This is How Close I Came To Becoming a Ganapatya

by Aranyakananda

In early 2009 when my flirtations with Sanatana Dharma were in their beginning stages, I was still working in earnest on a blog about my disability, spina bifida. But the tone of the blog had shifted from 1 part anger/2 parts silliness to a bit more of a pensive tone. Spiritual even. In fact I began to end many of my posts with “Aum, Peace.” I felt Aum was widely recognized by the general public, but “Shanti” may not have been quite as digestible (though I now know that the concept of Aum is galaxies more complicated than Shanti. Oh well, moving on, you don’t have all day.

Anyway, you know that Christian story about a man dreaming he was on the beach/in a dessert, and he saw there were two sets of footprints in the sand, yet during the most difficult parts of his life he noticed there was but one? And he asked God why did you disappear at those times? And God says I did not, you twit, it was then that I carried you! Okay well in early 2009, I rewrote that on my spina bifida blog. In my version a set of foot prints walk alongside a set of wheel tracks in the sand. And the man in the chair says to God “I understand God that you pushed me through the tough parts. To which God replies “No, it was then that I walked before you, removed the downed tree trunks in front of you, but you still had to get yourself through the sand.

Yeah. I was that close to becoming a Ganapatya. And looking back, it would have made a LOT of sense, being disabled, living in a world that is full of perceivable physical, mental, emotional barriers, and Lord Ganesha being the remover of obstacles. But I never really came into Hinduism as a reaction to how my disability made me feel. Though I think in many ways “removal of obstacles” is a very large aspect of “sustenance” so if my religious leanings did have anything to do with my disability and how I felt about it, then Vishnu was the next logical choice if not Ganesha.

In my early days in the world of Hinduism, as I tried to work out just what in the world it was I believed, I discovered that That which is the one God was equipped with three main components, The Trimurti, three aspects of Divinity being Creation, Sustenance and Destruction/Transformation.

I found that in Hinduism, for reasons I never was clear on until recently, the “Creator” Brahma is not worshiped. I thought I read that it was inauspicious, but I am told that it simply fell out of popular practice to worship Brahma. They say once the Universe was created there was other business to go about beyond Creation. I say Creation never stops happening, but whatever.

As for Shiva (Destruction/Transformation) at the time I just could see no point in worshiping this aspect of Divinity. I saw it as a necessary part of the process but felt no devotion for it. I did not really understand how much more their was to Saivism. I’ll cover this more expansively in another post, I suspect.

So naturally I landed upon Vaisnavism, and the worship of Vishnu, sometimes as Krishna, sometimes as Narayana, not very often as Rama, you’ll be surprised to know (in fact that may be the first time I have mentioned Rama here and there is no reason for that at all), but usually just as Vishnu. Kind of makes it sound like it was a process of elimination, I suppose. But this in no way diminishes my devotion.

So…I think in the last post I promised a “reason” why I am not a Ganapatya. Well, unfortunately it doesn’t really appear that there is a reason. I guess in my early, intense decision-making days, I saw that Ganesha was the “Son of Shiva” and therefore thought “why worship a Deity who is the Son of another one? I’d already been doing that as a Catholic! 🙂

This entry was posted in Abrahamic faiths, Avatars of Vishnu, Bhagavad-Gita, Brahman, Catholicism, Christian, Christianity, Comparitive Religion, disabilities, faith, Ganesh, Ganesha, Gita, God, Hinduism, inspiration, Jesus, Krishna, myth, non-dualism, opinion, paralysis, philosophy, pluralism, polytheism, religion, Sanatana Dharma, self-realization, Shaivism, Shiva, Spina bifida, spirituality, Trimurti, Vaishnavism, Vishnu, Western Hinduism, wheelchair and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to This is How Close I Came To Becoming a Ganapatya

  1. Tāṇḍava says:

    Ganesha is loved by all Hindus. Saiva, Vaishnava, and Shakti all start ceremonies by worshiping him.

    • treadmarkz says:

      as do I, particularly as of late, before I leave the door each day.

    • treadmarkz says:

      I also came to understand that Ganesha is the “Son of Shiva” because the removal of obstacles can only come after “destruction” sometimes, and that endeared me to Ganesha 🙂 But I am refering to that which is the main focus of my bhakti, understand 🙂

  2. Bhismah Arya says:

    Guys my two cents here .Being a Vedic person I consider Purans are like story telling and to make it easy for the normal people to understand the different aspects of the Divine Power.
    The Shiva,Vishnu,Brahma represents the three different aspects of the same divine power of the same Omni-Present, Omni-Scient, Omni-Potent and Formless Lord.People worship these aspects of the god in different forms. The Puranic stories help people to explain these aspects of the god to the people.

    Anyway Lets see What Vedas talk about Ganesha

    Ganaanaam tvaa Ganapathim havaamahé
    Kavim Kaveenaamupamashravastamam.
    jyeshtaraajam brahmanaam brahmanaspaté
    Aa nah shrunvanootibhih seeda saadanam. (Rigveda :2.23.1.)
    Meaning : –
    “(havaamahe) we invoke, (tvaa) Thee, (Ganapatim) the most respectable Lord, (Ganaanaam) of the countable, conceivable things and groups, (kavim). The One Truth-seer,(Kaveenaam) among the truth-seers, (Upamashravastamam)the One with the Highest reputation, the Most Praise worthy,and (Jyeshtaraajam) the Most brilliant, (brahmanaam) among the knowers of the vedas. (Brahmanaspate) Oh Lord and Protector of the universe! (shrunvan) acceding, (nah), to our request, (aa seeda) be enshrined, (Saadanam) in our hearts, (ootibhih) with Thy protecting forces.”

    This is a clear picture of Ganesha. He is the Most respectable Lord and protector of all that comes under perception. He is the One knower of Truth in its entirety among truth-seers. He is the Most Praiseworthy and He is the Most Brilliant among those well-versed in the Vedas.

    Again :-

    Ganaanaam tvaa ganapatim havaamahé
    Priyaanaam tvaa Priyapatim havaamahé,
    Nidheenaam tvaa nidhipatim havaamahe.
    vaso mama. Aahamajaani garbhadhamaa
    tvamajaasi garbhadham. (Yajurveda: 23. 19)

    ”(Havaamahe) we invoke, (tvaa) Thee, (Ganapatim) the Most respected Lord and Protector, (Ganaanaam) of all that is perceivable; (tvaa) Thee, (Priyapathim) the dear Lord and Protector, (Priyaanaam) of all that is dear; (Havaamahe) we invoke, (tvaa) Thee, (Nidhipatim) the Immanent Lord and Protector, (nidheenaam) of all hidden treasures. (Vaso) Oh Real Wealth! (mama) Thou art mine. (ajaani) Let me know Thee, (aa garbhadham) the upholder of the graspable universe. (Tvam) Thou, (aa ajaasi) knowest from all sides, (garbhadham) the universe that is the repository of the creative energy.

    With the exception of the last two sentences, the mantra needs no further explanation. In addition to what has been said in the rigveda mantra, it is said that Ganapathi is the Dear Lord and Protector of all that is dear, and the Immanent Lord and Protector of the hidden treasures. In other words, Ganapathi is the Sole Lord and Protector of the whole universe—known and unknown, seen and unseen. In the last two sentences, the word ’garbhadha’ is used both for the creator and the creation, because in both is found the energy of creation.

    Well, nowhere in the Vedas do we find the traditional Ganesha who is son of Shiva and Parvati with an elephant’s head, Four hands, pot bellied with a snake tied round, the mouse, and, yes, a broken tusk . God being Omni-Present and Formless, Immanent and un-manifest, has no form whatsoever, save in the idle imagination of the people.

    Here Puranics build up story/Symbol to tell the people with different symbols like Broken Tusk,Pot Belly etc.See the link to understand what the symbols signify..

    • treadmarkz says:

      thanks again Bhismah-ji. I understand all of this now, I was telling a story about why I chose what I chose in the beginning of my quest, and that I think those attributes could be applied by a Saivite to Shiva, by a Vaisnav to Vishnu, etc.

  3. sridhar says:

    hi just landed on ur page while searching for something related to vaishanavism. i am impressed by your earnestness. may it help you in ur life.

    On a funny note, lord ganesha is also smart(ypants). do u know of the story when when shiva said to his sone-ganesha and muruga(kathikeya) that whoever goes around the world quickly will get the fruit of wisdom. kathikeya went on his peacock vehicle immediatley. lord ganesha having a rat as vehicle decided to circle his parents saying that parents are his world and got the fruit 🙂 . So you might get to be like him if u pray to him LOL

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