Wednesday, November 24, 2010

सन्कट हर गणेश स्तोत्रम् (sankaTa hara gaNesha stotram) ...

I like the following Sloka which presents a nice summary of all Lord Ganesha’s unusual features, and once again highlights his ability to remove all obstacles from our path. I am only presenting the meanings of words not already encountered thus far in the earlier Slokas.

प्रणम्य शिरसा देवम्
गौरीपुत्रम् विनायकम्।
भक्तावासम् स्मरे नित्यम्
आयुः कामार्थ सिद्धये

praNamya shirasA devam
gaurIputram vinAyakam |
bhaktAvAsam smare nityam
Ayuh kAmArtha siddhaye ||

शिरसा  - with the head
भक्तावासम्  स्मरे - residing in each devotee’s mind/memory
नित्यम् - always
आयुः  - long life
कामार्थ (काम + अर्थ​) - pleasure + prosperity
सिद्धये - bestow

I bow my head down to you my Lord, Lord Vinaayaka the son of Gauri (Paarvati), One who always resides in the devotee’s mind, bestow upon me long life, wealth, pleasure and prosperity.

प्रथमम् वक्रतुण्डम् च​
एकदन्तम् द्वितीयकम्।
त्रितीयम् क्रिष्ण पिङ्गाक्षम्
गजवक्त्रम् चतुर्थकम्॥

prathamam vakratuNDam ca
ekadantam dvitIyakam |
tritIyam kriShNa pingAksham
gajavaktram caturthakam ||

प्रथमम्  - first
द्वितीय - second
त्रितीयम् - third
क्रिष्ण - black
पिङ्गाक्षम् (पिङ्ग + अक्षम्) - red/brown + eyes (pronounced “pingaaksham”)
वक्त्रम् - face
चतुर्थकम् - fourth

First the twisted trunk, second the single tusk, third the black and red/brown eyes and fourth the elephant face.

लम्बोदरम् पंचमम् च​
शष्टम् विकटमेव च​।
सप्तमम् विघ्नराजेन्द्रम्
धूम्रवर्णम् तथाष्टकम्॥

lambodaram pancamam ca
shaShTam vikaTameva ca |
saptamam vighnarAjendram
dhUmravarNam tathAShTakam ||

पंचमम्  - fifth
शष्टम्  - sixth
विकट - huge/gruesome
सप्तमम् - seventh
विघ्न​ - obstacles/calamities
राजेन्द्रम् - the king of kings
धूम्रवर्णम्  - ash/gray coloured
अष्टकम् - eighth

Fifth is the trunk hanging like a pendant, sixth is His huge body, seventh is His ability to be the supreme destroyer of all obstacles and eighth is His ash coloured body.

नवमम् फालचन्द्रम् च​
दशमम् तु विनायकम्।
एकादशम् गणपतिम्
द्वादशम् तु गजाननम्॥

navamam phAlacandram ca
dashamam tu vinAyakam |
ekAdasham gaNapatim
dvAdasham tu gajAnanam ||

नवमम्  - ninth
फाल - forehead
चन्द्रम् - moon
दशमम्  - tenth
एकादशम्  - eleventh
द्वादशम्  - twelfth

Ninth is the presence of the moon on His forehead, tand now, tenth He is the presiding deity, eleventh He is the leader of the Ganas and twelfth, He is the elephant faced One.

द्वादशैतानि नामानि
त्रिसन्ध्यम् यः पठेन्नरः।
न च विघ्नभयम् तस्य​
सर्व सिद्धिकरम् प्रभो॥

dvAdashaitAni nAmAni
trisandhyam yah paThennarah |
na ca vighnabhayam tasya
sarva siddhikaram prabho ||

तानि - His
नामानि - names
त्रिसन्ध्यम्  - refers to the 3 junctures of the day - dawn (when night meets day), noon (when the ascending sun transforms to the descending sun) and dusk (when day meets night). These 3 movements of the sun are meant to be soul-stirring and bring about a certain calmness in the mind which makes it ideal for meditation.
यः पठेन्नरः - one who chants/reads/practices
न च विघ्नभयम्  - without fear of obstacles
तस्य​ - his
सिद्धिकरम् - make it succeed
प्रभो - Lord

Anyone who meditates on these 12 names of Lord Ganesha during the 3 sandhyA times of the day, let him have no fear of any obstacles and make his every attempt succeed my Lord.

I would like to continue with the rich symbolism associated with the various attributes of Lord Ganesha. Typically, he is depicted as having 4 arms, a twisted trunk, a snake tied to his belly and a crescent on his forehead (along with everything else I talked about in the earlier posts, of course!). Let me start with the snake!

Lord Ganesha, in keeping with his enormous belly, usually indulged himself in a lot of sweets and fruits. It so happened that on one particular night he had eaten too much even by his own lofty standards! When he was returning home on his mouse, a snake happened to pass by that way. The mouse was terrified on seeing the snake and tried to scamper away. This made Lord Ganesha trip and fall, ripping his belly open in the process. Trying to salvage his pride, he quickly tied the snake around his belly to keep things from getting worse. Hence, the belt. Though Lord Ganesha thought no one was watching, the Moon had witnessed the entire event and burst out laughing. Angered, Lord Ganesha cursed that it would be an unlucky omen for anyone to ever look at the Moon again. The Moon then apologized and pleaded with the Lord to take back his curse. However, Lord Ganesha could only soften the blow and he changed the curse to make it unlucky to view the moon only of Ganesha chaturthi day. Despite this, the Moon lost its earlier lustre and could not pick itself up from the shame. To restore its shine, Lord Ganesha wore the Moon on his forehead and only then, things were back to normal!

Lord Ganesha is usually shown as having 4 arms (though he can sometimes have up to 12). The things he carries in his arms symbolize his mood. If they are loaded with weapons, he is in a mood to destroy all evil. If he has his hand in an abhaya mudra (palm facing outwards with fingers upwards), he is in a mood to bestow boons on his worshippers. A goad (a tool that is used to herd elephants) in his hand symbolizes his control on ignorance and materialistic attributes. Sometimes, he carries a noose or paasa. This is used to capture or control moha or ignorance. In rural areas, he is usually shown as carrying a sugarcane. The most common item he carries, however, is a bowl of modakams or laddus.

Now the trunk.  Towards the bottom, the trunk can be twisted in either direction. The most common depiction is a trunk twisted to the left (ida naadi), usually immersed in the bowl of modakams or laddus. This form of Lord Ganesha appeals to the materialistic devotee, one with excessive Tamas. Such a devotee is interested in material gains and, with due diligence, will attain what he seeks (the modakams). The second most common depiction is the trunk twisted to the right (pingala naadi). This form appeals to a devotee with excessive Rajas, i.e., great passion for attaining spiritual success. Such forms of Ganesha are also referred to as Siddhi Vinaayaka and, if observed closely, the right twisted trunk together with the elephant face and the crescent on the forehead form Om, the Pranava Mantram. Coincidentally, this form represents Om in both Sanskrit and Tamil! A rarer depiction of Lord Ganesha is one with the trunk completely unrolled. This form appeals to a devotee who has attained Sattva, or perfect balance of mind. In him, the Sushumna channels are said to be open, i.e., he has succeeded in turning his mind inwards rather than looking at the outside world. Such a person has attained perfect balance of mind and has no attachment to either materialistic wants or religious rituals. Rarer still is the depiction of Lord Ganesha with his trunk swung up in the air directly in front. In this form, he appeals to the devotee whose Kundalini shakthi has been awakened and he is well on his way to complete realization of Brahman. If you are interested in learning further about the theory of spinal columns, body chakras etc., you can find a nice explanation here.

I concede that my knowledge on this entire topic is very bookish and entirely half-baked. I could not, however, resist bringing this topic up. One the one hand, it seems like all the mythological reasons given to justify Lord Ganesha’s form and shape are bedtime stories for kids. On deeper introspection, this one compact form seems to reveal the secret to understanding and overcoming this entire material existence. Such a wonderful transition from an outward dualistic God to inward Self realization simply makes it too important to leave unsaid!

1 comment:

  1. Very Powerful Ganesha Mantram