Images of the good natured, big-bellied, elephant-headed deity can be found in shops, houses, cars and offices worldover, proving that Lord Ganesha is much loved by many. He holds great astrological importance, as the ruling deity for the planet Ketu, and with every nakshatra (lunar mansion) associated with one of his forms.

Known as a symbol of good fortune and luck, and importantly as the remover of obstacles, Lord Ganesha is seeked out both by those who are facing challenges in their life, as well as by those who are starting a new project and wish to succeed.

As he rules over knowledge, karma and mathematics, his importance to astrology, which incorporates all these factors, is undisputed. In fact many traditional Vedic birth charts would have drawings of Ganesha at the top of the page, as even the most skilled of astrologers seek the blessings and guidance of Ganesha for the correct interpretation of the chart.

Whether beginning a Puja (sacred ritual) or Homa (fire ceremony), going on a journey, moving home, or just feeling stuck in life, Ganesha’s energy is invoked to clear any obstacles in the way, and to bless the venture. The obstacles could be material ones, or more subtle hurdles of the inner world, like pride, vanity, ego or selfishness. Those who strive to be free of these outer or inner obstacles, and those who seek wisdom, reach out to Lord Ganesha.

Ganesha, The Planets and Nakshatras

Ketu, the southern node of the Moon is the planet most associated with Ganesha. Ketu is the serpent without the head, and Ganesha’s elephant head came about because he had his head cut off and replaced. Ketu is an indicator of moksha, or liberation, in a chart and Ganesha specifically relates to this aspect of Ketu.

Yet other planetary connections can also be noted with Lord Ganesha. The planet Jupiter, like Ganesha, is known to bestow health, wisdom and wealth. Both Jupiter and Ganesha offer hope, optimism and growth. Ganesha is also connected with the Goddess who rules the Moon.

But Ganesha, invoked at the beginning of a ritual honoring any of the planets, has the ability to rule over them all, since he can bless you to overcome the obstacles that are laid in your path as the result of any of their challenging energies.

In addition, Ganesha is associated with a number of nakshatras, including certain degrees of Pushya, Vshakha, Hasta and Bharani.

The Beginnings of Lord Ganesha

There are many stories and legends describing how Ganesha came into being. One popular legend is that Ganesha’s mother, the Goddess Parvati, created Ganesha from the dirt off her body while she was bathing. She then asked Ganesha to guard the entrance to her bathroom.

When her husband, Lord Shiva (the all-pervading divine consciousness), came home, Ganesha didn’t allow him to enter. Not recognising his son and enraged at not being given access, Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. Parvati was struck with grief and asked for him to be brought back to life, requesting also that he must be honored before any other God. So Lord Shiva asked his assistants to bring him the head of the first creature they could find. They returned with the head of an elephant.

Shiva restored Ganesha to life, replacing his head with that of the elephant. He bestowed him with Divinity, and stated that from that moment on all ceremonies should begin with Ganesha’s name. Ganesha has since been given a prominent place in astrological rituals and remedies too.

The Meaning Behind the Elephant-Headed God

Ganesha’s elephant head is a metaphor for intelligence, endurance and effortlessness – stemming from an elephant’s power to walk through any obstacles. His big belly signifies generosity, and his single tusk represents one-pointed focus. Out of his two hands, the raised hand depicts protection while the lowered hand represents giving.

Lord Ganesha’s vehicle, or ‘vahana’, is a mouse. This is symbolic as a little mouse can fit through tiny spaces that an elephant can’t, and can gnaw through barriers and binds, including the bind of ignorance, which then leads to the wisdom that Ganesha represents. Together with the mouse, Ganesha can remove obstacles of all shapes and sizes – visible and invisible.

The Yoga of Ganesha

In yogic practices, focus is put on raising the energy through the seven main chakras, or energy centers in the body. Ganesha is said to reside in the Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine. As the first chakra, it is considered to be the link between the material and spiritual worlds. This chakra is responsible for our energy and enthusiasm, or our dullness and lethargy. It houses the Kundalini energy. Kundalini is a Sanskrit term that literally means ‘coiled one.’  It represents the primal force that lies ‘coiled’ at the base of the spine.

On the spiritual path it is important to activate the Kundalini energy by raising it above the Muladhara chakra. When this chakra is activated and energized we experience enthusiasm, activity and motivation. The energy travels upwards through the spine to the higher chakras, which enables wisdom to be expressed within us.

We are all born with virtuous qualities within us in seed form. They may remain inactive, but when we honor something or someone with devotion, the qualities in them are activated in us. In this way, by honoring Ganesha, you are blessed with wisdom, endurance, prosperity and success.

Rituals for Lord Ganesha

The following general rituals can be done to align with the energy of Lord Ganesha. For specific rituals that you can do during particular auspicious periods you can check out the align27 app.

  1. Listen to the Ganesha Atharvashirsha chant (available on the Sattva Meditation and Mantras app). The Ganesh Atharvashirsha is a sacred Sanskrit text dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Atharva means firmness, and the oneness of purpose, while shisha means intellect (directed towards liberation).
  2. Chant the mantra ‘Aum Gam Ganapataye Namaha,’ 108 times. If you like you can use the Japa108 app to help you.
  3. Light a lamp with coconut oil. Directionally, the lamp can face east from west or face west from east. Do not light a lamp that faces south. Coconut oil is known to attract the energies of Lord Ganesha to help remove obstacles in your life and make way for success, fortune and domestic happiness.
  4. Practice the simple technique, ‘Thoppukaranam.’ Traditionally, this would be practiced in front of an idol or image of Lord Ganesha. Derived from the words ‘Thorpe,’ meaning hands, and ‘Karanam,’ meaning ears, Thoppukaranam is a yogic process which is considered to increase your level of your awareness, alertness and intelligence.
  1. Hold your right ear using the thumb and forefinger of your left hand.
  2. Hold your left ear using the thumb and forefinger of your right hand.
  3. Note – The thumb should be in the front and the forefinger at the back of the ear.
  4. Note – The right arm should be in front of your left for this technique to work.
  5. Keep your feet shoulder width apart.
  6. Connect your tongue to your palate.
  7. Do a squat – breathe in while squatting down and breathe out when standing up.

You can practice this up to 14 times a day. It is best to do it on an empty stomach and after some breathing exercises. It activates the parts of the brain that can connect you with divine energy and becomes a doorway to supreme state of consciousness.

God of Many Forms - Days to honor Lord Ganesha

There are 32 different forms of Ganesha, each with its own story which illustrates his distinct nature and the powers he possesses. Each nakshatra, or lunar mansion, is connected with one of Ganesha’s specific forms. If you meditate on the form of Ganesha aligned with day’s nakshatra, then you can draw on the specific energy associated with that form.

There is also a different form of Ganesha celebrated each vedic month. The align27 app tells you which specific rituals to do each day, based on the energies of the day and your individual birth chart.

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