less says,
"Before Enlightenment , trees are trees and mountains are mountains.
When Enlightenment comes, trees are not trees and mountains are not mountains.
After Enlightenment, trees are again trees and mountains are again mountains."
Before "enlightenment" or "grace" we live in an ordinary world which is sometimes rather uncomfortable and unpleasant, if not down right humiliating. Every day we are constantly forced to perform repetitive, boring, and even disgusting tasks such as moving our bowels, cleaning our bodies and clothing, cooking our food, washing our dishes, dressing, undressing, going to sleep, waking up, and dealing with sexual urges. Even Jesus had to deal with bowel movements for he says: Matthew 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught (sewer)?"
A human form is very noble and inspiring when seated in the lotus meditative posture, like a Buddha or a Mahavaira, or when the human form is hanging on the cross, crucified for the sake of all humanity. But the human form is not very noble or inspiring when it is seated on the toilet, or when it is on its knees scrubbing the kitchen floor.
It is very helpful to realize that THE VERY DESIRE FOR LIBERATION (enlightenment, salvation).... THAT VERY DESIRE ITSELF, is an impediment, an obstacle to Liberation and Moksha and Salvation. Even the Christian scriptures say, Mark 8:35: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it". All desire is a form of bondage, an attachment, and a source of suffering, even seemingly pious and virtuous desires, such as the desire for enlightenment or liberation or salvation or moksha. Even the desire to HAVE NO DESIRE (to be dispassionate) is a form of passion. It is ironic that the Crucifixion of Christ is also called "The Passion".
I realize that you are asking your question in the context of Zen Buddhism and not Christianity, but let us examine your question in the light of some interesting verses in the New Testament, and I hope to make several interesting points.
In John 1:26, "John the Baptist answered them, saying, ..... there standeth one among you, whom ye know not." Of course, John the Baptist was referring to Jesus, who was only one of many in the crowd that day, and not even the sort of person who would stand out in the crowd. Christians are not surprised that this Jesus is so plain, ordinary and unremarkable. We see in Isaiah 53:2 "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him".
Basically, what all this is saying is that Jesus was no movie star. He was an ordinary person who lived in an ordinary room, ate, slept, and wore ordinary clothes (just like you and me and everyone else). Of course, Andrew and Peter are quite astounded when they suspect that this one ordinary person in the crowd is the one person whom all the Prophets predicted as the "Messiah". In John 1:29, John the Baptist point out Jesus from the crowds by saying, "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Naturally, John's two apostles, Andrew and Peter, are curious and intrigued. We read (John 1:37) "And the two disciples (Andrew and Peter) heard him (John the Babtist) speak (calling Jesus the 'Lamb of God'), and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour." Andrew and Peter are astounded and perplexed by the ordinariness which they behold. How can some ordinary person who lives in poor circumstances be "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world"? We might even imagine Andrew and Peter in these verses, standing in Jesus humble home, mouth agape, looking about at the bed, the table, the chair, MARVELING IN WONDER AT THE ORDINARINESS OF IT ALL!
Stop and think for a moment. If YOU could reach that point in YOUR spiritual life where at EVERY WAKING MOMENT, you were CONSTANTLY MARVELLING IN WONDER at the ordinariness of everything, what would you have achieved? What would your spiritual state be called? Would you be happy or sad in such a state?
Another "ordinary figure" in religious scriptures is Krishna. Just like Jesus, Krishna is described as a physical individual with a body, pastimes and enjoyments, friends and relatives, and yet in spite of this "ordinariness", Krishna is simultaneously the ETERNAL GOD, an Avatar, an Incarnation, that INFINITE UNIVERSAL FORM, revealed to Arjuna in a vision, much like Jesus' Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Krishna's Uncle Uddhava comes to him one day and says, "All of the meditation and yoga that you have taught me seems so difficult for me. I despair of ever making any spiritual progress with such yoga disciplines." Krishna replies, "If you can arrive at the point where you see ME (GOD) in all creatures and all things, even humble and base things, then you will have achieved the highest level of spirituality, an no other discipline or meditation or sacrifice will be necessary." If a person could achieve such a continual state, in which they see God everywhere, in all things, at all moments, does it not seem to you that such a person would be CONSTANTLY MARVELING IN WONDER at the ordinariness of it all.
Aristotle, in the Metaphysics, says "Philosophy begins in wonder." When Moses was tending his flocks, and noticed a flaming bush, he was overcome with wonder, and abandoned his worldly occupations and duties, to take a closer look. Exodus 3:3, "And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." Is not all of physical reality, though in one sense quite plain and ordinary (because we have grown accustomed to it), yet in another sense a "wondrous burning bush"?
The Apostles do get to see this homely, ordinary Jesus radiant with light on top of Mt. Tabor during the "holy Transfiguration". This radiant "taboric light" is what those eastern orthodox icon paints attempt to depict by the "halo" which surrounds the heads of saints and martyrs. The monks of Mt. Athos practiced the continual repetition of the 'Jesus Prayer', in hopes of achieving continual and unceasing 'prayer of the heart'. Eastern Orthodox "Lives of Saints" sometimes describe a monastic, in such prayer, suddenly shining radiantly with this 'Taboric light'. The supernatural light of this phenomenon came to be called "the uncreated light" and became the serious subject of theological debates around the 14th century in Greece, in a dispute between Gregory Palamas and Barlaam Calabria.
The word hesychaia, in Greek, means PEACEFULNESS. Hesychasm refers to the spirituality which was characteristic of the early Church Fathers in the 4th and 5th centuries. These monks were hermits dwelling in the deserts seeking inner peace and spiritual insight while practicing contemplation and self-discipline as they studied the New Testament and the Psalter. Hesychasm refers to the type of contemplation which developed with the Byzantine spirituality from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Such spirituality employed the method of praying the Jesus Prayer "(Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.)" The saying of the prayer was synchronized with one's breathing. This spiritual practice is characteristic of the spirituality described in the five volume collection called Philokalia. Hesychasm refers to the theological exposition of the contemplation of God as proposed by Gregory Palamas in the 14th century and became the official doctrine of the Orthodox Church. Palamas' aimed for this proposal was to defend the hesychastic spirituality and the way of prayer of the monks of Mt. Athos and the Byzantine Orient against the attacks of the Barlaam Calabria. Palamas distinguished between the unchanging essence of God and His uncreative energies. The Taboric Light (the light that surrounded Christ in the Transfiguration), the goal sought in contemplation by the hesychasts, was a theophany, or manifestation of God, through His uncreated energies.
We would all prefer to be God or Buddha, shining radiantly with a supernatural radiant light, rather than sitting on a toilet producing gas and foul odors. But no matter how much we meditate or pray or worship or fast, we do not experience any supernatural light, except in our hearts and imagination. We do not escape the bathroom or the bedroom or the kitchen or the dentist's chair.
Blaise Pascal said it best in his Pensees (Meditations): "Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him, the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity then, consists in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavour then, to think well; this is the principle of morality."
When the student asks the master about enlightenment or Buddha-nature, the master asks, "Have you had your breakfast?". When the student replies "Yes!", the master says "Then go wash your bowl."
It is by THOUGHT, and EQUANIMITY that we transcend the unpleasant physical realities of our mundane corporeal existence. Mind makes suffering. Mind makes all things, in a way, all things that matter. Eleanor Roosevelt stated this in a different way when she said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent". Even a thief hanging on a cross is able to keep his dignity and elevate his mind. We can never escape the need to sit on a toilet, but we are not forced to keep our MIND on the toilet, or IN the toilet. Our Mind is free to be in the Heaven of Heavens with the Archangels and Cherubim and Seraphim, ceaselessly changing "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts". Are those angelic orders not also CONSTANTLY MARVELING IN WONDER at the ordinariness of it all.Once, an officer of an invading army entered a Zen Buddhist monastery, and found the Zen Master seated in meditation. The officer drew his sword, but the Zen Master did not move. The officer said angrily, "Do you not realize that I am a man who can run you through with this sword, without blinking an eye?" The Zen Master looked at him and replied, "Do YOU not realize that I AM A man who can BE RUN THROUGH without blinking an eye?" The officer felt greatly humbled, bowed, and left in peace.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Multiculturalism and its Opposite
Universal Accord is Not the Touchstone of Truth
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Those who revile ALL religion
Practical Good v. Moral Good
We cannot know what is good. We only know what is evil.
Harnessing the Inclination Towards Evil
Was Jesus a Socialist?
The Future of Human Culture
Friday, August 26, 2011
Old bygone ways of life and possible future ways
An alternative solution
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
Intellectual name dropping
Being candid about extremes of lethal force
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Quality of Life for the Neanderthal
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD
I'm not sure to whom that question is pointed. If it is directed at me, nothing! I don't need ANY church, thank you. But others are conditioned to need it, even when it hurts them badly. Even so, I'm still not quite sure who you're trying to convince, or why.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Optimism,. Pessimism, Risk taking, the Middle Way
Jaroslav Pelikan - Vol. I - The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition
Monday, August 22, 2011
Law before the laws
One interesting discovery has been that there are fewer practical differences between moralism and amoralism than might have been expected. It seems to me that what could broadly be called desire has been the moving force of humanity, no matter how we might have window-dressed it with moral talk. By desire I do not mean sexual craving, or even only selfish wanting. I use the term generally to refer to whatever motivates us, which ranges from selfishness to altruism and everything in between and at right angles. Mother Theresa was acting as much from desire as was the Marquis de Sade. But the sort of desire that now concerns me most is what we would want if we were absolutely convinced that there is no such thing as moral right and wrong. I think the most likely answer is: pretty much the same as what we want now.William: With all due respect, no offense intended, I feel your argument about primordial pre-law life is artificial. I can see you are a serious writer so I respect your efforts. Consider the behavior of various pack animals with an alpha leader. One clearly sees that there are some kind of rules and a "pecking order." Homer's Iliad and Odyssey do not seem to mention formal laws but obviously there is a notion of right and wrong and there are consequences to ones actions. I am certain one could find the same system of taboos among Australian aborigines or among Eskimos. I would have to study your writing at length but I feel you are setting out on the wrong track with your initial assumptions. The physical universe obeyed "laws" long before there were humans to observse such laws. I imagine the regularity of the seasons and the heavenly bodies and tides gave prehistoric humans a sense of order and regularity. To me it makes more sense to speak in terms of subjective laws or norms which change with time and changing circumstances. I want to read your post at length and give it some thought. Whenever I see people heading in this direction I have the impression that they are trying to escape from constraints and justify themselves. If we live on an island alone, there is no law or police, yet if we eat too much then we suffer the punishment of illness and pay a price which is only to say that our actions and inaction have consequences.
Tasteless Gaddafi Jokes
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Protestant dialogue - 3
or perhaps recidivism, backsliding, and there is even a verse which the Greeks refer to as "divine abandonment" but I would have to Google. I sincerely believe that Satan waited for something like indulgences and someone like Luther to unleash upon the world the soul destroying notion that one is guaranteed salvation by paying lip service to a few sentences of doctrine and I see this as soul-destroying for the simple reason that it makes people complacent and lazy, lulling them into a false sense of security. Surely in that parable about the judgment the people who said "Lord, Lord, we worked miracles" must have sincerely believed that their salvation was guaranteed. When that man asked Christ "Good Rabbi, what must I do to gain eternal life" Jesus did not say "confess me as the Son of God and invite me into your life as your personal savior" but rather he told him to look to Moses and the commandments. Do you feel Christ was lying in that verse? But when the man is insistent then Christ describes what sounds like monasticism to me, to sell all that you have, give it to the poor, take up your cross and follow me. And where in all your Protestant emotionalism and Bible rock-and-roll is there any sign of monastic renunciation or asceticism.
Truth and Bearing False Witness
Advice - 2
Advice to a misguided young Protestant
Google Plus Social Network Statistics
With whom does the fault lie?
Thoughts on Education
Friday, August 19, 2011
Jain Anekantavada and the Grace of Maya
Acausality, Nothingness and a place for things to take place
The Bondage of Love
Freedom and Necessity
reason to hope
Wisdom Begins in Fear of the Lord
Knowledge is Necessary but not Sufficient
If there is no God then WE are God
Levity versus Gravity
A Noble Agnostic
The Opposite of Love is Indifference
Doing Only Our Duty
An Atheist in Peshawar Fasts Ramadan
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5
G.W. Bush and his Christian Bull Horn
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Forgiving and Loving Enemies - 2
Who is your Enemy and What is Forgiveness
Monday, August 15, 2011
Whom Did Jesus Die For?
Desire as the Source of Suffering
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Trashing Gandhi - 2
Regarding Gandhi's Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Saturday, August 13, 2011
My First Mandir Katha (Sermon) on Lord Ganapati
OM SRI GANESHAYA NAMAH!
HAIL TO HOLY GANESHA, HONOR!
All sacrifices and religious ceremonies, all serious compositions in writing, and all worldly affairs of importance are begun with an invocation to Lord Ganesh. Without the Blessing of Lord Ganesh, no one will attain his purposes. A teacher on his pupils' first day in class will have the students recite this sacred Mantra. Only then will he begin teaching the alphabet.
Lord Ganesh is Lord of Categories (from "gan", to reckon or count and "Isa", lord). He is also known as "Lord of Hosts". It is no coincidence that in the Judaeo-Christian Old Testament, God is frequently referred to a "Lord of Hosts". He is Vighneshvara, Lord of Obstacles, who knows the intricacies of each soul's karma and the perfect path of Dharma that makes action successful. He sits on the Muladhara Chakra (which is located at the base of the spine, having the attributes of memory, space and time) and He is very easy to access. Lord Ganesh is also identified in the Rig Veda with Shri Brihaspati ("Lord of Prayer, The Holy Word").
Lord Ganesh is the first scribe and it was to Him that Vyasa dictated the Mahabharat. Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharat with His tusk while Vyasa dictated. Lord Ganesh accepted only on the condition that Vyasa dictate without interruption. Vyasa agreed on the condition that Lord Ganesh write nothing down until He fully understood it fully (thus giving Vyasa the pauses which he required).
There are eight miraculous contradictory qualities which God may exhibit at will in any Divine Manifestation. They are described in the Balakanda of Tulsidas and are manifested by Lord Hanuman. They are:
ANIMA - Small
MAHIMA - Great
GARIMA - Heavy
LAGHIMA - Light
PRAPTI - Obtain anything
PRAKAMYA - Do anything
ISHITVA - Absolute Supremacy or Domination
VASHITVA- Absolute Subjugation or Servitude
We see in the Moorty of Lord Ganesh the simultaneous manifestation of the Greatness and Heaviness of the Elephant and the Smallness and Lightness of the Rat. Lord Ganesh is the Remover of Dualities and the Unifier and Harmonizer of Opposites.
Once a dispute arose as to which form of the Deity was the greatest. Lord Brahma proposed a race around the world. Lord Ganesh, being the Unifier of all Dualities, and having the slowest vehicle, the Rat, was soon left behind. Lord Ganesh, being a scribe, decided to write the Holiest of Names, RAM which includes all of creation, in the dust of the earth. Then placing his parents Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati on either side of the Holy Name, He worshipped Them by circumambulating Them in pradakshina. Lord Brahma at once decreed that Lord Ganesh should be worshipped first before any other form of Bhagavan. For as Tulsidas says "If you would have light within and without, place the luminous Name of Ram on your tongue, like a jeweled lamp on the threshold of the door."
Lord Ganesh is also known by the name Ekadanta, which means "Having the Great, Supreme, Unique Tusk". We must ask ourselves how Lord Ganesh came to have only one tusk. What is the significance of the One Tusk.
Describing the wedding of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati, on page 75 of our Ramayan, Tulsidas writes "At the Direction of the Sages, Both Shambu and Bhavani worship Lord Ganesh. Let no one be perplexed on hearing this, remembering that Gods have existed from time without beginning."
Now, we know from the various Puranas that one day Lord Ganesh's stomach had become very large from eating all of the sweet cakes and rice balls which His devotees had offered to Him. He mounted his Rat vehicle and began slowly to ride home. The Rat was frightened by a snake which was crossing the road, and Lord Ganesh fell down. His stomach burst and all of the sweet cakes and rice balls spilled out. Lord Ganesh gathered the cakes and put them back in his stomach, and then used the snake as a belt to hold them in. The Moon laughed to see such things. Lord Ganesh became angry and plucked out one of his tusks, throwing it at the Moon. This caused the Moon to disappear. Lord Ganesh at once retrieved His tusk and restored the Moon, but to this day the Moon waxes and wanes between full moon and new moon. On the Feast Day of Lord Ganesh, devotees are cautioned not to look at the Moon.
What can we learn from Lord Ganesh's one Tusk, and his parents Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati worshipping their Son at their Wedding?
We must look at the Chandogya Upanishad and the Holy Mantra to be found there:
TAT TVAM ASI
THAT THOU ART.
There is in India a Sampradaya which takes Lord Ganesh as their Ishtadeva. Sacred to this Sampradaya is the Mudgala Purana which explains a form of Yoga centered around Lord Ganesh as the embodiment of Tat Tvam Asi, That Thou Art. For the Advaitin Monist Vedantin, Tat Tvam Asi expresses the unity of the individual soul with the greatest reality, Brahman. Tat Tvam Asi is a mirror image of Lord Ganesh Himself. The body of a human is associated with word Tvam. The head of the elephant is equated with word Tat. The entire Moorty itself is the Unifier of both these opposites and is associated with the word Asi.
In the Chandogya Upanishad, we see the young Lord Krishna being taught these principles by his Guru, Ghora Angirasa:
"Said the seer Sandilya: At the moment of death a knower of Brahman should meditate on the following truths:
Thou are imperishable, Thou are the changeless Reality, Thou art the source of Life.
This highest knowledge, the knowledge of Brahman, having drunk of which one never thirsts, did Ghora Angirasa teach to Lord Krishna, Son of Devaki."
The possibilities for analyzing the world are virtually infinite, and the meanings of the individual words TAT and TVAM and their synthesis ASI, are also infinite. Lord Ganesh, who is the Embodiment of TAT TVAM ASI, is also infinite in his Avatars or Incarnations. But eight primary forms of Lord Ganesh's Avataric manifestations are emphasized in the Mudgala Purana. Each incarnation represents a particular stage of the Absolute as it unfolds into Creation. Lord Ganesh is the Physical Universe. That Absolute is both Svaraka - the world and all its diversity, and Niraka - the imperishable Soul as it abides apart from the movement of Creation and Dissolution of the Universe. The Mudgala Purana contains Hymns in which Lord Ganesh is praised as a variety of entities that represent the various stages of the Absolute as it unfolds in the world. The Absolute, prior to Creation, is devoid of distinction. The first step in the creative process is a twofold change in the absolute that becomes svata utthanaka, a term that means something like "awakening on its own", and parata utthana, which might be loosely translated as "aroused by another".
The Svata Utthana Brahma, the absolute that has awakened to creation of its own accord, is in fact the entity responsible for creation. It begins to wonder about itself, to ponder its own nature, and through the power of its thought (VIKALPA) it becomes twofold. It becomes a cognizer, and it becomes that which is cognized, both, however in an undifferentiated state. In other words, It becomes both the Body (Deha) and the Embodied Soul (Dehin).
The cognizer is considered to be formless, NIRAKARA, while the Absolute as the potential object of cognition, the visible and invisible physical world, has everything as its form, and is SARVAKARA.
The actual creation of the world will proceed from the undifferentiated unity of potential physical objects, which are seen as four different types of bodies. The undifferentiated unity of the four bodies is termed the BINDU. The process of creation will require as well an undifferentiated unity of cognizers, which is the "SO HAM" or awareness of "I AM".
The Bindu is equated with PRAKRITI or Primordial Matter, while the unity of souls is equated with PURUSHA, and together they will create the world of Souls and Bodies. It is Lord Ganesh, as the ASI, of TAT TVAM ASI, who joins the PRAKRITI and PURUSHA, and allows Creation to proceed. Lord Ganesh is the synthesis of the SVATA UTTHANA and PARATA UTHANA, the two Absolutes which arise at the first moment of Creation. From this perspective, Lord Ganesh is responsible for the appearance of the entire Universe, of its physical elements as they proceed from the BINDU, of individual Souls, and of the Puranic Manifestations of the Deities and Sakti Ma, Lord Surya, Lord Visnu, and Lord Shiva.
The sweet cakes in the large belly of Lord Lampodara represent all of physical reality. The two tusks represent the Dualistic nature of Reality, Dukka and Sukka, Hot and Cold, Good, and Evil, Sweet and Bitter (as well as our mind's dualistic true-false Reason). The fear of the snake represents the ignorance of Maya as we mistake a rope for a snake, not recognizing that a rope offers us a means both to bind our adversaries and to ascend to a higher plane. The confusion between the snake and the rope is a frequent metaphor in Sanatan Dharma for the ignorance and delusion of Maya. This fear and delusion leads to a weakening of Faith and we loose our ability to transcend the suffering of the Dualities through Yogic equanimity. But Lord Ganesh makes the snake into a rope and subdues all the "ten thousand and one" sweet cakes of samsara. The moon of course is God in the Dvaita Saguna relationship to the devotee through Bhakti, which we recognize as Ramachandra. When we loose our equanimity and faith by misusing the two tusks of our rational mind, we mistakenly perceive that God is laughing at us as our enemy, as did Ravanna. This causes God to disappear from our view, (even though He is always really there). The two tusks of an elephant represent the Dualistic nature of Human Reason (which is always looking for contradictions) and which causes doubt and weakness of Faith. Lord Ganesh does violence to Himself, to remove one Tusk, so that we will be Single Minded in our faith. So the devotee must do violence through the practice of meditation, japa, Tapyas, and fasting, and constantly bathing the Mind in the Holy Katha of the Lord, singing the Lord's Glories, to achieve single mindedness. But the removed Tusk becomes the pen whereby the Sacred Scriptures of the Lord are forever written in our Hearts. And it is by means of the constant singing of the Leilas of the Lord in His Holy Katha that the Lord continuously Incarnates in Midst of our Sat Sang. We see that it is the snakes immobilizing Lord Ram which cause Lord Garuda to doubt His Divinity. Again, here is one of the eight Miraculous qualities of absolute servitude, (almost to the point of death) in Lord Ram, and of snakes as binding ropes. It is only the Recitation of the Holy Katha of the Ramayan by Kag Bushundi to Lord Garuda which restores Lord Garuda's faith.
Now, if we are confused by all these images and seeming contradictions, we need only look at the Bhagavad Gita in chapters nine and ten and contemplate all that which Lord Krishna explain to Arjuna that He is. In 9:17 Lord Krishna says:
"I am the Father of the Universe, The Mother, the Grandfather, the Sacred Syllable OM, the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas."
9:19 "I am Immortality and Death, Being and Non-Being (SAT and ASAT)"
10:21 "I am Vishnu,... and among the (nightly) heavenly bodies I am the Moon"
10:23 "I am Shankara (Shiva),... I am Fire (Agni)"
10:25 "Of Sacred Words I am OM,... of sacrifices, JAPA (silent repetition of prayer)"
10:27 "I am the most princely of Elephants"
10:30 "I am Prahalad,... I am Garuda"
10:31 "I am Ram,... I am the Ganges"
10:38 "Of Secrets,...I am Holy Silence (Maunam)"
and in 11:31 Arjuna says to Lord Krishna:
"You are the Infinite Lord of Gods, you are the Dwelling Place of the Universe, The Imperishable, the Existent, the Non-Existent, and That which Is beyond both"
We may also notice that, in the Srimad Bhagavatam, when Lord Krishna and BalaRama enters into the arena of Kamsa, each group of persons perceived them differently. Their parents saw Them as mere infants. Kamsa saw Them as Death Incarnate, the Yogis saw Them as Ultimate Truth, and the towns people each perceived Them each differently according to each beholder's wisdom or lack of wisdom.
So Divinity has many Forms and Many Names, and Many are the Paths to the One, and may each one of us continually progress spiritually day after day, birth after birth, towards that Ultimate Liberation through the help of Lord Ganesh.
Ganesha Sharinam, Sharinam Ganesha Jai Shri Ram Om Namaha Shivaya Hari Om Tat Sat Om Namah Bhagavata Vasudevaya