Ganesh Worship in Skanda Purana
Puranas are one of the holy texts of India which can be a great tool for learning. When the Sagar Manthan (churning of the Ocean) was being done & Halal-laid (poison) emanated out, surds asuras (sods & demons) requested Lord Shiva to explain how this poison which was destroying the universe came about in the first place. Lord Shiva says in Chapter 9 Shloka 70-75.
“Lord Ganesha has been created by us for the purpose of achieving success in an undertaking. Those who do not bow down to Ganesha as Well as Durga of similar nature will be victims of distress. There is no doubt about this". In Shloka 86 he adds If at the beginning of any holly rite, people do not worship Ganaadhipa (ganesha), they will not realize their objectives. On hearing these words of Mahesha, Suras & Asuras asked Shiva about the method of worship in the proper manner. The importance of praying to Lord Ganesa is thus highlighted as to how the Devas & Asuras all failed in their attempt to gain nectar and were almost destroyed Halahala (poison) as they did not pray to Lord Ganesha before the start of the Sagar Manthan. This write up then exhibits almost verbatim as to how Ganesha is to be worshiped as told by Shiva in Chapter 11 of Skanda Mahapurana which is considered as the bissest Purana consisting of in more than 81,000 verses.
Procedure to Worship Ganesha
Lord Shiva said 'In even fortnight Ganapati should be worshipped on the 4th day (tithi) but in the Shukla Paksha a devotee after taking bath should worship always with white sesame seeds. When devotee's daily routine religious rituals are finished, then with immense care by means of scent, garlands, akshatas etc., at the outset meditation on Ganesha should be performed in accordance with scriptural injunctions. AS the worshippers are of various types, having Rajasa, Sattvika & Tamasa Gunas (traits), so also the names of Ganesha are main) in number as per symbolized lag a particular Gun a (trait). They are as follows:
Panchavaktra - Five Faced
Ganaadhyaksha - Chief of Shivas Attendants /Chief of Ganas
Dashabaahu - Ten armed
Trilochana - 3 eyed
Kaantasphatika-sankaasa- Like a shining crystal
Neekkantha - Blue Throated
Gajaanana -Elephant Faced
Then Lord Shiva proceeds to describe his various faces in detail and the ten arms. He then says that one should meditate that he is holding the vessel containing modakas in his hand. He further adds that the meditation is of 3 kinds:-
- In Sattvika meditation contemplate thus that he has Pot belly (lambodara), uneven eyes - 3 eyed (virupaksha), having sacred thread (niviita), having a girdle and seated in yogic posture with the crescent moon adorning his head.
- In Raajasa meditation is as in the case of men the deity has pure golden complexion, is elephant faced, super natural and has four hands, three eyes, one tusk and huge belly.
- In Thamasa meditation he holds noose and goad in his hands also holding a tusk a vessel of modakas having blue colour. Thus there are 3 types of Dhyana and then worship should be begun immediately.
Twenty One Durva grass blades take in hand & two blades of grass to be offered after uttering one name, that is ten names twenty grass and when offering the last blade of grass all the names are uttered. In similar fashion 21 modakas should be offered. Shiva then mentions the 10 names
Ganaadhipa (Lord of Ganas)
Umaaputra (Son of Lima)
Agha -Naashana (Destroyer of Sins)
Ishaputra (Son of Shiva)
Sarva-siddhi-pradaayaka (Bestower of all Siddhis)
lbha-vaktra (Elephant Faced)
Mushaka-vaahana (Mouse Vehiclecl) &
Kumaara-guru (The elder brother of Kumara).
At the end of every word namastestu (obeisance to you) should be added. In the case of the last, the words Kumaragururuve tubh—yam namostu (Obeisance to O Kumaraguru) should be uttered. Thus the Lord Ganesa should be worshipped with care.
Having spoken thus, Lord Shiva embraced Vishnu & Brahma and vanished. All bowed down to Sambhu and became engaged in worshipping Ganesa.