Modern day interpretation of Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular and beloved gods in the Hindu mythology. Ganesha is a combination of two Sanskrit words, Gana and Ish. Ish means a deity or god in Sanskrit language and Gana means a community or a group. Thus Lord Ganesha is considered to be the leader of the clan or the masses. He symbolically represents success and prosperity. Known by many divine names like – Vigneshwar, Lambodhara, Vinayaka,Gajanana, ModakaPriya etc. he also represents supreme spiritualism.
Each of his physical traits is symbolic of something worthy and holds great significance in the modern day scenario. His elephant head represents wisdom and intelligence as elephants are known to be very intelligent creatures. His large flappy ears mean that a person should hear all. As we all know that the trunk of an elephant has the ability to pick up a needle and even cause the greatest destruction. This means that a person should understand the importance of balance in life and should channelize their strength in a proper direction so that it yields fruitful results and does not get wasted. His eyes are typical elephant eyes. They perceive each object bigger than it usually is. This is a symbolic representation that we all should look at our fellow beings with humility and respect and never consider anyone less able.Ganesha has four hands and in each one he holds something, in one hand he holds a lotus flower which is the epitome of enlightenment, in the other he holds an axe or a hatchet. An axe represents the dact that the accumulated good and bad deeds, our karma and all other bonds of attachment and suffering are cut away when there is enlightenment in our lives. The third hand is always in the ashirwad position which means that Lord Ganesha is always blessing and taking care of his devotees and followers. In his fourth hand he holds modaks (his favourite sweet). Although Lord Ganesha holds modaks he never eats them himself, and as we say that a tree never consumes its own fruits. It is a symbol of sharing.
Out of the two tusks, one of his tusks is broken which leaves him with only one tusk, that’s why the name – Ekdanta. Different legends behind it. One of them states that once the moon was mocking at lord Ganesha, he got very angry, broke one of his tusks and threw it at the moon. In all his pictures he is seen holding the broken tusk as a pen which represents sacrifice of the greatest order. Religious experts say that Lord Ganesha broke one of his tusks to write the epic scripture – the Mahabharata. Ganesha’s vehicle is the rat which represents speed and has the ability to reach each and every corner of the world. But we all know that rats also represent greed because they keep chewing and nibbling whatever is available to them and their teeth also keep growing throughout. In today’s world our senses/ needs are compared to the rat because like the rat the human needs are also never satisfied. Lord Ganesha rides the rat and controls it, in the same way a wise person has the ability to ride on his own senses and knows how to keep them under control. In another sense we can see the great contrast in the size of Lord Ganesha and his vahana, which depicts that he being a god is humble enough to ride a teeny – weeny rat.
Lord Ganesha the son of Lord Shiva (the epitome of force and power) and goddess Parvati (the mother of the entire universe), strikes a perfect balance between body and spirit/ soul.
Be it his elephant head, his pot belly or his trunk, he is proud of his physical appearance. This reflects that it is the inner beauty that matters in life and not the physical appearance of an individual. If your heart and soul are clean you surely would look beautiful. His humility is something that should be learnt by one and all today. Never be proud of your beauty or brain, instead be thankful to god for bestowing his blessings upon you. Om Ganeshaya Namaha itself means that in whatever we do let your wisdom be our guiding light that leads us on to the path of truth and prosperity.