Spirituality is a science of the subtle dimension. Hence, it is natural that spiritual knowledge be approached in a scientific way. For instance, if we are a devotee of Shri Ganapati, we should strive to obtain fundamental knowledge about Shri Ganapati from the theoretical as well as the practical aspects to generate and increase our bhav (Spiritual emotion) towards Him. It is this bhav that will enhance spiritual practice and lead to spiritual progress certainly and swiftly. This article aims to provide the devotees with some vital information on Shri Ganapati, His uniqueness and special missions in God’s Creation.
Origin & Meaning of the word Ganapati
Gana (गण) + pati (पति) = Ganapati. As per the Sanskrut language, ‘Gana’ means a ‘Pavitrak’. A ‘Pavitrak’ is the subtlemost particle of Chaitanya. ‘Pati’ is the master. Hence, ‘Ganapati’ is the master of Pavitraks.
Why is Shri Ganapati worshipped before any other Deity ?
No other Deity can arrive at the venue of worship from any direction without the permission of Shri Ganapati. Hence, Shri Ganapati is always worshipped first while performing any religious function or before worshipping any other Deity.
Once Shri Ganapati clears the directions (of obstacles), the Deity to be worshipped can come to the venue. This is called Mahadwar Puja or Mahaganapati Puja. (In the Ganapatya sect, the word Ganapati is used instead of the word ‘Brahman’ and ‘Mahaganapati’ instead of ‘Parabrahman’.)
Deity Shri Ganapati’s unique characteristics & functions
Since He is called Vighnaharta, Shri Ganapati is worshipped before commencing any function, right from a folk dance to a wedding and all rituals including the inauguration of a house.
Amplifying the Prana-shakti (Vital energy)
Different bodily functions are carried out by different types of subtle energies. The fundamental of all these energies is called the Prana-shakti. Chanting the Name of Shri Ganapati augments the Prana-shakti in our body.
Awakens conscience and soothes the sub-conscious mind
‘Shri Ganapati absorbs the polluted energies from the universe and awakens the conscience in a person’s intellect. As a result of worshipping Shri Ganapati, the tendency to doubt does not arise. The intellect remains stable and the subconscious mind is at peace.’ – H.H. Parashram Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel, Maharashtra
Vidyapati (Presiding Deity of Knowledge)
Knowledge about any subject is first obtained through the intellect and Shri Ganapati is the bestower of intellect. That is the reason behind the ancient Bharatiya custom of writing ‘|| Shri Ganeshaya Namaha ||’ before beginning any writing; for example, a letter, an invitation to a ceremony etc. This is also the reason why, when Maharshi Vyas wanted an intelligent writer for the Mahabharat, He prayed to Shri Ganapati to undertake the task.
Converting Nadabhasha into Prakashbhasha and vice versa
Human beings speak the language of sound, that is, Nadabhasha; whereas God and Deities speak the language of light, that is, Prakashbhasha. Shri Ganapati is the Deity who can convert the language of sound into the language of light and vice versa, and conveys it to other Deities. Since Shri Ganapati comprehends the language we speak, He is also a Deity who is easily appeased.
Granting permission to take birth
Maha (An embodied soul taking birth) is born with the permission of Shri Ganapati.
Worshipped by all sects
Despite the existence of several sects, every sect in Hindu Dharma (note) performs Shri Ganesh puja – the ritualistic worship of Shri Ganapati at the beginning of any task. In the Shaiva sect, Shri Ganapati is considered to be the son of Shiva and as chief of His attendants; whereas in the Vaishnav sect He is seen in forms like Aniruddha, Vasudev, etc. In the Shakta sect (which worships Shakti) Shri Ganapati is portrayed in the married form as Shaktiganapati or Lakshmiganapati, and is worshipped in the feminine form too. The Jain sect too performs Shri Ganesh puja.
Source: Via WHN Publisher