Ganesha is the lord of Intelligence. His large head personifies knowledge and intelligence. Hence, his worship has the same effect as the practice of Yamas and Niyamas in yoga.
It leads to self-purification as Ganesha removes the obstacles of ignorance, delusion, attachments and egoism, etc., from his devotees and facilitates their liberation. Because of his association with Buddhi (intelligence) he is also revered in Buddhism.
The real obstacles are those that clog our minds and prevent us from seeing and discerning truth or reality. Lord Ganesha helps us see the truth which is hidden in all.
Fear is the most formidable obstacle in our lives. It is also the most dominating emotion of our minds. Because of the fear of failure, people avoid taking risks or engaging in difficult actions which contribute to their success, peace and happiness.
Fear also induces people to engage in self-destructive actions or succumb to evil thoughts. As the remover of obstacles, Ganesha frees our minds from fear. At the same time, he also strengthens our resolve and courage.
Hence, with Ganesha worship, devotees can overcome fear and gain strength and courage to realize their goals.
Every body part of Ganesha’s body teaches us something and has a deep spiritual significance:
• Eyes – Ganesha’s small eyes symbolize concentration. Ganesha’s eyes teach us to concentrate our mind, as only a person who has controlled his mind can achieve any success in life.
• Head – Ganesha’s big head means ‘think big! No wonder Lord Ganesha is worshiped as the god of wisdom. His elephant head indicates intelligence and discrimination.
• Ears – Ganesha’s big ears mean ‘listen more’. Ganesha’s wide ears denote the ability to listen to people who seek his help. Ears are also used to gain knowledge. They signify the importance of listening in order to absorb ideas.
• Mouth – Ganesha’s small mouth means ‘talk less’. His mouth teaches us to believe in doing instead of talking. To value our words. To listen, think, do- and then talk.
• Legs – Social and spiritual are both important phases in life. The position of his legs (one resting on the ground and one raised) indicate a way of living. It’s important to live in the social as well as in the spiritual world.
• Big Belly – Digest all good and bad in life, and you will attain the virtue of calmness. Ganesha’s belly contains infinite universes; this signifies the ability of Ganesha to swallow the sorrows of the universe and protect the world.
• Blessing Hand – The third hand, turned towards the devotee, is in a pose of blessing. Ganesha offers protection and guidance to the spiritual seeker. We must also offer that same grace and blessings to those we meet on the path of life.
• Four Arms – The four arms of Ganesha represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body. That is: Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Ahamkara (ego) and Chitta (conditioned conscience).
• Broken tusk – teaches us to analyze experiences in life, to retain the good and to throw out the bad. It teaches us to introspect– to keep good thoughts and good habits, and to throw out evil thoughts and bad habits.
• Mark on the Forehead – Ganesha’s Urdha mark signifies being a Master of Time. On Ganesha’s forehead is located the Trishul (weapon of Shiva), symbolizing Time (past, present, and future) and Ganesha’s mastery over it. Hence the mark means Active Energy.
• Axe – It represents severing of bonds and attachments. The hand waving an axe is a symbol of the detachment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering. With this axe, Ganesha can both strike and repel obstacles.
• Rope – The second-hand holds a rope and a lotus flower. The lotus flower (Padma) symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution. The rope is to pull the devotee to the highest goal.
• Sweets – The fourth hand holds a modaka (sweet), which symbolizes the sweetness of the realized inner self. It also denotes the reward of sadhana (devotion).
• Mouse – The mouse symbolizes logic and doubt. Lord Ganesha is depicted sitting over a mouse, indicating that he has control over his logic and doubt. A strategic leader must not let logic have a free rein. It should be practiced with caution and within limits!
Source: The Shiva Tribe