The Greatness of Ganesha
Salutations to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings. Lord Sri Ganesha is the embodiment of the all-pervading universal energy. Lord Ganesha is Nirakara Para Brahma Swarupa or the embodiment of the formless Supreme Consciousness who grants gnana or knowledge and nirvana or liberation. Ganesha is the eternal Supreme Truth, the Eternal Supreme Consciousness.
Ganesha grants freedom from difficulties, debt, disease, hardship, enemies, and negative karma. Ganesha grants wisdom, vidya (knowledge), nirvana, success and wealth.
OM GANANAM TVA GANAPATI GUM HAVAMAHE
KAVIM KAVINAM UPAMASRA VASTAMAM
JYESTHARAJAM BRAHMANAM BRAHMANASPATA ANAH
SRNVAN NUTI BHISSI DASADANAM
What is the meaning of Ganesha?
GA stands for gnana or Eternal Knowledge
NA means mukti pradata or nirvana pradata meaning one who grants liberation
ISHA means the Divine Father who rules
Ganesha is referred to as Gananam Pati. Pati meaning Supreme Lord. Ganas meaning forms. Therefore Ganesha is said to be the Lord of all forms of creation, which include the devatas or demi-gods, the nakshatras or stars, the brahmandas or galaxies, and the sapta Rishis or the seven holy sages that form the eternal Ursula Major or the Big Dipper. (These 7 great sages are: Atri, Gautama, Bharadvaja, Vashishta, Vishvamitra, Kashyapa, and Jamadagni).
What Does Each Part of Ganesha Symbolize?
Sri Ganesha is in the form of an Elephant Head, in which the elephant is a symbol of the power of Knowledge, and the body of a human, in which humans symbolize Karma. As humans have an excess of Karma, Lord Ganesha represents the balance and victory over karma through the power of knowledge. Lord Ganesha, who is famous for his wisdom, sense of humor, holds a Pasha in one of His right hands to attract the minds of his devotees, to propel mankind forward on the eternal path and to remove obstacles from the way of his devotees, while one of His left hands bestow boons. One of the left hands that carries an Ankusha (goad), symbolizes the demolishment of ignorance and a gentle execution to capture all the difficulties, while the hand that holds a lotus or a rosary, suggests that the quest for knowledge should not quench. Sri Ganesha is one-tusked (ekadantam) which symbolizes Oneness, and His big belly (lambodaram) is a symbol of the universes.
Lord Ganesha‘s head symbolizes the soul, which is the eventual and supreme reality of human existence. His body signifies Maya and His trunk represents “OM”. His ears can hear all our prayers and the snake that runs around his waist, represents energy in all forms. He uses a mouse (represents anger, pride, selfishness, etc) as his vehicle to ride, which indicates that we must have control over all these enemies. And finally the “laddu” that he holds in his trunk, signifies that one must discover the sweetness of the soul.
Why Ganesha has an Elephant Head ?
There are a few legends attributed to the manifestation or birth of Lord Ganesha; however, the most accepted one is that He was formed by Goddess Parvati, from the material of Her own body. She then instructed Ganesha to guard, while she had her bath. It was during this time that Lord Shiva came there to meet His consort Parvati, however the steadfast Ganesha did not allow entry to Him. The enraged Shiva, sent His demigods or “Ganas” to conquer Ganesha, but they had to taste defeat. This made Lord Shiva to tackle with Ganesha directly and in the battle, Shiva severed the head of Ganesha. Goddess Parvati, who returned after Her bath, became extremely furious after witnessing Ganesha, without head.
Lord Shiva then ordered His “Ganas” to travel in the northward direction and to come with the head of anything that they happened to see first. It so happened, that they saw an elephant and its head was fitted to the body of Parvati’s manifested son.
Lord Shiva then also declared that Ganesha will be the leader of His followers and from this time forth, will be worshipped first in the beginning of all religious activities for successful outcomes.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped as:
– The Greatest of Poets
– Lord of all Mantras
– King of the Kings, Vinayakudu
– Lord of Prayer or Devotion (Bruhaspati)
– Lord of Speech (Vachaspati) Bruhanaspati, Ganapati
– Leader of the Ganas (a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Lord Shiva)
In the Sri Ganesha Purana, Lord Ganesha is described in each Yuga.
Kruta Yuga – Ganesha appeared with 10 hands and is sitting on a Lion (indicating that Lord Ganesha appeared as Adi Parashakti with 10 hands), as Heramba.
Treta Yuga – Ganesha appeared with 6 hands sitting on a peacock, as Vinayaka.
Dwapara Yuga – Ganesha appeared with 4 hands and with an elephant face, as Gajanana.
Kali Yuga – Ganesha appeared with 2 hands, a white body and with the radiance of the white rays of Sun, as Gajanana.
Bhagiratha worshipped Lord Ganesh in order to bring Ganga onto the earth. Lord Indra worshipping Lord Ganesh before starting the battle with Vitrasura. Sri Rama worshipped Lord Ganesh before going to battle with Ravanasura.
It is impossible to achieve any success in life without worshipping Lord Ganesha. In the Kali Yuga all the mantras are locked except Sri Ganesha (Vinayaka) and Sri Chandi mantras. These mantras grants us every kind of wish in the Kali Yuga.
Sri Ganesha is worshiped worldwide
Sri Ganesha is adored and worshipped across the world and throughout time. In Egypt sculptures of Lord Ganesha were found in excavation sites, indicating His worship in ancient times. The Greeks and Romans were known to worship Lord Ganesh in the name of Vignahar. In Cambodia, Japan, China, Burma, Tibet, Sri Lanka and several other countries, Lord Ganesha is worshipped in both the Shiva and Buddhist traditions. Excavations in Russia, America and China also found Ganesha sculptures. Clearly Lord Ganesha’s worship has not been limited to India, but is practiced worldwide.