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Ganesha , also called Ganapati, is a deity well-known and worshipped all over India. He happened to be as well Lord Shiva's son as scribe. Shiva revealed the Tantra Shastras and Ganesha wrote them down.

When discussing the exercises of pranayama, Shiva Samhita 3:21 states that "the wise beginner should pay salutations to Ganesha on the right side and again to the guardians of the worlds and the goddess Ambika on the left side."

All rituals begin with the rendering of reverence and homage to Ganesha, the deity that creates and removes obstacles. He is also worshipped as the emblem of wisdom, which is symbolized by his huge head. Ganesha rides on or is accompanied by a rat (some say, a mouse). That rat symbolizes the ever doubting intellect (gnawing of the rat). One cannot destroy the intellect. One cannot subdue it either. Notice that Ganesha uses the rat as his carriage, he does not destroy it.

The next question one can ask oneself is how one can use one's intellect in a positive and constructive way. Or in other words, how can one overcome doubt?

The answer is fairly simple: "Put an elephant on it!"

Or in plain terms: "Bring integrity into your life. Integrate thinking, speaking and acting."
The elephant symbolises this integrity, since the following three are one, in fact:
- the centre of thinking: the brains
- the organ of speech: the mouth
- the symbol of action: the trunk

And there is even something more...
For in order to open its mouth, the elephant has to lift its trunk, the meaning of which is quite simple and straightforward:
practise what you preach.

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Last modified: April 06, 2011