Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great pomp and joy in Hyderabad and many places in India. Keeping aside the regular ritual of installing the Ganesha and performing poojas, there is something that we need to learn during this festival season. Lord Ganesha stands for prosperity and wisdom. Do you know that every feature of Ganesha has some hidden wisdom?
Words may change over time, but symbols don’t. The ancient Indian sages created the image of Ganesha such that it carries a strong message. The festival comes every year to remind us the hidden Ganesha tatva (qualities of a wise man) which is described as follows:
The big head: The big head of Ganesha symbolizes thinking big. To be thoughtful and creative to solve problems. To be knowledgeable.
Elephant head: Elephant is the highest form of animals. It is herbivore – a calm and gentle animal. At the same time, it also has immense strength which it uses only when required.
Big ears and small mouth: A wise person talks less and gains knowledge and wisdom through listening with great attention and reflecting.
Elephant’s trunk: One of the very few tools in nature which can do both subtle and gross actions. With its trunk an elephant can uproot a big tree, at the same time can pick the tiniest things like the needle. The implication from this is to have immense strength as well as fine discrimination.
Small eyes: Represent concentration.
Broken tusk: Signifies sacrifice to do good things for the benefit of everyone.
The four hands
- Axe in right hand, rope in left hand: Our mind is like a wild-elephant that runs here and there. Here axe symbolizes the ability to cut unhealthy emotions that result in sorrow to obtain wisdom. The rope is used to trap illusion and remove obstacles to move in right path.
- Sweets in one hand: Rewards of a wise life. The hard outer shell of the sweet signifies that the sweetness of knowledge that gives us joy and satisfaction can be attained only when we travel along the path of enlightenment.
- Blessing hand: Represents blessings for those in right path.
Large belly: Symbolizes that we should accept and digest all the experiences in life whether they are good or bad. The full stomach also tells to cultivate contentment.
Food at the feet: We often find a variety of foods lying down at the feet of Ganesha. They represent material wealth, power and prosperity. They symbolize that if you live an ideal life with good principals all these material benefits will always be available for you. However we should not be attached to them.
Mouse: The mouse or the little rat represents desire. By nature, rats are greedy and run here and there to get the things more than they need. Our desires are just like rats. Just like how Ganesha sits of the mouse, we should also be able to keep our desires firmly under control and should not allow them to overwhelm us.
Complete picture: If we really see, the body of Ganesh is not perfect – elephant-head, huge belly, four hands, sits on the lowest form of animal but still he is adored as the Lord of wisdom, education and knowledge. This symbolizes that “You are perfect exactly as you are with all your flaws and problems, there’s no need to change anything. All you need to change is the thought that you have to change.”
Why we pray to him before we start anything?
With all the above mentioned qualities, Ganesha represents a perfect person. Moreover, he always accompanies siddhi (perfect knowledge) and buddhi (intellect) which again conveys a meaningful message to have perfect knowledge and intellect. So all these qualities made him the Lord of wisdom. So, remembering him before starting anything is like praying to let wisdom be our guide in whatever task we take up.
This is the message that every Ganesh idol carries. Today, we inherited the ritual of celebrating the festival but we are not able to understand the hidden message behind the rituals. We call ourselves the most advanced, civilized and intelligent society, but we are not going beyond the ritual to see the real meaning.
Have respect for the traditions but try to learn and develop yourself to become a better person.
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