Foremost, I humbly offer my prayers to the (my) guru. Kanchi Paramacharya gave a very illuminating exposition on Ganesa and His essential qualities. Ganesa is unique; like an innocent child He is easily pleased. Yet among all the gods, He is beyond the symbolic form – He constantly teaches us to look beyond the frivolous physical form and beauty constraints. Ganesa is of course, the Para-Brahman, far away from the limits of space, tri-guna restrictions, and human imagination.
Lamba = large; udara = belly; lakumi = lakhumi = Lakshmi (seems it is from Marathi); kara = hand, trunk, give, yield; amba = The Mother, Devi, Parvati; suta = son, child; amara = celestials, those immortals in heaven (swarga); vinuta = praised, extolled;
Sri = Lakshmi, prosperity, holy; gaNanatha = master of all the ganas; sindura = the color of red cinnabar (HgS). (I came across this color first in our village in two situations. The Anjaneya temple murti of Hanuman is fully colored in this oily orange-red paint. People also used locally available ochre stone (iron compound) to paint and decorate their houses and exterior walls. Perhaps that is how most of the Vaishnava temple walls are covered with red stripes.) varna = color, hue; karuNa = compassion, grace; sagara = ocean, the body of water named after the emperor, Sagara; kari = elephant; vadana = face;
siddha = persons with great abilities (acquired through yoga) ; charaNa =wandering actors, flying persons, students of Vedas; gaNa = group of gods (nine classes); sevita = (One who is) served by; siddhi =able to accomplish (any proper, dharmic) goal, also having total control of the eight or more supernatural powers; Vinayaka = a distinguished master, Lord of obstacles; te = thou, you, namo = salutations, respects;
sakala = all types, various; vidya = branches of knowledge (arts, sciences, etc.); adi pujita = offered prayers first; sarva = all; uttama = best, excellent;
Here in this composition, we address Ganesa with various qualifying epithets. Each one speaks to the unique characteristic of this embodiment of ‘innocent childlike purity of Brahman’. The Mother imparted Him with all the auspicious qualities of wisdom, boundless energy, (slight) mischievous playfulness of a child, and infinite compassion. Ganesa also forgives His devotees easily. In the forest nothing can obstruct the advances of an elephant. Similarly with Ganesa’s grace every obstacle can be efficiently overcome with ease. How to illustrate His benevolent timely grace to the devotees? Once He effortlessly transported Avvaiyar to Kailas with His trunk. At another time He arranged a sumptuous meal for Kavya-kantha Ganapati muni and his brother miraculously on a deserted street.
(Faith and morals (truthfulness, altruism) are best taught to children when they are young. In earlier times (we’re truly blessed in this regard) mothers, grandparents, and teachers taught us edifying stories from the puranas. With age one contracts the corrosive disease of “endless questioning and disobedience”. We refuse to listen to others. Some times questioning is good in certain areas (science, math) for exploration – the trait is more like a healthy skeptical attitude. But sheer useless, often endless questioning will not help in developing a healthy personality. Modern man tends to size up all bygone seers, rishis, and philosophers as “ignorant nincompoops”. This is a dangerous vice; in the end he will have no friends in the world. Crass stubborn rationality will not come to his aid when he gets sick, bankrupt, alone, or in despair. Lay people sadly are not aware that even in mathematics, in certain instances logic breaks down (Kurt Gödel). Lucky are those who still can seek the guidance of a ‘guru’ while the day is young!) Copyright 2018 by the author