From Discourses of Bhagavan Sri
Sathya Sai Baba
Ganesh or Ganapathi or Vighneswara all
indicate the Elephant-God, who is popular among young and old, and
who is worshipped as the very first deity, before regularly
beginning any ceremony or samskar, any yaga of
yajna, any vow or fast or pilgrimage. He is the Lord of the
ganas or divine forces, inside and outside the human body; He
is the Lord, who masters and overwhelms vighna or obstacle,
however imminent or eminent. This is the natural effect of the
fact that Ganapathi is the God of Intelligence, vidya or
Another name for
Vinayaka is 'Vighneswara'. Easwara is one who is
endowed with every conceivable form of wealth: riches, knowledge,
health, bliss, beauty, etc. Vighneswara is the promoter of
all these forms of wealth and removes all obstacles to their
enjoyment. He confers all these forms of wealth on those who
worship him. Vinayaka is described as "Prathama Vandana"
(the first deity who should be worshiped). As everyone in the
world desires wealth and prosperity, everyone offers the first
place for worship to Vighneswara.
a God revered in Tantric lore, and also, by various Vedic
mantras. The elephant is proverbially the most intelligent
among the mammals and it is vegetarian, indicating its
nature. Ganapathi has the head of the elephant, for, it indicates
the Intelligence through which obstacles in the path of
achievement, secular as well as spiritual can be overcome. There
is a popular verse, used on most occasions when Ganapathi
is invoked. It mentions various attributes of this God:
Suklambaradharam (wearing white vesture) is the first.
This is the symbol of purity, for, ambara means also the
sky (space, ether), the akasa of the heart. Ganapathi is
pure, having universal love and compassion. Vishnu is the
second attribute, ascribed to Him.
that He is present everywhere, at all times. Sasivarnam is
the third adjective used. Of the complexion of ash, or
Vibhuti, that is to say, glowing with spiritual splendor, with
the majesty of spiritual attainments, achievements and
potentialities. These are also called Vibhutis, for, in the
Gîtâ, we find Krishna saying, 'wherever you see Power,
Glory, Majesty (Vibhuti), know that it is Mine'! Ganesha
is bathed in His Divine Glory; that is the significance of the
(four-handed) is the next fourth denotation. This means
that apart from the two visible hands, He has two invisible hands,
that are available for the two divine uses of:
1. Blessing the devotee and
2. Guarding him from danger.
The last fifth
of the descriptive word is Prasannavadanam (of bright
countenance). The countenance depicts the inner calm, happiness
and balance, inner grace and mercy, the consciousness of strength
What is the esoteric
meaning of Ganesha's elephant head? The elephant is noted
for its acute intelligence. Ganesha's elephant head
symbolizes sharpness of intellect and the highest power of
discrimination. Because of the purity of his intellect,
Vinayaka is also called the giver of buddhi
(intellect). He responds to the prayers of devotees and hence is
known as Siddhi Vinayaka (the Vinayaka who grants
what is sought).
In a forest, when an
elephant moves through the jungle, it clears the way for others to
follow. Likewise, by invoking Ganesha, the path is cleared
for our undertakings. The elephant's foot is so large that when it
moves it can stamp out the footprints of any other animal. Here,
again, the symbolic meaning is that all obstacles in the way will
be removed when Ganesha is accorded the place of honor. The
journey of life is made smoother and happier by the grace of
is also regarded as one endowed with the wisdom of the elephant.
The elephant is noted for its supreme intelligence. it is also
known for its absolute loyalty to its master. The direct proof of
this is Sai Githa (Bhagavan's elephant). Ordinarily
hundreds of cars will be passing on the road. Sai Githa
will take no notice of them. But when Swami's car happens
to pass that way, she will instinctively notice it, She will rush
to the road raising her familiar cry. What love for Swami! It will
be no exaggeration if faith is equated with the elephant.
When an elephant
moves among the bushes, its path turns into a regular passage for
all animals. It is thus a pacesetter for all animals.
The mouse is
Ganesha's vehicle. The mouse is a clever and lively creature.
As a symbol it means that we should be clever and diligent in our
actions. The mouse also symbolizes the darkness of the night. The
mouse can see well in the dark. As Vinayaka's vehicle the
mouse signifies an object that leads man from darkness to light.
The Vinayaka principle thus means that which removes all
the bad qualities, bad practices and bad thoughts in men and
inculcates good qualities, good conduct and good thoughts.
discrimination, no skill or strength can be profitably used. One
must know how fire, for example, or the electric current has to be
used and how far one can deal with it as an instrument for our
needs. The senses of man are also like fire; they have to be kept
under constant vigilance and control.
No worship can
succeed unless the heart is pure and the senses are mastered.
Ganesha is the God who helps overcome obstacles; but, He will
create obstacles when good endeavor is obstructed by bad
influences; He will clear the path for the sincere
He is Prasannavadanam (of bright countenance), of
beneficial looks, when you pray to Him for good ends; but, He will
not be that when you seek His help for nefarious stratagems! He is
Pranava-Swarupa, the Om personified; so He is
Vinayaka is a
leader for all deities. Faith in Vinayaka should be
developed as the exemplar for all deities and He should be
worshiped as the embodiment of Divinity.
Om Eka Dantaya
Vakra Thundaya Dhemahi
Thannoh Dhantih Prachodhayath
Om Shanti ... Shanti ... Shanti
with one tusk is God;
Meditate on the One Who has a curved trunk;
May He enlighten our intellect.