Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is one of the celestial deities holding the divine prominence in Vedic scriptures. His form, intellect, divinity and strengths are glorified in the Ganesh Purana. He is Ganesha or Ganapati who is the lord of masses that worship him for his blessings. He is the first Vedic deity worshipped first at the altar before other deities at a ritual or a venture. He is the ruling deity of the Muladhara Chakra and blesses his devotees with wisdom and ability to face challenges and obstacles in life. He has a pot belly signifying contentment and fullness. He holds a fragrant Modak in His left hand signifying the bliss of satisfaction that he provides. His vehicle, the Mouse, signifies that one needs to curb vices (signified by mice) to achieve his state.

Origin of the name ‘Ganesha’ and other titles:

The Sanskrit word Ganesha is made of gana meaning a group or a cluster and isha meaning the controller, the leader or the master. The gana in an actual sense means a group of saintly beings serving as a retinue of Mahadeva (Shiva). Lord Ganesha is also known as Ganapati; gana meaning a group (of beings) and pati means the ruler who protects.

Sanskrit lexicon Amarakosha mentions others names of Ganesha as well:

  • Vidnaharta: One who removes obstacles
  • Gaṇādhipa: One who leads masses
  • Ekadanta: One who has one tusk, Heramba
  • Lambodara: one who has a pot belly
  • Gajanana: one who has the face of an elephant

Puranas mention that Lord Ganesha is the god of letters, learning and wisdom. In Sanskrit, the word buddhi is a feminine noun that is variously translated as intelligence, wisdom, or intellect. The Ganesh Purana and Ganesh Sahasranama (thousand names of Ganesha) mention one of the names as Buddhipriya, the one who is fond of intelligence. Buddhi (sense or intellect) is a female word meaning Lord Ganesha is the husband (priya or lover) of Buddhi. In the Kundalini Yoga sutras, Lord Ganesha mentioned as the ruler of Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra) connected with the foundation or stability in your life. Also in Ganapati Atharvashirsa it is given that "Lord Ganesha continually dwells in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine, Mūlādhāra Chakra. He resides permanently in every living being at the Muladhara. He guides all other chakras, thereby leading the forces that propel the wheel of life”. Therefore, Lord Ganeha is the primal force that supports the foundation of every aspect of your life. He removes all the obstacles to all your undertakings. One should meditate on him every day in the morning. One can also use Ganesha Yantras or Rudraksha beads ruled by Lord Ganesha to strengthen your Root Chakra.

How did Ganesha become ekdunt, one-tusked?

There are various Vedic narrations about Lord Ganesha losing one of his tusks in the Puranas. Once, Parashuraam visited the Himalayan Mountain (Kailash) to meet Lord Shiva who was fast asleep. Lord Ganesha ensured that no one disturbed Lord Shiva. When Parashuraam insisted Ganesh on letting him meet Shiva, both of them broke into arguments and then a fight. Ganesh grabbed him with his trunk and struck him on the ground. In turn, Parashuraam hurled his Pharasaa (axe) at Ganesha. Ganesh right away recognized it as His father's weapon that was given to him by Lord Shiva and received it with all his humbleness on his one tusk. As a result, the tusk broke apart.

Another story mentions that while writing the great epic Mahabharata under the authorship sage Vyaas, He realized the insufficiency of any ordinary pen 'to undertake the humongous task. Therefore, he broke one of his own tusks and used it as a pen. One story mentions that demonic king Ravana picked a fight with Lord Ganesha and forcibly took out one of his tusks. He made ivory earrings for his beautiful queen with this.

Bodily Features:

The bodily features of Lord Ganesha have been the essential facets of spiritual arts of India. The pictorial representations of Lord Ganesha have varied over a period of time; standing, sitting, attacking the demons, nestled between his parents Shiva and Parvati and the like.

Lord Ganesha possesses the head of an elephant and a rounded beefy belly. He holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand, an axe or a goad in one upper arm and a pasha (noose) in the other upper arm. The Puranas mention that Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati with clay her body’s dirt to guard her while she bathed in the mornings. Lord Shiva unaware of his creation out of clay threatened to kill him. When Lord Ganesha emerged as a hurdle between Shiva and Parvati, Shiva beheaded him. Realizing the truth later, Shiva replaced his head with that of an elephant. One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads.

The Mudgala Purana refers Lord Ganesha as ekadanta; ‘eka’ one and ‘danta’ dent or tusk, the one tusked god, while the other being broken. It also mentions two different avatars of Ganesha; lambodara and mahadora, potbelly and great belly respectively.

According to Brahmanda Purana, Ganesha is known as Lambodara because all the universes of the past, present, and future reside in him. According to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha has the serpent Vasuki around his neck. The serpent is also known as yagnyopavit a sacred thread wrapped around the belly as a belt, held in his divine hand, coiled around his ankles or as a throne. The Ganesha Purana, a Vedic treatise glorifying him, talks about the divine tilaka and the crescent moon on his forehead. Hence he is called Bhalachandra ‘Moon on the forehead’. The bodily color of Lord Ganesha is red but the Sritattvandhi mentions specific colors associated with meditation on Ganesha. For instance, white is associated with his representation as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati whereas Ekadanta is believed to own blue color.

Ashtavinayaka Temples:

The Sanskrit word ashta means eight and Vinayak is Lord Ganesha meaning, eight Ganeshas. Ganesh personifies unity, success and learning as well as removal of hurdles. Ashtavinayak Temples refers to the eight temples of Ganesha located at eight places in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Temple Location
Moreshwar Temple Morgaon of Pune
Siddhivinayak Temple Siddhatek of Ahmednagar
Ballaleshwar Temple Pali of Raigadh district
Varadavinayak Temple Mahad of Raigad district near Khopoli
Chintamani Temple Theur of Pune
Girijatmaj Temple Lenyadri of Pune
Vighnahar Temple Ozar of Pune
Mahaganpati Temple Ranjangaon of Pune

The Ashtavinayaka Yatra covers the eight primeval holy temples of Ganesha located around Pune district. Each of them has its own legend and historical importance. All the idols vary from each other in terms of bodily features. The form of each idol of Ganesha and his trunk stand different from the others. The devotees of Lord Ganesha, especially local residents of the states, believe that one must visit all the eight temples once in a year as blessings of Ashtavinayak fulfills all the spiritual and material wishes of worshippers.

Vahana (Vehicles)

As per MudgalaPurana, Gensha has a mouse, a lion in his avatar as Vakratunda, a peacock in his avatar as Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his avatar as Vighnaraja. The Matsya Purana, Brahmananda Purana and Ganesha Purana confirm that he uses mouse as his divine vehicle. One of the names of Ganesha in Ganesha Sahasranama (thousand names of Ganesha) is Musakavahana the one who is mounted on the mouse.

In the Vedic Literatures:

A manuscript discovered in the Indian state of Rajasthan in the 17th century mentions Saint Vyasa narrating the great epic Mahabharata to Lord Ganesh, who acts as a scribe. The Rig Veda mentions ‘Leader of the group’ (ganeshorganapati) at two places. It appears in the verse 2:23:1 as a title to Brahmanaspati which was subsequently taken as the mode of worship for Ganesha. Another place is the verse 10:112:9 where ganapati is referred to Indra who rules the celestial beings. Many commentators on the Vedas opine that both the verses may not actually be in reference to Ganesha but any celestial being that rules and protects the divine beings from asuras. However, the Ganapatya scriptures mention the Rig Vedic verses to honor Lord Ganesha. The Yajur Veda, MaitrayaniyaSamhita (2:9:1) and TaittiriyaAranyaka (10:1) mention a deity as dantith (the tusked one), hastimukhai (elephant-faced) and vakratunda (one with a curved trunk). As per Shiva Purana, Ganesha had sired two children: Kşema (success) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variations of this story, the children are said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha.

One of the major sources of information on Ganesha is Ganesha Purna which splits into two sections; the Upasanakhanda (upāsanākhaṇḍa) and the Kridakhanda (krīḍākhaṇḍa). The Kridakhanda is also known as the Uttarakhanda (uttarakhaṇḍa). Upasanakhanda includes a stotra (hymn) that is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and recited in Hindu temples as a living part of Ganesha devotion. The Kridakhanda of the Ganesha Purana features the stories about the four divine incarnations that appear in the four different yugas.

Ganesh Mantras:

1. Ganesh Mantras:

"Vakratunda mahaakaaya suryakoti samaprabhaa
Nirvighnam kurumedeva sarvakaaryeshu sarvadaa"

‘Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesh, whose curved trunk (vakra-tunda) and massive body (maha-kaayaa) shines like a million suns (surya-koti) and showers his blessings on everyone (sama-prabhaa). Oh my lord of lords Ganesh! (kurume-deva), kindly remove all obstacles (nir-vighnam), always (sarva-) and forever (sarvadaa-) from all my activities and endeavors (sarva-kaaryeshu).’

2. ShubhLaabh Mantra

"Om shrim gam saubhaagya ganpataye
Varvard sarvajanmme.nvaShamaanyanam"

Mantra for success and prosperity is based on gam, which is the seed. We ask for good fortune (sau-bhaagya) and blessings and wishes (var-vard) for our current and future life-times (sarva-janam-me.n). We bow in homage (namH) to Lord Ganesh who protects us with long lives (avaShamaanya) of health and happiness.

3. Ganesh Gayatri Mantra:

"Om tat purushhaaya vidmahe
vakratundaya dhimahi
tanno danti prachodayaath"

‘We pray to the supreme and perfect male (tatpurusḥāya) who is omnipresent (vidmahe). We meditate upon and pray for greater intellect (dhīmahi) to the Lord with the curved, elephant-shaped trunk (vakratunḍāya). We bow before the one with the single-tusked elephant tooth (tanno danti) to illuminate our minds with wisdom (prachodayāt).’

How to worship Lord Ganesha: The worship of Ganesha removes all the obstacles from the native’s path to material as well as spiritual growth: Following are the simple steps by which anyone can offer prayers to Lord Ganesh and seek his blessings:

Ceremonies And Festivals:

Lord Ganesha is worshipped on a number of religious and ceremonial occasions, particularly at the beginning of new activities such as buying a house or a professional venture. It is almost impossible to find a Hindu family that does not worship Lord Ganesha. It is believed that when Lord Ganesha is pleased before initiating a venture, one’s endeavor surely leads to success. Lord is always worshiped before all important personal, professional and ritual undertakings. To seek success, prosperity and protection against adversity, every Hindu family worships Ganesha.

One of the most popular festivals in India is Ganesh Chaturthi that occurs in the śuklapakṣa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of August/September and the Ganesh Jayanti (Ganesha's birthday) celebrated on the fourth day of the waxing moon in January/February. This festival honours Ganesha for ten days. The festival begins with people bringing in clay idols of Ganesha, symbolizing Ganesha's visit.

The festival culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi, when idols (murtis) of Ganesha are immersed in the most convenient body of water. Some families have a custom of immersing Ganesha on the second, third, fifth, or seventh day. In the year 1893, Lokmanya Tilak changed this yearly Ganesha celebration from individual family festivity into an open occasion for people. He did as such to conquer the rift between Brahmins and non-Brahmins and build a unity between them in his nationalistic mission against the British in Maharashtra. Because of Ganesha's wide claim as "the god for common man", Tilak picked this as a revitalizing point for India’s dissent against British standard. Tilak was the first to introduce significant open pictures of Ganesha in structures, and he set up the act of submerging all general society pictures on the tenth day.

Today, Hindus commend the Ganapati celebration with great enthusiasm especially in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The celebration witnesses colossal gatherings of devotees in Mumbai, Pune, and in the encompassing belt of Ashtavinayaka temples in the state. During the festival, people engage in devotional services such as organizing Ganesh Mandala, offering prayers and chanting the most celebrated mantra Om Gam GanapatayeNamah. In south India, there are art performances such as Bharatnatyam, dances and other spiritual exhibitions displayed as means to worship Ganesha. People offer Lord Ganesha sweets such as modaka and sweet balls called laddus. He is often shown carrying a bowl of sweets, called a modakapātra.

Ganesha Idols
Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular deities having significance in Western parts of Indian especially in the state of Maharashtra. Ganesha’s form, intellect, divinity and strengths are mentioned in the Ganesh Purana. He is Ganesha or Ganapati who is the lord of masses that worship him for his blessings. He is the first Vedic deity worshipped first at the altar before other deities at a ritual or a new venture.

Ganesha idols can be placed at your home for daily worship and it is the best way to meditate on his powerful form. It fills the home and the occupants with positivity and fortune. We offer Ganesh idols in brass and marbles as well as natural gemstones.
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Related Chakra:

As per Kundalini Yoga, the human body receives its subtle cosmic energies from seven chakras that are ruled by different gods. Lord Ganesha rules Muladhara Chakra, the Root Chakra associated with family, stability and knowledge. Mula means ‘main, root or original’ and adhara means ‘base’, meaning the Lord Ganesha is the root cause of our familial happiness and domestic peace that are absent without his blessings. The Ganapati Atharvashirsa mentions a verse: “O Ganesha! You reside at the base of the spine”.

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