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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.

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Deepawali is one of the most popular festivals of the Hindus. It is also called the festival of lights. The word Deepawali literally means Deep meaning  oil lamps and Awali meaning long rows. Deepawali is celebrated to commemorate the win of the good (Lord Rama) over the bad (the demon Ravana). Rama, Sita and his younger brother Lakshmana were in exile as ordered by their mother and father. Ravana kidnapped Sita, who was the consort of Rama, while Ram and his younger brother was away. Rama asked Ravana to release Sita, but all efforts were in vain. The last option was to fight and win Sita. The day Ravana was killed is celebrated as Dusshehra in the Indian subcontinent. On Diwali, Lord Rama came back to his kingdom and thus the festival is celebrated with extraordinary pomp and show in India. Rows of diyas or deepaks (oil lamps) are lit on this day. This is the most awaited festival and, besides India countries like Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Suriname, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Fiji observe a holiday on this day. This day is celebrated to signify the triumph of good over evil.

This day is also celebrated to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha to the houses. Lord Ganesha is the lord of prosperity and Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. Legend says that worshipping Lord Ganesha along with Goddess Lakshmi on Deepawali brings wisdom along wealth. There is an immensely popular story of Lord Ganesha. The story of Deepawali is in two parts. The first describes how an old lady’s wish is fulfilled by Lord Ganesha and, the other describes how Goddess Lakshmi gives the boon of wealth to a little girl who worshipped her.  Let us first discuss the story of Lord Ganesha.

Once there was an old and blind lady who worshipped Lord Ganesha with sincerity and selflessness. Humble God as he is fondly called, thought that the old lady had suffered a lot in her life and now should be awarded everything she wants. He appears in front of the old lady and asks her, “Oh! Old lady, you have worshipped with sincerity and devotion. I am here to give you all that you want. Ask me what you want, I promise you that whatever is your wish I will fulfill that”. The old lady never worshipped the God with any intentions, so the simple old lady answered, “Oh my great lord! I already have what I wanted, and all my prayers have been answered by you. What else would one need in life, if i get a chance to have a glimpse of you?” The Lord Ganesha was impressed. Still he told the old lady to ask for a boon. The old lady said that she will think and would ask him something the next morning. Lord nodded and said that he will return the following day.

The old lady told the entire story to her son and asked what she should ask the God. Her son said ask for immense wealth and money as this will make the rest of our life happy. Unsatisfied with the answer given by her son she asked her daughter-in-law the same question. Her daughter-in-law suggested that she asks for healthy grandchildren. Still unsatisfied she told the entire story to her neighbors and asked them. Her neighbors told her that both her son and daughter-in-law are asking what will eventually make their life easy. They told her that she should ask for something that will make her life easy. They suggested that because she is already an old lady she should ask for the boon of sight and in the end Moksha (eternal peace).

For the whole night, she kept thinking and in the morning when she woke up and went to worship the deity, the deity reappeared in front of her and asked her to tell what she had decided. The old lady hesitatingly asked Him, “Will you give me whatever I say?”. The deity nodded his head in confirmation. The old lady then said,            “ Mujhe sau crore ki maaya dein, nirogi kaaya dein, meri bahu ko amara suhaag dein, meri ankhon ka prakaash dein, naati-pote dein aur ant mein moksh dein

(Give me billion rupees give me the promise that I would be healthy for the rest of my life promise me that my son will live longer give me my eyesight bless me with healthy and lovely grand children and in the end give me the eternal peace that everybody wants).

Lord Ganesha laughed and said, “Oh old Lady! Thou cheated me, still I promised you and I assure you whatever you have asked will be given to you”. In this way, an old lady got everything she had longed for in her entire life just by worshipping Lord Ganesha with love and devotion.

 The other story is about how Goddess Lakshmi gave a boon to one of her devotees. Once there was a very poor, young girl who used to go to the Peepal tree (a fig tree) and pray to Goddess Lakshmi every day. Once the goddess came in front of her and invited her to her place for a feast. She said that she would ask her parents and would let her know. She went back to her place asked her for their permission. Her parents agreed and the Goddess invited her the following day to her place. On the following day, the girl as decided went to the castle of Goddess Lakshmi. The castle was like a large stadium, and all the amenities were there. The Goddess offered her a golden bejeweled chair and washed her feet with rose water and invited her to her dining area to have her feast. There was chhappan bhog (56 varieties of eatables). The girl completed her feast and, when she was about to leave, Goddess gave her a golden shawl (cloak consisting of an oblong piece of cloth that is used to cover shoulders and head). When the girl was about to leave, the Goddess told her that she will come for lunch the following day at her place.

The girl came back and told the entire story to her parents. She asked her parents how would they match the lavishness with which the girl was treated in the Goddess’ house. Her parents told her not to worry and told her to prepare food with utmost love and devotion.

That night while bathing, the queen of the place where the girl stayed, put her precious necklace by the pool’s side. An eagle came from nowhere and took the necklace away. The eagle threw the necklace in front of the girl’s house. The girl went to the market and sold the necklace and got a decent amount of money in return. She organized the feast with that money. Pleased by the hospitality, the Godess blessed her with wealth and opulence for the rest of her life.

These two stories tell us that if we will pray and worship God with sincere devotion and dedication, they will come and would release us from all the problems and evils and would grant us a healthy and happy life ahead.

Shree Lakshmi Ganeshay Namah!

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  • Mudakratha Modakam Sada Vimukti Saadhakam,
    Kalaadharaavatamsakam Vilasiloka Rakshakam,
    Anaaya Kaika Naayakam Vinasitebha Daityakam,
    Nataasubhasu Naashakam Namaami Tham Vinaayakam.

Meaning:

I bow to the one who removes obstacles, who holds modaks (sweet delicacies) in his hands, who leads us towards the path of salvation, who has a crescent moon on his head, who defends and guards the mottled and assorted world, who is the head of the ganas (followers of Lord Shiva), who assassinate asuras (demons) and who demolish and wreck everything that is not virtuous and noble.

  •    Natetaraati Bheekaram Navoditaarka Bhaasvaram
    Namat Suraari Nirjanam Nataadhi Kaapa Duddharam
    Suresvaram Nidheesvaram Gajesvaram Ganeshvaram
    Mahesvaram Samaasraye Paraatparam Nirantaram.

Meaning:

I bow to the one who is the supreme of all the Gods, who creates horror among fiends, who glistens and shimmers as sun, who is saluted by Devtas (gods) and Asuras (devils), who is the remover of obstacles from the path of his devotees, who is the Lord of all devtas, who is the Lord of opulence, who is the Lord of all elephants and who is the one who leads the army of ganas.

 

  •     Samasta Loka Samkaram Nirasta Daitya Kunjaram
    Daredarodaram Varam Vare Bhavaktra Maksharam
    Krupaakaram Kshamaakaram Mudaakaram Yasaskaram
    Manaskaram Namaskrutaam Namaskaromi Bhaasvaram.

Meaning:

I bow to the Lord who glitters like the ball of fire i.e. Sun, who bequeath tranquility to all the three Loks i.e. Dev Lok (Abode of heavenly creatures), Mrityu Lok or Prithvi Lok (Earth where human beings reside and Pataal Lok (where asuras stay), who eliminated Gajamukhasura demon from this world, who had a  pot belly like structure, who has an elephant like structure and sanctify people, who is benevolent, who gives boons and who showers eminence among his devotees and to all those who salute Him.

  •   Akimchanaarti Marjanam Chirantanokti Bhaajanam
    Puraari Poorva Nandanam Suraari Garva Charvanam
    Prapancha Naasha Bheeshanam Dhananjayaadi Bhushanam
    Kapola Daana Vaaranam Bhajaey Puraana Vaaranam.

Meaning:

I salute the ever eternal Elephant God, who gives to  the wants of his devotees, who is worshipped by many for centuries, who is the son of the Lord Rudra (Lord Shiva, who is called as the destroyer), who consumes the arrogance of the foes of Gods, who is beyond belief, who has a serpent as an ornament and wears it around his waist like a jewel and who is ferocious as an elephant in a fury.

  • Nitaantikaanta Dantakaanti Mantakaanta Kaatmajam
    Achintya Rupa Mantaheena Mantaraaya Krintanam
    Hrudantarey Nirantaram Vasantameva Yoginam
    Tameka Danta Meva Tam Vichintayaami Santatam.

Meaning:

I always worship the single tusked God, whose ever glistening tusk is always glossy, who is the son of Lord; who slaughtered the God of Death, who has a figure beyond anyone’s prospects, who is aadianadi (endless), who rips off all hindrances and hurdles and who stays forever in the heart of RishiMunis (sages) just like the season of spring.

  • Phalasruthi Maha Ganesa Pancha Rathna Maadharena Yo Anvaham,
    Prajalpathi Prabhathake Hrudhi Smaran Ganeswaram,
    Arogadhamadhosadham Susahitheem Suputhratham,
    Samahithayurshta Bhoothi Mapyupaithi Sochiraath.

Meaning:

The one who chants this Ganesh Panchratnam enjoys the following benefits:

The ones who remember these five gems of Lord Ganpati every morning with utmost devotion and who contemplate in their hearts about the leader of ganas, will be blessed with ecstatic and jovial life. Their lives will be free from all troubles, will be bestowed with salvation, a healthy family and both spiritual and physical type of wealths.

 

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