Lord Ganapati is the most popular Deity among the Hindus. No Pooja or religious rites or for that matter no daily activity in any Hindu household commences without first worshipping Ganapati. Ganapati worship is... as old as Hinduism itself. The reason for this common form of prayer is not far to seek.
Human life is beset with more of thorns than roses. In order to face the daily struggle against all odds man
needs some support and protection. As all human beings sail in the same boat, such assistance can come about from some super human factor alone. By intuition, experience and scriptural knowledge he realized that offering prayers to Ganapati before beginning any human enterprise or venture can go a long way in mitigating the difficulties that he may face on the way. He was convinced that even a little success he achieves in his endeavors is due to the mercy granted to him by the Almighty Ganapati. The Lord Ganapati is therefore called by
different names such as Vighneshwara, Vighna Vinayaka, Sukha Karta, Vighna Harta etc. implying His qualities as the universal problem solver and remover of all impediments on all paths.
Lord Ganapati has several names like Ganesha, Gajaanana, Ekadanta, Lambodara, Kapila, Vakratunda, Surpakarna, Heramba, Vighnaraja, Siddhivinayaka, Mushikavahana etc. signifying his multifarious attributes.
:: Ganapati In Vedas ::
There is no Hindu who does not recognize the pre-eminence of the worship of this mysteriously conceived
deity called Ganapati whose name occurs right in the beginning of the Rigveda itself, the earliest of the scriptures in the entire world. In this Veda we get the popular Mantra “OM Ganaanaam tvam ganapatim havaamahe ….” which is a tribute to Lord Ganesha praising His various attributes.
:: Ganapati In
Every Upanishad commences with Omkara and Omkara is the form of Ganapati. The following four Upanishads specifically deal with the true significance and form of Ganesha Viz.1. Sri Ganesha Poorva Taapini Upanishad 2.
Ganesha Uttaraa Taapini Upanishad 3.Heramba Upanishad and 4. Ganaapati Upanishad or Ganapati Atharvasirsha or Ganapati Atharvasirsha Upanishad which is the
subject mater of this essay.
:: Ganapati In Smritis ::
worship is referred to in all the Smritis particularly in Brihat Paraashara
Smriti, Yaagnavalkya Smriti and Maanavagruhya Sutra. Valmiki Ramayan also
mentions Ganesha and His Omkara Rupa. It is interesting to note that Lord
Ganesha rendered His services as a stenographer to sage Veda Vyasa for taking
down his dictation of the immortal epic, Mahabharata.
:: Ganapati In
Ganesha Mahima is discussed in many Puranas. Ganesha Purana,
wherein Ganesha Gita finds place, Brahma Vaivarta Purana and Mudgal Purana
elaborately explain the hidden implications of the real form of Ganesha. Besides
the Shrutis and Smritis many saints, sages and devotees from all parts of India
have sung in praise of Ganapati.
:: Shiva And Ganapati ::
Shiva made Ganesha as the leader of His hosts or Ganaas or celestial servants
who are demi-gods. As Ganesha is the leader of the hosts of Lord Shiva Himself
he came to be called as Ganapati or the Lord of the Ganaas (Ganaanaam Pati or
The Lord of the Ganaas is Ganapati). These Ganaas are ruled by Ganapati under
the orders of Shiva. Apart from making Ganapati as the leader of hosts, Lord
Shiva bestowed another blessing on Him saying “You shall be the first one to be
worshipped on all occasions and that no one will be worshipped before you, not
even Me. After you are worshipped alone, will anybody else be worshipped”
“Om Gam Ganapataye Namah” occurring in Ganapati Atharvasisrsha is the
Mantra to propitiate Ganapati.
:: Symbolic Philosophy of The Form Of Ganapati ::
There are several legends and stories explaining the birth
and elephant headed form of Ganapati and His vehicle, the mouse. His two feet
represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head
signifies the symbol ‘OM’. Ganesha riding on tiny mouse indicates the complete
conquest over egoism. The biggest and smallest living beings in the forms of an
elephant and a mouse denote that Ganesha is the source of the evolutionary
process of creatures from the smallest mouse to the biggest. elephant and
finally becoming a human. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant’s
head and a mouse as His vehicle. A pictorial rendering of this symbolism is
given at the end of this article.
:: Ganapati Atharvasirshopanishad
Shri Ganapati Atharvasirsha occurs in the Atharvana Veda. It is
considered to be the most important Vedic text on Lord Ganesha. This is a very
highly popular stotra, particularly in entire Maharashtra after the Ganapati
worship was taken out of the temple precincts and brought to the public places
as a social movement in the shape of community worship of The Lord.
means firmness, non-wavering, one pointedness of purpose, while sirsha means
intellect. This means by controlling the unsteady and outgoing mind, man’s
intellect can be directed towards liberation or ‘Atmonnati’.The full text of
Ganapati Atharva Sirsha with its Bhaavaartha (general meanings) is given below
for the benefit of the readers.
:: Text of Ganapati Atharvasirsha
.. shaanti mantra..
aum bhadram karnebhih
bhadram pashyemaakshabhiryajatraah ..
sthirairangaistushhtuvaan sastanuubhih .
vyashema devahitam yadaayuh ..
O Gods .. Let us hear auspicious things through our ears, see good things
through our eyes, May we spend the life time allotted to us by utilizing our
strong bodies in offering our services and praises to You.
aum svasti na indro vriddhashravaah .
svasti nah puushhaa vishvavedaah ..
svasti nastaarkshyo arishhtanemih .
svasti no brihaspatirdadhaatu ..
aum shaantih . shaantih .. shaantih...
May the gods Indra, Puusha, Garuda
and Brihaspati bestow blessings on us and protect us.
Om Peace Peace
:: The Upanishad ::
Adidaivat Pratipaadhak Khand
aum namaste ganapataye ..
tvameva pratyaksham tattvamasi .. tvameva kevalam kartaasi ..
tvameva kevalam dhartaasi .. tvameva kevalam hartaasi ..
tvameva sarvam khalvidam brahmaasi ..
tvam saakshaadaatmaasi nityam ..
1. I bow to thee, O Ganapati, who is the Lord of all the groups
of Deities ranging from Brahma. You are the personified form of Brahman or the
Brhmatattva. You are the creator, protector and destroyer of all beings. You are
the in-dweller, eternal, all pervading Brahman embodied in all of us as
ritam vachmi.. satyam vachmi..
2..I shall speak the scriptural truth and experiential truth
Vighna Rakshanaruup Khand
ava tvam maam .. ava vaktaaram ..
ava daataaram .. ava dhaataaram..
ava pashchaattaat.. ava purastaat ..
avottaraattaat .. ava
ava chordhvaattaat .. avaadharaattaat ..
sarvato maam paahi paahi samantaat ..
Please, protect me, who is speaking about
your true form. Please protect me who is hearing about your noble qualities.
Please protect me who is teaching your adorations and worship to the other
disciples. Please protect me who imbibes the spirit of Sadhana for your worship.
Please protect me from all the obstacles in the way of my worshipping You
emanating from all the sides and the directions (North, South, East and West,
Above and Below). 3
tvamaanandamayastvam brahmamayah ..
tvam pratyaksham brahmaasi ..
jnaanamayo vijnaanamayosi .. 4..
You are the word, deed and thought .
You are the truth, consciousness and bliss. You are the One only and non-dual
Universal Self. You are the personified Brahma, appearing before us. You are the
entire knowledge and wisdom.
Aadidaivat Varnanaatmak Khand
sarvam jagadidam tvatto jaayate ..
sarvam jagadidam tvattastishthati ..
sarvam jagadidam tvayi layameshyati ..
sarvam jagadidam tvayi pratyeti ..
tvam .analo.anilo nabhah ..
tvam chatvaari vaakpadaani ..
This entire world has arisen from you, been nourished by you and dissolved into
you. You support this moving and unmoving world. You are the five elements of
earth, water, fire, air and ether. You are the four levels of speech viz. para,
pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari.
Aadhyaatma Prakaashak Khand
tvam gunatrayaatiitah tvamavasthaatrayaatiitah ..
tvam dehatrayaatiitah ..
tvam muulaadhaarasthithosi nityam ..
tvaam yogino dhyaayanti nityam ..
tvam vishhnustvam rudrastvam indrastvam agnistvam vaayustvam
chandramaastvam brahmabhuurbhuvah svarom .. 6..
You are beyond the three Gunas- sattwa, rajas and tamas. You are beyond the three states of
consciousness - waking, dreaming and deep sleep. You are beyond the three states
of body- gross, subtle and causal. You are beyond the three time-periods – past,
present and future. You are seated in the Mooladhara Chakra in the physical body
from where the Kundalini shakti arises. You are the source of three types of
energy viz creation, maintenance and dissolution. You are always being meditated
upon by the sages. You are the creator Brahma, the protector Vishnu and the
destroyer Rudra .. You are the Indra, the Fire, the Air, the Sun, the Moon. You
are Brahma, the three worlds viz. prithvi, antariksh and svarg and also the
Pranava – OM. 6
Ganesha Vidya Khand
varnaadim tadanantaram ..
anusvaarah paratarah .. ardhendulasitam .. taarena
etattavamanusvaruupam .. gakaarah puurvaruupam..
madhyamaruupam .. anusvaarashchaantyaruupam ..
binduruttararuupam .. naadah
samhitaasandhih .. saishhaa ganeshavidyaa ..
.. nichridgaayatrii chchandah ..
ganapatirdevataa .. aum gam ganapataye
namah .. 7..
Your name starts with the letter 'ga', and ends with the
letter 'sha' and in between come the letter 'a' and anuswara 'n'. These have
symbolic meanings representing the 'ganas' of prosody, and the letters and
sounds of 'akaara''anuswara' of the language and the ‘sandhis’ of the grammar.
The sage of this hymn is 'Ganaka', its meter is 'nichridgayatrii' and the
presiding deity is 'Ganapati'. After describing the structure of the mantra the
Rishi gives the full form of the manra as ‘Om Gam’ after which one has to utter
‘Ganapataye Namah’ and then offer Namaskaars.This part is giving the deeper
Vedic meaning of the mantrabiija ga (m*) and is called the Ganeshavidyaa. 7
Sri Ganesha Gayatri Mantra Khand
ekadantaaya vidmahe vakratundaaya
tanno dantih prachodayaat .. 8..
Praise be to the
bearer of the single tusk and crooked trunk. May we be inspired by this
knowledge and meditation. 8
chaturhastam paashamankusha dhaarinam ..
radam cha varadam hastairbibhraanam
raktam lambodaram shuurpakarnakam raktavaasasam ..
raktagandhaanuliptaangam raktapushhpaih supuujitam ..
devam jagatkaaranamachyutam ..
aavirbhuutam cha srishhtyaadau prakriteh
evam dhyaayati yo nityam sa yogii yoginaam varah ..
After describing the Lord in the Mantra form, the sage now paints
His physical form for the purposess of meditation on Him. The Lord is holding a
tusk, a rope, an instrument 'ankusha' in three hands and the fourth hand is
showing the boon-giving posture (vara mudra). He has his body smeared with a red
fragrant paste. He is wearing a red dress and being worshipped by red flowers.
He has the mouse as his vehicle. He has a large stomach and long ears. He is
compassionate to His devotees. He is the cause of all the ‘leelas’ in this
earth. He appeared before the creation of this universe. He is beyond the
primordial Nature or Prakriti and Purusha. That sage who meditates on the Lord
in this form is better than those who meditate otherwise. 9
namo vraatapataye . namo ganapataye . namah
pramathapataye . namaste.astu lambodaraaya ekadantaaya. vighnanaashine
shivasutaaya . shrii varadamuurtaye namo namah .. 10..
the Lord of Gods and the Lord of the group of Ganas or hosts created by Shiva,.
Salutations to the Lord of the Sevak of Sankara. Salutations to the large limbed
and the single tusked Ganapati. Salutations to the destroyer of obstacles, to
the son of Shiva and the boon-giver incarnate, Ganapati. 10
etadatharvashiirsham yo.adhiite .. sa brahmabhuuyaaya kalpate
.. sa sarva vighnairnabaadhyate .. sa sarvatah sukhamedhate
saayamadhiiyaano divasakritam paapam
praataradhiiyaano raatrikritam paapam naashayati ..
saayampraatah prayunjaano apaapo bhavati ..
dharmaarthakaamamoksham cha vindati ..
idamatharvashiirshhamashishhyaaya na deyam ..
yo yadi mohaaddaasyati sa
sahasraavartanaat yam yam kaamamadhiite..
tamanena saadhayet .. 11..
The one who studies Atharvasiirsham becomes
qualified to become Brahma himself. He will not be afflicted by any obstacles
and attains all-round happiness. He will be released from the five great
If one studies this Upanishad in the evening he is absolved of the
sins committed during the day; if studied in the morning the sins of the night
are washed away; if studied both in the morning and evening, one is totally
absolved of all sins. If studied always, one is freed from all obstacles; one
obtains the benefits of all the four Purushaarthas (dharma, artha, kaama and
moksha). However, one should not teach this to the undeserving student i.e. to
the one who does not have faith and devotion to this scripture. If done so, out
of greed for wealth, such a teacher becomes a great sinner. If one studies this
Upanishad a thousand times according to prescribed Shastras, one achieves
whatever is desired for.11
anena ganapatimabhishhinchati sa vaagmii
chaturthyaamanashnan japati sa vidyaavaan bhavati .
yashovaan bhavati ..
ityatharvanavaakyam .. brahmaadyaavaranam vidyaat
na bibheti kadaachaneti .. 12..
The devotee who performs Abhishek to the
idol of Ganapati becomes a master in the art of speech. The devotee who studies
this scripture on the Chaturthi by observing fast becomes a great and famous
scholar. This is the final opinion of the Atharvasirsha. The one who practices
this Brahma Vidya knows no fear, never.12
yo duurvaankurairyajati sa
vaishravanopamo bhavati ..
yo laajairyajati sa yashovaan bhavati ..
medhaavaan bhavati ..
yo modakasahasrena yajati
sa sarvam labhate
sa sarvam labhate .. 13..
He who worships with 'Dhuurva' flowers
becomes equal to the lord of wealth (Kubera), the worshipper who uses rice
flakes, becomes a man of fame and scholarship, if one worships by offering a
thousand coconuts and sugar mixed rice balls, obtains whatever is desired for
and one who performs Yagna with ghee and ‘samidha’ sticks attains everything,
ashhtau braahmanaan samyag graahayitvaa
suuryavarchasvii bhavati ..
suuryagrahe mahaanadyaam pratimaasannidhau
vaa japtvaa siddhamantro bhavati ..
mahaavighnaat pramuchyate ..
mahaadoshhaat pramuchyate ..
mahaapaapaat pramuchyate ..mahaapratyavaayaat
sa sarvavidbhavati sa sarvavidbhavati ..ya evam veda
ityupanishad .. 14..
By teaching this (atharva) to eight brahmins
properly, one becomes bright like the Sun. If the idol of Ganapati is worshipped
by chanting this mantra, at the time of the solar eclipse, by standing in a
great river like Ganga or Yamuna etc., one gets the full effect of the mantra
and becomes a Siddha in that field. He is released from great obstacles, great
defects/imperfections and great sins. He who knows this truth becomes the
all-knower; he becomes the all-knower. Know this as the end of the
.. shaanti mantra ..
sahanaavavatu .. sahanaubhunaktu ..
saha viiryam karavaavahai ..
tejasvinaavadhiitamastu maa vidvishhaavahai ..
aum shaantih . shaantih ..
Let us both (the teacher and the taught) be protected
together, let usenjoy together, let us endeavour together, let our study be
resplendent, let us not hate or quarrel with each other.
Om Peace Peace
Peace .. May there be peace all around (both outside and inside us).
Veda Vijnan Rishikulam