This week begins the great joyous & holy Utsav of Ganapati, the most beloved of all Murti, the Ish of us Gan, the God of us people. Ganesh is for you regardless of your age, your color, your ethnicity, your educuation, your wealth. All our equal before Ganesh. No one begins any new task or venture before seeking the blessing of Vighna-Harta Ganesh, the remover of all Vighna or obstacles.
Every year, we discuss a different aspect of Ganesh & Ganesh-Pooja. We began in 2010 by simply including a clip of Ganesh Atharva-Sheersham.
1. Santi-Mantra from UpaNiSad
In 2011, we included the Santi-Mantra from Prasna-UpaNiSad, the mantra that is recited before beginning the recital of the Atharva-Sheersham. This is the Santi-Mantra Mahatma Gandhi used to deliver his Hear No Evil, Seer No Evil, Speak No Evil dictum. We include this Mantra below:
ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवाः, भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः
Aum, bhadram karnebhih srunuyama devah, bhadram pasyemaksabhir yajatrah
Aum, May we, Oh Gods, hear what is auspicious with our ears, Oh Ye, who are worthy of worship, may we see with our eyes what is auspicious.
स्थिरैरन्ङ्गैस्तुष्टुवासस्तनूभिः, व्यशेम देवहितम् यदायुः ।
sthirair angais tustuvamsas tanubhih, vyasema deva-hitam yad ayuh
May we, enjoy the life allotted to us by the Gods, offering praise with our bodies strong of limb.
स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः। स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः ।
swasti na indro vrddha-sravah, swasti nah pusa visva-vedah;
May Indra, of increasing glory, bestow Svasti on us, May Pushan, the knower of all, bestow Svasti on us.
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः । स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु
swasti nas tarksyo arista-nemih, svasti no brhaspatir ddadhatu
May Tarksya of unobstructed path bestow Svasti on us. May Brhaspati bestow Svasti on us.
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Aum, santih, santih, santih
2. Ganesh as Vighna-Harta & Paap-Naashak
In 2012, we discussed the ancient & popular prayer of Ganesh as the Vighna-Harta and the pradakshina prayer we recite to cleanse our paap.
वक्रतुण्ड् महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्व कार्येषु सर्वदा
You are of a curved trunk, a huge body and with radiance that is like 10 million suns;
Dev, please make my path without obstacles in all tasks all the time.
यानि कानि च पापानि जन्मान्तर कृतानि च तानि तानि विनश्यन्ति प्रदक्षन पदे पदे
Whatever sins I may have committed in this and previous lives, they all vanish with each step of my Pradakshina.
3. UpaNiSad – Ganesh as Om-kaar Roop of Brahman
In 2013, we discussed the UpaNiSadic teachings in the article titled Om-kaar, Brahman and Ganesh. The Mandukya UpaNiSad describes Brahman and then establishes Om-kaar as Shabda-Brahman शब्द-ब्रह्म.
- He is the Ish of all (एष सर्व-ईश्वर); He is omniscient (एष-सर्व्द्न्य); He is the inner controller and source of all; He is the creation and end of all beings (प्रभव अपि भुतानां व्य: हि भुतानां).
- [Brahman is] beyond visibility, beyond description, beyond [our] grasp or understanding, beyond attributes, beyond [our] thinking, beyond [our] nomenclature, the essence of all realization/knowledge, into which all
phenomena become resolved, tranquil, blissful, non-dual – what they consider to be the 4th (element). He is Atman (स आत्मा). He is to be known [thus].
- This Atman is the word Om-kaar with its elements – a-kaar, oo-kaar, ma-kaar. (सः अयं आत्मा अक्षर ओंकार अभिमात्रं अकार ऊकार मकार इति)
- This Om-kaar is Atman (एवं ओंकार आत्मा एव).
This is the Nir-Gun, Nir-Aakaar Roop of Om-kaar, intended for reflection and tapasya by Rushi and Sansyasin.
The Sa-Gun, Sa-Aakaar Roop of Om-kaar is Ganesh. The three elements of Om-kaar are linked to the physical Roop of Ganesh as:
- a-kaar (अ-कार) as the two feet of Ganesh,
- oo-kaar (ऊ-कार) as the immense stomach of Ganesh, and
- ma-kaar (म-कार) as the great Mandal on the head of Ganesh.
This description is best heard in the divine immortal words of Sant Dnyaneshvar & the heavenly voice of Lata Mangeshkar.
4. Vedic Ganapati
This takes us further back to the origins of Eternal Dharma, the Rg-Ved. Remember the Rg-Ved was revealed in a period of great conflict between Devata & Rakshas. Appropriately, many of the Rg-Vedic Rc or Rucha are invocations of the martial Deveta.
One such Deveta is ब्रह्मणस्पति Brahmans-Pati. And Brahmans-Pati is given the adjective Gana-Pati in the famous ब्रह्मणस्पति-सूक्त Brahmans-Pati-Sukta of Rg-Ved II.23.1.
ॐ गणानां त्वां गणपतिं हवामहे कविम् कवीनां उपश्रवस्तम्
ज्येष्ट राजं ब्रह्मणां ब्रह्मणस्पत आ नः श्रुण्वनृतिभि: सीद सादनम्
The very first clause says “we praise/worship you, अधिपति Master of the Gan” and creates the adjective Ganapati that has now become the name of Ganesh. The verse describes Brahmans-Pati as the Master of the Gan, as Learned of the Learned and Great Lord and request Brahmans-Pati to take the seat at their Yadnya.
According to Pandit DhundiRajShastri Vinod, the Rg-Vedic Seers have described Ganapati as
अधिपति of युध्प्रवण रणधीर गण (Master of brave warriors skilled in the art of war)and as अधिष्ठात्री देवता of महायुध्ह्. According M.M. Dr. Siddeshvar Shastri Chitraav, the specific Gan were called क्रुक्वत् गण. And their अधिपति was Brahmans-Pati and hence became known later as Ganapati.
You will see the veracity of these descriptions if you read the 19 verses of the above mentioned Brahmans-Pati-Sukta 23 of Second Mandal of the Rg-Ved. This entire verse is devoted to the martial role of Brahmans-Pati as protector of Yadnya & Bhakt and destroyer of Rakshas who are enemies of Devata & spreaders of darkness. It is quite possible that this ancient role of Brahmans-Pati as Ganapati became coded as Vighna-Harta or Remover of obstacles adjective we use today.
5. Puraan Upa-Samhaar
A tremendous amount of literature has been compiled over the ages about the worship and greatness of Ganapati. Even scholars who specialize in Ganesh-Vidya honestly admit they have not studied it all, even what is available today.
But they seem uniform in their analysis that sometime in the peaceful Puraanic period, the intense martial Vedic Roop of Ganapati became merged with the UpaNiSadic Om-kaar Shabda-Brahma Roop and today’s beloved, pleasant Vighna-Harta, illuminator of Buddhi, Roop of Ganesh was formed.
So when you pray to Ganapati in this year’s Ganesh-Utsav, remember the great inheritance you have received from the Ved, the UpaNiSad, the Puraan. And then, with deep devotion, seek the aashirvaad of Ganapati for your family and yourself.
Svasti Astu Bhavatu
Let Svasti be Yours
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