Saturday, 23 February 2019

Correct Way to Pronounce Gang Ganapataye - Gam,Gan or Gang ?

'GAM' - the secret key to access Lord Ganesha's grace is widely used across the globe.

So,how do you actually pronounce it ? 






Let's look at the Vedic reference for this mantra. This mantra is explained in the Ganapati Upanishad of the Atharva Veda. This mantra is regarded as the secret knowledge of Ganesha worship. Ganapati Upanishad is also called ' Ganapati Atharva Shirsham'.

Upanishad refers to a portion of the Vedas that give the essence of Vedic truths-like a summary, sometimes through the representation of a particular deity.

Video: My Veda Class students reciting the Ganapati Upanishad.

The pictured explanations below are in detail just to show as to how precise the Vedas are in description.A summary of it will be given post-picture explanations below. The images below are verses from the Ganapati Upanishad,Atharva Veda

The first syllable of the sound 'Gana' ( G ) is to be uttered first, followed by the first varna ( A ).This results in 'GA' sound.Finally,the anusvara ( M sound ) completes the mantra as 'GAM'

Translation :

Then it should be made to shine with the half-moon ( the nasal sound of chandrabindu.As a result we get 'GANG' .

This should be added with Tara ( a note signifying OM ) thus making ''OM GANG''.This Ga-kara .. A-kara is the middle form and the anusvara is the last form ( thus forming ''GAM''), 

Bindu is the form on the top ( giving the nasal sound of Chandra-Bindu,thus forming ''GANG'' ).This is joined with Nada.Then it should be made to shine with the Half-moon (i.e, the nasal sound of chandrabindu,thus making ''GANG'' )

Translation :

All the forms combine ( and when it finally ends with Nada,it gives the mantra a transcendental form ).This is the Ganesha Vidya ( a path leading to self-realisation or enlightenment through the worship of Ganesha through His Mantra Svarupa ) 

Translation : 

The Rishi ( sage ) who received this sound from the cosmos is Sage Ganaka.The metre is Nicrdgayatri ( The Vedas are recited in a particular length called 'metre' ). The devata is Lord Ganapati

In Simple words ...

Vedas were not composed by anyone.Vedas constitute the sound waves in the cosmos which were heard by advanced beings ( rishis ).As they received these sounds,various knowledge endowed in tandem to it.The sage for Ganapati Upanishad ,as mentioned in the translations above , is Sage Ganaka.

So the basis of the Vedas are sounds.This is why they are to be recited and not merely read.

In terms of Vedic sounds,they are unique.The 'M' sound in Vedas is referred to as 'anusvara'.It has a great influence on pronunciation. There is something called 'sandhi rules'.

For example, let us look at the famous Mryunjaya mantra from Rig Veda :

Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim....

If you look here, Tryambakam ends with 'M' - the anusvara.The next word starts with a ' Y ' sound ( yajamahe ). Whenever M is followed by Y - the pronunciation becomes something like ' YAIN '

 According to sandhi rules, this mantra is recited as :

' Tryambakain Yajamahe '

Video : Mrtyunjaya mantra chanted as 'Tryambakai Yajamahe' by Challakere Brothers - the manasika guru for many Veda aspirants around the world.

Similarly, when M is followed by other consonants, the pronunciation is modified. The 'GA' sound falls under a common group of consonants which includes sounds of  KA, KHA, GA, GHA and 'NGA'.All these sounds emerge from the same location of the oral cavity when pronounced ( guttural sounds ).The 'NGA' is known as anunaasika - nasal sound.

Image result for vedic system sounds

So, in the case of GAM GANAPATAYE - the Atharva Veda first describes it as beginning with 'G' followed by 'A' and ending with M' ( anusvara). So by default - it is 'GAM'.

However,we don't just recite 'GAM' ( unless you want to ).We say ' OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAHA '.

So GAM here is follow by a 'GA' in Ganapataye which is under the influence of the anusvara ( M sound )

Since the anunaasika in the consonant group which 'GA' falls into is 'NGA' - we change the pronunciation to : 


the 'M' in GAM is nasalised to 'NGA' - forming gaNGGAnapataye 


This is a dyslexic illusion.When you read it as GANG GANAPATAYE or GAN GANAPATAYE - the pronunciation or sound made is the same.GAN is just a corrupted version of GANG GANAPATAYE.


In a nutshell : 

The mantra by itself is 'GAM'.

But when you add 'GANAPATAYE' to it, it becomes GANG.

Ultimately, GAM or GANG - it still works. There are some who choose not to apply the sandhi rules and others who choose to.

Sandhi rules are not supposed to alter the effect of the mantra.

Video : Amalgamation of Sandhi and Non-Sandhi rules.A Rudra Yagya where alternating recitation of Mrtyunjaya mantra is done.The priest recites without adhering to the sandhi while I use it.

If you do not get this article : Just stick to OM GANG GANAPATAYE NAMAHA

Let us thank Sage Ganaka who received this Upanishad and our ancients who passed on this knowledge through Vedic recitation over the millennia. Some even claim that Sage Ganaka was Ganapati Himself in disguise!  


Benefits of reciting Ganapati Upanishad :



  1. So I can just use GANG GANAPATAYE NAMAHA ?

  2. Shalinee purple lover24 August 2019 at 05:21

    I read your attached article at the end about benefits of ganapathi upanishad.U wrote your experience - mindblowing

  3. Thank you. You have solved my doubt