Symbols

Symbolism of the Trunk and Tusk

The trunk is a novel instrument. With its help, Ganesha removes the obstacles from the path of the aspirant. Its orientation towards the left, the right or centre is symbolic in connection with the three principle subtle energetic channels: Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi and, respectively, Sushumna Nadi. When it is raised to the sky, it signifies the ascension and stability of Kundalini at the level of Sahashrara. In the tantra tradition, the trunk and sensuous mouth of the elephant are connected to the masculine and feminine sexual organs.

The curved trunk also symbolizes the primordial cosmic sound of OM.The well grown trunk of His form represents a well develop intellect and wisdom. Ganesha’s tusk is a symbol of Unity.

Left Side Turned Trunk

In Lord Ganesha, generally trunk is towards his left side accessing a laddu (sweet ball). What does it symbolize? It represents moon and the cool power of ida nadi in our psychic body. This Ganesha helps us to access the fruit of our work in the material world and he also gives the fruits to us very easily with his trunk!

The Lord likes laddus and he gives material comforts (symbolized by laddus) to his devotees. The trunk of Lord Ganesha touches the laddus in the bowl indicates Lords readiness to give the boons using his trunk.

This pose of the left sided trunk in a bowl of laddus is unique form of varada (“boon giving”) gesture of Lord Ganesha. Recall our discussion at the beginning about the trunk of an elephant. Just like in an elephant, Lord Ganesha uses his trunk as a handy tool to either bless us or to give us the boons!

In other words, laddu indicates all material comforts. Since he enjoys the sweet, he will surely bestow them to you too. This why if we need to enjoy material prosperity and comforts, we need to worship and pray Lord Ganesha with left-sided trunk enjoying a sweet laddu! So, Lord Ganesha with left-sided trunk provides us bhoga (material enjoyment).

Right Side Turned Trunk

There is another pose of Lord Ganesha. It is with his trunk turned towards his right side holding a pot of nectar. What is the symbolism here? It represents Sun and the hot power of pingala nadi in our psychic body.The pot of nectar held by right-turned trunk is nothing but the bliss or the happiness obtained in samadhi state in traditional yoga. So, this Ganesha helps us achieve moksha (liberation).

According to Hinduism, the highest purpose of human life is to get liberation from infinite birth and death cycle. So, people who are interested in achieving the real goal of yoga i.e. moksha (or liberation) should pray Lord Ganesha with trunk turned to his right side.

Stories About Ganesha’s Tusk:

There are various anecdotes which explain how Ganesha broke off one of his tusks. Devotees sometimes say that his single tusk indicates his ability to overcome all forms of dualism. In India, an elephant with one tusk is sometimes called a “Ganesh”.

One story of how Ganesha broke his tusk is recounted in this excerpt from the Upodghata Pada of the Brahmanda Purana. Parashurama, the axe-wielding incarnation of Vishnu, had sucessfully defeated his enemy Kartavirya Arjuna and the kings allied with him, and so he wanted to thank Shiva for giving him the power to fight these enemies.

Parashurama went to Mount Kailash to pay his obeisances to Shiva, but Ganesha stopped him, saying his father was sleeping along with his mother, and he didn’t want Parashurama intruding on them in case they might be engaged in amorous pursuits. Parashurama was enraged that he was being prevented from seeing Shiva, and so he started fighting Ganesha. Ganesha was winning handily, but then Parashurama threw his axe at Ganesha and Ganesha didn’t fight back against it, because the axe was a gift from Shiva.

Perceiving that the axe had been given to him by his father, Ganesha became desirous of meaning it not to go in vain. Hence he received it with his left tooth (tusk). Chopped off by the axe, the tusk fell on the ground, covered with blood like a mountain that fell on the ground when struck by Indra’s thunderbolt.

Another story is as follows:

In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa (Vyāsa) asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterrupted, without pausing. The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha’s feather pen broke. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word.

Note:

There are other stories about Ganesha losing his tusk, most famously the story included in some manuscripts of the Mahabharata concerning Ganesha breaking his own tusk off to continue writing the Mahabharata as Vyasa was dictating it to him.

Sources:

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The Symbolic Representation of Ganesha

Ganesha is depicted small in stature, with a large, round abdomen, with four arms and the head of an elephant with a single tusk. In three of his hands he is holds an axe (ankush), a noose (sash) and sometimes a seashell. In some representations, with the fourth hand, he makes a gesture granting his divine favor, but more often he is holding a ladhu, a chickpea cookie. His eyes shine like two precious stones. He is riding or is accompanied by a rat, a former demon which he defeated and then accepted as his vehicle.

This representation may not be very attractive for the rational mind. His animal head and fat body attract children but for those who consider themselves to be adults, he seems ridiculous. It is a mistake however to deceive ourselves by his appearance, because Ganesha is the patron of refined beings who are not deceived by outer appearances. However those who cannot see the Divine in him and are distracted by his representation, become pray for the discursive mind, which represents the greatest obstacle on the spiritual path.

Accepting Ganesha as a Divine Force has the effect of controlling and calming the mind as well as in dissipating doubts. This is why he is considered to be the most suitable deity for removing obstacles. Believing in him generates a huge force, reversing the usual downward flow of energy, orientating it upwards and thus allowing the activation of the superior centers of force in our being. The divine Ganesha is unbreakable. He grants firmness to those who meditate upon him and invoke him at the beginning of all profane or spiritual actions.

In Mugdala Purana it is said: “Ganesha’s human body represents «tvam» (you), the elephant’s head is «tat» (Brahman) and together they signify the unity between these two aspects. Therefore Ganesha’s body is the visible representation of the highest reality, Brahman, expressed by «tat tvam asi» (you are That (Brahman or God)).”

Another explanation is that, generally, Ganesha’s head represents Atman, the Supreme Reality while his body, from the neck down, symbolizes maya, the principle of phenomenal existence. The involvement of Atman in the world is realized through mind and speech.

Article taken from Yoga Magazine magazine, issue no. 23

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Ganesha and Science

Tradition describes the entire universe as being contained in Lord Ganesha’s big belly. Thus we look upon Him as the overlord who holds sway over the material universe, the sum of cosmic mass. One of His potencies is gravity.

Gravity is a mysterious force to the scientist even today. It is the galactic glue that draws and holds larger mass together and gives order to the macrocosm. It is an instantaneous force, so that when one celestial body moves in a remote corner of a galaxy, all other masses through out the galaxy adjust simultaneously, even though it would take light, at its incredible speed, millions of years to travel the distance.

This implies that space and time are relative concepts and there is “something” that exists everywhere in the universe at once. Like gravity Lord Ganesha is totally predictable and known for orderliness. Without gravity, the known galactic systems could not exist; masses would stray apart; all organization of life as we know it would be impossible. Gravity is the basis of ordered existence in the macrocosm, and our loving Ganesha holds dominion over its mysteries.

Like gravity, Lord Ganesha is always with us, supporting and guiding our physical existence. He is a potent force in the universe, not a representation of potent universal forces. Corpulently built, Lord Ganesha is said to contain within Himself all matter, all mind. He is the very personification of material existence. We look upon this physical world as the body of Lord Ganesha.

In seeing and understanding the varied forces at work in the physical universe, we are seeing and understanding the powers and the being of Lord Ganesha. There is nothing that happens on this material plane of existence except that it is the will of God Shiva and minutely detailed by His beloved son Lord Ganesha. To Him we offer our reverent love and praise.

from Loving Ganesa
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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Lord Ganesha’s Tools

  • Shankha
    Conch

Ganesha listens to the puja conch’s loud sound, reminding Him of elephants’ trumpeting happily in the jungle. He summons, “Come one and all to Me and pray.”

  • Ankusha
    Goad

Loving Ganesha’s deliberate mind prods dullards on in their birth karmas whenever they tarry. with His ankusha He goads forward all souls that are moving too slowly.

  • Parashu
    Axe

Loving Ganesha knows there are difficult times ahead for some of His devotees. He protects them with His parashu in gentle ways from evils they have attracted.

  • Pasha
    Noose

Loving Ganesha’s provident mind, like the noose, draws close those He loves most dearly and reaches out to encircle and save strayed ones in extraordinary ways.

  • Vajratrishula
    Lightning Bolt

Loving Ganesha, like His brother Murugan, wields a sure weapon, the lightning bolt: spirit over mind, mind over matter, ruling both the higher and lower chakras.

  • Chakra
    Discus

Loving Ganesha holds the discus, symbol of the sun and of the mind, as the moon symbolizes the emotions. Employed as a weapon, it is the intellect divinely empowered.

  • Modakapatra
    Bowl of Sweets

Loving Ganesha is said to have a sweet tooth, or tusk. But the modaka ball is a symbol of what He loves most, moksha, liberation, the sweetest of all things sweet.

  • Gada
    Mace

Loving Ganesha is decisive and commanding, as symbolized by gada, His mace. He casts karmas back on devotees for resolution, never letting up until completion.

  • Chhuri
    Dagger

Loving Ganesha sometimes holds the dagger, keenly sharp, likened to the “razor’s edge,” the narrow and sometimes difficult path the spiritual aspirant must walk.

  • Rudraksha Mala
    Prayer Beads

Loving Ganesha sits at Lord Siva’s holy feet with japa mala, His prayer beads, in hand, waiting for instruction from the Supreme Lord of all the Gods, His father.

  • Pushpashara
    Flower Arrow

Loving Ganesha shoots flower-covered arrows from His sugar cane bow in guidance to devotees, so they will not wander too far from dharma’s path of true fulfillment.

  • Amritakumbha
    Pot of Nectar

Loving Ganesha receives a bath whenever a worshiper knocks his temples with arms crossed. The amrita flows from the sahasrara down to His seat at the muladhara’s base.

  • Padma
    Lotus

Ganesha wants devotees to learn confidence from the potential of the lotus flower: coming from the depths of the mud into the bud’s opening high above the water.

  • Ikshukarmuka
    Sugar Cane Bow

Loving Ganesha shows His generous nature of giving all that is good to devotees. His sugar cane bow shoots the kindest arrows, which are projections of His thought.

  • Shara
    Arrow

Loving Ganesha has power over thought, and each one hits its mark. Bow drawn, arrow aimed, He teaches us to precisely begin all undertakings with good intentions.

  • Vina
    Indian Lute

Loving Ganesha is sound in all its beauty and meaning. Siva is the ocean; Ganesha is its sound. Siva, the wind God; Ganesha its sound. Listen to the vina within and hear.

  • Asura
    Goblin

Loving Ganesha is not beyond frightening those who live in the chakra of fear by sending His ganas to lift them into a better life. Sometimes fear is a helpmate in need.

  • Danda
    Stick

Ganesha carries a short stick, a sign of authority, warning all not to impede the noble ways of dharma and restraining those who have as much as the thought to do so.

  • Chamara
    Fly-Whisk Fan

Loving Ganesha sits, as He always does, whisking away the past within the minds of devotees, young and old, rich and poor, educated and practical — because He is so wise.

  • Kamandalu
    Water Vessel

Loving Ganesha, dear to sannyasins, keeps their water vessel full. Symbol of fullness, meeting all needs, kamandalu eternally pours out, never needing to be filled.

  • Dhanush
    Bow

Loving Ganesha is discreet as He draws His bow and bends His thoughts into forms most helpful to His dear devotees. They all cherish all attentions with great ecstasy.

  • Naga
    Serpent

Loving Ganesha has a snake as His pet. Many are afraid of such creatures; but He tells us that it is the kundalini within all, and each one can rise above all adversity.

  • Shalipallava
    Rice Sprig

Loving Ganesha knows rice is the life-sustainer of villagers and city folk alike. Holding a sprig of paddy, He assures rains will come and all will be well at harvest time.

  • Mudgara
    Hammer

Loving Ganesha wields a mallet, badge of His office as Patron of Arts and Crafts, protector of all who build and shape, chisel and sculpt for the benefit of society.

  • Shastra
    Scripture

Loving Ganesha studiously edits all the scriptures on this planet and on others, too. His ever-ready, potent pen writes and edits life’s ordinances and comments on their meanings.

  • Kalpavriksha
    Wish-Fulfilling Tree

Loving Ganesha holds a sprig of the wish-fulfilling tree to tell us that all our wishes will be gratified. We have but to tell Him our needs, that is all, just tell Him.

  • Parashvadha
    Battleaxe

Loving Ganesha knows sometimes strong measures must be taken to fulfill a righteous goal, like crashing through a jungle. He uses a battleaxe as a mind force.

  • Mahaparashu
    Large Axe

Loving Ganesha often brandishes a big axe. This powerful weapon frightens off asuras and banishes malicious thoughts of those who intend harm to His devotees.

  • Trishula
    Trident

Loving Ganesha makes His way through the mind’s vast complexities with His abilities represented by trishula, His three-fold power: Love, Wisdom and Action.

  • Narikela
    Coconut

Loving Ganesha holds the coconut, symbol of the ego, soft and sweet inside, hard and rough outside. When we break a coconut to Him, we break the ego’s hold on us.

  • Dhvaja
    Flag

Loving Ganesha is the spirit of mirth. On festival days, the saffron Hindu dhvaja flies proudly over His temples, bringing crowds from near and far.

  • Bhagnadanta
    Broken Tusk

As the story goes, Ganesha broke off His right tusk in a sacrificial act to use it as a stylus while taking Vyasa’s dictation. Thus he teaches us that we must finish what we start.

  • Pashanadarana
    Pick Axe

Loving Ganesha is not naive by any means. He knows that trials await devotees, and that He must, in order to respond to prayers, pick, pick, pick away their mental dross.

  • Agni
    Fire

Loving Ganesha activates His fiery powers, capable of consuming our dross, of destroying our residual karmas, if we but consign our misdeeds to the purifying flames.

  • Khadga
    Sword

Loving Ganesha has a sword bejeweled with precious gems. It gives notice to those who respond only to fear of His enmity to crime and His abhorrence of hurting.

  • Phala
    Fruits

Loving Ganesha, dweller in the forest, enjoys all the Earth’s many life-sustaining fruits. He wants parents and children alike to stay healthy by eating lots of energy-giving fruits.

  • Mulaka
    Radish

Loving Ganesha, by His partiality for the simple radish, makes us grow food that is good for us. He knows devotees may grow more than they need just to please Him.

  • Khetaka
    Shield

Loving Ganesha holds the shield of divine security, symbol of His power to defend lands of the upright, to preserve traditions and to protect all souls on the spiritual path.

  • Amra
    Mango

Loving Ganesha says of the mango: “It was given to Me from Lord Siva’s own hand after performing My first wisdom act. It represents the highest spiritual fruition.”

  • Tritiyakshi
    Third Eye

Loving Ganesha, as do we all, has three eyes, not two, the third being the eye of the mind, of spiritual sight. With this eye He sees the reality behind the world’s seeming.

  • Ratnakumbha
    Pot of Gems

Loving Ganesha knows the magical power resident in gems. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds are like human souls, each with a different color, faceting, loveliness and value.

  • Garitra
    Grains

Loving Ganesha knows there are many kinds of people and they need variety in diet. He protects the cultivation of all kinds of grains that make their bodies strong.

  • Ikshukanda
    Sugar Cane

Loving Ganesha is fond of sugar cane, in fact, of anything sweet. Being the Lord all children adore, it is His joy to see their happy eyes light up when offering sugar cane.

  • Madhukumbha
    Pot of Honey

Loving Ganesha wears a wide smile across His face when offered a pot of sticky honey. It is, to Him, like moksha itself, the sweetest of all things sweet, worth any effort.

  • Kadaliphala
    Banana

Loving Ganesha has in His hand the banana, ripe and ready to eat. He looks at it longingly, yet would give it up in a moment should a devotee smell its fragrance.

  • Yogadanda
    Meditation Staff

Loving Ganesha rests His arm upon a short staff when talking to devotees and when in deep samadhi. He finds it helps Him meditate more effortlessly, more deeply.

  • Trina
    Grasses

Loving Ganesha knows that there are many kinds of animals, little and big. Each needs a special environment and foods, so He protects the grasses, little flowers and seeds.

  • Tila Gola
    Sesame Ball

Loving Ganesha teaches us that size may be immense but there is nothing too small to overlook. In His trunk is a sweet made of tiny sesame seeds, and He rides on a tiny mouse.

  • Shuka
    Parrot

Loving Ganesha delights when the parrot talks and shows he is happy. Perched in Ganesha’s hand, he greets all who come and go, giving his opinion when they are alone.

  • Ananasa
    Pineapple

Loving Ganesha holds the pineapple and is ready to slice it to share with those in His aura. Giving and sharing is our lesson from the sweet pineapple that He gives us.

  • Mushika
    Mouse

Ganesha’s companion, a mouse, attests to the all-pervasiveness of the elephant God. Mushika, the mount or vahana, carries Him into the mind’s every nook and cranny.

  • Lambodara
    Big Belly

Loving Ganesha has this world and all the billions of galaxies in His abundant belly. All known and unknown universes are contained within His prodigious girth.

  • Swastika
    Mark of Auspiciousness

Loving Ganesha’s good fortunes are represented by the swastika, a sign of luck and auspiciousness. Its crooked arms show how life is filled with change and indirection.

  • Jambira
    Lime

Loving Ganesha is a practical God, and it is His wish that all who know Him drink the juice from one of His favorite fruits. He wants them to be healthy and enjoy life.

  • Aum
    Cosmic Sound

Loving Ganesha is Aum. He is the A, the base sound of the universe; He is the U, the sound of the galaxies; and He is the M, the sound of the planets and the littlest stars.

  • Shunda
    Elephant Trunk

Loving Ganesha has a versatile trunk, and makes it known that it is a symbol of His capacity to always love His devotees. With it He reaches out to touch each of them.

  • Nilapadma
    Blue Water Lily

Loving Ganesha often sits by a lily pond, pondering the current state of the universe. His province is to see that all is in order until the next Great Dissolution, mahapralaya.

  • Panasa Phala
    Jackfruit

Loving Ganesha’s favorite, jackfruit, is a potato-like vegetable, a chewy nut and sweet yellow fruit all in one. Like the jack’s stem, our attachments, though small, are strong.

  • Prabhavali
    Fiery Arch

Loving Ganesha sits within an arch depicting creation, preservation and fiery dissolution. Above is the God of time, Mahakala, who ultimately claims everything.

  • Dadima
    Pomegranate

Loving Ganesha knows we may be led astray by ways of worldly people who eat meat. He offers us red dadimas, as if saying: “Its many pink seeds are so much better than flesh.”

  • Nagapasha
    Snake Cord

Loving Ganesha wears a snake around Him to tell us all that we have to be like Him and control our instinctive, animal mind. Yes, it is possible through the grace of this God.

  • Kapittha
    Wood Apple

Loving Ganesha loves wood apples, kapittha, called the elephant fruit. Sweet to eat, packaged in a tough shell, it is a pharmacy of ayurveda’s secret medicinal potencies.

  • Laddu
    Milk Sweet

Loving Ganesha was never accused of turning down a laddu, rich with milk, flour and sugar. Maybe it reminds Him of being young. Every young one loves sweets.

  • Kavacha
    Armor

Loving Ganesha’s sculpted form in temples and shrines worldwide is encased on festival days in silver and gold facsimiles. He likes splendor, pomp and adulation.

  • Shashikala
    Crescent Moon

Loving Ganesha, like His father, Siva, wears the crescent moon on His great head. It is a symbol of time’s passing, of auspicious moments and of the powers of the mind.

  • Gam
    Mantra

Loving Ganesha is invoked by devotees through this mystery mantra. Upon hearing it, He immediately responds. Easy of access, He never delays in solving our problems.

  • Yajnopavita
    Sacred Thread

Loving Ganesha wears across a massive shoulder the holy cord to remind us that we, too, can be twice born through His grace, that none is low and none is high.

  • Jambu
    Rose Apple

Loving Ganesha loves the rose apple among many other wonderful fruits and vegetables. He shows us the path to good health, harmlessness to creatures and love.

  • Payasa
    Pudding

Loving Ganesha is seen from time to time enjoying sweet tapioca pudding, likened to the love and kindness that comes from caring for others as one’s very own self.

  • Sakti
    Consort

Loving Ganesha is often seen with two female consorts, or shaktis. They represent ida and pingala, the two life currents, emotion and intellect, that hold us close to Earth.

  • Muladhara Chakra
    Base Center

Loving Ganesha, sitting on the four petaled muladhara, rules memory and knowledge as the gatekeeper to the six chakras above and the guard of the seven below.

  • Vriksha
    Trees

Loving Ganesha is the giver of gifts from healing trees, the practitioner of ayurveda, the great doctor who helps us gain the knowledge of health from medicinal plants.

From Loving Ganesa
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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Yantra of Ganesha

Meditating and focusing upon Ganesha’s yantra grants a state of inner balance.

Its background is vivid green. Green is a blend between warm yellow and cold blue; therefore it is color of balance. Focusing upon it generates its complementary color, red. Red is a color that can be easily noticed from a distance, being the symbol of life and inspiration, of revolutions and of the release from rules and restrictions.

The eight petal lotus stands for the eight aspects of Prakriti (the primordial nature):

  • 1. Ether
  • 2. Air
  • 3. Fire
  • 4. Water
  • 5. Earth
  • 6. Sattva
  • 7. Rajas
  • 8. Tamas

The six pointed star that is the color of saffron symbolizes the balance between the masculine and feminine energy generated by the overlapping between the masculine triangle with the apex pointed upwards and the feminine triangle with the apex pointed downwards.

The yellow triangle pointed upwards, where the 6 pointed star is depicted, stands for the masculine sap (the vital essence), the elixir of immortality. The color of this triangle is the same as Ganesha’s skin.

Bindu, the point located in the middle of the central triangle represents Ganesha himself. Meditation upon this bindu is the main goal for which the yantra is worshiped. Its color is golden yellow, a color that is appealing and relaxing at the same time.

Article taken from Yoga Magazine magazine, issue no. 23

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The Significance of Ganesha

The Divine Mother assumes infinite names and forms, each of which expresses a different facet of Her being. The deity Ganesha, Her first-born son, is a case in point. Ganesh is a compound of the Sanskrit words gana and isha. Gana means “individual beings, independent units, segments of light, discrete bodies of Divinity, unique forces, emanations of Divine Light, attendants of the main deity.” Isha. means “one who is capable of doing what he wishes, capable of refraining from what he does not wish to do, and capable of undoing that which has already been done” – in short, the Almighty Lord.

Ganesha dwells eternally in the womb of the Divine Mother. He is the “firstborn one,” emerging from Her before any of the functioning forces of the universe emerge. In their manifest form all these forces center around this primordial force – Ganesha is the locus for all that exists. He establishes law and brings order out of chaos, causing the universal forces to function coherently.

The first step in bringing order out of chaos is the emergence of the law of gravity, and Ganesha is the presiding deity of that law. At his behest the force of gravity captures all the matter and energy emitted by the primordial Divine Force and gives direction to its outward movement. Ganesha himself is the center of all gravitational energy, and as such he supervises all activities, from the microcosm to the macrocosm-everything in the universe is held by the invisible strings of gravity, while gravity itself is held by Ganesha. The forces of creation, maintenance, and destruction are held in harmonious balance by his will, and that is why this firstborn child of the Divine Mother is called “Ganesha,” the lord of all entities and functioning forces of the universe.

According to the chakra scheme of kundalini yoga, Ganesha resides in the first chakra, the muladhara. Mula means “original, main”; adhara means “base, foundation.” From the standpoint of manifestation, or outward expansion of the primordial Divine Force, the muladhara chakra is the principle on which everything rests. In his visual form at the muladhara center, Ganesha is described as an enormous man with the head of an elephant. He is heavy and strong, capable of crushing obstacles into dust. Seated at the base of the spine he holds, supports, and guides all other chakras, thus governing the forces that propel the wheel of life.

To understand the symbolic meaning of Ganesha’s personality we have to examine his personified form. Half human and half elephant, he represents human intelligence wedded to the strength of an elephant. The parts of his body are disproportionate: he has big ears, small eyes, a long trunk,a massive belly, and small feet. He is paradox embodied: although he is enormous, his vehicle is a mouse; he consumes huge quantities of food, yet he is an ascetic; he is fat and his legs are short, yet he is master of the dance.

His boundless intelligence is symbolized by his big head.The epithet given to him in both Vedic and tantric scriptures is Brahmanaspati, “lord of knowledge and intelligence” or “lord of pervasiveness.” The scriptures also refer to him as Jyeshtha Raja, “the eldest son,” even though he was never born.

Ganesha’s massive belly symbolizes his capacity to consume and contain the universe that evolves from the Divine Mother. As the lord of gravitational energy he has the capacity to pull anything toward himself and process it as he wishes. He also sets the wheel of karma in motion. That is why the scriptures describe him as Karma Adhyaksha, “the one who presides over karmic law.”

Ganesha is immortal. In him lies the seed of omniscience,and the most subtle mysteries of the universe are known to him, including the mysteries related to our mind, karma, and the cycle of birth and death. The rays of light emanating from him enable us to comprehend our deeply rooted karmic impressions and discover how to attain freedom from the binding forces of our mind. Only then are the obstacles emerging from its unlit corners fully destroyed. Hence he is called Vighnesha, “the lord who removes obstacles.”

Like fire,Ganesha consumes anything in his path with his enormous appetite. He is pleased with any offering we make to him with love – he gladly accepts our problems and concerns and swallows them, granting us freedom once and for all. No force other than Ganesha is capable of consuming our ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and fear of death.That is also why he is called Vighnesha, “the lord who removes obstacles.”

His big ears symbolize his limitless capacity for hearing.He hears our prayers regardless of how we recite them – he does not care whether or not we sing hymns in his praise, he considers our heartbeat and brainwaves to be forms of prayer.Any irregularity, whatever the cause, catches his attention.Being Ganesha, the head of the family, he rushes to our rescue.For these reasons, too, he is known as Vighnesha, “the lord who removes obstacles.”

The fluid that sometimes flows from the temporal gland of male elephants flows constantly from Ganesha, and drawn by its sweet aroma insects drink the nectar. Intoxicated, they buzz around his ears, which he flaps gently in order to ward them off. This tells us metaphorically that Ganesha’s head, the treasure-house of wisdom, is so filled with the sweetness of love and compassion that it flows from him effortlessly and incessantly and is granted even to those who come to him with a noisy mind.

Set in his enormous head, Ganesha’s eyes are small because he has little use for them. However his third eye, the eye of intuition, is wide open, and he sees past, present, and future simultaneously. Seated as he is deep within every living and non-living entity, he sees everything. That is why he is called Adi Rishi, “the primordial seer.” He is the eternal source of knowledge – revelation flows through him. The scriptures refer to him as Parama Guru, “the master of all previous masters.”

The scriptures identify Ganesha with the sacred sound Om, and the shape of his trunk resembles the word written in Sanskrit. Because Om is the source of all mantras, repeating any mantra is tantamount to meditating on Ganesha.All sounds, words, and mantras in their dormant form rest in the muladhara chakra, where Ganesha resides.

The most subtle, vibrationless state of sound in the muladhara chakra is called “para.” At the behest of Ganesha,who presides over gravitational energy, a stirring arises in the muladhara chakra that can be detected only intuitively. This vibrationless vibration can be felt when it reaches the navel center; when it reaches the heart center, it assimilates the power of thinking; and it becomes audible when it reaches the throat center. Ganesha oversees this entire process. Without his assistance and guidance we can neither gain access to the muladhara center nor receive the ensuing revelation.That is why Ganesha is said to be the gatekeeper at the palace of the Divine Mother.

Though Ganesha’s feet are quite small, he outruns all the forces of the universe – because he pervades everything, he is already everywhere. Without moving, the lord of gravitational energy makes everything move. With his enormous body and tiny feet Ganesha dances to the song of the Divine Mother, and exhilarated by his movements, She joins in.Then, as mother and son perform their cosmic dance, all the arts and sciences spring forth. Unable to contain the divine ecstasy, the sages emerge from their absorption in Ganesha and assume their roles as our guides.

This cosmic dance symbolizes the process of kundalini awakening. The forces of darkness can cast their spell of slumber on us only as long as we are outside the pale of this dance. Thus Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is the one who awakens the divine force in the form of kundalini shakti. He blesses us with shaktipata (the bestowing of divine energy). It is he who sends a sat guru (a true master) into our lives, and through his grace the forces of love, compassion, self-motivation, self-confidence, and determination unfold. Thus the scriptures assert that the door to the Divine Mother’s palace opens when Ganesha is pleased.

There are hundreds of ways to propitiate Ganesha and meditate on him. The tantric method, in conjunction with yantra sadhana, is precise and methodical. Those whose prolonged practice has gained them access to the muladhara center meditate on Ganesha by practicing the tantric method of kundalini yoga. To them, the human body is a yantra. Others draw the yantra of Ganesha on a gold, silver,or copper plate, on a silk cloth, on a wooden board, or on a piece of birch bark, and meditate on that.

From: Warrior of Light (India)

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Victory to Ganesha, who when dancing makes a shower of stars fall like a rain of flowers from the sky by the movement of his trunk.  ~Somadeva

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