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On September 3 this year, falls Ganesh Chaturthi – the festival celebrating the advent of Lord Ganesha. Who is truly Lord Ganapathi? What is the meaning behind observing this festival when Lord Ganesha is actually beyond time? Swami revealed these important aspects and much more in a beautiful discourse delivered on this occasion five years ago in 2002. Let us recapitulate a few significant revelations made during that occasion by Bhagavan Baba.

Today is the sacred festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. ‘Ga’ symbolises buddhi (intellect), ‘Na’ stands for vijnana (wisdom). So, ‘Ganapati’ is the master of buddhi and vijnana. The universe is sustained by Ganas (gods) and Ganapati is their master. In this world, everybody has a master, but Ganapati has none. He is a master by Himself.

Sathya Sai Speaks

This is the birthday of the Master of Masters. Ganapati is also called Mooshika Vahana (one who has a mouse as his vehicle). You may wonder how a small mouse can carry on its back a hefty personality like Vinayaka (another name of Ganapati). Here mooshika does not mean a mere mouse. It symbolises the darkness of ignorance because it is in darkness that the mouse moves about. Hence, Mooshika Vahana is one who subdues ignorance and dispels darkness. It is only when we understand the inner significance of the Vinayaka principle that we will be able to celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi properly.

One of the main teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is contained in the sloka:

“Sarvadharman Parityaja

Maamekam Saranam Vraja,

Aham Twa Sarvapapebhyo

Mokshaishyami Ma Suchah”

(Surrender unto Me and perform all your actions as an offering to Me. I will destroy all your sins and confer liberation on you.)

So long as man is immersed in body attachment, all types of hardships and misery haunt him. Body attachment is the root cause of sankalpas (thoughts). That is why Lord Krishna exhorted man to give up body attachment. The inner meaning of this statement is that man should experience unity in diversity. Without vyashti (individual), there cannot be samashti (society). Without samashti, there cannot be srishti (creation). So, first of all we have to recognize the role of vyashti, the individual. Only then can we understand the principle of samashti, which will in turn lead to the understanding of srishti, the creation. One who understands srishti becomes one with parameshti (God). In fact, the principles of samashti, srishti and parameshti are very much present in vyashti. Hence, one has to make efforts to understand vyashti in the first instance.

Vyashti symbolizes the individual (Jeeva) whereas samashti stands for God (Deva). There is not much difference between the individual soul and the Cosmic Spirit. So long as the vyashti identifies himself with the body he leads a very ordinary life. It is only when one identifies himself with samashti can he understand the principle of creation. So, firstly, man should make efforts to understand the true meaning of vyashti. This is the message of Vinayaka. The letter ‘Ga’ (intellect) in the name Ganapati symbolizes this aspect. The letter ‘Na’ stands for vijnana (wisdom). So, Ganapati is one who grants good intellect and confers wisdom.

Today, people perform Vinayaka worship without actually understanding its significance. Vinayaka symbolises the qualities of a true leader in all aspects. “Viyate Nayake Iti Vinayaka” meaning, “He is a master unto Himself”. In this world Vinayaka is worshipped by many. However, Vinayaka does not worship anyone as He has no master above Him. Even Easwara, the father, worships His son Vinayaka, but it does not happen the other way.

Sathya Sai Speaks

These days few make an attempt to know the principle of Parameshti, who is the fundamental force behind Vyashti, Samashti and Srishti. Parameshti is the Master of all. In this world, man undertakes various activities, of which some are good and others bad. Man’s sankalpa (thought) is the root cause of this duality. Good thoughts lead to good actions, and vice versa. Man is an embodiment of sankalpas and vikalpas (resolutions and negations). True spiritual practice lies in controlling these thoughts and their aberrations….

On this day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, people make kudumulu and undrallu as special dishes and offer them to Vinayaka. They are special and unique in the sense that they are cooked on steam without any oil content. Til seeds, rice flour and jaggery are mixed, made into balls, cooked in steam and offered to Vinayaka. You should enquire into the purpose of making such an offering. Til seeds are good for the eyes.

Steam-cooked preparations without any oil content are good for your digestive system. One who partakes of such food will be free from blood pressure and blood sugar, and will always enjoy sound health and happiness. Food preparations, which are cooked on fire with oil content, are harmful to Jatharagni (digestive fire). Such food gives rise to various diseases. One can lead a long, happy and healthy life, if one avoids food with oil content. Vinayaka has a potbelly but he has perfect health as He partakes of steam-cooked food without oil content.

Vinayaka is also called Vighneswara (remover of obstacles). No obstacle can come in the way of one who prays to Vinayaka. Worship of Vinayaka confers success in spiritual as well as worldly endeavours. God grants happiness at two levels, pravritti (outward) and nivritti (inward). Pravritti is related to physical body whereas Nivritti relates to the intellect. The former undergoes change with the passage of time, whereas the latter remains unchanged. Hence, one should try to reduce body attachment with proper food and habits….

On this day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, students place their textbooks in front of the Vinayaka idol and offer their prayers. The inner meaning is that they should pray for the divine wisdom to be bestowed on them. It is most essential for the students to worship Vinayaka on this auspicious day. He fulfils the desires of his devotees. He has no agraha (anger); He confers only anugraha (grace).

- Divine Discourse on Ganesh Chaturthi Day, September 10, 2002


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Vol 6 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2008
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