May we worship ganapati,
The protector of noble people,
The best poet, the most honorable,
the greatest ruler and the treasure
of all knowledge. O ganapati!
Please listen to us and take your seat in our heart.
An invocation to Ganapati
To whom the wise exclaim
As the single syllable,
Supreme sound, stainless and peerless
Bliss, formless, unconditioned—
The indweller in the core of
Sacred tradition- to that primeval
One I bow in adoration.
Adi shankara, ganesha bhujangam
Lord Ganesha, the remover of all impediments hence is called vighneshwara (remover of obstacles). Chanting “aum ganeshaya namah” before starting anything is a easiest way to invoke the lord. It means that “in what we are about to do, let the wisdom be our guide”. The elephant headed deity, the son of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati is deeply revered across india and beyond. The pot bellied god is believed to govern wisdom, success and spiritual power. Ganesh Chaturdashi- Ganapati's birthday falls on the bright half of lunar month of bhadrapada.
On the night of Ganesh Chaturdashi, one must avoid looking the moon, as it is cursed by Ma Parvati: “whoever sees your face will become victims of false allegations and get mocked at”.
As the story goes, on Ganesha's birthday, Ma Parvati cooked 21 varieties of food and sweets. An elated Ganesha ate to his heart content, more than enough his belly could contain. After having the sumptuous meal he went on stroll sitting on his mouse. His mouse stumbled on a snake and little Ganesha fell down and a result his belly burst open. Ganesha quickly collected everything and put it back in the stomach , feeling humiliated and annoyed he tied his stomach with the snake to hold things at the place.
Watching everything at a distance, the moon had a hearty laugh. Feeling humiliated further, Ganesha broke one of his tusks and hurled it at the moon. The moon further ridiculed Ganesha, “ what a big belly you have?, your ears are like a big fan,your trunk is weird and your eyes are so tiny”. The humiliation of Ganesha made Ma Parvati angry and she cursed the moon.
Getting frightened, the moon pleaded forgiveness by performing austerity. At last Ganesha relented by reducing the validity of curse for Ganesh Chaturthi only. Since then, one is supposed to avoid the moon on that night.
Actually this story is symbolic. The cosmos is the belly of the Ganesha. Inside the belly of the Ganesha, there are seven realms above, seven realms below and seven oceans. All are held in his belly at a definite place by the tied snake. The snake represents the cosmic enengy or kundalini. The mouse on which Ganesha rides signifies ego. To reach godly consciousness we need to control our ego.
The elephant headed Ganesha’s trunk symbolizes the fact that the wise person has both immense strength and fine discrimination. As an elephant ‘s trunk has the strength to uproot a tree as well as the fitness to pickup a needle. The large ears of ganesha signifies his great capacity to listen and discriminate between good and bad.
About his form-
He is four armed. In one of his hand he holds a hatchet. That is the old karma, the accumulated good and bad of past deeds- everything that gets cut when enlightenment comes. In another, he holds a lotus, the symbol of enlightenment. The third hand holds laddoos, the round sweet-meats. The sweat meats represent the rewards of life. Ganesha is never shown eating the laddus. The wise man always remain detached to the rewards. The fourth hand is always shown giving blessings. As the wise man always blesses and wishes best to others.
The ganesha is depicted as one tusked. The single tusk of ganesha symbolizes the non-duality. Detaching ourselves with all such duals like good or bad, beautiful or ugly etc,i.e. to live ego-less, without any false identification in absolute real self. Wisdom allows us to see all as one and ourselves an integral part of the universe.
Ganeshh is shown sitting with one foot on the ground and the other resting on his knee, above the ground.the wisdom leads us to stay grounded.
Ganesha’s mouse represents the ego, which kept on growing like his teeth . We need to check our ego, otherwise like mouse’s teeth it will nibble anything and destroying everything. The continuous growing teeth of the mouse also symbolizes our senses which never get satisfied. They continuously crave one taste after another and remain dissatisfied. Hence, a wise person always keeps his senses in control and enjoys bliss.
Ganesha is the son of lord Shiva, who is the primordial and dynamic life force energy and the Earth Mother. This symbolizes the spirit and body of the wise person, the wise who always walk with dignity.