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Sri Mahaganapati, the primordial puruSha known as brahmaNaspati, created four kinds of

universe and initiated Mahadeva, Mahavishnu and Brahma with fourteen gANapatya
Mahavidyas. The mantra of Mahaganapati, chief among these, is considered to be a
mahAvidyA because of the following five reasons:
1. mahAgaNapati mantra is perfected before every other vidyA as it is the mUlAdhAra vidyA
which is the starting point of one's spiritual journey [agrapUjyatva].
2. upAsaka of every other deity has to worship mahAgaNapati to get rid of obstacles. Without
the grace of mahAgaNapati, upAsana is filled with obstacles [vighnAdhipatitva].
3. The mantra of mahAgaNapati originates from swAnanda loka, the abode of
mahAgaNapati, which is indicative of the fruit of reciting the mantra swAtmAnanda bliss
of the self [swAnandalokasthatva].
4. mahAgaNapati mantra is the essence of the four great mahAvAkyas each of the four
parts of the mahAmantra representing a mahAvAkya [mahAvAkyaswarUpatva].
5. mahAgaNapati is the Lord of the two shaktis siddhi and buddhi, who represent bhoga
and mokSha or Bhakti and jnAna. Thus, an upAsaka of mahAgaNapati mantra is blessed with
both [siddhibuddhipatitva].
Sri mahAgaNapati assumed the form of gaNaka and initiated Sri Shiva into the royal path of
gAnApatya. In satya yuga, 1000 gANapatya tantras were revealed by Mahadeva to Vishnu
and Shiva. These were condensed by Shiva in the age of Kali into eleven gANapatya Tantras:
gaNesha yAmala, siddhi yAmala, buddhi yAmala, siddhIshwara tantra, siddhisAra tantra,
buddhisAraswata tantra, gaNesha tantra, ucChiShTagaNesha tantra, vakratuNDa tantra,
mahAgaNapati tantra and DhuNDhi tantra.
The letter `ga' represents saguNa Brahman and `Na' nirguNa Brahman. The primordial Lord
who appears in both these forms is called `gaNapati'. As he is the Lord of pancha brahmas
[Brahma, viShNu, rudra, maheshavara and sadAshiva], he is referred to as brahmaNaspati.
The primordial Lord mahAgaNapati is present in his own universe, situated beyond other
universes, called swAnanda loka. The imperceivable mAya of the Lord is present in the form
of the shaktis, siddhi and buddhi. By the power of one's upAsana when chitta shuddhi [purity
of the mind] is attained, siddhi and buddhi dissolve in the Lord and the resplendent form of
mahAgaNapati shines brilliantly in one's heart as one's own self. The world without names
and forms which is the residence of brahmaNaspati is called swAnandaloka [the universe
of the bliss of the self]. brahmaNaspati is worshipped by uttering the single lettered mantra
revealed in atharvashIrShopanishad. gaNaka is the Rshi for this mahAmantra and Chandas is
gAyatrI. The mantra should be recited after displaying the fourteen gaNesha mudras: danta,
pAsha, ankusha, vighna, parashu, modaka, varada, abhaya, chakra, gadA, padma, chApa,
laDDuka and bIjApUra.

From ekArNa gaNesha emanated 51 forms of the Lord representing the letters of the Sanskrit
alphabet [mAtrkA-s]: vinAyaka, shivottama, vighnakrt, vighnahartA, gaNapa, ekadanta,
dwidanta, gajavaktra, niraMjana, kapardI, dIrghajihva, shankukarNa, vrShadhwaja,
gaNanAyaka, gajendra, shUrpakarNa, trinetra, lambodara, mahAnanda, chaturmUrti,
sadAshiva, Amoda, durmukha, sumukha, pramoda, ekapAda, dwijihva, shUra, vIra,
ShaNmukha, varada, vAmadeva, vakratuNDa, dwirada, shrIsha, kAmAndha, matta, vimatta,
chanchala, jaTI, muNDI, khaDgI, vareNya, vRShaketana, bhaktapriya, gaNesha,
meghanAda, vyApI and gaNeshwara.
The great Lord brahmaNaspati propitiated by the one lettered mantra is also called
swAnandesha and from him originate four mUrti-s: gaNeshwara, gaNakrIDa, gaNanAtha and
gaNAdhipa. Also, there are eight avatara-s of swAnandesha: vakratuNDa, ekadanta,
mahodara, gajAnana, lambodara, vikaTa, vighnesha and dhUmravarNaka. From these mUrtis, 100 forms of gaNesha originate resulting in 108 avatAras of swAnandesha.
gaNeshwara is always said to be immersed in yoganidrA. gaNakrIDa represents the life force
of swAnandesha and the bliss aspect of gaNesha. gaNanAtha represents the formless
[nirguNa] aspect of swAnandesha and gaNAdhipa, his saguNa [with attributes] form.
There are sixteen avatAra-s of gaNeshwara: siddhi-buddhipati, DhuNDhi, parAsharasuta,
kashyapasuta, mayUresha, jnAnesha, panchakanyesha, panchadevavarapradesha, omkAresha,
yogesha, kapila, vedanAyaka, sankaShTahAraka, dUrvA gaNesha, sindUra gaNesha and
varada gaNesha. hiraNyagarbha, pashwesha, varada gaNesha, virAT-pati, puShThIshwara,
mantrapati, jnAnesha, daityanAshaka, skandAgraja, vighnahartA, tattvesha, shaktinAyaka,
mUshakesha, shaktisuta, shrIshavarada, shrIshaktivarada, prabhApati, ekAkshara, sUryarUpI,
sUryaputraka, raktesha, shwetArka gaNesha, shUrpakarNa, chaturbhuja, lakShmIshwara,
viShNurUpI, viShNvIsha, dharaNIdhara, dhUmravarNa, shambhurUpI, maheshavarada,
kAla, pArvatIgaNanAyaka these are the thirty-two avatAra-s of gaNakrIDa.
The sixteen avatAra-s of gaNanAtha are: shwetArka gaNesha, shamI gaNesha, gavya
gaNesha, mandAra gaNesha, sumangala gaNesha, gajadanta, shoNabhadra, malaja gaNesha,
kaTankaTa gaNesha, avimukta gaNesha, yakSha gaNesha, haridrA gaNesha, chandana
gaNesha, sudhA gaNesha, lakSheshwara and lAbheshwara.
sahasravadana gaNesha, bIja gaNesha, trimukha gaNesha, ShaNmukha gaNesha, panchAsya
gaNesha, sumukha, durgA gaNesha, kalpaka gaNesha, durmukha, kukShi gaNesha, bAla
gaNesha, nidhida gaNesha, mahAgaNapati, aghora gaNesha, shAradesha guNesha, bhUtIsha,
nRtta gaNesha, kRShNa gaNesha, lakShmI gaNesha, bhUmipati gaNesha, AshApUraka
gaNesha, pAshapANi gaNesha, dhUmaketu, vahni gaNesha, vAyu gaNesha, vyoma gaNesha,
AjnA gaNesha, jyeShTharAja, satya gaNesha, kShipraprasAda, (a)bhayaprada gaNesha,
simhavaktra gaNesha, chaturAnana gaNesha, vrddha gaNesha and taruNa gaNesha these
are the thirty-six avatAras
of gaNAdhipa.

There are also 32 forms of gaNapati known as the anga mUrtis of swAnandesha: bAla
gaNesha, taruNa gaNesha, bhakta gaNesha, vIra gaNesha, shakti gaNesha, dwija gaNesha,,
siddhi gaNesha, ucchiShTa gaNesha, vighna gaNesha, kShipra gaNesha, heramba gaNesha,
lakShmI gaNesha, mahA gaNesha, vijaya gaNesha, nrtya gaNesha, Urdhwa gaNesha,
ekAkShara gaNesha, vara gaNesha, tryakShara gaNesha, haridrA gaNesha, ekadanta, srShTi
gaNesha, uddaNDa gaNesha, RNamochana gaNesha, DhuNDhi gaNesha, dwimukha
gaNesha, trimukha gaNesha, yoga gaNesha, durgA gaNesha and sankaTahara gaNesha.
Each of these forms of gaNesha have different mUla mantras, veda mantras, gAyatri-s,
yantras and AvaraNa krama-s. There is a particular fruit associated with the worship of each
of these forms. These 112 mUrtis of mahAgaNesha are worshipped with their mUla mantras
in the fifth AvaraNa of Srichakra [or in gaNesha panchAvaraNI yantra] along with gaNesha
gurumaNDala, the four gaNesha yugamUrtis, and the five gaNesha AmnAyas. This worship
of 116 mUrtis of brahmaNaspati is called mahA yAga in the vainAyaka tantra. Remembering
these mUrtis of Bhagavan mahAgaNesha grants one the merit of visiting every tIrtha and
kShetra on earth [gaNesha yAmala, 8-96]
kandarpAnantakAntam pRthutarajaTharam pItavastrottarIyam
vINAchakrAkShamAlA trishikhashukadhanuHpustakeShUn dadhAnam |
aShTabhirbAhupadmaiH shashadharamakuTam kIravAham trinetram
dhyAye vetaNDatuNDam marakatamaNibham bhImachaNDIgaNesham ||