GANESH
September 07, 2005
Des Plaines Mandira

Also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Vigneshwara, Gajanan, amongst other names describing his elephant head, Ganesh was born on Bhadarvo suda 4 or Ganesh Chaturthi. The Shiva Puran explains that Parvati created Ganesh from her sweat and assigned him to remain at the entrance ('Gana' means attendant). When Ganesh stopped Shiva from entering, Shiva beheaded Ganesh. When Parvati came out and saw what happened, Shiva promised to bring Ganesh back to life. When Shiva's attendants brought the head of a baby elephant, Shiva attached the elephant head on Ganesh and declared that he would always be worshipped first amongst the deities. An alternate story is given in the Brahma-vaivartha Puran, ascribing Lord Vishnu as attaching the elephant head.

In Swami Ni Vato 2/26, 5/261, and 6/55, Gunatitanand Swami gives the story of Ganesh and Kartik Swami (or Kartikeya) to explain the power of saintly association. Between Ganesh and Kartik Swami, whoever circled the earth first, would win the brides, Buddhi (Wisdom) and Siddhi (Powers) [some references indicate Riddhi (Prosperity) and Siddhi]. Kartik Swami's vehicle is the peacock, while Ganesh's vehicle is the mouse, thus Ganesh was badly outmatched. However, Parvatiji gave the technique to Ganesh that circling a cow would be equal to circling the earth. [An alternate story describes Ganesh circling his parents.] He did this and won the contest and was married to Buddhi and Siddhi. Gunatitanand Swami thus explains, even if one does a lot, if it is per his mind, it is worth only a little. On the other hand, even if one does a little, if it is per the saint's command, the gain is much.

Buddhi and Siddhi gave birth to Shubh (Auspiciousness) and Laabh (Benefit). [Businessmen thus write 'Shubh' and 'Laabh' inside their account ledgers to invoke the blessings of Ganesh along with Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth), e.g. during Sharda-poojan on Diwali.]

Ganesh is also credited with writing down the Mahabharat, as recited by Vyasji. When Vyasji asked Ganesh to write down the epic, Ganesh agreed on the condition that his pen should never stop moving. Vyasji agreed, but stipulated that Ganesh should not transcribe a verse without fully understanding it. Thus, while Vyasji recited verses, every so often, he would put a very complex one. While Ganesh worked it out, Vyasji would compose the next set!

In Shikshapatri verse 84, Swaminarayan Bhagwan includes Ganesh amongst the 5 major deities: Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Ganapati, Parvati, and Surya. In Shikshapatri verse 127, Swaminarayan Bhagwan states that devotees should worship Ganesh on Bhadarvo suda 4 (and worship Hanuman on Aso vada 14 or Kali Chaudash, the day before Diwali). On the left and right sides of the temple hall of all Swaminarayan temples are moortis of Ganesh and Hanuman as well.

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