“The worship of Lord Ganesha signifies the act of placing the Divine before each and every one of our actions.” ~ Prabhuji
Lord Ganesha is the lovable Hindu God who is recognized and cherished even by people who don’t know much about this Eastern religion, as he has the distinguishing head of an elephant and a big belly. More importantly, however, Ganesh has the power to remove obstacles, bless new beginnings, and bestow wisdom and prosperity. Those with spiritual aspirations approach him to remove the obstacles from their devotional path and to bestow eternal wisdom. He doesn’t only remove obstacles, but sometimes he places them when needed and then takes them away at the right time. [caption id="attachment_882" align="alignright" width="250"]
Ganesh at the Vimukti Yoga Ashram, NY.[/caption] The appearance day of Lord Ganesh, better known as his birthday or Ganesh Chaturthi, is a Hindu holiday that takes place either in September or October, depending on the cycle of the moon. During the 10-day celebration, he is both honored and prayed to, with devotees invoking him to bestow his presence back on earth during the entire celebration. Special clay Ganesh deities are made just for the occasion and worshippers offer a large amount of sweets (he loves sweets!) and sacred items. After 10 days, a procession carries the deity into the water, taking his devotees’ obstacles along with him and symbolizing his return to his divine home.
The Hindu tradition says that Lord Ganesh actually incarnated on earth 32 different times, with each incarnation taking place in a different era to accomplish different tasks. His parents are none other than Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction in the great triad of Hindu gods as well as a symbol of Consciousness, and Goddess Parvati, the Great Goddess and symbol of Shakti, the divine feminine energy. Shiva put Ganesh in charge of his divine armies, meaning that he is the energy of Lord Shiva.
There are many stories about this beloved deity, but let’s focus on how this divine manifestation ended up with the head of an elephant.
Parvati was so ecstatic to be carrying her first child that her breasts released sacred milk. She anointed her body with this along with sandalwood paste and then used this mixture to model her second son, Ganesh, who manifested from this form.Parvati appointed him as her personal guard as well as that of the palace, but even when Lord Shiva—Ganesh’s father who he had not yet met—arrived, he refused to let him enter. Enraged, Shiva cut off Ganesh’s head, causing his beloved wife to be thrown into despair and threaten to destroy the entire universe. Desperate to pacify her, Shiva promised to decapitate the first creature he came upon in order to give their son a new head and bring him back to life, and that first being was an elephant.
There are many more stories to hear about the loveable Ganesh. Click here to read more. It is auspicious to invoke this great liberator of obstacles, Lord Ganesha, before every activity or trip.
Gajananam bhuta ganadi sevitam
Kapittha jambu phala sara bhakshitam
Uma sutam shoka vinasha karanam
Namami vighneshvara pada pankajam