The form of Lord Ganapathy has created a lot of confusion in people’s perception. A person finds himself in this state, due to his ignorance of the truth behind the concept of Ganapathy’s form.
Ganapathy means the leader of the ganas. ‘Gana’ means a group. Here the ‘gana’ can be interpreted as the group of sense organs (indriyas), and the leader of the sense organs as the mind. Only when the mind is awake and alert, these organs can function.
Think how it would be, if we were to give a form to the (formless) mind. That is, if the mind is good, it will behave and act like a human, and if it is bad or wicked, it will have animal tendencies. Therefore, after studying whether the form of one’s mind is human or animal in nature, our ancestors created a form connecting both man and animal.
Ganapathy is the eldest son of Lord Siva and Godess Parvathy. Siva is the embodiment of Aatma (Reality) and Parvati (Sakti) the representation of Maya (illusion). In the merger of Siva and Sakti, the mind evolves first. Then the indriyas (organs of sense) come in to action and through them man is able to perceive the world.
In any venture, success can be achieved only if the mind is steadfast. If the mind wavers, failure is sure to follow.
A steadfast mind leads a person towards success or victory; removing all the obstacles in the way. Having the quality of one-pointedness (ekagrata) is considered as a blessing from Lord Ganapathy.
Ganapathy is shown with having only one tusk. This single tusk indicates the ‘one-pointedness’ of the mind. In other words we should not pursue two aims at the same time. So one of the two tusks is chopped off in Ganapathy’s form. The one and only unique aim must be considered as the realization of Truth- called Atmajnanam.
Mind has a fierce greed. Ganapathy’s insatiable hunger represents this greed. Any amount of food cannot satisfy that greed for food. Only with God’s blessings, in the form of partaking the offerings made to Siva, this hunger can be satisfied.
Budhi (intellect) and Sidhi (achievement) are considered as the two consorts of Lord Ganapathy. Both these are intrinsically related to the mind as attributes.
Ganapathy has a great liking for Durva grass (Karuka- a sacred grass), and His devotees adorn Him with garlands made from this grass. Naturopathy also mentions about the benefit of this grass for maintaining good mental health.
Ganapathy’s vehicle is the mouse. Here ‘vehicle’ refers to the body. The human mind has great desire for sensual pleasures. Such a desire is much more in a mouse. When we consider the desires of the mind, the mouse is the best medium or vehicle to convey this meaning.
After the culmination of the annual Ganesh Festival, the idols are immersed (called Visarjan) in water (in a pond, river or sea). If we want to achieve salvation (liberation from births and deaths), we have to go beyond our minds. We have to offer our mind (mind-flower) to God. >From this point of view Ganapathy Visarja gets a meaning.