What does Lord Ganesha Represent?

Lord Ganesha – the elephant God is loved and adored by one and all. From his favorite modaks to the mouse, each and everything has a significance. So let us try and understand this magnificent and lovable form of Ganesha… 


…represents discrimination. The elephant’s trunk is a remarkable instrument. It is a tool which can uproot a tree or pick a straw from a haystack. It has the strength to pull heavy loads as well as the sensitivity to pick out the smallest of objects. In the same way, an evolved intellect can use its discrimination fully to solve the gross problems of the outer world as well as effectively employ its discrimination in the sublet realms on the inner personality layers.

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…symbolize the ability to digest all the knowledge that has been gained. We may gather various kinds of knowledge and know certain things very well – what we should, and should not do, but if that knowledge is not digested well, our actions do not match our knowledge.

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…are for listening. We spend a lot of time talking but not listening. Large ears are for listening and gathering of knowledge. With which we can then discriminate. Listening is an art. With careful listening, we can gather valuable information. When we listen well, we learn well. If we learn well, we think well. If we think well, we act well. If we act well, we live well.


The discriminating powers only function when there are two factors to discriminate between: Ganesha’s tusks represent these two factors. The trunk growing down between them represents the discriminating power. We distinguish between good and evil and between all other dualities and come to our judgments and conclusions in life.

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…indicates that a real Vedantic student of subjective experience is one who has gone beyond the pairs of opposites, or dualities and knows what is right and does exactly that.


…represents our ability to think and to analyze. It is important to gather in all the information and then to think about what we have attained – contemplate, and analyze it through.

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Ganesha has four hands. The first is holding an axe with this Ganesha cuts off all our attachments. The second, holding a rope ties all these attachments together preventing them from running free. In his third hand, he holds a sweet – a pure reward for renouncing these attachments. With his fourth hand, Ganesha gives us Diksha – blesses us and protects us from all obstacles.


At the side of Ganesha, a mouse is sitting in the midst of beautiful fragrant, ready-made food, but we find that the devout mouse is sitting looking up at the Lord, shivering with anticipation, but NOT daring to touch anything without His command. Now and then the Lord allows the mouse to eat. This mouse is our desiring mind. A mouse is a small animal with tiny teeth, and yet can bring disaster in a barn full of grains, as it can continuously nibble at the grain. Similarly, there is a ‘mouse’ in all of us – “our desires.” They can eat away even a mountain of goodness within in us.

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…to listen to the things around us well, keep our ears open and gather all the information. Feed this into our mind, analyze and discriminate between the right and the wrong. Digest what is good and make it part of us, discard what is not. Success is ours if we keep working at it.

Ganapati Bappa Morya!

Reference: Chinmayam (Issue 1)

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