Saturday, September 25, 2010
Ganesha Chaturthi- An Insight
On these festival days, let’s remember that God is one, and all religions uphold the same principle of "One God, who is omnipresent." One should not have contempt for any religion, as each is a pathway to God. Fostering love towards our fellow-beings, receive the noble love of the Divine. This is the goal of life.
Ganapathi should be worshiped for this purpose because he is the master of the senses and only the mastery of the senses can make man turn his mind God-ward. If we want to lead a life of happiness, free from troubles and difficulties, one should pray to Ganapathi, the remover of all obstacles. Vighneshvara (Ganesha) dwells in each one of us as our Buddhi (intelligence) and Vijnaana (wisdom). When we make proper use of our inherent intelligence and wisdom, we shall be successful in life.
The Ganesha story brings home an original message: that we must all do our own deeds out of inclination in our own world, and for our own reasons. Also, we must firmly hold to our own centre. Reason: it’s only when devotion is observed without any ulterior motive can we purify our mind and receive God’s – Grace.
The portrayal of Lord Ganesha as the blend of human and animal parts symbolizes the ideals of perfection and this form of Ganesha also symbolizes philosophical concepts of profound spiritual significance. A Ganesha idol – an indispensable element of every home – depicts a human being having in one’s persona the entire Cosmos, with all its spiritual energies and authority.
Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman [soul] -- the ultimate, or the supreme, reality of human existence. His human body signifies maya, or illusion – the earthly existence of human beings.
Elephant head, small mouth, and large ears: the large head of an elephant symbolizes to think BIG, --understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life. The small mouth represents to talk less. The large ears signify that a perfect person is the one who possesses a great capacity to listen to others and assimilate ideas. To hear even minute sounds, hearing the glory of the Lord- is the first step in spiritual dedication for which ears should be sharp. After hearing one has to ruminate over this and put it into practice. The elephant takes the Dhuushana and Bhuushana (praise and blame) equally. When it hears something bad, it moves its body this way and that way and shakes off the unwanted things while it retains goods things quietly.
Elephant eyes: are said to possess natural deceptiveness that allows them to perceive objects to be bigger than what they really are. Thus the elephant eyes symbolize the idea that even if an individual gets "bigger and bigger" in wealth and wisdom, he should perceive others to be bigger than him; that is, surrender one's pride and attain humility.
The trunk and two tusks with the left tusk broken: the trunk epitomizes Om – the sound emblem of cosmic reality. There is no known human instrument that has an operating range as wide as that of an elephant's trunk. It can uproot a tree and yet lift a needle off the ground. Likewise, the human mind must be strong enough to face the ups and downs of the external world and yet delicate enough to explore the subtle realms of the inner world. The sweets He holds in His trunk indicate that one must discover the everlasting sweetness of the eternal Atman.
The two tusks denote the two aspects of the human personality, wisdom and emotion. The right tusk represents wisdom and the left tusk represents emotion. The broken left tusk conveys the idea that one must conquer emotions with wisdom to attain perfection.
The four arms and various objects in the four hands: the four arms indicate that the Lord is omnipresent and omnipotent. The left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason. An axe in the upper left hand and a lotus in the upper right hand signify that in order to attain spiritual perfection, one should cut worldly attachments and conquer emotions. This enables one to live in the world without being affected by earthly temptations, just as a lotus remains in water but is not affected by it.
A human body with a big belly: the human body possesses a human heart, which is a symbol of kindness and compassion toward all. Ganesha's body is usually portrayed wearing red and yellow clothes. Yellow symbolizes purity, peace and truthfulness. Red symbolizes the activity in the world. These are the qualities of a perfect person who performs all duties in the world, with purity, peace, and truthfulness. The big belly signifies that a perfect individual must have a large capacity to peacefully digest all good and bad in life.
A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha and gazing at the tray of Laddus: a mouse symbolizes the ego/ desire that can nibble all that is good and noble in a person. A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha indicates that a perfect person is one who has conquered his (or her) ego/desire. Mouse as the vehicle indicates that one should ride and keep the ego/desire under control and don’t allow it to take you for a ride.
Right foot dangling over the left foot: as stated above, the left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason and knowledge. The right foot dangling over the left foot illustrates that in order to live a successful life one should utilize knowledge and reason to overcome emotions.
Let us celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi realizing the inner meaning of the aspects of Lord Ganesha. Let us do away with the binding worldly attachments by freeing ourselves from the illusion of discrimination and vanquish the ego by surrendering to the Lord who promises protection and attain the sweetness of bliss of spiritual enlightenment.