anapati is the Hindu deity from most ancient times for prosperity and for removing obstacles. As per historians Bhagwan Ganesha was worshipped from primaeval times. However the worship was popularised during Gupa period. Later, the popularity of this God enhanced manifold. Dnyaneshwari written by sant Dnyaneshwar in 8th century begins with the prayers to the concept of Ganesha.
ॐ नमोजी आद्या। वेद प्रतिपाद्या।।
जय जय स्वसंवेद्या। आत्मरूपा।।
देवा तूंचिगणेशु। सकलमती प्रकाशु।।
म्हणे निवृत्ती दासु। अवधारिजो जी।।
अकार चरण युगुल। उकार उदर विशाल।
मकर महामंडल। मस्तकाकारे।।
हे तिन्ही एकवटले। तेथे शब्दब्रम्ह कवळले।
ते मिया श्रीगुरुकृपा नमिले। आदिबीज।।
आता अभिनव वाग्विलासिनी।
जे चातुर्यार्थ कलाकामिनी।
ते श्री शारदा विश्वमोहिनी। नमिली मिया।।
This is in praise of Shri Ganesha written by Shri Gyaneshwara at the beginning of his Gyaneshwari. I bow to you Ganesha, you are eternal one, as described in Vedas.
You can be experienced by the ‘Self’ after self realisation, you are the form of spirit in me and in this universe. You are the God Ganesha, You enlighten the whole world-the intellect-and the understanding.
Pilgrimages in various forms have been a part of spirituality. The path of spirituality, the path of self realisation, the path of self cleansing is the path of pilgrimage. One such famous pilgrimage of the state of Maharashtra is that of Ashta Vinayak. Eight Vinayaka, eight Ganpati of Maharashtra are famous across the country. For pilgrims visiting these temples, Ashta Vinayak means eight Ganeshas. There is a pre-ascertained sequence and the route of this pilgrimage.
- Mayureshwar of Morgaon
- Siddhivinayak of Siddhatek
- Bllaleshwar of Pali
- Varadvinayak of Mahad
- Chintamani of Theur
- Girijatmaj of Lenyadri
- Vighneshwar of Ozar
- Mahaganapati of Ranjan Gaon
Each of these temples has its own legacy and history. It is believed that to complete the Ashtavinayak Yatra, one must revisit the first Ganpati after visiting all the eight Ganpatis.