Is Ganesh found in Vedas or Upanishads

Silence of the Heart Blog


We invoke this particular Cosmic God before any other God, when we perform our spiritual activities.

Sri Chinmoy, November 27, 1994

Lord Ganesha, also known as Ganapathi or Vinayaka, is the son of Shiva and Parvati. The Hindus revere Ganesha as one of the most prominent and popular of the worshiped deities. “Ganah” means multiplicity in Sanskrit; "Isha" means Lord. Hence, Ganesha means "Lord of all beings".
Ganesha is a king of obstacles and protector of all living creatures. For those who want their obstacles to be removed, Ganesha is the right person to talk to, because when one becomes friends with Ganesha, the obstacles are not only removed from life, but they will not even appear. He is tough on his enemies - he destroys them with all the might of an elephant, but he gives joy and the sweetness of life to those who adore him. Whatever one does with joy (or with Ganesha who is the joy of life) will go effortlessly and smoothly.
Once you've made a decision, don't hesitate. And proceed with the same certainty as if you were riding an elephant, and luck will be by your side. Whoever speaks Ganesha's mantra, his path will be freed from unhappiness and given happiness in return. Before each new project his mantra is recited to ensure success and balance. If you feel like you are in a dead end or if you need help in finding your purpose in life, your mantra should be repeated with devotion. According to ancient traditions, the elephant-headed Ganesha is the first to be worshiped at all rituals or festivities. Even at worldly events such as school exams or when starting a new job, Lord Ganesha is worshiped for success.

Ganesha is the god of happiness, he is Vighna Vinashaka, the remover of obstacles, and also Sukha Kartha, the one who brings happiness and abundance. He likes to party, loves to eat well and to enjoy life. If you want the same, connect with his divine nature. People carry his images or statues as protection from evil, and many travelers and traders carry Ganesha with them for a smooth journey.
The Brahmanda Purana tells the following story: The demons created obstacles and prevented souls trapped in worldliness from advancing towards salvation. The goddess Devi saw this sad game and in her compassion she decided to put an end to this evil. The demons even dared to put obstacles in the way of the gods. At this point Devi Lalita looked into Shiva's face and smiled. From the beam of her smile emerged a deity with an elephant face. Devi used this deity, Vighneshwara, the remover of obstacles, to stop the demons. Vighneshwara destroyed the blockades on the path of the gods. This explains why people worship Ganesha at the beginning of all promising endeavors.

According to other legends, Ganesha was not born as a child of Shiva and Parvati, but was created from saffron paste. Parvati wanted someone who was first devoted to her and not to Shiva. So she created the handsome and strong young man, breathed life into him and said to him: “You are my son, my very own son! I have no one else I could absolutely call my own ”. Then Parvati gave the boy a staff and ordered him to guard the door to their private chambers. "Do not allow anyone to enter without my permission!"
Shortly afterwards Shiva returned home. When Shiva reached the door, the boy stopped him. Shiva declared that he was Parvati's husband and that he had the right to enter without asking anyone. Without hesitation, the boy replied, "Nobody enters this hall without my mother's permission." When Shiva ignored him, the boy hit him with his stick! Shiva was angry! He began to fight the boy, but realized that he was no ordinary boy. So he ordered his companions to take the boy prisoner, but the boy defeated them all. Shiva sent a scout to find out who the boy was. “I am the son of Parvati. I will give my life to do my mother’s mission. Nobody can enter the palace without my mother's permission! "
The scout returned and informed Shiva of what the boy had said. Shiva was now so angry that he sent his entire army to take the boy prisoner. Meanwhile, Parvati called her other manifestations, Durga and Kali, and asked them to assist her son. When Shiva's army lost the battle, Shiva turned to Vishnu to help him defeat the little boy. It was no longer a fair fight! While Ganesha was fighting Vishnu, Shiva threw his trident and beheaded the boy.
When Parvati found out about the unfair fight, she was so beside herself that she decided to destroy the world. Brahma humbly approached Parvati and asked for mercy in order to save the world. Parvati agreed on two conditions: "My son must get his life back and he should be worshiped before all other gods". In the meantime Shiva had calmed down and apologized to Parvati for his careless behavior. He agreed to give life back to the boy and Brahma to go north and bring the head of the first living being to cross his path. Soon Brahma brought the head of a mighty elephant. The head was now placed on the boy's body and Brahma sprinkled it with water. When the boy with the elephant head came back to life, Parvati hugged her son with joy.
Now her second condition was still to be fulfilled, and so Shiva announced: “From now on this heroic boy will be my son. He will be respected like any other god and he will be invoked before all other gods. He is said to be called “Ganesh” (or “Ganapati”), the leader of my Ganas (hosts), and also “Vigneshwar”, the eliminator of all obstacles. ”So Ganesha became the god of obstacles, who removed all obstacles to his devotees clears, but also erects barriers to those who forget to worship him. And he became the Lord of the beginning, who brings success to those who ask for his blessing before every undertaking.

Lord Ganesha has a big belly, is small and is shown either in a sitting position, one leg crossed while the other touches the floor, or dancing, sometimes standing. Around his waist there is a hidden snake, about which the following legend is told. Once, after Ganesha had eaten an enormous amount of sweet cakes, he returned home on his mount, a mouse (according to other traditions, Ganesha's mount is a rat). On the way a snake had frightened the mouse and Ganesha was thrown off, bursting his overcrowded belly. With presence of mind, he immediately grabbed the snake and tied it around his stomach.
Furthermore, instead of a sacred thread, he carries another snake across his chest. In his four hands he carries a noose (symbolizes the human bondage to desires), an ax (to destroy all evil), a piece of candy (for joy) and a lotus (for human evolution). Its trunk, which is usually rolled to the left, represents the sacred mantra AUM, the origin of the universe. He shows that an elephant and his vehicle, a rat (or mouse) can live happily together, that love for food and spiritual wisdom can go hand in hand, that a fat person can be a master of dance and music (sometimes Ganesha becomes yes dancing shown). It shows that the world is full of opposites that can coexist peacefully.

Ganesha is represented with either two or four hands. The right ones hold the broken tusk (danta) and the barbed stick (ankusa), which is used to steer elephants. The left carry a noose (pasa) and a fruit (phala) or a rice dumpling (pinda), since Ganesha likes to eat and nibble. He is said to have broken off his tusk in order to throw it at the moon, which had laughed at his stomach. According to another story, he lost his tooth when he denied the Parasurama access to the sleeping Shiva on Mount Kailash, whereupon the latter hurled his ax at the dutiful doorkeeper and broke off his tusk. In a third version, Ganapati used the tusk as a stylus to write down the Mahabharata, which was dictated to him by the sage Vyasa for three years. The two had made the following agreement: Vyasa was never allowed to stutter during the dictation and Ganesha was not allowed to write anything that was not obvious to his mind.

Every part of Ganesha's body symbolizes a spiritual principle. Ganesha's large ears and head indicate wisdom acquired through sravana (hearing) and manana (thinking). An elephant head on a human body represents the highest wisdom. The proboscis represents the intellect or discrimination that arises from wisdom. The trunk has the special ability of coarse as well as fine operation. A trunk can upset a tree, but it can also pick up a needle. Ganesha's thinking encompasses the realm of matter and that of the spirit (spiritual realm).

Two tusks symbolize the pairs of opposites: joy and pain, hot and cold, day and night, honor and shame. The fact that Ganesha has only one tusk indicates that he has transcended all dualities. Ganesha's big belly means that he has reached perfection and can consume and absorb all experiences.
Ganesha has four arms. These four arms represent the four aspects of the subtle body: mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. He is holding an ax in one hand and a rope in the other. The ax symbolizes the destruction of all desires and ties. With the rope Ganesha pulls the seeker out of his worldly problems and connects him with eternal happiness. In the third hand, Ganesha holds a candy that represents the reward of spiritual search. In the fourth hand he holds a lotus flower, which symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution: enlightenment. Often Ganesha is shown holding the ax and rope with one hand. Then his free hand takes a holy hand position (mudra), which grants protection and blessings. Ganesha's head contains small, piercing eyes that can examine the tiniest detail of any object. These eyes have the inner vision to see the Spirit of God in everyone.

Ganesha's vehicle, a little mouse, stands for selfishness and worldly desires, which is the cause of all our suffering. Just as the mouse lives in darkness and steals, so our consciousness lives in ignorance and is constantly occupied with material gains, whereby our inner peace is stolen. Ganesha is completely in control of his vehicle, i.e. he has overcome egoism and wishful nature.

Ganesh stands for a perfect human being who uses his limited body, feeling and thinking, represented by the mouse, to convey the limitless truth that Ganesha symbolizes. Body, feeling and thinking are limited. They are unable to express the unlimited Atman. The average person's intellect cannot grasp the truth. Vakratunda Ganapati is called Omkara Svarupa - the personification of the original sound OM - because its trunk represents the Pranava mantra OM, through which the world was created. This mantra is the symbol of the Upanishads for Brahma (= Creator God), and thus Ganapati is represented as Brahman himself.
Another distinctive feature of Ganesha is his huge belly, so large that it contains the entire universe. He is is the cosmic womb in which everything can be found that exists. Ganesha can also digest everything that life presents (to us). That doesn't just make him a Stithaprajna (the one who has great serenity and balance), but also to the one who swallows all suffering in this world, with which he also demonstrates his protective powers.
South India worships Ganesha as celibate and unmarried. In northern India people believed that he had two wives: Buddhi (= knowledge) and Siddhi (= wealth). In some parts of India, riddhi or success is considered consort rather than buddhi. These wives symbolize that meditation on “Aum” (Ganesha) not only brings spiritual enlightenment, but also knowledge and prosperity or success. Some consider the consorts to be traits related to Ganesha.

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