September 9, 2013
Gajamukhane Ganapathiye Ninage Vandane
Nambidavara Balina Kalpatharu Nine ||
Since my childhood I have been listening to this devotional song in Kannada praising Lord Ganesha. During the festal days of Ganesh Chaturthi this song is being played again and again. Sri Ganesha a benevolent god is here ready to bless everyone with good health, success, and happiness in return for sincere love and devotion is the content of this melodious religious song. My limited observation and the knowledge I accumulated on Sri Ganesha gives me an impression that Lord Ganesha is loved, worshipped and portrayed in numerous ways. He is adorned in temples and altars, school and offices, homes and public places, calendars and greeting cards.
Who will not admire a murthi of Ganesha with wonder? Along with admiration I was always curious to know the significance of symbolic representation of him. Among the several explanations I was struck by the following explanation which is worth mentioning.
The unique elephant head is filled with significance. The fan-like ears make Sri Ganesha a keen listener. The sharp eyes make him an eager observer. They also signify his ability to discriminate between good and evil. The trunk is that it can not only smell, but equally capable of picking up something as small as a blade of grass, or a huge object like tree trunk. While the two tusks represent the power to discern between good and evil, the broken tusk is symbolically manifests that God is above the pairs of opposites like joy and sorrow that affect mankind. The wide mouth enables Sri Ganesha to swallow and humble the pride and the mighty. The pot shaped big belly is large enough to accommodate all kinds of experiences. And the four hands of Ganesha! In one hand he carries a rope and an axe in another. While the axe is symbol of severing worldly attachments of devotee, the rope represent to pull him closer to the truth. The third hand holds a modak, the symbol of the fruit of devotion and the fourth that blesses, ensures peace, happiness and success to all devotees.
In Lord Ganesha one can see the human imaginations of God. God who is all-powerful, sees, hears, knows, rules, protects and blesses. No wonder he is the presiding deity of auspicious beginnings! He is worshipped as the God of wisdom and patron of learning. He is Vighneshwara – the remover of vighnas (obstacles). He is Ganapathi (Ganesha) lord or leader of people.
One more factor that fascinated me is the immersion or visarjan of murthi of Ganesha made of clay to end the celebrations of Vinayaka Chaturthi. The best explanation given is this: In Sanathana Dharma popularly known as Hinduism, Brahman the One true God is the Absolute and Supreme Reality. This Brahman who is formless has power to manifest Himself in different forms. One among the millions of forms is Ganesha. It is not easy for an ordinary devotee to worship Brahaman who is without form (Nirakara).
An ordinary devotee needs a form (Akara) to pray, to seek help, to cry and receive blessings. Ganesha is made out of clay and water to give form to the formlessness. Each worshipper brings murthi of Ganapati made of clay into his house. Now the Brahman, God the Supreme Power has come home. After the celebration, it is time accept the eternal cosmic law (Rta). That which took form has to become formless again. It is a never ending cycle. Immersion of the murthi of Ganesha gives a message that the Brahman, the formlessness becomes form. This form can change but Supreme Brahman remains the same, unchangeable and eternal.
May the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi and devotion to him bring peace and happiness in each and every one and our Country. Let him take all obstacles away to prosper!
Happy Feast of Lord Ganesh to all my Hindu devotees….
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