Lord Ganesh worshipped as the beginning. Hinduism portrays him as the retorted son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. The external appearance of Lord Ganesha seems elephant-headed with a human body. The name Ganesha means the group of intelligence. He is known as a symbol of wisdom, remover of obstacles, and so on. Hindu mythology frames interesting legends over the birth and life of Lord Ganesha. Festivals are observing to praise him when beginning new businesses, construction, or any progress once after worshipping Lord Ganesha.
Parents and Birth
A legend narrates the birth and parents of Lord Ganesha as once Goddess Parvathi went to take bathing. She wishes to have a boy child and uses turmeric to mold a human shape. Parvathi breathes life into the turmeric mold and turned it into a beautiful baby boy. She wishes him as her son to be later proceeded to take bathing. The young infant guarded his mother until she returns, as per her orders.
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva attempts to enter the place where Parvathi baths. Now the little boy never let him proceed further. Infuriated by the little one’s behavior Lord Shiva tossed a battle. He was annoyed at the little warrior who attempts to face almighty. Enraged by the furious attack, Lord Shiva beheaded the little boy. Unknowing the crucial execution, Goddess Parvathi arrived. She blasts into weeping on seeing the beheaded son. Goddess begged almighty to re-incarnate her beheaded son. She added that the boy was created out of her wish and wants him to be alive.
Convinced by words, Lord Shiva ordered his demon troupe to behead one who lay his head facing north. Wandering in search of the one who lay facing north direction, the demon troupe beheaded an elephant as it was only living being abode by Lord Shiva order. Lord Ganesha re-incarnated being an elephant-headed human body. Hindu myths accept and believe the birth legend of Lord Ganesha. Several other versions are also available in Hinduism.
Attributes of Lord Ganesha
Soon after re-incarnation, Parvathi worried about her son’s appearance that no gods recognize him as a god. Learning from Parvathi, Lord Shiva called for gods of heaven to bless their little boy with great boons. Of Course, Lord Shiva accepted the calf-headed boy as his elder son. To keep his words, gods arrived to bless the child with good attributes and boons.
Lord Ganesha is blessed to be the god of beginning and the remover of obstacles. The term Ganesha or Ganapathi refers to the savior of Gana. Ganesha also worshipped in some other names as Vignaharta and Mangalamurthi. He worshipped for his excellence as a patron of arts and science. Hindus never begin any progressive steps without worshipping Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha becomes the favorite deity of all Hindus. In Tamil Nadu, Ganesha was found placed on the riverbank under peepal tree shadow in various sites. He worshipped as God of simplicity. Hindus observe festivals to the deity that possess numerous mythologies. Ganesha praised for his intellect and wisdom.
Marriage and wives
Many patterns of the legend exist to describe the marital status of Lord Ganesha. Hindu Purana goes in a pattern that there prevails a competition between the children of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. As a result, Lord Ganesha gains a chance to marry first.
Holy texts describe the marriage of Lord Ganesha as an interesting story. ‘’Shiva Purana’’ holy text of Shaivism narrates Lord Ganesh’s marriage in the following pattern.
Once Lord Shiva and Parvathi decide their sons get married and proclaimed their decision to their children. Surprised of hearing father’s decision both of them began quarreling with each other to get married first. Worried about seeing their sons quarreling, the Universal parents announce a competition. According to competition, the one reaches first completing seven rounds around the Universe considered a winner to get married first.
Learned about competition, Lord Shanmugan start immediately set off his peacock and go round the Universe. Rather, Lord Ganesha stood idle looking at his parents. He added that one who circumambulates his parents paralleled Bhu-Pradhikshna several times. Accepting the truth, Lord Shiva and Parvathi let him circumambulate them. At the end of the seventh round, Lord Shanmugan enters the abode. Parents declared the eldest one’s victory and proposes himself getting married.
Annoyed at partial treatment by parents, Lord Shanmugan left the royal abode. Pacifying the little one, Lord Shiva arranges the marriage ceremony of their elder son. Prajapathi Vishwaroopa offered a marriage proposal to Lord Ganesha for his daughters Riddhi and Siddhi. On an auspicious day, the marriage ceremony was held between Lord Ganesha with sisters Riddhi and Siddhi. For the occasion, A beautiful palace was constructed by Vishnukarma abide by orders of Lord Shiva and Parvathi.
According to sacred texts, Lord Ganesha blessed with two sons named kshema and Labha. The Sanskrit name Kshema means protection and shelter for goodness and the name Labha means to gain or profit in the prosperity and wealth.
Perhaps, there revolves another pattern declaring Lord Ganesha as unmarried celibacy known for his virginity. However, his wives to be considered so far are his eternal powers.
Siblings of Lord Ganesha
Hindu Purana or Shiva Purana predicts that Lord Shanmugan, Okha and Tripu sundari, Asoka sundari as the siblings of Lord Ganesha. Northern India determines Lord Shanmugan as the elder son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi perhaps southern parts of India determines Ganesha as the elder son. Coming to the daughters of Lord Shiva and Parvathi, Okha is the same age as Lord Ganesha Tripura Sundari and Asoka Sundari is elder than brothers.
Okha was hidden during the furious fight that occurred between Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. She also refuses to inform Parvathi knowing the battle. Later, when Parvathi sees her beheaded son cursed her daughter gets away from the abode. Her curse continues as Okha to born in the Rakshasha clan. As per the curse, Okha born to Rakshasha Banasur belongs to Daitya Hiranyakashibu clan. She married Anirudha belongs to the Sri Krishna clan.
Tripura Sundari married King Nahusha who is the son of King Aayu and both got six sons.
Lord Shanmugan is the only brother of Lord Ganesha who competes with him for the immediate marriage proposal. Later Shanmugan got married Devasena daughter of Indra king of heaven. Karthikeya is born to kill Tarakasur. As a fruit of killing the demon king, Karthikeya won Devasena. Lord Shanmugan also married another bride Valli belongs to the tribal community. North Indians do not prefer Lord Shanmugan for worship perhaps he is known as ‘’Tamil Kadavul’’.
Children of Lord Ganesha
While the marriage of Lord Ganesha shows variations in different parts of India children of Lord Ganesha remain the same variations. According to Shiva Purana, Lord Ganesha married Siddhi and Riddhi from whom he had two sons named Kshema and Labha. Despite southern parts of India suggests Lord Ganesha be bachelor remained unmarried.
However, Riddhi and Siddhi are two eternal powers lord Ganesha bears.
In turn, his sons named Kshema and Labha are the health and prosperity he showers on his devotees. But in northern parts of India people suggests various legends upon the family tree of Lord Ganesha. In Southern parts of India, people believe Lord Ganesha is an unmarried bachelor known for his celibacy.
Famous names of Lord Ganesha
Hindu scriptures proclaim more names to Lord Ganesha. Interesting and meaningful names are as follows:
- Krishna Pingaksha
Above mentioned names refer to Lord Ganesha describing his appearance and features. Apart from the names above, hundreds of names given to Lord Ganesha. The names are listed as Ashtothra Naamavali.
Lord Ganesha is known for the eternal powers that he showers to his devotees. People believe worshipping him brings success and prosperity. He is the remover of obstacles and possesses superhuman strength and ethnicity. Various attributes of Lord Ganesha draw impact among his devotees.
Lord Ganesha is the god of the beginning and storage of wisdom. He is very much adhered to bring prosperity, happiness to the lives of his devotees. Hindu scriptures praise Lord Ganesha as the Prathama pujya because he is honored as supreme of all gods.
Hindu gods and goddesses are pictured as four-handed holding different weapons in each hand. Based on it, Lord Ganesha holds four different weapons in his hands. He portrays unique ideologies with his weapons.
Parasu, pasha, ankusa are the three weapons Lord Ganesha holds in his hands. The fourth hand hold the traditional Indian sweet, Modak. Some pictures of Lord Ganesha portray his trunk holding the bowl full of traditional sweets, Modak.
The weapon is owned by Lord Shiva given to Parasuram. The weapon is possessed by Lord Ganesha to destroy evil against goodness.
Yama and Varuna are the other gods that hold Pasa in their hands. The god Ganesha depicted as the remover of obstacles uses Pasa to free from it.
It is the hook-like bent on the right top used to control the walking path of an elephant. Lord Ganesha also armed with Ankusa to control the path of human life. Lord Ganesha controls our way of life traveling on the right path.
The significance of symbols seems necessary to identify the deity. Lord Ganesha possesses various symbols that represent his unique appearance. The elephant-headed god owns the symbols or the Hindu scriptures offered as the symbols for the deity representation. However, the symbols can explain individual reasons for their presentation.
The big belly is the unique identification of Lord Ganesha that represents indulgence or richness and accepting everything.
The single tusk represents the single-pointedness. The arms Pasa and Ankusa determine the control over boundless desire and its effect. The arms help to rectify our wrongs and control our way of life.
The upraised hands depict the god showering protection to devotees. He safeguard his followers from the evil shadows and mystery hands. Most Hindu gods and goddesses show the symbol of upraised hands as a sign of protection.
Avatars of God
Every Hindu deity undergoes re-incarnation for the sake of Universal well-being. Lord Ganesha re-incarnates many times to save his followers from distinct worries and suffers.
Ganesha Purana and Mudgala Purana are the two holy texts that explain deeply the avatar and praise the importance of the re-incarnation of Lord Ganesha. He manifests indefinitely but as of his eight incarnations owes the importance because of its purposes. The eight incarnations overcome worldly illusions and compassion that people suffer from.
First incarnation of Lord Ganesha and the Sanskrit name to be understood as ‘’curved trunk’’. Lord Ganesh’s incarnation slaughtered demon Matsarasura. The demon is the devotee of Lord Shiva been a curse to the universe. He also symbolically represents jealousy hence Vakratunda slaughtered jealousy in other terms. Lord Ganesha mounts on Lion in this incarnation.
The Sanskrit name refers to ‘’one trunk’’ that lord Ganesha owns in this incarnation. Demon Madasura was targeted in this avatar that frequently bothers and harms gods and sages. Lord Ganesha massacred the demon that resembles the evil behavior arrogance and envy. Ganesha mounts on the mouse in this avatar and appears with four hands, one trunk, and a huge belly.
The third incarnation of Lord Ganesha aims to assassinate the demon Mohasura. The demon was known for misinterpretation and confusion was the devotee of the Sun god. He dictated three worlds or Lokhas under supreme threats. Sages and other gods worshipped Lord Ganesha to save them from the terrific demon. Mahodara killed the demon and saved three worlds. Lord Ganesha mounts on the mouse in this incarnation.
The fourth avatar Lord Ganesha aims to kill the demon of greed Lobhasura. He is the son of Lord Kuber. Like Mahodara and Ekatanda, Gajanana mount was mouse.
Legend of Lambodara is quite interesting. Hindu scriptures narrate, while churning of cosmic ocean Lord Vishnu takes the form of a beautiful woman. On seeing her beauty, Lord Shiva was taken away and loaded with passion. Knowing Lord Shiva’s desire, Vishnu gave away the woman form that eroded the calmness of Lord Shiva and was enraged with disappointment. Out of his emotions, Demon Krodhasura was born. Later Lord Ganesha incarnate as Lambodara to eradicate the symbol of anger, Krodhasura. Krauncha was the mount for Lambodara.
Lord incarnated alike other re-incarnations to demolish the demon of desire or passion in this avatar. Kamasura, the demon of desire and passion was the victim of the interesting incarnation. Lord Ganesha mounts on peacock to massacre the demon.
To slay the demon of attachment, Mamasur aka mamtasur, Lord Ganesha incarnated as Vighnaraja. His mount was a serpent, sheshanag in this incarnation. The god is known as the remover of obstacles in the philosophy of incarnation.
The purpose of the eighth incarnation is to kill the demon of self-infatuation, Ahamkarasur. Deities were disappointed over the rule of demon aham and worshipped Lord Ganesha to safeguard them. Thus the elephant-headed, human-bodied god descend as Dumravarna. He mounts on the mouse as other incarnations.
In all the eight incarnations, the deity overcomes evil powers and the demons symbolically represent the evil powers against a human being. The mouse is the vehicle in most of the incarnations but other vehicles like peacock, lion, and serpent are opted.
Vahana or mount
Vinayaka mounts on the mouse all the time. During his incarnations, the deity prefers the mouse as his mount. The avatar section of the article will depict the vahana Ganesha conveyed. Some other avatars do occur in which the deity prefers either a serpent or a lion or peacock.
1. Vakratunda – Lion
2. Lambodara – Krauncha
3. Vikata – peacock
4. Vighnaraja- serpent
Mantras, chants, and prayers
Hindu religion had given many chanting mantras, slogans, and verses to worship Lord Ganesha. The predominant chant to praise Vinayaka is the Gayathri mantra. Every deity possesses its own Gayathri mantra but starts with Vinayaka slogans before going for a yagna, business, construction, etc.
1. Gayathri mantra
‘’Ohm thath purushaya vidhmahe
thanno thanthi prachodhayath.’’
2. Suklam baradharm vishnum
‘’Suklam baradharam vishnum sashivarnam
chathurbhujam prasandha vadhanam dhyaye
sarva vignoba santhaye’’
3. Mooshiga vahana
‘’mooshiga vahana modhaga hastha
sabara harna vilambara sthothra
Vamana rooba maheswara Putra
vigna Vinayak patha namaste’’
Festivals of Ganesha
Many festivals are observed with great devotion and compassion for the god of beginning the remover of obstacles. Ganesh Chathurthi is observed by Hindus every year in the month Bhadrapad of the Hindu calendar. The festival observed ten days starting from the fourth day after the new moon in the month of Bhadrapad. The festival falls between August and September in the Gregorian calendar for devotee celebration.
Lokmanya Tilak, the Indian freedom fighter started celebrating the festival for Ganesh in the year 1893. His efforts dedicated to his daily newspaper, Kesari. He hugely inaugurated the festival ceremony with a bunch of devotees gathered in the open space to praise the Ganapathi Bappa.
Conducting Yagna is not the exact festival observed for Ganesha. Perhaps, Hindus follow the customs of worshipping Lord Ganesha very first before proceeding with progressive actions in their lives. Every month fourth day after the new moon is observed as monthly Chathurthi. Though not celebrated massively this particular day is observed with minor pooja and offerings to the deity.
Food for deity
Lord Ganesha is fond of Modak and one can see the image or idol of Ganesha holding Modak in his trunk. Sweet and sour Modak is the delicious eatable offered to Ganesh. Indian recipe for preparing Modak follows various versions throughout India that includes coconut chunks immersed in jaggery juice with flavoring agents like cardamom. Stuffing coconut mix inside the rice flour and steaming will gives what is called Modak. Sour stuff is made of gram dhal, salt, and turmeric. Both the varieties are offered to the deity as and when the god is praised.
2. A mixture of cereals
This includes steaming Bengal gram, green gram, channa dhal, or either gram variety to which salt, curry leaves, and coconut chunks are added. This is a healthy diet that is offered to the deity as Naivadhya.
Throughout India, People follow various customs and traditions to observe their favorite god. Naivadhya process follows different customs and tastes but the ultimate motto is devotion towards Brahman. Idol, image of the deity is accepted to worship and immersed into the sea on the tenth day of the festival as a part of the celebration.
QUESTION AND ANSWERS
1. How did Ganesha get his elephant head?
To answer the question will have to know the birth story of the deity. Parvathi uses turmeric to mold an idol. Impressed by its look she breathes life into it. She left her newborn son to safeguard her until she baths. Lord Shiva tries to enter the place but is refused by the little one to go ahead. Annoyed at the boy’s attitude the almighty called upon a one-to-one battle. In the end, Shiva beheaded the little boy. Later on request by Parvathi, Shiva ordered his troupe to slay the head of living being lay head facing north. An elephant calf was beheaded as a result. The elephant head was attached to the little one’s body and thus Lord Ganesh got his elephant head.
2. How did Ganesh born?
If one happens to read Ganesha Purana one can say that is two times Ganesha had born. The first time, Parvathi gave life to the idol, Ganesha born. Second time on beheaded by Lord Shiva and replaced with an elephant head Ganesha reborn.
So, it is concluded that Lord Ganesha was born twice.
3. How did Ganesh lose his tusk? Who broke it?
Various patterns are prevailing to explain how Ganesha lost his tusk. Let us discuss two versions in which Lord Ganesha lost his tusk.
Sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to transcribe the poems of Mahabharata. Accepting the obligation Ganesha starts writing. Indulged in the intensity of curate, Vyasa dictated very fast that Ganesha unable to follow. Meanwhile, the feather pen broke down leaving Ganesh confused. Perhaps, Ganesha broke one of his tusks and continues writing the recitation, uninterruptedly.
Another version describes the fight between Parasuram and Ganesha. The former attacked Ganesha with his ax resulting in a break of the tusk. Learning from Karthikeya, Parvathi wept and cursed Parasuram for axing her beloved son. Lord Vishnu arrived at the rescue of Parasuram and preaches ‘’Ganesha namastaka Strota’’. Pacified by Parasurama’s attempt, Parvathi gives up her anger. Thus Vinayaka lost one of his tusks.
4. When is Ganesh Chathurthi celebrated?
The renowned festival observed every year to worship the God of beginning and the lord of obstacles remover is the Ganesh Chathurthi. As per the Hindu calendar, in the Bhadrapad month, the fourth day after the new moon is celebrated as Ganesh Chathurthi. Between August and September, the festival is celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is observed for ten days that starts on the fourth day and winds up in the Chathurthasi on the fourteenth day. Mega-sized Ganesh idols are molded and kept for general observance of devotees. At the end of the celebration, the idol is immersed in any of the large water bodies. With this, the celebration winds up for the year.
5. Why Ganesha married to the banana tree?
Ganesha is one of the most admired gods and worshipped for his innocent looks and enormous belly. His childish appearance draws everyone towards him. Many mythological anecdotes are cited all over the country and one such version arises in the Bengal region.
The legend narrates in the way that once when Ganesha on his way to marriage alarmed about forgetting something. While returning home he found his mother eating a bowl full of rice in a hurry. Questioning his mother about her behavior, his mother replied questioning what if she could not get food from her daughter-in-law. Ganesha goes to the backyard drawing a bunch of banana and handing over it to his mother promised that it would be her daughter-in-law and nothing to worry she would be cared for and loved for. From the legend, we can understand Ganesha as the dutiful son, respected and loved his mother.
Remembering the legend, Bengalis performing a ritual in which the Ganesha idol gets married to a branch of the banana tree. The branch is groomed as a bride and finally, the ritual is conducted.
6. Why is Ganesh worshipped with Goddess Lakshmi?
Ganesh and Lakshmi are praised and worshipped for their fortunes of wisdom and wealth. Houses, workplaces, and premises are ideal spots to locate idols of Ganesh and Lakshmi. On worshipping Lakshmi, wealth is aggravated whereas Ganesh showers wisdom.
Placing Lakshmi alone does not bring prosperity hence Ganesh is worshipped for the sake of wisdom. Nothing will be fruitful unless wisdom prevails in the spot and hence Ganesh is worshipped with Goddess Lakshmi.
7. Why Ganesh cursed the moon?
Interesting tales are spelled in the Houses seeking Scriptures to help to acknowledge the story. Ganesha cursed the moon god for his behavior to laugh at Ganesha. The curse has been so far that the moon loses its brightness and nobody sees the moon on the night of Ganesh Chathurthi.
The legend goes in the way once Ganesha starts a ride on his mount mouse. The little creature tripped off unable to bear the mighty god’s weight. On seeing the incident, the moon god laughed at Ganesh. Annoyed out by the moon’s attitude, Ganesha cursed the moon to lose its shine. Later moon god apologizes for his behavior and Ganesha gives up his anger but couldn’t repeal it entirely.
8. Why did Ganesh receive their first prayer in rites and ceremonies?
Soon after beheaded, Lord Ganesha receives an elephant head. On seeing her son’s appearance Parvathi started weeping that nobody would accept her son and praise him. To pacify her crying, Lord Shiva called upon all the gods and asked them to shower their blessings on their son. Abide by the call of Shiva, all the gods showered their blessing with the boon that Ganesha would gain the right to receive the rites and rituals very first. He is blessed to be the god of beginning. Thus, Hinduism praises Ganesha first at the beginning of rites and ceremonies.
9. How did lord Ganesh die?
Look back to the birth legend of Ganesha. As a result of the crucial war between Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha, the little one died. But scriptures say that Ganesha rises soon after a humble request by his beloved mother, Parvathi.
It doesn’t mean that Ganesha died enraged by Lord Shiva. To give a terrific and adventurous look for Ganesha, Lord Shiva attempted a game.
10. Which demon(s) did Lord Ganesha killed?
This is an interesting question to answer. Out of eight incarnations, Lord Ganesha killed eight forms of demons. In other means, the demons symbolize the evil behavior of humankind that is needed to get eradicated. Krodhasura, Mamasura, ahamkarasura, and other demons are the evils shades of humankind. Lord Ganesh is known for his powers of wisdom and luminance. He demolished the demons and survived goodwill.
11. What does the Ganesh elephant symbolize?
Lord Ganesh is the sign of knowledge, a symbol of wisdom, intellect, and perfection. He stands for his accountability and perfection. He is responsible to enlighten one’s life and is the sign of beginning approved as the remover of obstacles. Hence Ganesh brings joy and positive mindedness in one’s mind to survive life.
The two tusks he bears denote the wisdom and the emotions that are necessary for human sustainability. The weapon he holds in his hands offers protection and control over evil deeds.
The article is the complete package of Lord Ganesha that contains whatever is needed. One who looks for information about Ganesha, the article gives the solution with information. The legends, slogans, strotam highlighted in the articles are based on the Hindu scriptures and holy texts.