Ganesh Jee | Miscellanea-12
|12-Meaning of Ganesh|
12-Meaning of Ganesh
An elephant's trunk has the strength to uproot a tree as well as the finesse to pick up a needle. Ganesh's trunk symbolizes the fact that the wise person has both immense strength and fine discrimination. Ganesh has large ears. The wise person hears all. He has four hands. In one hand he holds a lotus, the symbol of enlightenment. In the other hand he holds a hatchet. That is, the old Karm, all your Sanskaar, the accumulated good and bad of past deeds get cut when enlightenment comes. The third hand holds Laddoo (the round sweets). They are the rewards of a wise life. Surprisingly enough Ganesh Jee is always shown with a large plate of Laddoo but never shown eating the Laddoo. The wise man never partakes of the rewards of his deeds. He is not attached to them. His fourth hand is shown blessing the people. The wise man wishes the best for everyone.
Ganesh has only one tusk; the other is shown broken. There is an interesting story as to how Ganesh happened to get an elephant's head and how one tusk got broken. The symbolism of the broken tusk is that the wise person is beyond duality.
We tend to think that we end when our bodies end in the material world. We are the first person. All else is different. This duality is created by the mind which creates the ego to help us survive in this world. This 'me-other' duality is the screen keeping us from realizing our real Self, which is beyond body and mind. Once we transcend this duality, we see the entire Universe as a single whole and we become aware of our true Selves. The single tusk of Ganesh symbolizes this non-duality. Wisdom allows us to see all as one and ourselves an integral part of the whole.
Ganesh is shown sitting with one foot on the ground and the other resting on his knee, above the ground. The wise person lives on this earth, yet not entirely of this Earth.
Ganesh is shown seated on a rat. The reason for saying that Ganesh 'rides' on the rat is that the rat is among the greediest of all animals. It will keep nibbling at whatever is available, eating everything it can. Scientifically, too, the rat's teeth keep growing and it has to keep chewing on something to keep these within limits. The rat is a symbol of our senses, which are never satisfied. They crave new experiences, new tastes. Left uncontrolled, they keep growing forever. The wise person rides on his senses. He keeps them under control.
Ganesh is often shown seated in front of a tray of sweets. In these images the rat is shown sitting in front of Ganesh, perhaps a bit to one side, looking up at him. The senses of the wise person are under his control and the rat dare not eat the sweets without the permission of Ganesh.
Ganesh is the son of Shiv and Paarvatee, the God governing the life-force and the Earth-mother. This symbolizes the spirit and body of the wise person. Finally, the wise person has the dignity of an elephant.
When we say "Aum Ganeshaaya Namah" before starting anything what we are saying is that "In what we are about to do, let wisdom be our guide". In a sense, Ganesh is our most powerful god, and he is usually remembered before starting any rituals for other deities and other important works, especially travel.
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on May 17, 2013