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Lord Ganesha is universally worshipped by the followers of Sanathana Dharma. He bestows joy, wisdom and protection. Lord Ganesha is invoked at the beginning of every puja and His sacred name is chanted before starting any new venture.

In one Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, Bhagavan Sai Ganesha assured us: “The purpose of festivals like Ganesha Chathurthi is to remind men of their inherent divinity and awaken in them the sense of oneness of all mankind. When you make proper use of your inherent intelligence and wisdom, you will be successful in life. Ganesha will never put you to suffering in anyway. He blesses all your endeavours, efforts and confers success. He will never allow anything evil to reside in you.”

Here is a quiz to remind ourselves of all these beautiful divine snippets gifted by Bhagavan Baba to everyone of us over the years.

1. In His Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse in 1971, Swami said: “To get rid of delusion and enable man to comprehend his inherent divine nature, the ancient sages taught a prayer. This prayer is the one that is addressed to Lord Ganesha.

Shuklam-Baradharam Vishnum Shashivarnam Chaturbhujam
Prasanna Vadhanam Dhyayeth Sarva Vighnopa-Shantaye

Suklaambaradharam means one who is clad in white. This is the symbol of purity…universal love and compassion. Vishnum is the second attribute ascribed to Him. Vishnu means that He is present everywhere, at all times... Sasivarnam means His complexion is grey like that of ash. Chathurbhujam (Four-handed) is the next denotation. This means that apart from two visible hands, He has two invisible hands that are available for the two divine uses of (1) Blessing the devotee, and (2) Guarding him from danger. ”

What does Prasanna Vadhanam mean?

2. In His 1994 Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, explaining the true meaning of the name Ganapathi, Swami reveals: “The essential purpose of the Vinayaka Chathurthi festival is to teach a person to avoid the company of bad people and cultivate the company of the good. What does the term Ganapathi signify? ‘Ga’ means Buddhi (intelligence). 'Na' means Vijnaana (wisdom). 'Pathi' means master. So, Ganapathi is the master of all knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. There is also another significant meaning for the word, that He is the Leader of all the Ganas who are celestial. Ganas also symbolize ____________.”

3. In His 2002 Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, elaborating on the name Vinayaka, Swami states: “He is also called Vinaayaka, which term means that He is one who has no master above Him. He is the Supreme master. He is beyond the mindless state. One who has stilled the mind cannot have any master.”

According to Swami, how can man possess the knowledge of self-mastery?

4. Explaining the meaning of the name Vighneshwara, in His 1989 Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, Swami elaborates: “Man is confronted with many Vighnas (obstacles) in the journey of life. Prayers are offered to Ganapathi - who is better known as Vighneswara - for removing such obstacles and minimizing impediments. Ganapathi is an important deity for people of all sects. He is the deity to whom worship is offered first in any ritual.”

According to Swami, by what means can Vighneshwara remove any obstacles and impediments in our way?

5. In His 1997 Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, Swami expounds: “In what form does Vinaayaka - the one who has no master - exist within a human being?

6. In His 1991 Divine Ganesha Chaturthi Discourse, Swami narrates a story that reveals the mystery behind why Lord Ganesha is worshipped first: “How did Vinayaka acquire siddhi (supreme powers)? His parents held a contest for their two sons - Ganesa and Subrahmanya. They said they will offer their grace in the form of a fruit to whoever came first in circumambulating the universe. The younger son Subrahmanya set out immediately on his peacock to go round the universe. On seeing Subrahmanya approaching his parents, almost at the end of his trip, Vinayaka, who had been quietly sitting all the while, got up and went round the parents and sat down.”

Why did Lord Ganesha not go around the Universe?

7. Swami has said: “Association with Gods, as vehicles, ornaments, accessories or servants of Gods, endows objects, animals and men with specially sacred status. Elephants, Lions, Eagles, Snakes, Primates - all these and many more have been divinized thus. Divinity is not limited to mankind alone. We find divinity present in birds and beasts too.”

In His 1992 Divine Ganesha Chaturthi Discourse, Swami further explains as to how Lord Ganesha’s family is an ideal one, maintaining harmony and peace in spite of the antagonistic elements present amongst them: “Easwara's family consists of Shiva, Parvathi, Ganapathi and Subrahmanya. When you consider the vehicles of the four, you find that by nature they are antagonistic to each other.”

While Shiva’s vehicle is the bull, and Parvathi’s is the lion; of their two sons, Ganapathi’s vehicle is the mouse - what is Subrahmanya’s vehicle?

8. In His 1988 Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, Swami explains:

“What is the inner significance of worshipping the elephant-faced deity? The symbolic significance of Ganesha's elephant head has to be properly understood. The elephant has profound intelligence. Moreover, the elephant has large ears and it can hear even minute sounds…The elephant takes the praise and blame equally. When it hears something bad, it moves its body this way and that way and shakes off the unwanted things while it retains good things quietly. Only Vinaayaka teaches the lessons that are essential for mankind.”

Besides intelligence, according to Swami, which other quality stands out the most in an elephant that man should learn from?

9. In His Divine, 1997 Ganesha Chaturthi Discourse, Swami reveals the symbolic meaning of the relation between Paarvathi and Ganesha: “When Ganapathi is described as Paarvathi thanaya, who is this Paarvathi? Paarvathi signifies Prithvi (Mother Earth). Everyone is a child of Mother Earth. The meaning of Paarvathi thanaya (son of Paarvathi) is that Ganapathi, who is the Lord of the Ganas, is the son of Paarvathi, who symbolizes Shakthi (the Divine Energy).”

Swami then asks: “Where are Paarvathi and Ganapathi to be located?”

10. In His 1997, Divine Ganesha Chathurthi Discourse, Swami teaches us the significance of Ganesha’s vehicle – the mouse: "Man is bound by three tendencies. The first is Kama (the longing to possess). When that longing fails, Krodha (anger) raises its hood. When the desire is fulfilled and the thing is gained the third tendency, Lobha (greed) overtakes him. If one's desire is beneficial, the Divine will shower Grace. Ganesha has no desire, no anger, no greed. His Grace is available for all who seek good and godly goals. Look at the vehicle which He has chosen, the mouse! The mouse is a creature that is led, even to destruction, by Vasana (the smell of things). Men are all victims of Vasana (preferences and predilections stamped on our minds during the past lives). Ganesa smothers and suppresses the Vasanas which misdirect man and create misfortune.”

According to Swami, what is the significance of Ganesha using the mouse as His vehicle?

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Vol 6 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2008
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