Symbolism Of Ganesha – What Does It Indicates?


Ganesh is not just the most loved god among Hindus. He is also the first god they run to, in dire times. Traditionally, anyshubh karya (auspicious work or activity) in Hinduism is begun with an invocation to Lord Ganesh. This ritualistic practice is an indicator of the fact that Ganesh is probably the most popular of the numerous gods in the Hindu pantheon. It is not just thanks to His lovable image, as the elephant-god, that Ganesh is so appealing. His devotees find his entire being a vast treasure trove of symbols and feel blessed when they meditates on them.

Vakratund mahaakaay suryakoti samprabha
Nirvign kuru me dev sarvakaareyeshu sarvada

Generally, we find Lord Ganesha depicted as a stout and fat figure with pot belly, elephant head, large ears, small eyes, long nose, mouse as vehicle etc. From an artistic angle this figure is most enchanting and blissful. But, behind this artistic symbolism hidden is, a philosophy, a moral, a management principle and a lesson for every body to learn in life.

Big Head: Simple living and high thinking. It depicts the wisdom, knowledge (intelligence), discrimination, clear planning, and foresightedness which are very much the principles of management.
Big Ears: Listening is an art. A good listener is a good Manager (principle of lend your ear but be discriminative); quality of a good leader.

Small mouth: Talk less and work more. Productivity angle;
Small eyes: Stay focused; have a bird’s view but not a worm’s view. Be ever alert and conscious of surroundings.

Long nose and curved trunk: There is no straight path to success. Be flexible and adaptable. Long nose also indicates the reach.
Large Stomach: Ability to digest; Acceptability (accept both good and bad in life). Ganesha’s large stomach is a treasure of Vedic knowledge.

Axe in the hand: Exercise proper controls in the path to success.

Mouse: Mouse symbolizes egoism which unless under control can cause havoc. Egoism is nothing but ignorance (darkness). You ride the ego and don’t allow it to over ride you. Always keep desires under check.  All our sufferings in the world are caused by our own ego centric misconception and consequent arrogance characterized by our ever multiplying demand for wealth and desires. Ego is the greatest enemy of human beings; one may understand the cosmos but never the ego.

Mouse symbolizes that “nothing is insignificant in this universe”. What is important is, one should know how to utilize them effectively. Don’t ignore the small. Size makes no difference. Mouse also symbolizes the darkness of night. Mouse can see well in the dark. As Lord Ganesha’s vehicle mouse signifies an object that leads man from darkness to light.

Commonsense and Problem solving skills: Using one of his tusks when his quill got broken while scripting Mahabharatha. Commonsense prevails in life. In fact with His presence of mind Lord Ganesha is indirectly responsible for origin of the famous temple of Sri Ranganatha Swamy at Sri Rangam (Tamilnadu) and that of Lord Shiva at Gokarna (Karnataka).

Wisdom: Treating parents as God (Maathru Devo Bhavah – Pithru Devo Bhavah); He is the one who has shown to the world the significance of parents by taking a circumambulation around his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi that bestowed him the position of Ganaadhipathya, Lordship over the Ganas.

Communication: Communication gap is the distance between the two ears. Lord Ganesha was specially chosen by Lord (Sage) Vedavyaasa to script the great epic Mahabharatha. With his listening skills, Lord Ganesha could effectively transcript narration given by Lord Vedavyaasa without any communication gap.

Strategic Management and timely decision making: Lord Ganesha decides to take Pradakshina (circumambulation) around his parents (Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvathi Devi) during the contest with his brother Lord Kaarthikeya. Ultimately He succeeds with his time management skills and presence of mind. Timely decision making is also visible in the episodes of the origin of Sri Rangam and Gokarna temples.

Adaptability & Opportunities from constraints: With small feet; pot belly; mouse as vehicle etc… Ganesha never ran away from constraints & obstacles. He adapted well to the circumstances. With his common sense and wisdom he converted his constraints into opportunities without any egos and went on to become Chief Lord of Ganas (Ganapati).

Role model: Elephant shows the path in forest which is full of obstacles and constraints. A good leader is the one who leads by example. Lord Ganesha is known as Vinaayaka (Vigathanaayaka Vinaayaka) the one who has no master over him. He is totally an independent Deity; has no overlord and is the one who leads. Lord Ganesha is a leader acceptable to all; a leader who is a role model; a path maker; the one who is there when needed by his devotees (Kshipra Prasaadi).

Lord Ganesha signifies the triumph of wisdom over ignorance and of ego-lessness over desires. Ultimate reward is only through saadhana that is Modaka in the hands of Ganesha. Lord Sri Maha Ganapathi is said to be a personification of Omkaaram (Pranava Swaroopam) which is primordial to all Veda Manthras. Thus symbolism of Lord Ganesha is embodiment of wisdom and a visible representation of the highest reality.

One should properly understand the significance of Lord Ganesha; his symbolism; messages it conveys and worship him for a hassle free life and achievement of success in endeavors without obstacles.

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