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Published by vlaxmanan
On the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations this year (which commenced 9/8/2013), I have discussed here the meaning of the words in this well-known sloka, which includes two interesting play on words.
On the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations this year (which commenced 9/8/2013), I have discussed here the meaning of the words in this well-known sloka, which includes two interesting play on words.

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Published by: vlaxmanan on Sep 09, 2013
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Ganesha Display at the Canton Hindu Temple, Michigan 9/8/2013
अगजानन पारम्गजाननम्अहनशम् 
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This well-known sloka (verse), in praise of Ganesha, has an interesting play of words. Those two words can be confounding. As we know, Ganesha is alsocalled Gajanana (or Gajaanana
, where extra “a” is used to denote the long
vowel in the second half of the name). This is derived from Gaja = elephant and aanana = face. But, the verse starts out with Agajaanana, which is rathersurprising at first sight.Ganesha procession at Canton Hindu Temple, MI on 9/8/2013 (Sep 8).Also, Gan
esha is referred to as “E
, which is derived from eka = oneand danta = tooth and so He is
when the word is used to denote theobject of our worship (objective case of the noun Ekadanta). Unfortunately,the same is also often written as
 एरदं तं
and this is the source of the confusion.The elephant has two tusks, or teeth, but Ganesha with an elephant face only
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has one tooth or tusk. That is how he is usually portrayed. The second lineseems to start with the word "Ankedamtam"
अने रदं तं 
intentionally written toconfuse instead of the correct form "Anekadam tam" (
अने रदं
Instead, manythink this is aneka + dantam
अने रदतं
which means many (aneka) teeth(danta). One must learn how to pronounce the dot (called anuswaara) on thetop of the consonant and it is better to avoid the dot to avoid the confusion of 
the “n” and the “m” sounds creates by the use of the dot.
Why is Ganesha called Ekadanta?As the story goes, when Vyasa wanted to write the Mahabharata, he wantedsomeone to act as his scribe (one who writes down the verses) while hedictated the verses, since the Mahabharata was a very long epic and Vyasa didnot want to lose his train of thought. So, he asked Ganesha to be his scribe. Theentire Bhagavad Gita is also a part of the Mahabharata since the Gita waspreached at the start of this great war.Ganesha agreed to be Vyasa's scribe on one condition. He said Vyasa must dictate continuously and cannot stop. Vyasa cleverly said that Ganesha shouldcontinue writing and anticipate his thoughts if he stopped dictating. Ganeshasmiled, broke off one of His tusks and used it as the "pen" to write as Vyasadictated. Thus, He became 'eka danta' or one with a single tusk (or tooth).So, many people tend to confuse the first word of the second line read it asanekadantam (many teeth) instead of the correct way which is anekadam tamwhich means to Him (tam), the giver of many boons (anekadam) to Hisdevotees. The second line says that the devotee is directing his/her worship(upasamahe) to Him who has one tooth and is the giver of many boons.Now, what is agajaanana? This is the compounding of agajaa + aanana. As weknow aanana means face. Agajaa is one of the names of Paarvati, the mother of Ganesha since She is considered to the daughter of the king of the Himalayas.She was reborn as Parvati, after She self-immolated by jumping into the agni

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