Maha Ganapathi Sthuthi
Contributed by M P Bhattathiry
SHREE GANESH VANDANA
SHUKLAM BARATHARAM VISHNUM
SHASHI VARNAM CHATURBHUJAM
PRASANNA VADANAM DHYAYET
SARVA VIGHNOPA SHANTAYE
AGAJANANA PADMARGAM GAJANANA
MAHIRSHAM ANEKA DANTAM BHAKTANAM
EKA DANT! AM UPASMAHE
Vakra thunda maha kaya soorya koti sama praba
Nirvignam kurume deva sarva kaaryeshu sarvadha
Gajananam, Bhootha Ganaathi Sevitham,
Kavitha Jambu Manasara Bakshitham
Uma sutham, shoka vinaasa haaranam,
Namaami Vigneshwara, paada pankajam
Agajaanana padmaarkam gajanana maharnisam
Anekadham dham bhakthanam ekadhantham upasmahe
Mooshika Vahana Modhaga Hasta
Shyamala Karna Vilambitha Sutra
Vamana Rupa Maheshwara Putra
Vigna Vinayaka Pada Namaste
LORD Ganesha,Vinayaka also known as Vighneswara the important deity riding a
mouse - has become one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated
with Hinduism. This not only suggests the importance of Ganesha, but also
shows how popular and pervasive this deity is in the minds of the masses.
The Lord of Success
The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha has an elephantine countenance with a
curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He
is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also
worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact,
Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and
Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana
The devotees of Ganesha are known as 'Ganapatyas', and the festival to
celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi.
Significance of the Ganesha Form
Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate
supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the
earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its
trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right
hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the
eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left
hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a
symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata. The rosary
in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be
continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must
discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all
ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy
in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a
How Ganesha Got His Head
The story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, as depicted in the Shiva
Purana, goes like this: Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy
out of the dirt of her body and assigned him the task of guarding the
entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised
to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy's head in
rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out
his squad (gana) to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the
north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed
head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its
life and made him the leader (pati) of his troops. Hence his name
'Ganapati'. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and
invoke his name before undertaking any venture.
However, there's another less popular story of his origin, found in the
Brahma Vaivarta Purana: Shiva asked Parvati to observe the punyaka vrata for
a year to appease Vishnu in order to have a son. When a son was born to her,
all the gods and goddesses assembled to rejoice on its birth. Lord Shani,
the son of Surya (Sun-God), was also present but he refused to look at the
infant. Perturbed at this behaviour, Parvati asked him the reason, and Shani
replied that his looking at baby would harm the newborn. However, on
Parvati's insistence when Shani eyed the baby, the child's head was severed
instantly. All the gods started to bemoan, whereupon Vishnu hurried to the
bank of river Pushpabhadra and brought back the head of a young elephant,
and joined it to the baby's body, thus reviving it.
Ganesha, the Destroyer of Pride
Ganesha is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the
personification of material universe in all its various magnificent
manifestations. "All Hindus worship Ganesha
regardless of their sectarian
Myths & Tales: Curse of the Moon
Don't See the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi Night!
It is said that anyone who looks at the moon on the night of the Ganesh
Chaturthi will be falsely accused. If someone inadvertently sees the moon on
this night, he/she may remedy the situation by listening to (or reciting)
the story of the syamantaka jewel found in the Puranas.
Briefly, Satrajit, who secured a jewel syamantaka from Surya, did not part
with it even when Krishna the Lord of Dvaraka, asked for it saying it would
be safe with him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing
the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan of the Ramayana fame killed the
lion and gave it to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return,
Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the
jewel. Krishna, in order to remove the stain on his reputation, set out in
search of the jewel and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his child.
Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to
take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, his
whole body terribly weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists, finally
recognized Him as Lord Rama.
As a repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavan gave Krishna the
jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to
Dvaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it to Satrajit, who in
turn repented for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna
the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted
Satyabhama as his wife but did not accept the jewel.
This festival is celebrated in the month of avani on chaturthi (4th) day
which comes after the new moon. It is celebrated all over India. People
celebrate this day in a variety of ways. For anything to go well, we pray
Lord Vinayaka. He is the first to be worshipped whenever we start anything.
He relieves us from all our difficulties. He solves our problems.
Lord Vinayaka has got an elephant face and human body. He is worshipped by
many names like Vinayaka, Ganesha, Pillayar, Vigneshwara, Gajanana,
Ganapathy, Mooshika Vahanaa, Modhaga priya etc. He rides on an animal called
mooshika(a large kind of rat).
In our houses we celebrate this pooja in a grand manner. We decorate the
floor with kolams using rice flour. On that day we buy a new Vinayaka
idol(made of clay). We also buy a decorated umbrella to place behind the
idol. On a wooden plank, plantain leaf is placed and raw rice is spread over
it. We place the idol on this and decorate with flowers and perform pooja.
Vinayaka likes a dish called mothagam(kozhukkattai). So different varieties
of kozhukkattai are prepared and offered to the lord on this day. It is the
special item on this day.
On the next day, punar pooja is done. This is the pooja which acts as an
ending to the festival. After this we remove the idol from its place. On the
next day after punar pooja, we immerse the idol in water in the sea, well or
In cities like Mumbai, Chennai etc. large Ganesha idols (a bout 6 ft) are
placed in common places and pooja is performed in a very grand manner.
People all around worship the lord. Prasadams (Dish offered to the lord) are
distributed to the people. After the pooja is over, the idol is taken in a
grand procession and immersed in the sea.
For this pooja, different flowers are used. Erukkampoo(calotropis), thumbaip
oo(white small flowers and arugampul( a type of grass) is very special for
the lord. Different varieties of fruits are also offered.