Aum Sri Maha Ganapathaye Namah

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GANESH CHATURTHI
Salutations to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.
Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,
Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,
Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,
Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe
MEANING: “O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a
form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears
and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!”

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord
Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.
Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are dissolved into waters of a pond or a river.
Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names
are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.
He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother
of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.
The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an
elephant:
Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created
Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the
house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva
Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became
angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.
When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva
ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that
position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.
Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages,
expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.
Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No
action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.
In his first lesson in the alphabet a Maharashtrian child is initiated into the Mantra of Lord
Ganesha, Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah. Only then is the alphabet taught.
The following are some of the common Names of Lord Ganesha: Dhoomraketu, Sumukha,
Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana,
Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and
Vigneshwara. He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.
His Mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as
their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
The devotees of Ganesha also do Japa of the Ganesha Gayatri Mantra. This is as follows.
Tat purushaaya vidmahe
Vakratundaaya dheemahi
Tanno dhanti prachodayaat.
Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He
is foremost amongst the celibates.
He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the
psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides.
He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows
upon him worldly as well as spiritual success. Hence He is called Vigna Vinayaka. His Bija
Akshara (root syllable) is Gung, pronounced to rhyme with the English word “sung”. He is the Lord of harmony and peace.
Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus.
Nothing can be done without uttering it. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before
beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.
The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of
the ankusha represents His rulership of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty.
Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature’s smallest creatures and having
the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all
creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of
wisdom. It also denotes the process of evolution—the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and finally becomes a man. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant’s head and a mouse as His vehicle. This is the symbolic philosophy of His form.
He is the Lord of Ganas or groups, for instance groups of elements, groups of senses, etc. He
is the head of the followers of Shiva or the celestial servants of Lord Shiva.
The Vaishnavas also worship Lord Ganesha.
Lord Ganesha’s two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love.
He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His
birthdays He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings.