Life is full of good fortunes and misfortunes. When misfortunes befall on us, it does not help to rue. What we instead need to do is have courage and fight against such misfortunes and overcome hurdles that come our way. The need to fight is what brings about bravery in us. When we think of the harshness and heat of the sun, we also think of ‘chaya’ or shade. ‘Vigna eswaran’, or the Lord of obstacles, is also the ‘vigna nivarthakan’, or the remover of obstacles. Much the same way, Vishnu is both ‘bhaya krutha’ and ‘bhaya naasnanan’.

God has blessed us with intelligence to find a way around hurdles. When we start to use our intelligence to overcome hurdles, we also seek His blessing. Intelligence that is blessed cannot fail.

Why do we have festivals and pujas like Vinayaka Chathurthi? It is to pray, not just as individuals, but as a family or group. When we meet for such purposes, it is ‘satsang’. An important day when we do such a a puja is the chathurthi that follows the full moon in the Tamil month of Avani. That is the day set aside for worshipping Vigneswarar in a special way.

In the evening, we should also say:

'Simhaha prasenam avatheeth, simho jaamvavatha hathaha;
Sukumaraka maa totheeh, thava hi eshaha syamanthakaha'

That we should recite this slokam on Vinayaka chathurthi day is mentioned in vratha Choodamani Kalpam. This appears in the context of the legend of Bhagvan Sri Krishna himself overcoming several hurdles and acquiring a great gem called syamanthaka-mani. Those who can should actually ask a knowledgeable person to read this legend from vratha Choodamani.

May we all on this auspicious day worship Vinayakar, the Remover of all hurdles, and seek wisdom and courage.

Hara Hara Sankara, Jaya Jaya Sankara.

(Excerpts from a speech delivered by Kanchi Mahaswamigal, circa 1950, on the eve of Ganesh Chathurthi.)