Shri Ganesha is the most loved God. Every auspicious activity begins with invocation of Shri Ganesha. He is the remover of obstacles. He represents the universal intelligence. He represents the freedom from ignorance. Let us understand the symbolic meaning represented by the form of Shri Ganeshji.
What is the essence of Form of Shri Ganesha ?
The ultimate reality Pararahman is formless and beyond conception of human mind. Shri Ganesha manifest form of the formless Divinity. Meditating on the form of and message of Ganesha helps us to divine qualities of evolved human being and become free from Form. Form is the means to formless.
What is the meaning of Shri Ganeshji being creator of obstacles and remover ( vighna karaka, vinashaka).
Creation is the divine sport. Dance. Creation involves evolution. Evolution happens when challenges are encountered in life. Shri Ganeshji creates challenges (vighna karaka) so that we may evolve. He also provides opportunity for spiritual elevation (vighna vinashaka) when we surrender to Grace of Guru, God.
Why do we make idol out of mud and dissolve it in water after that. What a waste of money and time ?
Chaturthi means fourth. Ganesha Chaturthi is invitation for us to explore fourth state of conciousness. We all know jagrat, swapna, sushupti ( waking, dreaming and deep sleep) Fourth state of conciousness Turiya is divine in us. Form helps us to conceptualize the qualities of Divine. But eventually we have to drop form and merge in the formless. Just like idol of Ganesha, our bodies are also made up of mud. The festival is invitation for us to go to Formless fourth state (Turiya) using form and dissolve ourselves ( mud bodies) in Infinite bliss of Brahman (ocean) just like Shri Ganesha idol is dissolved in ocean.
Why do we worship so many forms ?
We do not worship forms but we worship formless through form. A scientist puts his discovery in the form of formula. E=MC2 is such a formula. The formula represents deeper truths of the universe. Similarly, Rishis - Spiritual scientists represented the deeper aspects of spiritual truths in the form of Form. Shri Ganeshji is one such form. All our Deities represent one or many of the Cosmic Truths. Form itself is a pointer. It is not the end. It is like a formula. A road map. We need to understand, meditate and discover the Divine qualities through the form.
There are different stories about Ganeshji in Puranas. What is the meaning of the stories ?
We have two types of spiritual literature in India. Ithihasa and Purana. Itihhasa means historical story. Ramayana and Mahabharata are historical stories. Deeper spiritual Truths are told using actual historical facts in these stories. While in Purana, a deeper spiritual Truth is elaborated in the form of stories. Stories are some times mythological, some times cosmic events and some times actual happenings. What is important is to penetrate the deeper meaning of the stories and grasp the essential Truth. Some of the popular stories of Ganeshji and essential truths are given below.
Birth of Shri Ganeshji - Parvati represents Shakti and Matter. Shiva represents Conciousness and Guru. Cutting the neck of Ganesha and replacement with elephant neck represents enlightenment.
Competition between Ganeshji and Muruga for the fruit - The story represents two alternate spiritual paths. Shri Ganeshji represents path of Jnana - finding the Self where you are and Muruga represents the gradual path of discovering the Truth.
Story of Kubera - Represents that wealth cannot remove our hunger for liberation while wisdom given by Guru ( Mother) satisfies.
Story of Ganesha Chaturthi - Moon laughing represents the mind. Shri Ganesha throwing his tusk represents dropping of duality. Chaturthi represents the fourth state of conciousnes (Turiya) when you are not supposed to see the mind ( moon). This is state of Samadhi.
Why use Symbols ?
Our life is full of symbols. We deeply respect our National flag. National flag is symbol for Indian Nation and its people. Whenever we think of any major product or activity the symbol representing the same comes to our mind. For example when we think of Olympics, the Olympic flame comes to mind. When we think of America, the dream of Americans, Freedom which is ideal of American Nation in the form of Statue of Liberty comes to our mind. Our mind thinks in the form of Symbols.
What do we learn from the Form of Shri Ganeshji – Role model for Evolved Human Being ?
The pictorical representation of symbolism of Shri Ganesha is uploaded into the file which can be accessed at google groups (Realization of Self)
It is said that one picture is worth thousand words. The form of Shri Ganeshji beautifully depicts the qualities which we need to develop in our life. These are Divine Qualities. Shri Ganesha means master of sense organs ( Indriya Gana). We become evolved beings and master of sense organs when we invoke Divine qualities in our life. It is very difficult for the human mind to conceive the Infinite, formless nature of Divine. Shri Ganeshji represents the Divine qualities we need to imbibe in our life for evolution. He is the role model for evolved human being. The qualities represented by Shri Ganeshji are shown in the picture above. By worshipping the Divine through the form of Shri Ganeshji, we develop those qualities in our life and become better human beings.
Idol worship or Ideal Worship ?
The great Rishis of ancient India, understood the mind of human being very well. Human mind has difficulty in conceiving the infinite formless nature of Divine. For the benefit of humanity, Rishis represented the qualities of Divine in the form of various Gods. Shri Ganeshji, Shri Vishnu, Shri Mahalaxmi and all other Gods are the Cosmic powers of the Infinite Formless Divine. We worship the Formless, Infinite power through the form of Gods. What we do really is the worship of the Ideal through the form. Constantly thinking of Divine qualities through Divine Name and Form helps us to develop the qualities in us and takes us closer to the Lord.