Acharya Shree, Ganesha is popularly known as a Hindu god. What are the hidden secrets and truth about him? Ganesha has a few other names too like Ganapati and Ganapati is very popular in Maharashtra in the center part of India. But mostly he is known by the name Ganesha. And his statues are all over the world. There are many stories behind him because why? On his head is an elephant head. This is also known as elephant god because half body is an elephant – face is an elephant – and half body is the human body. There are many popular stories in Hindu mythology or Indian mythology. Indian mythology says that he never was born.
One day his mother Parvati made him with her own power. She wanted to take bath. There were no bathrooms like these days we have doors, we have privacy. It used to be an open area, just put little curtain. And take the bath. Open area. So, she wanted to take a bath. That is the popular story in Indian mythology about him. But she thought, “Nobody’s here. What if somebody comes – a stranger – and I am taking bath? There is no privacy at all”. So she put a little. She rubbed her hands and there was a little dirt, it came out and she put power, and from that dirt become Ganesha.
He was a handsome young man. Because that’s what Indian mythology says that Parvati was, she was wife, very powerful, lot of power. She made him, this son. He was never born according to Indian mythology. And he asked his mother, “What do I do for you?” “You stay out and let nobody come in when I’m taking bath.” He said, “Don’t worry”. He was on the door, wherever she pointed out, “Stay.” And he was protecting that no other stranger come. Suddenly Shiva appeared. She was outside in the Himalayas, but suddenly he came back and he saw somebody standing in front of his house. On Mt. Kailash. He said, “Who are you?” And Ganesha asked, “Who are you?” But, I am Shiva. I am Ganesha. But whose son are you? “I am Parvati’s son.” But I don’t have any son. Anyway, that is okay if you are Parvati’s son.
This is my house. I have to go. “You cannot go. My mother is taking a bath”. Then he tried to stop him. Shiva got angry. It is known that Shiva gets angry very quickly. I don’t know why, but that is stories. He tried to stop him again and he cut off his head and he entered and she got shocked. “How did you come in? My son was on the door in front of the house!” He said, “I killed him.” “You killed my son. I want him to be alive again.” And that’s the way story goes on. Then he ordered because she said, “I want him alive right now no matter what you do. He said, “OK. Don’t cry”. So he tried, he tried to put the same head, but the head was gone somewhere else. Then he ordered his army – Shiva has an army that is called Gana. He ordered that, “Bring any head which fits on this boy’s body.”
They tried to bring ahead, nothing fits. And finally, in the forest, they found an elephant baby and they brought his head and it fits perfectly. It is known in that story that Shiva put the prana, pranic force, in his body and he became Ganesha. This is the story. And that story is ancient Indian mythology. And now people are believing this story is the real story. “This is the truth”. But this is not the truth. First of all, I am going to tell you that this is very much a misconception about Ganesha. Ganesha is not born with the elephant head, either. He was a regular son of Shiva.
Shiva was the first tribal head who lived in the Kailash. And his real name was Adinath. And Adinath is also known by other names too. One of them is Shiva, another is Rishabhadeva. So there are many things mixed up. But I will use Adinath. Ganesha was Adinath’s son. He was born regularly as a boy. The story may be wrong, but I will tell you how. If Parvati has so much power to put from her own body a little dirt and she made the boy, she has a lot of power. But Shiva who is known as enlightened and God according to Indian mythology doesn’t know even that is Parvati’s son or my son. He doesn’t even know that much.
How can Shiva be a god? Or how come Shiva doesn’t know that Parvati made this boy? So the story can be very contradictory. But, that is not Ganesha. Ganesha has a lot of secrets. The secret is that Ganesha was born as a spiritual. His body was so much strong body that since the day he was born he was very spiritual. And he was always in the spiritual practices. And he gained a lot of power.
Even Shiva accepted his teachings. I will tell you one teaching. Very popular. Actually, two main teachings I am going to tell you today. Shiva’s main two teachings, that’s why he’s widely worshipped. Whoever will teach those teachings will be worshipped anyway, but he was the first very bright, intelligent, and an extraordinary boy born on this earth. And Shiva even has to accept him almost as his own teacher. It is very hard, a father cannot accept a son, his own son, as a teacher. But Shiva said, “No, you will be worshipped even before me.” And that is true. All Indian culture, they worship Ganesha before Shiva or Parvati. Why? That’s the secret.
The secret is, first of all, those days there was no writing system, no alphabetical letters. ABC or “aa ii uu”. So, he was teaching. The teachings were beautifully done those days. He was teaching that you have to keep harmony between humans and animals. Because animals are even more important than humans sometimes. Why? Because of animals on this planet is a balance. If the animals disappeared, all the animals disappeared from this earth, it will create so much imbalance nobody will be alive here.
Human race will disappear automatically. And it was so strong that Shiva knew this secret, said, “You are kind of like the first teacher of the world”. And that is sure. His followers, Ganesha’s followers, they thought how to keep his teachings alive, at least main teachings. So they put, made it, one statue was half human body half elephant body. So the people if it is many disasters, natural disasters, if the statues survive, usually statue survive.
So, they will understand what is his main teachings. His main teachings and we need like too many teachings today. We are killing animals. Not a good way. Because killing animals means we are inviting all the troubles on this planet. We’re supposed to start loving, having compassion for animals. That’s what he was teaching. 2nd, his main teachings were very strong. And if we can follow that teaching strongly today, this world will be an even more peaceful world, a more spiritual planet at least. If we can follow this plan. Or anyway, 2nd teaching Indian tradition still follows it once a year.
Once a year, it is a big celebration. I mentioned Maharashtra. Maharashtra is the center part of India. In that part, it is a very strong tradition of this. They worship all the statues, everyone, all the householders. They worship, they sing Stotras, they sing devotional songs about him, how beautiful he was, Ganesha. And in the evening as before the sun sets, they do “Visarjana”. They leave all the statues, they throw all the statues in other words in the ocean or in the river. They worship as a god to him all day and in the evening they just throw him in the water. If it is a pond if it is a lake if it is a river. Mostly they are statues, they are clay statues.
So the clay statues they don’t create pollution. Indian tradition they don’t know why they are following this teaching, why they are following this tradition. They are so much blind I cannot believe it. They forgot the real teachings of Ganesha. Real teaching of Ganesha is that even forget the attachment to the people, or to the things.
Even you have an attachment with God itself, you will never reach godhood. You never will realize what God is. So, throw him out even after worshipping. That was his main teachings that you have to go away, go beyond this attachment because attachment is our main enemy, human’s enemy. It is the biggest blockage in human life. If we cannot detach ourselves, we will be deep in this world. We never will think about spiritual growth.
So the Ganesha’s teaching is, two main teachings I am giving you today. That first, create and keep harmony between humans and animals. That’s why it is the half body is human, half is an elephant. Second, don’t even have an attachment with God, otherwise, you will not reach Godhood. That’s why Ganesha is worshipped widely in India and known everywhere in this world.