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Life Lessons from the Elephant God

Lord Ganesha is the deity associated with success and victory in all endeavors. He very intelligently won the celestial mango that Sage Narada brought to Lord Shiva. This, by itself, shows that if one uses their intellect well, then success is easily theirs.

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The story of the mango goes on like this. Both Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga wanted the celestial mango. Narada suggested that the mango would belong to the person who goes around the world first. While Muruga mounted his peacock to physically go around the world, Ganesha went around his parents. When asked why he did so, Ganesha replied that the universe is contained within Shiva and Parvati as they represent the universal Mother and Father. Shiva was happy with the explanation and gave Ganesha the fruit. This was how Ganesha using His mind and being thoughtful was successful.

Further, the very physical form of Ganesha suggests success. The various body parts of Ganesha convey to the devotee special lessons that one can learn to become victorious in life.

Six life lessons we learn from Ganesha’s physical appearance are:

Lesson 1: Mind the Mind

Ganesha is shown as having an elephant’s head. The elephant is an animal associated with a strong memory and keen intelligence. Hence, the big elephant head of Ganesha’s means minding the mind and using it judiciously. Pay close attention to looking within yourself and be thoughtful and sensible at all times.

Lesson 2: Listen More

Ganesha has Big Ears, which means listen carefully and more. Elephants are animals that can pick up minute sounds even in the ultrasound domain. Thus, we must listen as the elephant does, minutely and intently. The most important message conveyed by His large ears is to keep the good chatter and ignore the unwanted gossip and mean talks. This will help you live in great peace.

Lesson 3: Pay Attention to Details

His long trunk tells you to develop great awareness even in the simplest of circumstances. Sniff for what is around you, who is around you, and where you are present, your needs, your time, etc., and do the best required.

Lesson 4: Digest the Good and the Bad

Elephants are animals capable of eating and digesting around 250 kilograms of food every day. Ganesha’s big belly suggests that one must assimilate the varied circumstances and events we encounter in our daily lives and remain balanced without getting attached to them.

Lesson 5: Master the Art of Control

One of His upper hands has the hook or the “Ankush”, which helps to deflate inflated egos and wield control over one’s elephantine desires. The other upper hand has the “Pash” or the noose, which helps to catch all desires and help one ascend spiritually, the lower left arm has a “broken tusk”, which was used as a pen for writing the Mahabharata, and the lower right hand is raised in the “Abhaya mudra”, which means that those surrendering unto Him shall know no fear!

Lesson 6:Know Your True Self

Ganesha is a very powerful God, yet His vehicle is the modest mouse. It reminds us that extravagance and accessories are not enough to cast an impression. Your actions and good thoughts reflect who you are. Always remember “Who you are is most important compared to what you have!”

Thus, this Ganesha Chathurthi, we shall reflect on the positive messages the Elephant God has in store for us and learn to elevate ourselves both morally and spiritually by following them.

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