Enshrining Ganesha

  • By Jnana Prabodhini
  • September 2001
  • 7360 views

Courtesy and Copyright Jnana Prabodhini    

Introduction

As all waters falling as rain from the sky ultimately reach the ocean, so does reverent obeisance made to all Gods ultimately reach Keshava- the One Supreme.

This small couplet beautifully explains the catholic spirit of Hinduism. Worship of any deity is itself the worship of the Ultimate. The worshipper is welcome to worship any idol if he is well aware of this spirit.

In Hinduism each deity stands for a specific attribute given to the Ultimate. Shri Ganesha is the symbol of omniscience. He is the God of Knowledge. Gana is a troupe. Ganesha is the leader of the troupe. He is considered to be a skillful organizer. He is supposed to annihilate all the obstacles in the way of success. He mobilizes large groups and gives them a well-directed program of destroying the evil forces.

There are many myths related to Shri Ganesha and also to other deities in Hindu religion. All ancient cultures including Chinese and Greek are rich with mythologies. We find them strange because we do not know how to interpret the symbolism in which they typically express themselves.

Shri Ganesha is a God with the head of an elephant. Elephant stands for wisdom and power. Its small eyes discern between the real and the unreal. Some believe that the symbol Om is reflected in the image of Shri Ganesha.

Atharvasheersha, the Vedic verses on Shri Ganesha, describe him as Eternity incarnate. Hence, worship of Lord Ganesha is not worshipping a particular deity but worshipping the Reality itself.

Lokamanya Tilak turned the individual Ganapati worship into a community festival and made it a means of awakening public opinion against the British rule. After independence, leaders of various social movements made use of this festival for informal education of the people.

Indians settled abroad also celebrate Ganesha festival on community level. This English version of the script for enshrining Shri Ganesha may be useful for them. There is no need for the priest. Any senior person, a gentleman or a woman, of good character can conduct it.

This booklet gives the manual of worship of Shri Ganesha, the rites to be performed before the immersion of the image, Atharvasheersha and Aarati of Shri Ganesha by Saint Ramdas.  With reverence to Lord Ganesha.

Preparations for the Enshrinement of Shri Ganesha

1. A well decorated Shrine and Image of Shri Ganesha
2. Wooden seats – 3
3. Sandal-wood paste
4. Oil lamp
5. Incense
6. Tanpura or Harmonium (if possible)
7. Water container (metal)
8. Metal spoons, Metal glasses, Metal plates – 2 each
9. Holy Conch, Holy bell
10. Rice grains mixed with slight ‘Kumkum’
11. Mixture of milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar, warm water
12. A small piece of good cloth as a seat cover
13. A small piece of fine cloth to be offered as a garment to Ganesha
14. Thread (Yajnopaveet), Durva (a kind of grass) and flowers.
15. Naivedya – food offerings
16. Betal nuts – 5

ENSHRINING OF SHRI GANESHA

(All the members of the family / community squat on the floor in rows and columns in front of the shrine. The priest sits on the right side of the shrine. The representative / head of the family / community at whose hands the enshrining is to be done sits in front of the shrine. The representative worshipper could be a lady or a gentleman. Any senior person of good character- a man or a woman – can work as a priest or a priestess. The oil lamp is kindled and incense is kept burning before the ritual starts. Three minutes before the ceremony the Tanpura starts. Everybody is silently listening. Then the priest commences the prayer and the group follows singing after him.)

Priest and the Participants :

    Harihi  Om
      Om
      Om

Priest – On this auspicious day of Ganesha Chaturthi, we have come together to enshrine Shri Ganesha and to worship him. It is true that God is omnipresent, he is everywhere. Energy pulsates even in the smallest atom manifesting itself through all forms. However, for our own sake and convenience – for we love to worship the form we request the Formless to enter the from we like. We are requesting the Almighty to take the form of the image of Shri Ganesha. This is called Praana Pratishthaa.

Let us begin this ceremony by purifying this place.

Priest and the Participants :

Priest – ( To the worshipper) Please sprinkle water on yourself, on those who are participating in the ceremony, on the Pooja materials and around this place.

The verse says that the person may be impure or pure, in whatever state he may be, if he remembers God, he becomes pure inside out.

Now let us purify this place.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – Evil tendencies residing in this place, those powers that obstruct the auspicious undertakings, must vacate this place by the command of Lord Shiva.

Let all the evil powers vanish from this place. With the blessings of all benefactor powers, we commence this ceremony of enshrining Shri Ganesha.

Priest – After purifying the environment, and ourselves we make a declaration of worship. Take a spoonful of water with the left hand, pour it in the hollow of the right palm, and sip it three times, following the said utterances.

Priest and the Participants –

(Drop the water to the metal plate (Tamhan). This is called releasing Udak, i.e. water. This gesture symbolizes the commencement of an auspicious ceremony.)

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – On this earth----in this continent------in this country called ------, in the city called------in the year--------in season, in the month of--------in the lunar for night--------on date-------on day----------under the star constellation--------we hereby perform the enshrining ceremony of Shri Ganesha.

As an initial part of the main worship, we worship the container filled with water, the conch generating the sound of om and the auspicious bell that brings about by its tinkling sound the arrival of holy spirits and departure of the evil ones.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest –This container symbolizes the universe. Its upper part seats Vishnu, the god that maintains the balance of the universe. Its neck seats Rudra, the God that destroys the evil. Its bottom seats Brahma, the God of creation. Its middle part seats the mother Goddess. Its inside contains as if all the seas and the earth with 7 continents, and also the four vedas-the most ancient Indian scriptures.

May Gayatri and Savitri, the mantras for strength and peace come to this container with all their powers. Let the waters of the holy rivers of India, i.e. Ganga, Jamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri come to this container. I worship this container representing the universe with sandle-wood paste and flowers.

Now we worship the conch.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – This Conch was born in the ocean and Lord Vishnu holds it in his hand. All gods bow before it. I bow before Panchajanya, the superior among the conches. I worship the Conch and offer flowers to him.

Let us now worship the holy bell.

Priest and the Participants –

To beckon the holy spirits and to drive away the evil forces we are ringing this bell. We worship the bell deity and offer her rice grains and flowers.

We now worship the oil lamp, which symbolizes light-energy.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – O lamp! you are the Energy. You are the master of all radiating things. Please bring me health and progeny and fulfil my desires. We worship the God of light and offer him rice grains and flowers.

After worshipping the water container, the Conch, the bell and the lamp we invoke the Almighty to enter the image of Shri Ganesh. Let us recognize the real nature of Shri Ganesha. Ganapati Atharvasheersha says-

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – O lord Ganesha, you are the ‘raison d’etre’ of the universe. You are the Reality. You are the Universal Eternal Self.

Shri Ganesha, Om and Brahman are one and the same. Om is the prime sound from the vibrations of which the universe is formed. So we chant Om while commencing all ceremonies. It is also written at the beginning of any scripture.

Yajurveda, the second Veda says-

Om is the name of the omnipresent Reality.

Taittiriya Aranyaka, one of the most ancient Hindu scriptures, says-

Om is the ultimate Reality. Kathopanishad also says-

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – The Self is described by all the Vedas. Rishis do Penance to realize it. Aspirants lead a life of chastity to achieve it. That is Om. Shri Ganesha is the human form of the same Om. A revered Marathi Saint Jnaneshwar describes the Om form of Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – Shri Ganesha’s squatting position indicates Om, i.e. His prominent belly or abdomen indicates the syllable and his head indicates

(The figure thus formed will give some idea of Shri Ganesha’s form.)

Hence, while enshrining Shri Ganesha, we are enshrining the formless Truth. We have this image of Shri Ganesha before us. It is made of clay. We pray God to enter this image, energize and reside in it, so that we could worship it. Om is the invocation.

Priest and the Participants –

(All the members present close their eyes, sit in the meditational posture, and invoke the Reality.)
     ( Om )
     ( Om )
     ( Om )

Priest – O Lord, you reside in every atom, you are omnipresent. But, for our sake, to fulfill the wishes of your dear children, come and reside (temporarily) in this image.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – O Lord Ganesha, you are worshipped by the Lord of Gods. You remove all the obstacles from the path of the aspirants. You are shelter to the shelter less. You are omniscient. We entreat you to come to us so that we could worship you.

Priest and the Participants – (Eyes closed, Meditational posture)
     ( Om )
     ( Om )
     ( Om )

Priest – Now, in response to our earnest prayers, the Reality has inspired this image. It is now residing in this image. Let us worship it, i.e. Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –

Priest – Shri Ganesha, the Lord of troupes, we praise you. You are the learned among the learned. Your fame has no match. All our prayers come to you. Please listen them, come and sit on this throne with all your protective powers.

Now we will worship Shri Ganesha with the best things we have The chief worshipper will perform the Pooja ritual. We all recite the mantras while she/he is doing so.

Priest and the Participants –

We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him rice grains as a seat. (Keep the image in the Shrine.)

We revere Shri Ganesha and offer him warm water to wash his feet.

We bow before Shri Ganesha and offer water for washing hands.

We bow before Shri Vinayaka and give him fresh water to make Aachaman. (Aachaman is to take a spoonful of water with the left hand, pour it on right palm and sip it.)

We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him water for taking bath.

We revere Shri Vinayaka and offer him a bath of honey, milk yogurt, ghee and sugar, i.e. Panchamrita.

We venerate Shri Ganesha and offer him warm water for taking bath.

We bow before Shri ganesha and offer him special holy water for bath.

(Atharvasheersha is to be chanted when Abhisheka is going on. Since you can’t bathe the earthen image, you take a betel nut in the metal plate and pour water on it, spoon by spoon. Atharvasheersha and its meaning is given in the end of this booklet.)

Priest and the Participants –

We revere Shri Ganesha and offer him garments to wear.

We bow before Vinayaka and give him the holy thread to wear.

We touch the feet of Shri Ganesha and apply sandalwood paste to him.

We worship Shri Ganesha with flowers, tender leaves and Durvas.

We bow before Shri Vinayaka and offer incense to him.

We venerate Shri Ganesha and enkindle the lamp in front of him.

Priest – Now we offer our best food preparations and the best available fruit to Shri Ganesha.

Priest and the Participants –

We bow before the Vinayaka. May this food be consecrated to five types of energy currents that flow through our body and activate the systems.

Glory be to Shri Ganesha. We sing his praise and enkindle oil lamp in front of him.

(All members stand up for Aarati and the worshipper holds the lamp in a thali or metal plate.)

Meaning of the Aarati

O Shri Ganesha, you bring pleasure and love and take away pain and adversities. You wear Sindoor all over your body. Your neck is adorned with pearl-lace. O Lord, seeing you is the fulfillment of all desires. Victory be to you ! (Stanza 1)

O You son of Goddess Gauri ! you are crowned with the best jewels. Kumkum, Saffron and Sandal are applied to your body. Your feet are adorned with small gold-bells. We sing your glory. (Stanza 2)

You have a prominent belly. You are wearing a golden silk garment. You have elephant’s head with a straight, long trunk. You have two eyes and the third eye of knowledge. When I entreat you to come, please come and save me in all adversities,-says the devotee of Shri Ram i.e. Ramdas and awaits you at home. ( Stanza 3)

Vedic Verses on Shri Ganapati

O Ganesha, brave leader of the troupes, I venerate you. You are the raison d’etre of the universe. You are the creator, the controller and the destroyer of the universe. You are Brahman, the Ultimate Eternal Reality.

Reality and Truth are the nature of the Brahman. (When I describe you, I have these two in mind.)

Protect me. Protect the one who praises you. Protect the one who listens to the praise. Protect the preceptor who initiates the disciple into your worship. Protect the disciple who gets initiated. Protect the teacher who imparts knowledge. Protect the student. Protect from behind, from front left, from right, from above from below. Protect me from all sides.

You are the verbal expression of knowledge. You are Energy. You are Bliss. You are Eternity. You are the unique confluence of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. You are the Supreme Brahman incarnate. You are Knowledge itself, secular as well as spiritual.

The whole world is created by you. You rear it and it merges in you. The whole world experiences itself in you. You represent the five basic elements, i.e. earth, water, fire, air and ether. You are the four forms of speech. (One that can be heard is called Vaikhari, the sub vocal is Madhyama and two, still more subtle, are Pashyanti and Para.)

You transcend all three basic tendencies, i.e. Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (lethargy). You transcend all the three body forms, i.e. Sthula deha (gross body), Sukshma deha (pranic body) and Karana deha (spirit body). (We have three bodies made of matter. We can see the gross body. However, the other two are too fine to be visible to human eye-says the Science of Yoga by Patanjali). You are beyond the three phrases of Time-past, present and future. You reside in the human body at the plexus called Mooladhar (End of the spinal chord). You are the three driving powers, i.e. will, knowledge and action, you are Brahma the creator, Vishnu, the protector, Rudra, the destroyer, Indra, the God of rains. We see in you the god of wind, the Sun, the Moon the earth, the space, the primal sound and the Brahman itself.

Pronounce the consonant first then and lastly nasal anusvara that looks like the crescent moon filled with a pearl. This is the way your mantra is pronounced. G is its first part, A is the second part and M is the last part. Uttering all these together is the sound of your name. To be able to repeat your name correctly (with all the meaning associated with it) is Ganesha Vidya-Ganesha worship. This mantra has 8 syllables. Ganapati is its deity and the sage in whose heart the mantra emerged was called ‘Ganaka’. The style of the verse is called Nichrud Gayatri.

We meditate upon Ganapati and try to understand his real nature. May he inspire our intellect and intuition.

Shri Ganesha has one tooth (the other is broken), four hands there is noose in one hand, another three-edged weapon in the other, the broken tooth in the third and the fourth is raised to give blessings His banner bears the sign of mouse. His complexion is fair red, his belly is prominent. He wears red garments. He applies red sandalwood paste to his skin. He blesses his devotees. He is the rasion d’etre of the universe. He is the Eternal He was born before the universe He is beyond the illusion and reality (Prakriti and Purusha). Such is the nature of Shri Ganesha. The meditator, who meditates upon this, is the superior among the yogins.

I venerate Shri Ganesha, the leader of his creed, the leader of the heroes. He is the son of god Shiva, he annihilates all evil, he has a prominent belly, he blesses all. We venerate him.

Long live Sanatan Dharam