Personal Growth, Spirituality

Lord Ganesha | Symbolism | Important Life Lessons | Powerful Mantras

Shri Ganesha, described as the one tusked, Elephant-Headed Hindu deity, remains one of the widely worshipped & most popular deities in Hindu culture. 

Also known as Vighnaharta, meaning destroyer of all obstacles. He is invoked on every spiritual & secular event and worshipped before all auspicious undertakings & new ventures.

Depicted as the Shiva-Gauri Putra, meaning Son of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati and the brother of Lord Murugan or Kartikeya. Ganesha, the god of wisdom and prosperity, holds 108 names, each depicting an individual aspect of the deity; 

Every celebration, be it a humble prayer at residence or a massive gathering at a temple, commences with thanking Lord Ganesha. 

Ganapati (Gan meaning “People,” & Pati, “Lord”) is portrayed as married in some scriptures while, in a few, he is introduced as a celibate. Either way, Lord Ganesha is an epitome of three virtues: Siddhi (Enlightenment), Buddhi (Wisdom) & Riddhi (Prosperity). 

In Shiva Puran, Ganesha is portrayed being married to Siddhi (Enlightenment), and Buddhi (Wisdom) while him representing Riddhi (Prosperity) blessed with two sons, namely Shubh and Laabh. Where Shubh means goodness, and Laabh means benefit.

Lord Ganapati’s Symbolism :

All the deities, whether their features, colour, weaponry, adornments, vehicle or enveloping radiance. Everything holds a profound meaning and sometimes metaphorical significance. 

Here, we shall decipher how Lord Ganesha mirrors his values:

Elephant Head : Signifies wisdom, understanding, and perception. Think big, focus & work towards big achievements.

Small Eyes : Symbolizes the importance of Focus. To concentrate & prosper in your calling.

Small Mouth : Exemplifies that he speaks less & listens more.

Large Ears : Explicates the importance of listening skills, his ability to listen to everyone who seeks his help and address their needs.

One Broken Tusk : This indicates his potential to overcome all kinds of dualism, finding the balance between enlightenment & emotions.

Long Knotted Trunk : This represents his ability to hold everything within the universe, his divine dynamism he contains in his knot. While Aum (Om) inscribed on his trunk outlines the essence of the existence.

Big Belly : Symbolism of generosity and total acceptance. The universe that lies within.

Described by his mystical presence, Ganesha is usually portrayed having four arms, in each division, he carries specific objects, each signifying how he can support us grow through our awareness.

Upper Arms : He holds a pasha (noose) that pulls us towards the ultimate goal of consciousness and deliverance.

Another arm holds a goad (Axe) that symbolizes detachment from the material world, egotism and affliction.

Lower Arms : His lower right hand is shown in Abhay Mudra. It’s a yogic hand gesture that helps to connect to and awaken the energy within. It symbolizes protection, harmony, and the dispelling of fear.

In the lower left hand, he holds a bowl full of Indian sweets called Modak. His favourite. Shaped as an upward triangle, similar to a bag of money, it symbolizes prosperity. The motif of Ganesha turning his trunk distinctly to his left to savour a sweet in his lower left hand is his unique feature.  

Vahana (Vehicle) : Ganesha’s vehicle is a giant Dinka rat (Mushika) that symbolizes Ganesha’s ability to annihilate useless beliefs, that reproduce like rodents and get what he desires.

Six Important Life Lessons Lord Ganesha Teaches :

01. Speak Less, Listen More

Ganesha, with his large ears, keenly listens to the requests of all his followers, resolves their dilemmas, and grants their wishes.

The significant lesson here is to keep the inner chatter at bay and disregard the unwanted gossip & rumours. Focus solely on the positive & move forward. 

02. Be Humble, Respect All

Lord Ganapati has a tiny mouse as his transport, though he could have chosen from the most powerful to most beautiful animals or birds.

Choosing a mouse explicates his humility and regard towards every creation, teaching us that everyone is significant and should be honoured and valued for their uniqueness.

03. Find the Right Balance

One of His upper hands holds a goad (Axe), which helps to cut through egoism and control over one’s elephantine desires. The other upper hand has the “Pash” or the noose, grabs undesired temptations and helps in spiritual ascension. Teaching us to find the balance between materialism & spiritualism to lead a content life.

04. Adapt not Attach

Ganesha’s large belly implies that one must have the aptitude to adapt to the ever-changing life and remain balanced without developing attachments.  

05. Knowledge is Power

Ganesha possesses an elephant’s head. Elephants are considered one of the world’s most intelligent animals, known for their strong memory, sharp intelligence, and mindfulness. This motivates us to assimilate the bounty of knowledge through the judicious use of our cognition. 

06. Never Misuse your Strength

If you notice, Lord Ganesha has a long knotted trunk, which signifies the infinite strength he holds within, that can dominate the cosmos & the knot indicates his ability to restrain those powers and not to abuse them unnecessarily.

Powerful Ganesha Mantras :

Sharing most powerful & common mantras to connect with Ganesha :

Vakratunda Ganesh Mantra

Vakratunda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Sampraba | Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa ||

Meaning :

O Lord, with the curved trunk, with the mighty divine presence, & the aura of a billion suns. Please, protect me from obstacles during my undertakings.

Ganesha Mool (Root) Mantra

Om Gan Ganpatay Namaha |

Meaning :

Bowing to the Almighty Ganesha with all our existence and allowing his divine essence into our lives.

Ganesha Gayatri Mantra

Aum Ekadantaya Viddhamahe, Vakratundaya Dhimahi | Tanno Danti Prachodayat ||

Meaning :

We pray to divinity with the single elephant tusk, who is omnipotent. To the Lord with the curved trunk, we pray for the higher intellect. We bow before the single-tusked elephant god to enlighten us with knowledge & awareness.

Lord Ganesha is known to bestow his blessings on his devotees’ granting them success, prosperity and protection against adversity. 

Thus, one should surrender themselves to Lord Ganesha and chant these mantras for success, good health, peace, and prosperity, and they shall notice their lives transforming for good.