Ganesha is a well known deity. He is easily recognisable due to his elephant head. There are several stories about how Ganesha came to have the head of an elephant, but symbolically it represents wisdom. However, Ganesha is best known as the remover of obstacles and as the one who brings new beginnings.
Ganesha’s wisdom is largely associated with his role as the scribe of the Vedas – ancient texts which are said to contain all knowledge – which were dictated to him by the sage Vyasa. There are also several stories where Ganesha’s cleverness resolves a sticky situation. Ganesha is thereby closely associated with intellect and knowledge and he is the patron of writing, the arts and sciences.
Ganesha is therefore often invoked when one is seeking wisdom, particularly before any big decision. His protection and guidance is sought at the start of any new endeavour, whether it is related to writing and art or any other project in which one wishes to succeed.
Ganesha’s reputation as the remover of obstacles is most prominent. Ganesha is able to remove any and all obstacles to material or spiritual progress. Prayer to this effect is undertaken with complete trust and surrender as Ganesha’s wisdom is such that he can better identify what the real obstacles may be.
For example, one may wish to succeed in business and may invoke Ganesha to remove any obstacles in the way of success. In an ordinary situation, Ganesha would help to this effect. But if one’s ambition has become destructive to oneself and / or the general environment, Ganesha may regard the ambition itself as the greatest obstacle to ultimate success and remove that instead of whatever one wished to destroy because of it. He may seem to place obstacles if the intended outcome does not ultimately serve you.
Ganesha is also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka, names that pertain to particular roles he played in some of the stories found in the Puranas. Ganesha’s vehicle is a mouse, a small creature that is nevertheless so powerful that it can carry him. The mouse is actually an extension of Ganesha’s powers – it can go pass through barriers and slide into crevices which would have been too small for Ganesha to infiltrate.
Ganesha is benevolent and kind, clever and talented. He is revered by many all over the world, including Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. At the Lotus Room, during the Living in Harmony Meditation dedicated to Ganesha, we chant the mantra that is most closely associated with invoking him and earning his goodwill.
Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha
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