Why is Ganesh idol made of clay only scientific?

Content
1. Making an idol from china clay or mud
1.1 Spiritual experiences of idol makers when making idols of mud or clay
2. Sculpting an idol is superior to using a mould
3. Idols should not be huge
4. Form of the idol should be according to the science behind the idol
4.1 Idols of Lord Ganesh should not have weird forms and attires
4.2 Losses incurred when the Ganesh idol is worshipped in a form other than that is to be worshipped.
4.3 Idol should be a seated one, not standing
4.4 Idol makers should refuse to make idols not in consonance with science
5. Colour of the idol
6. Necessity of observing religious restrictions when making an idol
7. Making idols considering it to be a holy mission
8. The idol should have a religious background
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Ganesh idol made of clay

Anything which is in consonance with the scriptures proves to be ideal and beneficial. According to this rule, if the idol of Lord Ganesh is sculpted as per the science behind the idol then the pure spiritual particles of Lord Ganesh get attracted towards the idol to a greater extent and those worshipping it are benefited. Unfortunately today, idols are worshipped in various forms and shapes based on one’s liking and imagination without taking into account the science behind the idol. During the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, the Ganesh idol is worshipped on a large scale both, individually and in a collective manner. The non-conformity of the idols is conspicuous at this time. It is for this reason that it is discussed in depth as to how the Ganesh idol should be sculpted for Ganesh Chaturthi, the benefits of doing so and the loss if not made in that manner.

1. Making an idol from china clay or mud

Ganesh idol made of Plaster

One should prepare the Ganesh idol from china clay or mud. Nowadays, idols are made from plaster of Paris so that they become light weight and more attractive. There is a difference between idols made from mud and plaster of Paris. There are references in the Purans (mythological texts) that Ganapati was created from grime. Hence it is appropriate to use a Ganesh idol made of mud for ritualistic worship. The pure spiritual particles (pavitraks) of Ganapati get attracted to a greater extent towards an idol made of mud than to that made of plaster of Paris. The following points shall illustrate how it is improper as well as harmful to make idols from plaster of Paris or from substances other than china clay.

Plaster of Paris does not dissolve easily in water and hence the idol floats on water after immersion. Sometimes in cities, the remains of idols which have not dissolved in water for a long period are collected and a bulldozer is run over them to convert them into mud. This amounts to extreme denigration of the deity. The deity should be offered the same reverence when immersing it as when it is invoked. Since the idol is not immersed properly, in a way it amounts to dishonouring the deity. It is beneficial if a hole is kept at a specific point on the rear side of the plaster of Paris idol so that during immersion it gets properly immersed in water within minimal time and dissolves completely.

Mixing of the plaster of Paris in water pollutes the river, sea, lake, etc. and can have an adverse effect on the health of living beings.

Nowadays a wrong trend has set in whereby idols are even made from coconuts, bananas, betulnut, silver, coins, etc. Some of these objects do not dissolve in water after immersion of the idol. The remains of such idols are used for other purposes or as toys by children.

1.1 Spiritual experiences of idol makers when making idols of mud or clay

Many idol makers get the spiritual experience of the God principle when making idols of mud rather than of plaster of Paris. The spiritual experience of an idol maker is given here as an example.

‘I made idols of plaster of Paris as well as clay for the Ganesh festival. I experienced immense Bliss (Anand) when making idols of mud. So also my repetition (chanting) of the Name of my family deity (kuladevata) was occurring continuously. I did not experience this when making plaster of Paris idols.’ – Mr. Lakshman Ahoman Chavhan, P.O. Dhule, Maharashtra

2. Sculpting an idol is superior to using a mould

Nowadays, idol making houses have taken the form of a vocation to earn money rather than considering it to be a holy mission or art. The Ganesh idols are made using a mould so that they can be made available for sale faster, merely keeping a commercial angle. However as far as possible, a readymade mould should not be used. The reasons for this are as follows. When making the idol manually, idol makers get an excellent opportunity to exhibit their artistic skill and consequently they obtain satisfaction. Besides, sculpting the idol generates more spiritual emotion (bhav) in the sculptor and such an idol is more sattvik (sattva predominant). From a sculptor’s viewpoint, the amount of spiritual emotion generated when sculpting the idol is more important than making the idol artistic and attractive. Hence as far as possible idol makers should make idols manually. Sanatan’s perspective too is ‘Art for God realisation and not merely art for the sake of art or as business’.

3. Idols should not be huge

28 Feet Ganesh Idol

Since 1980, there has been a considerable increase in the number of huge idols used in the Ganesh festival celebrations. Prior to that, the idols were made upto a maximum height of 5 feet. Nowadays idols of 11, 21, 51 feet height are made. The possible losses which can be incurred due to huge idols are given below.

A. According to the scriptures, the height of the Ganesh idol should be limited. The idol should have a maximum height of 1.5 metres because an idol larger than that makes it difficult to perform ritualistic worship. The custom of keeping a small idol for ritualistic worship and a huge idol for exhibition is absolutely incorrect. Idols of deities cannot be objects of exhibition.

B. As sufficient clay is not available to make huge idols, sometimes the idols are made from dry leaves and grass with a coating of clay over it. How much divinity will be present in such an idol ?

C. When making huge idols, iron rods, bamboos, etc. are required to be inserted within them for support. It is improper to use such objects in the idols. Besides, if these idols surface above the water source after immersion, some people even break them and sell the iron rods and wooden plates found within.

D. It is very cumbersome and expensive to transport huge idols. Traffic congestion during transportation of these idols is a common phenomenon. There is also the risk of touching electric cables when transporting idols which are 51 feet high. At times, people even get injured while loading and downloading the huge idols from trucks.

E. Since transportation of huge idols is very slow, their arrival at the site of immersion is delayed. By then if there is high tide, one cannot go deep into the sea. By rule, the huge Ganesh idols should be taken into the sea for immersion before high tide, where the water is 10 to 15 feet deep. In reality however, the huge idols are immersed in water which is merely 6 to 7 feet deep. During immersion, the idols on trolleys are thrown into the water by fastening a rope around the neck of the idol. Thus the idol cracks and breaks down into several pieces. So also, sometimes the volunteers of the festival committees are so exhausted by singing and dancing in the procession that they are not prepared to immerse the idol in deep water. They partially immerse the idol in water, place it horizontally and leave.

F. The other idols and scenes kept along with the Ganesh idol should not be huge in size. When offering obeisance, one should touch the feet of the deity by which one can derive greater benefit of the energy emitted by the deity. This is not possible in the case of huge idols. It would be worth knowing the experience of a devotee of Lord Ganesh who insisted on having a huge idol. At Colval in Goa, a devotee obstinately made an idol which was the biggest in the entire village. He had to break the door of his house to take the idol inside and till today that door cannot be fitted properly ! The government itself should enact a law to check the production of huge idols. If those making huge idols and Ganesh festival committees are fined heavily then it will curb this practice.

4. Form of the idol should be according to the science behind the idol

The form of the idol should be such that devotion (bhakti) and spiritual emotion (bhav) towards the deity should be awakened instantly on seeing it. The Ganesh idol should be made according to the science behind the idol. The trunk of the idol should be curved towards the left. Importance of the idol with a left-sided trunk is elucidated in other article.

4.1 Idols of Lord Ganesh should not have weird forms and attires

Nowadays, the custom of making idols of Lord Ganesh in varied forms and attires has become prevalent, e.g. Lord Ganesh attired in a loin cloth, resembling Lord Krushna adorning a peacock feather on the head, resembling Lord Dattatraya, attired as a child, etc. are seen. During the period of the freedom struggle, Ganesh idols would be made in the form of Gandhiji or Nehru on public demand. Similarly, idols resembling King Shivaji Maharaj or a saint are made today also. Idols of Ganapati playing cricket or football, riding a motorcycle, etc. are also made. A Ganesh festival committee in Kalyan near Mumbai had made a Ganesh idol from medical equipment, a syringe to depict the trunk, kidney trays were used for the ears, a bottle for the crown, gloves for the hands and capsules for eyes. An unnecessary and futile effort merely to combine imagination and modern lifestyle is seen when making such idols. This is totally erroneous because Lord Ganapati cannot be compared to a leader, soldier, sportsman, etc. The Ganesh idol is humanised to gain cheap popularity and publicity. There is a difference between saints and deities; hence idols should not be made in the form of saints too. In 1950, the Maharashtra government had imposed a ban on the variation in attires of Ganesh idols and their humanisation. However in the course of time, these rules were relaxed. Idols in varied forms and attires adversely affect the faith (shraddha) and spiritual emotion (bhav) harboured by people towards the deity. So also, depicting the deity in such weird forms amounts to disrespect for the deity. According to the science of Spirituality, each deity is a specific principle. According to the doctrine that the word, touch, form, taste, fragrance and the energy associated with them coexist, only if the idol is made in accordance with the science behind the idol, is the principle of the respective deity drawn towards it. If this doctrine is not followed when making the idol then that principle is not imbibed in that idol. Consequently, the devotee does not benefit from that idol from the view point of Spirituality.

4.2 Losses incurred when the Ganesh idol is worshipped in a different form rather than that which is usually worshipped

Some such examples are given below.

Once a devotee of Lord Ganesh installed an idol of Lord Ganesh slaying demon Sindurasur, in his house. Since that day, the atmosphere in his home was ruined.

Once a person gave a picture of Lord Ganapati seated on a snail to Mr. Gajanan Salgaonkar, an idol maker from Bardez in Goa to have a similar idol made. Paying no heed to the refusal by the idol maker, he got such an idol made from him merely out of obstinancy. Later that individual incurred tremendous loss.

Some years ago, a member of a Ganesh festival committee from Miraj bought a new Bullet motorcycle. During Ganesh Chaturthi, he installed a Ganesh idol on his motor cycle depicting, ‘Ganapati riding a Bullet’. Within a few days of the immersion of the idol, that individual had a fall from that very motorcycle and sustained injuries.

An individual insisted on having an idol of Ganapati riding a tiger and got it made. Thereafter, within a year all his cattle were killed by a tiger.

4.3. Idol should be a seated one, not standing

If a guest pays a visit, we offer him a seat and not keep him standing. During Ganesh Chaturthi, we invoke Lord Ganapati, that is invite Him. One should offer Him a seat and proper hospitality. Harbouring the spiritual emotion (bhav) that Lord Ganapati has actually come to visit us. Besides due to the entire weight of the idol resting on the feet, the idol may even break if it is kept in the standing position for ten consecutive days. Hence one should make an idol which is seated on a wooden seat (pat).

4.4 Idol makers should refuse to make idols not in consonance with science

Refusal by the idol makers to make idols which are not in consonance with the science behind the idol shows their committment to Righteousness (Dharma) and their dutifulness. If idol makers emphatically refuse to make such idols, such idols will not be made at all. It is now necessary that idol makers themselves take the initiative to eliminate the ignorance of the society and the Ganesh festival committees about the science behind the idol. They should not worry about losing customers and starvation because if we make a sacrifice for the sake of Righteousness then God will certainly take care of us. Sanatan launches a widespread campaign so that the idol makers understand the science behind the idol and make idols in accordance with it. Once this awareness is created in idol makers, it will not be long before people too realise it.

5. Colour of the idol

An idol made with natural colour looks more appealing and imparts more Bliss (Anand) than one made with artificial red colour.

6. Necessity of observing religious restrictions when making an idol

According to the scriptures, prior to the commencement of making Ganesh idols, it is necessary to perform religious rituals such as ritualistic worship (puja), etc. It is vital that the idol maker observes all the religious restrictions in the idol making house when making the idol. The idol maker should observe restrictions such as abstaining from eating meat, not wearing foot wear, not allowing women having menses in the room where the idols are made, etc.

7. Making idols considering it to be a holy mission

The idol maker should harbour the spiritual emotion (bhav) that it is not he who is making the idol rather it is The Lord Himself who is getting it done through him. He should repose faith that making idols is not a vocation but a holy mission. When an idol is made with this faith and with repeatition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name along with observance of all the restrictions given above, it becomes more sattvik (sattva predominant).

‘Since I made the idols considering it to be a holy mission, I always got all my promotions in service at the time of Ganesh Chaturthi itself. Although there are numerous obstacles yet by the time the idols of Lord Ganesh are to be made, they get resolved and by the grace of Lord Ganesh who eliminates obstacles, only auspicious events take place during this period.’

8. The idol should have a religious background

Many a time, scenes related to politics, the Kargil war, etc. are erected around the idol. Such raja-tama items erected merely for public entertainment and cheap popularity adversely affect the overall sattvik atmosphere there. If at all any scenes are to be displayed in front of or behind the idol of Lord Ganesh or other idols are to be kept there then they should be associated with Lord Ganapati. This helps to generate spiritual emotion (bhav) in the devotees.

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What are the different variations of Ganesh idol?

1. Usual Idol

The science behind the idol of Lord Ganesh is given in the ‘Shriganapatyatharvashirsha’ as ‘Ekadantam, Chaturhas­tam ….(एकदन्तं चतुर्हस्तं०)’, meaning one who has only one tooth (ekadanta), four hands (chaturbhuj), adorns a noose (pash) and a goad (ankush), holds a (broken) tooth in one hand and holds the other hand in a posture bestowing blessings (varadmudra), whose flag bears the symbol of a mouse, who has a red complexion, a large abdomen (lambodar), whose ears are like sifting pans, who adorns red clothes, whose body is smeared with a paste of red sandalwood (raktachandan) and who is worshipped with red flowers.

2. Some Variations

1. Mudra : Sometimes one comes across Ganapati idols in the lotus posture (padmasan) or at times even in the dancing posture (nrutyamudra).

2. Mundkata Ganesh : There is a beheaded (Mundkata) Ganesh idol in the Himalaya. The name itself suggests that this idol is without a head. It is said that this is the idol of the son who was created by deity Parvati from the coating of sebum on Her body and who was later be­headed by Lord Shankar.

3. Other complexions : Haridraganapati and the Urdhvaganapa­ti have a yellow complexion. The Pingalganapati is tawny (pingat) while the Lakshmiganapati is white in complexion.

4. Divine phallus (linga) : Just like the divine phallus of Lord Shiva, that of Ganapati too exists. It is called Ganpatyalinga. It is shaped like a pomegranate, lemon, white gourd or jamun.

5. Nude : In the Tantra path of worship, the Ganesh idol is mostly nude. The Energy (Shakti) of Ganesh too accompanies the idol.

7.  Types of Ganapati idols: There are several types of Ganapati idols like the Saumyaganapati, Balganapati, Herambganapati, Lakshmiganapati, Haridraganapati, Uchchishtaganapati, Suryaganapati, Varadganapati, Dvibhujganapati, Dashbhujganapati, Nartanganapati, Uttishthitganapati, Ganapati with the trunk curved towards the right, etc.

6. Feminine form : ‘In the Shakta sect, Lord Ganesh is worshipped in the feminine form. Some such examples are given below.

A. Ganeshvari : An extremely attractive sculpted idol of Ganeshvari is found in the Suchindram temple in Tamilnadu.

B. Ardha Ganeshvari : It has a highly meaningful form in the Tantra path of spiritual practice.

C. Ganeshani : This female deity is found in an extremely rare form of worship performed by tantriks and mantriks (followers of the Path of Tantra and Mantra).’

1. Usual Idol

The science behind the idol of Lord Ganesh is given in the ‘Shriganapatyatharvashirsha’ as ‘Ekadantam, Chaturhas­tam ….(एकदन्तं चतुर्हस्तं०)’, meaning one who has only one tooth (ekadanta), four hands (chaturbhuj), adorns a noose (pash) and a goad (ankush), holds a (broken) tooth in one hand and holds the other hand in a posture bestowing blessings (varadmudra), whose flag bears the symbol of a mouse, who has a red complexion, a large abdomen (lambodar), whose ears are like sifting pans, who adorns red clothes, whose body is smeared with a paste of red sandalwood (raktachandan) and who is worshipped with red flowers.

2. Some Variations

1. Mudra : Sometimes one comes across Ganapati idols in the lotus posture (padmasan) or at times even in the dancing posture (nrutyamudra).

2. Mundkata Ganesh : There is a beheaded (Mundkata) Ganesh idol in the Himalaya. The name itself suggests that this idol is without a head. It is said that this is the idol of the son who was created by deity Parvati from the coating of sebum on Her body and who was later be­headed by Lord Shankar.

3. Other complexions : Haridraganapati and the Urdhvaganapa­ti have a yellow complexion. The Pingalganapati is tawny (pingat) while the Lakshmiganapati is white in complexion.

4. Divine phallus (linga) : Just like the divine phallus of Lord Shiva, that of Ganapati too exists. It is called Ganpatyalinga. It is shaped like a pomegranate, lemon, white gourd or jamun.

5. Nude : In the Tantra path of worship, the Ganesh idol is mostly nude. The Energy (Shakti) of Ganesh too accompanies the idol.

6. Feminine form : ‘In the Shakta sect, Lord Ganesh is worshipped in the feminine form. Some such examples are given below.

A. Ganeshvari : An extremely attractive sculpted idol of Ganeshvari is found in the Suchindram temple in Tamilnadu.

B. Ardha Ganeshvari : It has a highly meaningful form in the Tantra path of spiritual practice.

C. Ganeshani : This female deity is found in an extremely rare form of worship performed by tantriks and mantriks (followers of the Path of Tantra and Mantra).’

7.  Types of Ganapati idol There are several types of Ganapati idols like the Saumyaganapati, Balganapati, Herambganapati, Lakshmiganapati, Haridraganapati, Uchchishtaganapati, Suryaganapati, Varadganapati, Dvibhujganapati, Dashbhujganapati, Nartanganapati, Uttishthitganapati, Ganapati with the trunk curved towards the right, etc.

Why is Ganapati with the right Sided trunk not commonly worshipped?

1. Entire idol: Omkar, the unmanifest (nirgun) principle

2. Trunk: It is a popular belief that an idol with the tip of the trunk pointing towards the right and left are called right-sided and left-sided idols respectively; however this is not the case. One should not decide whether the idol is right-sided or left-sided depending upon which side the trunk is directed. It should be decided depending on the direction in which the initial curve of the trunk points. If the initial curve of the trunk in a Ganesh idol points towards the right and the tip of the trunk points towards the left yet the idol should be considered a rightsided idol. The reason for this is that, the initial curve of the trunk pointing towards the right indicates that the right (that is Sun) channel (nadi) of Ganapati is active.

Right Sided Trunk Ganapati

2.1 Right-sided trunk: An idol of Ganapati with the trunk curved towards the right is called dakshinmurti or dakshi­nabhimukhi murti (the idol facing the south). Dakshin means the southern direction or the right side. The southern direction leads to the region of Lord Yama (Yamalok), the deity of death while the right side belongs to the Surya nadi (Sun channel). One who is able to face the direction of the region of Yama is powerful. So also, one with an activated Surya nadi is also radiant. Thus in both senses, the Ganapati idol with the trunk curved towards the right is said to be ‘active (jagrut)’.

One feels repulsed by the south direction because it is in that direction that scrutiny of one’s sins and merits is carried out after death, in the region of Lord Yama. Scrutiny akin to that done in the south after death, begins when alive if one faces the south or sleeps with the legs directed towards the south. The dakshinabhimukhi idol is not worshipped ritualistically in the usual manner because tiryak (raja) frequencies are emitted from the south. The ritualistic worship of this idol is performed by observing all the norms of ritualistic worship meticulously. Consequently the sattva component is augmented and one is not distressed by the raja frequencies coming from the south.

Left Sided Trunk Ganapati

2.2 Left-sided trunk: An idol of Ganapati with the trunk curved towards the left is called Vamamukhi. Vam means the northern direction or the left side. The Chandra nadi (Moon channel) is situated to the left. It bestows tranquility. Besides, since the northern direction is spiritually favourable and bestows Bliss (Anand), mostly the Vamamukhi Ganapati is worshipped. It is worshipped ritualistically in the usual manner.

3. Modak (a sweet delicacy)

3.1 ‘Moda’ means Bliss (Anand) and ‘ka’ means a small part. So, modak is a small part of Bliss. A modak is shaped like a coconut, that is it is like the cavity ‘kha’ in the Brahmarandhra. When the kundalini (spiritual energy) reaches the ‘kha’ cavity, the spiritual experience of Bliss is obtained. The modak held in the hand signifies Bliss endowing energy.

3.2 ‘The modak symbolises spiritual knowledge (dnyan): hence it is also called dnyanmodak. Initially it seems that spiritual knowledge is little (the tip of the modak represents this); but as one starts studying Spirituality, one realises its vastness (the base of the modak symbolises this.) A modak is sweet in taste. The Bliss acquired through spiritual knowledge too is like that.’

4. Goad (ankush) : Destroyer of the energies which are harmful to the mission of acquisition of spiritual knowledge and Bliss.

5. Noose (pash): Worldly bondage. The noose wielded by Ganapati signifies that He will tie the noose around negative entities and take them away.

6. Serpent wound around the waist: The universal kundalini (spiritual energy)

7. Hood of the serpent: Activated (jagrut) spiritual energy

8. Rat: The rat which represents the raja component is within the control of Ganapati.

What are the incarnations of Lord Ganesh in each yug?

Contents
1. Incarnations
1.1 Mahotkat Vinayak
1.2 Gunesh
1.3 Ganesh
1.4 Dhumraketu
2. Ganapati and others
2.1 Shiva and Ganapati
2.2 Hanuman and Ganapati
2.3 Omkar (ॐ) and Ganapati
2.4 Kundalini (spiritual energy) and Ganapati
3. Pervasiveness

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1. Incarnations

1.1 Mahotkat Vinayak

He was born to Sage Kashyap and Aditi in the Krut era (yug). In this incarnation, He reinstated Righteousness (Dharma) by slaying the two demons, Devantak and Narantak and then ended this incarnation.

1.2 Gunesh

In the Tretayug, Ganapati was born to Uma on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapad as Gunesh. In this incarnation, He slew the demon Sindhu and married Siddhi and Buddhi, the daughters of Lord Brahma.

1.3 Ganesh

In the Dvaparyug, once again He was born to Parvati as Ganesh. Since He was ugly by birth, Parvati deserted Him in the forest and He was brought up by Sage Parashar. Ganesh then slew the demon Sindurasur and set free several kings and valorous men whom he had imprisoned. It is in this incarnation that Ganesh preached the eternal philosophy in the form of Ganeshgita to His devotee named Varenya.

1.4 Dhumraketu

Dhumravarna Ganesh Idol

According to the Bhavishya Puran, the fourth incarnation of Ganesh by name Dhumraketu or Dhumravarna will take birth in the Kaliyug and destroy the evildoers.

2 Ganapati and others

2.1 Shiva and Ganapati

Though currently it is believed that Ganapati belongs to the family of Lord Shiva and is His son, yet according to one school of thought, Shiva and Ganesh were formerly one and the same, that is Shiva was Ganesh and Ganesh was Shiva. In Shriganapati Atharvashirsha,Ganesh is referred to as, “त्वं ब्रह्मा त्वं विष्णु: त्वं रुद्र:।” meaning “You are Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra as well”.

The similarities and prowess of Ganesh and Shiva are so outstanding that they can be easily perceived. The three special characteristics of Shiva, that is adorning the moon on the head, the third eye and embellishment with serpents are also seen in the idol of Ganesh. Ganesh is also named Bhalachandra, the one who adorns the moon on the head. He is also referred to as ‘Trinetra (one with three eyes)’ in the ‘Gajavadanamchintyam’, the holy verse of meditation on Ganesh. Ganesh too has a girdle of a serpent around His waist. A legend says that Lord Shankar wore ornaments of the Sun and adorned the moon on His head in order to cool down the intolerable heat generated after consuming poison. One comes across a similar story about Ganesh, in the Ganesh Puran. When the demon Analasur was destroying the world assuming the form of fire, Ganesh swallowed him. The deities then used cooling measures such as serpents, the moon, etc. to cool down the heat generated in Him.

2.2 Hanuman and Ganapati

Both of them have a red complexion and the eight great supernatural powers (ashtamahasiddhi). In the worship of Hanuman, flowers of the milkweed (rui) are offered while in that of Ganapati, leaves of the coral (mandar) tree are offered.

2.3 Omkar (ॐ)and Ganapati

If the Omkar is considered as the bijakshar from the Tantra path in the pre-Aryan times then it is but natural that Ganapati who is originally the deity of the tantriks should be endowed with the label of Omkar. One does not come across the Omkar anywhere in the Vedas. Rather, since the Vedic Aryans did not give much importance to the Omkar, naturally not even a single aphorism (sukta)or verse (rucha) on it was written in the Vedas. This implies that the Omkar was the bijakshar of the path of Tantra in the pre-Aryan era. Later, however the Aryans had to accept several spiritual tenets from the non-Aryans. It was possibly around that time that the bijakshar Omkar acquired acclaim as the pranav worship and consequently, in the later period Ganapati who was considered to be the origin of the entire animate and inanimate creation came to be associated with the origin of all the words, that is Omkar.

‘When speaking about the philosophy of creation of the universe it is said, “Creation began with the sound Om (ॐ इतिध्वनिरभूत्)”. The manifest form of this sound is described as “savai Gajakaraha (सवै गजाकरः । )”, that is the sound Omkar is like the face of an elephant. Thus initially a sound was generated and that was Om. If viewed vertically, one will realise that the Omkar appears like the countenance of Ganapati. In short, Om and Ganapati are one and the same. Hence worship of Omkar is equivalent to that of Ganapati. At the time of creation of the universe, the two words Om and atha were emitted from the throat of Lord Brahma.

ओंकारश्चाथशब्दश्च द्वावेतौ ब्रह्मणः पुरा ।
कंठं भित्वा विनिर्यातौ तस्मान्मांगलिकावुभौ ॥

Hence these two words are said to be auspicious. Omkar is the very nature of Ganapati.’

2.4 Kundalini (spiritual energy) and Ganapati


In the Ganapati Atharvashirsha, Lord Ganesh has been described by the sage as ‘मूलाधारस्थितथिसो नित्यं’, meaning ‘You dwell perpetually at the site of the Muladhar chakra in the body’. Lord Ganesh is considered to be the deity of the Muladhar chakra (a centre of the spiritual energy system). The Muladhar chakra and the lotus within it are both red in colour. Ganapati’s complexion too is red. The Muladhar chakra being the first of the six chakras, spiritual progress starts only after its activation. Similarly before commencing any task, Lord Ganapati is worshipped.

3 Pervasiveness

1. The moon symbolises the head.
2. The earth symbolises the abdomen.
3. The seven nether worlds (saptapatal) symbolise the legs.

Why Lord Ganesh is easily appeased?

Contents
1. Mission and special features
1.1 One who gets rid of obstacles (Vighnaharta)
1.2 One who eliminates distress caused by distressing energies
1.3 One who augments the vital energy (pranshakti)
1.4 Presiding deity of knowledge (Vidyapati)
1.5 One who converts the language of light (prakashbhasha) into the language of sound (nadabhasha)
1.6 One granting an embodied soul (jiva), the permission to take birth
1.7 Worshipped by all sects
1.8 Deity glorified by saints
1.9 Expert in music and dance
1.10 Principle, ability and manifest energy
2 Retinue
2.1 Family members
2.2 Vehicle (vahan)

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1. Mission and special features

1.1 Vanquisher of obstacles (Vighnaharta)

On account of this attribute, He is worshipped before commencing any function right from a folk dance for entertainment to a wedding and all rituals including house-warming (gruhapravesh). (Refer: ‘Meaning of Vighnesh’)

1.2 One who eliminates distress caused by distressing energies

30% of people in society and 50% of good seekers are afflicted by distressing energies. An individual experiences physical or psychological distress due to distressing energies or he constantly encounters some or the other obstacle in his life. Distressing energies pose obstacles even in the spiritual practice of seekers and take the benefit of the spiritual practice of seekers. From this it is evident how necessary it is for everyone to give preference to overcome distress due to distressing energies. Information about how distress due to distressing energies like possession, black magic (karani), etc. can be overcome by repeating (chanting) the Name of Ganapati is given in the holy text ‘Remedies to overcome distressing energies’ yet to be published by Sanatan Sanstha.

Sanatan Sanstha is an organisation undertaking the mission for the sake of society (samashti), that is propagating Righteousness (Dharma) in society. Just as Sanatan wants to ‘reinstate the Divine kingdom’, the distressing energies want to ‘establish a demoniacal kingdom’. Hence presently distressing energies are posing obstacles in the spiritual practice undertaken by Sanatan’s seekers as well as in the mission of propagating Righteousness, on a large scale. Sanatan’s seekers undertake collective repetition (chanting) of ‘Om Gang Ganapataye namaha’ and ‘Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’ aloud thrice each alternately as suggested by The Lord during meditation in order to alleviate this collective distress faster. They are also benefited by it. This illustrates that Ganapati has the potential to overcome the distress caused to society.

1.3 One who augments the vital energy (pranshakti)

Various body functions in man occur due to various types of energies. (Information about these various energies is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 35 – Pranayam’.) The basic energy of all these energies is the vital energy. Repetition (chanting) of the Name of Lord Ganapati augments the vital energy in our body.

1.4 Presiding deity of knowledge (Vidyapati)

Maharashi Ved Vyas and Ganesh

Refer: ‘Meaning of Vidyapati’. ‘There is an ancient custom of writing, ‘Shri Ganeshaya namaha, Shri Sarasvatyai namaha, Shri Gurubhyo namaha’, that is obeisance to Lord Ganesh, deity Sarasvati and the Guru, before beginning any writing, for example a letter. Why is this order followed? Knowledge of any subject is first acquired through the intellect and Ganapati is the bestower of intellect. Hence ‘Shri Ganeshaya namaha’ is written first. Deity Sarasvati’s mission is to put into words the knowledge acquired through the intellect. Sarasvati is called “abhinav vagvilasini”, the deity of development of speech by Saint Dnyaneshvar and “shabda mul vagdevata”, the deity of the origin of words by Saint Samarth Ramdasswami. Hence, deity Sarasvati is second in the order. Since the Guru is the medium of acquisition of knowledge and its transcription into words, He is third in the order.’

Maharshi Vyas wanted an intelligent writer to write the Mahabharat. So He prayed to Lord Ganapati to undertake this task.

1.5 One who converts the language of sound (nadabhasha) into the language of light (prakashbhasha) and vice versa

First repeat (chant) the Names – Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and Ganapati for one or two minutes each and if you see light, assess whether it is faint or bright. Only then read further.

There were 42 seekers at a spiritual meeting (satsang) conducted by the Sanstha. The spiritual experiences obtained by them when doing the above experiment are given in the table below. The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a spiritual meeting, at times the spiritual level of seekers can even rise upto 40% to 50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals perform the same experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence everyone does not get spiritual experiences in such experiments. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of more than 35% through spiritual practice and are able to perceive something from the spiritual dimension can perceive this.

Spiritual Experiences
Name of
which deity?
Those seeing
faint light
Those seeing
bright light
Total number
of those
seeing light
Those unable
to see light
Total
1. Brahma 7 4 11 31 42
2. Vishnu 8 1 9 33 42
3. Mahesh 7 3 10 32 42
4. Ganapati 8 12 20 22 42

From the above table, one will realise that a greater number of seekers got the spiritual experience of seeing light by repeating (chanting) the Name of Ganapati than with the Names of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. This will also clarify why Ganapati is referred to as one who converts the language of sound into that of light.

Since Ganapati can comprehend the language of sound which we speak, He is a deity who is easily appeased. Ganapati is the deity who converts the language of sound into that of light and vice versa. Most of the other deities can understand only the language of light. Some examples with regard to this are given in the table ahead.

Deity Ability to comprehend
the language of light (%)
Ability to comprehend
the language of sound (%)
1. Brahma 98 2
2. Vishnu 80 20
3. Mahesh 80 20
4. Divine Energy
(Shakti)
70 30
5. Ganapati 60 40

1.6 One granting an embodied soul (jiva) the permission to take birth

Maha (the embodied soul taking birth) is born with the permission of Ganapati.

1.7 Worshipped by all sects

A sect is ‘one which considers only its deity of worship (upasyadevata) to be supreme and believes that it alone is responsible for the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe; it does not believe in other deities’. Despite the existence of several sects, every sect performs the ritualistic worship of LordGanesh. The Shaiva sect considers Ganapati to be the son of Lord Shiva and His main attendant (gan) whereas in the Vaishnav sect He has various forms like Aniruddha, Vasudev, etc. The Shakta (Divine Energy) sect is of two types – Dakshinmargi and Vamamargi, both of which worship Lord Ganesh. In this sect, Lord Ganesh is portrayed along with His consort as Shaktiganapati or Lakshmiganapati as well as worshipped in the feminine form too. Lord Ganesh is worshipped by the Jain sect too. Charumati, the daughter of Emperor Ashok who professed Buddhism, built a Ganesh temple in NepaL. Literature on Lord Ganesh mentions that the idol of Lord Ganesh installed in that temple, popularly known as ‘Heramb’, is seated on a throne and has five heads and ten arms.

1.8 Deity praised by saints

Although saints following different paths of spiritual practice may worship various deities yet all of Them have earnestly prayed to and sung the praises of Lord Ganesh. LordGanesh is highly venerable to all saints. Marathi literature authored by saints has described the worldly and spiritual nature of Lord Ganesh in a beautiful manner. The great saint, Shri Dnyaneshvar has offered His humble obeisance unto LordGanesh, ‘O Lord Ganesh, You alone enlighten our intellect (implied meaning).’ Saint Eknath has offered obeisance unto LordGanesh at the very beginning in His commentary on the holy text, Bhagvat, ‘Though the universe has originated from the Omkar, Lord you existed even before. You are the master of knowledge in vedas, vedants and different sciences in the universe. Of all those worthy of salutation, you are the Supreme.You are the master of all and everything lies within you (implied meaning).’ It is said that Saint Tukaram Maharaj had invited Lord Viththal and Lord Ganesh for a meal, both at the same time. Saint Namdev has said, ‘O Lambodar, (another name of Lord Ganesh) with your trunk, you vanquish all obstacles (implied meaning).’ Saint Tulsidas too has sung praises of Lord Ganesh at the commencement of His ‘Ramacharitamanas’.

1.9 Expert in music and dance

Omkar is the manifestation of Brahman in the form of sound. Lord Ganesh is also referred to as ‘Shriganesh whose form is of the nature of Omkar.’ Numerous verses in the Shriganesh Varadstotra clearly illustrate the relationship of Lord Ganesh with music. The devotional songs (abhang) composed by Saint Dnyaneshvar, Saint Namdev, Samarth Ramdasswami and others also illustrate the close relationship of Lord Ganesh with music. One also comes across idols of Lord Ganesh in dance postures. This idol of Ganapati has a golden complexion with eight arms and His left leg rests on a lotus while the right leg is in mid-air. Sage Madhva has sung praises of the treasure of dance postures possessed by Lord Ganesh,’O Lord Ganesh, You are the vanquisher of all obstacles, the compassionate One, the One praised in all the three worlds and the Master of dance and music (implied meaning).’ The poet Moropant has excellently portrayed the beautiful and attractive form of Lord Ganesh through his masterly and imaginative exposition of words while narrating that the dance performed by Lord Ganesh puts to shame even celestial singers (gandharva) and celestial dancers (apsara).

1.10 Principle, ability and manifest energy

Principle : 70% (Isham = 100%)
Ability : Creation 10%, sustenance 70% and dissolution 20%
Manifest energy : 10%

2. Retinue

2.1 Family members

According to the Purans, Shiva is the father, Parvati the mother and Skand is the brother of Ganapati. Shiva and Parvati are His parents implies that the Ganesh frequencies are generated by the confluence of the radiant (tej) frequencies of Shiva and Minakshi.

2.2 Vehicle (vahan)

The word vahan (वाहन) is derived from the root, vru-vaha (वृ-वह) which means, to transport. The vehicle of deities changes according to their mission. The vehicle mostly used by Ganapati is the rat. But He has other vehicles as well. A (आ) + vahan (वाहन) = avahan (आवाहन) which means, to invoke. A deity does not manifest itself without invocation, that is without an invitation. (However, if a devotee is in distress then it rushes to his rescue even without invocation.) Thus when a deity is invoked to carry out a mission, the vehicle should complement that mission, for instance, a lion for a battle. The vehicle of Heramb Ganapati is the lion while that of Mayureshvar Ganapati is the peacock. The table below gives the vehicle and special features of the idols of Lord Ganesh according to the yug (era).

Where will you find Swayambhu Ganapati and Mahaganapati?

Contents –

Swayambhu Ganapati, the famous Ganapati idols in India and Mahaganapati

1. Three and a half seats (piths) of Ganapati in Maharashtra
2. Eight Vinayaks (Ashtavinayaks) in Maharashtra
3. Twenty-one seats of Ganapati according to the Purans
4. Twelve famous Ganapati idols in India
5. Mahaganapati

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Swayambhu Ganapati, the famous Ganapati idols in India and Mahaganapati

1. Three and a half seats (piths) of Ganapati in Maharashtra

No Name Place District
1 Moreshvar, Mayureshvar Morgaon Pune
2 Mangalmurti Chinchwad Pune
3 Mahaganapati Rajur Jalana
4 PravaLganesh (half a seat) Padmalay Jalgaon

2. Eight Vinayaks (Ashtavinayaks) in Maharashtra

Ashtavinayaks (Eight Vinayaks )

The eight Vinayaks are famous. The eight supernatural powers (ashta-siddhi) are the consorts of Ganapati. Each of the eight Vinayaks have become famous as being representative of one supernatural power. The eight Vinayaks are also associated with the eight directions.

No Name Place District
1 Moreshvar, Mayureshvar Morgaon Pune
2 BallaLeshvar Pali Raygad
3 Varadvinayak Mahad Raygad
4 Chintamani Theur Pune
5 Girijatmaj Lenyadri Pune
6 Vighneshvar Ojhar Pune
7 Ganapati (Mahaganapati) Ranjangaon Pune
8 Gajamukh Siddhatek Ahmadnagar


3. Twenty-one seats of Ganapati according to the Purans

Name Place District/State
1. Moreshvar, Mayureshvar Morgaon Pune
2. Chintamani Theur Pune
3. Ganapati Ranjangaon Pune
4. Girijatmaj Lenyadri Pune
5. Ballaleshvar Pali Raygad
6. Gajamukh Siddhatek Ahmadnagar
7. Chintamani Kalamb Yavatmal
8. Sharmavighnesh Adasa Nagpur
9. Vidnyanganesh Rakshasbhuvan Jalana
10. Mahaganapati Rajur Jalana
11. Bhalchandra Gangamasale Parbhani
12. Lakshavinayak Verul (Ellora) Aurangabad
13. Pravalganesh Padmalay Jalgaon
14. Ahundivinayak Kashi Banaras
15. Omkar Prayag Alahabad
16. Bhrushundiganesh Namalgaon Bid
17. Vighnaraj Vijaypur Andhra Pradesh
18. Vinayak Kashyapashram Near Kashi
19. Mangalmurti Ganeshpur Bangal
20. Shvetvighneshvar Near Kumbhakonam Tamilnadu
21. Mangalmurti Pariner Near Ujjain

4. Twelve famous Ganapati idols in India

Name Place Name Place
Vakratunda Madras Vighnarajend Near Kurukshetra,
Ekadanta Bangal Dhumravarna Keral
Krushnapingaksha Madras Bhalachandra Near Rameshvar
Gajavaktra Orisa Vinayak Kashi, Banaras
Lambodar Ganapatipule,
Maharashtra
Mahaganapati Mahabaleshvar,
Maharashtra, Gokarna
Vikat Himachal Pradesh Shrigajanan Himalaya

5. Mahaganapati

Ganapati along with Ruddhi-Siddhi [Divine Energy (Shakti)]. ‘The Ganesh created by deity Parvati is an incarnation of Mahaganapati. She sculpted a form out of mud and invoked Ganapati into it. Before the creation of the universe, since The Supreme God (Mahat) principle existed in an unmanifest and eternal form, it is called Mahaganapati. When Mahaganapati is worshipped for acquisition of a particular supernatural power or purely for attainment of the Final Liberation (Moksha), it is customary to choose a Ganapati idol with the trunk curved towards the right. But in such circumstances, as far as possible the idol is made of earth. Rarely does one comes across gold and silver Ganapati idols with the trunk curved towards the right’.

‘It is believed that every male deity has a specific Energy (Shakti), for example Brahma – Bharati, Vishnu – Lakshmi, Shiva – Parvati. Thus it is not surprising that devotees of Ganapati believe in one Energy of Ganapati in the Parabrahman form. There is a sculpture which portrays Ganapati embracing His Energy, seated on His lap. Even today one can see such paintings. So also, sculptures with “Siddhi” and “Buddhi”, His two consorts seated on either side of Him are also available. In the science of Tantra, Ganapati along with His Energy is referred to as “Mahaganapati”.’

What is the implied meaning of the many Names of Lord Ganapati?

Sattvik Picture of Lord Ganesh by Sanatan Sanstha

Sage Mudgal has written the ‘Ganeshsahastranam’ containing the thousand Names of Lord Ganesh. The Dvadashanam verse (sto­tra) contains the following twelve Names of Ganapati.

प्रथमं वक्रतुण्डं च एकदन्तं द्वितीयकम् ।
तृतीयं कृष्णपिङ्गाक्षं गजवक्त्रं चतुर्थकम् ।।
लम्बोदरं पञ्चमं च षष्ठं विकटमेव च ।
सप्तमं विघ्नराजेन्द्रं धूम्रवर्णं तथाष्टकम् ।।
नवमं भालचन्द्रं च दशमं तु विनायकम् ।
एकादशं गणपतिं द्वादशं तु गजाननम् ।।Meaning: First Vakratunda, second Ekadanta
Third Krushnapingaksha, fourth Gajavaktra
Fifth is Lambodar, sixth is Vikata
Seventh Vighnarajendra, eighth Dhumravarnam
Ninth Bhalachandra, tenth Vinayak
Eleventh Ganapati, twelfth Gajanan.

The meaning of these twelve names and some others is given below.
1. Vakratunda

Generally it is considered that Vakratunda means one with a crooked mouth or trunk. However, this is incorrect. ‘वक्रान् तुण्डयति इति वक्रतुण्ड: ।’, meaning Vakratunda is one who punishes those who follow the wrong (unrighteous) path and leads them onto the righteous path. Vakratunda is one who straightens the tiryak and visphutit frequencies, that is the crooked raja-tama predominant 360 frequencies by means of His trunk and makes them sattvik (sattva predominant) like the 108 frequencies.

2. Ekadanta or Ekashrunga

This Name is bestowed because He has only one unbroken tusk (the other is broken). Of the two tusks, the right tusk is complete while the one on the left is broken. The right side represents the surya (sun) channel (nadi). As the surya channel is effulgent, the tusk on this side of Lord Ganapati can never be broken. It is symbolic of the singular Brahman (God principle). The word dantin (दंतीन) is derived from the root dru-darshayati (दृ-दर्शयति) [meaning to show]. Thus the Name also means that He is the one who shows the direction to acquire the spiritual experience of Brahman which is non-dual. According to one school of thought, medha and shraddha (faith) are the two tusks. Medha means intellect, the ability to comprehend. Medha is the incomplete (broken) tusk and shraddha the complete one.

3. Krushnapingaksha

This word is derived from Krushna (कृष्ण) + pinga (पिंग) + aksha (अक्ष). Krushna means the one with a dark complexion, pinga means smoky and aksha means the eye. The dark complexion is in the context of earth while smoky refers to the clouds. Thus it means one who has the earth and the clouds as the eyes, that is one who can view everything on the earth and the clouds.

4. Gajavaktra

Gaja means cloud which is considered to be the representative of the dyu region (devlok) – the region of the deities. Vaktra means mouth. Thus Gajavaktra is one whose mouth is constituted by the dyu region (expansive). If Om (स्) is placed vertically, one gets the experience of Gajavadan (Ganapati). The Mudgal Puran has explained the meaning of the word ‘gaja’as ga = the principle wherein everything undergoes dissolution and ja = the principle from which everything is created. So Gaja means Brahman (God principle).

5. Lambodar

Lambodar is derived from the words lamba (large) and udar (belly). Saint Eknath has explained the meaning of this word as,

The entire animate and inanimate creation dwells within You. Hence You are called Lambodar. – Shri Eknathi Bhagvat 1:3

According to the Ganapatitantra,Lord Shiva played the Damaru (a small hour glass shaped drum). Lord Ganesh grasped the knowledge of the Vedas through the deep sound of the Damaru. He learnt dancing by watching the TanDav dance everyday and music from the sound of the anklets of deity Parvati. Since He imbibed such varied knowledge, that is digested it, He developed a large belly.

6. Vikat

Vi (वि) + krut (कृत) + akat (अकत) [akuti]. Vi means in a specific manner, krut means done and akat means the Final Liberation (Moksha). Hence, Vikat means the one who generates frequencies in a specific manner and bestows the Final Liberation.

7. Vighnesh

Vighna (विघ्न) + ish (ईश) = Vighnesh (विघ्नेश). The word ‘vighna’ is derived from ‘visheshen ghnati’ which means mainly distress. The one who controls and destroys obstacles is Vighnesh. The obstacle in this context is entrapment by the 360 (raja-tama) and 108 (sattva) frequencies. This is contrary to the aim of traversing beyond the three components (trigunatit). Ish (ईश) is derived from i (ई) + sha (श). I-ikshate (ई-इक्षते) means to watch and sha-shamayate (श-शमयते) means to cool. So Ish is the one who keeps a watch and destroys the heat generated by the 360 and 108 frequencies. Vighnaharta (vanquisher of obstacles) is another Name of Ganapati. Since Ganapati gets rid of obstacles, He is worshipped before performing any auspicious religious ceremony.

8. Dhumravarna

Dhumra means smoke. Smoke is the initial state of materialisation. It is the transitory state between the solid manifest (sagun) and the unmanifest (nirgun) states. Thus, one who possesses such a smoky complexion is Dhumravarna. According to the principle that ‘where there is smoke there is fire’, Ganapati also possesses the fire element [embers (angar)].

9. Bhalachandra

Bhal means the forehead. The frequencies arising from Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi merge into one another and produce many groups of thousands of frequencies. Though Prajapati, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Minakshi are unmanifest (nirgun), Their frequencies are composed of the three components (gun). The point of origin of three of these frequencies namely those of affection, mercifulness and motherly love (ahlad) is referred to as the moon (chandra). Thus, the one who adorns such a ‘moon’ on the forehead is Bhalchandra.

Actually this is the Name of Lord Shankar. But since Ganapati is His son, it also came to be linked with Him !

10. Vinayak

The word ‘vinayak’ is derived from ‘visheshrupen nayakaha’. It means one who is endowed with all the features of a leader (nayak). ‘It is universally accepted that there are six Vinayaks. The summary of information on Vinayaks given in the Manavgruhyasutra and Baudhayangruhyasutra is that the Vinayak attendants (gan) create obstacles and are troublesome and cruel. When they start harassing, people begin to behave as if insane, get horrifying nightmares and constantly harbour fear. To overcome this obstacle posed by the Vinayak attendants, the scriptures have advocated various rituals (Shantividhi). Vinayak, that is Ganapati is the presiding deity of these Vinayaks (who bring about destruction).’

‘According to the information given in the Manavgruhyasutra, there are four Vinayaks – 1. Shalakankat, 2. KushmanDarajputra, 3. Urimat and 4. Devjayan. Sage Yadnyavalkya has mentioned sixVinayaks – 1. Mit, 2. Sammit, 3. Shal, 4. Kantak, 5. KushmanDa and 6. Rajputra. Lord Rudra and Lord Brahma appointed the Vinayaks as the presiding deities of the attendants and entrusted them with the task of posing obstacles in various human activities. Although Vinayak is ferocious by nature yet He bestows happiness when appeased. According to the Shaiva sect, Ganapati is the mild form while Vinayak is the ferocious form. The Smrutis Purans (mythological texts), stone engravings, etc. mention that Ganapati and Vinayak are one and the same; but it cannot be said when this concept became prevalent.’ (Reference – Abhinav Marathi Dnyankosh, part four.)

11. Ganapati

Refer point ‘1. Origin and meaning’.

12. Gajanan

Gaja means elephant and anan means countenance. Thus Gajanan is one whose countenance is like that of an elephant (and whose body constitutes the entire universe).

13. Vratapati

‘In the Ganapatyatharvashirsha,Ganapati is offered salutation as “Namo Vratapataye”. Vratapati is the chief of the vratyas. The Aryans bestowed the name vrat, on the group of non-Aryans who favoured vowed religious observances (vrat) and did not believe in sacrificial fires (yadnya). The people belonging to this group are vrat. “व्रात इव व्रात्यः ।”, meaning those like the vrat are vratya. A twice born (dvij) who does not have any sanskars (rites) performed on him is called a vratya.’

14. Chintamani

Chintamani is another Name of Lord Ganapati. An extroverted tendency (kshipta), a more extroverted tendency which may even lead to sin (mudha), an introverted tendency (vikshipta), a more introverted tendency (ekagra) and a state in which all activities have ceased (niruddha) are the five states of the subconscious mind (chitta). [Information on this is provided in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 16 – Path of Meditation (Dhyanyoga)’.] The one who enlightens on these states is Chintamani. The theory according to the Mudgal Puran is that by devotion unto Chintamani, the five states of the subconscious mind are destroyed and total Serenity (Shanti) is acquired.’

15. Mangalmurti

‘Man’ means complete and ‘glu-gayate’ means one endowing Serenity or purity. That which purifies both internally as well as externally is auspicious (mangal). An icon bringing auspiciousness is Mangalmurti.

In Maharashtra, ‘Mangalmurti morya’ is used to proclaim Ganapati’s glory. The word ‘morya’ in it refers to a famous devotee of Lord Ganesh from the fourteenth century, Morya Gosavi from ChinchvaD, near Pune in Maharashtra. This depicts the inseparable relationship between God and His devotee.

16. Umaphal

Uma is Parvati and phal means product. Ganapati acquires this Name as He is the product, that is the son of Parvati. Umaphal also means spiritual knowledge (dnyan). Ganapati is the deity of spiritual knowledge. So this Name befits Him in both ways.

17. Vidyapati

Lord Ganesh is the master of the 18 vidyas – 1. Science of proper articulation and pronunciation (shiksha), 2. A part of the Vedas explaining rituals (kalpa), 3. Grammar (vyakaran), 4. Etymological explanation of difficult Vedic words (nirukta), 5. Astrology (jyotish), 6. Science of prosody (chandas), 7. Rugveda, 8. Yajurveda, 9. Samaveda, 10. Atharvaveda, 11. Purva-Uttarmimansa (concerned with the correct interpretation of Vedic rituals and the settlement of dubious points with regard to Vedic texts), 12. System of Hindu philosophy founded by Sage Gautam (nyaya), 13. Purans, 14. Science of Righteousness (Dharmashastra), 15. Ayurveda, 16. Dhanurveda, 17. Gandharvaveda and 18. Science of ethics or morality (nitishastra) Hence before commencing the study of any of these or in the ritual performed for their study, the ritualistic worship of Lord Ganesh is important.

18. Brahmanspati

The Vedas are referred to as Brahman. They may also be termed as Vedabrahman. Lord Ganesh is the master of the mantras in these Vedas. Hence He is called Brahmanspati.

19. Various Names according to the regions

One finds that Lord Ganesh is known by varied names in various regions. The Dravidian culture calls Lord Ganesh ‘Rajmukh’ or ‘Murugan’. In Nepal, He is known as ‘Suryaganapati’, in Myanmar (formerly Burma) as ‘Mahapini’, in Mongolia as ‘Dhotkar’, in Tibet as ‘Ekadanta’, in Cambodia as ‘Pradganesh’, in the Java islands as ‘Kalantak’, in China as ‘Kvanshitiyik’ while in Japan He is known as ‘Vinayakasha’.