Song of the Self

By John A. Grimes

Subjects: Asian Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791424407, 231 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791424391, 231 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents



Scheme of Transliteration

1 Introduction
From the Formless to Form
Mythmaker, Oathbreaker

2 In the Beginning . ..
Sri Girijatmaja of Lenyadri
The Search Begins
Sri Ganapati Atharvasirsa
Peace Invocation
The Eight-Syllabled Ganesa Mantra
The Ganesa Gayatri
Ganesa's Form
The Eight Names of Ganesa
The Results
Peace Chant
Translation of the Sri Ganapati Atharvasirsa

3 Naming is a Very Serious Business
Sri Mayuresvara of Morgaon
The Name Game
Names, Legends, Literature
108 Holy Names of Lord Ganesa

4 Fingers Pointing at the Moon
Sri Siddhi Vinayaka of Siddhatek
Map is Not Territory
Gajamukha (Elephant-Face)
Ekadanta (Single Tusk)
Vakratunda (Twisted Trunk)
Lambodara (Potbellied One)
Pasa (Noose)
Ankusa (Goad)
Surpakama (Large Ears)
Musaka (Mouse)
Modaka (Sweet)
Sindura/Rakta varna (Crimson/Red Color)
Other Attributes
Introduction to Jñanesvar's Jñanesvari
What is Ganesa? One Possible Answer

5 Songs That Ring, Songs That Roar
Sri Mahaganapati of Ranjangaon
Four Yuga Avataras of Ganesa
Asta Vinayaka Avatara
Asta Vinayaka Temples
Sri Mayuresvara of Morgaon
Sri Girijatmaja of Lenyadri
Sri Vighnesvara of Ojhar
Sri Siddhi Vinayaka of Siddhatek
Sri Cintamani of Theur
Sri Ballalesvara of Pali
Sri Varada Vinayaka of Mahad
Sri Mahaganapati of Ranjangaon
The One Clad in White; or, What You See Is What YouGet
This Song Is for You
Jyestaraja-Elder Brother (Variations on a Theme)
"Sri Mahaganesa Pañca Ratnam"

6 Who Am I?
Sri Cintamani of Theur
Tat Tvam Asi (That Thou Art)
Mahavakya (Great Saying)
Interpretation of Mahavakya

7 Worship of Ganapati (Puja)
Sri Vighnesvara of Ojha
How to Worship Ganapati
Minimum Requirements
Sodasopacara Puja

8 Lovers of the Beloved
Sri Ballalesvara of Pali

9 Who Is Ganapati/Ganesa?
Sri Varada Vinayaka of Mahad


Selected Bibliography


This book presents a wide range of information about Ganapati or Ganesh, the Hindu Lord of Beginnings, the Remover of Obstacles, the Keeper of the Threshold, and the Master of the Mind. He is elephant-headed, plump, and loveable, but who is he really?


Ganapati is the Hindu Lord of Beginnings, the Keeper of the Threshold, the Remover of Obstacles, Master of the Mind, Son of Siva, Elephant-headed, plump, and loveable. This book offers a wide range of information about Ganapati gathered from such diverse sources as hymns, poems, myths, shrines, practices, and theologies. It considers Ganapati's complexity: his transcendence of sectarian and territorial limits, his delayed but dramatic development into the religious pantheon, his paradoxical mythology, and his physical manifestation, an elephant's head on a human body.

Ganapati: Song of the Self fosters an understanding from within a tradition. It presents a positive interpretation of the material and encourages an inner quest for spiritual truth.

John A. Grimes is the author of A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy and Problems and Perspectives in Religious Discourse: Advaita Vedanta Implications, also published by SUNY Press. He has taught in universities in India, Canada, and the United States.