Lord Ganesha is called vigneshwara in Sanskrit, meaning, one who destroys all obstacles. That is why Lord Ganesha is invoked first before other Gods in any auspicious undertakings. He is the God of wisdom, good fortune, prosperity and the supreme self residing in all hearts of all sentient and non-sentient beings, according to Ganapati Upanishad. The birthday of Lord Ganesha is observed as Ganesh Chaturthi in India. It is celebrated every year, in the fourth day after the new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad on the sukla paksha or the bright phase of the waxing moon. It falls on a day between mid- august to mid September. About Ganesha He is the presiding deity of the muladhara chakra, the center in which the kundalini lies dormant. The bija or the root mantra for this center is “Gung” or “Gam”. So, when one recites, “Om gam Ganapathaye namaha”, this muladhara center gets activated and produces beneficial results.
Story of Ganesha
- According to Shiva Purana, Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. She had done severe tapas or penance to marry Shiva and left all luxuries of life to live with him in Mount Kailas. One day, she asked the divine bull Nandi to stand guard, while she was bathing. But when Lord Shiva arrived, he let his master inside, much to the grief of Parvati. She decided none would go against Shiva and be a faithful guard to her.
- Again, the following day, when she was taking bath, she recollected the happenings of the previous day. As she was smearing turmeric paste on herself, she collected the paste on her body and breathed life into it through her mystic powers. The form assumed life as a little boy. This divine creation out of her own self was Ganesha. She gave the boy a staff and told him to stand guard till she finishes her bathing ritual.
- As she was having her bath, little Ganesha stood guard. Lord Shiva came home after performing meditation, but he was refused entry. Though Shiva explained that it was his house and Parvati was his wife, Lord Ganesha replied firmly that he could not act against the wishes and orders of his mother. Enraged at the audacity of this boy, Lord Shiva sent his messengers to fight him under the command of Nandi. But the little boy fought using the staff given by his mother and defeated them. Finally Shiva had to come and in the process of fighting, Lord Shiva used his trident and the head of the little boy got severed.
- When Parvati came out, she saw the body of her loving son severed off and she wept bitterly. She prayed to the Lord to give life back to her son, who she had created from her own body. To console her, Lord Shiva asked his followers to get a head of a boy. They came back disappointed and said that they cannot find and expressed their helplessness. Then he asked them to bring the head of the first creature that was found lying facing the direction of the north. They returned with the head of an elephant
- Lord Shiva used his yogic powers and joined the head of the elephant to the body of the boy and brought him back to life. Parvati was overjoyed to see her son come back to life and Shiva declared that henceforth, Ganesha would be called Gajanana or elephant headed, who should be worshipped first before other gods before commencement of any endeavor and for removal of obstacles and difficulties in one`s life. Since he defeated his ganas or the army of Shiva, he is called Ganapati from that day. He also said that every year the day should be celebrated for Ganesha on the fourth day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad.