Om Shri Ganeshaya Namaha
Lord Ganesha is the Lord of prosperity, wisdom and success. In Indian culture, whenever there is any pooja (prayer) it is mandatory to begin it with reciting and remembering Lord Ganesha’s name (In form of the mantra ” Om Shri Ganeshaya Namaha “). There is a story behind the fact as to why is Lord Ganesha worshipped first among all the other Hindu Gods.
It is believed that according to the Puranas (ancient Indian text), if Lord Ganesha is not worshipped at the beginning of any ceremony (religious or secular), he creates obstacles in the path for the performers. Therefore be it any occasion, he should be worshipped first and then only the proceedings should follow. Due to this legendary tale, it is a common practise to worship Lord Ganesha before any other God. Therefore, Lord Ganesha is also known as Vighaneshwara (remover of obstacles).
There is another tale that sheds light on why Ganesha is worshipped before any other deity. According to mythology, once Parvatiji (Lord Shiva’s Wife) had to take a bath but the bathroom did not have a door. So, with her special powers (using sweat, turmeric paste and scruff ) she created a small boy and told her to guard the entrance of the bathroom. The boy was beautiful and about 12 years of age and was doing the task of guarding very well. When Lord Shiva returned from his Samadhi (a meditation routine), he was surprised to see a young boy standing at the entrance and barring him to enter his own house. Even when Lord Shiva told him that he is Parvatiji’s husband, Ganesha did not allow him to enter. He was unaware of Lord Shiva’s identity and told him “ My mother (Parvatiji) has told me to keep a watch and guard the door till she is bathing. Thus, I can’t allow anyone to enter.” Listening to this Lord Shiva told him that he has no son and tried to push Lord Ganesha aside, but to his surprise, Ganesha was very strong and did not budge from his place.
Lord Shiva, in profuse anger struck of Lord Ganesha’s head. Listening to all the noise, Paravatiji came out and saw Ganesha’s lifeless body lying on the floor and broke down. After listening to his wife, Lord Shiva realized that he had made a grave mistake. He called his army and told them to get the head of the first living being that they find who is sleeping with its head facing the north direction. The troops found an elephant who was sleeping in the position described by Lord Shiva and got his head. Lord Shiva revived life in the boy by attaching the elephant’s head and also made him the leader of his army.
Once a beautiful young boy and now a boy with the head of an elephant, Pravatiji got even more angry at her husband and told him “Nobody will worship my son as a God and will make fun of him.”
Lord Shiva told his wife that their son Ganesha will be worshipped first and before any other deity for generations to come. He also said that prayers would not be considered complete if Lord Ganesha is not worshipped at the beginning. The boon that Lord Shiva bestowed upon Ganesha holds true to this day and it seen that people worship Ganesha and take his name before any new venture or important task. In all auspicious religious and social ceremonies Lord Ganesha’s blessings are taken at the beginning.
Lord Ganesha was protecting his mother and that’s the reason he got beheaded. He epitomizes both courage and wisdom. So fight all evil with Shree Ganeshaya Namaha!!