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Ucchishta Mahaganapati Upasana Tattva


`Abhinava Bhaskara' Brahmasri Chidanandanatha (Sri `Sir' Nediminti Subrahmanya Iyer), who re-established Shakta Srividya Upasana in its pristine purity, advocated the Upasana of Sri Ucchishtha Mahaganapati. The details of the worship of this form of Ganesha, as associated with Srividya, have been passed on secretly from Guru to Shishya from time immemorial. He published before the world the fact that great Jnanis and Jivanmuktas reached exalted states due to Ucchishtha Ganapati Upasana. H H Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrsimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, the 33rd Jagadguru Mahasannidhanam of Sri Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham was the greatest exponent of this Vidya. Once when Sri Chidanandanatha visited Sringeri, he was blessed with the fortune of discussing the secrets of Sri Ucchishtha Ganapati Upasana with Mahaswamigal. A scholar who was present there recited a certain Sahasranama of this form of Ganapati. Having heard this Sahasranama, which neither conveyed the greatness of Sri Ucchishtha Ganapati even partly nor the associated secrets of Srividya Upasana, Sri Chidanandanatha immediately expressed his disapproval. Before he could speak further about the actual Sahasranama, Mahaswamigal raised his right hand, commanding Sri Chidanandanatha to remain silent. After the scholar left, Mahaswamigal had the following conversation with Sri Chidanandanatha.

Mahaswamigal: Do you know about the Sahasranama of Sri Ucchishtha Ganapati? Can you recite the same?

Chidanandanatha [hesitantly]: Unable to control my enthusiasm, I blurted out about the Sahasranama earlier. However, I cannot speak untruth before your Holiness. My Guru ordered me to protect this Sahasranama and the related mantras with utmost secrecy. I am unsure if this Sahasranama can be recited under the present circumstance. By reciting the Sahasranama now, I will incur the sin of disobeying my Guru. I have never been in such a fix in my entire life. There can be no one better than your Holiness who can advice me about the right course of action.

Mahaswamigal: If your own Guru appeared right here and asked you to recite the Sahasranama, would you still hesitate?

Chidanandanatha: When Guru himself orders, how can there be any room for hesitation?

Mahaswamigal: Is your Guru Sri Guhanandanatha restricted to a physical form and present only in Badarikasharama? Is he not present here now and everywhere?

[Sri Chidanandanatha was immensely surprised to hear his Guru's name and place of residence form Mahaswamigal as he had not revealed these details before anyone till then. He was filled with tears of joy; his body trembled and he immediately fell at the lotus feet of Mahaswamigal].

Chidanandanatha: I will act according your orders. Please forgive my earlier ignorance.

Mahaswamigal: Your Guru Guhanandanatha, I or Kodanganallur Sundara Swamigal may appear different physically but are same in essence. Understand this truth well. Have you read Acharya's work – Manisha Panchakam?

Chidanandanatha: I have read the work but have not realized its inner purport yet.

Mahaswamigal: Very soon, you will realize its inner purport. After that, you will reach the same state as the three of us. So, confidently recite the Sahasranama now.

[Sri Chidanandanatha now began to recite the Purva Pithika of the Sahasranama, which is a conversation between Sri Dakshinamurti and Sanaka. It is significant to note that the pAdukA of Ucchishta Mahaganapati is traditionally called mahA mahA pAdukA and is actually referred to as Dakshinamurti Mahapaduka. It should be carefully observed that Sri Dakshinamurti is the Rishi for Samayachara].

Mahaswamigal: There is no need to recite these verses now. Recite the Sahasranama starting with xxx [the first actual name in the Sahasranama].

Chidanandanatha was surprised beyond measure once again. He now understood that Mahaswamigal knew the Sahasranama well and began to recite the names in the Sahasranama. At a certain place in the Sahasranama [called Matrika Mala traditionally], Sri Chidanandanatha forgot some of the names. Immediately Mahaswamigal prompted him with the right set of names. He then concluded the Sahasranama with the two final and glorious names of Ganapati. Mahaswamigal then discoursed on the inner significance of these two names to Chidanandanatha for more than 30 minutes.

Chidanandanatha: I would be blessed to hear the Sahasranama from thy holiness which will help me to get clarifications regarding some of the names.

Mahaswamigal: I will recite the Sahasranama at leisure on another occasion. The true Sahasranama of Ucchishtha Ganapati is indeed the one recited by you. Your pAtha is almost close to the correct one. But there are some mistakes in some of the names recited by you.

Having said so, Mahaswamigal corrected those names and explained the correct pAtha to Sri Chidanandanatha. Sri Chidanandanatha wrote down those corrections on a piece of paper and left Sringeri. Later, that piece of paper was lost. He then desired to meet Mahaswamigal again and get guidance from him in privacy. Before his plan could materialize, Mahaswamigal attained Mahasamadhi. However, all the doubts were clarified one day, as though Mahaswamigal himself appeared before Chidanandanatha and uttered the correct paTha. Correct pAtha of the Sahasranama was also obtained from Pitambaram Ayyadurai Iyer, whose family had worshipped the copy of Sahasranama for centuries and Sri Chidanandanatha attained Siddhi in his Upasana. The correct pAtha however was never shared with anyone except two of his direct disciples. The few available handwritten copies carry incorrect pAthas as the correct pAtha has never been publicized according to the instructions of Mahaswamigal. [Once during a vision, Brahmasri Chidanandanatha corrected some of the names and stated that the correct pAtha would be available to advanced upAsakas when time was right. He also confirmed of his conversation with Mahaswamigal and describes the Tithi and Nakshatra on which he was blessed with guidance from Mahaswamigal]. The secrets of Sri Ucchishtha Ganapati Upasana – Sahasranama, mantra traya, paduka, ashtottara shata mahanyasa and mahabhisheka vidhi - are preserved in Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham to this day.