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Leadership Qualities In Vighneshwara

Ganesha, the elephant- headed God, combines within himself all the essential qualities of a successful leader. Pati means master or leader. Gana stands for the attendants. Hence He is also called Vinayaka, the supreme leader of the ganas, one who attends upon and follows at all times Lord Shiva. He is also Vighneshwara, Lord of all obstacles.

Ganapati has two spouses: Buddhi or intellect and Siddhi or achievement. Ganesha represents perfect leadership. He is the possessor of perfect wisdom a fully realised being. To a student of Vedanta, the "path of knowledge" is the prescribed path, which is essentially intellectual. So, a leader must have a 'great head' to conceive and understand the logic of spiritual thought. The truth of Vedanta can be comprehended only through listening to a teacher. Therefore, Shravanam or listening is depicted by Ganapati's large ears. Difficult and thorny issues are resolved by intelligent listening. Quarrels and conflicts come up in an organisation, at the workplace, or in the family all because no one is ready to listen.  

After listening, the individual must independently reflect (manana) upon what he has heard. For this he needs to be sensitive enough to be aware of all creatures. His intellect must have the depth and width to understand the entire world of plurality. He must have the subtle discriminative power, viveka, to distinguish the changing perishable matter from the Eternal. He must be able to filter all information, and retain only the good and the noble in his mind.  

A cool, clear head is a necessary attribute of a powerful leader. The trunk coming down the forehead of the elephant is an instrument which can bulldoze a massive oak tree; equally, it can perform the subtle task of picking up a needle from a haystack. A capable leader must be aware of the grossest aspects of a job as well as its minute, meticulous details. Like the elephant's trunk, the discriminative faculty of a leader with an evolved intellect can help solve gross problems as well as settle subtle issues. Good and evil are represented by the two tusks of the elephant. A strong leader must discriminate between right and wrong and all other dualities, and then form his judgment before taking action.  

Ganesha has a wide mouth and a large belly, indicative of a healthy appetite and enthusiasm for life. Similarly, a successful leader is ready to stomach all types of experience, whether auspicious or inauspicious. The mouse is a tiny fidgety creature that darts from one food to another, nibbling a little from everywhere. This denotes a mind full of desires, ever-hovering from one longing to another. There is a mouse with - in each of us, capable of eating away all merits. The mouse is surrounded by an assortment of enticing sweets but it looks up at Ganesha, seeking His permission to eat. A competent leader must check all temptations, and rise above selfish desires, personal ambitions and aspire to work for the welfare and happiness of all his followers. 

Vighneshwara has four arms representing the four inner equipment, antahkaran. In one hand, he has a rope and in another an axe. With the axe he severs the attachments of his devotees and with the rope he pulls them closer to the Truth, and ultimately binds them to the highest goal. In his third hand, he holds a riceball (modak) representing the rewards of the joys of devotion to God. With his fourth hand he blesses all his disciples and protects them from all obstacles.

(Tomorrow is Ganesh Chaturthi)






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