Friday, November 9, 2012

Why is God Ganesha considered the foremost among all Gods?

Shree Ganesh is the most adored God among Hindu Gods. The prayers are first offered to Lord Ganesha before starting any religious ceremony or on auspicious occasions. He is known as the Vighnaharta and the master of Riddhi-Siddhi. Any prayer made to him ensures success and removes all the obstacles coming in life. Pleasing Lord Ganesha is very easy. All that one needs to do in order to please him is to chant the Mantra of Lord Ganesha. The Ganesh Mantra is:

वक्रतुंड महाकाय कोटिसूर्यसमप्रभ।
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥

God Ganesh is the one who symbolizes learning and knowledge. One can learn to be responsible to differentiate between good and bad just by getting devoted to Ganesha. It also helps in developing farsightedness. It is for this reason that prayer is first made to Lord Ganesha before starting any religious ceremony.

Here are two popular stories that illustrate the importance of this custom:

When mankind was created, the question arose that who should be considered the most revered. All the Gods then went to Brahma ji to get an answer.  Brahma ji sorted out a plan and declared that whoever would go around the world and return first would be considered the most revered of all.

On hearing this, all the Gods set out for the journey on their respective modes of transport. God Ganesha was paunchy. He had a mouse as a mode of transport and was too slow to stand first after taking the round of the world. In order to overcome this problem, he consulted Narada ji. Narada suggested that he should write Ram on the ground and take seven rounds of it. 

After completing the rounds, he went to Brahma ji. He was asked that how he completed the journey in such a short span of time. He told Brahma ji about what he had done. He explained that the word Ram symbolizes the supreme spirit and both, the Earth and heaven are dependent on him. On hearing the explanation given by God Ganesha, Brahma was left with no other option and had to declare Lord Ganesha as the foremost among all Gods.

In Shiv Puran, narration of another story is given. Once all the Gods went to Shankar to inquire that who is the foremost amongst all the Gods. Lord Shiva proposed that whoever went around the world thrice and returned first to Mount Kailash would be considered the chief.

Ganesha’s mode of transport was mouse and it wasn’t enough to stand first. Using his intelligence, Lord Ganesh went around father Shiva and mother Parvati thrice. He then folded hands and stood before them humbly. He indicated that he has now completed his mission. Lord Shiva smiled and appreciated him for his intellect. He had achieved more by going around his parents thrice rather than taking three rounds of the world.

Shiva was pleased by the ingenuity of his son. He declared that whoever offered prayers to Lord Ganesha before starting any religious ceremony or auspicious event would never face any obstacle.

Lord Ganesha is easily pleased. Offering him a little durva grass with 3-5 nodes, results in immense blessings. Lord Ganesha grants the heartfelt desires of the one who prays him and offers him this grass. For this reason, religious texts also comment to offer him durva or dub grass.

Sri Ganesha is also very fond of ladoos and modak. Any offering made to him must include laddoos. An offering is considered to be incomplete if ladoos are not offered to him.

In Ganpati Atharvashirsha it is mentioned that: Whoever offers durva grass to God becomes like Kuber. Whoever offers rice and paddy to Ganesha achieves fame and success. Whoever offers thousand ladoos to Sri Ganesha gets all his personal desires fulfilled.

His love for ladoos can be illustrated with this story:

It is said that when all the Gods came to meet god Ganesha and his brother Kartikeya, they were highly pleased to meet them. To express appreciation, they presented a divine laddoo to their mother, Parvati.

Parvati described the smell of laddoo resembling the elixir of immortality. She said that whoever smell it will become the most knowledgeable in religious texts, science and art, culture and writing.

Both the brothers were eagerly waiting to get the laddoo. However, Parvati was not able to decide whom to give the laddoo. In order to settle the issue, she said that whoever among the two proves his superiority through sincere and honest actions will get this divine laddoo.

On hearing this Kartikeya immediately left to take the round of the world and within a short period of time he visited all the pilgrimages. On the other hand, Lord Ganesha was very intelligent. He folded his hands and took a round of his father and mother. He stood with folded hands before his parents and said “fasting, making offerings or visiting the places of pilgrimages is not even equal to one sixteenth of the devotion for one’s parents. This way he claimed for the laddoo.

Parvati was satisfied with the Ganesha’s explanation and gave him the laddoo and blessed him for the devotion he has for his father and mother. She also said that the first offering would always be made to God Ganesha. 

Prayers are made to Shree Ganesh on Diwali as well. He is worshipped along with Goddess Lakshmi. On Diwali too, the first offering is  made to God Ganesha. He is the master of intelligence and wisdom. He is easily pleased and he has proved his intellect several times and therefore, he is revered the most amongst all the Gods. According to a legend, God Ganesha is the adopted son of Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi never leaves her husband, Lord Vishnu. In the same manner, she always stays with her son Ganesh. It is said that once Lord Vishnu said to Lakshmi that a woman is considered truly prosperous only when she has a child. Upset Lakshmi then went to Goddess Parvati and asked to adopt Lord Ganesh. Ganesh then became his adopted son and Lakshmi ji conferred upon him all her siddhis and made him the symbol of happiness. Lakshmi ji then said that Ganesh will always be worshipped along with her and no prayer would be successful if Ganesh is not worshipped. 

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