“This god looks weird. His birth story is the weirdest one among all Hindu Puranas. Still he is the most worshipped god among Hindus, why?”
“How can you believe such ridiculous story that even doesn’t have a merit of being bed-time story? It has violence in it. Lord of the Universe Shiva chops off a small kid’s head! Later again, chops off the head of a baby elephant and attaches that to the body of the fallen child to give him life.”
“Isn’t Ganesh is a funny cartoon?”
“Yes, I agree to all those things…” I used to tell them. “These are all stories.”
“But, the problem is Uday, you still worship Ganesh. You said there is a Ganesh temple adjacent to your house…” a friend once asked.
“Yes, I do. I have already said on record that I worship all 33 crore gods in Hinduism and very happy and proud about it…” (See http://udaypai.in/we-hindus-have-330-million-gods-seriously/)
“Shameful…And still you claim to be a science student and try to define Sanatan Dharma on the basis of science. What science do you have in this funny, ridiculous story of Ganesh?”
“I have explained about Hindu gods many times,” I told him. (See http://udaypai.in/are-puranas-real/ ) Puranas are mostly allegorical and don’t need to be seen through the lens of logic. If you want to see contradictions in the characteristics of the personalities involved, I can get you much more examples than any of you. We see it as contradiction and hard to believe, as we do not understand the context. If you pick up a story out of context, you won’t know how the author is to convey some ideas. Hindu mythology is very complex and varied as the population it represents, so there are different versions prevalent among different subgroups. (See http://udaypai.in/gods-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/)
“Now tell me about Ganesh’s birth, Uday… Don’t give me bullshit explanations to substantiate your idiotic beliefs…”
“First, I don’t mix up my beliefs and science. Belief has nothing to do with truth. I have lot of beliefs based on my tradition and I strictly, happily follow it. But neither do I insist that others should follow it (or else….) nor I need scientific explanation for it. I am not ready to kill or die for beliefs, for I know, belief is different from truth. So my belief doesn’t hurt anybody. So I don’t owe you any explanation for my beliefs.” I said very curtly.
My purpose here is not to argue and win. But to learn and share what I had learnt.
“But you are also a truth seeker and research on science of Sanatan Dharma. So, I thought I would get some new insights on Lord Ganesha. Friend, I am not able to answer questions from the skeptics and new gen Hindu kids. That’s why I approached you…”he said.
Let’s examine the story of Ganesh.
Parvati decides to take a special Suchita bath and dress up to meet Shiv . What’s the meaning of Parvati? The daughter of mountain. What’s a mountain? It’s a large natural elevation of the earth’s surface rising abruptly from the surrounding level or a large pile or quantity of something.
The story says that while Parvati was taking bath, lot of dirt came of out her body and she puts that dirt into the form of a child.
Now, use your brain. Mountain represent rising up. What will you have when you rise up yourself from innocent childhood to adulthood? Ego. That’s the dirt a human being has.
The dirty ego that comes off Parvati is personified as a boy. She doesn’t want to be disturbed as she is feeling dirty with ego.
The ego obstructs the path of Shiva, the cosmic consciousness. This means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the brain (read head), does not recognise knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance.
Who is Shiva (Read http://udaypai.in/who-is-shiva-is-he-for-real/) – the killer of ego. He kills the boy, the animated ego.
How will you react when your ego is hurt? No wonder Parvati, who was not fully cleaned up the dirt, had flared up. So Shiv adds an elephant head in place of ego-head.
And why the elephant head?
The big head represents huge brain. The vast knowledge and wisdom. All Shiv did was to replace ego head with a head full of wisdom. Shiva then names the child, Ganesh (Ganesha = Gana + isha, i.e Lord of the ganas) – the Lord of Knowledge and Wisdom.
What more he can gift with for an angry, sulking wife!
Another story says Parvati created the boy out of turmeric paste and infused life into it. It’s a creation of female energy. But to complete it, the existence needs the male energy too. That’s why the kid is both son of Parvati (Prakriti) and Shiva (Purusha).
Yet another story says Shiva, after the demon Gajasura’s death, substituted his head to his own son.
Now how to kill all fears which stand as obstacle to your path towards the divine happiness? When there is darkness, you need light. The awareness kills obstacles. You are aware means you are happy and peaceful. So Ganesha has also becomes the “a Lord of Obstacles” – “Vighna (obstacles) + Ishwara (God)”, i.e. Vighneshwara. If you havewatched national geographic channel’s feature on elephants, you will know that those huge animals don’t walk around obstacles, neither are they stopped by them. They just remove them and walk ahead – signifying effortlessness.
All auspicious events in the Hindu liturgical fashion begin with an invocation of and appeasement to Vinayaka alias Ganesha. Let there be no obstacles whatsoever.
“Okay, what about the story of Ganapathi cursing the moon?”
“The story is developed by Rishis who have Vedic knowledge. So you cannot interpret the story in the current scenario. In Vedic Purusha Sooktham, it is said: “Chandrama manaso Jatha” – means moon is born out of the mind”
“Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9, Verse 11 says: Fools deride me when I descend in the human form or ‘They do not know my transcendental nature’. Only the fools and rascals deride when the Lord comes in the human form. Why? The mind sees the outermost human body only and laughs at the idea that inside of every being is divine.”
Mind is just bunch of thoughts, seat of ego and product of conditioned brain. It knows nothing. So, don’t look at your thoughts but close your eyes and go to deep inside where you can see the Lord.
The story asks you not look at your thoughts which is produced by conditioned mind. Instead close your eyes to meditate and develop awareness.
However, Ganesh is not a Vedic deity. He is a puranic god. Ganesh is venerated and evolved from Ganapati Upanishad. The only place he is mentioned Vedas is in Rig Veda (2.23.1) that calls upon a deity also known as Ganapati, the “leader of hosts”. “Om, O Ganapati, To You who are the Lord of the Ganas (Celestial Attendants or Followers), we Offer our Sacrificial Oblations…” He is referred as the Son of Brihaspati.
I don’t remember Ramayana mentioning anything about Ganesha. The Ganesha story could be a later add-on. But Mahabharata says that the sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to serve as his scribe to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him.
“So unlike Vedic literature, Purana stories may not be scientific and rational. It has different meanings and connotations – you can read it as a story follow it in a believer level or as a Dharmic truth seeker you can go further deep into its real meaning.”
Ganesh is identified as patron of arts and sciences, the giver of intellect and wisdom, and the one who bestows wealth and bounty. The idol of Ganesh is a representation of the virtues that define him in a form of lucid personification so that even a layman can understand without necessarily knowing the language. A picture explains a lot more than words can convey.
The image of Ganesh is easy to remember which makes him popular god. It is easier to have a form to focus and pray rather than reaching out to an abstract form. Every religion has that. No one performs abstract and pointless worship. (See http://udaypai.in/stone-is-god-but-god-is-not-stone/).
Recently, another reader asked me about the Ganesh Moola mantra: Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varada Sarva janamai Vashmanaaya swaha.
Incidentally, a friend told me that if you check the frequency of each words in Mantra, you will get the following units in Hertz (Hz) for the first 7 words: 7.8 (Om), 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 (Shreem) – not exactly in order. I am not sure about this.
However, the Schumann Resonances are quasi-standing electromagnetic waves that exist in the Earth’s ‘electromagnetic’ cavity (the space between the surface of the Earth and the Ionosphere). They occur at several frequencies, specifically 7.8 (strongest), 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 (weakest) Hertz. Any researcher student should check this.
Ganesh is the fun loving God. You have an infinite artistic liberty to depict him in any way you please. I have seen he is depicted in various poses and forms. No Hindu sentiments get affected with these depictions. He has been shown dancing (even cinematic), sleeping, angry, surreal. He is probably being the most depicted God in Indian films.
In short Ganesh is THE person for all occasions. Why would anyone not love him?
May Lord Ganesh bring you good luck and prosperity! Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi.
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