Hindu Gods are often represented in a vivid manner. Lord Ganesha being one of the most important Gods of Hindus is no different. From his countenance to each artefact in his hand, everything holds a meaning and a lesson.
Legend has it that Ganesha was created out of mud and sweat of Parvati. His elephant head was given to him by Shiva when he unknowingly killed his son. This is mentioned in the Shiva Purana. Another story of creation of Ganesha is known as per the Brahma Vaivarta Purana.
The dramatic countenance of Ganesha holds many meanings. His large head represents great wisdom and knowledge. The broken tusk represents the sacrifice required to gain the wisdom and knowledge. He sometimes holds the tusk in his hand to show that one must finish what one started. The trunk of Lord Ganesha indicates the ability to differentiate between good and evil. Lord Ganesha’s large stomach contains all the known and unknown of the universe. His large ears are to listen to the call of his devotees when they need him. Ganesha’s raised hand symbolizes protection to his devotees.
Moving on to the artefacts Lord Ganesha holds in his hands, the axe is used for the protection of his devotees. In some idols the axe is replaced by a sword. He also holds a Trishul that has a spiritual meaning. The trident indicates love, wisdom and action. The mace is indicative of Lord Ganesha’s decisiveness and discipline. With the mace he guides humanity towards enlightenment. The noose is also believed to be a weapon that is used by Ganesha to pull wandering devotees back to the supposed right path. The hammer indicates that Ganesha is a patron of arts and crafts. Ganesha also holds a stick that is a symbol of warning, to not waver from the path of righteousness.
The artefacts apart from the weapons also represent different things. For instance the laddoo (sweet) that Ganesha holds in his trunk and the bowl of modaka in his hand is the reward for his true devotees. The lotus in his hand is symbolic to the ascent of the spirit above material pleasures. The conch shell in Lord Ganesha’s right hand is the call to his devotees to pray. The goad is used to prod those who walk on the path of spirituality. The Veena (an Indian musical instrument) promotes the importance of listening to one’s conscience.
Apart from his countenance and the artefacts that he holds, the things that are depicted around him are also symbolic to his teachings. The bowl of fruit by his feet or even his transport (the mouse) represents something. The pineapple is representative of giving and sharing while the mango in the fruit basket symbolizes purification of the spirit. The coconut indicates the triumph over ego. It is used to show the ego that is hard from outside and soft once penetrated.
Ganesha in his visual representation furnishes teachings that hold deeper meaning and should be implemented by his devotees in their life.
The word chakra is taken from a Sanskrit word meaning the spinning wheel. According to beliefs in many religions, chakras start at the base of the spine in a human body and go up through the head on kundalini (latent female energy believed to lie coiled at the base of the spine). Many religions consider Chakras to be the spiritual and energy power points. There are seven primary or main chakra points and about a hundred smaller secondary chakras. The smaller points are often called meridians. The secondary chakra points are influenced with action and physicality while the seven primary chakras deal with emotions and spirituality. The primary chakras influence health. The health concerns related to them are caused by an unbalance in the chakra itself, from an emotional or spiritual cause, which then manifests into a physical ailment.
The first chakra is situated below the sacrum bone in the human body. which also resides Kundalini. The main significance of the first chakra is related to innocence. It provides child like joy that gives us innate happiness that we look for in our life. According to Hindu mythology, the first chakra is known as Mooladhara chakra or the Mooladhara center. In Sanskrit, Moola means “The Root” and Adhar means “The Support”. Thus, mooladhar translates into “the supporter of the Kundalini”.
The Mooldhara has a pictorial description in the form of a flower of four petals or plexus and is placed right below the triangular bone. The plexus looks after our sexual activities and excretion system.
When evolution started, only one-celled organisms amoebae, were created, but as the days passed, the beings started getting more complex. The Mooladhara is made of the earth element and manifests a magnetic force into a person. The mooladhara is placed just below the abode of the Kundalini, at the sheer subtle body.
The kundalini has to rise through three centers, and the mooladhara helps in protecting the chastity of kundalini at the time of awakening. The innate quality of this chakra is innocence as discussed earlier, which in turn gives us simplicity, joy purity and integrity.
Lord Ganesha was created by Shree Adi Shakti, the Primordial Power of God Almighty. As Ganesha was born to the Primordial mother, he signs his presence with her at every chakra. He is considered the embodiment of purity, innocence, chastity and celibacy. By awakening the qualities of the Mooladhara through meditation, we learn the art of being more innocent human being. This helps us in being less materialistic and motiveless in our deeds. This is also a way to rediscover the wisdom which plays a pivotal role in choosing the correct decisions of our lives.
A long time ago, Goddess Parvati decided to have someone guard her door while she was bathing. She created a little boy out of her sweat and dirt. Suddenly, Lord Shiva, her husband, appeared and was in shock and rage to see a stranger keep him away from his own hood and his own wife. Lord Shiva could not control his temper and he beheaded the little boy. When Parvati returned from her bath, she was in utter grief to see her doorkeeper dead. Hence Shiva was sent on a mission to hunt for a head for the boy and had to bring backthe head of any living being that was sleeping facing the North. After looking around for hours, he finally spotted a sleeping elephant. This is how Lord Ganesha, the cheerful elephant-headed God, came into existence. Lord Ganesha, so loyal to his mother, is loved by all.. Goddess Parvati ensured, that Ganesha was created in such a way that he was raised to the level of God and was assigned important tasks that required supernatural powers.
Now let us turn our hearts and minds to the five powers Lord Ganesha possesses or in other words, the five shaktis. The first shakti revolves around the love and affection one has for his immediate family. The second one is pretty much the same, extended to relatives, neighbours and friends. The third shakti extends the love to the external world: colleagues or business associates, while the fourth one is love for cultures and religions. Finally, the fifth shakti tells us that we will receive an enormous amount of peace by loving Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is believed to be in-charge of removing obstacles or in Vedic terms, Vighna Vinashaka or destroyer of obstacles. Moreover, he throws hurdles in the path of activities that we’re not supposed to tread on and removes them from the path that we’re supposed to follow. When it’s the beginning of anything, say, a business or a job or a project, one turns to Ganesha for his blessings, which is believed to be auspicious and lucky. Ganesha is also known as the God of wisdom. Lord Shiva, the father of Ganehsa, named him Ganapati , the leader (pati) of his troops (ganas). Ganesha always makes sure that one is able to execute a mighty task with a small force. For example, he travelled all over the universe on a tiny rat, giving us inspiration to achieve great success with limited means. Therefore, heplays a major role when it comes to helping the mortals with all their endeavours.
Ganesha’s powers have a very strong impact on our lives. A Ganesha idol is a remarkable and indispensable element of every Hindu home. It represents a human being having the entire Cosmos in himself, with a massive amount of spiritual energies and authority. We should imbibe all these values of the great elephant God in our day-to-day lives. Ganesha, with his mysterious powers, will make one prosper. He is a symbol of love and is everyone’s well-wisher.