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Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun. He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.

His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.

Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.

Common Names of Lord Ganesha:

Dhoomraketu, Sumukha, Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and Vigneshwara. He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.

Ganesha Gayatri Mantra

Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates. He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides.

The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of the ankusha represents His rulership of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty.

Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature’s smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom. It also denotes the process of evolution—the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and finally becomes a man. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant’s head and a mouse as His vehicle. This is the symbolic philosophy of His form.

The Vaishnavas also worship Lord Ganesha. They have given Him the name of Tumbikkai Alwar which means the divinity with the proboscis (the elephant’s trunk). Lord Ganesha’s two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love.

He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His birthdays He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings. Having eaten a good number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night. Suddenly the mouse stumbled—it had seen a snake and became frightened—with the result that Ganesha fell down. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.

Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute. However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel. This story is quoted in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Once Ganesha & His brother Lord Subramanya had a dispute. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.

Lord Shiva said, “Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?”

Ganesha replied, “No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!”

Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.

On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel His Presence in it.

Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.

May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!

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How to perform Ganapathy poojai?

First light the lamps.

Place the Ganesh idol or Photo frame facing the East or West. But not facing the South. Apply sandal paste and kumkum on the forehead, palms and feet and then garland with flowers.

Aachamaniyam :

   Achyutaya Namaha    Ananthaya Namaha    Govindaya Namaha    Keshava, narayana, madhava ……………….padmanabha, damodara

Ring the bell as you chant the following mantra :

   Aagamartha tu devanam,    Gamanartha tu rakshasam    Kurvey ghantaaravam ramyam    Devat ahvaan laanchanam

Guru dhyanam : With folded hand chant :

   Guru brahma guru vishnu gurudevo maheshwaraha.    Guru saakshaat param brahma    Tasmai shree guravey namaha.

   Nidhayey sarva vidyanaam, bhishajey bhavaroginaam.    Guravey sarva lokaanam, dakshina murthayey namah.

Ganapati Dyanam :

   Om shuklambaradharam vishnum    Shashi varnam chaturbhujam,    Prasanavadanam dyayetha, sarva vignobha upashanthaye.

Prana Yamam:

   Om boohu, Om bhuvaha, Oghum suvaha,    Om mahaha, Om janaha, Oghum satyam, Om tat sa vithurvarenyam,    Bhargo devasya dhimahi, dheeyo yonah pracho dayathu. Om aphaha,    Jyothi rasa, amrutham brahma, bhurbhuvasuvaram.

Sankalpam :

   Mamopatha samastha, duritha kshaya dwara, shri parameshwara    preetheyartham, karishya manasya karmanaha nirvignam    parisamaptyartha aadhao vigneshwara poojam karishyey.

Pour a spoonful of water on your palms, wipe them and say :

  Apah upasprashya.

Take some flowers and rice (akshata) in your hands and chant :

   Om gananaanthva ganapathing havaa mahey,    Kavim kavinam, upavashravastamam.    Jyeshta rajam brahmanam, brahmanaspatha, aanushrunvan oothi bhi    Seedha saadanam. Om mahaganapathayey namaha.

Aavahanam (Invoking the God) - Place left palm on the centre of the chest and with                                                  the right palm touch the feet of the idol (or frame)                                                  simultaneously and chant the mantra :

   Asmin haridraa bimbey sumukham    Mahaaganapathim dyayaami,    Mahaaganapathim aavaa hayaami.

Aasanam - After chanting the following mantra, offer one flower or tulsi leaf :

   Aasanam samarpayami

Paadhyam and snaanam : Offer one spoon of water into a plate or bowl after                                        chanting each line of following mantra :-

   i) Paadhyo paadhyam samarpayaami    ii) Hastyo ardhyam samarpayaami    iii) Aachamaniyam samarpayami    iv) Snanaan tharam aachamaniyam samarpayaami

Vastram, Upavitham and Aabharanam - After chanting each mantra, offer akshata                                                            (rice) with flowers or tulsi leaf:

   i) vastrartha akshataan samarpayaami    ii) upavitaartha akshataan samarpayami    iii) aabharanartha akshataan samarpayaami

Chandanam - Apply sandalpaste on the forehead of the idol (or photoframe) and chant

   Divya Parimalla gandhaan-dharayaame

Kumkum - Apply kumkum on top of the sandal paste and chant :

   Haridra kumkumam samarpayaami.

Akshata - offer some akshata (rice) and chant.

   Akshataan samarpayaami

Pushpam - offer some flowers and chant :

   Pushpaanni samarpayaami

Now you have invoked Lord Ganesh for the Pooja, and you are ready for the Pushpaanjali and naamavali (praising the Lord by his different names) After each of the following mantra offer a flower :

Om sumukhaya namaha Om ekadantaaya namaha Om kapilaaya namaha Om gajakarnakaaya namaha Om lambodaraaya namaha Om vikataaya namaha Om vignaraajaya namaha Om vinayakaaya namaha Om dhuma ketavey namaha Om ganadyakshaaya namaha Om faalachandraya namaha Om gajananaaya namaha Om vakratundaaya namaha Om shoorpa karnaaya namaha Om Heyrambaaya namaha Om skandapoorvajaaya namaha Om moola prakrutayey namaha Om kshetra paalaya namaha Om gurubhyo namaha Om siddhi vinayaka swaminey namaha Nana vidha parimala - patra - pushpani samarpayaami

Prarthana : With folded hands chant :

   Vigneshwara mahabhaaga sarva loka namaskruta,    Mayarabdha midham, karma nirvignam kuru sarvadhaa.    Aabrahma lokaath, aasheyshaath aalokaa, loka parvataath,    Yey vasanthi, dvija devah, tey bhyo nityam, namostutey.    Namo namo ganeshya, namastey siva soonavey,    Avighnam kuru mey devah, namami tvam ganadhisha.

Dhoop : Light two agarbattis and show it to the Lord accompanied by the ringing of the             bell and chat.


Deepam: (Optional) If you have lit a small accompanying lamp, show it to the Lord               accompanied by ringing of bell. If not, just continue with agarbathi and say :

   Deepam Darshayaami

Naivedyam : Keep the prasadam (coconut fruits, kheer etc.) in a plate before the                    Lord, put Tulsi leaves on it close your eyes and chant the mantra offering                    mentally the naivedyam to the Lord.

   Om bhur bhuvasuvaha, tat sa vithur varenyam,    bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyoyo nah prachodayat.

Take 2 spoonful of water on your right palm, drip the water drops around the prasadam chanting :

   Deva savitah prasuva

Again 2 drops , drop as above :

   Satyam tvartena parishinchaami

Take 2 drops and drop thru the palm on your right side near prasadam chanting:

   Amrutah opatarana masi

Now, make gesture of offering prasadam to the Lord, chanting :

   Om Pranaaya swaha    Om Apaanaya swaha    Om Vyaanaya swaha    Om Udaanaya swaha    Om Samaanaya swaha    Om brahmaney swaha    Om maha Ganapataye namahe, Kadali phaladhikam nivey dayami

Drop 2 drops of water thru right palm on right side of naivedyam saying :

   Niveydanan antaram aachamaniyam samarpayami

2 drops - repeat    Madhyey Madhyey amruta paniyam samarpayaami 2 drops - repeat    Amrutaapidhaa namasi 2 drops - repeat    Hasta prakshaalanam samarpayaami 2 drops - repeat    Padha prakshaalanam samarpayaami 2 drops - repeat    Aachamaniyam samarpayaami

Then put Tulsi leaves or flowers at the feet of the Lord after chanting :

   Poogi phala samaayuktam,    Naagavalli dalai yurtam    Karpoora churna sanyuktam    Tamboolam prati gruhataam    Taamboolam Samarpayaami

Light the Aarti (camphor) and show it to the Lord accompanied by ringing of the bell and the following mantra.

   Raajadi rajaaya prasanna    Saahiney, namo vayam vaishravan aaya karma ney.    Samey kaamaan, kaama kaamaya mahyam,    kaameshwaro vaishravano dadhaatu    kuberaya vaishravaanaya, mahaarajaya namaha.

Take 2 spoonful of water in your right palm and let it drop in the plate in front and say :

   Tat purushaya vidmahey vakratundaaya dhimahi.    Thanno dantih pracho dayat. Karpoora niraanjanam sandarisha yaami.

Pour one spoonful water in plate after each mantra :

   i) Neeraaja naanaantaram aachamaniyam samarpayaami    ii) Rakshaan dhaarayaami

offer flowers or Tulsi saying :

   Mantra pushpam samarpayaami, sarva opachaaran samarpayaami.

With folded hands pray.

   Vakratunda mahaakaya surya koti sama prabha.    Avignam kuru mey deva, sarva kaaryeshu sarvadaa.

Prostrate before the Lord and exit.


Sushma Kishore

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(last edited November 24, 2002 by Kishore Balakrishnan - @bekishore - Contact for feedback and suggestions) [info] [diff] [full] EditText of this page

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