Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

ganesha

Lord Ganesha is the most widely worshiped Hindu God.
Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles.
He is the Lord of the followers (Ganas) and therefore called Ganesha or Ganapati.He has a human body with the head of an elephant.
The eldest son of Lord Shiva is also known as Vinayak ( knowledgeable ) or Vighneshwer (god to remove obstacles). He is worshipped, or at least remembered, in the beginning of any auspicious performance for blessings, success and auspiciousness.

In his hands he carries a rope or paasam (to carry devotees to the truth to capture all difficulties.) an axe or ankusam (to cut devotees’ worldly’ attachments), and a sweet dessert ball /laddoo- (to reward devotees for spiritual activity). His fourth hand’s palm extends to bless people.

He is considered a bachelor, but according to another school of thought, he has two Shaktis (consorts)- Siddhi & Buddhi. Siddhi represents prosperity and success. Buddhi represents wisdom. His vahana is a tiny mouse (mooshikam or minjur).

The two tusks denote the two aspects of the human personality, wisdom and emotion. The right tusk represents wisdom and the left tusk represents emotion. The broken left tusk conveys the idea that one must conquer emotions with wisdom to attain perfection/ The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharata

The devotees of Ganesha are known as ‘Ganapatyas’, and the festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi

How Ganesha Got His Head

There are many versions of story of the birth of this zoomorphic deity, this one is depicted in the Shiva Purana, and goes like this:
Once goddess Parvati, while bathing, created a boy out of clay and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised to find a stranger denying him access, and struck off the boy’s head in rage. Parvati broke down in utter grief and to soothe her, Shiva sent out his squad to fetch the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The company found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. Shiva restored its life and made him the leader of his troops. Hence his name ‘Ganapati’. Shiva also bestowed a boon that people would worship him and invoke his name before undertaking any venture.

There are 32 forms of Ganesha:

1. Baala Ganapati – Red colored image of a four armed Ganesha

2. Dharuna Vinayakar: Red colored image of an eight armed Ganesha

3. Bhakti Vinayakar: Grey colored image of four armed Ganesha

4. Veera Vinayakar: Red colored image of 16 armed Ganapati

5. Shakti Ganapati: Red colored image of 4 armed Ganapati, seated with his consort to his left.

6. Dwija Vinayakar:  White colored image of four faced Ganesha with 4 arms.

7. Siddhi Vinayakar: Golden colored image of four armed Ganapati.

8. Ucchishta Ganapati: Blue colored image of six armed Ganapati with his consort.

9. Vigna Vinayakar: Gold colored image of eight armed Ganapati

10. Kshipra Ganapati: Red colored image of four armed Ganesha bearing a ratna kumbham.

11. Heramba Vinayakar: Black colored image of ten armed Ganesha with five faces, seated on a lion.

12. Lakshmi Vinayakar: White colored image of eight armed Ganesha with two consorts.

13. Makara Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with a third eye, 10 arms, bearing a ratna kumbham, with his consort.

14. Vijaya Vinayakar: Red colored image of 4 armed Ganesha on the mooshika mount.

15. Nritta Vinayakar: Gold colored image of Ganesha in a dance posture.

16. Urdhva Vinayakar: Gold colored image of six armed Ganesha with his consort.

17. Ekakshara Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with a third eye,  seated on a lotus.

18. Vara Vinayakar: Red colored image of 4 armed Vinayaka with a third eye.

19. Dhryakshara Vinayaka: Gold colored image of four armed Vinayakar, decorated with Chaamara ear rings.

20. Kshipraprasaada Vinayakar: Red colored image of six armed Ganapati.

21. Haridra Vinayakar: Yellow colored image of four armed Ganapati.

22. Ekadhanta Vinayakar: Blue colored image of four armed Ganapati.

23. Srishti Vinayakar: Red colored image of four armed Ganapati seated on his mooshika mount.

24. Utthanda Vinayakar: Red colored image of 10 armed Ganesha with his consort to his left.

25. Ranamochana Vinayaka:  Crystal  image of four armed Vinayakar.

26. Dundi Vinayakar:  Four armed image of Ganesha bearing a tusk, a garland, an axe and a gem studded vessel.

27. Dwimukha Vinayakar:  Red colored image of Ganesha with two faces and four arms.

28. Trimukha Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with three faces and six arms seated on a golden lotus.

29. Simha Vinayakar:  White colored image of Ganesha with eight arms (with an arm bearing a lions face).

30. Yoga Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha in the posture of a yogi.

31. Durga Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with eight arms.

32. Sankatahara Vinayakar: Red colored image of four armed Ganesha clothed in blue, seated on a lotus peetham with his consort to his left.

For more info on Lord Ganesha go to:

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/books/lg/lg_table_of_contents.html

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4 Responses to Lord Ganesha

  1. Tāṇḍava says:

    Namashkar,
    Saivite Hindus believe that the story you gave about how Ganesha got his elephant head is purely a morality tale, and is not literally true. Indeed it has Shiva acting in ways that are contrary to his nature.

    It should be seen as a story about transformation and the futility of standing against God. In order to become closer to God we need to transform ourselves, which can be traumatic and mean cutting off things we have done or believed in the past. Just as Ganesha was given a great role after the transformation, what appears to be a painful loss will later be a gain.

    Aum Shivaya

    • anglohindu says:

      Thank you for the comment. I have a bunch of different versions about how Ganesha got his head but this is the most widely used one. In your opinion should I include more or just add to the post that many of the stories in the Vedas etc are meant to be studied philosophically and not be taken literally?

  2. Tāṇḍava says:

    Hi Anglohindu,
    I think it’s fine to just say that this and many other Hindu stories aren’t meant to be taken literally. I wouldn’t use the term “vedic story” unless you can define what it means. This story is not in the Vedas as far as I know, but it is an alegorical story that illustrates vedic concepts.
    Tandava

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