Ten life lessons from Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is one of the most important Gods in Hinduism. In the light of many articles on Lord Ganesha, there are many lessons to learn from the God of wisdom.
Respect your parents: Ganesha’s relationship with his parents has been tricky. This is primarily due because of the way he was created by Parvati and by mistake beheaded by his father Lord Shiva. However his powers and wisdom has developed the relationship with his parents into one that is loving and full of respect. An anecdote from Lord Ganesha’s life reflects this lesson. When Ganesha was asked to encircle the world three times in order to win a race, he simply encircled his parents saying they were his world.
Wisdom can help us overcome any inherent limitation: Ganesha is shown as a large pot bellied God. Yet he is known as one of the most powerful Gods in the world and has slain many demons. The above anecdote also tells us that we must not fret over our physical weaknesses. It was Skanda’s vehicle and strength that made him hop on and encircle the earth literally. Ganesha could not be as fast as Skanda so he used his wisdom to win the race.
It is important to be a good listener: Lord Ganesha’s large ears denote the importance of large ears. A good listener is sometimes more effective than a good orator.
Power can be self-destructive and should be handled with responsibility: Lord Ganesha was deemed as the most powerful God by his father Lord Shiva (after Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Vishnu). The elephant’s trunk is not just used to carry heavy logs but also knock down its enemy. The animal is also known as the strongest in the animal kingdom. Yet its demeanour is calm and composed. The elephants head on Lord Ganesha hence teaches this lesson.
One must finish what one starts: Legend has it that when Valmiki was reciting the Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha, the pen broke in the middle of writing it. Since Lord Ganesha had the onus of writing the epic he broke his tusk and used it as a pen only to finish what he started.
Forgiveness is a virtue: When the moon made fun of Lord Ganesha, Lord Ganesha felt humiliated. He cursed the moon saying that no human would ever look at it again. The moon franticlly asked for forgiveness and Lord Ganesha realized that the punishment was perhaps harsh. He forgave the moon despite being insulted by it.
Spirituality is as important as earthly desires: Lord Ganesh’a one leg on the ground and one leg on his throne denote the balance required to attain between spiritual knowledge and worldly matters. The lesson learnt is to maintain the balance.
Humility is the mark of power: Ganesha’s vehicle, the mouse, teaches us to be humble. Although the mouse is tiny he carries the weight of one of the most powerful God’s. So we must never underestimate anyone.
With wisdom, comes prosperity: Lord Ganesha’s consorts Laxmi and Saraswati, are mark of prosperity and skill. Hence the lesson learnt is with knowledge and wisdom, come prosperity.
United we stand: The reason why Lokmanya tilak chose Ganesh Chaturthi to spread national integrity in India is because of the universal appeal Lord Ganesha has across all religions. The colour red smeared all over Ganesha and his devotees on this day also stand for the same lesson as it doesn’t allow anyone to differentiate between people.