Full Moon Eclipse Special: The Story of Ganesh
There’s a story about Ganesh and how the moon got its big crater. As the story goes, Ganesh was walking home from a big party where he overate and fell then everything around him went awry. The big full moon that Ganesh had previously been admiring for its perfect beauty and light, started laughing at Ganesh. Ganesh, angered, started yelling at the moon but the moon kept laughing. Ganesh got so angry that he tore off his own tusk and threw it at the moon, gashing out a crater in its face of the moon.
As the story goes, this removed the moon’s vanity. Vedic mythology lacks the same easy morals that we often conclude in Western Mythology, but there’s an idea here worth exploring. Ganesh is popularly known as the remover of obstacles, but did he in this case inflict more of his own suffering by tearing off his own tusk?
Another Way Out Of Your Obstacles
So many of the obstacles we face are contingent upon our own reaction to them. Our reaction to obstacles either reduces or increases our own suffering. When faced with obstacles, too much of the time, we are caught up labelling them: this obstacle is bad, that obstacle is getting in my way….In the case of the moon, the moon was humouring him for falling down. While throwing his tusk at the moon did shut up her laughter, by tearing off a piece of his own body he instead perpetuated his own suffering. It is often this way when we face obstacles, we react and fight back against the obstacle and create more suffering for ourselves. When we see the obstacle as only one way, usually negatively, we miss the point.
Full Moon, The Eclipse and Our Wholeness
The full moon usually appears as a flat disk of light in the night sky. We know it’s round, but to the naked eye, it appears quite flat. We know it’s round, but take little notice of its wholeness. A lunar eclipse offers a rare opportunity to see things as they really are. When the Earth interrupts the full light of the sun from the moon and shades it, the shadow allows us to see the moon as whole and round: we can see it in all its oneness. It is always a round ball in the sky, but it takes a shadow to really see this wholeness, roundness, fullness, oneness.
In Tantric Yoga, the goal is to recognise the interconnectedness of reality. Tantra moves beyond duality to show things as they really are, inter-connected and one. The moon is not flat with one side full and the other un-full. The moon is one whole object reflecting light. Because of the way it generally appears in the sky with no shadow, we talk about its phases as crescents and halves, when in reality, it is always full and whole, but the light hits on the far side that we cannot see. In this energy of the full moon eclipse, our own shadow side may become more present than usual. Will you react to create more suffering and ignore your shadow side, or will you integrate them so that you can see the wholeness in yourself? Will you tear yourself apart and hurl things at your obstacles, or will you reframe them? An obstacle is also an opportunity. Nothing is good, nothing is bad, it’s just one thing, interconnected and part of a bigger whole. Your shadow side is cast out of your own true light. Your shadow side is part of you; it serves you and when you acknowledge it, it will let you see the true reality of oneness that surrounds you.
The story of Ganesh is that he removed the moon’s vanity by hurling a crater into it. He could have felt his feeling of anger and integrated this shadow side of himself, but instead he chose a fight and tore himself apart. Our obstacles are opportunities for growth. How we react to them will either reduce or increase our own suffering. May you see the oneness in each full moon eclipse, shadow and light, integrated into the wholeness of our true reality.
About the Author
Regina Marie Woodard is a Yoga teacher, body worker and Reiki Master who teaches throughout Asia and now, online. IG: @inthebright