|| Jai Sadguru Dutta ||
In the Vedic tradition, worship of different aspects of the one Supreme Being
-The "Parama Purusha" or the "Parabrahman" is upheld rather than the different
forms themselves. Infact the thinking that the "atman" and the "paramatman" are
different is regarded as ignorance. "Ekam sath vipraah bahuDhaa vadhanthi" - the
wise know that the same truth is manifesting itself in different forms. "aham
bramhaasmi" is a realization; not just a dry philosophy. Such is the influence
of this advaitha philosophy that even the "dwaitha"s add the prefix
"vishwamBhara anthargatha" (the one within VishwamBhara - MahaVishnu) while
worshipping other gods. Just like the white light splits into its 7 constituent
colors when passed through a prism, the single supreme divine force is
manifesting itself in different forms and glory depending upon the purpose. The
world has only one sun. But the heat and light intensity, duration of days and
nights, seasons etc are different in different parts of the globe owing to
their different geographical locations.
The above preamble is necessary to understand the (bottomline) essence of
worship. Bharath's culture is purely based on the teachings of the Vedas.
Everyone follows this knowingly or unknowingly:
"gaNEsham gaNEshAh shivamithi cha shaivAshca vibuDhAh
ravim saurA viShNum praThama puruSham viShNu BhajakAh |
vadhanthyEkam shAkthAh jagadhudhayamoolAm paraShivAm
na jAnE kim thasmai nama ithi param bramha sakalam ||"
--- GanEsha mahimna sthOthram
[Summary: The same parabramhan is worshipped as "ganEsha" by GaaNapathyas, as
Shiva by "Shaivaites", as "Ravi" by Sauras, as "ViShNu" by VaiShNavaites and as
"Shakthi" by shAkthAs]
The "Panchayathana" form of worship has originated as the result of Nature
worship in the Vedas. The number 5 (pancha) here corresponds to the 5 important
elements of nature : "pancha Bhoota"s, ["panchami pancha bhoothEshee | pancha
sanKhyOpachaariNee ||" - Lalithaa sahasranaama] which are responsible for
creation, preservation (sustainence) and destruction: earth, water,fire, air
and space. They are actually called as "pancha bramha"s. Of these, the first is
the earth element - "prthvi tatwa" and the order given above conforms to the
order of evolution of the "pancha Bhoota"s. Shree Adi Shankara also has adhered
to the same principle in his "Saundarya Lahari" ["mahee moolaadhaarE kimapi
maNipoorE huthavaham swaaDhiShTanE...].
The aspect of the Parabramhan presiding over the earth element is
called as "ganapathy" [this is why on Ganesh chauthi, we worship
Idols of Ganesh made of clay]:
"thwam moolaadhaarE sThithOsi nithyam"
--- Ganesha atharva sheersha upanishad.
moolaadhaara [moola + ADhAra] chakra is the first of the 6 important chakras and
plays the role of balancing and sustanining the praNa. Kundalini resides there
and the practice of yoga starts from the mooladhar only.
In the Lalithaa sahasranaamam we find the verse:
"mahaa gaNEsha nirBhinna viGhna yantra praharShithaa"
There is an interesting story in the "LalithOpaaKhyaanam" of the "bramhaaDa
purANa" which clarifies the meaning of the above verse: When the Divine Mother
Lalitha Mahaa thripura Sundari waged war against the demon "Bhandaasur", Ambikaa
and dhanDanaatha (vArAhi) killed all the 300 sons of the demon. Then, the
demon's crooked minister Vishukra inscribed the "viGhna yantra" on a boulder and
performed vAmAchAra on the Mother's army. As a result of this, 8 types of
viGhnAs (obstacles) namely: Alasya, kArpaNya, dhainya, nidhra, klaibya,
vismrthi, pramAdha and thandra inhibited the progress of Mother's army. Then the
all powerfull divine Mother looked and smiled at "mahA kAmEshwara" who
understood Her order and assumed the form of "mahA gaNEshwara" with 10 hands,
elephant face and siDdha Lakshmi besides him. He immediately destroyed the
viGhna yantra and cheered up the army. This story clarifies to us that Lord
Ganapathy is the unified form of Shiva and Shivaa.
Hence it would be only wise to say that all pujas should begin only after
worshipping Lord Ganesha first:
"aavirBhootham cha srShtyaadau prkrthEh puruShaath param |
Evam Dhyaayathi yOnnithyam sa yOgee yOginaam varah ||"
--- Ganesha atharva sheersha upanishad.
The verse you have quoted:
ravir vinaayakashchaNDhii iisho viShNustu panchamaH .
anukrameNa puujyante vukrametu mahadbhayam .. (padma purANa)
is applicable to saura panchayathana wherein the Sun is regarded as the supreme
diety and hence worshipped in the middle. Similarly, there are Devi
Panchayathan, Vishnu panchayathan, shiva panchayathan and ganapathy
panchaayathan also. Even before any of these panchayathana pujas could be
commenced, we are required to worship Lord Ganesha in the name "vinayaka" as the
remover of all obstacles:
"vinaayakah karma aviGhna siDdhyarTham viniyOjithah"
--- Yaajnavalkya smrthi
I would like to draw your kind attention to another verse in the same Padma
PurANa from which you have quoted:
"naarchithOhi gaNaaDhyakShO yajnaadau yathsurOtthama |
thasmaadhwiGhnam samuthpannam thath krODhajamidham Khalu ||"
[if gaNaaDhyakSha - the chief of gaNas is not worshipped first (during yajnas
etc), then his gaNas will be highly annoyed and thus all kinds of obstacles will
The GaNEsha sooktha from the RgvEda states:
"na rthE thwath kriyathe kincha naarE mahaa markam"
We find many references in our epics and PurANas that uphold the first worship
to Lord Ganapathy. For specific details please read the "vratha kaTha" of Ganesh
chathurthi. The following shloka is also very famous:
"... vidhyaaramBhe vivaahE cha pravAse nirgamE thaThaa |
sangraame sarva kaaryEShu viGhnasthasya na jaayathE ||"
Leave alone panchaayathan puja, before commencing any work, one has to first
meditate on Lord Ganapathy.
The seeker of divinity has to face many obstacles ["shrEyaansi bahu viGhnaani"]
which are due to the sins committed in the past. Note that "viGhna" also means
sin. Hence to insulate us from the malefic effect of such sins and to be
successful in the undertaken endeavour, we must worship Ganapathy first:
"sarvEShaam api karmaNaam aadhau nirviGhna parisamaapthayE gaNapathi poojanam
--- Yaajnavalkya smrthi
[In "HaTa YOga", "GanEsha kriya" is first performed before proceeding with any
other practice. In this kriya, the saDhak stimulates the rectum (lower part of
anus) by inserting the left hand's middle finger and thus empties the bowel
without leaving any trace. Advanced saDhaks remove the entire intestine out
through the anal opening, wash it thoroughly with water and suck it back
entirely inside the body. This is followed by 600 pranayamas. GanEsh kriya is
said to be (as it is obvious !!!) highly beneficial in purifying the sadhak's
Also, observe the prayer offered at the end of this Ganapathy puja:
"viGhnaah vinaasham aayaanthu sarvE cha sura poojithaa |
nirviGhnEna ---- poojam sidDhirBhavanthu vinaayaka ||"
As a solid practical example for the first worship to be offered to Ganapathy,
one can witness that the present Jagadguru Shankaraachaarya at ShrngEri
Shaaradhaa peeTam, Shree Bharathee theerTha mahAswamigal first worships "rathna
garBha gaNapathi" and then commences the shiva panchaayathana pooja.
This is called "karmaanga ganapathi pooja". Here, Ganapathy is worshipped as a
demi god who is the chief of all kinds of obstacles. Later, during the main
panchayathan puja, the same lord is worshipped as a form of parabramha, capable
of bestowing salvation (moksha):
"twam Ananda mayah twam bramha mayah | twam sacchidaanandaa adwitheeyOsi.....|
twam bramhaah twam viShnuh twam rudrah twam indrah twam agnih twam vaayuh twam
sooryah twam chandramaah twam bramha BhoorBhuvassuvarOm ||"
- Ganesha atharva sheersha upanishad.
This concept of "bramha" is highly confusing for ameteurs. When everything is
bramha itself ("sarvam Khalvidam bramhaasi"), then where is the question of whom
to be worshipped first ?.
One might wonder as to how the all pervading, all powerful, omnipresent and
omniscient Parabramha can be reduced to the status of a demi god, as I said
above. The answer is in the analogy that even though there is a big vessel full
of milk, we make use of a small tumbler to serve it to a person. The milk as
such has no definite shape. It only takes the shape of it's container.
Giving a form to the formless and associating benevolent virtues to the
virtueless is highly beneficial in the initial stages of worship. It is a highly
commendalbe point that while in the "karmaanga ganapathy pooja", the lord is
worshipped in a definite form, in the panchaayathan puja, he is worshipped as
having no form at all [i.e., the "shONi Bhadra" stone represents Ganapathy].
Jagadguru Shree Adi Shankara, who popularised the panchayathana form of worship
has addressed Ganapathy as verily the Parabramhan:
"jagath kaaraNam kaaraNa jnAna roopam
surAdhim suKhAdim gaNEsham guNeSham |
jagadhwyaapinam vishwa vandhyam surEsham
parabramha roopam gaNEsham BhajEm ||"
"chanchalam hi manah krShaNah" - Since in this Kaliyuga, our minds and thoughts
are contaminated due to which "nirguNa" (formless) worship is not possible, we
should first worship Ganapathy as having form and then proceed towards formless
"upaasanaarTham Bhakthaanaam bramhaNo roopa kalpanaa"
Even in the Geetha, the Lord has preached thus:
"sarva BhoothEShu yEnaikam BhAvam avyayamIkShathE |
aviBhaktham viBhakthEShu thadh jnAnam sAthwikam matham ||"
Also recall the famous composition of Shree ANNammAchArya: "entha maathramu
evvaru kalachina antha mAthrame neevu"
I wish to conclude my lengthy reply with the famous "Uga-BhOga" composed by the
great saint-poet-musician Shree Purandhara dhaasa in Kannada language, which
beautifully explains the multi-faceted functioning by the same Parama Purusha:
"sathatha gaNanATha sidDhiya neeva kaaryadhali
mathi prEsisuvaLu pArvathi dhEviyu
mukuthi paThake manaveeva mahArudhra dhEva
Bhakuthi dhAyaki siri BhArathi dhEvi
yukuthi shAstragaLalli vanaja sanBhavanarasi
sathkarmagaLa naDesi sujnAna mathi itthu
gathiya pAlisuva namma pavamAnanu
chitthadali Ananda suKhavaneevaLu ramA
Bhakutha janaroDeya namma purandhara viTalanu
sathatha ivaroLuninthI krthiya naDesuvanu"
A million salutations to you all.
, "seeksha" <seeksha@h...> wrote:
> I am trying to put together a Shiva panchayatana puja procedure for
> my friend and ran in to a question. I looked at the Puja books (R.K
> Mutt, LIFCO etc) that have a laghu panchayatana puja text. The
> procedure there is to do dhyana aavaahana etc first to Ganapati and
> then Surya and so on. I also came across another panchayatana puja
> book published by Kanchi mutt that quotes,
> ravir vinaayakashchaNDhii iisho viShNustu panchamaH .
> anukrameNa puujyante vukrametu mahadbhayam .. (padma purANa)
> The author quotes this and assigns the krama as surya, ganapati,
> ambaa, shiva and viShNu. He also points that you could put ganapati
> first if there are pramaNas for such a procedure.
> Could any of the members who perform panchayatana puja and aware of
> the tradition please through some light?.
> Where can I find more pramaaNa-s for panchayatana puja ?.
> Could any one who have come across an authoritative book on
> Panchayatana puja, please share some information about the
> publisher/author ?