Thursday, 24 August 2017

The origin of God Ganapathi - the remover of obstacles

Ganapathi TheHolidaySpot
bronz Ganesa idol, en  wikipedia.org
Vinayga Chathurthi or Ganesh Chathurthi is an important festival for the Hindus, irrespective of their caste and culture across India. This year it falls on the 25th of August (Friday). Among the gods and goddesses in the Hindu Pantheon, the most popular one is undoubtedly Ganapathi. For every Hindu religious ceremony, ritual and function, invocation of Ganapathi in the form of Homam (Ganapathi Homam) is a must for success. In the state of Tamil Nadu, in particular, one can see countless small temples in cities, towns and villages dedicated to 'Pilliyar' (Ganapathi). There is no village or even a hamlet in Tamil Nadu that does not have a small Ganapathi temple. An interesting thing is when the exam season begins, school and college students make a beeline to the nearest Vinayagar temple for prayer to pass the exam with merit. In many towns in this state, on the same street itself, there may be two or three Ganapathi temples, in variably. at the corner of an intersection. He is also known by the name of Vignewara, meaning one who removes the hurdles or roadblocks (in Tamil Venai Theerpavan). He also goes by the name of Ayenkaran meaning one who has five arms. The word Ganapathi itself means he is the head of all Ghanas. Lord Ganapathi  is the one who wrote the Mahabharata as dictated by Maharishi Vyasa. When Vyasa decided to write the Mahabharata, he sought the help of Ganapathi for his intelligence and agility. He is the god of intellect and wisdom. He has a broken ivory tusk with which he wrote the great epic. The great sage Vyasa requested God Ganapthi to understand what was being dictated by him. This was done to buy time so that the sage would have enough time to compose the next lines. God Ganapathi was particular about writing the epic without a break, unmindful of sage's thought-process.

Every year we celebrate his birth day/Jayanthi as Vinayaga Chathurthi. Many of us quite vague about the origin of Ganapathi. What was the secret behind his birth? Why does he have a human body and an elephant head? Does it not sound strange? Though his real origin is vague because of different versions (that date back to many centuries) one fact is clear that he is the son of lord Shiva and Parvathi. There is a legend behind it and this one is widely quoted in many studies..

Once, when Lord Shiva was away, his consort Parvati went to bathe. As there was no body while she was bathing, with the sandal paste she had, she created  a form and gave life to it. She asked him to guard the place and not to let anybody get inside while she was bathing.  Since this form was created by her, it became her Pillai (son). Hence  he is called pillaiyar (in Tamil Pillai means son)

Upon his return, when Lord Shiva tried to enter the place, Pilliyar denied him admission. Shiva got angry and in rage cut the head of Pilliyar and went inside. In the meantime Parvati after her bath came back to the place where Pilliyar was lying dead without head.  When she came to know that Lord Shiva was the one who had slain her son Pilliyar, she was furious and took the form of fearsome Kali ad soon had begun to cause destruction and desolation. The devas (Celestial) were scared of Kali's fury and rage and finally approached Lord Shiva to do something to contain her rage.  Shiva asked his Ghanas to go north and get the head of any living thing. The Ghanas sighted only elephant first and brought the head and gave it to Shiva who joined the head with the  slain body and gave life to it. Parvati became subdued and accepted Pilliyar (Ganapathi) as her son. This is the reason why Ganapathi (Pilliyar) has a human form with an elephant head. He has yet another name Ganesan (quite common in Tamil Nadu). According to Narada puranam, Vinayaga became the head of all Ghanas.
prasadam (Kozhakattai and appam delhinagaratharsangam.org
Since that time Vinayaga Chathurthi has become an important holy festival. At home in Tamil Nadu, the Hindus buy the  Vinayaga idol made from plain clay, put it in the Puja room and do pujas after taking bath. The special  prasadam (Kozhakattai, etc.,) will be distributed among the family members and others later after puja is over.
If you have a lot of trust in Ganapathi, the lord of good beginning and removing obstacles, he won't betray you and see to it that your hurdles and worries will disappear as fast as the morning  dew.

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