Friday, June 19, 2015

Ganesha, the First God  -  P.Natarajan.

Worship is first offered to Ganesha before  beginning any auspicious function.  Ganesha is the most worshiped God. There are innumerable temples and there is a place for him in every nook and corner, let it be a street or town or metropolitan city. Students offer prayers to Ganesha  in their nearest places before going to the examination hall.

The Veda script beginning as ‘Gananam tva Ganapatim ....’,  describes him as ‘ Jyeshtarajan and Brahmanaspati ‘ signifying that he is the first god and head of Vedas. Ganesha is Paramatma.

The first verse in Ganesa Pancharatnam explains that Sri Mahaganapati has ‘ modakam’ (sweet)
in his hands ‘ mudakaratha modakam, sada  vimukti saadhakam..’ and  is in a state of bliss and grants moksham to those who surrender unto him..’ The essence of modakam is that it contains  a food item called ‘poornam’ which renders modakam sweet to taste. The part which surrounds modakam as a cover is made of rice flour and tasteless. The philosophy behind modakam is that the.Atma inside is like poornam and prayers to Ganesha would redeem atma to heaven.

Why we strike the two sides of the forehead with the fist in front of Ganesha and perform thoppukaranam reciting the verse ‘suklam bharadaram vishnum sasivarnam chaturbhujam....’The purana explains that Ravana performed a severe penance on Lord Shiva and obtained a supreme and most powerful Sivalinga from him and Shiva granted a boon in the event of Ravana enable to install the Sivalinga in Sri Lanka, none can conquer Ravana. Devas approached Ganesha in ‘sos’ mode and pleaded to prevent Ravana from installing the Sivalinga. Ganesha appeared before Ravana as a boy in incognito and brought a situation that he had to answer  Nature’s call immediately. Ravana handed over the idol to Ganesha. The boy accepted to hold in his hand the Sivalinga for a brief time only on a condition that he would shout three times and should Ravana fail to turn up he would place the sivalinga on the ground. Ravana could not release himself when the boy made three calls. Ganesha quitely placed the Sivalinga on the ground. Ravana later tried to lift the sivalinga from the ground but the Linga held its position firmly on the ground. In anger he hit Ganesha’s head with his fist three times. Ganesha showed his real form to Ravana when he begged pardon and hit the two sides of his own forehead with his fist five times. People follow now what Ravana did, when they pray to Lord Ganesha and seek pardon.

Gajamukasuran was a demon and he fought with Ganesha in the form of a mouse. He miserably failed in the war but sought a boon that he would serve ganesha as his vahana. He also pleaded that devotees should hold their ears with both the hands and perform thoppukaranam to Ganesha.
Gajamukasura’s plea was based on the fact that he when he was a king performed thoppukaranam and suklambaradharam to please the Devas.

The significance of Pillaiyar Suzhi :-


Ganesha is also known as ‘ Ekadanta’. When Veda Vyasa requested to write Mahabharata, Ganesha readily responded by breaking one of his tusks and started writing as Veda Vyasa dictated Mahabharat non-stop. Mahabharat is considered as the Fifth Veda. Thus Ganesha is the first to begin the art of writing in letters. Vedas which were learnt only by hearing ( ‘Sruyathe ethi Sruthi’) got a written version or form. That is why we first write ‘Pillaiyar Suzhi’ in remembrance of Ganesha who translated the sound form into a written art first - also the writer considers pillaiyar suzhi as a prayer before he starts writing.

There is also another story for Ekadanta as. Ganesha had to use one of his tusk to kill a demon who had inherited a boon that no weapon could kill him.  

Durva, the tender grass is considered as the best for worshipping Ganesha. Durva grass is an intensive heat material. As Ganesha is ‘Jnana jyothi’, he likes to wear durva garland - heat is an antidote for heat. ‘Eka Vimsathi durva yugma homa or puja’ (21 times) to Ganesha is considered as sacred and rewarding.  ‘Om Gum Ganapathaye Namah, Ganesaya Namah’ mantra is recited every time before offering Durva grass to Ganesha..

Ganesha is called by different names. Gana + Isha = Ganesha means he is the master of Ganas or groups. He is the Group Leader. Group can be group of elements, class, community or likes.

Vakratunda does not imply as one with a crooked tooth. The word dantin in Ekadanta  is derived from the root ‘dharsayathi’ meaning to show. Ganesha shows the direction to acquire spiritual experience. He corrects the wrong doers to a righteous path. Vakratunda and Ekadanta implies similar meanings.

Ganapati combines gana and pati. Pati means leader. Ganapati means Group Leader.Ganas refer to a group of semi divine beings that form a part of the retinue to Lord Shiva.

Vinayaka & Vignaraja symbolizes that he is the lord and remover of all impediments or hurdles or vignas. ‘V’ in vinayaka is a sign of victory over hurdles or vignas.

Pillaiyar :- Parvathi once created Ganesha using clay. Shiva beheaded Ganesha as he came in between him and Parvati. Shiva immediately replaced the elephant head to Ganesha. Pillai in Tamil means boy and Yar means ‘Who’?. Who is the boy with an elephant head ?
Yar has another meaning as ‘noble’ -  Pillaiyar actually means noble child.


Lambodara- this name refers to Ganesha who appears with a pot belly or hanging belly. He is also called for this reason as Mahodara (great belly) - Lambodara signifies that all the universe past, present and future are present in him.

Bhalchandra -  Cresent Moon is seen on him as a ‘tilak’ mark which he obtained from Shiva when he circumambulated his parents and Kamadhenu to win the battle between his brother Subramanya and him when Shiva set the tie whoever comes first after going around the world would be considered as victorious and earn the fruit (vilampazham) and the crescent moon. Subramanya went around the world in his peacock whereas Ganesha simply circumambulated (went around) his parents and Kamadhenu, the sacred Cow which action is equivalent and more than going around the world.

Why no moon darshan on the 4th day of Bhadrapad month ?
On that day Ganesha was returning to his abode in his vehicle mouse. Moon, seeing big belly ganesha travelling on a tiny mouse started laughing aloud. This angered Lord ganesha and cursed the Moon that no light ever fall on him. Moon immediately disappeared from the sky as there was no light in him and repented. Devas also pleaded ganesha to restore the moon. Ganesha modified the curse that Moon would undergo waxing and waning every fifteen days
to remind him to be humble.Ganesha also added whoever sees the moon on that day, would face blame and unjust criticism. That happened to no less a person than Krishna himself who happened to see the moon in a cup of milk. Krishna suffered the unjust blame that he had killed Prasena, the brother of Satrajit who obtained  syamantaka gem from lord Surya. Syamantaka gem was a byproduct from the nectar of ocean and can produce 170 pounds of gold everyday and usher prosperity to the holder. The blame on Krishna was false, as everyone realized later. Krishna also announced to Narada that whoever recites the story about the Syamantaka Gem story would get relieved from false accusations.

Why Tulsi not offered to Ganesha in the daily worship except on vinayaka chathurthi day?
Tulsi did penance several years with a bid to marry Ganesha. she compelled him in spite of his unwillingness and when Ganesha advised tulsi to be the consort of Vishnu. Ganesha got angry over Tulsi’s perseverance and cursed her to become a plant and he also did not accept Tulsi for daily aradhana of him except on Ganesh Chaturthi day only.

Weapons of Ganesha are parasu (axe) , pasa (noose) and ankusa (elephant goad ).

Mount : Mouse

Consort;- Buddhi (wisdom), Riddhi ( prosperity )and Siddhi ( attainment ),

Ganesh Chaturthi is observed as a National festival with pomp and galore. Maharashtra celebrates with great enthusiasm - a month long festival with music and dance, discourses and devotional offerings.

Adi Sankara popularised the panchayatana puja in the 9th century by invoking five deities namely Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devi and Surya. This formalized the role of Ganesha as a complementary deity.

Ganesha is worshiped by pilgrims by visiting ‘ ashta vinayaka temples’ in Maharashtra. Other popular centers in South India are Uchi-Pillaiyar Temple in Fort Tiruchirapalli, Idagunji in Karnataka, temple at Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Kottarakara, Pazhavangadi and Kasargod in Kerala, just to cite a few as the list is very long.

Salutations to Lord Ganesha :-

Krupakaram, Kshamkaram, Mudakaram, Yashaskaram !
Manaskaram Namaskrutham Namaskaromi Bhasvaram !!



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