MEET MANOJ'S MURTIS PART II: GANESH
Ganesh Mantra: Om Gam Ganapataye Namah
Summary: Ganesha will not only ground you, remove obstacles and give you success, he leads you to Self Knowledge. Anything new you would do such as a new job, new event such as a birthday, new teacher training, new day etc., you get the blessings of Ganesh. He is the Lord of thresholds.
As you know, Ganesh removes obstacles in a physical sense with the weapons he holds in either hand. However, the "real way" he removes obstacles in our lives is in the following manner: Ganesh usually is shown with a Mouse at his feet. (If the Ganesh murti doesnt come with a mouse, then your mind is the mouse and you make Ganesha complete!). The mouse is the transport vehicle (Vahana) of Ganesh, in other words, he rides on the mouse. However, the mouse symbolizes our minds which wander all over the place like the way the mouse scampers around. By riding on the mouse, Ganesh controls the mouse, he therefore controls our minds helping "still" our minds. Ganesh thus gets you in a state called "Practicing Samadhi" where the thought patterns in your mind are uniform. In that state, you do not experience any obstacle. So the obstacles we face in our lives are not outside you but inside our mind as vrittis (thought fluctuations). That is the secret how Ganesh removes obstacles by giving you an inner calmness.
"Surrender" to Ganesh. The "abhaya mudra" (blessing gesture with his hand) is very powerful. It means, when you surrender your ego and yourself to Ganesh, he will dispel all fears and insecurities from within you. Just do your duty (Karma Yoga) and leave all the results to Ganesh. We have far less control over our lives than what we think.
The trunk of Ganesh symbolises the ability of discernment (Viveka). Just like the way, an elephant can carry a heavy log with his trunk or pick a single blade of grass with the same trunk, we need to have the ability to "discern" in our dealings with people. The ultimate discernment is seeing the Unity of Consciousness in this World of Multiplicity. The twisted trunk of Ganesha is called Vakratunda. This represents the path of sadhana, spiritual practice. An elephants trunk usually hangs down, this is the path of least resistance in the New Age which says you are already enlightened and dont need to do any work. The twisted trunk of Ganesha represents that the path of Sadhana that leads to the sweet he holds, the bliss of enlightenment, SatChitAnanda. Sat is truth of what Is, the I Am. Chit is Awareness. Ananda is bliss. So when you are truly aware of the Self, the I Am, the only thing there Is, you are in bliss - this is the sweet Ganesha wants us to taste.
The broken tusk of Ganesh signifies non-duality (only one tusk is left, that is Consciousness, One with out a second). The other reason he broke his tusk is to write the Mahabharata. Ganesh is the God of Writers and enhances our intuitive writing abilities.
The large Ears of Ganesh represent the ability to really listen and not merely hear. Many people hear and are thinking what to say next in their minds.
The large belly of Ganesh (Lambodhara) represents the ability to go beyond the opposites of life (duality) and realize the non-dual consciousness within us (intuitive Self realization). It also represents the Fullness (Purna) of Consciousness. He says life is about Perfecting while feeling Perfect at every stage. In other words, we can always get better and better with a feeling of contentment and fullness at every moment.
The Axe Ganesh holds in one hand chops the pull this world of Multiplicity has on our ego. His other hand holds the Noose , with which he pulls the ego into pure non-dual consciousness, so enlightenment happens to your Ego - we know who we are, pure unbounded consciousness.
To explain this further, Vedanta teaches us that our Ego straddles a line between this world of Duality and Pure non Dual Consciousness. This was actually one of the greatest teachings of Shankaracharya in his Adhyasa Bhashya of the Brahmasutras. The ego gets enmeshed in the world and we start basing our happiness on whether our desires are fulfilled in the world. The axe of Ganesha chops this pull and the noose he holds in the other hand pulls your ego home where it belongs, pure Consciousness.
The Sanskrit word for ego is AhamKara (the "I" maker) and the Sanskrit word for the vast nature of consciousness is Maha. Interestingly when Ganesh chops the pull of this world on our Ego and flips it back, it is the same as flipping back Aham and you get Maha! Thus the individual becomes the Macrocosmic. That is why Ganesh has an elephant head on the human body. The elephant head represents Maha and the human body is Aham. Ganesh thus represents the great Mahavakya (Great Saying) of the Vedas: Tat tvam Asi. (That thou Art). It literally means you are infinite. The little known Ganapati Upanishad (Ganesha Atharva Shirsha) elevates every aspect of Ganesha as symbols of Consciousness and starts off with this Mahavakya of Tat tvam Asi as an homage to Lord Ganesha.
Jyothi Chalam is a scholar of Vedanta, the philosophy of self realization. Jyothi teaches workshops on the Upanishads at ashrams, yoga studios and yoga conferences. Jyothi is also an accomplished musician of the South Indian Classical tradition. Her music is the culmination of both her philosophical meditations and deep spiritual devotion.
Manoj Chalam uses humor and personal anecdotes in his workshops to illuminate Hindu mythology. An Indian-born scientist with a PhD from Cornell University, Manoj helps individuals find their archetypes in Hindu Yogic deities and teaches the 4 ways to work with their archetype. He has also compiled a book on the symbolisms of Hindu and Buddhist deities.