Gaṇeśa Mahāyātrā:

Pilgrimage to the Source

February 16th - 27th, 2020
Join us on a sacred pilgrimage to the ancient Aṣṭavināyaka shrines of Lord Gaṇeśa in Maharashtra, India. As we journey, we immerse ourselves in deep devotional practice and wisdom teaching, calling forth a profound experience of the divine.

Yātrā: A Sacred Journey

The ancient practice of yātrā, pilgrimage, has the power to wholly transform our being. A pilgrimage is both an inner and outer journey to a powerful place where the divine presence abides in its full power and presence.

Our outer journey takes us to ancient shrines and ecological marvels, where countless beings before us have also journeyed and practiced. Simply being in the sacred environment connects us with lifetimes of worship, devotion, and wisdom. By putting forth the effort to physically journey to these profound holy spaces, we allow ourselves to receive the blessings of all of those who journeyed before us.

The inner pilgrimage begins the moment we connect with our longing to be in the divine presence, and to have darśana – to see and be seen by that which we revere and adore. With each outer step of our journey, we also turn inwards, exploring the temple of our being, and  engaging the practices and teachings that direct us towards the vision and experience of the divine.

In a traditional yātrā, pilgrims perform both inner and outer practices to have the experience of deep darśana. They engage far deeper than just a luxurious tourist visit to a foreign country – this is deep spiritual immersion into the land and living culture from where our tradition arose.

Each day of yātrā is spent in conscious spiritual practice, with the goal of having such a profound vision and tangible experience of the divine that it stays with you always, throughout the journey of your life.

The Aṣṭavināyaka Temples

Śrī Gaṇeśa is the most iconic form of the divine in our tradition, and the most universally loved. The embodiment of wisdom, goodness, and joy, he is remembered and worshipped first, before we begin any other practice. To his devotees, he is the entire universe of creation; the sound of Oṃ, Śiva & Śakti in perfect union, and the source of limitless blessings and grace.

There are eight traditional shrines to Gaṇapati in Maharashtra, India, where the forms of him that are worshipped there are all considered svayambhū, arising naturally out of their own accord.

This pilgrimage is a pradakṣiṇā, a ritual circle that goes to each of those shrines (returning to the first one at the end). Each one invokes a different experience and form of Lord Gaṇeśa. We will also visit lesser-known shrines in the area that have spiritual and historical significance. This journey is the most renowned and meaningful traditional pilgrimage for devotees of Śrī Gaṇeśa.

Moreśvara

Siddhivināyaka

Cintāmaṇi

Mahāgaṇapati

Vighneśvara

Girijātmaja

Varadavināyaka

Ballaleśvara

An Auspicious Time: Celebrate Mahāśivarātri

Our journey is scheduled for a  deeply auspicious time that includes the celebration of Mahāśivarātri. This is a night where we worship and honor Lord Śiva, Gaṇeśa’s father, who embodies supreme presence and is the lord of yoga.

For Śaivites, this is in fact the holiest night of the year. In honor of this event, we will also have darśan at a Śiva temple, participate in a traditional liṅgabhiśekha ceremony, chant mantra, and for those who wish to, we have the option to do the full jāgran practice all the way until sunrise!

Dive into Daily Practice

Each day of pilgrimage also includes guided learning and practice sessions where you will experience:

  • Daily pūjā and ritual practices led by a brahmin priest
  • Mantra and scriptural recitation training in Sanskrit
  • Philosophical wisdom courses relating to Śrī Gaṇeśa
  • Powerful Gaṇeśa Yajña at a traditional pāṭhaśāla, a Vedic school, led by 4 generations of priests
  • Mythological teachings and insights about each of the 8 Aṣṭavināyaka Gaṇapatis
  • Seasonal Ayurvedic wisdom and ritual eating practices
  • Iconography and symbolism of the 8 Gaṇapatis
  • Ritual sacred art coloring practice with custom prints
  • Kirtan and devotional music taught by local classical musicians
  • Sacred dance and movement offered by local classical dance teachers
  • Āsana and prāṇāyāma sessions
  • Meditation and quiet reflection practice
  • Ritual conduct and cultural awareness training
  • Community service project
  • Nature exploration & ecological wisdom

Core Teachers:

Shivani Hawkins
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Maitreya Larios
Hema Patankar
Ekabhumi Ellik

More Information:

Dates:
Sunday, February 16th – Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Lodging:

Cozy and quiet private bungalows near Pune; option of double or single rooms with Western-style restroom options.

Meals:

Meals are prepared by a private chef and are traditional, local, seasonal, vegetarian, and guided by Ayurvedic wisdom. Includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea & snacks.

Transportation:

All transportation provided as soon as you arrive in Pune (via plane, train, bus, or taxi), and until you leave. We will have private transportation to/from the temples and other sites.

Pune is a short trip from Mumbai, with many transit options to and from other major cities as well. We are happy to assist with trip planning where possible.

Registration Rates:

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION by October 31st, 2019: $1950 (double room), $2450 (single room)

REGULAR REGISTRATION by Jan 15th, 2019: $2450 (double room)/ $2950 (single room)

Space is limited. To reserve your spot, an initial deposit of $450 is required. This deposit is refundable until November 15th, 2019.

Scholarships/Indian Residents:

We offer discounted scholarships rates for Indian residents as well as those in need based on age (younger than 30, older than 70), low income, disability, or other special circumstances. To request a scholarship, please contact us at admin@livingsanskrit.com.

Questions:

For more information, scholarship inquiries, or any other assistance, please contact us at admin@livingsanskrit.com. We are happy to help!

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