वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सुर्यकोटि समप्रभ |
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा ||
vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha|
nirvighnam kurume deva sarva karyeshu sarvada||
If you are wondering who Lord Ganesh is, he is the one with the Elephant head and a human body (talk about the concept of cross species genetics, but we will come to that later). It is a ritual in Sanatha Dharma to invoke the qualities of Lord Ganesh before starting any job. I did just that by quoting the slokha(hymns) mentioned above. Ganesh is symbolized with an elephant because it has largest ears and the largest brain among terrestrial mammals. May be that’s the reason Ganesh is often associated with Gyana (knowledge). And to succeed one not only requires skills and intelligence, but also the ability to listen keenly to what is actually being said – hence the large ears I reckon!
The word Ganesha derives from the word Sanskrit word “Gana” meaning troup or group (assembly called the Sanghas). Ganas and Sanghas were part of the early forms of government as guided by Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Sanghas have references in Buddhist literature as well which dates back to 600 BC. When we look back at the history, “government by decision” is what evolved in to the modern terms – democratic and republic – selecting representatives to make decisions for a community. This sort of elective kingship was prevalent during Vedic period (1700-500BC) as opposed to common belief that only monarchy (kingship by inheritance) was practiced. Sadly though, history shows the signs of elective kingship being degraded as monarchy gained power. But, history does repeat itself isn’t it? If not we wouldn’t be living in a democratic republic country. (except in the case of Gandhi’s may be or may be not if we exercise our voting power).
Ganesh (also referred to as oṃkārasvarūpa) is often identified with the mantra “Aum” or the premodial sound. Aum is the sound of the universe. It is the sum of everything. This sound (or the vibration) has a very significant relationship string theory (in turn postulating theory of everything) by means of creating elementary particles(strings) vibrating at different dimensions. I will stop right here. But there is so much to be discussed about the coincidences mentioned above, I will need to spend a lot more time and words on it.
A man with an elephant head makes it sound really good for the kids who are waiting for an adventure every night as a part of their bedtime stories. But, the symbolism is not accidental as it leaves a great thread of knowledge and ideas to be woven. Apparently it also doesn’t stop with the age. As we grow up, we realize the critical role we play in the sustenance society. For example by electing the right people to create and amend laws that will govern our very interaction with the group or the community. “Gana” provides a clear reference to the type of government or society we ought to form. Along with it, Ganesh leaves a clue to the biggest mystery of the world – theory of everything. It’s amazing how many things are encoded in a symbolic expression from the pages of our History books.
With this, I welcome you to my blog and to the column – Curious Science of Spirituality – my search for science behind various traditions and cultures.
There are a lot more to about Lord Ganesh for example why does a guy that big sits on a tiny little mouse (muhika) and whats with such a huge belly? As am just keeping it to the scope of the title, I didn’t cover them here. If you wish to know more about Ganesh I recommend you read the following blogs:
The Significance of Ganesha Interesting things about law of gravity and Ganesha are mentioned here.