The one Absolute, called Brahman by the Vedas, transcends our faculties. Yet it comes within our grasp and comprehensive in any form, shape and characteristic that we choose to invest it with. So God is worshipped in any form which a devotee wishes to, and he is considered to be still within the Hindu fold. This is because of the assurance held out by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita.
``I reach out unto them in the manner and form in which they adore me and surrender unto me''.
Adi Sankara who has composed devotional songs of great beauty, packed at the same time with a true philosophical perspective, praising all the well-known forms of God worshipped by the Hindus, has sung five ``verse-gems'' in adoration of Lord Ganesa.
According to the Puranas, Ganesha - the Lord of the Ganas - the attendants on Siva - is a unique manifestation of Brahman. His supremacy is clear from the fact that even the Trinity, the three primal manifestations of the Absolute, viz., Siva, Visnu and Brahma, are hampered in their work if they do not first pay homage to Ganesa. It is from Him that all other Gods derive power to bless and grant boons to devotees.
In glee He keeps in His hand the ``modaka'' (a sweet edible preparation that is aptly named modaka the delighter). He is ever the means to liberation, moksa. He wears, as an ornament , the digit moon (on His forehead). He is the protector of those who shine (in the mirthful life of pleasures of the world). He is the `Lordless unique Lord'. He destroyed the `Elephant-Demon', and He destroys quickly the evils (sufferings, or inauspicious happening) of those who bow to Him. That `Vinayaka', I adore.
I constantly resort to that great (Supreme) Lord who terrifies those who do not bow to Him, or who are other than submissive i.e., He is a terror to those who defy Him. The Lord is shining like the rising sun. Both gods and demons, both good and evil spirits, adore Him. The Lord dispels the grave dangers that beset His devotees. i.e., He is the Lord of Gods, te Lord of Wealth, the Lord of Elephants (Himself having the head of an elephant) and Lord of Siva Ganas. He is greater than the great, transcending the transcendental.
I prostrate in reverence before the Lord, the producer of good to the entire world (or all the worlds). He destroyed the demoniacal elephant (the demon who took the form of an elephant and challenged the Lord). The Lord who is sought (by all) has a belly that is other than small. (The Lord Ganesa is represented as pot-bellied). His face is the face of a grand (majestic) elephant. He grants bliss and glory (to the devotees). He makes pure te mind of those who bow to Him. He is the effulgent Lord.
I seek (resort to) that `Ancient Elephant' God who wipes out the afflictions of the poor. That Lord is the import of the scripture. He is the elder son of the Siva, the destroyer of the demons who had fortified themselves in three metallic Cities. He shattered the pride of the enemies of Gods (i.e., He destroyed the power of the demons). The Lord is terrible as the destroyer of the universe. He is the very adornment of Dhanaòjaya and others. (That is, Arjuna and other heroes achieved their greatness because of their devotion to Gaïeùa). The Elephant-Lord's temples are covered with pouring ichor (that is, the water of rut.)
I always think of only that Supreme Lord with a single tusk, whose enchanting tusk is possessed of great lustre. He is the son of Siva, the destroyer of endless (i.e., He is eternal). He removes all impediments. He is always immanent in the hearts of Yogins. (Such is Geïeùa).
He (the devotee) who everyday, at dawn, recites with reverence this `Five Gem' song in praise of Gaïeùa meditating upon Gaïeùvara in his heart, achieves freedom from physical illness, freedom from all evils (defects or sins) and secures wholesome learning, good progeny and a peaceful life and he wins even the eightfold super-human powers era long.