Lord Ganesh? ~ MBA
Lord Ganesh? ~ A God with an elephant head and big body riding a mouse. Sounds paradoxical and illogical? It may not be so absurd if we understand the hidden symbolism in Ganesh?’s image.
Of all deities in the Hindu pantheon Lord Ganesh? is worshipped first and foremost (Prathama) in any ceremony, worship and even before starting any rituals for other deities. The images of Lord Ganesh? is all-pervading right from the sculptures in 5,000 year old ancient temples including monuments in other parts of Asia to T-shirts, craft mel?s, wedding cards, invitations and even the popular Indian cinema. Nothing in the Hindu world begins without invoking the beloved elephant-headed God.
Symbolism of Lord Ganesh?
Lord Ganesh?’s image is a composite of elephant head and man, traditionally mounted on a mouse with four arms. Without guidance from Gurus, the hidden and main symbolism of Ganesha’s image seems difficult to comprehend and may appear absurd. Though there are many symbolic interpretations, to the devoted seeker every part of his image is symbolic in the path of true wisdom.
According to many masters in the knowledge tradition of Hinduism, Lord Ganesh?’s large elephant head is symbolic of mighty understanding that is required to pursue the highest path of knowledge. The trunk of Lord Ganesh? symbolizes the intellect which discriminates fully to resolve gross problems in the inside & outside world. His large mouth and big belly represents wide appetite for life digesting all that life has to offer.
His ears represent continuous and intelligent listening to the teacher as he himself listened to Veda Vy?sa and understood it fully while scribing the Mah?bharata. He has only one tusk, with the other broken off indicating the pursuit of going beyond the pairs of opposites ~ likes and dislikes.
His four hands represent the four inner faculties we have. In one hand he has rope, in another an axe. With the axe, he cuts off the attachments of his devotes to the limited, binding world and with a rope he pulls them nearer to truth and ties them to the highest goal. In his third hand he holds a modaka representing the reward of disciplined practice and with the other hand in the abhaya (fearless) mudra he offers protection on a person’s journey through life, especially the spiritual one.
We also find a mouse bowing down close by in the midst of sweet food yet looking up at the Lord. This denotes the power of desire which is the ‘mouse’ within each personality which can eat away even mountain of merit in it. This power of desire is to be used for doing service keep the vision of the Lord symbolized by looking up.
Ganesh?’s popular names
The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit mix of 2 words – gana, meaning a group, multitudes, hosts and isha meaning lord. Also is his another popular name – Ganapati which is a compound composed of ‘gana’ meaning ‘group’, and pati, meaning “ruler” or “lord”.
According to commentators, the word ‘gana’ also means groups of sense organs, organs of action, pancha pranas (the five vital airs or life forces) (the five vital life forces), antahkarana (the four inner equipments of mind, intellect, memory and ego) the pancha mahabhutas (the five elements in nature) etc. He is the master, and naturally guides and leads them in the right direction. Vin?yaka is a common name for Ganesh? that appears in the Pur??as and is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Mah?r?shtra known as the ‘Astavin?yak’ temples.
Ganesh? ~ the God of success
To the faithful, Lord Ganesh? is the remover of obstacles, be it spiritual or material. According to many Indian spiritual masters, the worship of Ganesh? depicts the commencement of man’s spiritual journey with a form to its culmination in formless God-consciousness.
Lord Ganesh? is the God of success as he is associated with wisdom, understanding, learning, forethought, power and overcoming obstacles (vighna) which are key ingredients of material and spiritual success. As the remover of obstacles, he is invoked at the start of every journey or important venture, marriage, religious rite, construction of house or factory, house warming, studies etc.
Ganesha chaturthi marks the birth of the Lord Ganesh? or Ganapati.
Invoking the grace of Lord Ganesh?, may all our obstacles be removed in life by ‘Mastering our Buddhi for any Achievement’. After all, our buddhi (intellect) is the most important resource we have to discriminate and decide what is good for us and discover the Ganesha within ourselves.
Wishing you a happy and auspicious Ganesh chaturthi.
Ganpati Bappa Morya. Pudcha varshi lavkar ya