Many of us are familiar with Ganesha, that round-bellied, elephant-headed god of the Hindu pantheon. We’ve learned that he is the great remover of obstacles and that he sits at thresholds to usher us through our transitions in life.
But there is so much more to know about Ganesha.
Ganesha has come to my rescue many a time. I have been guided to spectacular collaborations, maneuvered around delicate relationships, been presented with surprising opportunities, and shown deep psycho-spiritual truths, all in connection to a daily observance of that unifying energy of Ganesha.
The ancient rishis (sages) of India were wise to note that if the many aspects of the Divine were not personified and made into interesting, relatable stories, people might not pay attention. For all the many qualities of “that which cannot be explained,” gods and goddesses were envisioned and stories were told. In these stories, the deities all had superpowers.
Each quality of the Divine represents subtle aspects of our own nature. The more refined our understanding of this becomes, the less we need to focus on the visual images or the mythical tales, and the more we can tune into the energetic magic these gods and goddesses invoke.
One of the best ways to awaken this magic is to chant mantra.
The most familiar, and simple of the Ganesha mantras is Auṁ Gaṁ Gaṇapataye Namaḥ (pronounced ouhm gahm gahn-a-paht-ah-yay nah-ma-ha). This mantra can be used as a panacea for disharmony, but it can also relate to very specific issues in our lives.
Let’s explore the nine superpowers of Ganesha—the ways in which they are relatable, and how they can come to life for us through chanting this mantra.
Are there times in our life when the pieces of the puzzle don’t seem to fit together nicely? Maybe one of our values is bumping up against a seemingly opposing need that is begging to be fulfilled. Chanting this mantra can help to integrate the disparate parts of our life.
Have we moved to a new home? A new city? Haven’t quite found our routine yet? Don’t know where the grocer and the local Starbucks are? The Ganesha mantra can bring stability to our new environment.
Is there something that is making us feel flighty or frenetic? Too many tasks in our inbox pulling our mental discipline in different directions? Ganesha can plug us into the grounding we’re looking for.
Feeling out of sorts with our family or our community? Has there been disharmonious communication that feels prickly? Our bestie mad at us and we can’t figure out why? Ganesha can smooth it out.
Ever feel like our timing is off? Maybe we’re a little late in learning about opportunities or missing out on positive collaborations because we’re too early or too late with that brilliant idea. This is a time to tune into the energy of Ganesha.
There are things that happen which open us to the clues of the Universe. If we pay careful attention, we feel guided to make better decisions. We feel a sense of right order. We can expand this sense with a Ganesha mantra.
Starting a new job? Beginning a marriage? Planning a new project? I think we all hope that the things we are beginning will prove to be auspicious. Ganesha can help us open to the success we’re hoping for.
Remover of obstacles
Some obstacles are pretty obvious. Others are subtle, perhaps unseen. We hope our obstacles will be removed so we can move forward without delay or doubt. Ganesha assists in removing those obstacles. There are other times when we may be rushing toward something that would not be good for us, or not in the right timing. Ganesha will lay an obstacle in our path so we are encouraged to turn in a better direction.
Unity beyond duality
There is so much divisiveness in our world today. There seems to be a prevailing “us verses them” mentality. Judgement and blame are everywhere. We have forgotten that, at our core, we are each an expression of the Divine. Ganesha helps us move beyond the mindset of separation and the illusion of duality.
The energy of Ganesha is not a magic wand—wave it once and our problems are solved. The magic happens when we commit to a regular mantra practice, ideally chanting the mantra in a reverent way 108 times every day.
My suggestion is to choose a quiet spot to chant the mantra, use a set of mala (prayer) beads to easily count through 108 repetitions, and then sit in silence for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep a journal handy to record your thoughts. You’ll begin to notice the Ganesha energy working through your subconscious awareness, providing you with an enlightening or problem solving stream of thought.
When we commit to this practice for 40 days or more—this is when the magic can truly happen.
Relephant Watch: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning
Author: Kathy Bolte
Image: Flickr/Nagarjun Kandukuru
Editor: Kenni Linden
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton