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Ganesh Chaturthi Quotes and Thought

Ganesha, Ganapati, Vinayaka, Vigneshwara are the countless names of the visible manifestation of the essence of the words ‘That Thou Art’ – Tat Vam Asi.

…the elephant-headed remover of all difficulties in life indeed represents the highest and the best that have ever been given in our scriptures.

….on the spiritual pilgrimage, all the obstacles are created by the very subjective and objective worlds in the seeker himself; his attachment to the world of objects, emotions and thoughts, are alone his obstacles. Sri Vigneswara chops them off with the axe and holds the attention of the seeker constantly towards the higher goal with the rope that He has in this left hand. En route, He feeds the seeker with the modaka – the joy of satisfaction experienced by the evolving seeker or reality) – and bless him continuously with greater and greater progress…. (Swami Chinmayananda)


Ganapati means the Lord of the senses. That Lord is within us.
Ganapati pooja is best performed with the attention turned inwards.
(H.H. Swami Brahmanandaji of Chinmaya Mission, Bangalore)

On the night of Ganesh Chathurti, we are warned not to look at the moon. It is said that if you look at the moon on this night, then you will get blamed for something you didn’t do!

Is there some deeper meaning to this? The moon symbolizes the mind. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the mind goes up and down. Some days it makes you feel good, other times it can drag you down into the pits of despair for the smallest of reasons. The mind is what constantly gets you into trouble.

Ganesha is the Lord of Wisdom and it is He who teaches us how to get over the vagrancies of the mind, how to be established firmly in Knowledge and let nothing shake us out from the Bliss of the Being. And so on the day when we are going to celebrate Lord Ganesha, we don’t look at the moon meaning Follow Knowledge, not your little mind!

Don’t look at the moon! Don’t let that small mind of yours rule you. Be in Knowledge, Be wise, Be happy! Celebrate Ganapati in Satsangh, in the spirit of knowledge and reverence for nature.
(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of Living)

Tattvamasi can be interpreted in two ways. ‘tattvam asi’ or ‘tat tvam asi’. Ganpati is the very essence (tattvam) if the whole world and every experience. Many feel that variety is the spice of life and Indians feel that spices are the essential factor in food. Ganapati is that essence without which the world becomes essence less and senseless.
(Swami Tejomayananada)

Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava

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.

The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of the ankusha represents His rule of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty. (Swami Sivananda)

What is the meaning of the name Ganapati? Where are the Ganas? What is their form? 

What is the meaning of the name Ganapati? Where are the Ganas? What is their form? When you investigate this, you find that the five organs of perception and the five organs of action are the Ganas. The mind is the master over these ten organs. Buddhi or intellect is the discriminating faculty above the mind. The ten senses, the mind and the intellect together constitute the Ganas.

Ganapathi is the Lord of the intellect and the higher knowledge. The question may be asked: Are the intellect and the higher knowledge present in the external world or are they to be found within man? The answer is that He is present within each human being. There is no need to seek for him in the outside world. Ganapathi dwells in every human being in the form of intellect and wisdom.

Ganapati has the appellation Vinayaka because there is no master above him. He is all powerful and independent. Without recognizing the esoteric significance of the Vinayaka principle people look only at the external form and offer worship in mundane terms. In what form does Vinayaka – the one who has no master – exists with a human being? It is in the form of the Atma. The Atma has no master. (Sathya Sai Baba)

Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning in the Divine Birth of Ganesha - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

We are all familiar with the story on how Ganesha became the elephant-headed God. Shiva and Parvati had been celebrating and Parvati becomes dirty. When she realizes this, she removes the dirt from her body, creates a boy out of it and asks him to keep guard while she bathed. When Shiva returned, the boy could not recognize him and obstructed his passage. So Shiva chopped off the boy’s head and entered. Parvati was shocked. She explained that the boy was their son and pleaded with Shiva to save him at all costs. Shiva then instructed his helpers to go and get the head of someone who was sleeping with the head pointing to the north. The helpers then got the head of an elephant, which Shiva affixed to the boy’s torso and Ganesha was born!

Does this story sound strange? Why should Parvati have dirt on her body? Didn’t the all-knowing Shiva recognise His own son? Was Shiva, the epitome of peace, so short-tempered that he cut off the head of his own son? And why an elephant head on Ganesha? There is a deeper meaning to all these.

Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies that celebration can easily become Rajasik or feverish and can take you away from your center. Dirt is symbolic of ignorance and Shiva is symbolic of the Supreme Innocence, Peace and Knowledge. So when Ganesha obstructs the path of Shiva, this means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the head, does not recognize knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off the boy’s head.

And why the elephant head? Elephant represents both gyan shakti and karma shakti. The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies Wisdom and Knowledge. Elephants don't walk around obstacles, neither do they stop at them. They just remove them and keep walking straight on – signifying effortlessness. So, when we worship Lord Ganesha these elephant qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities.

Ganesha's big belly represents generosity and total acceptance. Ganesha’s upraised hand, depicting protection, means, “Fear not - I am with you,” and his lowered hand, palm facing outwards means - unending giving as well as an invitation to bow down – symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into earth one day. Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness. Even the implements Ganesha wields are symbolic. He carries in his hands, the ‘Ankusa’ (signifies awakening) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifies control). With awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire.

And why does Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travel on something as small as a mouse? Isn’t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism that runs deeps. The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse, which gradually nibbles away, is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha.

Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words, since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged. Let us keep these deep symbolisms in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti.

You can please Ganesha with a small grass or a modak

Lord Ganesha dispels the human infatuation oscillating between the jeevatma and paramatma. Mainly confused over the superiority of one over the other.

Ganesha’s journey from his birth to being the in charge of thirty-three Devata Ganas is a saga of dismantling this confusion and bringing a ken amongst the devotees that the ulterior goal is absorbing jeevatma into paramatma.

Through his attire, presence and the peculiar body, head and ears Ganesha reprimands the duties and responsibilities of the humans in their daily life.

The small eyes depict that you must have concentrated look and understand intricacies of every point in life, the big ears denote that you should listen more. Speak less and listen more is the essence.

His elephant head represents supreme power of knowledge.

Ganesha is the bestower of bliss, virtuous, success and he is all pervading universal power. Lord is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.

You can please him with a small grass or a laddu made of rice. He is happy and blesses humans with supreme knowledge.

Source – Saptagiri Magazine August 2017 published by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. The article was written by Smt P Sujata.

Who is Ganptai? - Swami Tejomayananda Answers

To a Hindu, the Ganapati immediately brings to mind the Lord in the form of the elephant-faced God, worshipped all over India irrespective of caste, creed or religious beliefs. He is worshipped by Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas and Shauryas, and of course by Ganapatyas. He is famous as the remove of obstacles and is therefore worshipped before undertaking any task.

In Sanskrit ‘gana’ means ‘to count’ (ganita, mathematics is also derived from gana). We count and categorize things into groups and so a group is called gana. Every field of knowledge makes its own groups. Science categorizes the phenomenal world as groups of organic or inorganic chemicals, amphibians or reptiles, constellations or galaxies. Ganpati is the Lord of all groups.

The world is made up of the permutation and combination of a group of five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) and three qualities (sattva, rajas and tamas).

Each body is constituted of a group of seven substances (bones, flesh, blood, fat, lymph, marrow and semen), the five sense organs of action (locomotion, grasping, speech, reproduction and excretion), the five sense organs of perception (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling touch), the five physiological functions (respiration, digestion, circulation, excretion and reversal action) and the four mental modifications (mind, intellect, memory and I – notion). Ganpati is the Lord of all.

Each group may have its own leader. Indra is the king of heaven, a president is the head of a nation or the human being is the crow of all earthly beings. But, Ganpati is the Lord of all lords, the king of kings, the Master of all. Prostrations to the Lord of all. Who is Ganpati in essence? (Source - Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad By Swami Tejomayananda)