Tag Archives: Lord Ganesha
Diwali is one of the most popular festivals on India. The rituals and values trace a long way back. But even today these values and rituals hold a place of great importance. Lights, diyas, mithai and gifts have become an indispensible part of this festival. But in this article we shall be talking about why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali.
On the auspicious day of Diwali which is believed to bring prosperity and peace in our life, we generally worship lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi together. It is only on this particular day that goddess Laxmi is worshipped with lord Ganesha instead of lord Vishnu.
Laxmi puja is a ritual that is performed on Diwali, the festival of lights. It is believed that people who light oil lamps and worship goddess Laxmi on this day with true heart and soul are blessed with prosperity and goodness. Goddess Laxmi symbolizes wealth and money, thus she is usually worshipped by people who wish to acquire wealth. But goddess Laxmi only visits those houses which are clean and have hard working people. Just by praying goddess Laxmi, you won’t get wealth. You have to make continuous efforts in the direction. One must make a rangoli to welcome goddess Laxmi into their house on Diwali.
The ritual of Laxmi puja is to worship a total of 5 deities. Lord Ganesha is worshipped at the start of all new ventures. On the day of Diwali he is especially worshipped as Vighneshwara. Next is goddess Laxmi in 3 forms – Mahalaxmi (goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (goddess of learning, books and knowledge) and Mahakali. Last but certainly not the least in this list of deities is Kubera – the treasurer of gods. By worshipping lord Kubera you are offering him to become the treasurer of your wealth and money as well. Keep in mind that while performing Laxmi puja on Diwali you must recite Shri Ganesha aarti before reciting goddess Laxmi’s aarti.
There is another story that explains why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali. Once when goddess Laxmi and lord Vishnu were having a conversation, goddess Laxmi was praising herself and boasting about her abilities. She told lord Vishnu that by worshipping her people can get all the pleasures and happiness in the world. To reduce goddess Laxmi’s ego, lord Vishnu told her that although you have all these qualities, but you still cannot feel the joys of motherhood. And for a lady motherhood is the most important happiness of the world. She became disheartened and went to goddess Parvati to seek help. Laxmi ji said to Parvati ji that since you have two sons, could you please give me one of your sons. This way I would also get to feel the joys of motherhood. Goddess Parvati loved both her sons, lord Ganesha and lord Karthikeya immensely and could not decide who to give to goddess Laxmi.
She made a tough decision and gave lord Ganesha to Laxmi ji. It was then that goddess Laxmi said that she would be giving all her love and prosperity to lord Ganesha. In addition to this goddess Laxmi also promised goddess Parvati that Ridhhi and Sidhhi, Lord Brahma’s daughters would get married to nobody other than lord Ganesha. Goddess Laxmi declared that whenever my worship will be performed, Lord Ganesha’a worship will be a must. The worship would be considered incomplete if lord Ganesha is not worshipped. That’s the reason why lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi are worshipped together on Diwali.
As a culture Hinduism is perhaps the most widely accepted religions. Lord Ganesha is an extremely important God in Hinduism. Lord Ganesha has 108 names, each holding a specific meaning. He is also the most worshiped Hindu deities and is particularly popular in India and Nepal. The devotion to Lord Ganesha is widely diffused across other cultures also. Historically Ganesha emerged as an important deity in the 4th and 5th century, during the reign of the Guptas. The earliest known idol of Lord Ganesha is located in the Shiva temple at Bhumra. His following strengthened around the 10th century in India. The name Vinayaka for Lord Ganesha is not just mentioned in the Puranas but also the Buddhist mantras. Lord Ganesha is also known as the Lord of the Ganas in Sri Lanka.
Ancient temples and excavations show that the worship of the God of wisdom is spread across the globe. The physical attributes of Lord Ganesha vary in Java, Bali, Borneo, Vietnam, Bangkok and Burma. Here Lord Ganesha is mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles and also as the God of success. Worship of Ganesha was in vogue before Islam arrived in Afghanistan but no conclusive evidence exists to prove the statement. A few sculptures discovered between 5th and 7th century is proof of the same. In northern China statues with inscription dated to 531 exist in many parts. Presence of Lord Ganesha is also there in Tibet. The beliefs are ambivalent in nature, which is depicted by various idols across Tibet. Sri Lanka which is dominantly a Buddhist country has about 14 ancient temples of Lord Ganesha.
There is a strong influence of Lord Ganesha in the Malay Peninsula also. Temples were built around the 6th century in various locations including Petaling Java, Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pudu and Melaka. A dancing Ganesha is evident in the Malay Archipelago in the temple of Candi Sukuh. Other countries, that have Ganesha temples, are Mauritius (in Riviere du Rempart) and Singapore.
The popularity of Lord Ganesha not just spreads across Asia but also South and Central America and Mexico. In the modern times a significant following of Lord Ganesha exists in Britain, Australia Germany, France and Canada. Some of the popular temples of Ganesha stand tall in London, New York, Paris, Durban, Hamburg, Melbourne and Edmonton. Comparisons of Lord Ganesha to Janus, the two headed Roman God, also exist. No conclusive evidence of Lord Ganesha’s worship in Roman culture has been found despite the similarity.
It is not just globally that Ganesha is worshiped but also in various other cultures. Where Ganesha appears as an avatar of Budhdha in Ganesha Purana, he is also shown as a different idol in Tibet. Ganesha is even represented as an idol with one to five heads. Ganesh Chaturthi in India is more of a universal festival then a festival celebrated by Hindus. The popularity of this deity not just spreads across borders but also spreads across hearts.
Discovery of trade routes and the quest for land has contributed to inter mingling of cultures in the world. It is because of commercial and cultural contacts that Hinduism has had a huge effect particularly on East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Ganesha is one of the Hindu deities who landed in foreign land and became a popular figure. His teachings have now become universal because of globalization.
Trade not just helped build economies but also evolved cultures. The popularity of Lord Ganesha also spread across different parts of the world because of the traders and the merchants. It is known that any auspicious work marked by Lord Ganesha in the beginning turns out to be fruitful. Hence the significance of Lord Ganesha holds importance in the matters of trade. Migration of Hindus in search of promised lands also contributed to the spread of Lord Ganesha’s popularity. The period from 10th century was marked by the development of new networks of trade and exchange. Evidence of the deity in the 5th and 6th century (the Gupta period) has been found but it is through merchants that the popularity of Lord Ganesha spread across borders. The merchant community’s earliest inscription is that of Lord Ganesha, before any other deity.
The globalization of Lord Ganesha is further substantiated by the close association of some religious sects with trade. It is through this connection of commerce that the ideas of worship of this deity were exchanged. For instance, Ganesha is worshiped by Jainas because the connection of Jainas to the trading community is strong. In Buddhism the popularity of this deity was mainly because of the Guptas. The Guptas built sculptures that depict confluence of Buddhism and Hinduism through Ganesha. In some sects and countries such as Japan, Ganesha is believed to be an avatar of Buddha.
In the modern era it is the exchange of ideas through migration that has resulted in spread of Lord Ganesha’s affluence in places other then the Indian subcontinent and East Asia. Southern and Central America, Mexico, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and even parts of the Malay peninsula have seen a rise in Hindu population. Hence one can see many temples in these countries which are extremely popular. The region of Angkor Vat for instance thrives on Hindu temples and has elaborate temples and caves depicting Hinduism. We can also find idols and carvings of Lord Ganesha in this region.
It is not just the spread of Hindus in the modern era that has contributed to the popularity of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha’s teachings are more universal than any other deity in Hinduism. Although various religions may not practice the act of worship of this deity but they still hold his spiritual significance in high regard. It is the acceptance of this deity’s values that has led to the global status of Lord Ganesha.
In Hinduism the formal way to worship a deity is to recite a hymn or a specific prayer in their name. This is called a mantra. A mantra is mostly in Sanskrit and has a spiritual meaning. Every deity has a specific mantra and Lord Ganesha is no exception. With Ganesha’s being one of the most important and powerful deities in Hindu culture the Ganesh mantra or Ganapati mantra has significant importance for the devotees.
The Ganapati mantra is recited not just in honour of Lord Ganesha but also for overcoming obstacles, attaining prosperity, wealth and knowledge. It can be as simple as saying “Shri Ganeshaya Namah” or “Om Gang Ganadhirajaay Namah”, to chanting elaborate mantras. The popular ones with their meanings are given below.
This is one of the most important Lord Ganesha’s mantra. It is recited for Lord Ganesha and Riddhi and Siddhi. The reason for its incantation is to attain prosperity and wealth. It is believed by the priests that recitation of this mantra 1, 25,000 times brings wealth, prosperity and knowledge. All one needs to do is believe and be dedicated to reciting the mantra the given number of times.
“Om Hreeng Greeng Hreeng”
This mantra is also known as the Shaktivinayak mantra. This is recited primarily for financial prosperity.
A Tantrik mantra this is again recited for financial and materialistic prosperity.
“Om Ganesh Rhinam Chhindhi Vareniyam Hung Namah Phutt”
A Rhinaharta mantra, it is recited to keep poverty at bay.
“Om Shreeng Hreeng Kleeng Glaung Gang Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajanmey Vashmanay Tha Tha.”
This Ganesha mantra is one of the most important Ganapati mantra. Most of the important occasions of worshipping Lord Ganesha start with this mantra. This is recited to worship the Lord who removes obstacles.
“Rayaspaushasaya Dadita Nidhido Ratan Dhatuman Rakshohanovalaghano Vakratundaay Hung”
Not as popular with the devotees, this mantra is more popular amongst priests.
“Om Shreeng Gang Soumyaay Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajanmmey Vashmanay Swaha”
This is a mantra that is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha. Since it has the power to invoke the two Gods of financial prosperity , it is believed to be effective in that regard.
“Vakratundaikdaikdanshtraay Kleeng Hreeng Shreeng Gang GanapatyeVar Varad Sarvajanam mey Vashmanay Swaha”
This mantra is known as the Trailokya Mohan Kar Ganesha Mantra. It is believed to bring peace to the one who recites it.
“Om Hung Gang Glaung Haridra Ganapatye Var Varad Sarvajan Hridayam Stambhay Stambhay Swaha”
This mantra is known as Haridra Ganesh Mantra. This mantra is recited for marital happiness. It is specifically recited to remove impotency and bless the devotee with a child.
“Om Namo Siddhivinayakaay Sarvakaryakartrey Sarvavighanprashamnay Sarvarjya Vashyakarnaay Sarvajan Sarvastree Purushakarshanaay Shreeng Om Swaha.”
This mantra is known as the Siddhi Vinayaka mantra. As the name suggests it brings in Siddhi which is spiritual prosperity. It is believed to bring the devotee peace and spiritual happiness if recited 108 times every day.
The mantras stated above are some of the most popular mantras not just with the devotees but also the priests. These are recited particularly on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi and (or) otherwise.
Aum or Om is the sound of divinity in Hinduism. According to the Katha Upanishads (I) whoever recites and believes in this syllable gets what they desire. Aum acts as a support for those who want to accomplish and fulfil their desires. It is a sacred symbol that represents Brahman. It is considered the supreme symbol in Hinduism. It is considered the source of the universe. It is incomprehensible, omnipotent and omnipresent. Alternatively Aum is called Pranava, one which pervades life. According to Madukya Upanishad, Aum is the eternal syllable which encompasses the history, the present and the prospect.
Aum is the primal sound which, like music, transcends boundaries and language. It is the primordial language that everyone can understand. It is a combination of three Sanskrit words, Aa, Au and Ma, which combine to give the sound Aum. “aa” signifies the beginning of the universe, “Au” represents the life period and “Ma” signifies the destruction of the universe. Therefore Aum signifies the three acts of Gods that complete the circle of life. It is believed to be the source of all sounds on earth and is considered a prayer in itself. The sound resonates throughout the body and is believed to stir the Atman (or the soul). The holy book of Hindus, the Bhagavadh Gita, urges devotees to utter the sound with the thought of God. Once someone does that they supposedly reach the state of nirvana.
Aum is believed to project the mind beyond the obvious, to the abstract. Aum helps in not just visioning but also contemplating the inexpressible. It also constitutes all that is substantial and material. This duality to the syllable makes it encompass all that there is and that can be. During meditation the utterance of Aum attunes oneself to the universe.
Aum has four planes of existence. “A” the physical plane constitutes the wake state of the mind. “U” the astral plane constitutes the dream state of mind. “M” the casual state constitutes the dream less state of mind. The fourth plane is the unspoken sound referred to as Turiya. Turiya constitutes the enlightened state.
Though Aum is omnipresent and omnipotent in nature, it is identified with Lord Ganesha. One of the 108 names of Ganesha is Omkara which literally means’ like Aum’. The name is coined because Lord Ganesha’s body looks like the symbol Aum (in Devanagari and the Tamil script) when viewed from the side.
Recitation of the syllable Aum brings prosperity and peace. It is also believed to bring intelligence and spiritual progress which eventually leads to enlightenment.