WE SHALL WORSHIP THE LOTUS FEET OF,
HE WHO HAS TEN SACRED HANDS AND FIVE FAIR HEADS;
HE WHO HAS THE CHARIOT LIKE LOTUS THAT HE ADORNS,
HE WHO LIVES IN THE HEAVENS WHERE THE DHARMACHAKRA REVOLVES;
HE WHO PERVADES ALL THE LOKAS, WE SHALL WORSHIP HIS LOTUS FEET.
(Kandapurana on HerampaVinayaka – one of the 32 forms of Vinayaka)
Lord Ganesh, the highly popular Hindu deity
Elephant and the Elephant Headed
You must be aware of and must have read about, a lot of animals. All animals fall within the two categories of wild and domestic animals. You must also have seen a lot of animals, from the wild animals like the lion, tiger, fox, and wolf to the domestic animals like the dog, cat, cow, goat, and horse. But then, there is one animal that is capable of delighting and surprising small children at first sight.
Can you guess which animal is it?
Yes, it is the elephant.
It is a wonderful wild animal that can delight all children. A very large torso… broad ears like sleeves, very tiny eyes, a beautiful trunk, large pillar-like legs… More than all this the beautiful ivory-colored tusks that are unique to the elephant alone… yes, the elephant is indeed a beautiful animal.
Even though the elephant is enormous in size, it obeys the orders of the mahout and follows him like a child. It remains calm and quiet eating leaves, grass, and sugar cane.
But when the same elephant rises up in anger, no one can face its wrath. It can uproot and crush even very large trees and stamp people to death.
Just as the saying, “Beware the fury of a patient man” goes; an elephant can be very dangerous when it is enraged. But it does not get angry that easily. It generally remains calm and would shake its head in glee when it sees children.
It accepts with its trunk the bananas and sugar canes that are offered lovingly by children. The elephant’s trunk has extraordinary powers. No other animal in the world has such a wonderful limb.
The same trunk that picks up and carries easily huge logs from the ground can also pick up a small pin from the ground with the same ease. Moreover, it has the ability to distill potable water from muddy water. Moving about majestically in the jungle, the elephant clears up its passage ahead, by breaking and removing trees and bushes on its way.
Other animals that take this cleared path, find it easy not only to move along the path but also to feed off the leaves and shoots of the trees and bushes, broken and pulled down by the elephant.
Now shall we get to know about Lord Ganesh, who has this wondrous animal’s head as His own?
We worship God who is prevalent in all worlds, in various forms, and by various names. Yet, Lord Ganesh is one God who is lovingly worshipped by one and all, both by children and adults.
We call Lord Ganesh fondly by various names like Pillaiyar, Vinayaga, Ganapati, Ganesha, Vigneshwar, Gajananar, Ayngaran, and worship him. But he is known more by the name of Ganesh than any other since he has the qualities of an innocent, guileless child.
Lord Ganesh has a strange but beautiful figure, that of an elephant’s face and a human body. A big belly with a snake tied around it. He has four hands, each holding the ‘Ankusa’, the ‘noose’, ‘modakam’, and the broken end of his tusk respectively.
The ears are very big, big enough to hear the prayers of all the people of the world. He too has a wisdom eye in the centre of his forehead, just like his father Lord Shiva.
Peer into Pillaiyar’s beautiful face. You will realize another strange truth. If you put together, Pillaiyar’s face, the forehead, the eyes, the curved trunk. You will see the form of the Pranav Mantra.
This is the unique feature of Pillaiyar’s figure. The Pranav Mantra ‘Om’ is the basis of the entire Universe. Pillaiyar is a representative figure of this Pranav Mantra. The Pranav Mantra ‘Om’ is the foundation of all knowledge. And Pillaiyar is the Lord of all knowledge.
Pillaiyar is the eldest son of Lord Shiva. The younger son is Lord Muruga. The eldest son is the Lord of knowledge and the younger son is the Lord of Power. And thus they both remain the basis of the earth’s existence, knowledge, and power, both are indispensable to us. Aren’t they?
Pillaiyar’s trunk has wonderful powers. There is no other tool that is as wonderful as the trunk. Are you curious to know how? You must have seen tools like the pincers, chisel, screwdriver, spanner, and so on. You must have used them too. They might have been useful in helping you to remove the wheels of your bicycle. But can you use the same spanner to remove the minute parts of your wristwatch?
Well, you cannot. That requires other specialized tools. But the elephant’s trunk has such specialized abilities as I told you before; it can pick up a small pin from the ground as easily as it can handle large logs with that same trunk and bend them, lift them and throw them in another direction.
What does Lord Ganesh make us realize with his trunk? Just as the elephant’s trunk has the ability to distill water from mud and thus quench its thirst we should also discard evil and take only what is good.
Moreover, just as the elephant’s trunk clears obstacles in its way and helps other animals; we should also help others and not be selfish. Just as the elephant is able to handle with equal ease large logs and small pin, our Lord Ganesh also does not differentiate between greater devotees and lesser devotees, small work and great work, a small prayer, and big prayer. He accepts the prayers of all people of the earth and blesses them as they deserve.
Lord Ganesh’s ‘vahana’ (vehicle) is the shrew (of the mouse family). The shrew which is small made is the ‘vahana’ of the big made Lord Ganesh. The shrew which makes a small hole in the wall of the house and makes its entry keeps tunneling until it makes a large hole.
In the same manner, small desires which form in our hearts, keep growing and finally pervade our whole hearts. It is to show us that we should prevent this that Lord Ganesh keeps the shrew under his control and has made it his ‘Vahana’.
Let’s pray to Pillaiyar so that he would keep under restraint our worldly desires.
Pillaiyar: Very easy-going deity
We read before that Pillaiyar is easy to worship. If we offer even an Arugam grass with true love and devotion and worship Him, He would become pleased.
Apart from the Arugam grass, the leaves of the Vanni tree, and the Mantara Flowers are also suitable for Pillaiyar Pooja.
Sweet dishes like the ‘Mothagam’, ‘Sweet Pongal (sweet milk rice) and ‘Sundal’ (chick peas) and the grass, Vanni leaf, and the flower of the ‘Manthara’ are an integral part of Pillaiyar worship. Especially the grass, known as the ‘Arugampul’ is Pillaiyar’s favorite pooja item.
The grass can ordinarily be found growing wild at the edge of fields and grassy meadows. We should not forget that this grass which is so commonly found has rare medicinal purposes and powers.
Our ancestors had realized the medicinal powers of the grass several thousand years ago itself and had made several medicinal preparations from it. Even western scientists have now realized the medicinal properties of the ‘grass’.
The rare medicinal herbs like the neem, the gooseberry, Aswagandha, Sarpagandhi that our ancestors discovered have amazed western scientists. Doctors have proved that the juice extracted from the ‘Arugampul’, if drunk on an empty stomach every morning, would keep one insulated from any kind of disease. The ‘Arugampul’ which has such powers is a boon gifted to us by Pillaiyar.
We can see the ‘Mothagam’ in Pillaiyar’s hand. The Mothagam has a sweet filling inside. Mothagam, laddu, fruits, Appam, Aval, Pori, and Sundal are offered to Pillaiyar and then distributed among the children. Pillaiyar is pleased on seeing the children’s happiness.
There is a custom of smashing coconuts before Pillaiyar and then worshipping him. Shall we see what is the philosophy behind this practice?. There is sweet water and a delicious white kernel inside the coconut. But before we can get it we have to remove the coconut fiber and break the hard strong outer shell.
Our hearts too have lots of worldly desires like coconut fiber. Next to the fiber is the hard outer shell which is akin to arrogant pride. If we discard these we can see the innocent heart which has (Bhakthi) devotion and love like the sweet coconut water and the white kernel. It is this pure heart that Pillaiyar desires from us.
It is just to show that we are offering our pure heart to Pillaiyar that we break the coconut and offer its sweet water and kernel to Pillaiyar.
Pillaiyar temples abound everywhere. In many places, there are big temples for Pillaiyar alone, with him as the presiding deity. For example, the Trichy fort temple the Pillaiyar temple in Pillaiyarpatti, The eight Suyambu Vinayaga temples in Maharastra, North India (In these eight temples are Vinayaga statues that appeared from nowhere, they were not man-made.
In Sri Lanka, the Manipai Maruthadi Pillaiyar temple, the Segaraasa Sekarappillaiyar temple in Inuvil, the Maamangappillaiyar Temple in Mattakkilappu are very famous Pillaiyar Temples.
Pillaiyar is worshipped in many ways like this. It is quite easy to perform Pillaiyar worship. He has the heart of a child. He forgets our faults immediately and blesses us.
Do you not have a Pillaiyar idol in your home? Never mind. Take some cow dung, the moisture it, and make it into the shape of a small pyramid, and that is Pillaiyar for you. If you cannot get cow dung too, never mind. There is no cause for worry. Take some turmeric powder, mix it with water and make a Pillaiyar out of it. Then decorate him with Arugam grass and flowers. Sing songs in his praise and worship him with pleasure. No other God mentioned in the Hindu religion can be worshipped so simply and easily.
Some homemade Vinayaga for Poojas…
The Birth of Lord Ganesh
Pillaiyar appeared out of the Pranav Mantra as Lord of ‘ohmhara’ rhythm to bless the lives of the universe.
There was a magical ‘sithira’ hall in Shivaloga and it was full of endless mantras. Of these, two Pranav Mantras, Samashtip Pranav and Viyashtip Pranav sounded central to all the rest of the Mantras. These two Pranav Mantras which were responsible for the construction and destruction of all worlds chimed ‘Om’, ‘Om’ endlessly.
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi who happened to visit the hall at that time, lost themselves in the sweet music of the Pranav Mantras and were delighted. So they blessed that a beautiful child should be born as a unified form of the two Pranav Mantras, so that the world would be able to appreciate and realize the greatness of the Pranavas. And they focused their heavenly eyes on the Pranavas.
The two Pranavas united into one and there appeared a blinding light. The heavenly music ‘Om’ echoed in all directions and there appeared Pillaiyar the as the Lord of ‘ohmhara’ rhythm.
His face resembled that of the Pranav Mantra, taking the shape of the elephant. Pillaiyar worshipped his parents lovingly.
Goddess Parasakthi embraced her son lovingly and making him sit on her lap, blessed him.
Lord Shiva who saw the powers of his son, was immensely pleased. He made him the head of all Sivaganas.
Therefore Pillaiyar came to be known as Lord Ganapathi.
Lord Shiva ordained that whoever on earth begins any work, should begin it after worshipping his son Vigneshwar.
Therefore Pillaiyar also came to be known as Lord Vignehwar.
Vinayaga became the Lord who removes all obstructs and gives his blessings. From that day on, the Devas and the humans, all of them worshipped Vinayaga and sought his blessings before beginning any work.
This custom still persists. When we start writing any topics or a letter, we always begin by writing the holy Sanskrit symbolic letter of Vinayaga and offering our first prayers to him before we start writing.
This will please Lord Vigneshwar and in return, he offers us his blessings and sees to that our efforts are successful.
Does this custom apply to the Omnipotent Gods too? Yes, it does.
Read the next two stories and you’ll understand this.
Praying Vinayaga before we start something new
Lord Shiva and Vinayaga
Long back, the three Tripura kings, Kamalakshan, Tharakatchan and Vidyunmali, performed very rigorous penance and received in return numerous boons. They made three flying forts of Iron, Silver and Gold. They would often flew in those forts and troubled the Sages, Devas and the humans.
The Devas, Sages and almost everyone went appealing to Lord Shiva “Lord, there is no end to the wickedness that the Tripura kings perpetrate upon us. Lord, you should redeem us from their troubles”, they begged.
Lord Shiva consented and asked them to construct a chariot for him. All the Devas got together, pooled all their powers and resources, and constructed a very big chariot.
Lord Shiva, who wanted everyone to know the greatness of Lord Vinayaga, got into the chariot without offering his prayers to Lord Vinayaga. At the same instant, the axle of the chariot broke, the chariot tumbled down and the Devas trembled in their clothes. Lord Shiva got down from the chariot and called his eldest son affectionately.
Lord Vinayaga came running as soon as he heard his father’s call and gave his blessing and the axle was repaired. The chariot righted itself. Lord Shiva started the war. The Tripura kings came rushing in their flying forts to fight Him. Lord Shiva did not use any weapons to destroy them. He just smiled and from that smile flew three sparks. The Tripura kings’ forts were reduced to ashes. The Asuras, realizing the truth, surrendered to the Lord. Lord Shiva returned victoriously and came to be known as the Lord who destroyed Tripura.
This is a divine play that both Lord Shiva and his son Vinyaga enacted together.
The other story concerns Lord Brahma.
Lord Brahma and Vinayaga
You all know very well that Lord Brahma is responsible for the act of creation. Brahma was employed in the work of creation, right from the Universe itself. He created the Surya, the worlds, animals, humans, devas, and every other being. He was involved in the work of creation with arrogant pride. But surprisingly none of his creations were proper and regular. Contrary to his perceptions, all his creations turned out to be disfigured.
The human and devas figures all turned out to be crooked.
This disturbed as well as surprised Lord of the creator and he wanted to learn the reason. Soon he realized that he did not offer prayer to Lord Vinayaga before he begins his job of creating the new universe.
He stooped his work and prayed to Lord Vinayaga with eyes brimming with tears. Hearing to his prayers Lord Vinayaga appeared there in his ‘visvarupa’ (true enlarged form) as well as blessed him and even presented him with two new powers namely, ‘Kriya Shakthi’ and ‘Gnana Shakthi’.
With the support of the new powers or Shakthies and also of the true blessings, Lord Birmha began the creation works and this time all worked out as expected.
A new universe with Sun, Planets, and Stars formed well. Devas, Asuras, Humans, Animals, Birds, fish, and vegetations all materialized in the perfect manner.
This is what ancient legendary ‘Vinayaga Purana’ tells us.
Accordingly, we also must offer prayers to Lord Ganesh before we venture out into a brand-new undertaking.
Parvathi Devi and Lord Vinayaga
Parvathi Devi is not just the mother of Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga (Skanda) but also the mother of all living beings of this world. Lord Ganesh has immense love as well as affection for his mother. There is a story that informs us how did Lord Ganesh realized when he was little, that she is actually the mother of all.
Once ‘Bala Ganapathy’ was playing with a cat and in the speed of the game, his fingernails made a couple of scratches in the cat’s face. As a result, the cat moved away in pain. When the little Ganesh came back to his mother, he noticed the scratches in her face too.
This disturbed him and he asked ‘Who did this to you, mother?’.
For that the mother expressed, ‘It was you, my son’.
‘Really?’ Bala Ganapathy was shocked.
‘Yes, my boy. I present in all lives as the mother. So when one life is hurt, I get hurt too as an effect.’ expressed Parvathi Devi.
Pillaiyar’s vehicle is the shrew. How did Pillaiyar get the shrew as his vehicle? Vinayaga purana, also known as Parkhava purana, tells us the story.
Vehicle of Lord Ganesh
The vehicle of Lord Ganesh is a shrew (a tiny animal in the mouse family).
Exactly how this has actually become the vehicle of Lord Ganesh?
Let us now see just how the historical legendary ‘Parhava Puranam’ which is also known as ‘Vinayaga Puranam’ clarified this.
Once upon a time, a great sage ‘Mahathar’ and an Asura woman ‘Viputhai’ had a boy that was named ‘Gajamugan’.
He grew up as a dreadful demon. He had an elephant face with two horns in his head. Obeying the advice of ‘Sukirachariyar’, the master guru of Asuras, he performed severe penance towards Lord Shiva, chanting his name for a very long time.
Pleased by that, Lord Shiva appeared in front of him blessed him, and asked, ‘what boon do you wish?.
‘Lord, my death must not take place by any weapons and if death befalls me due to the manoeuvres of venomous enemies, then I should not get another life’ requested Gajamugan. The Lord gave the required boons with a smile and disappeared. The outcome of the boon was that he would be immortal if he outmaneuvered his enemies.
The triumphant demon, Gajamugan, created a city, ‘Mathangamapuram’, and reigned from there. He harassed the Devas and Sages and ordered them to do 1008 ‘Thoppu-Karanam’ (knee-bend) in front of him three times daily. When they dropped to the floor, exhausted he giggled at them.
When they came to be incapable to endure these anymore, they prayed to Lord Ganesh to save them from him.
Consoling them, Lord Ganesh set off to battle with the demon Gajamuga. Heavy fighting busted out between the two. Lord Ganesh had demolished the chariot, forces, as well as all the weapons of the Gajamuga yet, could not eliminate him. This was because of the boon of Lord Shiva. Gajamugan giggled off with pride.
All of a sudden there was an oracle from the sky of Lord Shiva which expressed, ‘Son, Gajamugan just can’t be eradicated by any weapons’.
On hearing this, Vinayaga, who is actually the Lord of knowledge and wisdom, broke off his right tusk and threw it vigorously to Gajamugan. The tusk that had the vitality equivalent to thousands of suns plunged into Gajamugan as well as tumbled him down. The Gajamugan, soon took a form of a shrew, came to eradicate Vinayaga.
At that point, Lord Ganesh viewed it with his ‘wisdom’ eye and this forced the shrew to be ‘enlightened’. Tumbling at the feet of the Lord, the enlightened strew prayed.
Lord Ganesh blessed it and made it his vehicle.
Exclusive Worshipping habits for Vinayaga
Thoppu Karanam (Knee bend bowing)
The Devas and Sages who were freed from the Gajamugan, gave thanks to Lord Ganesh and crossed and folded both hands across the chest, holding the right ear with the left hand and the left ear with the right hand, they did (Thoppu-karanam) knee-bend three times with love and devotion.
Since then when we see the statue of Ganesh, we carry it out in the same way and pray to him with love and devotion. When we carry out Thoppu-karanam, we receive the true blessing of Lord Ganesh in return.
As the blood circulated through the body, physical health and wellness also improve due to this performance. This is indeed a good one when we carry out this more than three times in case if we are doing this as an offering when Lord Ganesh answered our prayer.
Knocking the forehead with clenched fist
Wherever we see the statue of Ganesh, as we stand in front with homage, we, cross our hands and softly knock both sides of our forehead with our fists.
This we accomplish before we do the ‘toppuk-karanam’ (knee-bend) worship. (we can see the details of ‘Toppuk-Karanam’ separately).
When did this practice of knocking our forehead softly whenever we see the Ganesh statuary begin? Who started it?
Let’s see that now…
Once more this had also been clarified in the legendary ‘Vinayaga Purana’ with a story. This story is actually hilarious yet it also reveals the cleverness of Lord Ganesh.
Long ago Lanka (Sri Lanka) was reigned by a King known as Raavana (‘ raa’ means dark and ‘vana’ means colour). His names denotes that he was a person of dark skin tone/colour and so he was named Raavana.
Raavana was very evil. He harassed the Devas as well as Sages with many atrocities. He created a palace in Lanka and from there ruled the three worlds.
Although Ravana maintains villainy, he had some very good qualities too. He was a wonderful devotee of Lord Shiva as well as professional entertainer in lute (veena).
Once he went to the Kailash and prayed to Lord Shiva. He played the lute instrument with a sweet tune, to worship God.
Extremely pleased by this and also of his affection, Lord Shiva appeared before him and inquired, ‘Raavana, I am pleased with you and tell me exactly what boon you prefer from me?’
With excellent joy, Raavana asked, ‘Lord, if all three worlds are to wreck, bless that my ‘Lankapuri’ is not going to be wrecked at all. Its reputation must not be destroyed forever.’
Lord Shiva granted him the boon gladly and additionally, he presented him a beautiful Linga and stated, “Raavana, this is actually a most powerful ‘Athma-Linga’ and so its is very sacred. Take this to your Lanka and set up a temple and conduct poojas daily. If you do this with extreme care, Lanka will be saved from any harm. Moreover, there is also a condition attached with this. You should, without using any vehicle, walk all the way back to Lanka carrying this sacred Linga and you must not leave it on the ground anywhere in between”.
Saying this and handing over the Linga, the Lord disappeared.
Raavana was extremely happy to have the ‘Athmalinga’. Praying and thanking the Lord for the boon and the Linga, Raavana began to walk towards Lanka carrying the Linga with devotion.
The message that Raavana had acquired a powerful Athmalinga had reached Devaloga. Indra, the king of Devaloga, and the sages were actually dumbfounded.
The Raavana is already evil and if he and his kingdom Lanka receive long-lasting power means he can not be defeated. They were worried that the difficulties experienced by them due to Raavana’s evil acts will certainly go on without end.
All the Devas went and expressed their concerns to Lord Ganesh who heard the details with his big ears and promised to assist.
The Lord chose to solve it tactfully and so he took the form of a brahmin boy. He called upon the God of water (Varuna Deva) and ordered to do some works in Raavana’s tummy. As a result, the water accumulated in his stomach, and he became desperate to pass urine. But the trouble was he won’t be able to do that while having a ‘sacred Linga’ in his hand which as per the condition should not be left on the ground.
He was not sure as to what to do and so looked around for ideas.
And he observed a brahmin kid standing a little distance away. Approaching him, he inquired, ‘Oh boy, I am actually very desperate to pass urine, and until I complete this and return, can you hold this Linga in the hands without leaving it on the ground’.
The boy agreed. Yet he put up a condition. “Oh, ten heads King …, I am actually a youngster and the Linga looks massive for me. I can not carry it long and I call you three times and if you don’t come back by then, I will place the Linga on the ground,” he said.
Having no option other than agreeing, Raavana, gave the Linga in the hands of the brahmin kid and walked a little away to pass the urine.
Lord Ganesh who was actually in the form of the brahmin boy started his game.
Calling out loudly, “Hey, ten heads king … ten heads king, … ten head king, …”, he positioned the Linga at a sacred site on the ground. The sacred Atmalinga established itself solidly on the ground.
Washing his feet and hands quickly, Raavana returned only to see that the sacred Linga was on the ground.
He used his strong hands to dig the Linga out but was unsuccessful. Then he tried to hold the Linga by both hands and pull it out. Every time he tried, his hands slipped out like the gripe-less wheels on an icy surface. Same effects as that if one tries to pull a cow by its ear.
Disappointed Ravana became angry and chased the boy who caused all these and knocked his head with his clenched fist.
Lord Vinayaga decided to reveal the facts to Ravana. Taking his original form and picking Raavana up by his trunk threw him away like a ball. Throwing away as if to reach the sky, Ravana realized the truth, confessed himself, and prayed to Lord Vinayaga.
The Lord had forgiven him and said, “Raavana you pray me knocking your head in the identical manner you knocked my head.”
Ravana prayed the Lord with worship by knocking his head three times.
“I will get rid of the sorrows of all of those devotees who pray me knocking their heads”, expressing this, the Lord blessed him and gave many boons and faded away.
Since then, the praying habits of devotees in knocking their heads in front of Lord Ganesh had commenced. Some scientists agree that by knocking in our head, we stimulate nerves which in turn increase blood circulation.
The Athma-Linga that Lord Ganesh positioned by deceiving Raavana became known as Kokarnam. (‘Ko’ means Cow and ‘Karnam’ means Ear). Slipping to Raavana’s pull like a cow’s ear or ‘Kokarnam’ was the reason for the name.
One of the popular Sivasthalas, Kokarnam is actually located in Karnataka state of Western India.
Another usage of the Lord’s broken tusk
We have seen earlier that the demon Gajamuga was brought under control by the tusk of Lord Ganesh.
However, the broken tusk of Lord Ganesh aided to make yet another fantastic task.
Shall we see, how?
Vedic Vyasa was an exceptional sage who learned all the Vedas as well as Epics and understood the meanings of all in a great deal.
He meditated for many years and had developed the story of the great epic Maha Bharatha in his mind. It was a massive work with millions of slogans (poems and chants, written in the Sanskrit language).
He wanted an individual to compose as he express it out.
On the advice of Lord Brahma, sage Vyasa went to see Lord Ganesh. “Lord, I have created an excellent epic Mahabharata for the people of this globe, preaching the truths and I would like you to compose it as I express it out”, he requested.
Lord Ganesh laughed off affectionately and stated, ‘So be it, Vedic Vyasa, so be it but on one condition. Once I begin I won’t cease and so you should keep going without any break.’
Vyasa agreed. Nonetheless, he has also placed an ingenious condition as well. “Oh my Lord, I will keep on going without any interruption, however, you really should compose it down when you understand the meaning of the slogan,” he said.
Utilizing the broken tusk, Lord Ganesh began writing in the same speed as it is expressed by the sage Vyasa. Occasionally whenever he needed more time for planning, the sage will insert tough words and phrases.
The Lord would interrupt as if taking time to understand the meaning of those words and phrases and then proceed to compose again.
Taking advantage of the gab, Vyasa might rephrase some slogans.
Thus, one of the world’s biggest epic Mahabharata was composed.
How a Robber became a great sage
Let us now move on to read a tale of a vicious thug who emerged as a great sage by the grace of Lord Ganesh
There was a forest close to the border of the stunning city ‘Nanthuram’.
In this forest, hunters, as well as some vicious robbers, resided. ‘Vippiratan’ was a such robber. He was a very evil person and he was never ever known to have shown sympathy or kindness to anybody.
He used to ambush and often beat up or kill passers-by of the paths through woodland to take their money, jewels, and other items.
One day, Vippirathan was hiding behind a tree waiting for his potential target and saw a young brahmin was walking along. Assuming that he may have some great deals to rob, Vippirathan, yanking his sword out, start chasing him. Realizing the hazard, the young brahmin fled away as quickly as he could.
Chasing for long in vain, the fatigued Vippirathan came back and on his way back he saw a temple and its holy pond. To do away with the thirst as well as fatigues, he got into the pond, quench his thirst, had a bath, and then rested under the shade of a large tree.
At that point, a great sage ‘Muttkalar’ was stepping towards the temple. When he saw the sage, Vippiratan got up very quickly and raised his sword to kill him.
The sage was not scared at all but he smiled and looked at him sympathetically. The robber who used to see his targets scream out in fear, saw for the first time someone absolutely opposite and the love, as well as compassion that he witnessed in the eyes of the sage, made him feel differently and as a result, there were sudden but exceptional changes in his mind and the sword dropped out of his hand inadvertently.
He tumbled at the feet of the sage and pleaded, ‘Oh, my lord, I am actually a great sinner, please forgive me and show me a righteous path to follow’ …
“Oh, son, who am I to forgive you?… The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Ganesh. Beg (entreat) for his mercy. Lord Ganesh’s grace is actually such it may make a dead timber stick to become a very large tree. First, bath in the holy pond, this time thinking only of the Lord and return here”, stated the sage.
Vippiratan had a bath and came back and the sage put his right palm on his head and blessed him as well as preached him the mantra of the Lord, “Ohm Ganesaya Namaha”.
He planted a dead wooded stick in the ground and said before leaving, “Son, pour water daily to this and always think of the Lord, chant the mantra that I preached and the Lord will bless you”.
Reformed robber, Vippiratan, sitting near the stick chanted the Vinayaga Mantara devotionally and poured water to the stick three times daily.
Many years passed. The stick has grown as a huge tree with branches, leaves, and flowers.
The sage Muttkalar came back there one day and was amazed to find the tree and also of the love and devotion of Vippirathan. Using his palm and fingers, he splashed the holy water off his ‘Kamandala’ (small holy water pot carried by the sages) on him, and with that, the sins were cleaned away off the reformed Vippirathan.
By the grace of Lord Vinayaga, a proboscis (Trunk or a lengthy ‘trunk-like nose) appeared in the middle of his eyebrows. The sage blessed him and also preached him the ‘Biranava Mantra’ and said, “Son, you may still be here for many years prior to getting to the holy feet of the Lord Vinayaga and the tree will grow further as a ‘Katpaga Virudsa’ as well as provide all you want. (‘ Katpaga’ means the capability to generate or produce more and more as one take and take thus no scarcity to feed any many and ‘Virudsa’ suggests huge tree).
As a result of the proboscis, he became known as sage ‘Purusundi’ and lived there long and assist thousands with the ‘Katpaga Virudsa’ and afterward reached the holy feet of Lord Ganesh.
Lord Ganesh worshipping: Then and Now
We have seen some stories telling us the glories of Lord Vinayaga.
Ganesha statues in various types dug out in archaeological research in nations like China, Japan, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Cambodia, Burma, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Borneo, Nepal, Indonesia, etc.
This proves that Lord Ganesh was actually worshipped in those countries in ancient times.
Around 4000 years back, there was a civilization that existed in Northwest India, along the stream bank of River Sindu. It was recognized as Indus Valley Civilisation where there were two cities that existed, Mohanja-daro and Harrapa.
There were many items dug out from here by the archaeologists. An item that was looking like an elephant-faced figure and the scholars thought of that as a prove of Vinayaga worshipping existed 4,000 years back.
There were slogans which determined to be around 3,500 years old discussed Lord Vinayaga. These are actually solid proof of Lord Ganesh’s worshipping in ancient times.
Presently, Lord Ganesh is being worshiped throughout India and Sri Lanka as well as Malaysia, Singapore, England, France, Canada, Africa and spread to numerous nations in the world.
Ganesha temples can be seen anywhere. There are popular major temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Trichy Rockfort Ganesha Temple in Tamil Nadu, India as well as Karpaka Vinayagar Temple in Pillaiyarpatti in Tamil Nadu, India, and Eight suyampu (the statues found naturally and not man-made) Ganesha Temple in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and Manipay Maruthadi Pillaiyar Temple and Inuvil Seka Raja Sekara Pillaiyar Temple both in Northern Sri Lanka and Batticaloa Mamangap Pillaiyar Temple in Eastern Sri Lanka are to name a few.
Essentially Lord Ganesh can be observed as well as worshipped in all most all the Hindu temples. He may even be found in some Buddhist temples as well. (remember Buddha is the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu)
This is because all the devotees start their worshipping with praying Lord Ganesh first and also the poojas to begin first with Lord Ganesh.
Tuesdays, Fridays greatest days for fasting as well as worshipping Lord Ganesh.
In South India, unmarried young females fast on Tuesdays and Fridays and worship Vinayaga. By this, they seek the true blessings for a very good life partner and a trouble-free life.
Men also do the same too.
The special festival day of Lord Ganesh is ‘Vinayaga Chaturthi’. This festival is celebrated in the month of August. Mumbai and other major cities cities in India, celebrate this beautifully.
Giant Vinayaka statue was taken in procession to a waterfront
Stunning Ganesha idols made in hundreds are taken in procession in the streets and these statues are taken out on the beachfront or to the waterfront where when the prayers are over dissolved in water at the end. As one might have guessed that for this celebration, the statues are actually made out of dissoluble materials such as clay.
“Om Sri Ganesaya nama” is the Mantra for Lord Ganesh.
You too should recite this mantra every morning with devotion, love, and revere and pray Lord Ganesh. He will certainly bless you with good education, wealth, and good health.
Let us now sing a devotional song for Lord Ganesh.
Vaakundam, nalla manamundam, Maa malaraal
nokundam, Meni nudangaadu pookondu,
Thuppar thirumeni thumbikaiyaan paadam,
Thappamal saarvaar thamakku.
If one prays daily, without fail, by offering delicate flowers (like jasmine) to the feet of Lord Vinayaka whose body is deep red like the coral, with a beautiful trunk on his elephant face, would be granted the silver-tongued (power to speak or sing well) and a good mind that always think of good things. He will also ensure the blessing of the three Devis so that education, wealth, and good health would be theirs.
We sincerely believe that the blessing and grace of the almighty Lord Ganesh are with this great project of educating you with Hindu religious aspects.