Before he began Creation Brahma, unable to command unruly ‘Ganas’ (cosmic elements), ‘Pramatha’ (the Innumerable), ‘Bhuta’ (the Unfathomable), ‘Yaksha’ (the Unending) and ‘Rakshasa’ (the Imperishable), invoked Ganesha for containing them.
Ganesha complied, helping Brahma to create out of Innumerable, Unfathomable, Unending and Imperishable, a world that was numbered, spanned, born to die, and decayed.
Lord Ganesha has been invoked by several Gods and Goddesses before they commenced a challenging task.
Lord Vishnu is said to have invoked Lord Ganesha before He vanquished Bali; Shiva, before He destroyed Tripura, the three cities of demons; Durga, before She killed Mahishasura; the great serpent Shesh, before He lifted the earth on His head; and the God of Love Kamadeva, before He conquered the Universe with His arrows of passions.
Ganesha is also believed to have bene invoked by the great sage Vyas before he began composing his great epic the Mahabharata.
Brahaspati, the teacher of Gods, in said to have invoked Lord Ganesa before he delivered his ever first lesson.
Patron of Letters
Lord Ganesa is invoked for enshrining a child’s slate before he draws on it his ever first alphabet. The patron of letters, He is worshipped even before Sarasvathi, the Goddess of Learning. A new account-book would commence only after the Ganesa-mantra, ‘Shri Ganeshay Namah’ (‘Salutations to Thee O Lord Ganesha’), or at least His emblem ‘Swastika’ has been inscribed on its opening page.
A marriage card or an invitation for any other auspicious occasion would essentially incorporate on its top a form of Ganesa, visual or linguistic.
Invocation to Lord Ganesa would precede rites relating to birth, ‘Yajnopavit’, ‘Grahapravesh’ (entering a new house), commencement of a new business, a public feat or even installation of a deity.
So deep-rooted is the belief that even many of the Persian scribes during medieval days preferred invoking Lord Ganesa before they began writing their texts.
Essentially the God of Beginning, Lord Ganesha does not sanctify ends, except when an end precedes a beginning.
Death-related rites are not begun by invoking Lord Ganesa. He is not invoked, or his name inscribed on papers or documents that seek dissolution of a marriage, partnership or firm, or declare bankruptcy, lunacy or disentitlement.
Endowed with child-like innocence, mischief in eyes and carefree disposition the cool, soft and benign elephant-headed Ganesa is invoked primarily for removing obstacles and assuring detriment-free beginning.
“Vakratunda Mahakay Surya Koti Sama Prabha, Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva Sarva Karyeshu Sarvatha’ (O ye, who possesses curved trunk, huge body and brilliance of ten million suns, accomplish, and accomplish always, all my errands detriment-free), is one of the most popular hymns, which, besides describing his broad physiognomy and spiritual aura invokes Him for accomplishing His devotee’s ‘Sarva-Karya,’ all tasks he undertakes. In Indian perception, ‘Karya’ denotes ‘Mangala-Karya’ – auspicious work, which a fair mind undertakes.
When invoked before a ‘Karya’ is begun, Lord Ganesha assures its detriment-free accomplishment. The Protector and Promoter of auspicious aspect of the ‘Karya’ Ganesha is thus also the God of Auspiciousness.
In initial textual allusions Lord Ganesa is perceived as the God who subdued detrimental forces variedly named ‘Ganas’ or ‘Vighnas.’
In one of the hymns (23/19) the Yajurveda lauds him as ‘Gananama Twa Ganapati’ – Lord of ‘Ganas’ is Ganapathi. In other early texts, He is lauded as Vinayaka and Vighnesha (Commander or Lord of ‘Vighnas’).
The Brahma Vaivarta Purana delineates Him as ‘Parmeswara,’ the Ultimate God, but this ‘Parmeswara’ is primarily the ‘Vighna Nighna Karam’, that is, one who eliminates obstacles. The Brahma Vaivarta Purana hence commands that Ganesha be invoked before any other God, which would assure a smooth beginning and unimpeded accomplishment of an act.
It quotes Lord Vishnu as declaring: ‘Sarvagre Tawa Puja … Sarva Pujyashcha Yogindra Bhava’ (You are the first I have worshipped, O Conqueror of Passions, You would hence be worshipped by all).
Not Lord Vishnu alone, ‘Ado Pujya Vinayaka’ worship Vinayaka first, is what Vedas, Shrutis, Smritis, Upanishads, Puranas and other texts have prescribed, for nothing succeeds if the forces that impede it are not contained, something that Lord Ganesha alone is capable of doing.
Commemoration of Lord Ganesa, ‘Yasya Smaran Matren Sarvavighno Vinasyati’ annihilates all impediments and success is assured for, as acclaim Indian metaphysics as well as modern science, unless impeded all things keep going.
Nitin Kumar is Executive Editor of Exotic India, an online resource on Indian festivals, traditions, and religious observances. Website: www.exoticindia.com
Photo : Chief Priest Parameswaran Chandru with the Presiding Deity at Sri Ganesha Temple in Papakura, Auckland, which attracts thousands of devotees throughout the year (Picture by Narendra Bedekar)