The whole of Creation has emerged from Truth and ultimately will merge back into Truth. If you enquire into what this Truth is, it is nothing but absolute purity that is Purna Satvam. This body, which is composed of the five elements ultimately will go back into the five elements. During the Ganesha festival, we make idols of Ganesha out of soil. We adore Him, worship Him, offer Him all kinds of ritualistic worship and finally the idol of Ganesha that has been made of mud goes back into the earth. The Ganesha festival demonstrates this ultimate truth to us.
Man leads his life for the sake of the body and based on the faith that the body is permanent. Don’t be proud of the strength of your body or your youth or the people support that you enjoy. One moment can take away all these things from you. Only by understanding the truth that all this creation is illusory, will you enjoy the divine experience of the Lord. The festival of Ganesha and the adoration of Ganesha ultimately demonstrates this truth to us.
During the Ganesh festival, people make idols of Ganesha out of mud in their own field. They then worship Him in five ways and ultimately, they merge the idol into a pond or a well, which is in their agricultural field. Therefore, when the sacred idol of Ganesha, after worship, merges back into the soil in the agricultural field, the entire field becomes sacred and gives back sacred food. We eat it and get sacred feelings. That is the inner significance of the worship of Ganesha. Depending on our food, the mind is shaped. Depending on our mind, the kind of activity we perform takes shape. Depending on our activity, our character is decided. Depending on our character, our destiny is decided.
Ganapathi means the Pathi or the leader of the Ganas. When we say ‘Ganas’, we mean the servants of Ishwara in Kailasa. But there is also an inner significance to this. There were twelve Ganas, who were very near and close to Ishwara. Who are these twelve? The twelve Ganas are nothing but our five senses of perception and five senses of action, our mind and intelligence. Ganapathi is one who has complete control over his Buddhi. When the ten senses become the instruments of the mind and the mind becomes the instrument in the hands of our intelligence, then you will be able to conquer everything.
Intelligence, which is full of discrimination is good intelligence. Discrimination helps us to find out what is permanent, what is temporary, what is true, and what is untrue. It helps us get rid of all the untrue and impermanent things and continuously keep our minds focused on what is permanent – that is God. Ganapathi is the One who grants us this kind of discrimination and intelligence and helps us realise our self. Ganapathi is the One who bestows upon us self-knowledge. It is Ganapathi who inspires us to take to the spiritual path and helps us conquer our senses, mind and intelligence.
Mind is responsible for one’s liberation or bondage. When the mind is controlled by discrimination and intelligence, the mind will not go towards the world; it will go towards God. Ganapathi is the one who weans us away from Nature and takes us towards God. This principle of Nature is nothing but the body with senses and mind. Utilising our discrimination and intelligence, if we focus on God and perform our worship then we will be really worshipping Ganesha. The Ganesha festival does not just consist of making an idol, worshipping Him, offering Him delicious food and eating it ourselves as Prasada. He is there at the base of our backbone – Muladhara. Ganesha is the principle who resides in the first stage of Muladhara, the first stage of spiritual progress. Ganapathi is the master of His mind and senses. Therefore, He will lead us to the right destination.
The body, which is impermanent will go back to where it came from. But Atma is permanent and eternal. Maha Ganapathi is one who bestows upon us this knowledge of the Atma.
We should pray to Ganesha to help us control our mind and senses, and to make our heart very pure. We have to pray to Him that this body, which has come from Mother Nature should be utilised in the right way, so that ultimately we attain Godhead.