Lord Ganesha is one of the oldest and most revered Hindu deities, as well as the most distinctive. His head of an elephant, enigmatic stories and rich symbolism make him recognised worldwide. But what is the hidden truth behind his mystic image? Few seem to know.
Psychologists project their neuroses on Ganesha, turning him into repressed sexuality, missing his power of transcendence altogether. Mythologists turn him into a quaint folklore image of tribal people, failing to discern his universal connections.
Great yogis know Sri Ganesha as the lord of the universe, the underlying cosmic intelligence that links us to the supreme reality beyond all name and form.
Ganesha’s guiding power
Ganesha is the first of the gurus who guides us. He is invoked at the beginning of all Hindu rituals, as he aligns us with the benefic powers of the universe. Ganesha’s vehicle, the mouse, indicates his respect for all creatures great and small.
Gana means a group and Isha or Pati means the lord, Ganesha, Ganapati. The Ganas on an outer level are all the animals of which Ganesha as the elephant is the ruler or chieftain, but this is just the surface.
The animals indicate the different souls and energies bound to the world of Samsara. Ganesha gathers them together under his guidance and offers them to Lord Shiva as the highest awareness.
The Ganas are the letters or mantras of Sanskrit and Ganesha as OM is their ruler. The Ganas are the pranas and sense organs, and Ganesha as the inner self is the foremost. The Ganas are the tattvas, or universal truth principles, starting with the five elements, of which Ganesha as the inner self is the pivot.
The Ganas are the events and rhythms in time as the movement of karma. Ganesha is the lord of karma, the cosmic intelligence that dispenses the fruits of our actions.
If we ally our actions with Ganesha, all that we do will achieve the best results.
Ganesha, Shiva and Shakti
Ganesha is Shiva’s son and representative. Shiva is Pashupati, or the lord of animals. Ganapati is the foremost of the animals, Shiva incarnate as the ruling principle in the manifest worlds.
Both Ganesha and Shiva are Om. Shiva is Om in its transcendent state. Ganesha is Om in its state as underlying and ruling all other forces.
Yet, Ganesha’s relationship with Shiva is controversial. Shiva cuts off Ganesha’s head as a little boy and then replaces it with the head of an elephant. This strange story has been the subject of much misinterpretation and distortion.
Lord Shiva represents the unbounded consciousness beyond the limits of the dualistic mind. Shiva turns the individual soul into Ganesha by taking it beyond the individual mind to the universal consciousness embracing the whole of existence.
When we surrender to Shiva as the non-dual state, we align ourselves with Ganesha and are no longer bound to our human conditioning. This requires the difficult sacrifice of the ego represented by the human head.
Ganesha is also the son of Shakti as Devi Parvati. Only Ganesha can take the supreme Shakti energy and direct it along the necessary currents for its complete manifestation.
Ganesha dwells in the Muladhara, or root chakra, that rules over the earth element and holds the Kundalini Shakti, our individual power of transcendence.
Ganesha provides us with the stability to wield the Shakti force that rises out of the earth and takes us to the infinite light.
Ganesha is the unity of Shiva and Shakti, holding the highest awareness of Shiva while displaying all the powers of Shakti.
His two consorts are Siddhi, the power of accomplishment, and Buddhi, the power of knowledge.
On Diwali, he is combined with Lakshmi and Sarasvati, who reflect these two forces. Ganesha is dear to all the Goddesses.
Ganesha is said to be the remover of obstacles, which he is most energised to accomplish on Ganesh Chaturthi, the main day of the year for his worship.
Surrender to the cosmic intelligence of Ganesha and he will manifest the best of all possibilities without your need to worry, turning all difficulties into grace.
These are but a few glimpses of the yogic secrets of Sri Ganesha. Yet if you are willing to join his group of ganas, which is your true family, Ganesha will lead you to unqualified bliss and the combined presence of Shiva and Shakti.
Jai Sri Ganesha!