THE SOURCE OF ALL PROSPERITY
God is "Raso vai sah", Baba has often said, which means that God is the Divine Ambrosia. He is sweet, sustaining and strength-giving. The different forms of the Divine like Rama, Krishna or Jesus are but differently designed cups through which the ambrosia that is God can be imbibed, experienced and enjoyed. And among the various forms of the Divine, the elephant-headed Lord, Ganesha, is perhaps the most bewitching, the most charming and the most celebrated. Since ancient times, Ganesha has been worshipped as the Lord of all knowledge, intelligence and wisdom in India and many other parts of the world.
The Ganesha Principle
Elaborating on the Ganesha principle on the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi (the Day celebrating Lord Ganesha’s advent) which fell on the 28th Aug in 1998, Baba said,
“Ganapathi (or Ganesha) is the embodiment of all potencies. He is the abode of every kind of intelligence. He represents no commonplace principle. He is the presiding deity for all auspicious functions, who can make even the inauspicious occasions auspicious. He is the river of prosperity and intelligence. With His grace, any desire can be realised. He occupies the position of one who is the source of all prosperity.”
Appellations of Lord Ganesha
Fascinatingly, Lord Ganesha, the God of auspicious beginnings, has a number of appellations and each one chooses a name of his/her liking to invoke Him. He is described as -
Ganapathi - The Leader of all celestial beings,
Vighneshvara - The Lord of every form of Aiswarya i.e. wealth,
Vighanharta - The Annihilator of all obstacles,
Vinayaka - The Supreme Master with none above Him,
Gajanana - The God with an elephant face,
Lambodar - The God who is pot bellied,
Mooshika Vahana - The Lord with the rat as His vehicle,
Ekdanta - The God who is one tusked,
Gajadhipati - The Lord of elephants, etc.
In October, 1997, elaborating on the principle of Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi Day, Swami said,
“Ganesha is Aprameya, meaning He is transcendent and all-encompassing. Hence, He can be worshipped in any manner. Your prayers will certainly reach Him if you affix the stamp of ‘faith’ and the address it with ‘love’ to Him. Infact, Ganapathi dwells in every human being in the form of intellect and wisdom. There is no need to seek for Him in the outside world. Realise and act on the basis that the living Divinity is ever-present within you.”
The Significance of His Enchanting Form
The extraordinary figure of Lord Ganesha has been a source of joy to many devotees since the time man started worshipping His beautiful form.
With a big belly, beautiful tusk, baby-elephant head, penetrating eyes, four arms, handsome ears, and all these harmoniously balanced, Lord Ganesha’s form is most enchanting and blissful. Baba has explained that the elephantine head signifies intelligence and leadership qualities. The elephant in the jungle is a symbol of might and magnitude and when there is no path in the jungle, it is the elephant that walks through and creates a path and shows the way. It is the same with everybody’s lives, Swami says - the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha shows the ideal path for all to tread.
The elephant has great patience and forbearance. It is not only highly intelligent but is also known for its fidelity and gratitude. It is prepared to sacrifice its life, but it can never tolerate its master's suffering. Intelligence without gratitude is valueless, Swami explains.
On devotees’ reservations concerning how the rat can be the vehicle for Lord Ganesha, Baba clarified that the rat which likes to move in darkness represents ignorance. Ganesha is regarded as the one who subdues ignorance and dispels darkness. He symbolizes the triumph of wisdom over ignorance and of egolessness over desires.
The Importance of the Sacred Offerings
It has been the practice in India since ancient times to offer Lord Ganesha steam-cooked delicacies like kudumulu and vundrallu, especially on Ganesh Chaturthi Day. Explaining their significance, Swami says,
“These steam-cooked offerings with no oil are unique and special. Til seeds, rice flour and jaggery are mixed, made into balls, boiled in steam and offered to Lord Vinayaka. You should enquire into the purpose of making such an offering. These steam-cooked offerings (modaka) are good for the eyes, they free us from all defects of the eye like spots and cataracts and are beneficial to people suffering from asthma and eosinophilia. A combination of jaggery and til seeds prevents all defects and diseases caused due to bile (vatha), wind (pitha) and phlegm (cough). The rice flour preparation helps in digestion too.
These offerings are meant to improve health and confer happiness on man. They are not to be treated as mere ritualistic practices. All that is related to God has a sacred inner meaning.”
Lord Ganesha – The Primordial One
It is a time-honoured tradition to offer worship first to Ganesha before embarking on any undertaking or learning music, the fine arts or any branch of knowledge. The popular belief is that Lord Ganesha instills purity in body and fearlessness in mind and removes all the obstacles coming in the way of any endeavour. It is for this reason that the first bhajan is always dedicated to Ganesha in all Sai Bhajan sessions. Worship of Lord Ganesha confers success at two levels, Pravritti (outward) and Nivritti (inward), spiritual as well as worldly.
On Ganesh Chaturthi Day, 1997, Swami said,
“The adoration of Ganapathi is not of recent origin. Ganapathi is lauded at several places in the Rig Veda which clearly shows that Ganapathi is as ancient as the Vedas. In several places Ganapathi is mentioned both in the Vedas and the Upanishads (most ancient Indian scriptures). There are many prayers addressed to Ganapathi in the Narayanopanishad. There are prayers to him in the Thaithiriya Upanishad also. The Ganapathi Gayathri Mantra also figures in the Upanishads.”
Tanno Dantih Prachodayat
“ I meditate on the single tusked lord, the Lord with His
May He grant knowledge and inspire me.”
“If you want to lead a life of happiness, free from troubles and difficulties, you have to pray to Ganapathi, the remover of all obstacles,” Swami says.
How Should We Pray to Lord Ganesha?
Swami answered this beautifully on Aug 25, 1998 , saying,
“We should not ask for petty things like jobs and other worldly matters. We should pray: ‘Let there be no obstacles in our path’. We should ask for Ganesha Himself. Once you have Ganapathi on your side, you will become the master of all.”
Further Swami says,
“There is no need to go to any temple. Vighneswara dwells in each one of you as your Buddhi (intelligence) and Vijnaana (wisdom). When you make proper use of your inherent intelligence and wisdom, you will be successful in life.”
Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the 7th of September this year – the sacred day to celebrate the advent of Lord Ganesha. Let’s remind ourselves of the holy ideals set by our Lord, Sai Ganesha, on this day and tread the path to His Lotus Feet as joyfully as a river merges with the ocean.
- H2H Team.