God the Soccer Mom

God the Soccer Mom September 11, 2014

Sometimes I think of God as the Divine Soccer Mom.

The Divine Mother with her husband and son.
The Divine Mother with her husband and son.

In Sri Lalita Sahasranama (the 1000 names of She Who Plays), name 77 says, “When She glances upon the face of Kamesvara — Shiva — she gives rise to Ganesh.” Name 78 goes on to say, “She cheers when Ganesh shatters all obstacles.”

I envision Her standing at the game, which is actually the battle of our personal souls to escape samsara and reach liberation, and She’s cheering, “Go Ganesh! Shatter those obstacles!” Then She turns to us and says, “That’s my boy! Did you see him play?” She loves when we call on Ganesh. No one can help us clear a path like he can.

One of the commentaries I have (by Narayana Menon, translated from Malayalam by Dr. M.N. Namboodiri, and published by Ammachi Publications) explains,

The demonic powers create many obstacles and prevent the advance of the samsara-bound jiva towards Liberation. Seeing this sad state, Devi, in Her compassion, wanted to find a solution. Brahmanda Purana relates one story: “Thus, when the asuras threw obstacles in the path of the devas, Devi Lalita looked at Kamesvara’s face and smiled. From the radiance of that smile was born a deity with the face of an elephant with ichor flowing from the temples. He was Vighnesvara, the remover of obstacles, who shattered all the hindrances from the path of the devas.” This is why Vighnesvara (Gaṇeśa) is worshiped at the start of all auspicious undertakings.

It goes on to say that in the story, the demon leader was starting to lose ground when he deployed a yantra called jayavighna (“obstacle to victory”).

With that, the divine forces became dim-witted, sleepy and disinclined to fight. It is easy to identify these effects of the yantra with the slothfulness and loss of direction suffered by a seeker at the height of sadhana.

It is in this context that Devi looked at Kamesvara’s face and smiled, creating Gaṇeśa. Gaṇeśa, in turn, shattered the vighnayantra which please Devi.

This is my first post on Patheos, and I was nervous enough to get stage fright, so I called on Ganesh for help. He clears all obstacles, even our smallest ones. When fear arises, and we want to curl up into a ball at the moment we should take action, Ganesh breaks through that forcefield of fear so we can accomplish what we set out to do. Then She who rejoices when Ganesh shatters all obstacles (God the Soccer Mom) smiles at us and says: It’s open. Make your move.

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