Faith

In praise of Ganesha

Adi Sankara generally begins his bhakti stotras by invoking the concerned deity in the very first verse itself. But the acharya thinks it is appropriate to start the Subramanya Bhujanga, sung on Muruga at Tiruchendur, Siva’s younger son, with obeisance to the elder son Ganesha, said Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse.

It is customary to seek Ganesha’s blessings before commencing any work for its successful completion. The first verse gives us a taste of the acharya’s fluency of thought and expression characteristic of the entire hymn. There is excellent use of literary devices such as simile, metaphor, symbol, myth, allusion, pun, etc, allowing room for interesting and varying interpretations. The Bhujanga metre that resembles the snake-like movement and the musical quality of the words are well matched with the lofty and profound import of the hymn. Always effulgent in his ‘Bala roopa,’ signifying his childlike form and nature, Ganesha is so powerful as to destroy all obstacles, even those that are insurmountable. Did he not lend a helping hand to his father Siva during Tripura Samhara when he set right the broken axle in the chariot wheel? The epithet Vigneshwara, the lord of all obstacles, is most apt because he has them under his full control and can make them ineffective. He thus receives the first honour in any religious or auspicious activity.

‘Maha danti vaktra’ refers to the elephant face of Ganesha, and there is a pun on ‘Panchasya’ which means Siva and a lion as well. The lion may be a terror to the elephant, but here the reference is to the five-faced Siva who respects his son Ganesha. As the leader of the Siva ganas, he is sought after by Brahma, Indra and others. ‘Ganas’ also means the aksharas and it thus refers to his mastery over language. The embodiment of all auspiciousness, jnana, vidya, etc, he brings prosperity to the world.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 3:34:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/in-praise-of-ganesha/article37461282.ece

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