[Advaita-l] The legend of gaNapati

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Sat Feb 4 05:00:40 CST 2012

Namaste Shri Vishwanathan,
Much can be said regarding gaNapati janana rahasya 
and gaNapati tattva.  I don’t know which one you are asking for 
whether the legend of Siva severing the gaNapati’s head and 
placing elephant’s head or the gaNapati tattva.   As regards the 
later one, long back I wrote a short article dealing with 
gaNapati rahasya and especially “ucchiSTa gaNapati” tattva with 
it’s reference mentioned in “UcchiSTa sUkta” of Atharva Veda.   
Certain portions are copied and pasted here so that you can have 
an idea what exactly is gaNa and pati tattva.  
"adhIta vEdavEdAMgassOnuchAnO yugI gaNIH" says the vaijayanti kosa.
One who has studied and assimilated the veda alongwith its 
6 limbs is called gaNIH.  And "gaNAH asyasantIti gaNIH" ie., who 
has gaNA is also called gaNIH. So, gaNa here implies veda & vedanta shastras.
So, gaNapati is the master of all the veda & its limbs in the form of vAk. 
And hence He is called brahmaNaspati / brihatIpati / vAk pati.  
In yajurveda, an incident is described where Agni assumes the form of mUShaka
and digs out the place for yajna.  The mud thus procured was used for chayana.
Such a mud dug by mUShaka is called "karIShi".  
The mUShaka, who is the vAhana of gaNapati represents Agni.  
So, gaNapati is agni-pratipAdya-tattva and also the yajna /
karma phala pradAta.  . 
There is also another interpretion of mUShaka tattva.  mUShaka 
is derived from dhatu "mUShastEyE" which implies the 
stealing / robbing nature. This mUShaka / rat by hiding 
itself in a burrow steal the rice paddy / stored edible items in a 
godown.  Similarly,this "mUShaka" by hiding itself in the 
heart-cave (hridaya guha), robs the viveka and vairAgya 
and thereby make them roll in samsAra.  
"sa Eva mUShakaH prOktO manujAnAM prachAlakaH
mAyayA gUDarUpaH saH bhOgAn bhuktE hi chOravat"
This mUShaka is of the form of mAyA that robs the viveka jnana 
of the humans.  gaNapati rides over it and has full control of 
mAyA muShaka and bestows viveka, vairagya, siddhi & buddhi.  
This "mAyA muShaka" that robs / steals is called "taskaraH".  
taskaraH also means robber.  And gaNapati who has control 
over it is called "taskarANAM patiH".  Such a mUShaka is also 
called "stEna" and hence gaNapati is called "stEnAnAM patayE namaH".

Now, as regards the for one ie., legend of Siva severing 
gaNapati’s head and placing Gajamukha, it can be explained for 
Vedanta perspective.
The entire episode of Siva severing the human face of gaNapati and placing
the gaja-vadana should remind us of “tat tvaM asi” mahAvAkya. 
tvaM padArthO narAtmakaH tat padArthO gajAtmakaH
tayOH abhEdE asi padArthO gaNEshAkritimayaH
If we examine the form of gaNapati, the trunk resemble
The nara swarupa ie., human.  The face represents the 
gaja swarupa ie., elephant.   
The nara-rUpa adhObhAga represents “tvaM” ie.,
Jiva lakSaNa.  The Urdhva-bhAga in the form of gaja
Represent “tat”.  The joining of both nara & gaja
represent “asi”.  
Thus, gaNapati represents jiva-brahma-abhEda tattva.
Shiva, in the form of guru / advaita acharya severs
nara mukha with His “tri-SUla”  (hope by now you
might have got the hint of what is “tri”) and places
“gaja” mukha.  Thus, establishes the eternal truth
that “mAyA mAtraM idaM dvaitaM advaitaM paramArthataH”

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