Essay title: Ganapati God
It is an established custom in Indian society, to start any activity with the worship of Lord Ganapati, the elephant faced god, considered to be the elder son of Siva. He is also known by various other names such as Ganesa, Vinayaka etc. When we turn our gaze seeking references to Ganapati in the Vedas, only one verse is said to be attributed to Him.
Ganaanaam thvaa ganapatim havaamahe
Kavim kaveenaam upamasra vasthamam
Jyeshta raajam brhmanaam brhmanaspati
Aanas srunvan oodhibhis seedhasaadhanam
(Rig Veda 2-23)
WE call thee, Lord and Leader of the heavenly hosts, the wise among the wise, the most famous of all, The King supreme of prayers, O Brahmanaspati: hear us with help; sit down in place of sacrifice.
(Translated by Griffith)
These lines occur in a hymn dedicated to Brhmanaspati. In this or the other five hymns under the same heading, there is no reference to the name Vinayaka or to his appearance. In the entire Rig Veda, this is the only place where the name Ganapati occurs whereas the word Brhmanaspati keeps recurring.
There is a prayer which goes by the name of Ganesha sooktham. It has 15 verses and it begins with “Aa thoo na Indra Kshumantham……..”
Only the first nine verses are from Rig Veda 8-81, the next two are reproduction of 2-23 previously mentioned and the other four are from 10-112.
These Rig Veda hymns are devoted to Indra and the meaning of the first nine (Griffith’s translation) is given below.
1. INVITE ye Indra with a song to drink your draught of Soma juice,
All-conquering Satakratu, most munificent of all who live.
2 Lauded by many, much-invoked, leader of song, renowned of old:
His name is Indra, tell it forth.
3 Indra the Dancer be to us the giver of abundant strength:
May he, the mighty, bring it near.
4 Indra whose jaws are strong hath drunk of worshipping Sudaksas draught,
The Soma juice with barley mixt.
5 Call Indra loudly with your songs of praise to drink the Soma juice.
For this is what augments his strength.
6 When he hath drunk its gladdening drops, the God with vigour of a God
Hath far surpassed all things that are.
7 Thou speedest down to succour us this ever-conquering God of yours,
Him who is drawn to all our songs
8 The Warrior not to he restrained, the Soma-drinker neer oerthrown,
The Chieftain of resistless might.
9 O Indra, send us riches, thou Omniscient, worthy of our praise: