Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshipped together?


A friend asked: “Why do we worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together on a Diwali night?” Or for that matter, on any other day. I understood that in her opinion there was absolutely no reason why Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi couldn’t be worshipped alone as a single deity. She also wanted to know if Lakshmi and Ganesha were anyhow ‘related’. My explanation was as follows:

First of all we should understand that all different gods and goddesses in Hinduism are different aspects of the same God. Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of all wealth, money and richness. Lord Ganesha is considered God of wisdom, intelligence, success and prosperity. Ganesha is considered extremely intelligent: we remember the legend how when asked to make a round of this world, he just made a circle of his parents saying what he did was equivalent to what was asked; while his brother Kartikeya actually went and made rounds of the world and came back. (Btw, doesn’t this episode prove that people in ancient India knew that earth was round and if one starts from a point, one would reach the same place after one rotation?) Symbolism of Ganesha also proves how he represents wisdom. Ganesha is also considered remover of all obstacles on the righteous path, and hence he is worshipped at the beginning of any auspicious work like opening a new factory, entering a new house, or before starting on any great work. Now see his characteristics along with those of Goddess Lakshmi. What is wealth without prosperity? What is money without the wisdom to use it properly? Will all the material gains in the world be permanent without intelligence? Also, can anyone achieve any great affluence without removing the obstacles on the path? Qualities of Ganesha are so complementary, if I use the term, to those of Goddess Lakshmi, that our custom requires us to worship both of them together. This also reminds us that we don’t have to aim only for material wealth but also have to aim for prudence and wisdom.

Also, in Hinduism, there is no excessive focus on necessity of being poor to reach God. In Hinduism we aim for prosperity and wealth along with intelligence and wisdom – thus maintaining a very fine balance between both material and spiritual needs.

What a wonderful idea to worship Lakshmi and Ganesha together! Isn’t it so?

Note: Many times, Lakshmi, Ganesha and Saraswati (Goddess of learning) are worshipped together, again highlighting symbolically why Lakshmi (wealth) alone is not our aim. Also, in most images or sculptures, Lakshmi is placed on the right hand side of Ganesha, as in Hindus there is a custom that husband sits right of wife, and this particular gesture is to mark that there is no such relationship between the two deities. Often Lakshmi and Ganesh are worshipped by the merchant community and they mark the puja place with written words “Shubh-Laabh” (Prosperous Gain) – which again points out that we only aim for gain/profits which are prosperous and righteous.

- Rahul

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17 comments:

Harish said...

Truely a wounderful reply to your friend.

Harish said...

Truely a wounderful reply to your friend.

nirmala said...

..good....nicely explained..

Also ganesha is 'mooshika vahana'.Mouse being the fastest in movement, we cannot assess where mouse comes from. Likewise, we cannot foresee where obstacle comes from..So Lord Ganesha is mooshika vahana.

One more thing--Lord Ganesha has the head of an elephant. Big head is the symbol of great wisdom. So the Lord has got the head of biggest animal on earth.

Soloman said...

Rahul, bhai write something on the last moments of Ravan, When Bhagwan Ram asked Laxman ji to go and listen to him! i loved this post too:) !

harish said...

This is a good work , though i would suggest to elobrate Ganesha , i have read someware, why ganesh has a big head,big stomuch,big nose,big ears , small eyes,two set of teath, one visible and another in-visible.and so on , all this have some Management significant and more over it is quoted more out side india than in our country , we rather keep praying , instead of understanding what ,we should learn from ganesh
good work any way.

KrRahul said...

That is very true Harish...

Btw, I had given a link within my post, on symbolism of Ganesha (second paragraph). This is the URL:

http://hinduism.about.com/od/lordganesha/a/ganesha.htm

Also, I had written a post on Birth of Ganesha where I had dealt more...

Nirmala said...

..What symbolises Krishna's balaleela while breaking pots and stealing curd/butter? and his leela connected with millk and milk products?

Ans- : Sree Bhagavan , throughout Krishna avatar, leelas are symbolically played in such a way that each leela has a subtle meaning ( sookshmaarddha).

1- By breaking pots, He reminds us that nothing is permanent in this world and anything can be destroyed by anybody at anytime.

2- By stealing curd/butter etc, he teaches us that our worldly( sdhoola) procurements can be lost at anytime.

3- Though the gopis complain about Krishna's mischief to Yasodaji, later they themselves go for loving and fondling Krishna.-This means, the inner self should be so pure as to love God whatever adverse situations we have to face. Also to teach us we get only what we deserve , but even in such situation too the bhakti should be firm.

4- Curd, cheese, buttr , buttermilk,ghee, yogurt,and all other forms of milk are different manifestations of of the same milk. Means, the whole universe is comprised of different manifestations of the same supreme power eventhough we see them in different forms.

During bal leela, Krishna asked gopis to come out of water for clothes. It symbolises that athma has no gender and body is a worldly one and we should merge with Krishna to the extent that we will forget even the existence of sharir...

NB : Gopis were the incarnation of the women who laughed at Ashtavakra In Janaka maharaj's sabha. (correct me if I am wrong..)

Mridul said...

Wonderful explanation in details .

Ganesh : Lord of Information and communication

Laxmi : Goddess representing Values and wealth

So without "information and communication" about the properties of any object animate or inanimate it is not possible to asses the value of that object for the particular situation.

if someone has 100 rupee note that means denomination value of 100 rupees but has no information on how to gain from it then 100 rupee note is useless....


So to gain "wealth and value"--Laxmi the "Information and communication"---Ganesha is necessary.

Jay said...

Which form of God is worshipped with whom is purely a devottees choice.

Ganesha with laxmi simply signifies that we pray for prosperity but not by unfair means. we want it by using proper means symbolised by ganesha ie Mooladhar Chakra.

Meenakshi said...

i liked the blog on lakshmi and ganesha… so much of profound wisdom and thought in that blog. God bless you.

Vivek srivastav said...

Hi Rahul,
Please write something on this topic "Who is Abraham?"
Please prefer on this link and tell about this.
http://www.hermetics.org/Abraham2.html

KrRahul said...

Thanks Vivek.. the subject is really interesting. I regret so far my knowledge on this is limited. I shall try to read and know more and will give it a try...

Thanks for your comment...

T. R. Nagesh said...

Hi Rahul,

Please do write about the concept of Shaktiganesha. I saw sometime back in a temple Ganeshji sitting with Shakti. Also written was a sloka which goes like this "Aalingya Deveem Harithangayashtheem Parasparashlishta Katepradesham Sandhyarunam Paasha Shruneevahantam Bhayaapaham Shaktiganeshameede."

Thanks

D.W said...

excellent explanation. could you also explain, why some place Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Radha & Krishna beside one another?

KrRahul said...

Thanks a lot for your comment. I don't know about this trend - Lakshmi, Ganesha, Radha and Krishna all are kept together... It is often that Hindu temples try to keep as many idols of different gods (ultimately there is no difference) as possible. It also is a local decision depending on the devotees of that locality. Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshiped together and Radha-Krishna are worshiped together.

Radha and Krishna can't be complete without each other. Radha is an example of "perfect/ideal devotee" in Hinduism and their worship together means Hinduism gives as much respect to devotees as much is given to God. Because ultimately, it is believed that God lives inside the devotees and hence worshiping devotees is the same as worshiping God. Therefore, Raadha and Krishna are worshiped together...

neelam said...

why we dont worship Brahma

KrRahul said...

Hi neelam,

Thanks for your comment.

I had written about it in this blog post; you can check it:

Brahma, Saraswati and Symbolism

http://rahulbemba.blogspot.com/2010/05/brahma-saraswati-and-symbolism.html