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Theme: Obstacles

Considered to be the son of Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati, this 10th century sandstone Ganesha from Madhya Pradesh stands multi armed in a dynamic pose of dance holding a club, an ax, a snake over his head and a bowl of sweets. He appears this way because he is known as the removing of obstacles and can club, chop, or burst through anything that may stand in his way. Since he removes obstacles, he is one of the most universally beloved deities across India. All people worship him and in particular make offerings before beginning new endeavors in hopes of preventing any obstacles that may come in their way.

Image credit: Ganesha; India, Madhya Pradesh; 11th century; sandstone; Rubin Museum of Art, C2004.14.4 (HAR 65346)

Mindfulness Meditation Series

Himalayan practitioners have, for centuries, used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase one’s ability to focus. Now, western scientists, business leaders, and the secular world have embraced meditation as a vital tool for brain health. Learn more

Presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg and the New York Insight Meditation Center.

About the Teacher

Tracy Cochran is editorial director ofParabola, a quarterly magazine that for forty years has drawn on the world’s cultural and wisdom traditions to explore the questions that all humans share. She has been a student of meditation and spiritual practices for decades and teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful writing at New York Insight Meditation Center and throughout the greater New York area. In addition toParabola, her writing has appeared inThe New York Times,Psychology Today,O Magazine,New York Magazine,the Boston Review, and many other publications and anthologies. For more information please visit