The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Procedure of Ganapati Worship which is chapter 214 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the two hundred fourteenth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 214 - Procedure of Gaṇapati Worship

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-2. Further, there is another deity installed by Viśvāmitra there, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. It is Gaṇanātha, the bestower of all Siddhis unto men.

He who worships the deity on the fourth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Māgha is rid of all the obstacles for the whole of year.

The sages said:

3. O Sūta, explain to us now the origin of Gaṇanātha. How did he originate? Of what greatness has he been proclaimed?

Sūta said:

4. He was created by Gaurī from the dirt of her body herself just for sport. He has the limbs of human beings and he looks splendid with an elephantine head.

5. He possesses four hands. He moves about on his vehicle, the mouse. He holds an axe in his hand. He feels satisfied by eating Modakas (sweetmeats).

6-7. He is the bestower of all Siddhis in the world especially unto the devotees. Formerly, he fought a formidable battle in the course of hostilities against Tāraka and carried out the task of the Lord, as has never been performed by any one. All the numberless Dānavas were killed.

8. Then this king of the battle-ground was told by the delighted Śakra as he came with all the limbs deeply wounded and covered with blood:

9-11. “O Lord of excellent elephantine countenance, this battle has been fought by you for our sake. Innumerable Dānavas were killed. Hence you will be worthy of the adoration by all the Devas, still more by all the human beings who are always overwhelmed by obstacles?

If at the beginning of their tasks and activities people worship you there is no doubt about it that they will achieve Siddhi (success) in their undertaking. There is my word for it.”

12. After saying thus the Thousand-eyed One (Indra) honoured him duly and sent him off to Gaurī and Śaṅkara.

13. This very topic was proposed for discussion by the intelligent Rohitāśva to the great sage Mārkaṇḍeya for the purpose of dispelling all obstacles.

14. O highly esteemed ones, I shall factually mention the same theme. So, listen to the incident of the days of yore, ye all with great concentration.

Rohitāśva said:

15. O holy Sir, all the men here (in this world) are entangled in obstacles in the course of all their auspicious activities, although they themselves are very pure.

16. In all the tasks undertaken, especially in those connected with holy rites, these obstacles crop up whereby the task does not get concluded (successfully).

17. Hence, enjoin to me some Vrata for the purpose of dispelling the obstacles. Let it be a Vrata, Niyama (restraint), penance or Dāna (holy gift).

18. If those rites are performed only once, there should not be any obstacle from birth to death, for the entire period of the life of a man.

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

19. In this context, I shall describe to you a Vrata endowed with all good features and also destructive of all obstacles. It quells all sins. It was formerly performed by Viśvāmitra of sanctified soul.

20. The valorous son of Gādhi became well-known as Viśvāmitra. The noble-souled one contracted enmity with Vasiṣṭha.

21. It was for the sake of the Brāhmaṇical status. Somehow, that sage of great penance was not addressed by Vasiṣṭha with the words “You are a Brāhmaṇa”. So the enmity ensued.

Rohitāśva said:

22. Why did the Brāhmaṇa Vasiṣṭha not say so by all means, when he was called a Brāhmaṇa by Brahmā and others themselves?

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

[Note: This episode of confrontation between Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra for the cow Nandinī is given in Mahābhārata, Ādi 174.]

23. Viśvāmitra was formerly a Kṣatriya king. While hunting, he strayed into the hermitage of Vasiṣṭha. Distressed with hunger and thirst, he entered the hermitage and he was honoured by him (i.e. Vasiṣṭha).

24. He had a cow named Nandinī which always yielded whatever was desired. The cow immediately yielded whatever was desired.

25-26a. Thanks to the power of that cow, the king together with his servants, army and vehicles, was rendered extremely satisfied through different kinds of sweet cooked foodstuffs. Knowing that he was the king of the land, he was duly honoured with Arghya and other things as well as foodstuffs.

26b. On noticing that everything was the result of the power of the cow, he requested for her against the price of his elephants and horses.

27. The Brāhmaṇa did not give the cow and refused to yield to conciliatory overtures, promise of gifts and to threats. Therefore, the king employed Daṇḍa (the expediency of punishment).

28. The king angrily seized the cow and (was about to take her away).

29. While being taken away she (the cow) said to Vasiṣṭha: “O holy Sir, have I been handed over to the king, for he is taking me away with forceful efforts?”

Vasiṣṭha said:

30. O highly esteemed one, you have not been given away to this king. If he takes you away forcibly, do what is proper.

31. On hearing it the excellent cow Nandinī yawned (opened her mouth and made a lowing sound) with the army of the king in view.

32. Then a curling column of smoke arose from her mouth. From it terrible flames issued forth and then thousands of warriors.

33. They held various kinds of weapons and appeared like the messengers of Yama. The Pulindas, Barbaras, Ābhiras, Kirātas, Yavanas and Śakas issued forth thus.

34. They said to her, “Say, O auspicious one, why have we been created?”

Nandinī said:

35. These sinful servants of the king are taking me away forcibly. At my behest all of you should assail them. I do not desire anything else.

36. O great king, that army of Viśvāmitra fought the battle for ten days and got annihilated.

37. On thus noticing the excellent power of a Brāhmaṇa, Viśvāmitra took a vow in a high pitch:

38-39a. “I will undoubtedly become a Brāhmaṇa whereby I too can possess such a wonderful power as this. Hence I shall perform a penance that even Suras cannot perform.”

39b. Then he installed his son as king of the realm and performed a great penance.

40. He performed a highly terrible and difficult penance for the sake of Brāhmaṇahood. But Brāhmaṇahood was not attained by him. So he became utterly despondent.

41. Then he went to Kailāsa and perfectly propitiated Maheśvara, the Lord of Devas, Maheśvara accompanied by Gaurī.

42-43. “O Lord, I shall perform a penance for the sake of Brāhmaṇahood. Therefore, I seek refuge in you in Kailāsa, your excellent mountain. Hence, may the Lord of Devas accord protection from obstacles, lest the great penance performed should be destroyed.”

Śrī Bhagavān said:

44-45. O excellent king, in connection with your aim, carry out that task which should be performed for the sake of purity. Hence do the worship of Vināyaka. Thereby you will achieve the Siddhi and attain the status of Brāhmaṇa.

Viśvāmitra said:

46. Hence, O excellent one among Suras, explain at the very outset, the method of the adoration of Gaṇesa for the sake of the suppression of all obstacles, so that I can perform it duty.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

47. Formerly, Gaurī smeared her limbs with some perfumes and unguents. With the dirt thereof she made a being in the form of a man with four arms.

48. In order to play with him saying “my son” the state of childhood was assigned. He had the face of an elephant, a huge body with protruding belly and short thighs.

49. Then I was told by her, “O Lord, let my son be made alive so that he will become most worthy of adoration.”

50. Then, O king, uttering Sṛṣṭisūkta (‘Hymn of Creation’) I touched him. When Jīvasūkta was uttered, perfectly he became alive.

51. Then the goddess, the daughter of the Mountain, was told by me in great delight, “The day today is the fourth lunar day and this (boy) has been created by me today.

52. O highly esteemed lady, your son has been created through the power of Jīvasūkta. O goddess of Suras, he will become the permanent presiding deity of all the Gaṇas of mine. Hence, he will be (called) Gaṇanāyaka.

53-54. O beautiful woman, a devotee should worship him on the auspicious Caturthī day along with,the utterance, (chanting) of the Jīvasūkta; with great devotion. O goddess, in all his activities all obstacles shall be destroyed like darkness at sunrise.

55-57. The devotee then utters the following Mantras: “Obeisance to Laṃbodara, obeisance to him, to the Lord of Gaṇas. Obeisance to the Lord holding Kuṭhāra (an axe) for ever. Obeisance to Vāksaṅgata (the eloquent one); obeisance to Modakabhakṣa (one who eats sweetmeat). Obeisance to one having a single tooth (i.e. tusk).” After adoring by means of these Mantras the food offering of Modaka is to be made. Then Arghya is offered.

58. (The Mantra) “Whatever rite I perform in regard to Śaṃbhu, O Lord, you will ward off the obstacles therein.”

59. Then Brāhmaṇas should be fed with the Modakas in accordance with one’s capacity. There should not be stinginess in regard to the money spent.

60. O excellent king, I myself said thus to Gaurī with regard to Gaṇanātha.

61-64. Thereupon, the delighted goddess uttered these words: “From today onwards, if anyone perfectly worships my son Gaṇanāyaka in accordance with this procedure on the Caturthī day, all obstacles of his shall undoubtedly vanish.

If any one performs the rites after remembering or worshipping him, all those rites shall become firm. There is no doubt about this that his fortune and glory will be stable (permanent).”

Śrī Bhagavān said:

65. Hence, O highly esteemed one, you also perform perfectly the adoration of Vināyaka so that you will achieve whatever you desire.

Mārkaṇḍeya said;

66-67. On hearing his words, King Viśvāmitra duly performed the worship of Gaṇanātha and practised an elaborate penance bereft of obstacles. Then Brāhmaṇahood was also attained which is very rare to get.

68. Hence you also, O highly esteemed one, perform the adoration of Vināyaka specially on the Caturthī day. There is no doubt about this that you will attain all pleasures cherished in the heart.

69. As per words of Maheśvara, one obtains everything if one worships Gaṇanātha with some desire in view.

70. One without a son obtains a son; one without wealth gets great wealth. By remembering Gaṇanāyaka one conquers enemies.

71. If a woman is ugly, or unfortunate, or if she is deserted, by her husband, she regains conjugal felicity through the adoration of Gaṇanātha.

72. If anyone reads this always or listens to this with concentration, he will never meet with obstacles in any of his activities.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: