Swami Sivananda"Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus. Nothing can be done without uttering it. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om."
Potency of names of Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is the first God propitiated by the Hindus before any activity. He is the mighty son of Shiva, boon giver, obstacle destroyer and also places obstacles to those whom he intends to. He has a big round belly symbolizing the cosmos, and is called Lambodara. He has a single tusk and is called ekadanta and is called vighneshwara as he removes all obstacles. He has an elephant head that symbolizes supreme wisdom and learning. His form is divine and just meditating on his form, fills us with highly positive vibrations. Just by repeating the names ekadanta, lambodara, vighneshwara with devotion helps one attract the supreme blessings of Ganesha.
Ganesha – Lord of the People
Lord Ganesha is seen widely across Hindu homes, in business places, in temples, under trees, in every street corners of India. He is a God, whom people can easily relate to, with faith and trust. Simple offerings of dhruva grass, red flowers, modaks, red sandalwood, laddoos please him a lot.
Divine form of Ganesha
It is believed that the divine form of Ganesha can shatter any evil or negative vibration and create a way for success. His form acts as an effective, potent vaastu remedy. Houses which are facing the streets have Ganesha idols in front of their houses to ward off evil. In temples, he is worshipped as the first deity and only then, other deities are worshipped.
Legend of Shiva`s wheel in a battle
Ganesha had secured the boon from Shiva that even Lord Shiva should worship him before any endeavor, or else would face innumerable, insurmountable obstacles. Once when Shiva went on a battle against an asura in a place called Acharapakkam in South India, he went without invoking Ganesha`s grace. On his way to the battlefield, the axle of the wheel of his chariot broke, thus rendering him incapable to move. Immediately, he realized his mistake and inwardly called upon Ganesha. To his surprise, by the force of miracle the wheels got set right, all by itself. Such is the power of Lord Ganesha! It is so important to call upon him before starting anything, small or big.
Ritualistic worship of Ganesha
That is why, simple pious, Hindus before any worship or during any celebration of a festival, make a form of Ganesha with turmeric, anoint it with kumkum and place it on a betel leaf and offer prayers to the Lord. It is only after this worship to Ganesha, do they commence their other celebrations or prayer. Such is their belief in the blessings of Ganesha. Many devout Hindus, first invoke Lord Ganesha`s blessings before their child`s journey to learning. They follow a ritual, where the child is first made to write OM in a plate of husked paddy grains. OM stands for Ganesha. He is invoked for blessings of knowledge and learning. Those interested in music, dance and other related arts also invoke Ganesha`s blessings before learning the art, as he is the Lord of all arts and sciences.
Auspicious days to worship Ganesha
By regular worship to him, deep karmic patterns change by his grace and blessings. He destroys the evil tendencies, which helps one get caught in the wheel of samsara and thereby commit sins. He is worshipped on special days of the year for his abundant blessings. He is worshipped on Ganesh Chaturthi, as he gives hope in each one`s heart of a good year ahead and for blessings good fortune. It is the birthday of Ganesha. This day is very important as he is born again and again each year in every one`s heart. He is worshipped on the fourth day of the waning phase of chaturthi called sankathara chaturthi. He destroys the sorrows of his devotees when worshipped on this day.