Lord Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Vighnaharta, Buddhipriya, and Ekadanta, is one of the most important deities in Hindu Dharma. He is highly recognizable with his elephant head with a curved trunk and big ears on the human body in Hindu culture. He is the presiding deity of material wealth, health, fertility, happiness, and lord of spirituality. He is also known as the god of intellect and wisdom, the destroyer of selfishness and pride. It is said that he is the personification of the element’s universe in all of its different forms, and figures. He is the Lord of Beginning that every devotee worshipped him before any auspicious events.

Ganesha is derived from Sanskrit’s two words Ganna and Isha god. Ganna means group and Isha mean Lord. So, Ganesha is the Lord of all groups. It means Ganesha is the Lord of the universe. He is the embodiment of the highest consciousness that intrudes all and keeps the universe in order. He is the Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Since he is born out of their union, he personifies life, duality, and manifestation in diverse aspects. He is highly charming and mesmerizing. He fulfills the desire of his devotees and opens to them the doors of prosperity and abundance. He is the remover of problems and obstacles. Lord Ganesha is worshiped by both Jainism and Buddhism.

Birth of Ganesh

One day Goddess Parvati was alone at home on Mt. Kailash and wanted to have a bath. She realized that she needs someone to guard the door till bathing. So, she told Nandi, Shiva’s Bull, to guard the door and not to let in because she did not want to be distributed during bathing. Nandi loyally took his post and guarded the door. But, when Shiva came home, Nandi loyally let him pass to enter the home. Parvati was angry at this minor matter, she realized that she had no one as loyal to Herself as Nandi was to Shiva. So, she scraped off some sandalwood and oil paste that she had applied to her body. Kneading it into a clay-like substance, she molded it into the form of a beautiful young boy. Then she poured prana into him with her breathing and brought him to new life. Parvati then accepted him as her son and instructed him to guard the door and not to let anyone inside until she had completed her bath.

The next day Parvati instructed the boy to guard the door. Soon, Shiva came looking for Goddess Parvati but the boy would not allow him to pass through. Furious, Shiva severed the child’s head with his trident and entered the house. When Goddess Parvati came out from her bath, she saw her son lying dead. She revealed the true identity of the boy and pleaded with Shiva to bring him to life.

Lord shiva pacified her and instructed his followers to bring back the head of the first living creature they find. They first encounter the elephant calf and cuff off its head and brought it to Lord Shiva. Shiva then positioned the head of the elephant on the boy and brought him back to life. Then Lord Shiva declared him as his own son and named him Ganesha or Ganapati. Ganapati refers to leaders among all classes of beings or Ganas. The gods blessed Ganesha with the blessing that he would be worshipped before anyone else at the beginning of any auspicious events.

Symbolism

Lord Ganesha in Vahana
Painting by Raja Ravi Verma

According to Shiva Purana, Shub and Labh are two sons of Lord Ganesha. Shubh and Labh are personifications of auspiciousness and profit respectively. Shubh was the son of Goddess Riddhi and Labh was the son of Goddess Siddhi. Ganesh Chaturthi or Vināyaka chaturthī and Ganesh Jayanti (Lord Ganesha’s birthday) are celebrated in the month of August or September and January or February respectively in honor of the elephant-headed God – Lord Ganesha.

Lord Ganesha is portrayed as one having a human body with an elephant head. He is often displayed dancing, playing and sitting down, or engaging in a range of contemporary situations. All the sacred symbols of Ganesha are interpreted in many ways. Some of them are described below.

Ganesh’s clothes

Lord Ganesha is usually portrayed wearing red and yellow clothes where red signifies the shakti and material reality and yellow symbolizes purity, peace, and truthfulness.

Elephant Head

Elephants are known for their wisdom and effortlessness. The larger head of an elephant signifies prosperity and power. An elephant neither walks around obstacles nor can any obstacles stop. It removes the obstacles and walks ahead.

Big belly

In most of the paintings, the Lord is depicted with a large belly. The large belly of the lord Symbolizes generosity and complete acceptance.

Wide mouth and large ears

The wide mouth of Ganesha represents that one must spend less time talking and utilizing one’s energies for thinking or doing. Large ears signify listening skills.

Small eyes

The small eyes of Ganesha denote the one having sharped focus, and acute concentration.

Arms

The four arms indicate that the Ganesha is omnipresent and omnipotent. The right side symbolizes reason, and the left side symbolizes emotions.

Axe

Lord Ganesha holds an axe in the upper left hand and a noose in the upper right hand. The axe symbolizes the retrenchment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering.

Tusk

The two tusks of the Lord denote the two aspects of the human personality, wisdom, and emotion. The broken tusk of the Lord signifies the ability to keep the good and throw away the bad. It was his broken tusk with which the ancient scripture Mahabharat was written.

Lotus

Lord Ganesha is often depicted withholding a lotus in hand.it signifies that one must live in the world without being affected by others.

Mouse

A mouse is the vehicle of Lord Ganesha. It represents the lordship or control over fear, hesitation, and doubt.it means that Lord Ganesha has no ego.

Ganesha Mantras

Lord Ganesha

There are several Ganesha mantras that can be chanted to invoke Ganapati. Reciting these Siddhi Mantras with genuine devotion, these mantras can give you positive results removing obstacles. Here are some of the well-known and powerful Ganesh mantras to chant.

  1. ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
    Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
  2. वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ ।
    निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा ॥
    Vakratunda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha
    Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa ||
  3. ॐ एकदन्ताय विद्धमहे, वक्रतुण्डाय धीमहि, तन्नो दन्ति प्रचोदयात्॥
    Aum Ekadantaya Viddhamahe, Vakratundaya Dhimahi, Tanno Danti Prachodayat॥
(Last Updated On: April 25, 2021)
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