The सङ्कटनाशन गणेशस्तोत्रम् is the first prayer I learnt as a child. It was taught to me by my grandfather. I have passed it on to my children.
My children recite this prayer every morning. Prior to breakfast, they sit with us, face the सुकुन्दा that we brought from Nepal and repeat this prayer composed by the Sage Narada for the benefit of those who are devoted to Ganesha.
There are three parts to this prayer. First, Narada remembers Ganesha. Second, he calls out Ganesha’s twelve favorite nicknames. Third, he prescribes the method for offering the prayer. Finally, he informs us of the benefits of repeating the prayer according to his prescription.
Narada’s vision of Ganesh is the one who is the first among the Gods. He is the son of Gauri. He lives in our hearts and grants us good health and prosperity.
Once we visualize in our heart, we then call him out with his twelve favorite nicknames: Hey! Curved-face Hi! One-tooth. Yo! Dark eye. Hi! Elephant-face, Yo! Big tummy, Pretty face, Obstacle-king, Dusky-skined, One who wears a half-moon on his head, Problem remover, Leader of the clan, Elephant-face (again).
Narada recommends that we offer this prayer three times a day. Doing so, he says, will bring rewards. The rewards will be the fulfillment of individual wishes. Students gain knowledge. The person seeking money will find some. The devotee seeking a good child will be blessed with one. The learned will discover the ultimate meaning of life.
Narada provides a timeline for the wish-seeking devotee. Six months for the first sign of success. Fulfillment in full in one year. Do one more thing for extra benefits, he says. Make eight copies of this prayer and offer it to your eight wise friends so that they too can benefit from the grace of the One who removes all obstacles.
And so it is!
श्रीगणेशाय नमः । नारद उवाच: ।
shrIgaNeshAya namaH. nArada uvAchaH
प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं गौरीपुत्रं विनायकम् ।
praNamya shirasA devaM gaurIputraM vinAyakam .
भक्तावासं स्मरेन्नित्यमायुःकामार्थसिद्धये ॥ १॥
bhaktAvAsaM smarennityamAyuHkAmArthasiddhaye .. 1..