“I Am Awed!” Series – Significance and Philosophy of Lord Ganesha

“I Am Awed!” Hindu Youth Q & A Series

Why do we worship Ganapati first? What is the significance of Ganapathi’s form? What is the philosophy behind the deity Ganesha?

A series of “Little Questions and Lucid Answers” sessions were conducted to explore the greatness and depth of Hinduism through questions posed by global Hindu Youth to Sri Ramanujamji.

The excerpts of each of these questions and answers are being presented every month by our youth, as they understand and absorb it.

The original Q & As are also presented as short videos on our YouTube channel as the “I Am Awed” series. Here is the link to the original video, where Sri Ramuji answers this question – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRnE0uqZiBM&list=PLf2GTja1Pr3MIGF9TiFxemag89ZwPExvP&index=4

Lord Ganesha is the first deity who is worshiped by all.  All spiritual aspirants can progress in their spiritual path by worshiping Lord Ganesha first, to remove any hindrances that may exist in their spiritual journey.  In any spiritual path we take, the first deity we worship is Lord Ganesha.  In Shiva bhakti, we first perform pooja to Lord Ganesha.  In ‘karma’ too, we start with Ganapathi homam. In Shiva temples, the first sanctum one sees as they enter is that of Lord Ganesha.  In Yoga, Lord Ganesha is the serpent power in the base of the spine.  The first chakra of yoga is mUlAdhArA. The brahmacharyam observed by one who practices Raja Yoga, causes the spiritual power called the serpent power to rise. This serpent power which is at the base of the spine (mUlAdhArA) is the underlying principle of Lord Ganesha.  So the power residing beneath the mUlAdhArA is Lord Ganesha.  Lord Ganesha wears a serpent belt around his waist to indicate that he sits below this kundalini shakti.  Moreover, Lord Ganesha rides on the little mouse which is His vehicle. This is astonishing considering His big body. But despite having a huge mass, he makes his weight very light for the mouse to bear him when he travels. This is called ‘lahima’, which is the first yogic siddhi one attains.

There is also a special significance to the fact that Lord Ganesha bestows siddhi and wisdom. In North India, Lord Ganesha is worshiped along with his two consorts, Riddhi and Siddhi, or Buddhi and Siddhi. As one progresses in their Yogic sadhana, they attain sharpness of intellect which is buddhi and when the yogic power reaches the sahasrara  (the head in the spiritual body) this will complete the path of yoga which is called siddhi. So once Lord Ganesha is pleased, He will lead us to both buddhi and siddhi and hence they are the consorts of Lord Ganesha. The most important offering made to Lord Ganesha is a small green blade of grass which is called “arugam pil”. It is actually called “agaram pul”. “Agaram” means first or foremost and “agaram pul” is the first plant species that evolved. Since Lord Ganesha is the first and foremost deity, He is worshiped symbolically with this blade of grass. 

Ramya Venkataraman, 13 yrs old, Irving TX

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