What did Ganesha teach about Shiva bhakti?

In one of Ganesha’s most well-known stories, where he circles his parents seven times and considers it the circumnavigation of the world [1], Ganesha provides unique teachings for spiritual aspirants by emphasizing the child-like outlook that is desirable for spiritual success. While Kartikaye tries to win the competition through hard work, Ganesha, by his parikrama of Shiva-Parvati, tells them, “Though my vehicle, the mouse, is not so proficient in winning, I am in your refuge. And you are all that I see.”

Shiva-Parvati’s acceptance of Ganesha as the winner shows that for the bhakta who sees the entire universe in the Divine, there is no need to perform any rituals or chant mantras speedily in a place of worship. For such a blessed being, the whole universe turns as small as an atom. It can obviously be crossed it with little effort to meet Shiva.

Happy Birthday to Ganesha!

Meanings: parikrama (circumnavigation), bhakta (devotee)
[1] According to this story in the Shiva Purana, Ganesha and his brother, Kartikaye, once participate in a small competition: the aim is to circle the world, and the winner is to get married first. Kartikaye, who has the better means (the fast-moving peacock as a vehicle), actually circumnavigates the globe, but Ganesha simply circles his parents on his slow-moving mouse and claims victory.

Ganesha: His Eight Names

Diwali, the festival of light, gives us another major opportunity to welcome the grace of Ganesha in our lives. While Ganesha’s remembrance can grant us learning in the areas of our choice, induce spirituality in our hearts, and rid our lives from hypocrisy and dishonesty, he can also purge our material suffering and give us comforts and luxuries.

According to the Brahmavaivarta Purana, the word Ganesha stands for the supreme lord of both spiritual knowledge (jnana) and liberation (mukti). While Ekadanta means “the possessor of a single tusk,” it also refers to “the most powerful,” an unsurprising quality for the kid of Shakti. He is called Heramb, for he nurtures and protects the weak and the three worlds. As Vighnanayak, he removes all obstacles. Ganesha is remembered as Lambodar for his big belly, which confirms that he wholeheartedly accepts all the Laddus that his devotees offer him. Because he has large ears to listen to our prayers, he known as Shurpakarna. His ears represent knowledge and bless his devotees with riches. His elephant-faced appearance, which resembles Omkar, makes him Gajanana. Finally, he is known as Guhagraja for being the elder brother of Kartikaye.

Happy Diwali!

*Ganesha has many more names. This group of eight is based on a stotra from the abovementioned Purana.

Lord Ganesha: Our savior from obstacles

In daily life, Ganesha is remembered in marriages, worships, and auspicious functions so that unforeseen happenings can be prevented. Obstacles may range from the late arrival of the event manager to disagreeable “friends” and relatives and from simple health problems to unavoidable circumstances, summarized as “acts of God.” Such hurdles, which are easily perceptible to us, can be categorized as occurring at the physical level of existence.
Obstacles at the mental plane may include emotional stress, recalling of discouraging memories from the past, lack of clarity, and activation of our tamas instincts, which force us to consider the wrong to be righteous. As the bestower of buddhi (intellect), Ganesha can protect us from these limitations as well.
For spiritual seekers who know how to control their mind in meditation and have gained perfection in pranayama, obstacles may take the form of siddhis or other similar deflections from the true goal of spirituality. Obstacles on the spiritual plane are so strong and difficult to decipher that we may never realize their grip on us. But, again, devotion to Ganesha can save us from getting lured towards materialism during yoga and prayer. His devotion is considered sufficient for focus in spirituality and the alignment of all karma with auspiciousness (righteousness).
Happy Ganesha Chaturthi!

Lord Ganesh: The Absolute Reality

Followers of the Sanatana Dharma revere Lord Ganesh through two separate yet closely interwoven viewpoints: (1) As the favorite child of Parvati and Shiva who removes our obstacles and blesses us with wealth and intellect and (2) as the Supreme Soul. While Ganesh may, at times, appear to be “dependent” on his parents to devotees who opt for the first approach, the exclusive devotees of Ganesh (known as Ganapatya) do not worship him because he is Shakti’s kid or a remover of obstacles; they worship him because he is God. For them, he is the Absolute Reality or Omkar who has incarnated as Goddess Parvati’s baby out of his own wish, just like Lord Krishna incarnated as the son of Devaki. In fact, in some versions of his origin, Ganesh is assumed to be Vishnu himself.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all! And Happy Birthday to Ganesh!

Last edited on March 28, 2019

Why did Ved Vyas request Lord Ganesha to transcribe his Mahabharata?

When Rishi Ved Vyas, on Lord Brahma’s recommendation, requests Lord Ganesha to write the first copy of the Mahabharata at his dictation, Ganesha accepts the proposal on the condition that his pen should not stop even for a moment during the writing process. To ensure himself some time for thinking, Vyas accepts Ganesha’s condition with a witty reply, “Sure, but please do not write without understanding it.”

In this short divine play, does Ved Vyas need something more than transcription from Ganesha? Is there a deeper meaning behind his imposing the condition of “understanding” on Ganesha, who, being the Lord of knowledge, can comprehend everything even before a poet utters it? Vyas knows that the Mahabharata is destined to guide humanity for ages and a section in it, the Bhagavad Gita, is to be recognized as the most authoritative text in Sanatana Dharma. Supposedly, Vyas’s idea is to obtain some blessings for his prospective readers. He wants Ganesha to bless the manuscript by making it everlastingly understandable. Also, he wants Ganesha to bless his future readers by eliminating probable obstacles from their minds, a task Ganesha is known for.

Because humans read what they want to read and can always miss the author’s conclusion in books, particularly scriptures, even the work of a divine author can face obstacles in the form of distrust and ambiguity in a reader’s mind. Such mental obstacles, to make things worse, are hardly noticeable. If the remover of all obstacles himself transcribes a book, no mental (or spiritual) impediments can emerge, at least in the minds of devotees, who read with preinstalled faith in the Divine. And this is exactly what happened. Besides removing obstacles to popularity, worth, and clarity, Lord Ganesha blessed the epic with auspiciousness and even the potential to liberate the reader.

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