The third deity that we worship is Lord Ganesh.
Lord Ganesha, also known as Ganapati Baba or Vinayagar, is sometimes referred to as the remover of all obstacles and bestower of knowledge and wisdom. He has the head of an elephant, with big ears and a small mouth, meaning that one must talk less and listen more.
Lord Ganesha is invoked to protect us and remove all obstacles from our minds before we sing the Mariamman Thallattu. Also, before invoking Ammaa’s presence on to her karagams, we first make offerings to Ganapati Baba.
About Lord Ganesh
Venerated as the Elephant God, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. Widely known as Ganapati or Vinayaka, Ganesha is worshipped before the start of rituals and ceremonies and before undertaking any auspicious event or occasion. He is endowed with various attributes and revered as the remover of obstacles.
Unique traits of Lord Ganesh
Ganesha is depicted in various postures with the head of an elephant and a big belly. He is typically seen with four arms holding an axe in one upper arm and a noose in the other upper arm. In most instances, He holds his own broken tusk in one hand with his trunk turned to the left sampling a delicacy held in his lower left hand. He is portrayed at all times with a mouse by his side which is said to be his vehicle.
Mythology of Lord Ganesh
Legend has it that Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati from clay to guard the entrance while she was having a bath. When Lord Shiva arrived, he was confronted by this little boy who refused him entry. Shiva was enraged and there ensued a terrible battle where eventually Shiva severed Ganesh’s head. When Parvati heard of this, she was enraged and set about destroying the entire Cosmos. Lord Brahma the Creator, placated her and made her reconsider her plan, but only if two conditions were met: one, that Ganesha be brought back to life, and two, that he be worshiped first before all other Gods. Shiva agrees to Parvati’s conditions and sends Brahma out to bring back the head of the first creature he encounters that is lying with its head facing north. Brahma returns with the head of a strong and powerful elephant, which Shiva places onto Ganesha’s body. Breathing new life into him, Shiva accepts Ganesha as his own son and accords him the status of being foremost among the Gods.
Unique offerings to Lord Ganesh
Lord Ganesha’s birthday, Vinayak Chaturthi, is celebrated with pomp and gaiety across the length and breadth of the country and the festival extends for a period of upto 11 days. Intricately moulded clay images festooned with red flowers and red sandalwood paste with colorfully decorated umbrellas beside it, are placed on pedestals and worshipped. Offerings of modaks and laddus are made to the Lord and free food known as Prasadam is distributed to devotees. The Idol is then taken in a procession to the nearest water body and immersed with great reverence and respect.
Benefits of worshipping Lord Ganesh
Offering prayer to Lord Ganesh is said to remove obstacles,and he is worshipped before undertaking any new venture such as starting a business or even buying a vehicle. Devotees sincerely pray to Lord Ganesh to protect against adversity, dispel fear and to gain material prosperity and success in life. The Ganesha statue with trunk on the right side is called as ‘Siddhi Vinayaka’. It is believed that worshipping this form of the Lord in the right way is said to bring about quick results.