Astrology

Ganesha Worship In Skanda Purana

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This space would be always kept for Puranas & Other Holy Texts so that our modern day astrologer who has not been fortunate to read our mythology can do so here in absolute detail rather than rely on story format versions found elsewhere.

When the Sagar Manthan (churning of the Ocean) was being done & Halahala (poison) emanated out, suras & asuras (gods & demons) requested Lord Shiva to explain how this poison which was destroying the universe came about in the first place. Lord Shiva says in Chapter 9 Shloka 70-75[1]

“Lord Ganeśa has been created by us for the purpose of achieving success in an understaking. Those who do not bow down to Gaṇeśā as well as Durga of similar nature will be victims of distress. There is no doubt about this”.

In Shloka 86 he adds ‘If at the beginning of any holy rite, people do not worship Ganaadhipa (ganeśā), they will not realise their objectives’. On hearing these words of Mahesa, Suras & Asuras asked Shiva about the method of worship in the proper manner.  The importance of praying to Lord Ganesa is thus highlighted as to how the Devas & Asuras all failed in their attempt to gain nectar and were almost destroyed by Halahala (poison) as they did not pray to Lord Ganesha before the start of the Sagar Manthan.  This write up then exhibits almost verbatim as to how Ganesha is to be worshiped as told by Shiva in Chapter 11 of Skanda Mahapurana which is considered as the biggest Purana consisting of more than 81,000 verses[2]    

Procedure to Worship Ganesha [3]

Lord Shiva said ‘In every fortnight Ganapati should be worshipped on the 4th day (tithi) but in the Shukla Paksha[4] a devotee after taking bath should worship always with white sesame seeds. When devotee’s daily routine religious rituals are finished, then with immense care by means of scent, garlands, aksatas[5] etc., at the outset meditation on Ganesha should be performed in accordance with scriptural injunctions. As the worshippers are of various types, having Rajasa, Sattvika & Tamasa Gunas (traits), so also the names of Gaṇeśā are many in number as per symbolized by a particular Guna (trait). They are as follows:-

  1. Pancāvaktra – Five Faced
  2. Ganādhyaksa – Chief of Shivas Attendants/Chief of Ganas
  3. Daśabāhu – Ten armed
  4. Trilocana – 3 eyed
  5. Kāntasphatika-sankāsa – Like a shining crystal
  6. Nīlakanthā – Blue Throated
  7. Gajānana – Elephant Faced

Then Lord Shiva proceeds to describe his various faces in detail & the ten arms. He then says that one should meditate that he is holding the vessel containing modakas[6] in his hand. He further adds that the meditation is of 3 kinds:-

  • In Satavika meditation contemplate thus that he has Pot belly (lambodara), uneven eyes – 3 eyed (virūpāksa), having sacred thread (nivīta), having a girdle and seated in yogic posture with the crescent moon adorning his head.
  • In Rajasā meditation is as in the case of men the deity has pure golden complexion, is elephant faced, super natural and has four hands, three eyes, one tusk and huge belly.
  • In Tamasā meditation he holds a noose and a goad in his hands, also holding a tusk and a vessel of modakas having blue color.

Thus there are 3 types of Dhyana[7] and then worship should be begun immediately.

Twenty One Durva grass blades take in hand & two blades of grass to be offered after uttering one name, that is ten names twenty grass and when offering the last blade of grass all the names are uttered. In similar fashion 21 modakas should be offered. Shiva then mentions the 10 names :-

  1. Ganādhipa (Lord of Ganas)
  2. Umāpūtra (Son of Uma)
  3. Agha-nāśana (Destroyer of Sins)
  4. Vināyaka
  5. Iśaputra (Son of Shiva)
  6. Sarva-siddhi-pradāyaka (Bestower of all Siddhis)
  7. Ekadanta (One Tusked)
  8. Ibha-vaktra (Elephant Faced)
  9. Mūśaka-vāhana(Mouse Vehicled) &
  10. Kumāra-guru (The elder brother of Kumara).

At the end of every word namastestu (obeisance to you) should be added. In the case of the last, the words kumāragurave tubh-yam namostu (Obeisance to you O Kumaraguru) should be uttered. Thus the Lord Ganesa should be worshipped with care.

Having spoken thus, Lord Shiva embraced Vishnu & Brahma and vanished. All bowed down to Sambhu and became engaged in worshipping Ganesa.

[1] Skanda Purana translated by Dr. G.V.Tagare, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi.

[2] Another version is of 84,000 verses & there seems to be a reference in Narada Purana that Skanda Purana is of 100,000 verses.

[3] Chapter 11 shlokas 1 to 22

[4] Waxing phase of the moon

[5] Raw unbroken rice

[6] Type of Sweet offering

[7] Meditation

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