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Thread: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

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    Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    I know that Saivism is the sect of Hinduism that believes that Lord Shiva is the Supreme, but I am getting two distinct views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the other Gods.

    Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami wrote the following in Dancing with Siva:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dancing with Siva
    Ganesha, Karttikeya [Murugan], Indra, Agni and all the 330 million Gods of Hinduism are beings just as we are, created by Lord Siva and destined to enjoy union with Him....Karttikeya, Ganesha and all the Gods, devas and asuras worship Siva
    From this it seems like Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan are lower than Shiva and act as servants to Him. Such a view reminds me of how ISKCON views all other Gods apart from Vishnu. One ISKCON devotee asked me why I worshipped Durga and didn't worship the Supreme Lord.

    However, the book Hinduism for Students by Gomathi Thiruvasagam, a Malaysian Saivite, states the following:

    In general, a Saivite believes that there is only one God Siva who takes many forms such as Siva Linga, Ardhanareeswara, Siva Nataraja, Muruga, Ganesa and Goddess Sakti.

    Next we worship Lord Ganesha. He is just another form of the formless God Siva and traditionally he is considered to be the power of Siva who removes all obstacles in the various activities of our life.
    So we have two distinct and contrary views here.

    1. Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the other Gods are lower in rank than Lord Shiva and assist Him like servants.

    2. Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the other Gods are different forms of God (Shiva).

    The second view seems to be closer to what most non-sectarian Hindus believe (that all Gods are different forms of God).

    However, which view is correct? Which view is more in line with Scripture?

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Namaste.

    Shaivites are in general Advaitins. This means there is no difference between you, me and Shiva, according to Advaita. This also means that there is no difference between Shiva, Murugan and Ganesha.

    Dvaita, on the other hand, makes it crystal clear that Sri Hari is "Sarvottama". Lord Vishnu is the Supreme and everyone else including Mahalakshmi is subservient to Lord Vishnu.

    I am not saying one school is logically better than another, I am merely telling you the difference in the philosophies. I am myself a Dvaitin and my love is for Sri Krishna, although I like Shiva too since he is a great Vaishnav.

    The differences in what the Shaivites you are quoting comes about because they (the authors) are not following Advaita philosophy strictly and are, rather, swayed by their personal preference to Shiva. Again nothing wrong in this approach, since Hinduism makes it clear that salutations to any deity will go towards Lord Vishnu (Sarvadevanamaskaarah Keshavam Pratigachhati).

  3. #3

    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Namaste Scott,

    I'm surprised this thread doesn't have more responses. My personal view is sort of a combination of the two views you presented: Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan are separate from Lord Shiva, but they are not lower in any rank from Him. I would assume that the majority of Hindus (at least non-sectarian ones) would believe either the second view you present or my view.

    It makes sense that the Saiva Siddhanta Church holds the first view that you present, since they are Saivite and believe that Lord Shiva is supreme above all else.

    There is no "correct" view. You can believe in any of the three views presented or even another one. However, I would be interested to see which views are more in line with scriptures.

    Jai Sri Krishna

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Ganesha and Murugan are not lower than Shiva, but they take a role as the sons of Shiva. In the same way, hanuman is part of Shiva himself and not lower than Vishnu, but in the lila Hanuman takes the role of the servant of Rama. But hanuman is also worshipped as the supreme god by devotees.

    In the ganapathi atharvashirsha Ganesha is spoken towards with the words: "you are Brahma, you are Vishnu, you are Rudra, you are Indra, you are Agni, you are Vayu, you are Surya and you are Chandra." http://www.panditjiusa.com/ganapati_atharvashirsha.htm
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 08 November 2010 at 04:32 AM.

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Vannakkam: Yes, there are many variations on this. I can start from the "All same, all same" vedanta view I have heard from elderly Indians here who know little English. It sums up Vedanta nicely. That's quite common.

    But personally (not surprisingly for those who know me)I see them (Ganesha and Murugan) as separate. I like the way our friend Nayasurya describes how Lord Siva splits off pieces of Himself only to have them eventually come back. Ganesha and Murugan have been 'split off' and are worshiped as separate entities within Saiva Siddhanta and other Saiva schools. If this were not the case, then why have these magnificent structures dedicated to Murugan especially? Even within temple architecture you see it. The shrines are separated, not like in the Smarta tradition where Gods are all standing side by side. This distinguishes the shakti, or darshan at each shrine. If you walk around and 'feel' you can usually feel the differences.

    Ganesha is in charge of the world. He is like Santa Claus .. friendly, easy to reach, benevolent, always there, and he sits on the muladhara chakra. You see him all over these days. One way to understand him is to read His names and the transliterations.

    Murugan, on the other hand is deeper. He is the God of Yoga, and I mean Patanjali style Yoga. His abode is the throat chakra. Usually portrayed as a sannyasin himself, He works with souls on a much deeper level than Ganesha, to guide them in an inner process towards the Self. Contacting Murugan from the inside is harder. His shakti is far more intense, and scintillating, whereas Ganesha is soft and gentle. You don't see the South Indian Saivites doing penance to Ganesha.

    All this is the philosophy of the Path, not the end of the Path.

    Of course there are a multitude of beliefs, all valid for the individuals who believe them.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    That's quite interesting. In south India another son of Shiva is worshipped, known as hariharaputra, shasta or ayyappa. In north India this deity is unknown. Can you tell something about the significance of Shasta in Shaivism?

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Vannakkam Sahasranama:

    I'm afraid I know nothing of Ayyappan, for this is not part of my personal tradition. I do know Ayyappan devotees tend to be hard core, walking miles and miles across South India to pilgrimage at Sabrimala. There are some temples here and there also. I guess you're just gonna have to do some research on the net.

    Aum Namasivaya

  8. #8

    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Shaivism holds Lord Shiva as the Supreme. In Ganapatya, Lord Ganesha is the Supreme.

    Lord Ganesha is probably the most popular and widely venerated Hindu deity. All Hindu sects worship Lord Ganesha. Even hardcore Vaishnavas and Shaktas. Some Buddhists worship Ganesha as well.

    His fondness seems to be prevalent everywhere. For some reason so many are attracted to Him. Even Christians and Muslims, although instead direct their hatred of course.

    Common thing about non-Hindus I've noticed when Hinduism is talked about. "Ganesh! hehehehe".

    No, I don't worship a friggin' elephant. Other deities are anthromorphic. Does that mean I worship humans?

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    Re: Views on Lord Ganesha, Lord Murugan and the Devas

    Hi Scott,
    Like some mentioned in their answers, Lord Ganesha and other gods are simply different manifestations of Supreme Lord Shiva. They are parts of the greatest Lord himself. So they are different yet still part of the Lord. You can't call them servants in true sense though they are lower in rank as they were created for his own pleasure and to attend to his needs and for the benefit of mankind. All demigods and gods pray to only Supreme Lord Shiva as they were born from Him and belong to Him
    ॐ महेश्वराय नमः

    || Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraya ||

    Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambo Shankara

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