Hindu Mandir

Thu 03 November 2016

Episode 4

From the Hindu Mandir on Carnarvon Road, follow us as we dance through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui to celebrate Lord Ganesh's birthday.

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“As you wish, Krishna. On the 4th day of the Bhadrapad month, Lord Ganesha, who had been well fed by his devotees, was returning to his abode on his vehicle, the mouse. Seeing the sight of the huge Lord on a tiny mouse, the moon in the sky began to laugh aloud. He was vain about his splendor and beauty, and thus he laughed. Little did he know that all his splendor was only a ‘reflection’ of the Sun God. To teach the vain moon a lesson, Lord Ganesha cursed that no light ever fall on him again. Thus, the moon had no light and disappeared from the skies.”

“Be it the moon or any other being, if one forgets that source, one gets plunged into the darkness of ignorance. What happened next, Narada?”

“The moon repented and sought pardon from Lord Ganesha. All the other beings of the world too pleaded on his behalf and the Lord acceded. However, once a curse is pronounced, it cannot be taken back, even by God. It can only be modified. Thus, we are advised to be careful about our speech in everyday life. Lord Ganesha changed the curse and said that the moon would undergo regular waxing and waning to remind him to be humble. He also added that anyone seeing him on the 4th day (Chaturthi) of the Bhadrapada month would face blame and unjust criticism.”


This year, Ganesha Chaturthi falls on the Mid-Autumn Festival. You’re not supposed to, in fact, look at the moon that night, in case you'll be falsely accused the following year. It’s fascinating to dwell on what the moon is supposed to represent for both occasions and how starkly different they are - for one, it’s a reminder for humility; for the other, a call for togetherness and completion - and it makes me think of how large the world is, that it can embrace the weaving of multiple moral narratives, all wound around the same symbol. That night, it was almost as if the moon held everything in its grasp - hundreds lining the harbour to admire its glow after dinner, while out in the middle of the ocean, a group carefully averts their eyes.


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