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Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
Posted By Sarin on Sep 09, 2013     RSS Feeds     Latest Hinduism news
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Who is lord ganesha
Lord ganesha is the son of Parvati(manifestation of supreme universal mother ‘Durga’) and lord shiva.  Followers of lord ganesha uses word ‘Ganapati’ to represent Brahman (God) and Mahaganapati  to symbolize Parabrahman  (Supreme God). Ancient sages conceived Lord Ganesha with an elephant face in a human body. His elephant head signifies Learning, intelligence, wisdom, and an intellect incomparable to all other deities. This symbolic blend of human and animal body parts is the conception of ancient Hindu seers of a perfect human being.  
  
Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
Elephant headed lord Ganesha...What an art? Isn’t it

Since Lord ganesha is accepted as the god of learning and wisdom, he was given the task of writing Mahabharata by Ved Vyasa. Allegorically, it is said lord ganesha has two wives, Riddhi (Prosperity) and Siddhi (Success). Hence, one who pleases the lord is blessed by success and prosperity.  

Lord Ganesha is invoked before all other deities
In India, before the start of any ceremony or ritual worship, prayers are offered to lord ganesha. Irrespective of the sect (Vaishnaism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Smartism) the devotees belong to, lord ganesha is the first deity to be invoked by all devotees. This is the reason why you often hear pundits or priests chanting ‘Om gam ganpataya namah (ऊँ गम गणपतये)before the start of any auspicious task.  
Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
  
Why lord Ganesha is worshipped first?
Lord ganesha is also known as Ganpati. Word Ganapati is formed by joining the two words: Gana  (गण) +  pati  (पति). Gana means Eight Vasus(Directions) and pati means ‘Lord’ or ‘master’. Therefore, ganpati means ‘lord of eight directions’ but some scriptures acknowledges him the lord of ten directions (including upward and downward direction).  Actual meaning of Gana is ‘Spiritual particles (pavitrak) spread across eight directions’. Pavitrak can be realized as the smallest atom of divine consciousness and ganpati -the lord of such atoms (Pavitrak). 
Ganpati is the destroyer of all negative frequencies
In scientific terms, Gana can be realized as the collection of visphutit (tama) and tiryak (raja) frequencies which are harmful to materialistic creation. Details of 360 different frequencies that continuously travels across the eight directions can be found in book titled 'Science of Spirituality: Vol. 7 - Supreme God, Incarnations and Deities'. Ganpati is known as the controller of these frequencies.  
You invoke your deity by chanting mantras that propagates in all directions but since all direction is under the control of lord ganesha, your prayers would not reach directly to your deity without his explicit permission. Hence, any auspicious task or ritualistic ceremony (Worship) is commenced with the prayers to lord ganpati. Mantras chanted to lord ganesha clears all the directions so that either your prayer reaches your deity or the deity himself manifest at your ceremonial place. This process is called as Mahaganapatipujan or Mahadvarpujan. Normally, the mantra chanted to invoke lord ganesha is as follows:
"Om Gan Ganapataye Namo Namaha.
Shri Siddhivinayaka Namo Namaha.
Ashtavinayaka Namo Namaha.
   Ganpati Bappa Morya."

Ganpati is the first deity to be born in every materialistic creation
In Ganapati Upanishad, there is a verse which states the appearance of ganesha after the destruction of current materialistic world and before the subsequent beginning of new creation.  
Verse: Avirbhutancha sristyadau prakriteh purushaat param ||
Translation: Lord Ganesha appears even before the creation of prakriti(nature) and purusha(consciousness).
Being one of the first deities born in every materialistic creation, he naturally becomes the first choice for worship.
Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
Ganpati-first deity of every materialistic creation

Spiritual perspective for first invocation to lord Ganesha  
Every human has two identities
To understand the spiritual perspective, you need to first understand our identities in this materialistic universe. Every mortal human has two identities 1) Spiritual 2) material. Spiritual identity aims to connect with the supreme divine consciousness and material identity aims to fulfill the task for which we were created in this materialistic world. For Ex: In my case, my material identity is that of a software engineer which I have used effectively (by creating website, videos etc) to accomplish the aim of my other identity i.e spiritual identity that aims to achieve the supreme divine god. Every one of you is aware of their materialistic roles and you may be executing your materialistic task beautifully but blinded by materialistic greed and pleasures, you may have forgotten your spiritual role in this materialistic world. So, I would be discussing your spiritual identity in details.  
How to invoke your spiritual role?
In our psychic body, there is a point called Muladhara that acts as an interface between material and spiritual worlds. When you perform intense yoga and meditation, this point is ignited and after years of penance, it enlightens to connect with the supreme universal god. Since lord ganesha is the ruler of Muladhara and the controller of both materialistic and spiritual world, his grace is essential to connect with the supreme divine consciousness.



  In short, he is the starting point towards the path of liberation from continuous cycle of birth and death. To enlighten your Muladhara or fulfill your materialistic task, you need to invoke lord ganesha first to get rid of all obstacles and proceed on the path of success. Hence, it is essentially important for every yogi to invoke lord ganesha before advancing into the path of spirituality. Below is the short mantra chanted by all yogis
Verse: Namami tam vinayakam |
Translation: pray that Lord Ganesha! May Lord Ganesha shower his kind Grace on all of us!
  
Your path to enlightenment does not stop at ‘muladhara’. There are six more chakras(shown below) that need to be enlightened for salvation (moksha).  
Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
  
Lord Ganesha was offered the boon of first worship by all dieties
Once upon a time, lord Shiva was away from mount Kailas along with his army on the battle against the demons. His wife ‘Parvati’ wanted to bath but seeing no guard outside her house, she conceived the idea of creating a son that would guard his chamber. Using sandalwood paste, she created the figure of a young boy and energized life into that figure. She ordered him to safeguard the chamber and instructed him to not let anyone come inside without her permission. In the meantime, the battle was over and exhausted lord Shiva came back to enter parvati chamber. Not knowing Lord Shiva, Ganesha obstructed lord Shiva at the entrance of the chamber. Enraged by this, Lord Shiva started his tandav dance of destruction and decapitated lord ganesha with his trident. Grieved by his son death, Parvati took the terrorifying form of goddess kali and threatened destruction of the entire universe if her son was not brought back to life. Scared by this, Lord Vishnu (preserver of universe) requested lord Shiva to enliven lord ganesha. To pacify parvati, lord Shiva ordered his ganas(Army) to quickly get the head of any child whose mother is facing in the opposite direction of his son(act of negligence). After searching a lot, Ganas found no other living being other than an elephant facing in north direction (auspicious direction symbolizing wisdom). So, they brought the elephant head to lord Shiva. Since there was not much time, Lord Shiva agreed to the lord Brahma advice of fixing an elephant head.(also check Why lord Ganesha have elephant head) Lord Shiva breathed life in his elephant-headed son but his wife parvati though overjoyed, was still upset with the fact that other deities would make fun of his son face.  
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Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
  
As a resolution, Lord ganesha was gifted many boons by different deities including the boon of being the first choice of worship. Below are some of the other boons gifted by deities
Ganesha is the lord of luck
Ganesha is the lord of intelligence
Ganesha is the lord of all directions
Ganesha is the lord of all gates and pathways
Ganesha is the lord of prudence
Ganesha is the lord of education
Ganesha is the lord of Wisdom
Ganesha is the lord of wealth
Ganesha is the lord of Learning.  
Ganesha is the Lord of obstacles
I guess the above story depicts enough reasons to worship first Lord ganesha in all ritual occasions, wedding, engagements, festivals etc. (also check Is lord ganesha God and worthy of worship )
  
Lord Ganesha was offered the boon of first worship by lord shiva
Shiva purana narrates a small story that signifies the ritual of worshipping lord ganesha first before all deities.  
Once Karthikeya(Brother of lord ganesha) had an argument with lord ganesha about who is most wisest among the two?. Parvati was also confused on the wisdom of his two sons and got interested in testing them. Seeing this, the naughty sage ‘narada’ interfered immediately and held the competition to decide the superiority between the two brothers.
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According to the competition, whoever circles the entire earth three times first is the wisest between the two. Listening to this, Karthikeya immediately sat on his vehicle ‘Peacock’ and started his journey round the world. On the other side, Lord ganesha circumnavigated his parents three times and declared himself the winner of the competition. Lord Shiva understood the cunning trick of lord ganesha but sage Narada was still confused. Shocked by lord ganesha declaration, narada demanded an explanation on how he became the winner? Lord ganesha replied “All living beings of this universe knows that my parents is the lord of this universe. Additionally, for every son, his parents represent the world. Hence, by circling round the parents, I have circled the entire earth and since I did it before Karthikeya, I am the winner”. Sage narada and all deities were very impressed by the wit and intelligence of lord ganesha and declared him the lord of learning and wisdom. Pleased by his son, Lord Shiva conferred the boon that Lord ganesha should be worshipped first before the start of any ritualistic ceremony.
Why lord ganesha is worshipped first before all other deities
Lord shiva, goddess parvati, Lord Karthikeya and lord Ganesha

In following verse of rig veda(World oldest book), lord ganesha is declared as the lord of learning and wisdom:
"गणानां  तवा  गणपतिं  हवामहे  कविं  कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम  |
जयेष्ठराजं  बरह्मणां  बरह्मणस  पत    नः  षर्ण्वन्नूतिभिः  सीद  सादनम  ||"- Rig Veda 2.23.1

Lord Ganesha is easily pleased than all other deities
It is said that Lord ganesha is very easy to please compared to any other deity. Since humans are very lazy and always looks for shortcut to success, worship to Lord ganesha should be the shortcut to success and prosperity for most of the humans of this materialistic world. Since ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva, worship to lord ganesha is the starting point to reach lord Shiva.
  
Supreme example of father praying to his son
there is another lesser known story that depicts the significance of first invocation of lord Ganesha. This story may be an allegory and not the real one.
Once when Lord Shiva embarked on a battle against the demons of Tripura (Atlantis), he forgot his own ritual and hurried into the war. No longer did Lord shiva rode his carriage, wheel peg broke and cart stopped moving. Lord Shiva was bewildered by such an incident happening to him. Thinking for a while, he realized that he has forgotten to invoke lord ganesha before departing into the war and hence, went against his own boon gifted to lord Ganesha (story above). Lord Shiva invoked his son name and easily won the battle after defeating the powerful army of tripurasura.
This is perhaps the only story that shows a father worshipping his son. Thus, no matter how much powerful and strong you are, you must worship lord ganesha to achieve success in your task.
  
Conclusion:
Though some of the points mentioned above sound extraordinary hypothetical, I find it interesting since this universe is also hypothetical (illusionary) creation of Lord Brahma. Based on my knowledge, I can confidently state that the above stories are allegories created by ancient sages to explain the illusion of this materialistic world and make the humans aware of their divine relationship with the supreme lord. Hope you have enjoyed this article
Wishing you a very happy ganesh chaturthi



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