Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ganesha My Sweet Lord

Lord Ganesha

|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||

In attempting to write this blog on this very interesting topic my thoughts nostalgically find itself in Chennai three years ago. Amidst the beating sounds of the tuk-tuk (mini taxis in India) and the annoying  intrusions of the multiple horns blaring for attention, my senses wafted towards the soothing incense that permeated the air from down below. And suddenly everything was interrupted by about three or four significant thuds to the ground.
I immediately made my way to the window of my hotel room to find a sizeable gathering around a dainty shrine which housed a deity of Lord Ganesha. The thuds originated from the coconuts that were slammed against the stoney and broken asphalted surface. Rather mechanically, everybody started tapping the side of their heads with a clinched fist as the priest broke the silence with the harmonious ringing of the bell and the melodious rendition of Aum Suklambaradarham Vishnum.
Shuklambaradharam Vishnum
Shashivarnam Chaturbhujam
Prasannavadanam Dhyaayeth

Suklambaradaram - one who wears a white garment
Visnum - all pervading
Sasivarnam - one who has a brilliant complexion (like the full moon)
Chaturbhujam - one who has four hands
Prasannavadanam - one who has an ever smiling and benevolent face
dhyayet - I meditate upon
Sarvavighnopashantaye- for the removal of all obstacles

It is no wonder then, that those who pass this shrine on their way to whatever activity they are going to engage in to offer their pranams and love to that Lord who has the ability to remove all obstacles. In South India Lord Ganesha is commonly refered to as Pillayar and eulogized as Mudalvana (one who is first worshipped).
Shrines like the one outside my hotel are very common in every village, town and city in India. You will be fooling yourself if you think that you can travel more than 100m without embracing some form of Ganesha. The iconography of this most unusual yet magnetic form of the divine finds itself on shop signage, doorways, car dashboards, wedding cards, temple architecture, shrines and many unthought-of places.
It is through the obsession of man to have a life free of challenges and obstacles that Lord Ganesha is propitiated throughout the length and breadth of the world, not only by Hindus but other religious denominations as well.
There is no prayer, function or activity amongst most Hindus that will take place without first offering their pranams to Ganesha to ensure that whatever obstacles that may obstruct that activity about to be undertaken should be removed.
However I am reminded that last year during the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, revered Maharaj Swami Vimokshananda in his discourse mentioned that although worshipped for His grace in removing all obstacles, He is also known for placing obstacles in the path of devotees. The dichotomy of benevolence and malevolence surely arises from His mercy to help His devotees discriminate between their needs and desires.
We must not forget our role and purpose of god realisation - to search for that divinity that is within each and everyone of us. Often enough we are gripped with chronic materialism and focus our attention and resources in that direction. It is then that the Lord will place obstacles to dissuade you from going down the wrong path for your own good and protection.

Lord Vinayaga

We are all in search of joy and bliss. But along the journey in this material plane we enjoy just temporary jolts of joy interrupted ever so much by pain and despondency.  I refer back to Maharaj's discourse when He said that Lord Ganesha’s favorite food is the Modaka or Modagam as pronounced in Tamil - a sweet dumpling prepared by the millions to be offered to the Lord as his most preferred dish on his special day.
This Modaka (Moda means joy) is what we all desire at every moment in our life’s journey. The bliss that we seek is possible if we follow some simple rules as displayed through the form of Ganesha.
The large ears and small mouth asks us to speak little and listen more, the small eyes are personification of concentration. The axe dictates we should chop away at the bonds of attachment , the one broken tusk to suggest that we keep the good and get rid of the bad and the small mouse (representing desires) as his vehicle is most significant as it strongly implies that we must bring our desires under control. Bring our desires under control makes way for a clean clear mind which will act as a mirror and reflect the divinity that is within you.  You can thus enjoy the Modagam of divine bliss.
The other form that Vinayagar is worshipped as is Aumkar or Aum. Aum is said to be the sound with which the entire creation resonates in. It is the frequency at which divinity is spread and permeates the universe. So if we want to attract divinity and the prosperity of the Universe it is wise that we modulate on this frequency of Aum rather than challenge or oppose it.

It is on this note that i would like to sign off this blog and invoke Lord Vinayagar in prayer for the welfare of all in this creation. May he preside over your life so you may obtain the modaka of immortality is my sincere prayer.
With Love and Prayers always
Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah

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