There are many ways to honor a deity and many ways to create a felt sense of connection to the reality they represent. This can be as simple as looking at their picture and feeling inspired. Or, reading about them and contemplating their qualities.
When it comes to really understanding a deity though, nothing is as important or as impactful as the practice. Rightly so, no practice is more effective than working with the mantra.
Simple Mantra of Lord Ganesha
‘Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha’
The most commonly known mantra of lord Ganesha is ‘Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha’. Literally broken down, this mantra is a simple invocation of Ganesha.
Has no specific meaning but rather is a syllable that represents the creative force and potential (Shakti) of the universe. So, consider this the basic intelligence out of which all things are manifest.
Like OM, GAM has no specific meaning as a word. However, the vibration of this bija represents the energy of lord Ganesha. Thus, sounding it evokes the vibration of Ganesh.
Is simply another name for Ganesh with a very similar meaning. As mentioned, it means Lord of the Ganas or categories of existence.
Means salutations, it’s similar in a way to saying ‘hail [the king, lord etc.]’. It is an expression of reverence (in this case to Ganesha). It’s literal meaning is ‘not mine’. Which refers to the letting go of identity or sense of ownership required to really open to the energy one is in salutation to.
This mantra is simple, yet effective. A quick YouTube search will pull up dozens of versions of this mantra chanted in various melodies.
Although chanting a mantra internally is considered more powerful according to Tantric lore, chanting the mantra aloud as a song or ‘Kirtan’ Is both effective, and inspiring. Especially in the presence of talented musicians and dozens or more other devotees.
Other Mantras of Lord Ganesha
Also, there are many other well known mantras that evoke specific qualities of lord Ganesha. Usually, they honor and celebrate the qualities he is known for.
Importantly, this is an common aspect of deity worship. However, the idea is not asking for something in particular. Rather, give praise and exaltation to that which you wish to open to or cultivate.
Many of these mantras come from specific texts composed in worship to lord Ganesha. Others by sages who had the direct experiences of melting into the energy of Ganesha. Drunk of the ecstacy of these ecstatic states they composed these poetic offerings in honour of their beloved divinity.
The Shaktivinayak Mantra.
Om Hreeng Greeng Hreeng
Several shorter seed sounds or bija mantras make up this mantra. As mentioned above these single syllable sounds don’t have specific meanings. Instead, they simply recreate the vibration of certain energies.
However the name Shaktivinayak means something to the effect of ‘the supreme lord (vinayak) of universal power (shakti)’. The Shaktivinayak mantra brings prosperity and wealth. As such, Serious practitioners will never lack financial resources.
The Vakratunda Mahakaya Shlok Mantra.
Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa.
This considerably longer Ganesh mantra is one of the most renowned mantras of Ganesha. Indeed, it evokes the benefits and blessings of the elephant headed lord Ganapati.
Vakratunda – curved trunk.
Mahakaya – honours the large/great (maha) body (kaya) of Ganesh.
Suryakoti – literally sun (surya) crore (koti) .
Samprabha – literally, radiance, aura (prabha) even, like, same (Sama).
Nirvgnam – without obstruction.
Kurume – give me.
Deva – a male God.
Sarva – all, totality, everything.
Karyeshu – work.
Sarvada – always.
So, we could interpret this mantra to mean something like: Oh lord with curved trunk, large body whose aura is like the light of crores of sun. Please make my entire work obstacle free, forever.
Accordingly, the use of this mantra evokes success in all endeavors, projects etc. By removing all obstacles and bringing lightness, wisdom, humor to all situations.
Siddhi Vinayak Lord Ganesha Mantra.
Om Namo Siddhi Vinayakaya Sarva Kaarya Kartrey Sarva Vignha Prashamnay Sarvarjaya Vashyakarnaya Sarvajan Sarvastree Purush Aakarshanaya Shreeng Om Swaha.
In this sense Siddhi refers to the attainment of spiritual perfection, or enlightenment. Vinayak, as above, means ‘the lord of’. So this mantra is an invocation of the blessings of lord Ganesha as the bestower of the supreme awakening.
Thus, devotees chant this mantra to accelerate the spiritual journey towards the ultimate goal.
Ganesha Moola Mantra
Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varad Sarvajan janmay Vashamanaye Swaha Tatpurushaye Vidmahe Vakratundaye Dhimahi Tanno Danti Prachodyat Om Shantih Shantih Shanthi
Another mantra containing many Ganesha bija mantras. Generally, this mantra infuses the energy field of the practitioner with the sublime aura of Ganapati. Thus, it brings the blessings of good luck, optimism, enthusiasm and success.
Importantly, sing and chant this mantra out loud in praise to the lord Ganesha.
For inspiration check out this elaborate Puja complete with various Lord Ganesha Mantras.
Thanks to Times Music for the video.
The Names of Lord Ganesha
Ganesha has many names by which he is known, each name honors a specific quality and is used to invoke that particular quality or aspect
Om Ganadhyakhsaya Namah
Meaning : Ganadhyaksay – Gana means ‘a group’ and Adhyaksh means ‘the leader of a group’.
Benefit : This Lord Ganesha mantra can be used to evoke wellbeing and protection for the entire team, group, community.
Om Gajananaya Namah
Meaning : Gajanan here means One who carries the elephant head. In Sanskrit, gaj means elephant..
Benefit : Inspires the humility of Ganapathi.
Om Vignanaashnay Namah
Meaning : Ganpati is also worshiped to remove obstacles from one’s life. Here vigna means obstacles and nashnay means One who removes obstacles.
Benefit : Life has many challenges, when obstacles arrise, call upon the elephant headed one with this Lord Ganesha mantra.
Om Lambodaraya Namah
Meaning : Lambodar refers to him as a God who has a big belly.
Benefit : The big belly represents a wealth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. An abundance of prosperity and joy that come from within.
Om Sumukhaya Namah
Meaning : Sumukh means ‘One with a pleasing face’. Lord Ganesha’s inner peace, purity and contentment shine through his face and bless others.
Benefit : Evokes the knowledge and wisdom beyond the opposites of good and bad, right and wrong. Thus one remains peaceful in all situations.
Om Gajkarnikaya Namah
Meaning : Gaj means Elephant and Karnikay means ears. With the elephant’s head and elephant ears, Ganesh is able to listen to all knowledge, wisdom, truth.
Benefit : Hear the good in everything. Through the optimism of Lord Ganesha, perceive only truth, even in the face of apparent negativity.
Om Vikataya Namah
Meaning : Vikat means difficult.
Benefit : Evoke Lord Ganesha through this mantra in times of challenge. Ask him to remind you that regardless of the situation, this life is about spiritual truth,
Om Vinayakaya Namah
Meaning : ‘Vinayaka’ is the name of Ganesha in the golden age. Vinayaka means ‘something under control’ and also means ‘the Lord of resolving problems’.
Benefit : Realizing this mantra brings a ‘golden age’ to ones life. Wanna be the boss? This Lord Ganesha Mantra is for you!
Takeaway, Conclusions, Final Advice
There are many ways to worship, and in the end what matters is what works for you. Certainly, your attitude creates the aptitude! At the same time, mantras are a time tested tool for harmonizing and integrating the wiley aspects of mind.
When practicing a mantra, don’t just repeat the words as if they were a magical formula. Instead, meet the sounds of the mantra (internal or external) with presence. Thus contemplating their qualities and feeling their vibrations in your body.
Have Fun! Especially with Lord Ganesha, you are invited if not required to enjoy your practice! Otherwise it would hardly be devotion…