Ganesha Chaturthi and Yoga


Ganesha Chaturthi marks the birthday of Ganesha, the Elephant-headed god. Ganesha is a very potent symbol of Yoga and a great tool for spiritual aspirants.

Ganesha Chaturthi marks the birthday of Ganesha, the Elephant-headed god. The ten-day festival starts on the fourth day of the dark fortnight in the Hindu lunisolar month of Bhadra – around September.

People all over India joyously celebrate the occasion. Clay statues of Ganesha are kept in homes and in public areas. People hold prayers, chants and fasts to honor the elephant deity.

On the last day, which is known as Ganapati Visarjan the clay statues of Ganesha are paraded through the streets and are finally submerged in lakes, rivers and beaches.

Ganesha and Yoga

There is a hidden meaning behind Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is a very potent symbol of yoga and tantra. His very name is made from two Sanskrit words: gana ­­­ –administrator and isha –Supreme. He is “the supreme administrator.”

In yoga, the word gana has a distinctive meaning. It refers to the sense organs. From the yogic perspective, Ganesha is the supreme administrator of the senses. All of our input is based on our five senses and how we react to this input dictates the quality and direction of our lives. Ganesha, being the supreme administrator of the senses is beyond the senses and therefore beyond the mind. Ganesha is a symbol for pure universal intelligence.

The intention of revering Ganesha is to break our limitations and create an inner transformation resulting in the manifestation of this pure intelligence.  

Ganesha is famously known as the giver of intelligence, the remover of obstacles and the recorder of universal events. It is Lord Ganesha who writes all happenings in the Akashic records.

The Birth of Ganesha – The Story

One day Shiva’s wife Parvati decided to have a second son. She wiped some of the sandal paste that was on her body, mixed it with some soil and made the form of a baby with it. She took her creation in her arms and breathed life into it, giving birth to a little boy called Ganesha.

A few years later, when the boy was ten years old, Shiva returned home after a long period of wandering. Parvati was having a bath, and her son was instructed to guard the entrance. Shiva arrived and when he tried to meet Parvati he was stopped by the boy. Ganesha had never seen is father. Shiva sent his ganas to settle the matter but Ganesha defeated all of them single handedly. Finally, Shiva lost his temper, took his sword and cut off the boy’s head.

When Parvati saw what had happened she became furious and threatened to destroy the worlds. Upon witnessing her anger, Shiva promised to bring Ganesha back to life.

Shiva went looking for a solution and encountered a baby elephant. He cut the elephants head, joined it to Ganesha’s body and brought him back to life. A pleased parvati took Ganesha into her arms and forgave Shiva.  

The Birth of Ganesha – The Esoteric Meaning

Like Ganesha our ego affects our capacity of discrimination. Just like in the story, Ganesha was unable to recognize Shiva, we too on account of our ego fail to discriminate by what is real and unreal, what is true and what is false. Our ego has taken hold of our senses and our perception.

Shiva then cuts of Ganesha’s head. Shiva represents consciousness and the head, which is the seat of the ego represents individual ego. The event therefore symbolizes our higher consciousness transforming our ego through the effort of our sadhana.

Shiva then brings Ganesha back to life with a new head. This new elephant head represents the higher consciousness, the birth of the new yogi once the ego has been transformed.   

The transformation brings a new level of intelligence, capable of overcoming all obstacles.

Ganesha Chaturthi and Yoga

Chaturthi means “the fourth.” In the Hindu calendar system, it refers to the fourth day, but in Yoga it refers to the fourth state of consciousness, known as super-consciousness or Samadhi. Samadhi can only be reached with the help and blessing of pure intelligence, Ganesha.

Intelligence is not cunningness or astuteness. Intelligence is about flexibility and harmony. We must become mentally flexible, just like Ganesha’s trunk which is like a boneless limb. Our rigidness and all of our identifications are created by our ego, mental flexibility is the first sign of intelligence. A truly intelligent person is able to dance around all of life’s obstacles just like Ganesha.