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text: Dasara

If you want to lead a life of happiness, free from troubles and difficulties, you have to pray to Ganapathi, the remover of all obstacles. There is no need to go to any temple. Vighneswara dwells in each one of you as your intelligence (buddhi) and wisdom (vijnaana). When you make proper use of your inherent intelligence and wisdom, you will be successful in life. 

Divine Discourse:
Ganesh Chaturthi, 7 September 1997

Vinayaka (Ganesha) drives away all sorrows, difficulties, and miseries. He is the enemy of all obstacles. He will not allow any obstacles to come in the way. He is the destroyer of obstacles. He confers happiness and peace (on his devotees). He is the master of all these powers (intellect (buddhi) and fulfillment (siddhi, self-realization). What is this siddhi? When there is purity of mind, you achieve peace (which is siddhi). Vinayaka is thus the Lord of the intellect and self-realization. Hence, every human being should acquire control over the mind ... .

Vinayaka is the Lord of all learning (vidya). Does learning mean bookish scholarship? No. Everything pertaining to the cosmos is included in the term learning (vidya). Walking, talking, laughing, sitting, eating, strolling, thinking --every kind of activity is related to learning. Vinayaka is the master of every kind of learning. Today, learning is identified with acquisition of information. But apart from knowledge of the physical world, we have many other kinds of knowledge, relating to chemistry, the fine arts and other skills.

Vinayaka is the master of every kind of knowledge. Learning is related to the intellect (buddhi). It is not mere scholarship. Familiarity with books is not knowledge. One's entire life is a continuous process of learning. Any process of inquiry is related to learning. But basically our inquiry should be concerned with finding out what is transient and what is permanent. This is true knowledge.

Hence, today, students worship Vinayaka with zeal. Vinayaka is not the one who merely comes to the aid of those who read their books. He helps everyone at every step in life's journey.

Sanathana Sarathi, October 1995
From: A Compendium of the Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, pp. 115

Who is Vinayaka? In the verse (sloka) beginning with the words Suklaambara- dharam Vishnum, only the form of the deity is described. But there is another inner meaning for the name Vinayaka. Suklaambaradharam means one who is clad in white. Vishnum means he is all-pervading. Sasivarnam means his complexion is grey, like that of ash. Chathurbhujam means he has four arms. Prasannavadanam means he has always a pleasing mien. Sarvavighnopasaanthaye means for the removal of all obstacles. Dhyaayeth means meditate (on him). Vinayaka is the deity who removes all bad qualities, instills good qualities, and confers peace on the devotee who meditates on him.

However, the Vinayaka-principle has only one meaning, which is relevant to everyone regardless of whether he is a believer or a non-believer. Vinayaka means that he is totally master of himself. He has no master above him. He does not depend on anyone. He is also called Ganapathi. This term means he is the lord of the ganas --a class of divine entities. This term also means that he is the master of the intellect and discriminating power in man. He possesses great intelligence and knowledge. Such knowledge issues from a pure and sacred mind. This knowledge leads to wisdom (vijnaana). Because he is the master of intelligence (buddhi) and wisdom or realisation ( siddhi), he is described as the Lord of Buddhi and Siddhi. Buddhi and Siddhi are referred to as the consorts of Vinayka.

The mouse is the vehicle of Vinayaka. What is the inner significance of the mouse? The mouse is considered as the embodiment of the sense of smell. The mouse is a symbol of the attachment to worldly tendencies (vasanas). It is well known that if you want to catch a mouse, you place a strong-smelling edible inside the mouse-trap. The mouse also symbolises the darkness of night. The mouse can see well in the dark. As Vinayaka's vehicle, the mouse signifies an object that leads man from darkness to light. Thus, the Vinayaka-principle means that which removes all the bad qualities, bad practices, and bad thoughts in men and inculcates good qualities, good conduct and good thoughts.

Another name for Vinayaka is Vighneswara. Easwara is one who is endowed with every conceivable form of wealth --riches, knowledge, health, bliss, beauty, etc. Vighneswara is the promoter of all these forms of wealth and removes all obstacles to their enjoyment. He confers all these forms of wealth on those who worship him. Vinayaka is described as "the first deity who should be worshipped (prathama vandana)". Since everyone in the world desires wealth and prosperity, everyone offers the first place for worship to Vighneswara.

Divine Discourse: Ganesh Chaturthi, 12 September 1991

What is the meaning of the name Ganapathi? Where are the ganas? What is their form? When you investigate this, you find that the five organs of perception and the five organs of action (jnaanendriyas and karmendriyas) are the ganas. The mind is the master over these ten organs. The intellect (buddhi) is the discriminating faculty above the mind. The ten senses, the mind, and the intellect together constitute the ganas.

In the word gana, ga stands for intellect (buddhi) and na means Vaijnaana (the higher knowledge or wisdom). Ganapathi is the Lord of the intellect and higher knowledge. The question may be asked, Are the intellect and higher knowledge present in the external world, or are they to be found within man? The answer is that he is present within each human being. There is no need to seek for him in the outside world. Ganapathi dwells in every human being in the form of intellect and wisdom.

When Ganapathi is described as "Parvathee thanaya", who is this Parvathee? Parvathee signifies Prithvi, Mother Earth. Everyone is a child of Mother Earth.

The meaning of "son of Parvathee (Parvatheethanaya)" is that Ganapathi, who is the Lord of the Ganas, is the son of Parvathee, who symbolizes  the divine energy (sakthi).

The adoration of Parvathieeand Ganapathi is not of recent origin. Ganapathi is lauded at several places in the Rig Veda. This clearly shows that Ganapathi is as ancient as the Vedas.

In several places, Ganapathi is mentioned both in the Vedas and the Upanishaths. Many prayers are addressed to Ganapathi in the Narayanopanishath. There are also prayers to him in the Thaithiriya Upanishath. The Ganapathi Gayathri Mantra also figures in the Upanishath.

Ganapathi is called Vinayaka because there is no master above him. He is all powerful and independent. Without recognizing the esoteric significance of the Vinayaka Principle, people look only at the external form and offer worship in mundane terms.

What is the inner significance of worshipping the elephant-faced deity? The elephant is a symbol of might and magnitude. The elephant's foot is larger than that of any other animal. The elephant can make its way through the densest jungle. In this way, it signifies the quality of a leader who shows the way for others. The elephant is also known for its fidelity and gratitude. In any circumstance, it will not forget its master. Even in its last moments, if it hears the voice of its master, it will open its eyes and look for him. It will sacrifice its life for its master. These are the lessons man should learn from the elephant. Intelligence without gratitude is valueless. Every man should be grateful to those who have helped him.

Divine Discourse: Ganesh Chaturthi, 7 Sept 1997