I begin the blog series with a prayer to Lord Ganesh by Sri. Muthuswamy Dīkshitar (with a pen name Guruguha), one of the Trinity of Carnatic Music. This composition in Raga Nattai in the 17th Century, is still one of the most sought after one by musicians across the world. The undercurrent of Nattai raga and the effervescence of the lyrics have withstood the test of time though hundreds of adaptations and fusions that have been tried out by scores of musicians.
I meditate (smarAmi) on the supreme (mahA) Ganapati who is worshipped (vandita) by Vasishta, the Vamadevas, etc (Adi). He, the son (sutam) of Lord Shiva (mahAdEvA), is praised (nutam) by Guruguha. He shines bright (prakAsham) like millions (kOti) of cupids (mAra). He is tranquil (shAntam). He loves (priyam) great poetry (mahA kAvya), drama (nAtaka), etc (Adi). He loves (priyam) the sweet Modaka. His mount (vAhanam) is a mouse (mUshika).
As I conclude Adi Sankara’s Pancha Rathnamala on Lord Ganesh, my memories went several decades back to my childhood days and the number of “Thoppukaranams” that I use to do before each exam in the schools. This is an age old practice prevalent for centuries in India, more particularly in South of India. Modern day Western World calls it “Super Brain Yoga” now and has converted this practice into a money making health exercise.
I also used to wonder about the number of alternate names that He has and the number of shapes and sizes that He manifests at different homes.
Even today as I google, I see 25.8 Million images of Lord Ganesha in a span of 0.67 seconds and there are a minimum of 108 alternate names for Him.
Here is one such simple image that I thought should be shared.
निरन्तरम् (Nirantaram): Having no Interval, Uninterrupted, Perpetual, Continually
Meaning of the Verse
2.1: (Salutations to Sri Vinayaka) To those who do not Bow down to God out of arrogance, He takes a Frightening form; His benign however form is like a Newly-Risen Sun,
2.2: Who is always Fresh without any Decay, and is Saluted Reverentially by the Devas and the Devoted Persons; Who Extricates those who Surrender to Him from Difficult Calamities,
2.3: Who is the God of the Devas (Sureshvara), Who is the God of Prosperity (Nidhishvara), Who is the God with an Elephant Face (Gajeshvara) and Who is the God of the Ganas (celestial attendants) (Ganeshvara),
2.4: Who is the Great God (Maheshvara); To His Refuge, Who is Superior than the Best, I Continually place myself in devotional surrender.
On 24th Nov 19 at 1642 Hrs in a matter of 0.62 Sec, 352 Million
On 12th Dec 19 at 2104 Hrs in a matter of 0.57 Sec, 361 Million
On 19th Dec at 2012 Hrs in a matter of 0.44 Sec436 Million
Must be wondering as to what on earth is this statistics
Well, in the Google search just type “God” and hit the “search” and see for yourselves the results. This is what I found.
OMG! So, how and where do I find God in the results that are thrown at us? How does He look like ? Is it right to call him “He” or should I call as “She” or “It”? What are His/Her/Its features? How do I know that He/She/It is God? Well, the search for the right answers continue as long as one’s life exist in the planet.
Here is what I found as an interesting observation that fits my queries. “The one Absolute, called Brahman by the ancient Vedas in India (God – the English name) transcends all our faculties. However when it comes to our comprehension, it comes within our grasp in any form, shape and characteristic that we choose to associate it with. So God is worshipped in any form which a devotee wishes to”.
How about an Elephant form? The answer is Yes. There is God in the elephant and there is an elephant faced God called Ganesha in the Hindu religion. The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gaṇa (meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system) and isha (meaning lord or master).
The ancient Hindu Puranas provides an unique position to Lord Ganesha. His supremacy is clear from the fact that even the Trinity, the three primal manifestations of the Absolute, viz., Creation (Brahma), Sustenance ( Vishnu) and Destruction (Siva) are hampered in their work if they do not first pay homage to Ganesa. It is from Him that all other Gods derive power to bless and grant boons to devotees.
Adi Sankara who has composed several devotional songs, praising all the well-known forms of God worshipped by the Hindus, has sung five verses (Pancha Ratna – Five Gems) in adoration of Lord Ganesa, the elephant faced God.
The verses and my attempt to provide the meaning in Tamil will be in the subsequent blogs that will follow every Friday.