Hi, thanks for your fascinating website. I hope you can help me with a question I have. I was wondering why is Ganesha worshipped in different forms. Most times in India, he is worshipped in the original form – one head and four arms. Other times in other countries and religions, he is worshipped with 3 heads, sometimes 5 heads and 6 or even 8 arms.
I have a small image of the original Ganesha but recently acquired a Ganesha with 3 heads and 6 arms. I understand the significance fo most of what his hands are holding, except for the skull head. It does not strike fear in me but I was wondering why he holds different items at different times.
Can you help? Thanks.
Thank you for visiting my blog.The physical appearance of Lord Ganesh is described in the Ganapati Upanishad (11-14).
“He has only one tusk but four arms. Two of the hands hold a noose and a goad. The two other hands display the varada don mudrâ hand gesture symbolizing a divine power, which grants boons, and the abhaya without fear mudrâ, which dismisses fear from the devotee. He is escorted by a mouse or a rat. He is red in color and fat-bellied; his ears have the form of winnowing-baskets. He is red dressed and all is limbs are covered with red sandal paste. One worships Him with red flowers. Unfailing, charitable, He is the Origin of the Universe. He manifests Himself, at the very beginning of the Creation, alone, before the manifested world, before the Cosmic Consciousness (Purusha) The Purusha, the the Supreme Consciousness “.
“Whoever meditating on His form will take a prominent place among the Self-realized people”.
The number of Ganesha’s arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms. Many depictions of Ganesha feature four arms and one head. Even in southern parts of India the Panchamukhi or the 5 faced Ganesha is very popular. All aspects of Ganesh’s form are filled with symbolic meanings. According to the strict rules of Hindu iconography, Ganesha figures with only two hands are taboo. Hence, Ganesha figures are most commonly seen in India are with four hands which signify their divinity. Yet it is not rare to see some figures with six, eight, ten, twelve and fourteen hands, each hand carrying a symbol which differs from the symbols in other hands, there being about 57 symbols in all, according to the findings of research scholars.
The image of Ganesha is a composite one. Four animals – man, elephant, the serpent and the mouse – have contributed for the makeup of his figure. All of them individually and collectively have deep symbolic significance. The image of Ganesha thus represents man’s eternal striving towards integration with nature. He has to be interpreted taking into consideration the fact that though millenniums rolled by, man yet remains closer to animal today than he was ever before.
Lord Ganesh’s head symbolizes the soul and also denotes wisdom. When the sacred symbol of Om is inverted, it gives the perfect formation of His head. Ganesh is depicted with several heads and each of them signifies different understandings which help in the attainment of Ganesh consciousness. There are 32 forms of Ganesha.
Dwi means 2 and Mukha stands for head / face. Two-headed forms are called Dvimukha Ganesh. These two heads signify the microcosmic and macrocosmic aspects of the Universe. Dvimukha Ganapati, called Janus by the Romans, with two divergent faces, sees in all directions. His blue-green form is dressed in red silk. He wears a bejeweled crown and holds a noose, goad, His tusk and a pot of gems.
The idol you have Trimukha Ganapati, the contemplative “three-faced” Lord of red hue, sits on a golden lotus, telling His beads, holding a noose, goad and vessel of nectar. He gestures protection with a right hand and blessings with a left. Trimukha Ganapati, the contemplative “three-faced” Lord of red hue, sits on a golden lotus, telling His beads, holding a noose, goad and vessel of nectar. He gestures protection with a right hand and blessings with a left.
Trimukha Ganesh) depict the three states of being inherent in any manifestation, which are named the Guna, specific qualities of anything of the world, that is to say
râjas principle of the action, considered as a positive energy force
tamas principle of inertia, considered as a negative energy force
sattva principe d’harmony – balance, just between the previous ones.
Tamas in excess leads to depression and sadness while Rajas in excess produces excitement, anger, greediness, etc.
Four-headed Ganesh (Chathurmukha Ganesh) may be considered as psychic aspects adopted by Brahmâ to manifest Himself in the world. The four-headed Lord Ganesh represents Manas (Mind), Chitta (Individual Consciousness), Buddhi (Intellect) and Ahamkara (Ego). These are also used to name His arms. This form is also represent the four Vedas – Rig Veda, Vajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.
Five-headed Ganesh (Pañchamukha Ganesh or Heramba Ganesha) are more common in South India. These five heads of Ganesh symbolize the five elements – Maha Bhuta or The Five Elements : Water, Earth, Fire, Air, Ether of the Tattva. The fifth head is located above the four heads and it denotes the highest level of pure consciousness or Sat- Chit-Ananda or Anandamayakosha.
- Why is Hibiscus offered to Ganesha
Normally we have a concept that Ganesha is to be offered Red Hibiscus which he likes. But is it really so? A flower has a particular colour and a special fragrance. On a subtle level the color and fragrance particles present in the flower have a capacity to attract the principles of a specific deity ( Ganesha ) which benefits the worshiper. That is the principle behind offering specific flowers to a deity and not because they like it. If the worshiper has more spiritual emotion for these flowers then the frequencies of deities get more activated through the medium of these flowers and work for the worshiper directly.
There are subtle frequencies of deities active in the atmosphere. These frequencies are attracted towards certain flowers. These frequencies are then emitted back into atmosphere which is known as ‘pavitrak’.
The Ganesh principle is present in the universe . It gets attracted towards the central space of the red colored Hibiscus flower . This is emitted in the form of circles. The Ganesh principle which is absorbed by the stem of the flower gets emitted through the petals in the atmosphere. The stamen of the flower absorbs the Ganesh principle present in the atmosphere and emits the particles which donate vital energy or pranshakti.
The Hibiscus flower is of raja-sattva nature. As a result divine energy (shakti) and divine consciousness (chaitanya) are emitted from its petals.
The negative energies present in the atmosphere get distressed due to the deity principle pavitraks projected by the sattvik flowers. Their tama component dominated energy or what we call as black energy is either reduce or gets destroyed. In short the sattvik flowers fight with the negative energies present in the atmosphere by emitting frequencies of deity principles. Such flowers when brought into contact with a person suffering from the distress of negative energy then the negative energy which has entered the person subsides.
The distressing energies in the atmosphere which trouble us are called ‘negative energies’. The energy of deities is known by the terms such as chaitanya (divine consciousness), bliss(ananda) and shanti (peace) while the energy of negative energies is known as ‘black energy’. The deities are sattva predominant while the negative energies are tama predominant!
Ganesha (or any deity) looks after our welfare whereas negative energies does us harm. When a person is severely affected by the negative energy distress, his control over his mind, body and intellect is reduced and that of negative energy is increased. This affects the thoughts, emotions etc of the person. Such an affected person when come in contact with an atmosphere predominant in sattva component then there is friction between the positive sattva atmosphere and negative energy. This can manifest in various forms. This may be in the form of a simple thought of leaving the place or a violent reaction. Sometimes these destructive thoughts can become manifest on a physical level. Under such circumstances the negative energy may manifest grossly in the form of sudden burst of anger, shouting, throwing of objects and not only this, it may take any form of destruction such as plundering and breaking of surrounding things.
Shri Ganesh principle frequencies present in the universe get attracted to the Hibiscus flower and get converted into shakti and chaitanya and are emitted in the atmosphere. The emitted energy is of destroyer type that it reduces the covering of black energy generated by the negative energy around the woman. There is formation of chaitanya in the heart of the woman as a result of emitted chaitanya. The subtle particles of destroyer form of energy are projected in the atmosphere.
Make sure you point the stalk towards the lord and the flower facing you while offering flowers to the deity
About the Temple
The Madhur temple is a Shiva temple with Srimad Anantheswara as it’s presiding deity. But equal importance is given to the deity Maha Ganapathi. It is said that when the temple was being constructed the devotees forgot to install the Ganesha idol but Ganesha miraculously appeared in the rock and from then on he is given more importance in the temple. The idols of Shiva and Vinayaka are installed in Mukhamandapam and Sukasana’s. The Sivalingam of the temple is said to have been found by a harijan woman, Madharu. One can find references of this temple in the Sahyadri Centre of Skanda Purana.
Festivals and Celebrations
The Madhur Srimad Anantheshwara Vinayaka Temple celebrates its Annual festival for 7 days in the month of March/ April. During the festival the presiding deity of the Madhur Srimad Anantheshwara Vinayaka Temple is taken out in a long procession. Display of folk dances and folk music in the procession makes it all the more pleasant.
A special festival of the temple named Moodappa Seva which is covering the large figure of Maha Ganapathi with appam made of ghee and rice is also celebrated here which is held once in many years and records says during the last 40 years, this festival has been held only thrice. It was celebrated in April 1962, after a lapse of about 160 years, and recently in April 1992. . The sacred thirtham (water) of the temple pond is said to possess spiritual power to cure all diseases.
Architecture of the Temple
This temple is the most renowned one among the four temples built by the Mypadi kings of Kumbla around the 10th century. The temple was renovated in the 15th century and was built in a distinctive style in a three storied oval structure adorned with copper plate roofing. The unique architectural style make this temple different from other shrines which is noted for its archaeological value.
Variety of patterns in temple architecture can be enjoyed here. Madhur Maha Ganapathi Temple is a specimen of rich cultural heritage of the Kasargod region. It is a perfect blend of architecture of Kerala and Karnataka regions. The rich architecture, imposing structure of the temple and the copper plate roofing rises majestically against the beautiful landscape of hills, the place is indeed fascinating. There are abundant paddy fields and gardens with the river Madhuvahini flowing leisurely in front of the temple. This place in Kerala has a picturesque beauty.
The wood carvings in the temple is marvelous. The carvings depict historic heroes of Mahabharat and Ramayana. These eye-feast carvings are in the ceilings of Namaskara Mandapam ( Prayer hall ) of the temple. A closer examination of the wood carvings would disclose the various episodes of the Ramayana, beginning with the Sita Swayamvara. The Mantapa in the interior of the temple building as well as the outside facade of the second and third storey of the main building are also profuse with attractive and exquisite wood carvings.
By road, this divine place can be approached from Mangalore which is 25 km north. Also from Kasaragod which is 8 kms
Distances from Kasorgod to :
Kochi 432 km
Thiruvananthapuram 654 km
Calicut 208 km
Mangalore 52 km
Nearest railway station: Kasaragod, about 8 km. Manjeswar Railway Station on the Kozhikode-Mangalore line is around 2 km away from the temple.
Nearest airports: Mangalore, about 50 km from Kasaragod town; Karipur International Airport,Kozhikode about 200 km.
An idol of Ganesh immerged from mandar tree or especially made up from the wood of mandar tree is called as Mandar Ganesh.
Mandar is the Sanskrit name for Calotropis Procera. If someone worships mandar tree continuously for twenty one years with watering the mandar tree and offering gandha(sandalwood paste), red lead and flowers on the roots of the tree then one can see the shape of Ganesh. (Ganesh is immerged from the root of the mandar tree) This is one type of Mandar Ganesh.
Second type of Mandar Ganesh, is when someone worships mandar tree for some time and then from the wood of mandar tree he carves an idol. It is also a known fact that Ganesha is naturally built in every White Mandara Tree Root.
Also know as Swetark. The tree is very poisonous but filled with white Flowers. It is believed that those who keep this idol in their homes are blessed by both Lord Shiva and Goddess Lakshmi.
How to get first type of mandar Ganesh ?
One can experience the immerging of mandar ganesh by worshiping white mandar tree (the colour of the flowers is white some mandar trees have blueish white, whitish purple flowers) for twenty one years with dhoop, deep/light, naivedya (offering to God), offering durva and with pradakshirna (circumambulation). After twenty one years the shape of Lord Ganesha is immerged at the root of the tree.
How to get second type of mandar Ganesh?
Worship Ganesh on Angarika Chaturthi (Krishna Chaturthi which comes on Tuesday) or for continuous 21 days under the mandar tree and then cut the portion of the tree religiously and make the idol from it.
The beads made form Mandar tree have a very significant meaning in worhipping of Lord Ganesh. It is believed that Lord Ganesha stays in the roots of mandar tree on magh shuddha saptami (rathsaptami). It is believed that if one does penance of Lord Ganesha under a mandar tree, his(or hers) wishes are bound to come true.
Puja of an idol of Mandar (Ganesh second type)
Wipe it with a clean washed piece of cloth(for the idol is of wood).
Put tikka, a round circle of wet sandalwood paste .
Then sprinkle haldi and kum kum
Then apply on the tikka ,a dry dry coat of ashtagandha and shendur(red lead).
Then offer flowers, durvas and shami.
Offer Deep. A small metal lamp with two wicks (a bud shaped cotton dipped in oil and cotton is lit). Which one can move in clockwise direction before God and placed in front of the God.
Offering Naivedya – dip two finger tips of right hand(the index and the middle fingers) in water and do a mandal on ground or flat surface.(mandal is a square shape figure made by water with two fingers)
Place an offering for it. Take water in the fingertips and move it around the offering in clockwise direction for three times.
Simultaneously close the eyes with touching left hand’s thumb & index finger.
• To get blessings of Shiva and Ganesha.
• Gives knowledge and concentration power
• Promotion in job and increase in business
• Maintains harmony in married life.
• Eliminates illness and diseases
• For Prosperity and growth
• Get rid of hardship or insufficiency
• Activating positive energies in the house
• Protection against enemy
It is mentioned in our ancient texts, that a house where Swetark Ganesha is worshiped it gets freedom from from poverty, obstacles, quarrels and all sorts of negativity. It also gives knowledge and concentration power to students. It also gives promotion in job and maintains harmony in married life.
It is essential to chant any of the following Ganesha mantras while worshiping Swetark Ganpati :
• Om Vakratundaya Namaha
• Om Shree Ganeshaya Namaha
This particular post goes to a friend who asked me to explain the significance of Ganesha festival from the scientific perspective.
Ganesha Chaturthi, or ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated by Hindu’s around the world which marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha. This festival is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) . In the 120 days from the full moon (pournima) in Ashada till that in Kartika of the Hindu lunar calendar, yama frequencies, which have the ability to destroy and are tama predominant reach the earth in greater quantities. During this period they are of a greater intensity. However since during the same period, that is from the fourth day (chaturthi) in the bright fortnight of Bhadrapad till Anant chaturdashi. Ganesh frequencies too reach the earth in greater quantities it helps in reducing the intensity of the yama frequencies. Thus celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi derives the benefits from Ganesh frequencies and helps in reducing the effects of yama frequencies.
There are many powerful mantra’s in praise of Lord Ganesha. These mantra’s are not just strings of meaningless praises or just decorated words they are powerful statements of factual truths about the Created Universe and have hidden meaning in them. They are scientific treatises, only written in an entirely figurative language. We do it today too. Let us take for example the “mouse” of a computer. Why did we choose that word for that bit of electronic equipment? What will the people a hundred years into the future understand from this word?
Everyone is familiar with the below mantra of Ganesha
“Vakra Thunda Mahakaaya
Surya Koti Sama prabha
Nirvighnam Kuru mey Deva
Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvada.”
Wave (not straight) = Vakra
Particle = Thunda
All pervading (enormous body) = Maha kaya
A crore, or 10 million (numberless) suns = Surya koti
Even Brilliance = Sama Prabha and so on.
Ganesha is the Deity of “Light”. He is Himself “Light”. So for the Scientific minded, we worship Ganesha who is “Light Deified” on this day. Ganesha was born from the dirt on the body of Shakti. While Shiva is the “being” aspect of that which has come into being and which we call “Shrusti” or “Creation”. Shakti is the “happening” aspect of the same. It is the primary “Energy” which brings into being all that was, is and will be. (I do not know of a scientific equivalent in English for this word. This primeval “Energy” is not the same as what we refer to as “matter and energy”)
The awakened Shakti is the stillness of Shiva that has become active or un-still. This first unstill-ness is the “vibration” or the AUM. From this Nada Bindu emerges the first aspect of Creation, that is LIGHT which even though is the finest form of energy, is still coarser than Shakti .(This LIGHT is not the Light that we generally know of. It is the LIGHT that gives Light, its Light.) This is why another name for Ganesha is OMKARA. And this is why Ganesha is said to have been created from the scurf of Shakti’s body. It could also mean that Ganesha is the first in the movement from a state of “Stasis”,or “Achalana” or Sattva, when no Creation is possible, to the state of “Chalana” or disturbance which produces Rajas and Tamas , which are the two aspects of Creation.
To remind us of all this, many devotees traditionally design the Ganesha vigrahams for Ganesha Chaturthi, out of COW-DUNG ( I learned this very recently) which is most auspicious, or TURMERIC POWDER, or lastly out of fresh, unbaked CLAY. These three, when they go back to the soil, enrich it. This is a symbolic act that reminds us that LIGHT is the origin of this Earth, and all that becomes Life on it and all that sustains this life in the form of food. In earlier times Ganesha Chaturthi was celebrated with small finger-sized idols made of turmeric or clay.
What is the need for a new idol?
Inspite of having an idol of Ganapati, which is routinely worshiped, a new idol is brought for Ganesha Chaturthi. During the period of Ganesha Chatuthi, the Ganesha frequencies reach the earth in larger quantities. If these frequencies are invoked in the usual idol of worship, then that idol will acquire a tremendous amount of energy. To worship such an idol meticulously observing all the norms of ritualistic worship throughout the year would be a difficult task as one would have to follow the restrictions of ritualistic worship (karmakanda).
Hence, a new idol is installed to invoke the Ganesha frequencies and is then immersed. The proportion of sattva, raja and tama components in Ganapati frequencies is 5:5:5 while that in an average person is 1:3:5. This makes it difficult for an average person to receive Ganesha frequencies for a long time.
Siddhi Vinayaka Vrat is performed or observed on Ganesh Chaturthi day itself. On this day Ganesha is prayed and worshipped according to the scriptures. 21 malpuas are offered to Ganeshji along with 21 Durvas (a type of grass) and 21 modaks while reciting 21 names of Ganeshji. After that one should offer food to the Brahmins and then should partake food.
When is the time to do Vrata
Bhadrapada Shukla Chouti. This year, chaturthi comes on 23-08-09 (Sunday) after 9.50 am. So the Vratha falls on this date. Incidentally, the sun rise happens on Triteeya. Hence even Swarna gowri Vrata also falls on the same day.
What is the direction to sit
Facing East or North.
What is the direction to keep the Ganesha
Towards East – First choice or North- second option
What are the options on types of Ganesha that can be kept for Pooja
Rajatha (silver), Mrinmaya (Mud)(more than 99% people fall in this category)
What is the main Nivedya for Ganapathi
Modaka and quantity is 24 in nos.
Why is this Vrata called Varasiddhi Vinaayaka Vratha
As per Ganesha Purana, this Vrata is observed and the devotees have to imagine that he is granting us all types of boons and granting our wishes. Ganesha is Varasiddhi Vinaayaka…. He is the one who fulfills any of our wishes…..removes all obstacles
How to decorate the Ganapathi
To your liking. There is no hard and fast rule for this.
How may Yagnopaveeta (janivaara) should be kept for Ganesha single or Double……..
In this vratha, Ganesha should be bestowed with single Yagnopaveetha. Pl. do not forget to soak this in Kumkuma before offering to Ganesha. This is done because, on this vratha, we consider him as Brahmachaari. In General, Brahmachaari is always with single yagnopaveetha. Grihastaas are always with double yagnopaveetha.
What is color of gandha to be prepared for this Ganesha
All pooja items should be red in color. That is rakta (red) vastra, Rakta Gandha, rakta Pushpa, raktaakshata (akshate in red)
What is Doorva Ganapathi
Every pooja has to start of with first prayers to Ganesha. Even while performing Varasidhhi Vinaayaka Vratha we should request Ganesha to help us perform his vrata without any vignaas (obstacles). For this purpose, before the Ganesha Vratha, we keep this Doorva Ganesha (made of Cow dung and Doorva) and do first pooja to DoorvaGanapathi.
What is the significance of Doorva on this day
Ganapathi is also called Doorva bilva priya and likes Doorva. Doorva is considered as one form of samith during any yagna types. Hence Doorva finds a place during Ganapathi pooja.
What is Favorite fruit for Ganesha –
He is described as Jamboo Phala Saara bakshanam (that is ….He is the one who eats the Jack fruit as it is(saara bakshanam)) that means he likes Jack fruit.
What is Favorite flower for Ganesha
He is known as Arka Pushpa Priya (arka priya )
What is Favorite Naivedya flower for Ganesha
Modak, he is also known as Modaka Priya
What is Favorite entertainment for Ganesha –
He is known as Naatya Priya. He like dance. That means, it includes Music as well. So that is the reason, Ganesha utsavas include cultural evenings, discourses etc.,
What kind of Deepa should be lit–
Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the most colorful and widely celebrated festivals in India. Large number of people observe Ganesha Chaturthi poojas at home. Here is an explanation on how to perform Ganesha puja at home as mentioned in Hindu scriptures.
Ganesha puja on the Chaturthi day is usually performed at noon but nowadays people perform it when all the family members are present.
A Clay image of Lord Ganesha.
Druva Grass blades
Modak (jaggery filled sweet)
Red chandan (Sandalwood paste)
Incense and agarbathis
First clean the house and take a bath.
A Clay image of Lord Ganesha is installed in a raised platform.
Pray to Lord Ganesh and you can recite mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Next step is to invoke Ganesha into the image. This is known as pran-prathishta. The Pran Prathista mantra in Sanskrit to be invoked is found in the Rig Veda and is part of Ganesh Suktha.
ganananh tva ganapatim havamahe kavim kavinam – upamashravastamam |
jyeshhtharajam brahmanan.h brahmanaspata A nah shrivnvannutibhih sida sadanam || (Rig Veda 2.23.1)
ni shhu sida ganapate ganeshhu tvamahurvipratamam kavinam |
na rite tvat.h kriyate kinchanare mahamarkam maghavan.h chitramarcha || (Rig Veda 10.112.9)
We invoke You, O Ganapati of the ganas (Lord Shiva attendants), Who are Brahmana-spati of the brahmas (prayers), the wisest among the wise, Who abound in treasure beyond all measure, the most brilliant one. Do listen to our prayers, come with Your blessings and assurances of protection into our home, and be seated. (Rig Veda 2.23.1)
Sit down among the worshippers, O Ganapati, the best sage among the sages. Without You nothing can be done here or far. Accept with honor, O wealthy One, our great and variegated hymns of praise. (Rig Veda 10.112.9)
Now Ganesha is installed in the idol and one can perform arati and light the lamps. Some people perform the shhodashopachara, which are 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha. (This ritual is usually performed by the priests, you can skip this.)
Offer 21 blades of Druva Grass.
Offer 21 modakas
Offer red flowers
Apply a tilak using red Sandalwood paste.
Break the coconut or just keep it along with the idol. You can also keep fried grains. (The food of the rat – the vehicle of Ganesha).
You can also recite the 108 salutations dedicated to Lord Ganesha or read the Ganesha Upanishad or just simply pray.
The number 21 signifies – the five organs of perception, five organs of action, five vital airs (pranas), five elements, and the mind.
While performing Ganesha Puja at home, you can always be flexible. The strict rituals are meant for Vedic priests. All you need be careful is to perform the pujas with a clean body and clean mind. What is more important is devotion not the ritual.