This excerpt from the Narada Purana describes a certain mantra called the Ganesha Nyasa, a hymn to Ganesha. Here's the preamble to that mantra:
The matrikas of Ganesha have Ganaka as its sage, the meter is nivrit gayatri, the lord is Shakti Ganeshwara.
My question is, who is this sage Ganaka who heard the Ganesha Nyasa from the gods? This isn't the only Ganesha mantra heard by Ganaka. Here is what the Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad, which I discuss here, says about the famous Mahaganapati mantra:
- Ga is the first syllable, after that the first letter, beyond that m, then the half-moon all together. Joined with m, this is the mantra form.
- The letter ga is the first form, letter a the middle form, m the last form. bindu the higher form, nada the joining together, samhita the junction. This is the vidya of Lord Ganesha.
- Ganaka is the seer, nricad-gayatri the metre, Shri Mahaganapati the devata.
So who is this sage Ganaka who heard these mantras to Ganesha from the gods?
Considering the similarity of their names, I suspect Ganaka is an incarnation of Ganesha himself. This isn't without precedent; Vishnu's incarnation sage Narayana heard the Purusha Sukta, a famous hymn to Vishnu which I discuss here. Similarly, Shiva's incarnation sage Dakshinamurthy heard a Shiva mantra called the Shiva Nyasa, as I discuss here. So is it possible that Ganesha took an incarnation as a sage and heard mantras about himself?
Are there any other scriptures that describe the identity of the sage the sage Ganaka? Was he the seer of any Vedic mantras? References to Ganesha in ancient Hindu scripture are few and far between, because he only rose to popularity later, so it may be hard to find.