IntroductionGanapati is the 'Brain' of us. This was my explanation for the stotra starting 'Suklam Bhartram Vishnum'.
In this blog I would explain the same with respect to the popular Rg Veda mantra that is recited before every vedic ritual as prayer to Vinayaga.
Rg Veda Mandala 2 Hymn 23.01
gaNAnAM tvA gaNapatiM havAmahe kaviM kavInAmupamashravastamam
jyeSTharAjaM brahmaNAM brahmaNas pata A naH SRNvannUtibhiH sIda sAdanam
- Rg Veda Mandala 2 Hymn 23.01
gaNAnAm - For the attendants
tvA - you, thou
gaNapatiM - Friend, Philosopher, Guide of those
havAmahe - Invoke you to grant / Call upon u to grant
The friend and guide of your attendants, Call upon you to grant
kaviM - Intelligence, Wisdom
kavInAm - of the Intelligent, of the Wise ones
kaviM kavInAm - Intelligence (Wisdowm) of the Intelligent (Wise Ones)
The wisdom of the wise ones
upama - highest
zravas - hearing
tamam - the most, ascending, pinnacle
zravastamam - the pinnacles of the faculty of hearing
The highest pinnacle of hearing
The friend and guide of your attendants, Invoke you to grant the wisdom of the wise ones, the highest of pinnacles of hearing faculty
jyeSTha rAjaM - the first ruler
brahmaNAM - that evolved
The first ruler that evolved
brahmaNaspata A nah - the one that leads/guides further evolution to us
The lead/guide to further evolution to us
zrnvann - having heard
UtibhiH - weaved/sewed
cIda - thoughts
sAdanam - seat
Having heard, Seat of weaved/sewed thoughts (or) Having heard the seat that weaves thoughts
The friend and guide of your attendants, Call on you to grant the wisdom of the wise ones, highest of pinnacles of hearing. The first ruler that evolved, the one that leads/guides our further evolution, having heard, the seat that weaves thoughts.
Ganapati - The Brain
We call upon the brain to grant us the Wisdom of the Wise ones, highest of the pinnacles of hearing. The pinnacle of hearing is learning. Highest of the pinnacles of hearing is the highest of learning. So here we call upon our brain to bestow us with highest of learning.
Brain is the ruler that evolved to rule over all the attendant organs of our body. It is the 'first' ruler or the predecessor to all the rulers of the world. It is not just the one that evolved, but also the one that guides/leads further our evolution. So it is uniquely placed. It is the one that evolves others and also the one that is evolved.
Having heard (having learnt), it is the seat of thoughts, where our thoughts are weaved.
Various other Interpretations
In general Upama Shravastamam is interpreted as pinnacle of 'fame'. Zrava is extended from hearing to praise and then extended from that praise to make it as 'fame'.
Similarly Jyesta Rajam' is interpreted as foremost amongst the foremost. Rajam is interpreted as 'foremost' (in the sense rulers are foremost).
"Brahmanam Brahmanaspata" is interpreted as Lord of the Vedas. Vedas are those that evolved (Brahamanaspata) and Brahmanam is interpreted as Lord BrAhman. BrAhman actually means evolution. Atman when it decided to evolve became BrAhman (evolution). Thus that Supreme Soul manifests as evolution.
"Utibhih Sida Sadanam" is interpreted as "Protect us by seating here". Uti means weaving, sewing and also protecting (weaving gives protection). 'Cida' is thoughts. Often it is ignored or taken as 'sIda' and interpreted as gracious, happily.
The internal Ganapati (Brain)
Thus the conventional meaning becomes "We invite you, the lord of all groups, wise amongst the wise, lord of all Vedas, foremost amongst foremost, whose fame is excellent, be seated and protect us", one that is applied to an external Ganapati.
The real meaning in my view is "The friend and guide of your attendants, Call on you to grant the wisdom of the wise ones, highest of pinnacles of hearing, the first ruler that evolved, the one that leads/guides our further evolution, having heard, the seat that weaves thoughts", one that is applied to the internal Ganapati our brain.
The supreme consciousness manifests in our heart and controls our brain, which evolves us and also evolves. That does not mean we need not worship/invoke an external Ganapati. We can and we should.
We should invoke that Supreme Consciousness that is present in the 'Lord Ganapati' to guide our brain and lead/guide us in all our actions.