Ganesh Chaturti

Thought One

Lord Ganesh was born on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of the month of ‘Magh’. ‘Chatur’ means 4. He controls the 8 directions of the Cosmos. ‘Gana’ means to count. The science of Astrology is dependant on numbers. Hence Lord Ganesh is the Master of Astrology. No wonder that one worships Lord Ganesh before embarking on anything auspicious. Those who would like to fast on Ganesh Chaturthi, start their series of fasting as of today. 

One worships Ganeshji before the start of anything auspicious. He is resourceful. Ganeshji offered to write the Vedas as Ved Vyaasji dictated. But there was a condition to fulfill. Ganeshji could not stop writing…It so happened that Ganeshji’s pen broke as he wrote. Without a moment hesitation he used his broken tusk as a pen…So we hope that Ganeshji will always be there as and when an obstacle arises…

The broken tusk symbolically means that Ganpatiji is beyond duality.

Ganpatiji sits with one foot on the ground and the other folded up, above the ground. This posture means that while we must operate in the world one must be constantly aligned to our spiritual nature

Lord Ganesh’s big ears denote that He can hear and understand Vedantic Truth. His big head reminds us that we are Spiritual Creatures so we must ‘Think Big’. His small mouth denotes that He talks less. (So must we: Talk less and Listen more) His small eyes urge us to ‘focus’. Besides small eyes denote a subtle vision.The long trunk of an elephant has the quality of being able to uproot a tree, and at the same time pick up a tiny needle from a haystack. This is again a quality attributed to the Lord, as we believe that in spite of His great power, the tiniest creature does not pass unnoticed by Him. The mouse though small can play havoc. Ganeshji has him under His control. 

The parsaad offered to Lord Ganesha symbolises material and spiritual wealth.

Baskaran Pillai explains: Ganesha has an elephant face and prominent ears. Elephants can process infra sound waves (below 20 Hertz) This allows them to sense danger and leave a place before the occurrence of natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes.

Gam is the beej or seed mantra for Ganesha. In Tamil there is a saying “Gammunu iru” which translates as ‘Be still through Gam’ By chanting the mantra you can connect with inner silence and find solutions. It is common to see people tapping their temples with their knuckles when visiting a Ganesha shrine. This activates the frontal lobes, enhancing rational intelligence.

One generally breaks a coconut during a Ganesh puja. The 3 eyes of a coconut are said to correspond to the 3 eyed Shiva. It is believed that Shivji once told Ganesha: Whoever sacrifices a coconut is sacrificing Me, and this is the highest sacrifice. When you circle the coconut around your head, it energetically absorbs the lower vibrations in your aura. When smashed the energy holding back your progress is forcefully disseminated. Breaking coconuts before Ganesha is a symbolic act of sacrificing ones own life for renewal

As the Lord’s mode of transport, the rat  increases the difficult task that a spiritual person faces when treading on the ‘Way to the Almighty’. A rat keeps nibbling all the time just like our senses which are never satisfied. The wise man rides on his senses. He keep them under control.

Lord Ganesh’s large belly denotes prosperity and that He digests all the good and bad in the world. The planet Mars and Ganpati are considered to have the same complexion. On Ganesh Chaturthi frequencies from Mars and Ganesh reach the Earth.

Ganeshji holds in His 4 hands:

An axe to cut off evil and worldly attachments and old karmas.

A Rope pulls His disciples closer to the Spiritual Path.

The Rosary beads remind one to continuously strive towards the Real Knowledge.

The last hand is held up in a posture of blessing.

May the Lord Ganesh bestow His Grace upon all of you today.

Thought Two

So people will once again  be bringing ‘Lord Ganpati’ into their homes. They will be performing prayers and entertaining Him for a few days and then they will bid Him farewell with a request to return next year!

This wonderful custom was popularized by Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak to bring together the ‘Hindustanis’ during the British rule. Originally worshipping Lord Ganesha was a family affair. Wet clay was fashioned into a symbolic Ganesha form, placed on the left palm and worshipped with the chanting of mantras, followed by the rituals. The idol was the immersed in the well or a pond. A devout Hindu believes that what came from the earth should return there.

Ganpati is supposed to smash, with the help of His trunk, all the obstacles that come in the path of His devotees. When an elephant moves through the forest, his massive body clears the way for others who follow. If the trunk of ‘Ganesha’ is curved to the right He is called ‘Sidhi Vinayaka’ and requires special worship.

So let us worship Him again this year. Let us bring Him, not only into our homes, but into our hearts and keep Him there. The idol we may do ‘visarjan’ (immersion) of, and together with it, our negative tendencies.

Thought Three

Those conversant with Yoga would know that the ‘Kundalini Shakti’ or primordial energy, rises in a zigzag manner through the Spinal chord, culminating in the third eye, which resides in between the eye-brows. When the trunk of Ganeshji is facing straight forward, it signifies that the passage, though the Spinal chord, or ‘Sushumna’ is entirely open. When the trunk of Ganeshji is swung  right in the air, it means that the ‘Kundalini Shakti’ has reached the Sahasraar’ or the Region of the third eye, permanently.

When Ganeshji’s trunk is curved to the right. He is called Siddhi Vinaayak.

The left side, represents the Moon. The right side represents the Sun. Hence if the Trunk of ones Ganeshji leans towards the Right, It would require special worship, as the ‘Sun’ would burn one if rules are violated.

Another explanation: According to Hindu texts there are three channels or naadis that are responsible for overall health.

The left channel is called the Ida Naadi and is connected to the right side and the back of the brain. This naadi looks after our emotional side.

The right side channel is called the Pingala naadi. It crosses the Ida naadi at the third eye or the Agna Chakra. Pingala is connected with the left side and the front of  the brain. It is the Super conscious mind.

The central channel is called the Sushumna. This channel helps us integrate and helps in our Spiritual Evolution.

During earlier times, Ganpati was a tribal God, Guardian of the forests. He was, in fact believed to be a creator of obstacles, by whose Grace one could survive in the treacherous jungles. This world is no less than a jungle, where we constantly require His Grace to survive.  He forever protects us. His Big ears hear our tiniest complaint. His Big Belly, remind us that He is Prosperity Itself, and He owns all that we might require. His trunk has the capacity to uproot a tree and to pick up a needle from a hay-stack. He is all powerful, yet He sits on a humble mouse to remind us that however powerful He may be is forever present on Earth, a humble planet, in the vast Universe.

Thought Four

In the case of  Aum What looks like 3 is the ‘a’ sound in Sanskrit, the tail or trunk is the ‘u’ sound and the dot on the half moon is the nasal sound Together it says ‘Aum’ Aum is also a visual, and if you care to interpret it in the following way, it looks like a Ganpati. The lower part of the 3 is the belly,and the ‘u’ is the trunk, with a tika on top.

21 Durva blades are offered to Ganpatiji. It is believed that Ganpatiji is formed from No 3.  2+1=3    2+1 is 21

9 is a complete and powerful number. The devout who believe in the power of number 9 visit 108 Ganpatijis during these auspicious days.

Once again it is that time of year when the devout invite Lord Ganpati to their home and entertain him, with so much love!

Thought Five

People often say that God is Just and Merciful.

If one analyses the two adjectives, one will realise that if one relies on justice, one cannot always be merciful and if one shows Mercy, one probably cannot exercise proper justice. The theory of karma is based on justice. Forgiveness is a gift of Mercy. If you will only bear with me, I would like to explain to you a theory which explains the above a bit better.

On the earth and for some miles around it we experience the Law of Gravity. The Law of gravity does not exist in Space. Similarly while we are bound by human knowledge, the Laws of karma apply. Once we transcend through love. We break the barriers and we enter the Law of Grace, compassion and mercy. We have then entered the realm of miracles. Now we can use our thoughts, feelings, words and actions to co-create with God our own reality.

I will not  write further on  the above subject. Will you re-read what I have written and ponder upon it?

The Lord  Ganpati,  is being revered across India, for the present 10 days as a great clearer of obstacles. He is considered a symbol of wisdom and a bringer of good luck. He is believed to be a very powerful positive force in the Universe. It is said that Ganpati was born when Shivji and Mother Parvati contemplated on ‘OM’

There was once a competition in Heaven as to who would circle the Universe first. While the other gods went in different directions, Ganpati circled round His parents. Some believe that because of Ganpati’s example, we hindus revere our parents always. Therefore we need not celebrate Mother’s and Father’s day , only on a particular day each year. So let us call upon Ganpati to enter into our lives and affairs, and not leave our hearts even though we bid adieu to Him at the end of the 10 day celebration. 

Thought Six

The 12th of Sepember, 2000 is Maha-visarjan-day. The grandest (in stature) of Ganpatis will be returned to the elements (Water). They have been feasted in a grand manner fit for gods, and now it is time to chant:

Ganpati Baba Morya!
Pudcha varshi laukarya!

Which means: O Ganpati
Return soon, next year

As we prepare to allow Him to leave, let us get to know a little more about Him.

It is believed that Ganeshji Himself wrote the Mahabharata, to the dictation of Guru Veda Vyasa. He is also considered the most intelligent. A challenge was thrown to brothers Ganeshji and Karthikeya by Sage Narada. The challenge was whoever went around the globe first would have the fruit first. Karthikeya went around the world which took quite some time while Ganeshji went round his parents thrice and claimed the fruit. The logic he gave was that since his parents represented the universe he had gone round them. 

Ganeshji (Another name for Ganpati Bapa) is the beloved son of Shivji and Ma Parvati. Shivji used to leave Parvati for long periods of time, to immerse Himself into deep meditation. During one such time, Ma was feeling lonely, so she took some clay and water and commenced to shape a baby. She breathed life into him, and called the beautiful baby, Ganesh.

Once Ma Parvati went in to bathe and asked Ganesh not to let anyone in. Shivji happened to return from his long sojourn and Ganesh refused him entry.  Enraged Shivji cut off Ganesh’s head as he did not recognise the child. Ma Parvati implored him to restore her son’s life. Lord Shiva said that he would cut the head of the first living creature that passed by and use it to replace his son’s head, and that is what he did.

However it makes me wonder why Lord Shiva said that he would cut the head of the first living creature that passed. Could Lord Shiva have performed a head transplant?  Eric Van Daniken in his book ‘Chariots of the Gods’ claims that humanity was very advanced in early history and far-fetched theories like the above one, should be taken literally.

Another version: Mother Parvati pointed out the planet Saturn to Ganpati. The latter’s head got burnt due to the power of the planet.

The point to remember is that Ganeshji triumphed the onslaught of Saturn and became immortal.

Later, Ganeshji married Sidhhi and Buddhi and had two sons called Kshem and Labh. Please do some homework! find out the meaning of the above names and you will be able to learn the great qualities that Ganeshji is endowed with.

According to Wapedia:

The marital status of Ganesha varies widely in mythological stories and the issue has been the subject of considerable scholarly review. [1] Several patterns of associations with different consorts are identifiable. One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried with no consorts. Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses who are considered to be Ganesha’s wives. [2] Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati, and the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. [3] In the Bengal region he is linked with the banana tree, Kala Bo. [4] He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi). [5]

Some of the differences between these patterns can be understood by looking at regional variations across India, the time periods in which the patterns are found, and the traditions in which the beliefs are held. Some differences pertain to the preferred meditation form used by the devotee, with many different traditional forms ranging from Ganesha as a young boy (Sanskrit: बालगणपति; bālagāņapati) to Ganesha as a Tantric deity.”

Ganeshji is called ‘Ekdanta’ because he broke one tusk while he engaged in a fight. ‘Ekdanta’ means ‘one tooth’

Once the ‘Moon’ laughed at the appearance of Ganpati. The moon since has had dark spots on its beautiful surface as punishment.

Ved Vyaasji is the Poet Supreme . He penned the Shrimad Bhaagvat besides other remarkably Divine compositions. While writing the Mahabharata, Ved Vyaasa realised that his thoughts were flowing faster than his pen. So he requested Ganpatiji to write, while he dictated. Ganpatiji agreed. But he put up a condition. VedVyaas must not stop his dictation even for a second. VedVyaas agreed on the condition that Ganpatiji would only write a couplet after he understood it. 

Ganeshji speed in writing was unsurpassed, hence Ved Vyaasji composed a difficult  ‘shloka’ from time to time to keep Ganeshji busy trying to understand what he was writing.

So we have Ganpatiji to thank, for writing the hundred thousand couplets (shlokas) of the Mahabharata, which took 3 years to complete.

Remember, Ganpatiji’s wife’s name is ‘Buddhi’? Buddhi means intellect and wisdom.

Truly Ganpati possesses all the powers to do away with any difficulty that confronts a devotee of his.  So say with me:

Ganpati Bappa Morya
Pudchaa Varshi laukarya!

and may our troubles be as small as Ganpati’s mouse &
our moments as sweet His laddus.

When we chant Aum Ganeshaaya Namah before starting anything we are saying: In what we are about to do, let wisdom be our Guide.

Names of  Ganesha

Each different form has a name and colour says

Seema Burman

Dvija Ganapati is like the moon

Dvimukha Ganapati is bluish green

Dhoomravarna Ganapati has a smoke coloured body

Haridra Ganapati is bright yellow

Rinamochana Ganapati is white like crystal

Heramba Ganapati is of dark green colour. In some cases , the colour of his head and body are different-the head is brick red with a flesh coloured body…

Incarnations described in the Mudgala Purana took place in different cosmic ages. These incarnations express complex philosophical concepts associated with progressive creation. The demons mentioned exist within us and we need the Grace of Ganesha to overcome them.

Vakratunda, (One with a twisted trunk) The purpose of this Incarnation is to overcome the demon Matsaryusara who symbolises envy and jealousy. His mount is a lion.

Ekadanta, (One with a single tusk) The purpose of this Incarnation is to overcome Madasura , symbolic of arrogance and conceit.

Mahodara,(Big bellied Ganesha) The purpose of this Incarnation is to overcome the demon Mohasura

Gajanana, (Elephant faced) The purpose of this Incarnation is to overcome demon Lobhasura or greed.

Lambodara (Large bellied) The purpose of this Incarnation is to overcome demon Krodhasura or anger.

Vikata ( One with an unusual form) He is an embodiment of the Illuminating nature of Brahmn. The purpose is to overcome kamasura or lust. His mount is the peacock.

Vighnaraja, King of obstacles corresponds to Vishnu and is an Incarnation to preserve the nature of Brahmn. The purpose is to overcome Mamasura or possessiveness. His mount is the celestial serpent Shesha.

Dhumravarna, The grey coloured one corresponds with Shiva and is an embodiment of the destructive nature of Brahmn. The purpose is to overcome Abhimanasura, full of pride and attachment. His mount is a horse.

Ganpati Bappa Morya And Belief Systems

Praying Enshrining Ganpatiji

(Also read Feedback from Gita on this Dal Sabzi)

It is that time of the year when Ganpati clears obstructions in our lives, on His way to our hearts and homes.

Ganpati is the symbol through which we will once again touch our spiritual Self.

Much has been written about the origin of Ganesha. 

Most of us have heard of some popular beliefs. However there are much more versions.

Some Indians believe that once Shiva and Parvati donned the form of elephants, hence Ganesha was born to them, naturally with the face of an elephant!

Another legend claims that once Ganpati had an encounter with an Asura (demon) called Gajasura who had an elephant head. 

The elephant head is symbolic of  “Vydia’ (Knowledge that is required to understand Spiritual Truths)

Ganpati also put on the head of an elephant.

In the battle that ensued Ganpati broke his right tusk.

Ganpati has only one tusk. This signifies that ‘God and man are essentially One’ (Advait). 

Also Ganeshji could be saying to retain all that is ‘good’ and discard the impure.

Ganpati’s massive body symbolizes ‘Creation’ and His stomach is symbolic of ‘Space’. 

One always offers modaks as parsad to Ganesha because the latter loves them.

Parsaad or the ‘offerings’ reminds us that all ‘good things’ are at the Lord’s feet. Modaks represent the rewards of Spiritual endeavor. 

On one occasion while Ganesha went out on a stroll, a snake crossed His path and all the modaks fell out from His belly. Ganesha caught the snake and tied it around His waist.

The snake is symbolic of ‘Energy’

The moon witnessed the scene and burst out laughing. Ganesha cursed the moon saying that anyone who looked at the moon would undergo an unpleasant experience.

The distraught moon apologized. Ganesha gave in and proclaimed that the calamity would befall (will be falsely accused of a wrong doing) someone who looked at the moon on His birthday!

Another version of the above story is that Ganeshji falls down from the rat. The moon laughed at the incident and Parvati is not amused. 

Somehow I believe that a lot of these stories have a symbolic meaning besides having an international appeal to the young and young at heart. I would not be surprised if the scientists discover that it is not beneficial to health to directly gaze at the moon the day that Ganesh was born!

The sages of yore believed thousand of years ago that one must not gaze at the sun on a solar eclipse and today science is endorsing the view!

Ganesha’s vehicle is the mouse. 

It is believed that a demon changed his form into that of a mouse, Ganpati mounted it.

Symbolically The mouse is the master of the night. The night represents ignorance.

Lord Ganesh is not only worshipped in India but also abroad. I have read that in Jabbalpore Ganesh appears in a female form and At Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh the Lord appears as playing a flute. He is worshipped with 5 faces in Nepal and in a meditating pose in Java.

The other day I attended a workshop where I learned that one can create anything one wants, in ones life. 

It is our ‘belief’ that becomes an obstacle.

Hence if one believes that one is not capable, or lovable or worthy, then one is not capable and lovable and worthy and vice-versa.

Change your belief system and your destiny changes.

It is true that one brings with oneself heavy duty things like parentage color of skin etc.

Some of these things is the destiny that one brought with oneself, but no one but yourself is coming in the way of happiness despite your so called obstacles!

‘Karma’ cannot be denied, but it is also a belief system, believe that you can change your destiny and you will!

Collective affirmations and prayers help. During the next 10 days, all Ganpati worshippers will believe that the obstacles to the fulfillment of their dreams are being removed. 

So what is stopping us in joining in! And having all our wishes come true!

Some more information

Ganpatiji may stay in your home for 1, 5 or 7 or 10 days.

The festival starts on the Chaturthi or 4th day after the new moon in Bhadrapad. In Tamil Nadu, it is known as ‘Avani’

The festival cannot go beyond the fourteenth day of Bhadrapad (Anant Chaturdasi)

The durva (blades of grass) offered to the Deity have to be odd in number.

The numbers 5, 7, 21 are associated with Shakti or energy

Mostly 21 durva blades are offered. (Read about the No 21)

The No 21

The number 21  is associated with Shakti.

5 gyanendriyas or organs of perception

5 karmendriyas or organs of action

5 pranas or vital airs

5 bhutas or elements

1 mind

All the above add up to 21

Praying to Ganpatiji 

First you would have to buy an idol of your choice. 

 Then you would have to infuse life into it, which is called ‘Pran Pratishtha’

A priest would generally be required to do the above. He chants the appropriate mantras. Some do it with the help of audio cassettes.

If you ask me, for ‘Pran Pratishtha’ faith and love is the most important requisite. 

Then offer Him flowers, (Ganeshji likes the red-shoe flower-hibiscus) fruits, modaks(coconut filled sweets) durva (thin blades of grass, perfume, paan (betel), panchamrut (curds, milk, honey, ghee, sugar) and kum kum powder.

Do the Aarti. 

Either sing it yourself or play a tape.

I find it effective to sing along with it. 

You will have to do an ‘Uttar Pooja’ before He leaves

Offer Him dahi-poha and alot of love and sing to Him to return again next year…not only to your homes but to your hearts as well.

ENSHRINING OF SHRI GANESHA

Courtesy and Copyright Jnana Prabodhini and Esamskriti

Preparations for the Enshrinement of Shri Ganesha
1. A well decorated Shrine and Image of Shri Ganesha
2. Wooden seats – 3
3. Sandal-wood paste
4. Oil lamp
5. Incense
6. Tanpura or Harmonium (if possible)
7. Water container (metal)
8. Metal spoons, Metal glasses, Metal plates – 2 each
9. Holy Conch, Holy bell
10. Rice grains mixed with slight ‘Kumkum’
11. Mixture of milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar, warm water
12. A small piece of good cloth as a seat cover
13. A small piece of fine cloth to be offered as a garment to Ganesha
14. Thread (Yajnopaveet), Durva (a kind of grass) and flowers.
15. Naivedya – food offerings
16. Betal nuts – 5

Sitting Arrangement
North
Worshipper’s on the left—Ganeshji in the center—East
Priest/Priestess faces Ganeshji
Audience

(All the members of the family / community squat on the floor in rows and columns in front of the shrine. The priest sits on the right side of the shrine. The representative / head of the family / community at whose hands the enshrining is to be done sits in front of the shrine. The representative worshipper could be a lady or a gentleman. Any senior person of good character- a man or a woman – can work as a priest or a priestess. The oil lamp is kindled and incense is kept burning before the ritual starts. Three minutes before the ceremony the Tanpura starts. Everybody is silently listening. Then the priest commences the prayer and the group follows singing after him.)

Priest and the Participants :
Harihi Om
Om
Om

Priest – On this auspicious day of Ganesha Chaturthi, we have come together to enshrine Shri Ganesha and to worship him. It is true that God is omnipresent, he is everywhere. Energy pulsates even in the smallest atom manifesting itself through all forms. However, for our own sake and convenience – for we love to worship the form we request the Formless to enter the from we like. We are requesting the Almighty to take the form of the image of Shri Ganesha. This is called Praana Pratishthaa.

Let us begin this ceremony by purifying this place.

Priest and the Participants :

Priest – ( To the worshipper) Please sprinkle water on yourself, on those who are participating in the ceremony, on the Pooja materials and around this place.
The verse says that the person may be impure or pure, in whatever state he may be, if he remembers God, he becomes pure inside out.
Now let us purify this place.
Priest and the Participants –
Priest – Evil tendencies residing in this place, those powers that obstruct the auspicious undertakings, must vacate this place by the command of Lord Shiva.
Let all the evil powers vanish from this place. With the blessings of all benefactor powers, we commence this ceremony of enshrining Shri Ganesha.
Priest – After purifying the environment, and ourselves we make a declaration of worship. Take a spoonful of water with the left hand, pour it in the hollow of the right palm, and sip it three times, following the said utterances.
Priest and the Participants –
(Drop the water to the metal plate (Tamhan). This is called releasing Udak, i.e. water. This gesture symbolizes the commencement of an auspicious ceremony.)
Priest and the Participants –

Priest – On this earth—-in this continent——in this country called ——, in the city called——in the year——–in season, in the month of——–in the lunar for night——–on date——-on day———-under the star constellation——–we hereby perform the enshrining ceremony of Shri Ganesha.

As an initial part of the main worship, we worship the container filled with water, the conch generating the sound of Aum and the auspicious bell that brings about by its tinkling sound the arrival of holy spirits and departure of the evil ones.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest -This container symbolizes the universe. Its upper part seats Vishnu, the god that maintains the balance of the universe. Its neck seats Rudra, the God that destroys the evil. Its bottom seats Brahma, the God of creation. Its middle part seats the mother Goddess. Its inside contains as if all the seas and the earth with 7 continents, and also the four vedas-the most ancient Indian scriptures.

May Gayatri and Savitri, the mantras for strength and peace come to this container with all their powers. Let the waters of the holy rivers of India, i.e. Ganga, Jamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri come to this container. I worship this container representing the universe with sandle-wood paste and flowers.

Now we worship the conch.
Priest and the Participants –
Priest – This Conch was born in the ocean and Lord Vishnu holds it in his hand. All gods bow before it. I bow before Panchajanya, the superior among the conches. I worship the Conch and offer flowers to him.
Let us now worship the holy bell.
Priest and the Participants –
To beckon the holy spirits and to drive away the evil forces we are ringing this bell. We worship the bell deity and offer her rice grains and flowers.
We now worship the oil lamp, which symbolizes light-energy.
Priest and the Participants –

Priest – O lamp! you are the Energy. You are the master of all radiating things. Please bring me health and progeny and fulfil my desires. We worship the God of light and offer him rice grains and flowers.

After worshipping the water container, the Conch, the bell and the lamp we invoke the Almighty to enter the image of Shri Ganesh. Let us recognize the real nature of Shri Ganesha. Ganapati Atharvasheersha says-

Priest and the Participants –
Priest – O lord Ganesha, you are the ‘raison d’etre’ of the universe. You are the Reality. You are the Universal Eternal Self.
Shri Ganesha, Om and Brahman are one and the same. Om is the prime sound from the vibrations of which the universe is formed. So we chant Om while commencing all ceremonies. It is also written at the beginning of any scripture.

Yajurveda, the second Veda says-
Om is the name of the omnipresent Reality.
Taittiriya Aranyaka, one of the most ancient Hindu scriptures, says-
Om is the ultimate Reality. Kathopanishad also says-
Priest and the Participants –
Priest – The Self is described by all the Vedas. Rishis do Penance to realize it. Aspirants lead a life of chastity to achieve it. That is Om. Shri Ganesha is the human form of the same Om. A revered Marathi Saint Jnaneshwar describes the Om form of Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –
Priest – Shri Ganesha’s squatting position indicates Om, i.e. His prominent belly or abdomen indicates the syllable and his head indicates
(The figure thus formed will give some idea of Shri Ganesha’s form.)
Hence, while enshrining Shri Ganesha, we are enshrining the formless Truth. We have this image of Shri Ganesha before us. It is made of clay. We pray God to enter this image, energize and reside in it, so that we could worship it. Om is the invocation.

Priest and the Participants –
(All the members present close their eyes, sit in the meditation posture, and invoke the Reality.)
( Om )
( Om )
( Om )

Priest – O Lord, you reside in every atom, you are omnipresent. But, for our sake, to fulfill the wishes of your dear children, come and reside (temporarily) in this image.

Priest and the Participants –
Priest – O Lord Ganesha, you are worshipped by the Lord of Gods. You remove all the obstacles from the path of the aspirants. You are shelter to the shelter less. You are omniscient. We entreat you to come to us so that we could worship you.

Priest and the Participants – (Eyes closed, Meditation posture)
( Om )
( Om )
( Om )

Priest – Now, in response to our earnest prayers, the Reality has inspired this image. It is now residing in this image. Let us worship it, i.e. Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –
Priest – Shri Ganesha, the Lord of troupes, we praise you. You are the learned among the learned. Your fame has no match. All our prayers come to you. Please listen them, come and sit on this throne with all your protective powers.

Now we will worship Shri Ganesha with the best things we have The chief worshipper will perform the Pooja ritual. We all recite the mantras while she/he is doing so.

Priest and the Participants –
We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him rice grains as a seat. (Keep the image in the Shrine.)
We revere Shri Ganesha and offer him warm water to wash his feet.
We bow before Shri Ganesha and offer water for washing hands.
We bow before Shri Vinayaka and give him fresh water to make Aachaman. (Aachaman is to take a spoonful of water with the left hand, pour it on right palm and sip it.)
We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him water for taking bath.
We revere Shri Vinayaka and offer him a bath of honey, milk yogurt, ghee and sugar, i.e. Panchamrita.
We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him warm water for taking bath.

We bow before Shri Ganesha and offer him special holy water for bath.
(Atharvasheersha is to be chanted when Abhisheka is going on. Since you can’t bathe the earthen image, you take a betel nut in the metal plate and pour water on it, spoon by spoon. Atharvasheersha and its meaning is given in the end of this booklet.)

Priest and the Participants –
We revere Shri Ganesha and offer him garments to wear.
We bow before Vinayaka and give him the holy thread to wear.
We touch the feet of Shri Ganesha and apply sandalwood paste to him.
We worship Shri Ganesha with flowers, tender leaves and Durvas.
We bow before Shri Vinayaka and offer incense to him.
We venerate Shri Ganesha and enkindle the lamp in front of him.
Priest – Now we offer our best food preparations and the best available fruit to Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –
We bow before the Vinayaka. May this food be consecrated to five types of energy currents that flow through our body and activate the systems.
Glory be to Shri Ganesha. We sing his praise and enkindle oil lamp in front of him.
(All members stand up for Aarati and the worshipper holds the lamp in a thali or metal plate.)
Meaning of the Aarati

O Shri Ganesha, you bring pleasure and love and take away pain and adversities. You wear Sindoor all over your body. Your neck is adorned with pearl-lace. O Lord, seeing you is the fulfillment of all desires. Victory be to you ! (Stanza 1)

O You son of Goddess Gauri ! you are crowned with the best jewels. Kumkum, Saffron and Sandal are applied to your body. Your feet are adorned with small gold-bells. We sing your glory. (Stanza 2)

You have a prominent belly. You are wearing a golden silk garment. You have elephant’s head with a straight, long trunk. You have two eyes and the third eye of knowledge. When I entreat you to come, please come and save me in all adversities,-says the devotee of Shri Ram i.e. Ramdas and awaits you at home. ( Stanza 3)

Feedback from Reader :

From Gita:

Dear Shakun,

As usual, your articles, thoughts and explanations are so welcome and informative and I enjoy them immensely. I know you would be getting lots of mail telling you the same thing and your readership growing at an unbelievable rate. Thank you sincerely for all your hard work.

The reason that prompted me to write was actually my ignorance of the meaning of Modak. I am embarrassed to admit it but unless I swallow this pride I think I am the only one that is actually missing out, so I decided to ask and also once I have asked I hope you will consider ignorant people (ones that are not really conversant in Hindi) and the second generation children who don’t know Hindi at all but have avidly read all the Amar Chitra Kathas in their childhood and heard various stories at different times and are still somewhat interested most of all in the symbolism. I am of course referring to my children and also in part to their western/foreign counterparts. I believe it is the symbolism in our culture that makes our religion a living one. I would like to maintain the little interest my children still retain from their childhood and would like them to be on your mailing list. I thought as a start I would fwd the articles that I think they may be interested in. I wish I could send them an article such as this and be able to explain the term “modak” but unfortunately I cant. so can you please help?

At least they know that Ganesh is the God with the elephants head, but they would never have noticed that he only has one tusk and rides a mouse. I hope these sort of details of symbolism help to keep their interest alive.  Thanks to you this is possible for my children, me and lots of others I am sure.

God bless you in your endeavors.

Gita.