Dear All,
Greetings and Namaste. Sri Vinayaka Chaturthi falls on Wednesday (19-Sep-2012) and in that connection, I am happy to a couple of rare, short and sweet Stotras on Lord Ganesha.

1. Ganapati Stotram - Sage Narada - Narada Pancharatram (This is unique and brief discussion below)
2. Ganesha Namashtaka Stotram - Lord Vishnu - Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, Ganapati Khanda (I had shared another stotra by Lord Vishnu from the same Khanda last year)

As usual, a few snippets on the topic :

1. Lord Ganesha worship is widespread all over the world even among countries where Hinduism is feebly present. Indonesia, one of the largest Islamic countries with Hindus as a minority has Lord Ganesha in its currency notes (Ganesha, Saraswati, Vishnu, Shiva are common forms).

2. It is given that Lord Ganesha's Vigrahas are found as far away as South America suggesting the antiquity of Ganapati worship in the world.

3. The first Stotram by Sage Narada Pancharatra is very unique.
- First, it occurs in a text which is known as hard-core Vaishnavite Agama (Pancharatra Agama).
- Second the stotra was created by Sage Narada (who is considered to be one of the intimate devotees of Lord Vishnu and also an Avatar of Vishnu).
- Third, this hymn is part of a full chapter that describes Sage Narada's visit to Kailash to have Lord Shiva's darshan.
- Fourth, it is very clearly given that Sage Narada performed Lord Krisha Puja along his journey.
- Fifth, Lord Ganesha is given as shrIdhara-smaraNe-rata (one who delights in the meditation of Sridhara, Lord Vishnu).
- Sixth, one who chants this hymn on Lord Ganesha actually gets Hari Pada (forget about all other worldly comforts).
- Seventh, Sage Narada mentions that Lord Ganesha is the prathama pujita among all devas and is the Jagadguru who is worshipped by Devas and Rishis.

This chapter is follows into the next chapter where Sage Narada actually has darshan of Lord Shiva with a hymn (which I shared a few months ago). Again, Parvati tells Lord Krishna that it is indeed she who is Lakshmi who takes different forms like Radha, Lakshmi in different avatars of Lakshmi.

This once again underlines the greatness of Hindu thinking and the splendid illustration of Unity In Diversity. Hinduism never prescribes nor subscribes to any fight over forms and shapes of the one and only Brahman who has different names/forms. Sages did not see any necessity to divide Vedas into Vaishnavite/Shaivite/Saura/etc. - nor divide Itihasas/Puranas/Agamas along the sectarian lines as we see today.

Drawing again from the Pancharatra hymn on Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva asks what Sage Narada wants and he can give intimate Bhakti of Lord Vishnu (Imagine, if they were rivals as we seem to think and fight, why would Lord Shiva give Bhakti of his rival to a person who is already a devotee of his rival and why would Sage Narada, an already intense devotee of Vishnu, go to Kailasha to have darshan of Lord Shiva, who is Vishnu's rival? - it merely underscores our absurdity of thinking).

Perhaps we assume we are more intelligent and knowledgeable than those Devas/Rishis. Unfortunately it has become our (we ordinary mortals) pastime to endlessly divide ourselves as much as possible - fighting on forms over substance - when, in truth, we know neither and therefore it reduces to semantic hearsay debates that usually end in nought. As an Acharya put it, we humans voluntarily commit two blunders - first not following what sacred texts ask us to do and second, follow what sacred texts do not ask us to do. In the end, there is no peace - only ruffled egos and accumulated karma.

May Lord Ganesha remove all the real obstacles that stand in the way of our true learning and imbibing of our own sacred texts without any prejudice!

Thanks & Regards,
K. Muralidharan (Murali)

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