Lord Ganesha – Overcoming Obstacles

By Rudra Shivananda

GaneshOne of the most intriguing of all the Divine cosmic forces that can come to our aid is that of Lord Ganesha. The elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva is called Ganapati, the Lord of the ganas or heavenly host; Vinayaka, the Supreme Leader; and also as Vighneshvara, or the Lord of Obstacles. These names indicate that He is the master of the circumstances that obstruct any path and with His help, all obstacles can be overcome. This is why all auspicious acts and rituals are undertaken with His invocation first.

From a yogic point of view, Lord Ganesha as the Lord of the physical world  represented by the first energy center or muladhara chakra, helps to overcome all external physical, emotional and mental obstacles.

The form of Lord Ganesha is very symbolic and it can be very instructive for us to learn more about it:

1. The large head of an elephant is necessary to hold all the knowledge that is in the universe. The elephant is also a symbol of wisdom and of long memory.

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2. The big ears are for listening to scriptures and to hear our pleas for help.

3. The trunk is a very versatile instrument – it can be used to lift heavy objects or a fine blade of grass. Our intellect should be able to be so efficient that we can solve all the problems, big or small that occur in our lives.

4. There are two tusks to indicate that we should be able to differentiate between good or evil, right or wrong, real or unreal. However, one tusk is broken to indicate that we should grow out of the world of relativity based on pairs of opposites to achieve unity.

5. His vehicle is a mouse which represents desire – it is very small but capable of much damage if not under control. The mouse looks at the food placed before Lord Ganesha, but does not eat without His permission.

6. In one hand He holds a rope which is used to pull us towards Him, while in a second hand, He holds an axe to cut off our harmful desires. In a third hand, he holds a sweet rice ball to reward those that reach towards Him and in the fourth hand, He blesses them.

7. In a side view, He has the outline of the Sanskrit character of OM – the essential vibration of the universe.

The following is a mantra for invoking his presence and blessings:

Suklaambaradaram Vishnum

Shashi-varnam Caturghujham

Prasanna vadanam dhyaayet

Sarva vighnopa Shantayet

I meditate on Lord Ganesha, who wears white garments and is all-pervading
Whose color is that of the moon, who is four-armed

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