As you all know, Hinduism has a number of gods and goddesses. One such god is Ganesha. He is also called as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar etc.
Normally, it is the practice that he is invoked and worshipped before starting any puja or work. It is considered that Ganesha will remove all obstacles in any good work that we do. Therefore he is called as Vigneswara, Vignaraja etc.
So, before we go out on a journey or start some good work, we pray to Ganesha for removal of obstacles. Students, for example, pray to him before going for the examination to retain good memory and getting the requisite confidence.
Ganesha Pancharatnam is a Shloka composed by Sri Adi Shankara, one of the great saints of Hinduism on Lord Ganesha.
The meaning of this shloka clearly explains the qualities and nature of Lord Ganesha along with the benefits of praying him.
Pancharatnam means five jewels. Adi Shankara had praised the God Ganesha by presenting these five stanzas as five jewels, hence the name Ganesha Pancharatnam.
Please listen to my YouTube Channel in the following link.
Mahishasuramardini stotram is based on Devi Mahatmiyam in which Mother Goddess takes the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Sarasvati to slay the demonical forces in the form of Madhu, Kaitabha, Mahishasura, Sumbha and Nisumbha.
This stotram is composed by Adi Sankara and is said to have been popularised by one Ramakrishna Kavi about whom no details are available.
I have also brought about an audio book titled ‘A few hymns on Devi’ which you may like to hear. It is available with leading audio book-sellers like Google’s play books.
This hymn is in Tamil language and is from Thiruvasagam.
Thiruvasagam which means ‘the sacred utterance’ is a volume of Tamil hymns composed by Manikkavasagar, the ninth century shaivite bhakti saint of Tamil Nadu. It contains 51 compositions and is a part of Tirumurai, the sacred anthology of the Tamil philosophy of Shaiva Siddhantha.
Manikkavasagar was the Prime Minister of the then Pandya king of Madurai. But he renounced his post in search of divinity. The king sent him with money to buy 10000 horses, but on the way, he was taken to divinity by the vision of Lord Siva. He spent the entire money in building a temple for Lord Shiva at a place called Thiruperunturai. The temple is considered as an architectural marvel among Hindu temples. From that time onwards, he wandered to various temples and composed devoted hymns on Lord Shiva.
The first chapter of Thiruvasagam is known as Sivapuranam.
Kandar Sashti Kavacham
According to the teachings of the Vedas, there is one and only one God who is referred to as ‘Brahman’. It is said that by His mere will, He manifests Himself as this universe. Hence, creation, preservation and diissolution of this world are the three aspects of God. These three basic aspects of God are represented by the Trinity called as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. According to mythology, Karthikeya called as Murugan and also as Kandan in Tamil, is the second son of Lord Shiva. He becomes the commander-in-chief of the army of the devas and annihilates the demon Surapadman on a Sashti day which is the sixth day of a lunar phase. In this process he is gifted with a sacred spear called as Vel by his mother Goddess Parvathy.
The Kanda sashti kavacham is a hymn composed by Devarayan Swamigal in praise of Lord Murugan. It is a very popular hymn of the devotees in Tamil nadu.
Kavacham means a shield. The name of Lord Murugan, his Vel and Sashti the day of his victory over the evil forces represented by the Demon Surapadman are the armour which the devotees of Murugan wear as Kanda Sashti Kavacham, the shield for welfare, happiness and prosperity.
This is one of those many hymns wherein Adi Sankara summarises the quintessence of Advaita Vedantha. Advaita means nondualism or monism. The doctrine believes in the unity or oneness of existence.
In this hymn, the saint briefly explains that Brahman is superior to everything, the blemishless and eternal consciousness, unbounded and non-comprehensible. This world is the superimposed creation of this reality and is a delusion which is the byproduct of ignorance. This superimposed creation will vanish by realisation of the Self.
How to attain this self-realisation. The Saint says that for this purpose one should engage in deep intellectual enquiry and unhindered contemplation of one’s own self as
परं ब्रह्म नित्यं तदेवाहमस्मि ॥