Ganesha is one of the most important deities in Hinduism. His likeness is all over the east, and many countries — not just India — have adopted his appearance and incorporated his motifs into their culture. After all, the symbolism of Ganesha is very deep. One could even say the entire point of Ganesha is to inspire others to their highest! But even though people have decorated their homes with statues of this elephant-god, many don’t understand some of the basic rules that come with it.
Don’t forget these 10 rules when placing your Ganesha at home or work.
- Remember his Symbolism
There’s a reason why Ganesha is worshiped before undertaking new endeavors. The god of joy, happiness, and success, Ganesha has been blessing his devotees with prosperity and fortune since time immemorial. He’s thought to be the remover of obstacles, as he himself overcame lots of troubles.
- Where to Place Your Ganesha Statue
Most people are not aware there are specific places to put Ganesha to reinforce the vibration of success and happiness. According to Vastu (the science of architecture in Ayurveda), the best placement of idols is the northeast corner of the house. This is also the best location to set up the pooja room (meditation spot), as it is known as the Ishan corner.
- The White Ganesha
People seeking happiness, peace, and prosperity should bring White Ganesha home as this particular color represents purity of intention and spirituality.
- Vermillion Ganesha
Those who desire self-growth should bring a vermilion color Ganapathi statue to their home. Vermilion represents the spiritual ascendancy of mankind, and the gradual opening of the thousand-petaled lotus flower at the top of the head.
- Sitting Ganesha for the Home
The idol of sitting Ganesha is best for the house. He represents a calm, but determined demeanor- the exact kind of energy you want at home!
- The Position of the Trunk
The idol of sitting Ganesha with his trunk tilted towards his left hand should be placed in a house. It represents happiness and success. Ganesha with his trunk tilted towards his right hand is difficult to please because it represents the power of the sun which can “burn” if strict rituals are not adhered to. Better make sure your Ganesha is fat and happy!
- Standing Ganesha at Work
If you want to place Ganesha’s idol at your workplace, remember to place an idol of standing Ganesha. This brings energy and enthusiasm to work.
- The Small Details
Whenever you are placing the idol of Ganesha, remember that a mouse and modak (Indian sweet) should be a part of the statue. This is auspicious and integral to his purpose! The mouse represents material desire, which can be ridden to their completion but should never disturb inner peace. Sweets represent not getting distracted by pleasure- hence, they’re left untouched.
- One is Enough
On your altar, always keep only one idol of Lord Ganesha. Keeping two or more Ganesha idols counteracts their energy. You only need one to be effective!
- Remember the Purpose
More important than all these rules, remember the deep meaning behind Ganesha every time you see his image! He’s meant to show us the pathway to happiness, inner peace, and success in life. He’s a symbol of perseverance in the face adversity. He is like the human spirit, in the form of an idol.
Source: Sivana East
As per Kundalini Yoga Sutra, the human body receives its subtle cosmic energies from seven chakras that are ruled by different gods. The Muladhara is considered the “root” or “foundation” Chakra indicating “support” is one of the seven main chakras, located near the base end of the spinal column, primarily associated with the action of excretion. Muladhara Chakra is associated with survival and safety and teaches us the life lesson of standing up for ourselves.
An individual with a healthy Muladhara Chakra can be spotted out for a strong sense of security and practicality with a healthy physique. On the other hand, if this first Chakra is blocked, a person may lose the sense of belonging, have a weak physical structure, problematic bones, weight issues, and a fearful outlook towards life in general.
Lord Ganesha rules Muladhara Chakra, the root Chakra sssociated with family, stability and wealth. Mula means “main, root or original” and adhara means “base”, meaning that Lord Ganesha is the root cause of our familial happiness and domestic peace that are absent without his blessings.
Also in Ganapati Atharvashirsa it is given that “lord Ganesha continually dwells in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine, Muladhara Chakra. He resides permanently in every living being at the Muladhara. He guides all other chakras, thereby leading the forces that propel the wheel of life.”
Therefore, Lord Ganesha is the primal force that supports the foundation of every aspect of your life. He removes all the obstacles in all your undertakings. One should meditate on him every day in the morning. One can also use Ganesha Yantras or Rudraksha beads ruled by Lord Ganesha to strengthen your Root Chakra.
Source: The Rudra Centre
Creating a home shrine is not difficult. The altar should be close to the floor if you plan to use it for puja and/or meditation. However when there are small children in the home it is often best to have it higher and out of reach.
For a Ganesha shrine, an image, or murti, of Lord Ganesha is placed at the center of the altar. A metal or stone image is best, but if not available there are two traditional alternatives:
- A framed picture, preferably with a sheet of copper on the back.
- A kumbha, which is a symbol of Ganesha made by placing a coconut on a brass pot of water with five mango leaves inserted between the coconut and the pot. The coconut should be husked but still have the fibers on the top.
Bathing the God’s image (murti) is a part of a puja and other ceremonies. For this, special arrangements may need to be made. Most simply, the murti may be placed in a deep tray to catch the water. After the bath, the tray is removed and the murti dried off, and then dressed and decorated.
Various items for the altar can include:
- Water cups and a small spoon for offering water
- A brass vessel of unbroken, uncooked rice mixed with enough turmeric to turn the rice yellow
- A tray or basket of freshly picked flowers (without stems) or loose flower petals
- A lamp
- Small metal bell
- Incense burner and a few sticks of incense
- Fresh fruit
Borrowed from The Prosperity Project
Prayers of supplication are requests, pleadings, or entreaties presented to the Deity in the spirit of personal surrender and loving devotion. Something specific is being asked for, a specific problem is being laid at the Lord’s Holy Feet.
Such supplications to the one-tusked Lord are given unconditionally, with full trust that He will do what is best for us, though not necessarily what we might think is best. We do not demand of the Lord; for He, like a parent, provides not as we desire, but as we truly need. Prayers of supplication may come forth in the natural language of our hearts.
Leaving a problem at His holy feet means we let it be there and do not carry it home with us. Nor do we worry or wonder about how it will be handled, when it will be taken care of, or if it will be taken care of at all. In full unquenchable faith we leave the matter there, at the feet of the God, and walk away from the temple or the shrine, feeling that release has started and solution will be forthcoming. We must have this kind of faith for religion to work within us.
To carry home with us the same problems, fears, and worries would be to take back the offering we have given the Deity to dissolve. This is like the rich and famous who buy with gifts and do not give at all, slyly expecting more than something in exchange, gaining papa rather than punya and not knowing the difference. The course of events later show how He works for our ultimate spiritual welfare.
from Loving Ganesa
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
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
Ganesha is India’s cutest god. He has the head of an elephant on which is perched a dainty tiara, four pudgy hands joined to a sizeable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object. One has a trishul, or a trident, the second, an ankush, or goad made from his very own broken tooth, the third hand elegantly holds a lotus and the fourth a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modaks – his favourite sweet). His appetite for sweets is legendary and offerings of them are often left at his shrine.
Ganesha is famous not only for being a trickster and for his sense of humour, but equally for his wisdom. He is the son of Shiva (Destroyer in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort).
The chubby, gentle, wise, elephant-headed Ganesh, or Ganesha, is one of Hinduisms most popular deities. He is the remover of obstacles, the deity whom worshipers first acknowledge when they visit a temple. He is also patron of letters and of learning; he is the legendary scribe who, using his broken tusk, which he often holds, wrote down parts of the Mahabharata epic.
From Loving Ganesa
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
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)
Elephant-headed Ganesha may be the most beloved deity of the modern Hindu pantheon; venerated by millions. He is invoked by Buddhists, Jains, and Neo-Pagans, too. He is benevolent and generous to all.
- Titles: Lord of New Beginnings; Lord of Obstacles; He Who Bestows Blessings
- Also known as: Ganapati
- Origin: India
- Color: White, Red, Pink
- Element: Water
- Numbers: 1, 3, 5
- Animals: Mouse, Snake
- Mount: Mouse
Lord of Beginnings, Ganesha’s blessings are sought before initiating any new enterprise. Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles, removing but also creating them, sometimes from anger but sometimes just to attract further veneration. The flip-side of Ganesha is that he must be propitiated before new ventures lest he place obstacles in your path.
Ganesha bestows success, victory, prosperity, material comfort, romance, love, better six, and supernatural powers and skills to his devotees. He can block all these things, too, although he is unlikely to do so unless insulted and angered.
Ganesha is a generous, sympathetic spirit, quick to bestow favors. He is a trickster, but on behalf of his devotees and those he loves. Ganesha has a fast, volatile temper, but he calms down quickly too, and can be soothed and appeased. Just remember the old saying: “An elephant never forgets!”
- Ganesha is the first deity worshiped during Hindu rituals.
- His is the first image at the head of all processions.
- He is an indispensable component of all Hindu ceremonies except funeral rites.
In The Beginning
Historical evidence indicates that Ganesha was known as early as 1200 BCE, however surviving depictions are rare before the fourth century CE. He was incorporated into the Hindu pantheon comparatively late, in approximately the 5th century.
Ganesha is believed to have begun his incarnation as a pre-Aryan elephant spirit venerated by jungle tribes. In addition to this other gifts, he was invoked for protection from elephant herds.
He was absorbed into the Hindu pantheon as the son of Shiva and Parvati. Various myths explain why Ganesha has an elephant head. In one, Parvati creates her son from the scrapings of her own skin. Ganesha was born while Shiva was away long-term practicing austerities.
Ganesha is extremely close to his mother. When she asked him to guard her privacy in the bath, he took up his position at the door. This was the moment Shiva returned. Father and son didn’t know each other. Shiva wished to see Parviti; Ganesha refused to let him pass. Shiva beheaded him. Parvati came to see the source of the commotion and was distraught. Now comprehending the situation, Shiva revived Ganesha but was forced to find a new head. The first to be had was an elephant’s.
Ganesha is lord of entrances, thresholds, and crossroads. Let him guard your door. It’s traditional to place his image above main entrance thresholds so that he is always encountered when entering.
Ganesha is happy to be venerated alongside other deities; however, never forget that he is the Lord of Beginnings. If you feed him, feed him first before any other spirits. There may be conflict if you venerate him alongside other spirits who also expect to be first served, for instance, Elegba.
- Ganesha heals physical, spiritual, and emotional ills.
- Ganesha has the power to liberate from the karma of past lives.
- He is invoked for children by the childless.
Petition him at a home altar or in a temple. Ganesha is the subject of a fertility ritual conducted at his temple in Madurai, India; allegedly if you bathe his image and circumambulate around it for forty-eight consecutive mornings, he will grant your wish for children.
Ganesha is a popular tantric deity, too. His trunk and single tusk are phallic symbols. Early Hindu texts suggest disapproval of Ganesha who was then associated with “orgiastic rituals.” He remains associated with Tantra among Buddhists. Ganesha communicates with devotees in dreams.
Ganesha will allegedly favor anyone who approaches him with a pure heart. He is the special patron of musicians who play the tabla and/or mridangam (percussion instruments), as well as authors, poets, and writers. In Thailand, Ganesha is considered patron of elephant trainers.
Ganesha has an elephant’s head on a man’s pot-bellied body. He has one broken tusk. His skin usually has a rosy hue. His big ears signify his capacity to listen and hear. His forehead is marked with vermilion, indicating his tendency to involve himself in issues associated with women and his generosity toward female devotees.
There are countless images of Ganesha sitting, standing, dancing, or riding his mouse. Once you know what he looks like, he’s very recognizable.
Ganesha’s home is a celestial realm called the Abode of Bliss (Svaanda Dhama). He lives in a marvelous palace surrounded by a forest of wish-fulfilling trees and an ocean of sugarcane juice.
Ganesha is easy to please, but he cannot be fooled. He will accept the most modest offerings but only if given with sincere intent and devotion. His favorite offering is said to be modaka, a type of sweet rice or wheat cake. Here’s a recipe: Recipe For Modaka. Allegedly the more modaka you give him, the more inclined his is to work on your behalf. Ganesha also accepts peanuts; fruits, especially bananas; sweets, candy, and sugarcane.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Spirits ~ Borrowed from The Powers That Be
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