Sathya Sai Speaking on Ganesh Chaturthi: Excerpts from Divine Discourse on 10 SEPT 2002
Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, the holy festival. “Ga” symbolizes Vidhya or knowledge and “Na” symbolizes Vignana or the spiritual knowledge. Ganapathy is the master of the intellect as well as spiritual knowledge. Ganapathy is also the master of Ganas, the attendants of Shiva who live in Mount Kailash. The whole universe is sustained by the Ganas. So Ganapathy is the master of Ganas who maintains the cosmos. Everyone has a master or a Guru over him except Ganesha who has no master. Ganesh Chaturthi is the birthday of this master of masters who has none above him.
Ganesha’s chariot is Mooshika or mouse. Hence, he is lovingly also addressed as Mooshikavahana. Mooshika or mouse also symbolizes dark night. Rats and mice move about in darkness. This darkness actually means the darkness of ignorance. Once we understand the inner significance and nature of Vinayaka we can have complete fulfilment in the worship of Lord Vinayaka. We should understand both the intellect as well as the wisdom.
During Vinayka Chaturthi, we make special offerings to God. It is interesting to know that no offering is made out of oil. The offerings are not fried in oil. Til seeds are grinded and is mixed with Jaggery and rice flour and the sacrificial offering is steamed and the popular sweet kudumulu / undrallu is prepared. Since this offering does not have any trace of oil, it is a healthy dish. Since Vinayaka eats oil free food, He stays healthy! The steamed sweet made with til seeds is curative for eye ailments. The steam helps in proper digestion and assimilation of food in the body. Boiled and steamed food is also a cure for blood pressure as well as blood sugar. Oil in the body leads to heat in the body and this heat will lead to many diseases. Therefore to stay healthy it is important to have very less oil and to stay away from fried food. This is the secret or principle to a long life!
Vinayaka partakes only such oil free food and though he has a big tummy he is healthy. He is also called as Vigneshwara which means there is no obstacles or problems on his way to bliss and happiness. All of us can be free from obstacles and attain success and achievement in our life, by praying to Vinayaka.
God manifests in two ways. One is inward and the other is outward. Outward manifestation means “the body” and inward expression is “the intellect”. That which is related to the intellect is changeless though physical changes happen quite often. By controlling our mind and making changes in our food and other habits, we can reduce body weight. The main cause of over weight is food and other habits. When we are overweight, our heart may not be in a position to pump blood. When our heart pumps blood, it reaches 12,000 miles. The body gets tired in supplying blood to 12,000 miles. With increase in obesity, blood circulation becomes a problem. Obesity makes the heart weak. Heart beat increases due to overweight. Every heart beat supplies blood to 12,000 miles. We should ensure that our heart does not do over work. This is the job of Vinayaka. We eat more and we face problems with our health. But Vinayaka does not have such problems. The actions of Vinayaka has the subtleties relating to maintenance of good health. We should exercise control over our food habits.
Any leftover or excess food is given to the rat or mouse. Rats helps Vinayaka by being His vehicle. A small rat carries a huge bodied and mighty Ganesha. Have you ever paused to think about this unique sight? What does it actually mean? Swami lovingly explains. We look at rat in the literal sense as a small animal. The inner meaning is that, the rat symbolizes the darkness of ignorance. It moves about in darkness. Meaning, ignorance by itself is s a heavy load or burden. Mooshika Vahana is one who removes ignorance and darkness.
So this festival of Ganesh Chaturthi has lot of inner significance. Today, a special worship is made by offering the grass Garika to Ganesha. Let’s find out the story behind it.
Long, long ago, Mother Parvathi and Parameshwara were playing the game of dice. They decided to keep Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva as the umpire. After the game, Nandi declared Shiva as the winner. His enraged Mother Parvathi and she accused Nandi of cheating. She further cursed Nandi to suffer from ingestion. Nandi told Mother Parvathi that he did not use deception and to free him from the curse. He further explained that the will of God is so strong that it can never change. God’s WILL, will happen! Mother Parvathi softened and told him that on the 4th day of the month of Bhadrapada, he should worship Vinayaka with Garika or white grass and he will be freed from indigestion when he partakes the grass offered to Vinayaka. It is a common sight to find pet dogs searching for this particular grass and eating it. This grass is beneficial to their digestive system.
Vinayaka Chaturthi confers health and prosperity to one and all. It is said that, on the 4th day of Bhadrapada month, if we pray to Ganesha, we will be recipients of munificent blessings of Ganesha. Swami says that history is sacred and has in it, subtle secrets. Nowadays, students are not reading histories but rather are reading novels and stories that are meaningless. History shows the divine path. Swamis says, “What is History? It is His story!” Students should read the epics, the Bhagawatha, Ramayana and Mahabharata for spiritual knowledge.
Vinakaya is very wise and Vinayaka Chaturthi has the message of all the three epics. None can excel him in His wisdom. He is full of supreme intelligence. All the devathas and deities worship him.
On Vinayaka Chaturthi, students keep the text books etc. in front of Vinayaka idol. They make offerings and partake it. It is done to get the wisdom of Ganesha. It is most essential that students worship Vinayaka. Vinayaka has no desires. He has no expectations. He in fact, fulfils all our desires. We have to worship God who confers grace. Anugraha or grace is more important and not Agraha which is anger.
This sacred festival is celebrated not only in India but in many places as well. The teachings of Vinayaka is so profound that every letter in it is priceless and sacred!