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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

2010

OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

Om Ganeshyah Namah – Symbol of Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

2010

OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

Om Ganeshyah Namah – Symbol of Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

2010

OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

Om Ganeshyah Namah – Symbol of Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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v³tu~f mhakay sUyRkaeiq s~MàÉa,

inivR"nm! kuêmedv e a svRkayeR;u svRda. Vakratunda Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kurumedeva Sarvakaryeshu Sarvada ‘O Lord Ganesha of Large Body, Curved Trunk, With the Brilliance of a Million Suns, Please Make all my Work Free of Obstacles, Always!’

The intellect of a man unengaged in spiritual search is unable to understand what the ultimate Truth is, what is the ultimate Reality. The moon is the deity which governs the human mind. The moon laughing at Ganapati riding his rat reminds us the ignorant person who mocks spiritual seeker’s efforts to reach the Truth. When somebody tries to ridicule the spiritual Teachers, the Sages who teach the Truth and their talks, this is detrimental to the Humanity. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Contents 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Ganesha and pillars of Hinduism Ganesha Stavah Introduction Ganesha Upanishad Ganesha and three Shaktis Ganapati Atharva Sirsopanishad Legends of birth Vahanas Ganesha and Muladhar chakra Ganesha Chaturthi – Origin Ganesha and his wives Bodily attributes Ganesha as scribe to Veda Vyasa Ganesha and the mouse Mythological anecdotes Ganesha the gate keeper Developing a personal relationship The Meaning of grace Gods the real being – not symbols How to approach the deity Connecting the three worlds – Hindu magic Worship and meditation on Ganesha Establishing link through puja Where do we go when we die? Forms of Ganesha The two Shaktis of Ganesha

8 10 12 15 19 25 37 42 46 69 74 78 81 84 86 90 93 95 97 99 101 103 107 109 111 114

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Ganesha and pillars of Hinduism There are three main pillars that have held Hinduism high, century after century: the satgurus, the temples and the scriptures. Together they echo the greatness of Ganesha, the Lord of Dharma, and son of Shiva. For untold millennia our rishis and sages have proclaimed the profound depths of the mind, assuring us that we, too, can and must come to know God and the Gods. It is the living presence of these Satgurus and their spoken teachings which has brought the essentials of the Sanatana Dharma to life. Now we shall delve into the nature of Ganesha, what He is like, what functions he performs and find out how each seeker can make Him a vital part of daily life’s path of experience. Once a psychic connection is made with Ganesha - the Deity that manifests in several forms, including the elephant-headed Lord of Categories and Remover of Obstacles - one is brought slowly into the mysteries of the Sanatana Dharma. Such an inner connection, which can be as subtle as a feeling, as tenuous as a dream or as bold as a personal visit, is also an entering into one’s own muladhara chakra, governed by the OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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planet Mercury, for every opening into a new chakra is also an introduction to the Deity who governs that state of consciousness and the planet to which that chakra is connected. The Sanatana Dharma, known today as Hinduism, is the only living religion on the planet that does not look to a human founder for its source of inspiration, scripture or historical beginning. It is timeless and ageless. Sanatana Dharma, the root religion of humankind, looks inward for its origins, into the subtle, super conscious realms within the microcosm, which it calls the Karanaloka, Shivaloka or Third World. This religion has no single organized headquarters on the material plane. Nor does it have a one hierarchy. Who then is in charge of Hinduism? Why, it is none other than our loving Ganesha! He does not live in Rome, nor in Salt Lake City. Ganesha lives simultaneously everywhere Hindus worship and pray within themselves. He does not have to be reappointed from time to time, because yugas and yugas ago He was permanently and irrevocably appointed when He was created for this work.

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We worship the unborn, unchanging, formless, the one beyond bliss and full of bliss, which is the fullness of non-duality, the supreme, devoid of qualities, without differences, and beyond desire, Sri Ganesha, the Supreme Brahman personified. We worship the one beyond the gunas, the embodiment of bliss consciousness, the light of consciousness, the allpervading, who is the source, course, and goal of knowledge, whom the sages meditate upon, who is formless as akasha, the highest Lord, Sri Ganesha, the Supreme Brahman personified. We worship Him who is the cause of the universe, the source of knowledge, the origin of the Devas, the source of happiness, the Lord of the gunas, Sri Ganesha, who pervades the universe and is worshipped by all, the Lord of the gods, Sri Ganesha, the Supreme Brahman personified.

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Introduction Ganesha is the foremost Hindu Deity worshipped at the beginning of each prayer. In fact no prayer can begin without invoking Ganesha first. The word Ganesha is of Sanskrit origin, that is obtained by joining two words ‘gana’ meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and ‘isha’ meaning lord or master. The word gaņa when associated with Ganesha refers to the gaņas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva. The term more generally means a category, class, community, association, or corporation. The name Ganesha signifies ‘Lord of the Gaņas’ to mean ‘Lord of Hosts’ or ‘Lord of created categories’, such as the elements. Ganapati is a synonym for Ganesha, that comes from two words gaṇa, meaning ‘group’, and pati, meaning ‘ruler’ or ‘lord’. The Amarakosha, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms of Ganesha: 1. Vinayaka, 2. Vighnarāja - equivalent to Vignesha, 3. Dvaimātura - one who has two mothers, OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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4. 5. 6. 7.

Ganadhipa - equivalent to Ganapati and Ganesha, Ekadanta - one who has one tusk, Heramba, Lambodara - one who has a pot belly, or, literally, one who has a hanging belly, and 8. Gajanana - having the face of an elephant. Vinayaka is a common name for Ganesha that appears in the Purānas and in Buddhist Tantras. This name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak (aṣṭavināyaka). The names Vignesha and Vigneshvara ((Lord of Obstacles) refers to his primary function in Hindu mythology as the master and remover of obstacles (vighna). A prominent name for Ganesha in the Tamil language is Pille or Pillaiyar (Little Child). A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pille means a ‘child’ while pillaiyar means a ‘noble child’. He adds that the words pallu, pella, and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify ‘tooth or tusk of an elephant’, but more generally ‘elephant’. Anita Raina Thapan notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have originally meant ‘the young of the elephant’, because the Pali word pillaka means ‘a young elephant. Ganesha has the head of an elephant and a big belly. This form has four arms, which is common in depictions of Ganesha. He holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand and holds a delicacy, which he samples with his trunk, in his lower-left hand. The motif of Ganesha turning his trunk sharply to his left to taste a sweet in his lower-left hand is a particularly archaic OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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feature. A more primitive statue in one of the Ellora Caves with this general form has been dated to the 7th century. Details of the other hands are difficult to make out on the statue shown. In the standard configuration, Ganesha typically holds an axe or a goad in one upper arm and a noose in the other upper arm. The influence of this old constellation of iconographic elements can still be seen in contemporary representations of Ganesha. In one modern form, the only variation from these old elements is that the lower-right hand does not hold the broken tusk but rather is turned toward the viewer in a gesture of protection or fearlessness (abhaya mudra). The same combination of four arms and attributes occurs in statues of Ganesha dancing, which is a very popular theme. Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles Vighnesha, Vighneshvara patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions.

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Ganesha Upanishad The Ganesha Upanishad is one of the central texts of the Ganapatya Sampradaya, the groups of devotees for whom Ganesha was the central divinity, who are thought to have become established in India from the 6th Century onwards. There are thought to have been at least six groups of Ganapatyas, including one Tantric grouping, although relatively little is known about them. The Ganesha Upanishad belongs to the class of Hindu Vedic texts that are considered to be revelatory - Sruti – ‘that which is heard’, and in some quarters, are held to be without 'origin'. It is a manifestation of a particular 'Truth'. It should be noted that the Ganesha Upanishad, like other Upanishads, is not merely to be studied as a written text, but to be spoken. It functions both as instructive scripture, and also as a performative liturgy. And the act of speaking the Upanishad becomes a revelatory experience. It is important to note that in the Tantric traditions, written texts have only a secondary importance in relation to their oral utterance and interpretation. The aim of the following commentary is to shed some light on certain verses in this Upanishad. Ultimately, it is for each devotee to meditate on the Sutras of the Upanishad as revealed through experience. This is merely a beginning. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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1. Om Lam I bow to Ganesha Om ‘Om’ (AUM) is the primordial sound of creation that signifies the absolute. This is uncreated sound that was in the beginning and will remain at the end of creation as well. It means ‘I accept’, or ‘I assent’. All devotional acts begin with the chanting of ‘Om’. Om serves to focus the attention of the Divine towards the devotee, and the attention of the devotee towards the divine. Significantly Ganesha is the personification of the primal Om. Lam ‘Lam’ is the seed-mantra of the Muladhara Chakra, of which Ganesha is the gatekeeper or Deva. You are clearly the Tattva. You alone are the Creator. You alone are the Maintainer. You alone are the Destroyer. Of all this, you are certainly the Brahma. You are the essence. Ganesha is praised as the Tattva. This word can be translated as ‘principle’ - so Ganesha could here, be identified as the ‘Eternal Principle’ underlying reality. Further, Ganesha is identified as the personification of Trimurti - the Creator (Brahma), the Sustainer (Vishnu), and the destroyer (Shiva). As Brahma, he continually creates. As Vishnu he holds those creations together in equilibrium; as Shiva he breaks down those combinations of matter. Furthermore, Ganesha OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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is identified as the Absolute (Brahma), and the eternal indwelling ‘essence’ - the Atman (Self). 2. Always I speak Amrita. The Truth I speak. The speaker asserts that he speaks ‘Truth’ which to him is experiential and revelatory - spoken from his heart, rather than just parroting or reciting lines. Further, ‘Amrita’ means ‘imperishable’ - i.e. that this is an imperishable truth. Protect me. Protect the speakers. Protect the hearers. Protect the givers. Protect the holders. Protect the disciple that repeats. Protect that in the East. Protect that in the South. Protect that in the West. Protect that in the North. Protect that above. Protect that below. Everywhere protect. Protect me everywhere! You are Speech. You are Consciousness. You are Bliss. You are Brahma. You are Being-Consciousness-Bliss. You are the Non-Dual. You are plainly Brahma. You are Knowledge. You are Intelligence. Ganesha symbolizes three aspects of existence. Being (Sat) - Consciousness (Chit) - Bliss (Anand) - or RealityConsciousness-Experience denotes the Supreme Power. Ganesha is further identified as the ‘Non-Dual’ - Brahma dwells within him. Here is an indication that Ganesha can lead his devotee towards that experience of bliss which is realization of one’s inner divinity. Dissolving the difference between devotee and deity is the object of puja. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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You create this world. You maintain this world. This entire world is seen in you. You are Earth, water, Fire, Air, and ether. You are beyond the four measures of speech. You are beyond the Three Gunas. You are beyond the three bodies. You are beyond the three times. Here, Ganesha is also identified as both finite and infinite: as the 5 elements; as the embodiment of the 4 stages of speech (para, pasyanti, madhyama, vaikhari); as the three Gunas (Rajas, Sattva and Tamas); as the three bodies (physical, subtle, causal); as the three times (past, present, future). Moreover, Ganesha is beyond these finite forms. The consciousness of man always remains situated in the Muladhara. Ganesha is identified as the Deva of the Muladhara Chakra - the ‘root-support’ of all beings. Equally, the elephant is the ‘vehicle’ associated with Muladhara.

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Ganesha and three Shaktis. Ganesha is related to the three Shaktis (forces) of Will (Ichha), Knowledge (Jnana) and Action (Kriya), possibly in the sense of being the causal agency behind the interrelation of these three powers, or the embodiment thereof. It should be noted that none of the threefold agencies in Tantrik philosophy can be divided from each other. Will does not exist without some degree of Knowledge and Action; so too Tamas is not present without some degree of Sattva and Rajas. You are always meditated upon by Yogins. You are Brahma, you are Vishnu, you are Rudra, You are Agni, You are Vayu, You are the Moon, You are the Sun, You are Brahma, and Bhur-Bhuvah-Svar. Again, Ganesha is identified as Trimurti. Rudra is a primordial aspect of Shiva. As Agni he is fire; as Vayu, the wind. He is the Moon (Chandra); the Sun (Surya); Space (Brahma) - whilst this last name is formed from the ritual OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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utterances ‘To Earth’ (Bhur), ‘To Space’ (Bhuvas), ‘To Sky’ (Svar). ‘Ga’ the first syllable, after that the first letter, beyond that ‘m’, then the half-moon all together. Joined with ‘Om’ this is the mantra-form. Letter Ga the first form, letter ‘a’ the middle form, m the last form, Bindu the higher form, Nada the joining together, Samhita the junction is indeed the Vidya of Lord Ganesha. These verses present the sacred mantra of Ganesha. The Seed (Bija) sound for Ganesha is ‘gam’. The VaradaTantra, Ch. 6 says: ‘Ga, I speak unto Thee, means Ganesa. Bindu means Dispeller of sorrow. Thus, O Mahesvari, the meaning of Gam-bija is spoken to Thee out of love for Thee.’ These verses are telling the devotee how to proceed with the worship of Ganesha, giving the correct use of the BijaMantra: Gam is uttered, prefixed with Om. The Bindu is the essence (i.e. higher form) of all sounds. The Nada (Cosmic Sound) is the utterance of the mantra. The sounding of it is its enjoyment at the moment I would posit that joining together refers to the unification of deity and devotee through the latter’s recitation of the seedmantra, which is the essence thought-form of the god. As for Samhita - it is usually translated as ‘scripture’, so I take OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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the phrase ‘Samhita the junction’ as a reference to union with the god through the study or meditation of the Holy Scripture. All this is the wisdom (Vidya) of Lord Ganesha. I tend to equate Vidya with Gnosis in the sense of being knowledge or wisdom gained via revelation. According to Sir John Woodruff, the terms Bindu and Nada represent two particular stages in the process of the manifestation of Shakti. Bindu is generally understood as a ‘point’. ‘Nada’ is etymologically derived from ‘sound’. Woodroffe, in The Garland of Letters, says that Shakti moves from Nada to Bindu. Nada is the maithuna (congress) or yoga of Shiva-Shakti, which in turn produces the bindu, which again differentiates into threefold aspect, although in denser form. Ganaka is the seer, Nricad-Gayatri the meter, Sri Mahaganapati the God. ‘Om Ganapataye Namah.’ The first perception of a mantra is held to arise from a human-divine contact of some kind; hence the first person to utter the mantra is known as its Seer (Sage). In the case of ‘Gam’, the Upanishad says that ‘Ganaka is the seer’. A ‘Gayatri’ is a particular form of mantra, which may consist of a meter, or rhythm which has three stanzas consisting of eight syllables each. A Gayatri mantra is also Devi - the power which one invokes. Whilst mantra alone relies on the Shakti (power inherent in sound) for its effectiveness, a Gayatri mantra is both mantra and prayer. The syllables of the Gayatri mantra are so OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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arranged as to enable the devotee’s breathing to fall into a natural pattern, facilitating the arousal of KundaliniShakti. Ganapati is the divinity of the mantra – ‘Om, salutations to the Lord of the multitudes.’ Let us think of the one-toothed, let us meditate on the crooked trunk, May that tusk direct us. These stanzas should be meditated upon by the devotee, for they contain, in condensed form, the core philosophy of the worship of Ganesha. One tusk four arms carrying noose and goad, with His hands dispelling fear and granting boons, with a mouse as his banner. Red, with a big belly, with ears like winnowing baskets, wearing red, with limbs smeared in red scent, truly worshipped with red flowers. To the devoted a merciful Deva, the Maker of the World, the Prime Cause, who at the beginning of creation was greater than gods and men. He who always meditates thus is a Yogin above Yogins. These verses give the general form of Lord Ganesha for worship and meditation. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Hail to the Lord of Vows, hail to Ganapati, hail to the First Lord, hail unto you, to the Big-Bellied, One-tusked, Obstacle-destroyer, the Son of Shiva, to the Boon-Giver, Hail, hail. This verse is a restatement of some of the titles of Ganesha: Ekadanta - One-tusked one Lambodara - Big-bellied Varadaya - Bestower of Boons Sarvatanaya - Son of Siva Vighnavina - Destroyer of Obstacles He who studies this Atharva Shira moves towards Brahma. He is always blissful. He is not bound by any obstacles. He is liberated from the five greater and the five lesser sins. Evening meditation destroys the unmeritorious actions of the night. At both evening and morning he is liberated from the bad and he attains Dharma-ArthaKama and Moksha. The phrase ‘Atharva Shira’ suggests ‘firmness or single pointedness of the intellect as directed towards one’s realization of the Divine.’ Thus, we are told that study of this text leads one to realization of the Divine. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four legitimate life-goals: Dharma can be translated as ‘righteousness’ or ‘duty’; Artha as prosperity; Kama, as sensual pleasure, and Moksha, as liberation.

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This Atharva Shira should not be given to those not pupils. If from delusion a person so gives, he is a bad person. He who wants something may accomplish it by 1000 recitations of this. He who sprinkles Ganapati with this becomes eloquent. He who recites this on the 4th day becomes a knower of Vidya. This is an Atharva saying ‘He who moves towards Brahma is never afraid.’ He who worships with fried grains becomes famous and becomes intelligent. He who worships with sweet-meat (modaka) gains the desired fruit. He who worships with samit and ghee by him all is attained, all is gained by him. He who makes eight Brahmanas understand this becomes like the sun’s rays. In a solar eclipse, in a great river, or in front of an image having recited (this) he gets accomplished in the mantra. He becomes liberated from great obstacles. He is freed from great misfortunes. Modaka is the sweet flour or rice balls traditionally favored by Ganesha and offered to him by devotees. In some myths it is said to have similar qualities to the divine Soma.

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Ganapati Atharva Sirsopanishad

Om! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious; May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship ! May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas, Praising them with our body and limbs steady ! OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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May the glorious Indra bless us! May the all-knowing Sun bless us! May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us! May Brihaspati grant us well-being! Om! Let there be Peace in me! Let there be Peace in my environment! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me! Auspiciousness to those who hear - thus the Shanti!

Om Gam! I bow to Ganapati. You clearly are the tattva. You alone are the creator. You alone are the maintainer. You alone are the destroyer. Of all this you certainly are Brahman. You plainly are the essence. Always I speak amrita. The truth I speak OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Protect me. Protect the speakers. Protect the hearers. Protect the givers. Protect the holders. Protect the disciple that repeats. Protect that in the east. Protect that in the south. Protect that in the west. Protect that in the north. Protect that above. Protect that below. Everywhere protect! Protect me everywhere!

You are speech. You are consciousness. You are bliss. You are Brahman. You are being-consciousness-bliss. You are the nondual. You are plainly Brahman. You are knowledge. You are intelligence

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You create this entire world. You maintain this entire world. This entire world is seen in you. You are earth, water, air, fire, ether. You are beyond the four measures of speech. You are beyond the three gunas. You are beyond the three bodies. You are beyond the three times. You are always situated in the muladhara. You are the being of the three Shaktis. You are always meditated on by yogins. You are Brahma, you are Vishnu, you are Rudra, you are Agni, you are Vayu, you are the sun, you are the moon, you are Brahma, bhur-bhuvah-svar. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Ga is the first syllable, after that the first letter, beyond that m, then the half-moon all together. Joined with m, this is the mantra form. The letter ga is the first form, letter a the middle form, m the last form. Bindu the higher form, nada the joining together, samhita the junction. This is the vidya of Lord Ganesa. Ganaka is the seer, nricad-gayatri the meter, Sri Mahaganapati the devata. Om ganapataye namah. Let us think of the one-toothed, let us meditate on the crooked trunk, may that tusk direct us.

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.

One tusk, four arms, carrying noose and goad, with his hands dispelling fear and granting boons, with a mouse as his banner. Red, with a big belly, with ears like winnowing baskets, wearing red, with limbs smeared with red scent, truly worshipped with red flowers. To the devoted a merciful deva, the maker of the world, the prime cause, who at the beginning of creation was greater than nature and man. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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He who always meditates thus is a yogin above yogins. Hail to the lord of vows, hail to Ganapati, hail to the first lord, hail unto you, to the big-bellied, one-tusked, obstacle-destroyer, the son of Siva, to the boon-giver, hail, hail!

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He who studies this atharva text moves towards Brahma. He is always blissful. He is not bound by any obstacles. He is liberated from the five greater and the five lesser sins. Evening meditation destroys the unmeritorious actions of the night. At both evening and morning he is liberated from the bad and he attains dharma, artha, kama and moksha. This atharva text should not be given to those not pupils. If from delusion a person so gives, he is a bad person.

He who wants something may accomplish it by 1,000 recitations of this. He who sprinkles Ganapati with this becomes eloquent. He who recites this on a fourth day becomes a knower of vidya. This is an artharva saying: ‘‘He who moves towards Brahmavidya is never afraid.’’ He who worships with fried grains becomes famous and becomes intelligent. He who worships with sweet-meat (modaka) gains the desired fruit. He who worships with samit and ghee by him all is attained, all is gained by him. He who makes eight Brahmnas understand this becomes like the sun’s rays. In a solar eclipse, in a great river, or in front of an image having recited (this) he gets accomplished in the mantra. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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He becomes liberated from great obstacles. He is freed from great misfortunes.

Om ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious; May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship ! May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas, Praising them with our body and limbs steady! May the glorious Indra bless us! May the all-knowing Sun bless us! May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us! May Brihaspati grant us well-being! Om! Let there be Peace in me! Let there be Peace in my environment! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me!

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Here ends the Ganapati Upanishad, as contained in the AtharvaVeda.

Om Bhadram karnebhi sruyama devah Bhadram pashyemaksabhiryajatrah sthiraingaitustuvam sastanubhih Vyasema devahitam yadayuh svasti nastarksyo aristanemih svasti no brhaspatirdadhatu Om shanti shanti shanti Aum! Let us listen with our ears to that which is auspicious, adorable one. Let us perceive with our eyes what is holy and auspicious. With strong, stable body and limbs, may we seek the divine grace and accept the noble order of all our life. I surrender to you, Lord Ganesha. You are the speaker. You are the listener. You are the giver. You are the sustainer. I am your disciple. Protect me from the front and back. Protect me from OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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the north and the south, from above and below. Protect me from all directions. You are full of perfect knowledge of truth and awareness. You are full of bliss and pure consciousness. You are truth, consciousness and bliss. You are the absolute awareness. You are full of supreme wisdom and knowledge. You are the earth, water, fire, air and the space. You are the root foundation of speech. You are beyond the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. You are beyond the physical, mental and causal bodies. You are beyond the three aspects of time: past, present and future. You are eternally established in the muladhara chakra. You have three shaktis: action, knowledge and will. Salutation to Ganapati whose seed mantra is Aum Gam. We know Ekadanta, the One-tusked God, the unique God. We meditate upon Vakratunda, the curved-trunk God. May that unique elephant God illumine our consciousness and direct us along the right track. One should meditate upon Lord Ganesha having one tusk and four arms; holding the noose and goad with two of them; with the other two indicating varada, the giving of boons and blessings, and abhaya mudra, the fear removing gesture; having a mouse as the emblem on his ensign; possessing a big, beautiful belly and large, lovely ears which look like winnowing baskets; having a red cloth and His whole body covered with red sandalwood paste. He should be worshiped with red flowers. He manifests Himself as the universe and is OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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beyond prakriti, matter, and Purusha, the manifest God. One who worships Ganesha in this way forever is the best of yogis. Prostrations to Vratapati, the Lord of Plenty. Prostrations to Ganapati, the Lord of various groups of Gods. Prostrations to Pramathapati, the Lord of Shiva’s hosts. Prostrations to Lambodara, the full-bellied God with a single tusk, destroyer of obstacles, the Son of Shiva, the Bestower of all Blessings. He who chants this Ganapati Upanishad will verily get established in Brahman, the pure awareness. He will never encounter any obstacles. He will be happy everywhere. He will be free from the five great sins and lesser ones. By reciting this in the evening, the day’s sins are destroyed. By reciting this in the early morning, one becomes free from the sins committed at night in dreams. Reciting this morning and evening, one becomes totally free from all sins. He becomes totally free from all obstacles. He achieves the four divine ends of life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha: virtue, wealth, pleasure and liberation.

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Legends of birth Hinduism is the way of symbols and legends. It is through these legends and symbols a path is created for the development of human consciousness. These legends are drawn from various scriptures as the source. Each of these scripture was composed at a different time and under different circumstances. Naturally the description is bound to differ. A hasty reader is bound to find Hinduism to be nothing but a source of confusion. As a reader you are bound to be in confusion. But if you want to understand Hinduism you have go beyond all these and accept each legend as separate from the other. Only then the essence and the hidden meaning will be conveyed to you. Ganesha also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka and Pillaiyar, is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon (temple dedicated to all deities). His image is found throughout India and Nepal and wherever Hindu community exists worldwide. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India wherever Hindu mind exists. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Ganesha emerged a distinct deity in clearly recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. His popularity rose quickly, and he was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called the Ganapatya, who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity, arose during this period. The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Ganesha has many other titles and epithets, including Ganapati and is often added before his name. One popular way Ganesha is worshipped is by chanting a Ganesha Sahasranama, a litany of ‘a thousand names of Ganesha’. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolizes a different aspect of Ganesha. At least two different versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama exist. The most popular version is drawn from the Ganesha Purana, scripture venerating Ganesha. Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian mythology. Puranic myths provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head. One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and other less-common variations in the number of heads are known. While some texts say that Ganesha was born with an elephant head, in most stories he acquires the head later. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha’s original head with that of an elephant. Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary according to different sources. In another story, when Ganesha was born, his mother, Parvati, showed off her new baby to the other gods. Unfortunately, the god Shani (Saturn), who is said to have the evil eye, looked at him, causing the baby’s head to be burned to ashes. Then Vishnu came to the rescue and replaced the missing head with that of an elephant. Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva’s laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly. Another tale of Ganesha’s birth relates to an incident in which Shiva slew Aditya, the son of a sage. Shiva restored life to the dead boy, but this could not pacify the outraged sage Kashyapa, who was one of the seven great Rishis. Kashyap cursed Shiva and declared that Shiva’s son would lose his head. When this happened, the head of Indra’s elephant was used to replace it. Still another tale states that on one occasion, the used bath-water of Parvati was thrown into the Ganges and this water was drunk by the elephant-headed Goddess Malini, who gave birth to a baby with four arms and five elephant heads. The river goddess Ganga claimed him as her son, but Shiva declared him to be Parvati’s son, reduced his OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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five heads to one and enthroned him as the Controller of Obstacles (Vigneshwara). Ganesha’s earliest name was Ekadanta (One Tusked), referring to his single whole tusk, the other having been broken off. Some of the earliest images of Ganesha show him holding his broken tusk. The importance of this distinctive feature is reflected in the Mudgala Purana, which states that the name of Ganesha’s second incarnation is Ekadanta. Ganesha’s protruding belly appears as a distinctive attribute in his earliest statuary, which dates to the Gupta period (fourth to sixth centuries). This feature is so important that, according to the Mudgala Purana, two different incarnations of Ganesha use names based on it: Lambodara (Pot Belly, or, literally, Hanging Belly) and Mahodara (Great Belly). Both names are Sanskrit compounds describing his belly (udara). The Brahmanda Purana says that Ganesha has the name Lambodara because all the universes brahmāndas of the past, present and future are present in him. The number of Ganesha’s arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms. Many depictions of Ganesha feature four arms, which is mentioned in Puranic sources and codified as a standard form in some iconographic texts. His earliest images had two arms. Forms with 14 and 20 arms appeared in Central India during the 9th and 10th centuries. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms. According OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha wrapped the serpent Vāsuki around his neck. Other depictions of snakes include use as a sacred thread (yajñyopavīta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Upon Ganesha’s forehead there may be a third eye or the Shaivite sectarian mark (tilaka), which consists of three horizontal lines. The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra (bhālacandra; ‘Moon on the Forehead’) includes that iconographic element. Specific colors are associated with certain forms. Many examples of color associations with specific meditation forms are prescribed in the Sritattvanidhi, a treatise on Hindu iconography. For example, white is associated with his representations as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati (Ganapati Who Releases from Bondage). Ekadanta-Ganapati is visualized as blue during meditation in that form.

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Vahanas The earliest Ganesha images are without a vahana (mount or vehicle). Of the eight incarnations of Ganesha described in the Mudgala Purana, Ganesha has a mouse in five of them, uses a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation of Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as Vighnaraja. Of the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in the Ganesha Purana, Mohotkata has a lion, Mayūreśvara has a peacock, Dhumraketu has a horse, and Gajanana has a rat. Jain depictions of Ganesha show his vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock. Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse or rat. However rat began to appear as the principal vehicle in sculptures of Ganesha in central and western India during the 7th century; the rat was always placed close to his feet. The mouse as a mount first appears in written sources in the Matsya Purana and later in the Brahmananda Purana and Ganesha Purana, where Ganesha uses it as his vehicle only in OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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his last incarnation. The Ganapati Atharvashirsa includes a meditation verse on Ganesha that describes the mouse appearing on his flag. The names Mūsakavāhana (mousemount) and Ākhuketana (rat-banner) appear in the Ganesha Sahasranama. The mouse is interpreted in several ways. According to Grimes, ‘Many, if not most of those who interpret Ganapati’s mouse, do so negatively; it symbolizes tamoguna as well as desire’. Along these lines, Michael Wilcockson says it symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish. Krishan notes that rat is destructive and a menace to crops. The Sanskrit word mūsaka (mouse) is derived from the root mūs (stealing, robbing). It was essential to subdue the rat as a destructive pest, a type of vighna (impediment) that needed to be overcome. According to this theory, showing Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles) and gives evidence of his possible role as a folk grāma-devatā (village deity) who later rose to greater prominence. Martin-Dubost notes a view that the rat is a symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places. Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja the Lord of obstacles both of a material and spiritual order. He is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. His task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Krishan notes that some of Ganesha’s names reflect shadings of multiple roles that have evolved over time. Dhavalikar ascribes the quick ascension of Ganesha in the Hindu pantheon, and the emergence of the Ganapatyas, to this shift in emphasis from vighnakartā (obstacle-creator) to vighnahartā (obstacle-averter). However, both functions continue to be vital to his character, ‘even after the Purānic Ganeśa is well-defined, in art Ganeśa remained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect’.

Buddhi Ganesha is considered to be the Lord of letters and learning. In Sanskrit, the word buddhi is a feminine noun that is variously translated as intelligence, wisdom, or intellect. The concept of buddhi is closely associated with Ganesha, especially in the Puranic period, when many stories stress his cleverness and love of intelligence. One of Ganesha’s names in the Ganesha Purana and the Ganesha Sahasranama is Buddhipriya. This name also appears in a list of 21 names at the end of the Ganesha Sahasranama that Ganesha says are especially important. The word priya can mean ‘fond of’, and in a marital context it can mean ‘lover’ or ‘husband’, so the name may mean either ‘Fond of Intelligence’ or ‘Buddhi’s Husband’.

Aum

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Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum (`, also called Om). The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound. The Ganapati Atharvashirsa attests to this association. Chinmayananda translates the relevant passage as follows: (O Lord Ganapati!) You are (the Trinity) Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa. You are Indra. You are fire [Agni] and air [Vāyu]. You are the sun [Sūrya] and the moon [Chandrama]. You are Brahman. You are (the three worlds) Bhuloka [earth], Antariksha-loka [space], and Swargaloka [heaven]. You are Om. (That is to say, You are all this).

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Ganesha and Muladhar chakra According to Kundalini yoga, Ganesha resides in the first chakra, called Muladhara (mūlādhāra). Mula means ‘original, main’; adhara means ‘base, foundation’. The muladhara chakra is the principle on which the manifestation or outward expansion of primordial Divine Force rests. This association is also attested to in the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Courtright translates this passage as follows: ‘[O Ganesha,] You continually dwell in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine [mūlādhāra cakra].’ Thus, Ganesha has a permanent abode in every being at the Muladhara. Ganesha holds supports and guides all other OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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chakras, thereby ‘governing the forces that propel the wheel of life’.

Family and consorts Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths disagree about his birth. He may have been created by Shiva, or by Parvati, or by Shiva and Parvati, or appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati. The family includes his brother Skanda, who is also called Karttikeya, Murugan. Regional differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the older, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the first born. Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, when worship of him declined significantly in northern India. As Skanda fell, Ganesha rose. Several stories tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers and may reflect sectarian tensions. Ganesha’s marital status varies widely in mythological stories. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried brahmachārin. This view is common in Southern India and parts of Northern India. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha’s wives. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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(Sanskrit: daşi). Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra). He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the Bengal region, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo. The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) and Lābha. The 1975 Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma, the goddess of satisfaction. However this story has no Puranic basis. However this is considered as the evidence of Ganesha’s continuing evolution as a popular deity.

Worship and festivals Ganesha is worshipped on many religious and secular occasions; especially at the beginning of ventures such as buying a vehicle or starting a business. There can hardly be a Hindu home in India which does not house an idol of Ganapati. Ganapati, is the most popular deity in India, and is worshipped by almost all castes and in all parts of the country. Devotees believe that if Ganesha is propitiated, he grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity.

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Ganesha is a non-sectarian deity, and Hindus of all denominations invoke him at the beginning of prayers, important undertakings, and religious ceremonies. Dancers and musicians, particularly in Southern India, begin performances of arts such as the Bharatnatyam dance with a prayer to Ganesha. Mantras such as Om Shri Ganeshāya Namah (Om, salutation to the Illustrious Ganesha) are often used. One of the most famous mantras associated with Ganesha is Om Gam Ganapataye Namah (Om, Gam and Salutation to the Lord of Hosts). Devotees offer Ganesha sweets such as modaka and small sweet balls (laddus). He is often shown carrying a bowl of sweets, called a modakapātra. Because of his identification with the color red, he is often worshipped with red sandalwood paste (raktacandana) or red flowers. Dūrvā grass (Cynodon dactylon) and other materials are also used in his worship. Festivals associated with Ganesha are: 1. the Vināyaka chaturthī or Ganesh Chaturthi in the śuklapakṣa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of bhādrapada (August/September) and 2. The Gaṇeśa jayanti (Gaṇeśa’s birthday) celebrated on the cathurthī of the śuklapakṣa (fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of māgha (January/February).

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Each Purâna reports a different story to narrate the birth of the god Ganesha. Some legends tell that he was born from the Shiva spirit (mânasika putra); others, in fact most of them (Vâmana-Purâna, Matsya-Purâna, Skanda-Purâna), Ganesha is the creation of Pârvatî . According the very well known Shiva-Purâna version, the Shiva’s wife, Pârvatî was disturbed once by her husband who entered the house, even though she was taking her bath. The goddess felt annoyed, because she did not have any personal servant to guard her door. So, she rub her body skin and, with the perfumed unguents obtained, she molded the shape of a young boy, as glorious as daylight. Then, she granted him life and named him Ganesha, ordering that he should be on guard in front of her house. When the child intended to impede the great god to enter the house, Shiva enraged, transformed himself in his Rudra form and requested to attack Ganesha. In the battle, Ganesha got his head cut off. Ascertaining the incommensurable disaster striking her son, Pârvatî was inconsolable. Unable to find the child head, Shiva grafted elephant head on the dead body and gave him life again. Trying to repair his big mistake, he recognized Ganesha as his son and empowered him on all his servants; so he became ‘Ganapati’.

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A similar version explains that Nandi was the guard of the Pârvatî’s apartments. But, in the mean time, he was also and above all the Shiva’s servant. For this reason, he could not be opposed to his Lord’s will. A more detailed version describes Shiva sending his Gana army to attack. But Ganesha defeats them. Shiva request Brahmâ to come; taking the form of a peaceful brâhmane, he tries gently to make the boy listen to reason. Vainly, Ganesha remains intractable. Then, Shiva asks Kârtikeya and Indra, to intervene and to mobilize their armies; Ganesha resists victoriously and routs the armies, thanks to the help of Kâlî and Durgâ, sent for Pârvatî, raging at the attack against her beloved son. Finally, Shiva decides to enter himself in the battle; while Ganesha strives against Vishnu, treacherously, he attacks him in the rear and cuts off his head. The revenge of Pârvatî is terrible: she creates innumerable Shakti and order them to devour all the Gana and Devâ. Absolutely terrified, Brahmâ and Vishnu beg her for mercy; in exchange, Pârvatî demands that his son can get life again. She requests also reparation: henceforth, his son will be worshipped first, before all other gods. Shiva sends messengers, ordering them to bring back the first creature’s head looking north side; indeed, this direction is well-known to be auspicious and synonymous with wisdom. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The first asleep creature which they find, with the head turned to north side is an elephant. They bring back his head and Shiva replaces it on the child body; then, he gives him life. Pârvatî expresses transport of joy; she embraces her son, the elephant-headed boy, named Ganesha by Shiva, i.e. ‘Lord of the Gana’. Many variant legends relating to the source of the Ganesha elephant head are described in various texts, more or less ancient: At gods’ behest who needed a deity able to remove all the obstacles from their path of action and realization Shiva himself was born from the Pârvatî's womb, under his form of Gajânana. According to the Linga-Purâna, Ganesh was created by Shiva in order to triumph over the Asura and other enemies of gods; indeed, the Devâ supplicated Shiva to lend assistance to them, because they were tormented by the devils. Shiva agreed and the superb and wonderful image of a child shouts out of his mind. He had the head of a powerful elephant, he brandished a trident in one hand (indeed, Ganesha is sometimes represented with a trident). The gods were delighted to see this child, born-from-Shiva’s mind, able to protect them from this time forward. Looking at this nice young boy, Pârvatî took him on her lap and made the vow that any human or divine undertaking should not be successful unless Ganesha would be worshipped first. Then Shiva OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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declared that he would be the Lord of the celestial hosts, the Gana, giving him the name Ganapati, which means Lord of the Gana. In the Varâha-Purâna, Ganesha is depicted like a wonderfully handsome young man originating from the glittering forehead of Shiva absorbed in a deep meditation. This mânasika putra, son-born-from the Shiva’s mind, was a dazzling human boy. Pârvatî was disappointed that the boy was born without her intervention. So, she wished that his head became the head of an elephant. However, when she saw the elephant-headed child, she loved him immediately, and declared that any human or divine undertaking should not be successful unless Ganapati, Lord of the Gana, would be worshipped first. Another Puranic legend tells that Pârvatî longed for getting a child; she informed Shiva about her desire. He requested her to observe a one-year penance period (tapas or tapasya) designated as puñyaka. She did. Thus, the Sage Sanatkumara submitted Pârvatî to various severe tests in order to ascertain the force of her will. Afterwards, she heard a voice asking her to proceed to the room and to bring her new-born baby. She rushed forward, saw the child and could not believe her eyes, since he was more glorious than all the gods assembled and his face shined like the sun at dawn. She felt overcome with joy. All the gods and goddesses darted to the mount Kailash, the dwelling of the divine parents, to admire this glorious child; they worshipped him and marveled his beauty. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The nine Planets, the Navagraha, came also to congratulate the divine couple and their beloved child. One of them, Shani did not accept to raise the eyes to look at the baby; Quite the contrary, Shani wanted the child to hang down the head. Pârvatî was angry and did not believe him; she requested Shani to do as other gods and admire the baby. So he did and the baby’s head was instantaneously separated from the body, flying to the space to the Goloka, the Krishnâ world (indeed, one legend of the Brahmavaivarta-Purâna tells that Ganesha was originally Krishnâ himself, as a human being). Pârvatî cried, lamented noisily and created a total confusion. Realizing the dramatic situation, Vishnu left immediately on his vehicle Garuda in search of a new head to replace the lost one. On the banks of the river Pushpabhadra, he met a herd of sleeping elephants. Choosing a resting animal, whose head was turned northwards, he cut the head and brought it back. According to a version of this legend, this elephant was actually a Gandharva who desired to obtain the liberation from his terrestrial life. According to another version, one of the elephant Airâvata’s sons, the Indra god vehicle, gave his head. Whatever it was, when Vishnu came back, he put the head on the child’s neck. Blowing life energy in the lifeless body, he presented him to Pârvatî who felt delighted to get a child empowered with the elephant’s wisdom and power. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Vishnu dressed the child with exquisite ornaments, fitting his beauty; Himavân, the Pârvatî’s father, did the same. Vishnu mustered all the heavenly beings, and worshipped the child, giving him the eight names that designate him henceforth: Vighneshvara, Ganesha, Heramba, Gajânana, Lambodara, Ekadanta, Soorpakarna and Vinâyaka. Once upon a time, to amuse her, Pârvatî molded the form of an elephant-headed child, using sandal paste mixed with her perspiration, and then she brought it to the Ganga. As soon as the waters submerged the child, he became a resplendent Being. He was Dvaimatura, the son born-from-two-mothers, because Pârvatî and Gangâ too, believed that he was their child. The Suprabhedâgama describes the birth of Ganesha. When Shiva and Pârvatî were visiting the deep forests in the Himalaya range, saw a couple of elephants having sexual intercourse. For fun, they decided at once to do likewise. Adopting the form of these animals, they had sex together. Thus was born elephant-headed Ganesha. Shiva did not play any role in the birth Ganesha whose creation in only due to Pârvatî; however, the Shiva intervention allows Ganesha to get an elephant head. Shiva recognizes Ganesha as his elder son, but only after the events which gave him the elephant head. Nevertheless, Kârtikeya was already born.

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The pre-Vedic origin of Ganesha must be examined to understand the meaning of this legend. In fact, before the Aryans, the Dravidian society was matriarchal, and people worshipped a feminine idol of God, the Divine Mother. This concept characterizing the Dravidian civilization was not specifically Indian: it was also in force in the Middle-East before the Hebraic doctrine which imposed a male and fatherly God pattern. In the Ganesha legend, Pârvatî, a native pre-Vedic goddess, is the Divine Mother form who occupies a prominent place, even as regards Shiva. On the other hand, the events leading to bestow on Ganesha an elephant head has converted a violent and irritable boy into a being of wisdom and spirituality. And we see that Shiva, the Yoga Lord, presides over this wonderful transformation. To discover this elephant head, Shiva sends his servants northward. But, we know that the north direction (uttaram) is a beneficial one. The northward journey means a journey towards illumination (devayana - path of the gods). The elephant head brought back by the servants has only on tusk: this means that after the northward journey, this head has achieved the non-dual state.

Ganesha and the river Kaveri In order to supply water to the arid southern regions, the Sage Agastya, with the blessings of Brahmâ, got from Shiva little sacred water which filled his kamandalu. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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He journeyed to southern regions of the country, hoping to find a suitable place to create a high flow river. Thus he reached the Kodagu (Coorg) mountains. On the way, he hailed a young boy who was passing by. In fact, the boy was Ganesha disguised. The Sage requested the boy to carry carefully his water pot, because he wanted to find an isolated toilet place. Ganesha was aware that Agastya expected to create a river; the place where they were seemed to be favorable. So, he put the kamandalu on the ground. A crow, passing by, landed on the pot edge. When he came back, Agastya expelled the bird which, taking off, spilled the kamandalu. When it poured, this small quantity of water became the Kaveri River. The place, still considered as a sacred one, is known as Talakaveri.

Ganesha and Kubera Kubera, the god of wealth, was very proud of his boundless fortune. One day, he organized a gorgeous dinner; among other famous guests, the divine couple, Shiva and Pârvatî, with their son Ganesha, was present. The later, still a child, started to eat and he appeared quickly to be insatiable. Soon, the other guests found plates and dishes empty. Alas! Not satisfied with all the available food, Ganesha started to devour plates and dishes, the furniture and all the content of Alakâpuri, the main city of Kubera. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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When he achieved to gulp down the whole, the child Ganesha threatened to swallow Kubera himself. Frightened, the god of wealth rushed forward to Shiva's feet to implore his help, since the Ganesha voracious appetite seemed to be unlimited. The remedy was simple but spectacular: Shiva gave his son a handful of roasted cereal grains. Ganesha ate it and, wonderfully, his hunger stopped immediately. This legend teaches us that a handful of common food, given with love, and eaten with devotion, is more important and more sustaining that the banquet offered by Kubera to impress the gods. From a different angle, this story shows that properties cannot bring peace and satisfaction to anybody. The only path to self-realization requires burning our vasana. The destruction of the vasana is symbolized by the consumption of the grilled rice; indeed, when the rice has been cooked, he loses his germinative capacity. Moreover, the seeds of our hidden desires lose strength and possibility to come back further.

Ganesha and the Moon One day, Ganesha was given a lot of sweets by his devotees. Indeed, everybody is aware of his greediness. He swallowed the sweets forthwith. Then Ganesha went back home, riding his mouse. It was sunset and in the darkness, it came to pass that the mouse suddenly stumbled over a snake. Ganesha fell to the ground. But he had so much eaten that his over-filled stomach burst and the cakes poured out. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Ganesha collected and replaced them in his widely open belly (do not try to find any rational meaning to that story!). By way of belt, he caught the snake who had caused the disturbance and tied him around the waist (one can see this girdle made-ofa-snake on many Ganesha representations). Looking at this funny performance, the Moon, Chandra, bursts out laughing. Ganesha was very annoyed, and thought that jeer had offended him. Resentful, he removed his right tusk and threw it to the moon face (generally Ganesha is depicted with a broken right tusk). At the same time, he put a curse on her, so that she stops to shine at night and disappears from the sky. At that time, the legend tells that the moon used to shine every night. Since then, the moon being missing, there was neither moonlight nor twilight. Young lovers lamented and bewailed; old people grumbled. They could not sleep, because the sun brightened even nightly. Without the moon, the gods found the heavenly life as unbearable as the men found on earth. So, they hurled themselves at Ganesha house, supplicating him to manage the situation. Everyone knows that Ganesha is basically full of indulgence; thus, he complied with their urgent requirement but, nevertheless, decided that the moon would not be allowed to shine every night as she did before. Henceforth, she was sentenced to wax and wane, alternating a shining fortnight and OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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a dark fortnight, each of these periods ending by the full moon and the new moon. This is the reason why people think inauspicious to look at the moon on the Ganesha birthday, the Ganesha Chaturthî (which corresponds to the fourth day of the wax), during the Bhâdrapad month (in August or early September). This belief is still running nowadays and people carefully avoid glancing at the moon on the Ganesha Chaturthî day. Some people, very superstitious, abstain from looking at the very moon every fourth day of the waxing moon, to be sure not to mistake! And if any unlucky man sees the moon on that particular day, he has to throw stones quickly on the next house, so that the injuries sent by his neighbors in return unprimed the god’s anger! The meaning of this legend or at least an interpretation which we could accept is the following: Ganesha riding his rat represents the Truth Seeker, the Man of Perfection who, by means of his body, mind and understanding, tries to reach his spiritual goal to finally convey the unlimited Truth. Body, Mind and Intellect are limited realities. They are not able to explain what Atman is. The one who is seeking after the Supreme Reality knows that it is nearly impossible to share his experience by ‘ordinary’ OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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means and words. This is why we find strange and inscrutable the speeches and actions of the spiritual teachers. The intellect of a man unengaged in this type of spiritual search is unable to understand what the ultimate Truth is, what is the ultimate Reality. The moon is the deity which governs the human mind. The moon laughing at Ganapati riding his rat reminds us the ignorant person who mocks spiritual seeker’s efforts to reach the Truth. Similarly, when somebody tries to ridicule the spiritual Teachers, the Sages who teach the Truth and their talks, this is detrimental to the Humanity. In another legend, narrated in the Brahmânda-Purâna, the Moon had lost her brightness because of a god’s curse. In order to help the Moon to recover her light, Ganesha put her on his forehead as an ornament (tilaka); under this form named Bhâlachandra (‘The One whose forehead is adorned with the Moon’), god Ganesha is particularly worshipped by esoteric sects.

Ganesha and the goddess Parvati One day, the child Ganesha diverted himself in tormenting a cat, pulling his tail and rolling him on the ground. All of us know that children are able to injure animals but are not aware to act badly.

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Just a moment after, he left the cat peacefully went away. He even did not think about what he had done. He arrived at mount Kailash to meet again his mother Parvati. He found her badly suffering, covered with wounds and dust. He asked her about what happened; she replied that he was responsible of this situation. Indeed, she was, just before, that cat tormented by Ganesha. This story teaches us that all the living beings are of divine essence. If we injure a living creature, one of our companions, human or animal, we injure God Himself. Ganesha learned this lesson and we also must learn it during our lifetime.

Ganesha and Ravana One day, Ravana undertook very difficult tapas. As a consequence, Shiva appeared to him. Ravana requested a favor. He wanted that his kingdom and himself could never be damaged or destroyed. As a present, Shiva gave him a Shiva Lingam, the symbol of Shiva; he ordered to bring it back to his kingdom and to place it in a temple after adequate rituals. After that, he would become unconquerable. But there was a prerequisite: whatever happened, he ought not to lay down the Lingam on the floor, under pain of not be able to displace it later. Overjoyed, Ravana welcomed the Lingam. However, the Devâ OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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(Gods) felt afraid of the power that Ravana could obtain. They invoked Ganesha before any action. Then, Varuna, the god of Waters, penetrated into the Ravana’s abdomen, causing him troubles which forced him to stop on his way. Ravana was convulsed with pain, but careful not to lay down the Lingam on the ground, as requested expressly by Shiva. Ravana called a young Brahman coming that way; he asked him to keep the stone Lingam just for a moment. As soon as Ravana entrusted him the Lingam, the boy cried out for help three times. Getting no reply, he put the Lingam on the ground. When Ravana came back, he was very angry and he dismissed the boy who just appeared to be Ganesha in reality. But Ravana had the power of the Lingam. Then Ganesha could easily subdue the devil, kicking to the sky. Ravana realized his limitations and admitted the huge power of Ganesha. The place where the Lingam was deposited is called Gokarna, and is located on the Karnataka Western Coast; it is a worshipping place till nowadays. This story teaches that the demon is always defeated at the very end, especially when he thinks himself very powerful.

The wisdom of Ganesha Shiva and Pârvatî used to play with two sons, Ganesha and Kârtikeya. The gods had given them a marvelous fruit. Each boy wanted to get it for him alone. Their parents explained OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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them that the nectar of the Supreme Knowledge and of Immortality was hidden in that fruit. To get the fruit, both had to compete. The winner should run three times around the world and come back first. Kârtikeya left at once. Riding his peacock, he flew in the sky, stopping at every sacred place on his way, praying and worshipping the gods. Ganesha was fully aware of his stout body; it slackened off him badly. The rat, his vehicle, was rather slow and would not be able to beat Kârtikeya. But his wisdom suggested him the right solution. He turned round his parents, Shiva and Pârvatî, showing a deep devotion. When they asked him why he did not start his journey around the world, he replied: ‘My parents Shiva and Shakti are the Whole Universe. In them is located the World. He does not need to go farther’. Of course, he won the contest. This legend emphasizes the importance of cleverness; Ganesha is a strong symbol of this quality which is always the best against force, speed or physical strength.

Ganesha and Lord Shiva One says that neither peace nor war action, nor daily business can succeed unless Ganesha has previously been worshipped. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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This is not only true for human beings, but also for celestial creatures. When Ganesha appeared, as the son born from Shiva’s mind, the later decided that Ganesha should be worshipped by anybody wishing to get success. Even worshipping other gods would be inefficient if prior worship to Ganesha had not been achieved. Thus, when Shiva left to fight the demons of the Tripura city, he forgot his own rule and rushed to the battle. However, when he embarked on his carriage, the wheel peg broke and the carriage was stopped. Abashed that such an accident could happen to him, Shiva realized that he had forgotten to pray to Ganesha before his departure, and this was the cause of the obstacle. Thus, he worshipped his son’s name and could proceed to the Tripurâtanka battle which he won successfully.

The broken Ganesha tusk Several legends explain how Ganesha broke his right tusk, which gives him the name of Ekadanta - The Lord who has only one tusk. The first legend comes from the Brahmânda-Purâna. It is related to a battle between Ganesha and Parashurâma. Parashurâma was one of the Vishnu incarnations (avatâra), born on earth to teach wisdom to the governing class, the Kshatriya, who had become arrogant and oppressed people. Parashurâma meditated on Shiva and got the divine axe, OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Parashu. This axe helped him to fight against all the corrupted princes, inspired by devils. Deeply grateful to Shiva, he went to Mount Kailash to bow to his guru. But Ganesha, who was guarding the entrance of the palace, did not allow him to proceed. Ganesha told him to wait for the Shiva permission. Parashurâma thought: ‘I am a Shiva devotee; such a rule cannot be applied to me’. Ganesha persisting to bar the way, Parashurâma, usually peppery, stroke violently the Ganesha tusk with his axe and broke it. Then Shiva and Pârvatî arrived and blamed Parashurâma who bowed down before Ganesha and supplicated to obtain his forgiveness and blessing. Then Ganesha was named Ekadanta ‘The Lord with one tusk’. According to another legend, Ganesha broke himself his tusk during the battle against Gajamukhâsura (the elephantheaded Asura). Taking the advice of Shukrâchârya, the Asura guru, this demon followed severe penances. Thus, he got unconquerable powers from Shiva. But he misused those powers to harass the gods who went to Ganesha and requested his help. Ganesha did not hesitate to give battle to this demon. During the fight, he understood that the demon could not be defeated, because of his particular powers. Then, Ganesha broke his OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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right tusk and threw it to Gajamukhâsura. He pursued him and converted him in a mouse. Then he rode this mouse, which he used as a mount, keeping it under control. According to another Purâna story, the Ganesha rat was actually the Gandharva Krauncha. One day, at the Indra Court, Krauncha insulted the Sage Vâmadeva who revenged himself, making him a big rat. This rat, as all the rats do, went in the ashram of the Sage Parâchara and caused a lot of damages in the house. The Rishi invoked Vinâyaka (another name for Ganesha) to safeguard his modest dwelling. Ganesha appeared, rode the rat as his vehicle and mastered it. A Purâna legend imputes the loss of the tusk to a fight between Ganesha and Shiva himself. Finally, there is the story between Ganesha and the Moon narrated above. Whatever the version of these puranic stories, Ganesha chose the rat as a vehicle for an obvious reason: this animal is really a detrimental one and Ganesha was able to keep it under his strict control.

Ganesha and Lord Vishnu One day, Vishnu found out that his Valamburi Shankha (conch) had disappeared. He felt himself very annoyed. After OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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some time, he heard the typical sound of a conch far away and recognized immediately that it was his own instrument. The sound came from the Mount Kailash. He meditated on Lord Shiva who came in front of him and declared that if he wanted to get his conch back, he had first to address invocation to god Valamburi Ganesha (a Ganesha form with a right-turned trunk). Thus, Vishnu performed the puja and Ganesha sent back the conch to his owner who was very happy to recover it. One can surely find other legends. If you know any new one, please let us know it!

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Ganesha Chaturthi Origin An annual festival honors Ganesha for ten days, starting on Ganesh Chaturthi, which typically falls in late August or early September. This festival is also known as Ganesha Utsav. The festival begins with people bringing in terracota 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 tradition of immersion on the 3rd, 5th, or 7th day. In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed this annual Ganesha festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event. He did so ‘to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them’ in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra. Because of Ganesha’s wide appeal as ‘the god for Everyman’, Tilak chose him as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule. Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of submerging all the OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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public images on the tenth day. Today, Hindus across India celebrate the Ganapati festival with great fervor, though it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra. The festival also assumes huge proportions in Mumbai, Pune, and in the surrounding belt of Ashtavinayaka temples.

Temples Ashtavinayak In Hindu temples, Ganesha is depicted in various ways: as an acolyte or subordinate deity (pãrśva-devatã); as a deity related to the principal deity (parivāra-devatã); or as the principal deity of the temple (pradhāna), treated similarly as the highest gods of the Hindu pantheon. As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy, which is analogous to his role as Parvati’s doorkeeper. In addition, several shrines are dedicated to Ganesha himself, of which the Ashtavinayak (Sanskrit; aṣṭavināyaka; ‘eight Ganesha (shrines)’ in Maharashtra are particularly well known. Located within a 100-kilometer radius of the city of Pune, each of these eight shrines celebrates a particular form of Ganapati, complete with its own lore and legend; together they ‘form a mandala, demarking the sacred cosmos of Ganesha’. There are many other important Ganesha temples at the following locations: Wai in Maharashtra; Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh; Jodhpur, Nagaur and Raipur (Pali) in Rajasthan; OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Baidyanath in Bihar; Baroda, Dholaka, and Valsad in Gujarat and Dhundiraj Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Prominent Ganesha temples in southern India include the following: the Jambukeśvara Temple (Ucchi pillaiyar kottai) at Tiruchirapalli; at Rameshvaram and Suchindram; Karpaka Vinayakar Temple in TamilNadu; Hampi, Kasargod, and Idagunji in Karnataka; and Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh. T. A. Gopinatha notes, ‘Every village however small has its own image of Vighneśvara (Vigneshvara) with or without a temple to house it in. At entrances of villages and forts, below pīpaḹa trees […], in a niche […] in temples of Viṣṇu (Vishnu) as well as Śiva (Shiva) and also in separate shrines specially constructed in Śiva temples […]; the figure of Vighneśvara is invariably seen.’ Ganesha temples have also been built outside of India, including Southeast Asia, Nepal, and in several western countries as well. Ganesha appeared in his classic form as a clearly recognizable deity with well-defined iconographic attributes in the early 4th to 5th centuries. Shanti Lal Nagar says that the earliest known iconic image of Ganesha is in the niche of the Shiva temple at Bhumra, which has been dated to the Gupta period. His independent cult appeared by about the 10th century.

Ganesha Visarjan For ten days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees, this is the ritual known as Ganesha Visarjan. At individual homes the Visarjan is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting ‘Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya’ (O lord Ganesha, come again speedily next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the statue to the river to immerse it. The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modagam or modakam in South India). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikaiin Kannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape. Public celebrations of the festival are very popular, with local communities (mandalas) vying with each other to put up the biggest statue and the best pandal. The festival is also the time for cultural activities like singing and theater performances, orchestra and community activities like free medical checkup, blood donation camps, and charity for the poor, etc. Today, the Ganesha Festival is not only a popular festival; it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Maharashtra. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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on this mega-event. Ganesha Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public. The same holds true for Hyderabad and Chennai too.

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Ganesha and his wives It is generally considered by the Indian that Ganesha has normally remained a bachelor god. Besides, several specialists state that, according to the common faith, Ganesha is really a bachelor, and nay even misogynous god. In support of this proposition, they explain that classical images showing Ganesha in association with feminine characters would be rather rare. In reality, when Ganesha is a bachelor, we may consider him as a brahmachârin, that is to say engaged in spiritual practices for the purification. In other cases, traditional as well as contemporary iconography shows it many times, Ganesha is said to be married with two beautiful girls named Siddhi (Success) and Buddhi (Wisdom). Is it a symbol to emphasize the wisdom and success necessary action in the course to remove obstacles, and we know that Ganesha is the best specialist in that matter? Or, do the two Ganesha wives personify His wisdom and accomplishment? OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The best known history of the Ganesha wedding is narrated in the Shiva Purâna. Shiva and Pârvatî told their two sons: ‘You two are good sons, equal to our eyes. An auspicious marriage will be granted to the first of you coming back here after he has travelled three times all over the universe.’ Skanda started immediately to journey round the world, but Ganesha took time to think about the challenge. He got a purification bath, then installed two comfortable seats and invited his parents to sit down on these. Praising them, he turned around them seven times, then declared: ‘Please take the decision to celebrate my marriage. I am the winner’. Indeed, his parents were surprised, but Ganesha replied: ‘Is it not written in the Veda and the Shastra that the man who ritually circumambulate (pradakshina) seven times around his parents can get as many merits as if he journeys round the world? Please, let organize quickly my wedding now’. Hearing this statement from their son, Shiva and Pârvatî were really surprised but they decided to congratulate him for his guile. So, Ganesha was married to the Prajâpati’s daughters: Siddhi (success) and Buddhi (wisdom, cleverness). After some times, Ganesha got two sons: Kshema (prosperity) born from Siddhi, and Lâbha (acquisition) born from Buddhi. When Skanda came back and discovered that his brother had diddled him, he went to the Krauncha Mountain where he dwelled unmarried, still now. The Matsyapurâna which indicates Ganesha as the ‘Riddhi (success, prosperity) and Buddhi (intelligence) owner’; for this reason, some commentators consider that these goddesses are not Shaktis, but only symbols of the Ganesha qualities. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The Brahmavaivartapurâna mentions the Ganesha marriage with Pushti (Prosperity) In the Ganeshapurâna, the great Sage Nârada proposes the Ganesha wedding with Siddhi and Buddhi, the two daughters of Brahmâ. In the Mudgalapurâna, the two Ganesha wives, Siddhi and Buddhi are not daughters of god Brahmâ, but daughters of Marichi, the Brahmâ's son. The wives names can be different. As indicated above, the Shivapurâna names them as Siddhi and Buddhi, but they are called Riddhi and Buddhi in the Matsyapurâna. And the Brahmavaivartapurâna mentions only Pushti as the Ganesha wife. Sometimes, the Ganesha ‘wife’ is indistinctly, according to the regions, the people, and the sects, named Sarasvatî, Sharda, Lakshmi, and even Pârvatî. The same heterogeneity is found to name popularly the Ganesha mother: generally, she is known as Pârvatî, but also as Gauri, Lakshmi, Durgâ. Definitely, Ganesha often goes with a female image seated on his left lap, or with his two brides, rarely on his two laps, but more often seated on the right lap, the other on the left one; this can be observed on the painted walls in the Shekavati region in Rajasthan; sometimes stone frescoes are found. The question remains whether the Ganesha wives are Shakti or only wives. Most probably, the two options are credible. To OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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support the second option, we have known that, according to the Shivapurâna, two sons were born from the Ganesha marriage with his wives: Siddhi gave birth to Kshema (Welfare) and Buddhi to Lâbha (lucre). On the other hand, it is undisputable that Ganesha Shakti is known. Except the elephant-headed Vinâyakî who is obviously a ‘typical’ Shakti since she is quite similar to Ganesha (but she is a female representation), the Shakti Ganesha form a particular category connected with tantric belief system. Such Tantric Ganesha are: 1. Lakshmîganapati 2. Mahâganapati 3. Moolâdhâraganapati 4. Panchabhootaganapati 5. Pingalaganapati 6. Shaktiganapati 7. Uchchishtaganapati 8. Uddandaganapati 9. Ûrdhvaganapati 10. Varaganapati

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Bodily Attributes Every element of the body of Ganesha has its own value and its own significance: 1. The elephant head indicates fidelity, intelligence and discriminative power; 2. A single tusk he has a single tusk (the other being broken off) indicates Ganesha’s ability to overcome all forms of dualism. The broken tusk of Ganesha, as described above, stands primarily for his ability to overcome or ‘break through’ the illusions of duality. However, there are many other meanings that have been associated with this symbol. 3. The wide ears denote wisdom, ability to listen to people who seek help and to reflect on spiritual truths. They signify the importance of listening in order to assimilate ideas. Ears are used to gain knowledge. The large ears indicate that when God is known, all knowledge is known;

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4. The curved trunk or Vakratunda indicates the intellectual potentialities which manifest themselves in the faculty of discrimination between real and unreal; 5. Trishula On the forehead, the Trishula (weapon of Shiva, similar to Trident) is depicted, symbolizing time (past, present and future) and Ganesha’s mastery over it; 6. Ganesha’s pot belly contains infinite universes. It signifies the bounty of nature and equanimity, the ability of Ganesha to swallow the sorrows of the Universe and protect the world; 7. The position of his legs (one resting on the ground and the other raised) indicate the importance of living and participating in the material world as well as in the spiritual world, the ability to live in the world without being of the world. 8. The four arms of Ganesha represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body, that is: mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), and conditioned conscience (Chitta). Lord Ganesha represents the pure consciousness - the Atman - which enables these four attributes to function in us; 9. The hand waving an axe is a symbol of the retrenchment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering. With this axe Ganesha can both strike and repel obstacles. The axe is also to prod man to the path of righteousness and truth; OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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10.The second hand holds a whip, as the symbol of the force that ties the devout person to the eternal beatitude of God. The whip conveys that worldly attachments and desires should be rid of; 11.The third hand, turned towards the devotee, is in a pose of blessing, refuge and protection (abhaya); 12.The fourth hand holds a lotus flower (padma), and it symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution, the sweetness of the realized inner self. 13.Ganesha is also defined as Omkara or Aumkara that is ‘having the form of Om (or Aum) In fact, the shape of his body is a copy of the outline of the Devanagari letter which indicates the celebrated Bija Mantra. For this reason, Ganesha is considered the bodily incarnation of the entire Cosmos, He who is at the base of the entire phenomenal world (Vishvadhara, Jagadoddhara). Moreover, in the Tamil language, the sacred syllable is indicated precisely by a character which recalls the shape of the elephant's head of Ganesha.

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Ganesha as scribe to Veda Vyasa A very interesting story about Ganesha is the belief according to which he has been the writer of the Mahabharata. The Sage Vyâsa, the author of this epic, was meditating on Brahmâ. The god told him to request Ganesha to be the scribe for the dictation of this epic in verses. Ganesha appeared immediately in the presence of Brahmâ and gave his agreement. However, he demanded that Vyâsa should talk without any stop. Vyâsa dictated his own request: before starting to write, Ganesha had to understand each word, each thought, with all the significations they had. Every time Vyâsa observed that Ganesha had finished writing a verse (he used his broken tusk as a pen), he dictated another verse, as much complicated as possible. So, Ganesha was obliged to stop to write. That short period was enough to make Vyâsa able to mentally compose the following verses... and to tell them when Ganesha was ready.

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This legend teaches us that the Mahabharata should not be read quickly. One must understand all the meanings of the story, and it is necessary to digest it. One must also listen to it carefully, and meditate about. Actually, a belief says that the Mahabharata should not be read. We should listen to it every day, little by little. This way alone, we may understand progressively the deep meaning of this story. In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterruptedly, without pausing. The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha’s pen broke. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word. A late interpolation to the epic poem Mahabharata says that the sage Vyasa (Vyāsa) asked Ganesha to serve as his scribe to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed but only on condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterrupted, that is, without pausing. The sage agreed, but found that to get any rest he needed to recite very complex passages so Ganesha would have to ask for clarifications. The OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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story is not accepted as part of the original text by the editors of the critical edition of the Mahabharata, in which the twenty-line story is relegated to a footnote in an appendix. The story of Ganesha acting as the scribe occurs in 37 of the 59 manuscripts consulted during preparation of the critical edition. Ganesha’s association with mental agility and learning is one reason he is shown as scribe for Vyāsa’s dictation of the Mahabharata in this interpolation.

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Ganesha and the Mouse According to one interpretation, Ganesha’s divine vehicle, the mouse or mooshikam represents wisdom, talent and intelligence. It symbolizes minute investigation of a cryptic subject. A mouse leads a clandestine life below the ground. Thus it is also a symbol of ignorance that is dominant in darkness and fears light and knowledge. As the vehicle of Lord Ganesha, a mouse teaches us to remain always on alert and illuminate our inner-self with the light of knowledge. Both Ganesha and the Mooshak love modaka, a sweet dish which is traditionally offered to them both during worship ceremonies. The Mooshak is usually depicted as very small in relation to Ganesha, in contrast to the depictions of vehicles of other deities. However, it was once traditional in Maharashtrian art to depict Mooshak as a very large mouse, and for Ganesha to be mounted on him like a horse. Yet another interpretation says that the mouse (Mushika or Akhu) represents the ego, the mind with all of its desires, and the pride of the individual. Ganesha, riding atop the mouse, OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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becomes the master (and not the slave) of these tendencies, indicating the power that the intellect and the discriminative faculties have over the mind. Moreover, the mouse (extremely voracious by nature) is often depicted next to a plate of sweets with his eyes turned toward Ganesha while he tightly holds on to a morsel of food between his paws, as if expecting an order from Ganesha. This represents the mind which has been completely subordinated to the superior faculty of the intellect, the mind under strict supervision, which fixes Ganesha and does not approach the food unless it has permission.

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Mythological Anecdotes How did he obtain his elephant head? The highly articulated mythology of Hinduism presents many stories which explain the manner in which Ganesha obtained his elephant head; often the origin of this particular attribute is to be found in the same anecdotes that tell about his birth. And many of these same stories reveal the origins of the enormous popularity of his cult. Decapitated and reanimated by Shiva The most well-known story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana. Once, while his mother Parvati wanted to bathe, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she created a boy's idol out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body (turmeric was used for its anti-septic and cooling properties) and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house and Ganesha obediently followed his mother’s command. After a while Shiva returned from outside and as he OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated at this strange little boy who dared to challenge him. He told Ganesha that he was Parvati’s husband, and demanded that Ganesha let him go in. But Ganesha would not hear any person’s word other than his dear mother’s. Shiva lost his patience and had a fierce battle with Ganesha. At last he severed Ganesha’s head with his Trishula (trident). When Parvati came out and saw her son’s lifeless body, she was very angry and sad. She demanded that Shiva restore Ganesha’s life at once. Unfortunately, Shiva’s Trishula was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha’s head very far off. All attempts to find the head were in vain. As a last resort, Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace Ganesha’s head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his celestial armies (Gana) to find and take the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing north. They found an elephant which slept in this manner and decapitated it, attaching the elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body and bringing him back to life. From then on, he was called Ganapathi, or head of the celestial armies and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity.

Shiva and Gajasura Another story regarding the origins of Ganesha and his elephant head narrates that, once, there existed an Asura (demon) with all the characteristics of an elephant, called Gajasura, who was undergoing a penitence (or tapas). Shiva, OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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satisfied by this austerity, decided to grant him, as a reward, whatever gift he desired. The demon wished that he could emanate fire continually from his own body so that no one could ever dare to approach him. The Lord granted him his request. Gajasura continued his penitence and Shiva, who appeared in front of him from time to time, asked him once again what he desired. The demon responded: ‘I desire that You inhabit my stomach.’ Shiva granted even this request and he took up residence in the demon’s stomach. In fact, Shiva is also known as Bhola Shankara because he is a deity easily propitiated; when he is satisfied with a devotee he grants him whatever he desires, and this, from time to time, generates particularly intricate situations. It was for this reason that Parvati, his wife, sought him everywhere without results. As a last recourse, she went to her brother Vishnu, asking him to find her husband. He, who knows everything, reassured her: ‘Don’t worry, dear sister, your husband is Bhola Shankara and promptly grants to his devotees whatever they ask of him, without regard for the consequences; for this reason, I think he has gotten himself into some trouble. I will find out what has happened.’ Then Vishnu, the omniscient director of the cosmic game, staged a small comedy. He transformed Nandi (the bull of Shiva) into a dancing bull and conducted him in front of Gajasura, assuming, at the same time, the appearance of a flutist. The enchanting performance of the bull sent the demon into ecstasies, and he asked the flutist to tell him what he desired. The musical Vishnu responded: ‘Can you give me that OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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which I ask?’ Gajasura replied: ‘Who do you take me for? I can immediately give you whatever you ask.’ The flutist then said: ‘If that is so, liberate Shiva from your stomach.’ Gajasura understood then that this must have been no other than Vishnu himself, the only one who could have known that secret and he threw himself at his feet. Having liberated Shiva, he asked him for one last gift: ‘I have been blessed by you with many gifts; my last request is that everyone remembers me adoring my head when I am dead.’ Shiva then brought his own son there and replaced his head with that of Gajasura. From then on, in India, the tradition is that any action, in order to prosper, must begin with the adoration of Ganesha. This is the result of the gift of Shiva to Gajasura.

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Ganesha - the Gatekeeper Yes, it is Ganesha who is the gateway for seekers into the world’s most ancient faith. He is the inner authority, the guardian, the one who grants access to the spiritual mysteries of the Sanatana Dharma. All Hindus worship Him, regardless of their sectarian or philosophical positions. He truly binds them together in His love. This great God is both the beginning of the Hindu religion and the meeting ground for all its devotees. And that is only proper, inasmuch as Ganesha is the personification of the material universe. The universe in all of its varied and various magnificent manifestations is nothing but the body of this cheerfully portly God. Ganesha sits on the psychic lotus of the muladhara chakra, the ganglia of nerves at the base of the spine within everyone. This chakra governs time, matter and memory. As the spiritual aspirant is lifted up from fear and confusion into conscious awareness of right thought, right speech and right action, the muladhara chakra becomes activated. It is OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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then that the seeker, with heart filled with love, encounters the holy feet of Lord Ganesha. As the spiritual seeker worships the loving elephant-faced God, clearness of mind comes more and more as he automatically and very slowly enters the Hindu path to enlightenment. Once the connection is firmly established between the devotee and Ganesha, all of the currents of the devotee’s mind and body become harmonized. After that strong connection is made, should he falter on the spiritual path, he has gained divine protection. But the seeker loses one thing. He loses his free, instinctive willfulness. It is lost forever. Yet it is not a great loss. Man’s own personal willfulness, his animalistic free will, is a feeble and insignificant force when compared to Lord Ganesha’s divine will. When beholden to God Ganesha and inwardly awakened enough to be attuned to His will, it is then quite natural that the instinctive will bow down. Personal likes and dislikes vanish. Limited faculties of reason and analysis are overpowered and subdued by a greater will, a cosmic will, and the will of dharma. When sufficient humility has been awakened, it is easy to surrender personal, instinctive willfulness to the greater sub-super-conscious will of dharma. It happens most naturally, but very slowly, because Lord Ganesha, of all the many Gods, proceeds with methodic deliberation. He is the careful, loving guide on the inner path of all seekers. Among all Hindu Deities, Ganesha is the closest to the material plane of consciousness, most easily contacted and able to assist us in our day-to-day life and concerns. In His hands Ganesha wields a noose and a goad. With the noose He OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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can hold you close or hold obstacles close. Ganesha can capture and confine both blessings and obstacles. With the goad, Ganesha can strike and repel obstacles. He is called the Remover of Obstacles; but He also places obstacles in our way, if his devotees are heading in the wrong direction, thus His obstacles block their progress and guide them slowly back onto the straight path of dharma. When instinctive willfulness causes the seeker to decide to step out of the boundaries of dharma, the Lord of Obstacles is there to block the way. His emblem is the swastika, symbolizing His circuitous course in guiding the seeker through life's perplexing experiences.

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Developing a Personal Relationship It is the same when you evolve a relationship, a personal relationship, with Ganesha. He will not allow you to use your free will to get into difficulties. Guiding you carefully and protecting you along your way in your natural karma through life is His concern. Someone once said, ‘I worship Lord Shiva, I worship Murugan, but I have never really gotten acquainted with Ganesha.’ I responded, ‘You worship Shiva and Murugan, and that is wonderful. But unless you have established a personal relationship with Ganesha, your worship of any of the Gods is probably more according to your own thoughts and fancy than true worship. Until you have established a rapport with Ganesha, you cannot establish a relationship with Krishna, Ayyappan, Amman, Vishnu, Rama, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Sita, Radharani, Shiva or Murugan, outside of your own limited concepts. It is Ganesha who introduces you to the millions of Gods of the Hindu pantheon, no one else. That is the way it works.’ Yes, little by little, slowly, imperceptibly, a relationship evolves, a very personal, loving relationship, between the devotee and the elephant-faced God. Psychic protection is granted, physical protection, mental and emotional protection is all granted as OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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boons by Him. He will not allow His devotees to use their free, instinctive willfulness to make more kukarma – wrong actions by getting into difficulties. Rather, He will guide them carefully, protecting them every moment along the way so that their natural birth karmas may be worked through and sukarma – good deeds created by right living. This is His main concern. Lord Ganesha loves and cares for His devotees. Once the devotee is connected to Him through the awakening of the muladhara chakra, loneliness is never experienced. Ganesha is a truly wonderful, loving God. He has an extraordinary knack for unweaving complicated situations and making them simple. He can unweave his devotees from their karma, simplifying and purifying their lives. But this only happens after they have established a personal relationship with Him. Soon thereafter, changes begin to happen in their lives; and when they go through difficult times, they no longer become angry or live in fear or worry. When difficult times come, they know it is because they are being unwound from accumulated and congested, difficult karmas or being turned in a new direction altogether. They know that at such a time they have to consciously surrender their free, instinctive willfulness and not fight the divine happenings, but allow the God’s divine will to guide their life. Such is the spiritual path of total surrender.

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The Meaning of Grace ‘What about the grace of the Deity?’ seekers ask. Grace is received from the God when you are consistent in your worship, discipline, and bhakti, or devotion. With such a foundation in your life, shakti, or force, will come from Lord Ganesha. This force is called grace. It is uplifting. It comes unexpectedly. When grace comes, your mind may change and your heart may melt. Your sight will become clear and penetrating. You may say, ‘I have been graced to see everything differently.’ New doors will begin to open for you, and as you go through them, your life will become full, and wonderful. And the grace of it is that it would not have ordinarily happened to you. Seekers also inquire, ‘What is the difference between grace and a boon from the Gods?’ Grace is not exactly a boon. A boon comes as the result of something that you ask for and receive. A boon is quite specific. Grace comes because of the state of the soul in conjunction with its particular karma. It comes because we have done everything right up to a certain point in time according to the laws of dharma. It is then that the grace of the God comes. Grace is not for a specific need or event in our life, as a boon would be. Grace is more of a complete OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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transformation - a metamorphosis. After receiving grace of a God, the devotee can never be the same again, never look at life again in the same old way. By grace we are directed deeper into spiritual life, pointed in the right direction, carefully guided on the San-Marga, the right - path to our supreme God. After grace has been received, our thoughts are enlivened. Our life is inspired with enthusiasm and energy, and we live daily in the joyous knowledge that everything is all right, everything is happening around us in accord with our karma, our dharma and God’s gracious will.

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Gods the Real Beings Not Symbols Many people look at the Gods as mere symbols, representations of forces or mind areas. Actually, the Gods are beings, and down through the ages ordinary men and women, great saints and sages, prophets and mystics in all cultures have inwardly seen, heard and been profoundly influenced by these super conscious, inner-plane, inner-galactic beings. Ganesha is just such a being. He can think just as we can think. He can see and understand and make decisions - decisions so vast in their implications and complexity that we could never comprehend them with our human faculties of limited understanding. In recent history, missionaries and others from the Western religions have told the Indian people over and over again that their Gods are not real beings, but merely symbols of spiritual matters - and unfortunately many have begun to believe this and look at their Gods in this way. Even among Hindus there are quite a few who do not believe in inner-world beings. Their belief is restricted to the people they see in the physical world, and that is all. You dare not tell them differently. It is very OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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difficult, but not impossible, to introduce them to the grand philosophy which is based solely on worship, meditation, inner discipline and the search for Absolute Truth. But this is too high-minded for those living in the everyday materialistic consciousness. For the knowledge of inner worlds to become accepted, a personal realization is needed. This is a slow process for the materialist, a very slow process, and only Ganesha can help it along. To contact Ganesha, it is imperative that the materialist visit one of His temples or shrines, to make initial contact. It only takes one meeting.

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How to Approach the Deity When you approach the Deity, you should believe that Ganesha feels your presence, that He sees you just as you see Him. In thus seeing Him in very human terms, you will get to know Him better. You will develop a very human relationship with Him. It is especially important that you develop this relationship with Ganesha. It will not be difficult to nurture a friendly feeling for Him, because Ganesha is the Deity who governs our instinctive-intellectual state of mind. He governs the instinctive mind of all the animals, the insects, the birds and the fish, and governs, as well, all the forces of prakriti, nature. Ganesha is also the Deity that governs the higher intellectual mind, of science and profound knowledge. This is why they call Him Lord of Categories. As Lord of Categories, He organizes and clears the intellectual mind so that individual awareness can flow unhindered in the many areas of developing thought. As Lord of Obstacles, He creates and removes obstacles so that karma becomes more and more perfect as the process of refining living through the experiences of life continues. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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In the temples of India, even the offerings that come in through the day from pilgrims, who bring silver, gold and gifts of all kinds to be placed into the hundi, are counted at nightfall before the Deity. He sees this and is told of all that was given to Him, and He knows. At night, the Deity is ceremoniously put to bed. They treat Him in very human terms. In the morning He is symbolically awakened, then bathed and dressed. The Deity is treated just as if He were a human person. Well, in the Third World that kind of dedication, intense bhakti, is noticed, and it is appreciated. In a similar way the Guru Granth Sahib is treated as the living Guru by the Sikhs. Each night like a living one the scripture is put to sleep and each morning awakened.

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Connecting the three worlds: Hindu Magic Now you might wonder, ‘Where are the inner worlds?’ It is where you were before you were conceived. They are in the nonphysical microcosm of this macrocosm. When you were conceived, you began to slowly grow a new physical body inside your mother. At that time you were living in your astral body in the nonphysical microcosm. You existed, to be sure, but not in this physical macrocosm. The Devas and Deities are all in that nonphysical microcosm. They actually exist inside material existence. There are many worlds, or planes of existence, within the physical world. If you were to go into the physical microcosm, into a cell and into an atom, and into the inside of that and the inside of that, you would come out in the macrocosm of the Gods. This is called the Shivaloka or Third World. Their macrocosm is bigger than our macrocosm. The concept of this inner space is different than we ordinarily conceive. Even though their macrocosm exists within this OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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macrocosm, it is larger than this macrocosm. Of course, that immensity is in another dimension. And each world is larger than the one before - the world of departed souls is larger than this physical world, and the world of the Gods is much larger than the heaven worlds. Therefore, in a tiny space in this physical world hundreds of thousands of Devas exist - in a very tiny space.

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Worship and Meditation on Ganesha Bhakti yoga, is a definite discipline and practice to be perfected according to the aptitude of the devotee. After bathing and preparing the mind, approach Ganesha in the shrine or temple, bringing a small gift or flower to be placed at His holy feet. Consider that you are approaching and about to meet the most important person in the world. Make your offering and prostrate. As you prostrate, feel the energies of love and devotion flow along your spine and out through the top of the head and into the home shrine altar or sanctum sanctorum, garbhagriha, of the temple, and offer those pure actinic energies to Lord Ganesha. Rise and walk slowly three times around the sanctum, always clockwise. Meditation brings the Conservation of Energy. Thus, conservation of energy is an important aspect of Meditation. This is the law of Physics. It explains that energy can neither be destroyed nor lost. Definitely it can be transformed. Just as baser metals are transformed into precious gems, so too OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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meditation transforms the baser nature into the sublime one. From the quagmire of senses, meditation takes you to a different realm of being. Meditation, or dhyana yoga, is a discipline you can perform after worshiping that will, when diligently and consistently practiced, brings its own rewards. Sit before the Deity and bring up the images of your own father and mother, then the family guru and finally the darshana of the elephant Lord. Now meditate upon His form, His eyes, His ears, His trunk, His two tusks, His belly, in which rests the whole world. The first time your mind wanders into the thought patterns of daily life, bring it back to your parents, your guru and the first Lord to be worshiped before proceeding on to any other of the 330 million Gods of our ancient Sanatana Dharma. The objective is to maintain an unbroken continuity of thought and to not allow the mind to wander away from the darshana of the God. You can begin this meditation by pondering the obvious physical properties of the worshipful image. If it is made of stone, think of the stone. How large is it? Where was it quarried and how was it carved? What are the various parts of the Deity and what do they mean? What are his symbols and what do they mean? Recall them to memory. If it is a picture of Ganesha, ponder how that picture was produced. Continue to explore the Lord Ganesha with your mind. Later you can move on to less physical points of concentration. You will find that your awareness or mind will wander to unrelated areas, to concerns of the past or worries of the future. When it does, bring awareness back to your point OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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of concentration - the Deity, Lord Ganesha. Begin again your stream of thoughts toward Him, and when the mind once again wanders, use your willpower to bring it back to His darshana. This may be difficult at first, but constant practice will unfold awakening from within you. This brings understanding that you never knew existed and did not learn from the outside. When that happens, concentration is strong and meditation is not far away. You should be able to have twenty, thirty or even fifty thoughts on loving Ganesha in sequence without awareness being distracted into areas of the external mind. It will help if you learn to breathe diaphragmatically during these exercises. Breathe deeply but naturally, without strain or effort. As we control the pranas of the breath, we simultaneously control awareness so that it remains steady and does not move here and there. You also have to teach the body to sit still, to remain poised and not restless. All of this will come in time, not immediately. Be patient. Never become upset with yourself when distractions arise, for that is a greater distraction still. Simply accept each departure from your concentration as an opportunity to become stronger and more one-pointed, and then quietly and firmly bring awareness back to its subject, Lord Ganesha. You must teach this simple meditation to your children, and together the entire family will learn much about the Gods of our religion. It will inspire one and all to read more about them, to study their stories and memorize their sacred chants. The Gods will come to life within your own mind and every member of the family as you penetrate behind the symbols and OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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the stories and discover the true nature of Divinities. It is not necessary to practice this meditation for extended periods. A few minutes each day is enough. Once your brief meditation is finished, sit quietly in His darshana and enjoy His energies merging with your own pranic radiations. Take that darshana and that love out of the temple when you leave, spreading it among all the peoples of the world that they, too, may come to know and love the endearing God of Hinduism.

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Establishing the link through puja When the temple priest invokes the inner worlds and the beings within them, he is consciously trying to establish a channel of communication. When he is successful, this physical microcosm opens into the devonic macrocosm. In other words, through conscious effort, he connects the inner and outer worlds, even to the point that devotees may see the transfiguration of the God, or Mahadeva, superimposed over the stone image of the Deity in the temple. They can actually see the God, as He is in the inner world. Many, many awakened souls have seen such things - the eyes of the God moving, for instance - and some gurus can actually hear the God speak to them. The God is still in the inner world when this happens. It is the temple that has tuned into His world. This is much like live TV. Hundreds of sets can be tuned into the same station at the same time and view actual happenings as they occur.

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The God, therefore, does not travel from the altar of one temple to the altar of another temple. The procedure is similar to that of dialing a friend on the telephone and bringing his voice across a vast distance into your ear. The friend can be heard quite clearly, but he has not moved to another place. The telephone could be likened to a connection between the gross and the subtle worlds, the world of matter and the worlds of spirit, or akasha.

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Where do we go when we ‘Die?’ This is one of the most widely asked questions. Where does the soul go when a person dies? It goes into the subtle microcosm and then into a larger macrocosm, or greater world, and ceases for a time to function in this gross macrocosm because it is not living in a physical body. At death, the soul drops off the physical body and travels in and in and in to subtle worlds, inner worlds of existence that have their own expansive space, their own macrocosm. Small children, four or five years old, who can speak but have not yet become too immersed in the learned reality of the conscious or external mind, often tell their parents that they remember when they were born and even before. I have had children tell me, ‘I came from a world that was bigger than this world.’ And they talked about the activities that go on there and described the people living there.

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Of course, as they grow older and become involved in the external thought processes, these memories fade away. This is the kind of experiential knowledge that makes religion come alive in us, more real and useful. True religion should be the most real and solid and certain thing in our entire life. When we ponder these inner worlds, we learn from within ourselves how they relate and interrelate with each other. Ponder the many visions that prophets have spoken of experiencing, of all the angels or Devas that have graced mankind with their presence and their prophecies. Ponder the mystic human events that cannot adequately be explained by the rational intellect. Think of them all in terms of the inner worlds of existence, and all will become clear. Yes, one day it will all become clear, from the inside of you to the external intellect. This is real knowing. This is the building of faith. This is true Hinduism, the bedrock of daily life. When this knowing comes from the depths of your knowing state of consciousness, the temple will be the home of the Gods to you.

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Forms of Ganesha Everywhere in the macrocosm is Ganesha, at every point in time, in the forces of family, community, commerce and dharma that shape our lives, as well as in our culture - indeed all cultures of the world - in the physical universe and within our hearts. Of course, He is most present in the consecrated temple or roadside shrine, from which His grace radiates out from the world of the Gods. Ganesha is the Lord of beginnings, guiding the practical aspects of our lives that we may best fulfill dharma. For the Hindu, Ganesha is easily contacted, and He is thought of as lenient of our errors and shortcomings, most understanding of our humanness. So vast is Ganesha’s Being that He cannot be contained by any single concept, and therefore He is portrayed in many forms. He is each of them, and He is all of them. Ganesha is a word compounded from the Sanskrit word gana, meaning ‘the hosts,’ ‘multitudes’ or ‘troops’ of demigods, especially the retinue of Lord Shiva under the rule of Ganesha, and Isha, ‘ruler,’ ‘lord’ or ‘sovereign.’ This is virtually OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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synonymous with the name Ganapati, ‘master of the hosts.’ As Ganapati, Ganesha is the leader of the ganas, ruling over the celestial hosts, over the benign as well as the malevolent innerplane beings. He controls them not as Murugan does, through bravery and forcefulness, but by strategy and intelligence. We follow the path of Ganesha when we resort to discrimination and sagacity to resolve our difficulties, when we proceed past obstacles in a slow, prudent and well-planned manner. Ganesha is not in a hurry. He is cautious. He is patient, willing to wait the right time for events to take place. As Vighneshvara, Ganesha is Lord of Obstacles, creating difficulties and obstructions if the time is wrong for us to proceed and removing those same obstacles when our success is assured. It is to Vighneshvara that we supplicate before we undertake a task, plan a change in our life or begin the worship any of the other Gods. As Ekadanta, Ganesha is the Single-Tusked One, the Patron of Literature who, when all others failed, Himself undertook to scribe the great epic, Mahabharata, dictated to Him by sage Vyasa. He offers us here the lesson in life that knowledge and dharma are of utmost importance, worth sacrificing even pride and beauty to attain. As Siddhidata, Ganesha is the Giver of Success associated with bountiful harvests and general abundance in life. It is said that Ganesha is the material manifestation of the manas, or mind, of Lord Shiva, and that He embodies the five elements -- earth, air, fire, water and ether -- and guides the elemental forces that produce and maintain order in the universe. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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The Mudgala Purana, an ancient text on Lord Ganesha, cites eight forms of Ganesha, prevailing over eight human weaknesses or demons. 1. Ekadanta the Conquerer of Moda, arrogance. 2. Dhumravarna (smoke colored) overcomes Abhimana, pride; 3. Vakratunda (curved trunk) is the Vanquisher of Matsarya, jealousy; 4. Mahodara (big belly) is Lord of Moha, infatuation; 5. Gajanana (elephant face) conquers Lobha, greed; 6. Lambodara (corpulent belly) overcomes Krodha, anger; 7. Vikata (deformed) conquers Kama, lust; 8. Vighnaraja (King of Obstacles) prevails over Mamata (egotism). So now we can see that Ganesha is there for even the lowest of the low, that there is hope for everyone, and that there really is no intrinsic evil, only a seeming variation of the past containing all that has to be learned to live and grow from a young soul to an older one and then mature into rishi consciousness. He is there for us. Yes, there is hope for all, and none are damned forever. It is Ganesha who eventually introduces us to His brother, Murugan, the God Who sits upon the manipura chakra, center of willpower.

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The Two Shaktis of Ganesha In an inner sense, Buddhi and Siddhi are the ida and pingala nadis, the female and male currents, both of which are embodied within the being of Ganesha. There is a confusion regarding the two consorts of Ganesha: Buddhi and Siddhi, with whom He is often represented. Buddhi is wisdom, or more precisely sagacity, the intelligent and discriminating use of knowledge. Siddhi is success, or more precisely fulfillment, accomplishment or attainment. While in North India Ganesha is conceived as having two consorts, in the South He is looked upon as a brahmachari, or bachelor. Esoterically, it must be stressed that none of the Gods has a wife. Their consorts are not to be considered as separate from them, but as aspects of their being, as their shakti, or power. The Mahadevas, who live in the inner Third World, cannot be likened to men and women who live on the earth, known as the First World. They exist in perfectly evolved soul OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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bodies, bodies which are not properly differentiated by sex. They are pure beings made of pure consciousness and light; they are neither male nor female. To better understand these divine Gods, we sometimes conceive of them as being the man if they are strong in expression or the woman if they are gentle and compassionate. In truth, this is a misconception. There are no husbands and wives in the vast super conscious realms of the Third World, or Shivaloka. Thus, Buddhi and Siddhi are properly seen as the two shaktis -- wisdom and success -- of the great Ganesha, and not as His so-called consorts. These two represent benefits or boons accrued by His worshipers. In an inner sense, Buddhi and Siddhi are the ida and pingala nadis, the female and male currents, both of which are embodied within the being of Ganesha, corresponding to Valli and Devayani, the mythological consorts of Murugan. 1. Bala Ganapati Bala Ganapati is the Childlike God of golden hue. In His hands He holds a banana, mango, sugar cane and jackfruit, all representing the earth's abundance and fertility. His trunk garners His favorite sweet, the modaka. 2. Taruna Ganapati Eight-armed, Taruna Ganapati, ‘the Youthful,’ holds a noose and goad, modaka, wood apple, rose apple, His broken tusk, a sprig of paddy and a sugar cane stalk. His brilliant red color reflects the blossoming of youth. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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3. Bhakti Ganapati Shining like the full moon during harvest season and garlanded with flowers, Bhakti Ganapati, dear to devotees, is indeed pleasant to look upon. He holds a banana, a mango, coconut and a bowl of sweet payasa pudding. 4. Vira Ganapati The ‘Valiant Warrior,’ Vira Ganapati, assumes a commanding pose. His 16 arms bristle with weapons, symbols of mind powers: a goad, discus, bow, arrow, sword, shield, spear, mace, a battleaxe, a trident and more. 5. Shakti Ganapati Four-armed and seated with one of His shaktis on His knee, Shakti Ganapati, ‘the Powerful,’ of orange-red hue, guards the householder. He holds a garland, noose and goad, and bestows blessings with the abhaya mudra. 6. Dvija Ganapati Four-headed Dvija Ganapati, ‘the Twice-born,’ is moon-like in color. Holding a noose, a goad, an ola leaf scripture, a staff, water vessel and a his japa beads, He reminds one and all of the urgency for disciplined striving. 7. Siddhi Ganapati Golden-yellow Siddhi Ganapati, ‘the Accomplished,’ is the epitome of achievement and self-mastery. He sits comfortably OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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holding a bouquet of flowers, an axe, mango, sugar cane and, in His trunk, tasty sesame sweet. 8. Ucchhishta Ganapati Ucchhishta Ganapati is ‘Lord of Blessed Offerings’ and guardian of culture. Of blue complexion and six-armed, He sits with His Shakti, holding a vina, pomegranate, blue lotus flower, japa mala and a sprig of fresh paddy. 9. Vighna Ganapati Vighna Ganapati, ‘Lord of Obstacles,’ is of brilliant gold hue and bedecked in jewels. His eight arms hold a noose and goad, tusk and modaka, conch and discus, a bouquet of flowers, sugar cane, flower arrow and an axe. 10.

Kshipra Ganapati

Handsome, red-hued Kshipra Ganapati, ‘Quick-acting’ giver of boons, displays His broken tusk, a noose, goad and a sprig of the kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling) tree. In His uplifted trunk He holds a tiny pot of precious jewels. 11.

Heramba Ganapati

Five-faced, white in color, Heramba Ganapati, ‘Protector of the Weak,’ rides a big lion. He extends the gestures of protection and blessing while holding a noose, japa beads, axe, hammer, tusk, garland, fruit and modak. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Lakshmi Ganapati

Lakshmi Ganapati, pure white giver of success, sits flanked by Wisdom and Achievement. Gesturing varada mudra, He holds a green parrot, a pomegranate, sword, goad, noose, sprig of kalpavriksha and a water vessel. 13.

Maha Ganapati

Accompanied by one of His shaktis, ‘the Great,’ Maha Ganapati, is red-complexioned and three-eyed. He holds His tusk, a pomegranate, blue lily, sugar-cane bow, discus, noose, lotus, paddy sprig, mace and a pot of gems. 14.

Vijaya Ganapati

Four-armed, of red hue and riding His resourceful mushika, Vijaya Ganapati is ‘the Victorious’ bestower of success. His insignia are the broken tusk, elephant goad, a noose and a luscious golden mango, His favorite fruit. 15.

Nritya Ganapati

The happy ‘Dancer,’ Nritya Ganapati, is four-armed and golden, with rings on His fingers, holding a tusk, goad, noose and modaka sweet. He prances under the kalpavriksha tree, epitomizing exuberant activity and joy.

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Urdhva Ganapati

Seated with one of His shaktis on His left knee, Urdhva Ganapati is ‘the Elevated’ Lord of golden hue. In His six hands He holds a sprig of paddy, a lotus, the sugar cane bow, an arrow His ivory tusk and a blue water lily. 17.

Ekakshara Ganapati

Ekakshara, of ‘Single-Syllable’ (gam), is three-eyed, of red complexion and attire. Crescent moon on His crown, He sits in lotus pose upon Mushika, offers the boon-giving gesture and holds a pomegranate, noose and goad. 18.

Varada Ganapati

Varada Ganapati, the Boon-Giver with prominent third eye of wisdom, holds a dish of honey, the noose and goad and encloses a pot of jewels in His trunk. His Shakti is at His side, and the crescent moon adorns His crown. 19.

Tryakshara Ganapati

Tryakshara Ganapati, ‘the Lord of Three Letters’ (A-U-M), is gold in color and has fly whisks in His big floppy ears. He carries the broken tusk, goad, noose and mango and is often seen grasping a sweet modaka in His trunk.

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Kshipra Prasada Ganapati

Kshipra Prasada Ganapati, ‘the Quick Rewarder,’ presides from a kusha-grass throne. His big belly symbolizes the manifest universe. He holds a noose, goad, tusk, lotus, pomegranate and a twig of the wish-fulfilling tree. 21.

Haridra Ganapati

Haridra Ganapati, the golden one dressed in bright yellow vestments, sits calmly on a posh, regal throne. Along with His tusk and a modaka, He wields a noose to hold devotees close and a sharp goad to spur them onward. 22.

Ekadanta Ganapati

Ekadanta, of ‘Single Tusk,’ is distinguished by His blue color and sizeable belly. The attributes of this murti are an axe for cutting the bonds of ignorance, prayer beads for japa, a laddu sweet and the broken right tusk. 23.

Srishti Ganapati

Riding on His docile and friendly mouse, Srishti Ganapati is the lord of happy ‘Manifestation.’ This active God, of red complexion, holds His noose a goad, a perfect mango, and His tusk, representing selfless sacrifice.

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Uddanda Ganapati

Uddanda Ganapati is the bold ‘Enforcer of Dharma,’ the laws of being. His ten hands hold a pot of gems, a blue lily, sugar cane, a mace, lotus flower, sprig of paddy, a pomegranate, noose, garland and His broken tusk. 25.

Rinamochana Ganapati

Rinamochana Ganapati is humanity’s liberator from guilt and bondage. His figure of alabaster skin is appareled in red silks. He bears a noose and a goad, His milk-white tusk and a favorite fruit, the rose apple. 26.

Dhundhi Ganapati

Red-hued Dhundhi Ganapati, ‘the Sought After," holds a strand of rudraksha beads, His broken tusk, an axe and a small pot of precious gems thought to represent the treasury of awakenings He saves for all ardent devotees. 27.

Dvimukha Ganapati

Dvimukha Ganapati, called Janus by the Romans, with two divergent faces, sees in all directions. His blue-green form is dressed in red silk. He wears a bejeweled crown and holds a noose, goad, His tusk and a pot of gems.

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Trimukha Ganapati

Trimukha Ganapati, the contemplative ‘three-faced’ Lord of red hue, sits on a golden lotus, telling His beads, holding a noose, goad and vessel of nectar. He gestures protection with a right hand and blessings with a left. 29.

Sinha Ganapati

Sinha Ganapati, white in color, rides a lion and displays another lion in one hand, symbolizing strength and fearlessness. He also holds a kalpavriksha sprig, the vina, a lotus blossom, flower bouquet and a pot of jewels. 30.

Yoga Ganapati

Yoga Ganapati is absorbed in mantra japa, His knees strapped in meditative pose, hands holding a yoga staff, sugar cane stalk, a noose and prayer beads. His color is like the morning sun. Blue garments adorn His form. 31.

Durga Ganapati

Durga Ganapati, the ‘Invincible,’ waves the flag of victory over darkness. This splendid murti is of deep gold hue, dressed in red, holding a bow and arrow, noose and goad, prayer beads, broken tusk and a rose apple. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Sankatahara Ganapati

Sankatahara Ganapati, ‘the Dispeller of Sorrow,’ is of sun like hue, dressed in blue, and seated on a red lotus flower. He holds a bowl of pudding, a goad and a noose while gesturing the boon-granting varada mudra. 33.

Shankha - Conch

Ganesha listens to the puja conch’s loud sound, reminding Him of elephants’ trumpeting happily in the jungle. He summons, ‘Come one and all to Me and pray.’ 34.

Ankusha - Goad

Loving Ganesha’s deliberate mind prods dullards on in their birth karmas whenever they tarry. With His ankusha He goads forward all souls that are moving too slowly. 35.

Parashu - Axe

Ganesha knows there are difficult times ahead for some of His devotees. He protects them with His parashu in gentle ways from evils they have attracted. 36. Pasha - Noose Ganesha’s provident mind, like the noose, draws close those He loves most dearly and reaches out to encircle and save strayed ones in extraordinary ways. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Vajratrishula - Lightning Bolt

Ganesha, like His brother Murugan, wields a sure weapon, the lightning bolt: spirit over mind, mind over matter, ruling both the higher and lower chakras. 38.

Chakra - Discus

Ganesha holds the discus, symbol of the sun and of the mind, as the moon symbolizes the emotions. Employed as a weapon, it is the intellect divinely empowered. 39.

Modakapatra - Bowl of Sweets

Ganesha is said to have a sweet tooth, or tusk. But the modaka ball is a symbol of what He loves most, moksha, liberation, and the sweetest of all things sweet. 40.

Gada - Mace

Ganesha is decisive and commanding, as symbolized by gada, His mace. He casts karmas back on devotees for resolution, never letting up until completion. 41.

Chhuri - Dagger

Ganesha sometimes holds the dagger, keenly sharp, likened to the ‘razor’s edge,’ the narrow and sometimes difficult path the spiritual aspirant must walk. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Rudraksha Mala - Prayer Beads

Ganesha sits at Lord Shiva’s holy feet with japa mala, His prayer beads, in hand, waiting for instruction from the Supreme Lord of all the Gods, His father. 43.

Pushpashara - Flower Arrow

Ganesha shoots flower-covered arrows from His sugar cane bow in guidance to devotees, so they will not wander too far from dharma's path of true fulfillment. 44.

Amritakumbha - Pot of Nectar

Ganesha receives a bath whenever a worshiper knocks his temples with arms crossed. The amrita flows from the sahasrara down to His seat at the muladhara’s base. 45.

Padma - Lotus

Ganesha wants devotees to learn confidence from the potential of the lotus flower: coming from the depths of the mud into the bud's opening high above the water. 46.

Ikshukarmuka - Sugar Cane Bow

Ganesha shows His generous nature of giving all that is good to devotees. His sugar cane bow shoots the kindest arrows, which are projections of His thought. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Shara - Arrow

Ganesha has power over thought, and each one hits its mark. Bow drawn, arrow aimed, He teaches us to precisely begin all undertakings with good intentions. 48.

Vina - Indian Lute

Ganesha is sound in all its beauty and meaning. Shiva is the ocean; Ganesha is its sound. Shiva is the wind God; and Ganesha its sound. Listen to the vina within and hear. 49.

Asura - Goblin

Ganesha is not beyond frightening those who live in the chakra of fear by sending His ganas to lift them into a better life. Sometimes fear is a helpmate in need. 50.

Danda - Stick

Ganesha carries a short stick, a sign of authority, warning all not to impede the noble ways of dharma and restraining those who have as much as the thought to do so. 51.

Chamara - Fly-Whisk Fan

Ganesha sits, as He always does, whisking away the past within the minds of devotees, young and old, rich and poor, educated and practical -- because He is so wise. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Kamandalu - Water Vessel

Ganesha, dear to sannyasins, keeps their water vessel full. Symbol of fullness, meeting all needs, kamandalu eternally pours out, never needing to be filled. 53.

Dhanush - Bow

Ganesha is discreet as He draws His bow and bends His thoughts into forms most helpful to His dear devotees. They all cherish all attentions with great ecstasy. 54.

Naga - Serpent

Ganesha has a snake as His pet. Many are afraid of such creatures; but He tells us that it is the kundalini within all, and each one can rise above all adversity. 55.

Shalipallava - Rice Sprig

Ganesha knows rice is the life-sustainer of villagers and city folk alike. Holding a sprig of paddy, He assures rains will come and all will be well at harvest time. 56.

Mudgara - Hammer

Ganesha wields a mallet, badge of His office as Patron of Arts and Crafts, protector of all who build and shape, chisel and sculpt for the benefit of society. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Shastra - Scripture

Ganesha studiously edits all the scriptures on this planet and on others, too. His ever-ready, potent pen writes and edits life’s ordinances and comments on their meanings. 58.

Kalpavriksha - Wish-Fulfilling Tree

Ganesha holds a sprig of the wish-fulfilling tree to tell us that all our wishes will be gratified. We have but to tell Him our needs, that are all, just tell Him. 59.

Parashvadha - Battleaxe

Ganesha knows sometimes strong measures must be taken to fulfill a righteous goal, like crashing through a jungle. He uses a battleaxe as a mind force. 60.

Mahaparashu - Large Axe

Ganesha often brandishes a big axe. This powerful weapon frightens off asuras and banishes malicious thoughts of those who intend harm to His devotees. 61.

Trishula - Trident

Ganesha makes His way through the mind's vast complexities with His abilities represented by trishula, His three-fold power: Love, Wisdom and Action. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Narikela - Coconut

Ganesha holds the coconut, symbol of the ego, soft and sweet inside, hard and rough outside. When we break a coconut to Him, we break the ego’s hold on us. 63.

Dhvaja - Flag

Ganesha is the spirit of mirth. On festival days, the saffron Hindu dhvaja flies proudly over His temples, bringing crowds from near and far. 64.

Bhagnadanta - Broken Tusk

As the story goes, Ganesha broke off His right tusk in a sacrificial act to use it as a stylus while taking Vyasa’s dictation. Thus he teaches us that we must finish what we start. 65.

Pashanadarana - Pick Axe

Ganesha is not naive by any means. He knows that trials await devotees, and that He must, in order to respond to prayers, pick, pick, and pick away their mental dross. 66.

Agni - Fire

Ganesha activates His fiery powers, capable of consuming our dross, of destroying our residual karmas, if we but consign our misdeeds to the purifying flames. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Khadga - Sword

Ganesha has a sword bejeweled with precious gems. It gives notice to those who respond only to fear of His enmity to crime and His abhorrence of hurting. 68.

Phala - Fruits

Ganesha, dweller in the forest, enjoys all the Earth’s many lifesustaining fruits. He wants parents and children alike to stay healthy by eating lots of energy-giving fruits. 69.

Mulaka - Radish

Ganesha, by His partiality for the simple radish, makes us grow food that is good for us. He knows devotees may grow more than they need just to please Him. 70.

Khetaka - Shield

Ganesha holds the shield of divine security, symbol of His power to defend lands of the upright, to preserve traditions and to protect all souls on the spiritual path. 71.

Amra - Mango

Ganesha says of the mango: ‘It was given to Me from Lord Shiva’s own hand after performing My first wisdom act. It represents the highest spiritual fruition.’ OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Tritiyakshi - Third Eye

Ganesha, as do we all, has three eyes, not two, the third being the eye of the mind, of spiritual sight. With this eye He sees the reality behind the world’s seeming. 73.

Ratnakumbha - Pot of Gems

Ganesha knows the magical power resident in gems. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds are like human souls, each with a different color, faceting, loveliness and value. 74.

Garitra - Grains

Ganesha knows there are many kinds of people and they need variety in diet. He protects the cultivation of all kinds of grains that make their bodies strong 75.

Ikshukanda - Sugar Cane

Ganesha is fond of sugar cane, in fact, of anything sweet. Being the Lord all children adore, it is His joy to see their happy eyes light up when offering sugar cane. 76.

Madhukumbha - Pot of Honey

Ganesha wears a wide smile across His face when offered a pot of sticky honey. It is, to Him, like moksha itself, the sweetest of all things sweet, worth any effort. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Kadaliphala - Banana

Loving Ganesha has in His hand the banana, ripe and ready to eat. He looks at it longingly, yet would give it up in a moment should a devotee smell its fragrance. 78.

Yogadanda - Meditation Staff

Ganesha rests His arm upon a short staff when talking to devotees and when in deep Samadhi. He finds it helps Him meditate more effortlessly, more deeply. 79.

Trina - Grasses

Ganesha knows that there are many kinds of animals, little and big. Each needs a special environment and foods, so He protects the grasses, little flowers and seeds. 80.

Tila Gola - Sesame Ball

Ganesha teaches us that size may be immense but there is nothing too small to overlook. In His trunk is a sweet made of tiny sesame seeds, and He rides on a tiny mouse. 81.

Shuka - Parrot

Ganesha delights when the parrot talks and shows he is happy. Perched in Ganesha’s hand, he greets all who come and go, giving his opinion when they are alone. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Ananasa - Pineapple

Ganesha holds the pineapple and is ready to slice it to share with those in His aura. Giving and sharing is our lesson from the sweet pineapple that He gives us. 83.

Mushika - Mouse

Ganesha’s companion, a mouse, attests to the allpervasiveness of the elephant God. Mushika, the mount or vahana, carries Him into the mind’s every nook and cranny. 84.

Lambodara - Big Belly

Ganesha has this world and all the billions of galaxies in His abundant belly. All known and unknown universes are contained within His prodigious girth. 85.

Swastika - Mark of Auspiciousness

Ganesha’s good fortunes are represented by the swastika, a sign of luck and auspiciousness. Its crooked arms show how life is filled with change and indirection. 86.

Jambira - Lime

Ganesha is a practical God, and it is His wish that all who knows Him drink the juice from one of His favorite fruits. He wants them to be healthy and enjoy life. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Aum - Cosmic Sound

Ganesha is Aum. He is the A, the base sound of the universe; He is the U, the sound of the galaxies; and He is the M, the sound of the planets and the littlest stars. 88.

Shunda - Elephant Trunk

Ganesha has a versatile trunk, and makes it known that it is a symbol of His capacity to always love His devotees. With it He reaches out to touch each of them. 89.

Nilapadma - Blue Water Lily

Ganesha often sits by a lily pond, pondering the current state of the universe. His province is to see that all is in order until the next Great Dissolution, mahapralaya. 90.

Panasa Phala - Jackfruit

Ganesha’s favorite, jackfruit, is a potato-like vegetable, a chewy nut and sweet yellow fruit all in one. Like the jack's stem, our attachments, though small, are strong. 91.

Prabhavali - Fiery Arch

Ganesha sits within an arch depicting creation, preservation and fiery dissolution. Above is the God of time, Mahakala, who ultimately claims everything. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Dadima - Pomegranate

Ganesha knows we may be led astray by ways of worldly people who eat meat. He offers us red dadimas, as if saying: ‘Its many pink seeds are so much better than flesh.’ 93.

Nagapasha - Snake Cord

Ganesha wears a snake around Him to tell us all that we have to be like Him and control our instinctive, animal mind. Yes, it is possible through the grace of this God. 94.

Kapittha - Wood Apple

Ganesha loves wood apples, kapittha, called the elephant fruit. Sweet to eat, packaged in a tough shell, it is a pharmacy of ayurveda’s secret medicinal potencies. 95.

Laddu - Milk Sweet

Ganesha was never accused of turning down a laddu, rich with milk, flour and sugar. Maybe it reminds Him of being young. Every young one loves sweets. 96.

Kavacha - Armor

Ganesha’s sculpted form in temples and shrines worldwide is encased on festival days in silver and gold facsimiles. He likes splendor, pomp and adulation. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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Shashikala - Crescent Moon

Ganesha, like His father, Shiva, wears the crescent moon on His great head. It is a symbol of time's passing, of auspicious moments and of the powers of the mind. 98.

Gam Mantra

Ganesha is invoked by devotees through this mystery mantra. Upon hearing it, He immediately responds. Easy of access, He never delays in solving our problems. 99.

Yajnopavita - Sacred Thread

Ganesha wears across a massive shoulder the holy cord to remind us that we, too, can be twice born through His grace, that none is low and none is high. 100. Jambu - Rose Apple Ganesha loves the rose apple among many other wonderful fruits and vegetables. He shows us the path to good health, harmlessness to creatures and love. 101. Payasa - Pudding Ganesha is seen from time to time enjoying sweet tapioca pudding, likened to the love and kindness that comes from caring for others as one's very own self. OM GANESHYAH NAMAH-The Symbol Prosperity

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102. Shakti - Consort Ganesha is often seen with two female consorts, or shaktis. They represent ida and pingala, the two life currents, emotion and intellect, that hold us close to Earth. 103. Muladhara Chakra - Base Center Ganesha, sitting on the four petalled muladhara, rules memory and knowledge as the gatekeeper to the six chakras above and the guard of the seven below. 104. Vriksha - Trees Ganesha is the giver of gifts from healing trees, the practitioner of ayurveda, the great doctor who helps us gain the knowledge of health from medicinal plants.

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Unraveling the mysteries of Ganesha There are three main pillars that have held Hinduism high, century after century: the satgurus, the temples and the scriptures. Together they echo the greatness of Ganesha, the Lord of Dharma, and son of Shiva. Once a psychic connection is made with Ganesha - the Deity that manifests in several forms, including the elephant-headed Lord of Categories and Remover of Obstacles - one is brought slowly into the mysteries of the Sanatana Dharma. Such an inner connection, which can be as subtle as a feeling, as tenuous as a dream or as bold as a personal visit, is also an entering into one’s own muladhara chakra, governed by the planet Mercury, for every opening into a new chakra is also an introduction to the Deity who governs that state of consciousness and the planet to which that chakra is connected. As the spiritual aspirant is lifted up from fear and confusion into conscious awareness of right thought, right speech and right action, the muladhara chakra becomes activated. It is then that the seeker, with heart filled with love, encounters the holy feet of Lord Ganesha. Vakratunda Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kurumedeva Sarvakaryeshu Sarvada ‘O Lord Ganesha of Large Body, Curved Trunk, With the Brilliance of a Million Suns, Please Make all my Work Free of Obstacles, Always!’ The intellect of a man unengaged in spiritual search is unable to understand what the ultimate Truth is, what is the ultimate Reality. The moon is the deity which governs the human mind. The moon laughing at Ganapati riding his rat reminds us the ignorant person who mocks spiritual seeker’s efforts to reach the Truth.

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