“Vinayaka” redirects here. For other uses, see Vinayaka (disambiguation).”Ganapati” redirects here. For Hindu Vedic Deity and God of planet Jupiter, see Brihaspati.For other uses, see Ganesha (disambiguation).

Basohli miniature, circa 1730. National Museum, New Delhi, India.[1]

Ganesh (Gaṇeśa)
Basohli miniature, circa 1730. National Museum,New Delhi, India.[1]
Devanagari गणेश
Affiliation Deva
Mantra ॐ गणेशाय नमः
(Oṃ Gaṇeśāya Namaḥ)
Weapon Paraśu (Axe),[2]
Pāśa (Lasso),[3]
Aṅkuśa (Hook)[4]
Consort Buddhi (wisdom),
Riddhi (prosperity),
Siddhi (attainment)
Mount Mouse/Rat

Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश; IAST: Gaṇeśa;  listen (help·info)), also spelled Ganesaor Ganeshand also known as Ganapati,Vinayaka, and Pillaiyar, is one of the best-known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.[5] His image is found throughout India.[6] Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations.[7] Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.[8]

Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify.[9] Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles[10]and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (VighneshaVighneshvara),[11]patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.[12] He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions.[13] Several texts relatemythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.

Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity in clearly recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuriesCE, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors.[14] His popularity rose quickly, and he was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called theGanapatya, (Sanskrit: गाणपत्य;gāṇapatya), who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity, arose during this period.[15] The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa.

Etymology and other names

Ganesha as ‘Shri Mayureshwar’ with consorts Buddhi and Siddhi, Morgaon (the central shrine for the regionalaṣṭavināyakacomplex)[16]Ganesha has many other titles and epithets, including Ganapati and Vigneshvara. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: श्री; śrī, also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name. One popular way Ganesha is worshipped is by chanting a Ganesha Sahasranama, a litany of “a thousand names of Ganesha”. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha. At least two different versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama exist; one version is drawn from the Ganesha Purana, a Hindu scripture venerating Ganesha.[17]

The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana(Sanskrit: गण; gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha(Sanskrit: ईश; īśa), meaning lord or master.[18] The word gaņa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaņas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva (IAST: Śiva).[19] The term more generally means a category, class, community, association, or corporation.[20] Some commentators interpret the name “Lord of the Gaņas” to mean “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of created categories”, such as the elements.[21] Ganapati(Sanskrit: गणपति; gaṇapati), a synonym forGanesha, is a compound composed of gaṇa, meaning “group”, and pati, meaning “ruler” or “lord”.[20]The Amarakosha,[22] an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms ofGaneshaVinayakaVighnarāja (equivalent to Vignesha), Dvaimātura (one who has two mothers),[23] Gaṇādhipa (equivalent to Ganapati and Ganesha), Ekadanta (one who has one tusk), HerambaLambodara (one who has a pot belly, or, literally, one who has a hanging belly), and Gajanana (IAST: gajānana) ; having the face of an elephant).[24]

Vinayaka (Sanskrit: विनायक; vināyaka) is a common name for Ganesha that appears in thePurāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras.[25] This name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak (aṣṭavināyaka).[26]The namesVignesha(Sanskrit: विघ्नेश; vighneśa) and Vigneshvara (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश्वर; vighneśvara) (Lord of Obstacles)[11] refers to his primary function in Hindu mythology as the creator and remover of obstacles (vighna).[27]

A prominent name for Ganesha in the Tamil language is Pille or Pillaiyar (Little Child).[28] A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pille means a “child” while pillaiyar means a “noble child”. He adds that the words pallupella, and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify “tooth or tusk of an elephant”, but more generally “elephant”.[29] Anita Raina Thapan notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have originally meant “the young of the elephant”, because the Pali word pillaka means “a young elephant”.[30]


See also: SritattvanidhiThis statue of Ganesha was created in the Mysore DistrictofKarnataka in the 13th century.Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art.[31] Unlike those of some deities, representations of Ganesha show wide variations and distinct patterns changing over time.[32] He may be portrayed standing, dancing, heroically taking action against demons, playing with his family as a boy, sitting down, or engaging in a range of contemporary situations.

Images of Ganesha first appeared in Sri Lanka at least as early as the 2nd century CE. The earliest known image occurs at the Kantaka Cetiya in Mihintale, which is dated to earlier than the 1st century BC. The figure is a one-tusked Gana (dwarf) attended by other ganas, who hold the various attributes of the deity.[33]

Ganesha images were prevalent in many parts of India by the 6th century.[34]The figure shown to the right is typical of Ganesha statuary from 900–1200, after Ganesha had been well-established as an independent deity with his own sect. This example features some of Ganesha’s common iconographic elements. A virtually identical statue has been dated between 973–1200 by Paul Martin-Dubost,[35] and another similar statue is dated c. 12th century by Pratapaditya Pal.[36] Ganesha has the head of an elephant and a big belly. This statue has four arms, which is common in depictions of Ganesha. He holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand and holds a delicacy, which he samples with his trunk, in his lower-left hand. The motif of Ganesha turning his trunk sharply to his left to taste a sweet in his lower-left hand is a particularly archaic feature.[37] A more primitive statue in one of the Ellora Caveswith this general form has been dated to the 7th century.[38] Details of the other hands are difficult to make out on the statue shown. In the standard configuration, Ganesha typically holds an axe or a goad in one upper arm and a noose in the other upper arm.

The influence of this old constellation of iconographic elements can still be seen in contemporary representations of Ganesha. In one modern form, the only variation from these old elements is that the lower-right hand does not hold the broken tusk but rather is turned toward the viewer in a gesture of protection or fearlessness (abhaya mudra).[39] The same combination of four arms and attributes occurs in statues of Ganesha dancing, which is a very popular theme.[40]

Common attributes

A typical four-armed form. Miniature of Nurpur school (circa 1810).[41]Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art.[42] Puranic myths provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head.[43] One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and other less-common variations in the number of heads are known.[44] While some texts say that Ganesha was born with an elephant head, in most stories he acquires the head later.[45] The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha’s original head with that of an elephant.[46] Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary according to different sources.[47] In another story, when Ganesha was born, his mother, Parvati, showed off her new baby to the other gods. Unfortunately, the god Shani (Saturn), who is said to have the evil eye, looked at him, causing the baby’s head to be burned to ashes. The god Vishnu came to the rescue and replaced the missing head with that of an elephant.[48] Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva’s laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.[49]

Ganesha’s earliest name was Ekadanta (One Tusk), referring to his single whole tusk, the other having been broken off.[50] Some of the earliest images of Ganesha show him holding his broken tusk.[51] The importance of this distinctive feature is reflected in theMudgala Purana, which states that the name of Ganesha’s second incarnation is Ekadanta.[52] Ganesha’s protruding belly appears as a distinctive attribute in his earliest statuary, which dates to the Gupta period (fourth to sixth centuries).[53] This feature is so important that, according to the Mudgala Purana, two different incarnations of Ganesha use names based on it: Lambodara (Pot Belly, or, literally, Hanging Belly) and Mahodara (Great Belly).[54] Both names are Sanskrit compounds describing his belly (Sanskrit: udara).[55] The Brahmanda Purana says that Ganesha has the name Lambodara because all the universes (i.e., cosmic eggs; IAST: brahmāṇḍas) of the past, present, and future are present in him.[56] The number of Ganesha’s arms varies; his best-known forms have between two and sixteen arms.[57] Many depictions of Ganesha feature four arms, which is mentioned in Puranic sources and codified as a standard form in some iconographic texts.[58] His earliest images had two arms.[59] Forms with 14 and 20 arms appeared in central India during the 9th and 10th centuries.[60] The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms.[61] According to the Ganesha Purana, Ganesha wrapped the serpent Vāsuki around his neck.[62] Other depictions of snakes include use as a sacred thread (IAST: yajñyopavīta)[63] wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Upon Ganesha’s forehead there may be a third eye or theShaivite sectarian mark (Sanskrit:tilaka), which consists of three horizontal lines.[64] TheGanesha Puranaprescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead.[65] A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra (IAST: bhālacandra; “Moon on the Forehead”) includes that iconographic element. Specific colors are associated with certain forms.[66] Many examples of color associations with specific meditation forms are prescribed in theSritattvanidhi, a treatise on Hindu iconography. For example, white is associated with his representations as Heramba-Ganapati and Rina-Mochana-Ganapati (Ganapati Who Releases from Bondage).[67] Ekadanta-Ganapatiis visualized as blue during meditation on that form.[68]


The earliest Ganesha images are without a vahana (mount).[69] Of the eight incarnations of Ganesha described in the Mudgala Purana, Ganesha has a mouse in five of them, uses a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation of Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as Vighnaraja.[70] Of the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in theGanesha PuranaMohotkata has a lion, Mayūreśvara has a peacock, Dhumraketu has a horse, and Gajanana has a rat.[71] Jain depictions of Ganesha show his vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock.[72]

Ganesha dancing on his mouse, 11th century, Bengal,musée d’art asiatique de Berlin.Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse or rat.[73] Martin-Dubost says that the rat began to appear as the principal vehicle in sculptures of Ganesha in central and western India during the 7th century; the rat was always placed close to his feet.[74]The mouse as a mount first appears in written sources in the Matsya Purana and later in the Brahmananda Purana andGanesha Purana, where Ganesha uses it as his vehicle only in his last incarnation.[75] TheGanapati Atharvashirsa includes a meditation verse on Ganesha that describes the mouse appearing on his flag.[76] The names Mūṣakavāhana (mouse-mount) and Ākhuketana (rat-banner) appear in the Ganesha Sahasranama.[77]

The mouse is interpreted in several ways. According to Grimes, “Many, if not most of those who interpret Gaṇapati’s mouse, do so negatively; it symbolizes tamoguṇaas well as desire”.[78]Along these lines, Michael Wilcockson says it symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish.[79] Krishan notes that the rat is destructive and a menace to crops. The Sanskrit wordmūṣaka (mouse) is derived from the root mūṣ (stealing, robbing). It was essential to subdue the rat as a destructive pest, a type ofvighna (impediment) that needed to be overcome. According to this theory, showing Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles) and gives evidence of his possible role as a folkgrāmata-devatā (village deity) who later rose to greater prominence.[80]Martin-Dubost notes a view that the rat is a symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places.[81]



An elaborate idol of Ganesha at the Kudroli Bhagavathi temple in Mangalore, India. Ganesha is widely worshiped across India as the remover of obstacles.Ganesha is Vighneshvara or Vighnaraja, the Lord of Obstacles, both of a material and spiritual order.[82] He is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Paul Courtright says that “his task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation.”[83]

Krishan notes that some of Ganesha’s names reflect shadings of multiple roles that have evolved over time.[27] Dhavalikar ascribes the quick ascension of Ganesha in the Hindu pantheon, and the emergence of the Ganapatyas, to this shift in emphasis fromvighnakartā (obstacle-creator) to vighnahartā (obstacle-averter).[84]However, both functions continue to be vital to his character, as Robert Brown explains, “even after the Purāṇic Gaṇeśa is well-defined, in art Gaṇeśaremained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect”.[85]


Ganesha is considered to be the Lord of letters and learning.[86] In Sanskrit, the word buddhi is a feminine noun that is variously translated as intelligence, wisdom, or intellect.[87] The concept of buddhi is closely associated with the personality of Ganesha, especially in the Puranic period, when many stories stress his cleverness and love of intelligence. One of Ganesha’s names in theGanesha Purana and the Ganesha Sahasranama is Buddhipriya.[88] This name also appears in a list of 21 names at the end of theGanesha Sahasranama that Ganesha says are especially important.[89] The word priya can mean “fond of”, and in a marital context it can mean “lover” or “husband”,[90] so the name may mean either “Fond of Intelligence” or “Buddhi’s Husband”.[91]


Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum (ॐ, also called Om). The term oṃkārasvarūpa(Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound.[92] The Ganapati Atharvashirsaattests to this association. Chinmayananda translates the relevant passage as follows:

(O Lord Ganapati!) You are (the Trinity) Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa. You areIndra. You are fire [Agni] and air [Vāyu]. You are the sun [Sūrya] and the moon [Chandrama]. You are Brahman. You are (the three worlds) Bhuloka [earth], Antariksha-loka [space], and Swargaloka [heaven]. You are Om. (That is to say, You are all this).[93]

Ganesha (Devanagari) Aum jewelSome devotees see similarities between the shape of Ganesha’s body in iconography and the shape of Aum in the Devanāgarī andTamil scripts.[94]

First chakra

According to Kundalini yoga, Ganesha resides in the first chakra, called Muladhara (mūlādhāra).Mula means “original, main”; adharameans “base, foundation”. The muladhara chakra is the principle on which the manifestation or outward expansion of primordial Divine Force rests.[95]This association is also attested to in the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Courtright translates this passage as follows: “[O Ganesha,] You continually dwell in the sacral plexus at the base of the spine [mūlādhāra cakra].”[96] Thus, Ganesha has a permanent abode in every being at the Muladhara.[97] Ganesha holds, supports and guides all other chakras, thereby “governing the forces that propel the wheel of life”.[95]

Family and consorts

For more details on this topic, see Consorts of Ganesha

.Shiva and Pārvatī giving a bath to Gaṇeśa. Kangra miniature, 18th century. Allahbad Museum, New Delhi.[98]

Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths disagree about his birth.[99] He may have been created by Shiva,[100] or by Parvati,[101] or by Shiva and Parvati,[102] or appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati.[103]

The family includes his brother Skanda, who is also called Karttikeya, Murugan, and other names.[104] Regional differences dictate the order of their births. In northern India, Skanda is generally said to be the elder, while in the south, Ganesha is considered the first born.[105]Skanda was an important martial deity from about 500 BCE to about 600 CE, when worship of him declined significantly in northern India. As Skanda fell, Ganesha rose. Several stories tell of sibling rivalry between the brothers[106] and may reflect sectarian tensions.[107]

Ganesha’s marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories.[108] One pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarriedbrahmacārin.[109] This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India.[110]Another pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi(intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), andRiddhi (prosperity); these qualities are sometimes personified as goddesses, said to be Ganesha’s wives.[111] He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi).[112] Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Sarasvati orŚarda (particularly in Maharashtra).[113] He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi.[114] Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the Bengalregion, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.[115]

The Shiva Purana says that Ganesha had two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha (auspiciouness) andLābha.[116] The 1975 Hindi film Jai Santoshi Maa shows Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma, the goddess of satisfaction. This story has no Puranic basis, but Anita Raina Thapan and Lawrence Cohen cite Santoshi Ma’s cult as evidence of Ganesha’s continuing evolution as a popular deity.[117]

Worship and festivals

Celebrations of Ganesh by the Indian and Sri Lankan Tamilcommunity in Paris,France.Ganesha is worshipped on many religious and secular occasions; especially at the beginning of ventures such as buying a vehicle or starting a business.[118] K.N. Somayaji says, “there can hardly be a [Hindu] home [in India] which does not house an idol of Ganapati. [..] Ganapati, being the most popular deity in India, is worshipped by almost all castes and in all parts of the country”.[119]Devotees believe that if Ganesha is propitiated, he grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity.[120]

Ganesha is a non-sectarian deity, and Hindus of all denominations invoke him at the beginning of prayers, important undertakings, and religious ceremonies.[121]Dancers and musicians, particularly in southern India, begin performances of arts such as theBharatnatyam dance with a prayer to Ganesha.[122] Mantras such as Om Shri Gaṇeshāya Namah (Om, salutation to the Illustrious Ganesha) are often used. One of the most famous mantras associated with Ganesha is Om Gaṃ Ganapataye Namah (Om, Gaṃ, Salutation to the Lord of Hosts).[123]

Devotees offer Ganesha sweets such as modaka and small sweet balls (laddus).[124]He is often shown carrying a bowl of sweets, called a modakapātra.[125] Because of his identification with the color red, he is often worshipped with red sandalwood paste (raktacandana)[126] or red flowers. Dūrvā grass (Cynodon dactylon) and other materials are also used in his worship.[127]

Festivals associated with Ganesh are “the Vināyaka caturthī (Ganesh Chaturthi) in theśuklapakṣa (the fourth day of the waxing moon) in the month of bhādrapada(August/September) and the Gaṇeśa jayanti (Gaṇeśa’s birthday) celebrated on the cathurthī of thekṛṣṇapakṣa (fourth day of the waning moon) in the month of māgha (January/February).”[128]

Ganesh Chaturthi

Main article: Ganesh Chaturthi

The visarjan ceremony of Lord Ganesh during the Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad, India

An annual festival honours Ganesha for ten days, starting on Ganesh Chaturthi, which typically falls in late August or early September.[129] The festival culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi, when images (murtis) of Ganesha are immersed in the most convenient body of water.[130] In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed this annual Ganesha festival from private family celebrations into a grand public event.[131] He did so “to bridge the gap between the Brahminsand the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them” in his nationalistic strivings against the British inMaharashtra.[132] Because of Ganesha’s wide appeal as “the god for Everyman”, Tilak chose him as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule.[133] Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions, and he established the practice of submerging all the public images on the tenth day.[134] Today, Hindus across India celebrate the Ganapati festival with great fervour, though it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra.[135][136] The festival also assumes huge proportions in Mumbai and in the surrounding belt of Ashtavinayaka temples.


Further information: List of Ganapati temples and AshtavinayakIn Hindu temples, Ganesha is depicted in various ways: as an acolyte or subordinate deity (pãrśva-devatã); as a deity related to the principal deity (parivāra-devatã); or as the principal deity of the temple (pradhāna), treated similarly as the highest gods of the Hindu pantheon.[137]As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy, which is analogous to his role as Parvati’s doorkeeper.[138] In addition, several shrines are dedicated to Ganesha himself, of which the Ashtavinayak (Sanskrit: अष्टविनायक;aṣṭavināyaka; lit. “eight Ganesha (shrines)”) in Maharashtra are particularly well known. Located within a 100-kilometer radius of the city of Pune, each of these eight shrines celebrates a particular form of Ganapati, complete with its own lore and legend; together they “form amandala, demarking the sacred cosmos of Ganesha”.[139]

A statue of Ganesha carved in woodThere are many other important Ganesha temples at the following locations: Wai in Maharashtra; Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh;Jodhpur, Nagaur and Raipur (Pali) in Rajasthan; Baidyanath in Bihar; Baroda, Dholaka, and Valsad in Gujarat and Dhundiraj Temple in Varanasi,Uttar Pradesh. Prominent Ganesha temples in southern India include the following: : the Jambukeśvara Temple (Ucchi pillaiyar kottai) at Tiruchirapalli; at Rameshvaram and Suchindram;Karpaka Vinayakar Temple in TamilNadu; Hampi, Kasargod, andIdagunji in Karnataka; andBhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh.[140][141]

T. A. Gopinatha notes, “Every village however small has its own image of Vighneśvara(Vigneshvara) with or without a temple to house it in. At entrances of villages and forts, belowpīpaḹa trees […], in a niche […] in temples of Viṣṇu(Vishnu) as well as Śiva (Shiva) and also in separate shrines specially constructed in Śiva temples […]; the figure of Vighneśvara is invariably seen.”[142] Ganesha temples have also been built outside of India, including southeast Asia, Nepal,[143]and in several western countries.[144]

Rise to prominence

First appearance

Ganesha appeared in his classic form as a clearly-recognizable deity with well-defined iconographic attributes in the early 4th to 5th centuries.[145] Shanti Lal Nagar says that the earliest known iconic image of Ganesha is in the niche of the Shiva temple at Bhumra, which has been dated to the Gupta period.[146] His independent cult appeared by about the 10th century.[145] Narain summarizes the controversy between devotees and academics regarding the development of Ganesha as follows:

[W]hat is inscrutable is the somewhat dramatic appearance of Gaņeśa on the historical scene. His antecedents are not clear. His wide acceptance and popularity, which transcend sectarian and territorial limits, are indeed amazing. On the one hand there is the pious belief of the orthodox devotees in Gaņeśa’s Vedic origins and in the Purāṇicexplanations contained in the confusing, but nonetheless interesting, mythology. On the other hand there are doubts about the existence of the idea and the icon of this deity” before the fourth to fifth century A.D. … [I]n my opinion, indeed there is no convincing evidence of the existence of this divinity prior to the fifth century.[147]

Possible influences

Courtright reviews various speculative theories about the early history of Ganesha, including supposed tribal traditions and animal cults, and dismisses all of them in this way:

In this search for a historical origin for Gaņeśa, some have suggested precise locations outside the Brāhmaṇictradition…. These historical locations are intriguing to be sure, but the fact remains that they are all speculations, variations on the Dravidian hypothesis, which argues that anything not attested to in the Vedic and Indo-European sources must have come into Brāhmaṇic religion from the Dravidian or aboriginal populations of India as part of the process that produced Hinduism out of the interactions of the Aryan and non-Aryan populations. There is no independent evidence for an elephant cult or a totem; nor is there any archaeological data pointing to a tradition prior to what we can already see in place in the Purāṇic literature and the iconography of Gaņeśa.[148]

Thapan’s book on the development of Ganesha devotes a chapter to speculations about the role elephants had in early India but concludes that, “although by the second century AD the elephant-headed yakṣa form exists it cannot be presumed to representGaṇapati-Vināyaka. There is no evidence of a deity by this name having an elephant or elephant-headed form at this early stage.Gaṇapati-Vināyaka had yet to make his debut.”[149]

One theory of the origin of Ganesha is that he gradually came to prominence in connection with the four Vinayakas (Vināyakas).[150]In Hindu mythology, the Vināyakas were a group of four troublesome demons who created obstacles and difficulties[151] but who were easily propitiated.[152] The name Vināyaka is a common name for Ganesha both in the Purāṇas and in Buddhist Tantras.[25]Krishan is one of the academics who accepts this view, stating flatly of Ganesha, “He is a non-vedic god. His origin is to be traced to the four Vināyakas, evil spirits, of the Mānavagŗhyasūtra (7th–4th century BCE) who cause various types of evil and suffering”.[153]Depictions of elephant-headed human figures, which some identify with Ganesha, appear inIndian art and coinage as early as the 2nd century.[154] The elephant-headed Ganesha as lord of the Ganas was known to the people of Sri Lanka in the early pre-Christian era.[33]

Vedic and epic literature

Fifth century marble Ganesha found at Gardez, Afghanistan, now at Dargah Pir Rattan Nath, Kabul. The inscription says that this “great and beautiful image of Mahāvināyaka” was consecrated by the Shahi King Khingala.[155]

This content has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. You can comment on its removal.The title “Leader of the group” (Sanskrit: gaṇapati) occurs twice in the Rig Veda, but in neither case does it refer to the modern Ganesha. The term appears in RV 2.23.1 as a title forBrahmanaspati, according to commentators.[156] While this verse doubtless refers to Brahmanaspati, it was later adopted for worship of Ganesha and is still used today.[157] In rejecting any claim that this passage is evidence of Ganesha in the Rig Veda, Ludo Rocher says that it “clearly refers to Bṛhaspati—who is the deity of the hymn—and Bṛhaspati only”.[158]Equally clearly, the second passage (RV 10.112.9) refers to Indra,[159] who is given the epithet ‘gaṇapati’, translated “Lord of the companies (of the Maruts).”[160] However, Rocher notes that the more recent Ganapatya literature often quotes the Rigvedic verses to give Vedic respectability to Ganesha .[161]

Two verses in texts belonging to Black Yajurveda, Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā (2.9.1)[162]and Taittirīya Āraṇyaka (10.1),[163] appeal to a deity as “the tusked one” (Dantiḥ), “elephant-faced” (Hastimukha), and “with a curved trunk” (Vakratuņḍa). These names are suggestive of Ganesha, and the 14th century commentator Sayana explicitly establishes this identification.[164] The description of Dantin, possessing a twisted trunk (vakratuṇḍa) and holding a corn-sheaf, a sugar cane, and a club,[165] is so characteristic of the Puranic Ganapati that Heras says “we cannot resist to accept his full identification with this Vedic Dantin”.[166]However, Krishan considers these hymns to be post-Vedic additions.[167] Thapan reports that these passages are “generally considered to have been interpolated”. Dhavalikar says, “the references to the elephant-headed deity in the Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā have been proven to be very late interpolations, and thus are not very helpful for determining the early formation of the deity”.[168]

Ganesha does not appear in Indian epic literature that is dated to the Vedic period. A late interpolation to the epic poemMahabharata says that the sage Vyasa (Vyāsa) asked Ganesha to serve as his scribe to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed but only on condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterrupted, that is, without pausing. The sage agreed, but found that to get any rest he needed to recite very complex passages so Ganesha would have to ask for clarifications. The story is not accepted as part of the original text by the editors of the critical edition of the Mahabharata,[169] in which the twenty-line story is relegated to a footnote in an appendix.[170] The story of Ganesha acting as the scribe occurs in 37 of the 59 manuscripts consulted during preparation of the critical edition.[171] Ganesha’s association with mental agility and learning is one reason he is shown as scribe for Vyāsa’s dictation of theMahabharata in this interpolation.[172] Richard L. Brown dates the story to the 8th century, and Moriz Winternitz concludes that it was known as early as c. 900, but it was not added to theMahabharata some 150 years later. Winternitz also notes that a distinctive feature in South Indian manuscripts of the Mahabharata is their omission of this Ganesha legend.[173] The termvināyaka is found in some recensions of the Śāntiparva and Anuśāsanaparva that are regarded as interpolations.[174] A reference to Vighnakartṛīṇām (“Creator of Obstacles”) in Vanaparva is also believed to be an interpolation and does not appear in the critical edition.[175]

Puranic period

Stories about Ganesha often occur in the Puranic corpus. Brown notes while the Puranas “defy precise chronological ordering”, the more detailed narratives of Ganesha’s life are in the late texts, c. 600–1300.[176] Yuvraj Krishan says that the Puranic myths about the birth of Ganesha and how he acquired an elephant’s head are in the later Puranas, which were composed from c. 600 onwards. He elaborates on the matter to say that references to Ganesha in the earlier Puranas, such as the Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas, are later interpolations made during the 7th to 10th centuries.[177]

In his survey of Ganesha’s rise to prominence in Sanskrit literature, Ludo Rocher notes that:

Above all, one cannot help being struck by the fact that the numerous stories surrounding Gaṇeśa concentrate on an unexpectedly limited number of incidents. These incidents are mainly three: his birth and parenthood, his elephant head, and his single tusk. Other incidents are touched on in the texts, but to a far lesser extent.[178]

Ganesha’s rise to prominence was codified in the 9th century, when he was formally included as one of the five primary deities ofSmartism. The 9th century philosopher Śaṅkarācāryapopularized the “worship of the five forms” (pañcāyatana pūjā) system among orthodox Brahmins of the Smarta tradition.[179] This worship practice invokes the five deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devī, andSūrya.[180] Śaṅkarācārya instituted the tradition primarily to unite the principal deities of these five major sects on an equal status. This formalized the role of Ganesha as a complementary deity.


Further information: Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana and Ganapati Atharvashirsa

Statue of Ganesha with a flower

Once Ganesha was accepted as one of the five principal deities of Brahmanism, some Brahmins(brāhmaṇas) chose to worship Ganesha as their principal deity. They developed the Ganapatyatradition, as seen in the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana.[181]

The date of composition for the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana—and their dating relative to one another—has sparked academic debate. Both works were developed over time and contain age-layered strata. Anita Thapan reviews comments about dating and provides her own judgement. “It seems likely that the core of the Ganesha Purana appeared around the twelfth and thirteenth centuries”, she says, “but was later interpolated.”[182] Lawrence W. Preston considers the most reasonable date for theGanesha Purana to be between 1100 and 1400, which coincides with the apparent age of the sacred sites mentioned by the text.[183]

R.C. Hazra suggests that the Mudgala Purana is older than the Ganesha Purana, which he dates between 1100 and 1400.[184]However, Phyllis Granoff finds problems with this relative dating and concludes that the Mudgala Purana was the last of the philosophical texts concerned with Ganesha. She bases her reasoning on the fact that, among other internal evidence, theMudgala Purana specifically mentions the Ganesha Purana as one of the four Puranas (theBrahma, the Brahmanda, the Ganesha, and theMudgala Puranas) which deal at length with Ganesha.[185] While the kernel of the text must be old, it was interpolated until the 17th and 18th centuries as the worship of Ganapati became more important in certain regions.[186]Another highly regarded scripture, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa, was probably composed during the 16th or 17th centuries.[187]

Beyond India and Hinduism

For more details on this topic,

see Ganesha in world religions.”Dancing Ganesh. Central Tibet. Early fifteenth century. Colours on cotton. Height: 68 centimetres”.[188] This form is also known as Maharakta (“The Great Red One”).

[189]Ganesha statue in 9th centuryPrambanan temple, Java, Indonesia

Commercial and cultural contacts extended India’s influence in western and southeast Asia. Ganesha is one of many Hindu deities who reached foreign lands as a result.[190]

Ganesha was particularly worshipped by traders and merchants, who went out of India for commercial ventures.[191] The period from approximately the 10th century onwards was marked by the development of new networks of exchange, the formation of trade guilds, and a resurgence of money circulation. During this time, Ganesha became the principal deity associated with traders.[192] The earliest inscription invoking Ganesha before any other deity is associated with the merchant community.[193]

Hindus migrated to the Malay Archipelago and took their culture, including Ganesha, with them.[194] Statues of Ganesha are found throughout the Malay Archipelago in great numbers, often beside Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of Ganesha found in Hindu art of Java, Bali, and Borneo show specific regional influences.[195] The gradual spread of Hindu culture to southeast Asia established Ganesha in modified forms in Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina, Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced side by side, and mutual influences can be seen in the iconography of Ganesha in the region.[196] In Thailand, Cambodia, and among the Hindu classes of theChams in Vietnam, Ganesha was mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles.[197] Even today in Buddhist Thailand, Ganesha is regarded as a remover of obstacles, the god of success.[197]

Before the arrival of Islam, Afghanistan had close cultural ties with India, and the adoration of both Hindu and Buddhist deities was practiced. A few examples of sculptures from the 5th to the 7th centuries have survived, suggesting that the worship of Ganesha was then in vogue in the region.[198]

Ganesha appears in Mahayana Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also as a Hindu demon form with the same name.[199] His image appears in Buddhist sculptures during the late Gupta period.[200] As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing. This form, called Nṛtta Ganapati, was popular in northern India, later adopted in Nepal, and then in Tibet.[201]In Nepal, the Hindu form of Ganesha, known as Heramba, is very popular; he has five heads and rides a lion.[202] Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent views of him.[203] A Tibetan rendering of Ganapati is tshogs bdag.[204] In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahākāla, a popular Tibetan deity.[205] Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, sometimes dancing.[206] Ganesha appears in China and Japan in forms that show distinct regional character. In northern China, the earliest known stone statue of Ganesha carries an inscription dated to 531.[207] In Japan, the Ganesha cult was first mentioned in 806.[208]

The canonical literature of Jainism does not mention the worship of Ganesha.[209]However, Ganesha is worshipped by most Jains, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of Kubera.[210] Jain connections with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up Ganesha worship as a result of commercial connections.[211] The earliest known Jain Ganesha statue dates to about the 9th century.[212] A 15th century Jain text lists procedures for the installation of Ganapati images.[209] Images of Ganesha appear in the Jain temples of Rajasthan and Gujarat.[213]

108 Names of Lord Ganesh

108 Names of Lord Ganesh
Names Meanings
Akhuratha One who has Mouse as his Chariot/Vehicle
Alampata Ever Eternal Lord
Amit Incomparable Lord
Anantachidrupamayam Infinite and Consciousness Personified
Avaneesh Lord of the whole World
Avighna Remover of Obstacles
Balaganapati Beloved and Lovable Child
Bhalchandra Moon-Crested Lord
Bheema Huge and Gigantic
Bhupati Lord of the Gods
Bhuvanpati God of the Gods
Buddhinath God of Wisdom
Buddhipriya Knowledge Bestower
Buddhividhata God of Knowledge
Chaturbhuj One who has Four Arms
Devadeva Lord of All Lords
Devantakanashakarin Destroyer of Evils and Asuras
Devavrata One who accepts all Penances
Devendrashika Protector of All Gods
Dharmik One who gives Charity
Dhoomravarna Smoke-Hued Lord
Durja Invincible Lord
Dvaimatura One who has two Mothers
Ekaakshara He of the Single Syllable
Ekadanta Single-Tusked Lord
Ekadrishta Single-Tusked Lord
Eshanputra Lord Shiva’s Son
Gadadhara One who has The Mace as His Weapon
Gajakarna One who has Eyes like an Elephant
Gajanana Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajananeti Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajavakra Trunk of The Elephant
Gajavaktra One who has Mouth like an Elephant
Ganadhakshya Lord of All Ganas
Ganadhyakshina Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
Ganapati Lord of All Ganas
Gaurisuta The Son of Gauri
Gunina One who is The Master of All Virtues
Haridra One who is Golden Colored
Heramba Mother’s Beloved Son
Kapila Yellowish-Brown Colored
Kaveesha Master of Poets
Kirti Lord of Music
Kripalu Merciful Lord
Krishapingaksha Yellowish-Brown Eyed
Kshamakaram The Place of Forgiveness
Kshipra One who is easy to Appease
Lambakarna Large-Eared Lord
Lambodara The Huge Bellied Lord
Mahabala Enormously Strong Lord
Mahaganapati Omnipotent and Supreme Lord
Maheshwaram Lord of The Universe
Mangalamurti All Auspicious Lord
Manomay Winner of Hearts
Mrityuanjaya Conqueror of Death
Mundakarama Abode of Happiness
Muktidaya Bestower of Eternal Bliss
Musikvahana One who has Mouse as His Charioteer
Nadapratithishta One who Appreciates and Loves Music
Namasthetu Vanquisher of All Evils and Vices and Sins
Nandana Lord Shiva’s Son
Nideeshwaram Giver of Wealth and Treasures
Omkara One who has the Form Of OM
Pitambara One who has Yellow Colored Body
Pramoda Lord of All Abodes
Prathameshwara First Among All
Purush The Omnipotent Personality
Rakta One who has Red Colored Body
Rudrapriya Beloved Of Lord Shiva
Sarvadevatman Acceptor of All Celestial Offerings
Sarvasiddhanta Bestower of Skills and Wisdom
Sarvatman Protector of The Universe
Shambhavi The Son of Parvati
Shashivarnam One who has a Moon like Complexion
Shoorpakarna Large-Eared Lord
Shuban All Auspicious Lord
Shubhagunakanan One who is The Master of All Virtues
Shweta One who is as Pure as the White Color
Siddhidhata Bestower of Success and Accomplishments
Siddhipriya Bestower of Wishes and Boons
Siddhivinayaka Bestower of Success
Skandapurvaja Elder Brother of Skanda
Sumukha Auspicious Face
Sureshwaram Lord of All Lords
Swaroop Lover of Beauty
Tarun Ageless
Uddanda Nemesis of Evils and Vices
Umaputra The Son of Goddess Uma
Vakratunda Curved Trunk Lord
Varaganapati Bestower of Boons
Varaprada Granter of Wishes and Boons
Varadavinayaka Bestower of Success
Veeraganapati Heroic Lord
Vidyavaridhi God of Wisdom
Vighnahara Remover of Obstacles
Vignaharta Demolisher of Obstacles
Vighnaraja Lord of All Hindrances
Vighnarajendra Lord of All Obstacles
Vighnavinashanaya Destroyer of All Obstacles and Impediments
Vigneshwara Lord of All Obstacles
Vikat Huge and Gigantic
Vinayaka Lord of All
Vishwamukha Master of The Universe
Vishwaraja King of The World
Yagnakaya Acceptor of All Sacred and Sacrificial Offerings
Yashaskaram Bestower of Fame and Fortune
Yashvasin Beloved and Ever Popular Lord

Ganesh and his wives

Ganesh and his wives

A lot of Indian people think that Ganesh has normally to remain a bachelor god. Besides, several specialists state that, according to the commun faith, Ganesh is really a bachelor, and nay even misogynous god. In support of this proposition, they explain that classical images showing Ganesh in association with feminine characters would be rather rare…

In reality, when Ganesh is a bachelor, we may consider him as a brahmachârin , that is to say engaged in spiritual practices for the purification.

In other cases, traditional as well as contemporary iconography show it many times, Ganesh is said to be married with two beautiful girls named Siddhi (Success) and Buddhi (Wisdom). Is it a symbol to emphasize the wisdom and success necessary action in the course to remove obstacles, and we know that Ganesh is the best specialist in that matter ?

Or, do the two Ganesh wives personnify His wisdom and accomplisment ?

The best known history of the Ganesh wedding is narrated in the Shiva Purâna.

Shiva and Pârvatî told their two sons : “You two are good sons, equal to our eyes. An auspicious marriage will be granted to the first of you coming back here after he has travelled three times all over the universe.” Skanda started immediately to journey round the world, but Ganesh took time to think about the challenge. He got a purification bath, then installed two comfortable seats and invited his parents to sit down on these. Praising them, he turned around them seven times, then declared : “Please take the decision to celebrate my marriage. I am the winner”. Indeed, his parents were surprised, but Ganesh replied : “Is it not written in theVeda and the Shastra that the man who ritually circumambulate (pradakshina) seven times around his parents can get as many merits as if he journeys round the world ? Please, let organize quickly my wedding now”. Hearing this statement from their son, Shiva et Pârvatî were really surprised but they decided to congratulate him for his guile. So, Ganesh was mattied to the Prajâpati’s daughters : Siddhi (success) and Buddhi (wisdom, cleverness). After some times, Ganesh got two sons : Kshema (prosperity) born from Siddhi, and Lâbha (acquisition) born from Buddhi. When Skanda came back and discovered that his brother had diddled him, he went to the Krauncha mountain where he dwelled unmarried, still now.

Other references, in the texts, talking about the Ganesh marriage are the following :

A well developed narration in the Vinâyakâpurânam (18 th century)
The Matsyapurâna which indicates Ganesh as the “Riddhi (success, prosperity) and Buddhi (intelligence) owner”; for this reason, some commentators consider that these goddesses are not Shaktis, but only symbols of the Ganesh qualities
The Brahmavaivartapurâna mentions the Ganesh marriage with Pushti (Prosperity)
In the Ganeshapurâna, the great Sage Nârada propose the Ganesh wedding with Siddhi and Buddhi, the two daughters of god Brahmâ
In the Mudgalapurâna, the two Ganesh wives, Siddhi and Buddhi are not daughters of god Brahmâ, but daughters of Marici, the Brahmâ’s son…

The wives names can be different. As indicated above, the Shivapurâna names them as Siddhi and Buddhi, but they are called Riddhi and Buddhi in the Matsyapurâna. And theBrahmavaivartapurâna mentions only Pushti as the Ganesh wife…

More. Sometimes, the Ganesh “wife” is indistinctly, according to the regions, the people, the sects, named Sarasvatî, Sharda, Lakshmi, and even Pârvatî…

The same heterogeneity is found to name popularly the Ganesh mother : generally, she is known as Pârvatî, but also as Gauri, Lakshmi, Durgâ.

Definitely, Ganesh often goes with a female image seated on his left lap, or with his two brides , rarely on his two laps, but more often seated ont on the right lap, the other on the left one; this can be observed on the painted walls in the Shekavati region in Rajasthan; sometimes stone frescoes are found

The question remains weither the Ganesh wives are Shakti or only wives. Most probably, the two options are credible. To support the second option, we known that, according to theShivapurâna, two sons were born from the Ganesh marriage with his wives : Siddhi got Kshema (Welfare) and Buddhi gave birth to Lâbha (lucre).

On the other hand,it is undisputable that Ganesh Shkti are known. Except the elephant-headed Vinâyakî (see below), who is obviously a “typical” Shakti since she is quite similar to Ganesh (but she is a female representation), the Shakti Ganesh form a particular category connected with tantric cults.

These Shakti Ganesh are escorted by a human-shape goddess, perched on his left lap. Such Tantric Ganesh are :


The big Mahâganapati statue just located at the entrance of the one-thousand pilars hall of the Minâkshîsundareshvara temple in Madurai, is very famous. But we may also remember that Ganesh is not really a bachelor in many present handicraft works .

Ganesh and Vinâyakî

Vinâyakî is a feminine form of Ganesh; she has a elephant head and female breast. Only a few such representations are known in India, about thirty only, for instance :

In Uttar Pradesh à Rikhian, Banda district : stone lintel (10 th, century, Pratîhâra period)

In Madhya Pradesh :

In Udayapur, north of Vidisha; in this place, Vinâyakî and Vinâyaka (11 th century, Paramâra period) are represented together, which is a quite unique feature
In Bheraghat, near Jabalpur, a 11 th century Vinâyakî is locally named Shri Aingini
In Suhania, Morena region (10 th century, Pratîhara period)
Coming from Satna,but on display at the Indian Museum in Calcutta, a notable Vrishaba , cow-headed goddess (particular form of Durgâ, with eight arm, 10 th century, Chedi period); a very nice small seated Vinâyakî, with four arms, is located at the feet of this large Vrishaba

In Orissa :

In Hirapur, near Bhubaneshwar (10 th century, East Ganga period)
In Ranipur Jhariyal (10 th century, East Ganga period)

In Maharashtra, Aundha Nâganâtha (Parbani district), 13 th century

In Tamil Nadu, where she got tiger feet (Vyâghrapâda Vinayakî) in


Specialized books give the description of other Vinâyakî images in the following locations :

A 16 th century bronze, Shirali museum (Karnataka)
A 17 th century Maharashtra bronze, Lucknow museum
A 17 th century Kerala bronze, Staat Museum fur Völkerkunde de Munich (Germany)

This goddess is again marked out in Gujarat, in Bihar, in Assam.

This feminine Ganesh forms have been discovered in circular enclosure called 64 Yoginî (Chaushasthi Yoginî) enclosures or temples. Eighteen such Yoginî temples have been indexed in Inde and Sri Lanka.

Several names are known for these Ganesh feminine forms : Vinâyakî of course, but also Ganeshânî, Gajânanâ, etc.

Who is Vinâyakî ? Ancient texts consider her as one of the 64 Yoginî, or even one of the Saptamâtrikâ. We need to read the Purânato get a rough idea about the role of this goddess.

According to the Silpasâra, document in which the Yoginî are presented as terrifying Durgâ consorts, the description explain thjat some Yoginî feed with dead bodies, other stare on you at night like devils; moreover, other look like demons with awful eyes and the hair drawn up on the head.

To summarize, Vinâyakî is obviously the Shakti of Ganesh/Vinâyaka, that is to say the creativeness of the god. On the contrary, the other consort goddesses like Buddhi, Siddhi, Riddhi, Pushti, Nîla Sarasvatî), may be considered as his wives. They have a human body and a seducing face.

The Vinâyakî iconography is similar to the Ganesh one; for instance, she is represented with two or four arms, standing or seated, sometimes she is dancing. More complicated forms are unknown. Emblems are the same as Ganesh emblems; however Vinâyakî can bear a vînâ. Her hands can show the abhaya or the varada mudra .

For J. Herbert, the Ganesh Shakti is diversely represented. Sometimes, she is a twin figure, one is Buddhi (supra mental power of unerstanding), the other is Siddhi (higher cleverness and superhuman power both) or Riddhi (perfection); these goddesses are represented with normal human bodies. In esoteric situations, the Shakti is named Ganeshânî, represented with an elephant head and a woman body. Ganesh embraces her tenderly close by him. Most probably, Herbert speaks abput the twin japanese Ganesh.

Ganesh and the Saptamâtrikâ

In the Hinduism, the seven (sapta) Mâtrikâ (Mothers) are divine images. In a few places, like Elephanta, near Mumbai (Bombay), they are eight in number (ashta).

The Mâtrikâ’s seems to be complex. Their nature is ambivalent : in the Varâha-Purâna, it is said that they have been created by Shiva and other gods in order to fight an unconquerable devil, Andhakâsura. Every blood drop oozing from his wounds and falling on the ground was immediately transformed in a new Asura adverse to gods. Then, the Shakti bustled themselves to collect the demon’s blood before it could reach the ground. Then Andhakâsura died. But, the legend reports that each of these Shakti was the symbol of one of the eight “bad mental feelings”.

In course of time, the symbolic meaning of the Mâtrikâ has progressively changed; being initially malevolent deities, they became benevolent and protector. Indeed, a very long time ago, the Mothers were connected, in the popular believes, with the event of usual diseases, like smallpox, typhoid, cholera. To avoid these deseases, the only solution was to obtain the Mothers goodwill, giving offerings and sacrifices to them.

The present popular conviction, among lowest castes and out-casts, still assigns a considerable importance to the Mothers who shield them from such ilnesses. For instance, Maryamma for the smallpox, is prayed in a small temple near the Swayambunath temple (Kathmandu, Nepal).

Incorporated in the divine idols venerated by brahmanism, the Mâtrikâ were progressively considered as female counterparts and personnified Shakti (Creation Power) of the Vedic gods. According to some authors, they are also forms derived from the Chandî goddess.

These forces, Shakti of main gods, share their iconography and equally own particuler mounts and emblems. The following frame give the symbols attached to the Mâtrikâ.

God Mâtrikâ Typical emblem Mount
Brahmâ Brahmânî Kamandalu, Shruk Goose or swan
Shiva Mâheshvarî (or Yogeshvarî) Nandi Bull
Vishnu Vaishnavî Garuda eagle
Skanda (Kumâra) Kaumârî Peacock
Vishnu-Varâha Vârâhî Buffalo
Indra Indrânî Vajra Airâvata elephant
Yama Châmundâ Crânes Jackal or buffalo

In the Harivamsha, one can find prayers adressed to the Mâtrikâ, imploring them to protect the children, as if they are their true mothers. For this reason, the Mother icons are sometimes depicted with a child seated on their laps (see in Ellora, for instance) or standing nearby.

According to a 11 th century text, the Ishâna-Shiva-gurudeva-paddhati, Ganesh invoked as Vinâyaka is able to preserve children from malevolent evils; then, he removes all the obstacles which could prevent the cult rendered to the Mothers. Because of that, the god is viewed as patron of the Mâtrikâ. Accordingly, Ganesh is often represented whis them in the Shiva temples. We must also remember (described in the Vâmanapurâna) that, after the Ganesh birth, Shiva requests the Mâtrikâ and the awfull dead spirits to serve the son of Pârvatî at all times.

The Suprabhedâgama explains that Ganesh must be standing up when he escorts the Saptamâtrikâ. However, most often, we find him seated and even dancing. He is generally at the very left side of the group, nearby Chamundâ. This arrangement is also found in Ellora in the caves nb. 14, 16, 21 et 22 (end 6 th to 8 th century).

Alike the Mothers, Ganesh can provoke a lot of hindrances to anybody. Therefore, it is compulsory to propitiate the god and to supplicate him to remove the obstacles. Actually, and this point is many times emphasized in the texts, Ganesh must be auspicious before the cult to other gods is started. This is why the Gobhilasmriti demands to begin every ritual by a preliminary invocation to Ganesh and the Mothers.

Ganesh near the Saptamâtrikâ is found rather frequently in the Deccan peninsula, in Orissa, in Bengal, but mainly in Tamil Nadu. A few locations only are reported here :

Aihole (Ravana Phadi ceve), 6 th century, Chalukya period (Karnataka)
Pattadakal (Galaganath temple), Chalukya period (Karnataka)
Tiruttani (Virattanesvara temple), Pallava period (Andhra Pradesh)
Kanchipuram (Kailashanath temple, Pallava period)
Bhubaneshvar (Parashurâmeshvara temple), East Ganga period (Orissa)
Khajuraho (Vishvanatha temple), Chandella period (Madhya Pradesh)
Osian, Gurjara-Pratihâ,ra period (Rajasthan)
Ellora, Râmeshvara cave, calle cave 21 (other carvings representing the Mothers are situated in the cave 14 – Ravana cave -, and in the Kailasha temple – cave 16), Rashtrakuta period (Maharashtra)
Kanchipuram (Kailâsanâtha temple), 7 th century, Pallava period
Vadodara (Museum) : Ganesh and Châmundâ from Tintoi

The 8 Incarnations of Lord Ganesha.

PAST LIFE HISTORY —- The 8 Incarnations of Lord Ganesha.
THE HINDU CLASSICS CLAIM THAT GANESHA HAS ENJOYED EIGHT PHYSICAL INCARNATIONS — well, eight main incarnations anyway. According to the Mudgalpurana (20/5-12), the incarnations are: Vakratunda, Ekdunta, Mahodara, Gajanana, Lambodara, Vikata, Vighnaraja, and Dhoomravarna. Yes, he does have an elephant trunk in every single one of these incarnations! Most of his lives seem to involve slaying demons! But each lifetime was different in some way, and his mode of carriage (the animal he rode) changed in certain lifetimes — in one life he rode a peacock and in another he traded his ever-reliable mouse, for a noble lion! There is an easy to notice symbolic function in these eight incarnations. In each lifetime, Ganesha fought against and subdued a different demon. Each demon relates to a flaw in human nature, something which needs to be overcome before one can become a Higher Man. The eight weaknesses which Ganesha spent eight lifetimes overcoming are: jealousy, drunkeness, illusion, greed, anger, desire, egotism, and self-infatuation (arrogance).

INCARNATION 1 —- Vakratunda.
IN HIS FIRST INCARNATION, GANESHA WAS KNOWN AS VAKRATUNDA (THE CURVED TRUNK ONE). If you see Ganesha pictured with a curved trunk, you can assume this is a celebration of Ganesha’s first lifetime. Basically, Vakratunda was the Ganesha who slayed the demon Matsarasura, and his vehicle is the lion on which he is seated. Matsarasura (or Matsara) was (and still is) a symbol of jealousy. Thus symbolically, Ganesha/Vakratunda is the god who destroys and overcomes the destructive power of jealousy.

INCARNATION 2 —- Ekdunta.
IN HIS SECOND INCARNATION, GANESHA PLAYED THE ROLE OF “EKDUNTA”, WITH THE MOUSE AS HIS MODE OF CONVEYANCE. He fought the demon Madasur and managed to subdue him. Ekdunta (or Ekadanta) means “the Lord who has only one tusk”. Madasur (or Mada) was the demon of drunkeness.
One question for the scholars: why does Ganesha have only one tusk? The reason for this, according to Padma Purana, is that one day when Lord Shiva was sleeping, sage Parashurama came to visit him. However, Ganesha would not allow Parashurama in, for his father’s sleep would be disturbed. When Parashurama insisted he be permitted entry, a fight broke out. In the course of their struggle, Parashurama threw his axe at Ganesha. This axe had been given to Parashurama by Lord Shiva. Recognizing the axe and out of reverence for his father, Ganesha refused to intercept the weapon. He bowed and took its impact on one of his tusks, which broke. This broken tusk was used by him to write the epic, Mahabharata. Ganesha, the embodiment of wisdom, is also depicted as a scribe to whom sage Vyasa dictated the Mahabharata. He is accepted as the god of learning and the patron of letters.

INCARNATION 3 —- Mahodara.
IN HIS THIRD INCARNATION, GANESHA ASSUMED THE FORM OF “MAHODARA”, ONCE AGAIN USING THE MOUSE AS HIS VEHICLE. Mahodara contested the demon Mohasur, and won. In fact Ganesha/Mahodara was so successful that Mohasur became a staunch supporter, effectively won over to the Good Side of the Force. Ganesha/Mahodara also slew two other demons, Durbuddhi and his son Jnanaari. This quote comes from Mahodara — Astha Vinayaka, concerning the fell dictatorship of the Demon Mohasur: “Mohasur (sic) worshipped the Sun God and attained the name of DaityaRaja meaning King of the Demons. He also conquered all the three worlds… “All the gods, sages hid in caves and jungles in fear of him. There was anarchy all over. At this time Surya, Sun God advised all the gods to worship Mahodara. “All the Gods and the Sages started worshipping Mahodara (he is really Ganesha, remember?) At last Mahodara/Ganesha was pleased with their devotion and blessed them, by saying that he would slay Mohasur himself. “When Shukracharya heard this, he told Mohasur to surrender in front of Mahodara. Lord Vishnu also explained to Mohasur that if he surrendered he will not be killed or destroyed. That’s why he should accept the friendship of Mahodara. By saying this he started praising and singing the glories of Lord Lambodara. “Listening to this Mohasur became frightened and he requested Lord Vishnu to bring Mahodara giving him due honour and respect. “When Lord Mahodara arrived, Mohasur greeted and welcomed him with pomp and gaiety. He sang his praises and asked for forgiveness for his evil sins. Mohasur promised the gods that he would return them their Swargalok and assured that he would be always on the path of righteousness. He also assured them that henceforth, he would not a dare to harass the Gods and Sages. “Listening to this Lord Mahodara was pleased and commanded him to go back to Pataal lok and never return again. All the Gods and the Sages were elated, They all started singing the praise of Lord Mahodara. (This tale) is situated in Taluka Kholapur, District Raigad.”

INCARNATION 4 —- Gajanana.
IN HIS FOURTH INCARNATION, GANESHA ASSUMED THE FORM OF “GAJANANA”, WITH THE MOUSE AS HIS VEHICLE. Gajanana made the demon Lobhasur or Lobha (son of Kuber) submit and surrender before him, before putting him to death. Gajanana means “the Lord with an elephant face”, and Lobha was the demon of greed.

INCARNATION 5 —- Lambodara.
THE LORD WITH THE PROTUBERANT BELLY, WHO MASTERED KRODHA, THE DEMON OF ANGER. Ganesha’s ever-present obesity is emphasized in this particular manifestation. For the Ganapatiya devotees, who consider Ganesha as the Supreme God and the Master of the Universe, the sweet given as offerings are seen like seeds of innumerable worlds inhabited by innumerable living creatures, and the god’s belly is large enough to contain within all these worlds and creatures.

INCARNATION 6 —- Vikata.
VIKATA (“THE MISSHAPEN”), WHO SUBDUED KAMA (KAMASUR), THE DEMON OF DESIRE. Interestingly, Ganesha traded in his Mouse Vehicle to ride a peacock in this manifestation.

INCARNATION 7 —- Vighnaraja.
VIGHNARAJA, THE 7th INCARNATION OF GANESHA, HAD AN EVEN MORE UNUSUAL MODE OF CONVEYANCE — a Sheshnaag or Shasha. In this lifetime Ganesha managed to subdue the demon Mamasur (also known as Mamtasur or Mama), the demon of the ego. The Hindustan Times has this story to tell of Vighnaraja: “This is His (Ganesha’s) most popular incarnation, known as The Remover of Obstacles. Riding his vehicle called Sheshnag, a serpent, he strode into battle with Mamtasur, and overcame him.”

INCARNATION 8 —- Dhoomravarna.
IN HIS FINAL INCARNATION, GANESHA RETURNED TO HAVING A MOUSE AS HIS VEHICLE. His life mission this time around was to defeat the demon Ahamkarasur, the demon of self-infatuation. It is worth noting that (as all India-philes must know!) the word “Aham” means the human ego. Aham is the demonic force which grips the human mind like a vice, with cruelty and deception, and never lets go until the very bitter end. Like a parasitic worm Aham is so entrenched in the psyche, the human host eventually thinks that this is all that s/he can identify with. This demon has also been called Ahamkarasur, or Abhimanasur, both words again pointing to the inextricable control of the ego on the human. Ganesha can smash the bonds of your ego, if you call on Him. So call on Him. Goahead and do it!


— What the Ganesha Pictures Mean.
WE ALL KNOW GANESHA IS FAT AND HAS AN ELEPHANT’S HEAD — but what does this all mean on a symbolic level? It turns out that the way in which Ganesha (and the many other Hindu gods) is depicted in carvings and illustrations has a symbolic tale to tell. Look at the image below to see what Ganesha’s body and gestures mean, in a nutshell:

How the Mouse Became Ganesha’s Vehicle.

KRONCHA —- How the Mouse Became Ganesha’s Vehicle.
ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING MY HEAD AROUND REGARDING THE STORY OF GANESHA IS THIS — how does such a big elephant-headed he-man manage to ride around on top of a tiny mouse? It doesn’t make sense, and it seems absurd — surely the mouse would be crushed to death, if it really was Ganesha’s vehicle? I know that Ganesha is a mystical being who can perform miracles, but the idea of having a mouse depicted as Ganesha’s vehicle has always struck me as odd. Frankly, it didn’t sell. To help resolve my cynicism on this issue, I recently turned to the Holy Ganeshapurana for Insight on the Mouse Question. It turns out that Ganesha’s Mouse was actually a god in his own right at one time — his name was Kroncha. Kroncha had the misfortune once, at the assembly of Lord Indra, of stepping on the toes of one Muni Vamadeva, another god. Thinking that Kroncha had done so intentionally, Muni Vamadeva grew enraged. In his wrath M.V. said: “Kroncha! I curse you to become a mouse!”

TRANSFORMATION —- Kroncha Becomes Rodent.
TERRIFIED, KRONCHA FELL TO HIS KNEES AND PLEADED FOR MERCY. This subdued M.V.’s anger — to an extent. He said: “All right. Kroncha, you will become a vehicle of Lord Ganesha, and this will bring an end to your sufferings.”
And so it was. Kroncha, transformed into a mouse by the curse of M.V., fell into the hermitage of Maharshi Parashar.

GANESHA STEPS IN —- How to Tame a Mountain Sized Mouse.
TO UNDERSTAND THIS STORY, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT KRONCHA IN HIS NEW ANIMAL FORM WAS NO ORDINARY MOUSE — in fact, he was as big as a mountain and frightening to all who beheld him. He caused no end of trouble and destroyed everything in his path, just like a mountain-sized mouse could be expected to do. Lord Ganesha, who was being taken care of by Maharshi Parashar and his wife Vatsala in the hermitage, heard all the commotion and decided to do something about this pesky little — sorry, make that HUMUNGOUS — mouse! Ganesha unleashed one of his his secret weapons: a glorious pasha(noose), which he sent flying in the general direction of the rodentified Kroncha. The pasha was so radiant its light filled the entire universe, if the Hindu scriptures can be trusted as a historical guide! Pasha chased the mouse and looped around his neck, lassoo-style; Kroncha fainted, overcome by radiance; Pasha tightened Its Grip, retracted, and brought Kroncha to Ganesha’s feet. It was the kind of action scene worthy of a Bollywood melodrama!

GANESHA’S MERCY —- Kroncha Is Mounted.
AND LORD GANESHA SAID: “Kroncha, you have troubled the Sages and Brahmins to no end, but since you sue for forgiveness, I shall use you as my vehicle.” Whereupon Ganesha mounted Kroncha. But Ganesha was too heavy — Kroncha was being crushed into His Elephantine Weight! Or so the Hindu story goes. But if Kroncha was at this time the size of a mountain, then Ganesha must have been much, much bigger than a mountain. This indeterminancy in the size and scale of things drives me crazy, but seems endemic in Hindu mythology! Anyway, Kroncha cried with pain and pleaded: “Aah! I am being pulverised under your weight. Oh God! — please be kind to me and make yourself light, that I can more easily bear your weight.” Seeing the mouse so subdued Ganesha took pity on him and made himself light, such that Kroncha could bear Him. Ever since, Ganesha has been using the mouse, Kroncha, the DemiGod, as his vehicle, and Kroncha has happily borne Him, everywhere. Or so the story goes. But in other stories, Ganesha’s Mount Mouse is called Mushika, a tiny mouse or shrew. He attests to the all-pervasiveness of the Elephant God and carries Ganesha’s grace into every nook and cranny. So who is the real mouse: Kroncha or Mushika? Is he really the size of a mountain, the size of a standard Earth mouse, or kind of cow-sized (as in the illustration above)? In Hinduism there is never a straight answer to any of these questions. Which is exactly what makes it cool, in a crazy uncertain infuriating kind of way! There is more than one answer to every question.

Ganesha and the moon

Ganesha and the moon
One day Ganesha was invited to a feast. Being very fond of sweets, he consumed a large number of sweets. While returning home his stomach burst open, due to the weight of the food consumed. Luckily it was night. Hoping no one had seen him; he quickly tied his stomach with a snake. Unfortunately the moon saw him and burst into peals of laughter.

Ganesha was furious and uttered a curse that the moon would be invisible from then on. The moon was ashamed of his action and begged forgiveness. Ganesha also felt he had been hasty in cursing the moon. But since he could not take back his curse but only lessen it’s intensity, he proclaimed that the moon would wax and wane and would be invisible on only one day of the month, ” amavasya “, which is, to this day considered inauspicious.

Lord Ganesha Mantra

Spiritual Mantra

-: Lord Ganesha Mantra :-

Ganesha mantras are siddhi mantras . Each mantra contains certainspecific powers of Lord Ganesha. When chanted with the proper pranayama (rhythmic breathing) and sincere devotion, they will yield good results. In general, Ganesha mantras will ward off all evil and bless the devotee with abundance, prudence and success. Evil spirits dare not enter the home or the mind of the devotee where Ganesha mantras are recited. Those so mystically inclined and knowledgeable of the seven chakras below the muladhara use these powerful incantantions under the direction of the guru to close off these regions of the mind one by one and free consciousness from deep depression, confusion, jealousy, rage, lingering anger and fear. Some such mantras are given below for the spiritual benefit of the readers.

Important Note
One more point to remember is that one should bathe or wash the limbs before sitting for repetition of the mantra. Also, one should do three or more pranayama before beginning the mantra. The minimum repetition of the mantra should be one full mala, or 108 times. When this is done at a fixed hour and place regularly for 48 days, it becomes an upasana, which means intense meditation, that will yield siddhis, or spiritual powers. Another warning to bear in mind is that one should use those powers only for healing the sick and other such selfless actions for the benefit of mankind. These powers should not be misused. Misuse of power may bring the curse of the asuras.


One always starts any prayer, ritual and/or occasion by worshipping our Beloved Elephant God. One of the famous mantras dedicated to Ganpati follows:

“Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabha
Nirvighnam kuru mey Deva, Sarva kaaryeshu Sarvadaa”

Vakratunda curved trunk
Mahakaaya large bodied
Surya kotee million suns
Sama Prabha with the brilliance of
Nirvighnam free of obstacles
Kuru make
mey my
Deva Lord
Sarva Kaaryeshu in all work
Sarvada always

O Lord Ganesha of Large body, curved trunk, with the brilliance of a million suns, please make all my work free of obstacles, always.

“Aum gam ganapataye namah”

This is a mantra from Ganapati Upanishad. One may always use it before beginning a journey, a new course in school, new career or job, or before entering into any new contract or business so that impediments are removed and your endeavor may be crowned with success.(3)
Aum shri ganeshaya namah

This mantra is usually taught to children for their good education. It increases their memory power, and they become successful in their examinations. Of course, people of any age may use this mantra when taking courses in a school or university, and for success in attaining their degree.

Aum vakratundaya hum

This is a very powerful mantra, as discussed in the Ganesha Purana. When something is not working properly, individually or universally, nationally or internationally, or when the minds of the people turn crooked, negative, depressed or discouraged, the attention of Ganesha may be drawn by this mantra to straighten their ways. The HUM symbolizes “Delay no more, my Lord, in straightening the paths of the crooked-minded ones.” This mantra is used many times in the Ganesha Purana to curb the atrocities of cruel demons.. In addition, this mantra could also be used for healing any spinal deficiency, such as curvature of the spine or curved limbs. Dedicate 1,008 repetitions of this holy word to straighten and heal such deficiencies.(5)
Aum kshipra prasadaya namah

Kshipra means instantaneous. If some danger or negative energy is coming your way and you don’t know how to get rid of that trouble, with true devotion, practice this mantra for quick blessing and purification of one’s aura.(6)
Aum shrim hrim klim glaum gam
ganapataye vara varada sarva
janamme vashamanaya svaha

There are several bija (seed) mantras in this mantra . Among other things, it signals, “Shower Your blessings, O Lord. I offer my ego as an oblation.”(7)
Aum sumukhaya namah

This mantra has a lot of meaning, but to make it simple, it means you will be always very beautiful in soul, in spirit, in face, everything. By meditating on this mantra, very pleasing manners and a beauty comes on you. Along with that comes peace, which constantly dances in your eyes; and the words you speak are all filled with that power of love.(8)
Aum ekadantaya namah

Ekadanta refers to one tusk in the elephant face, which means God broke the duality and made you to have a one-pointed mind. Whoever has that oneness of mind and single-minded devotion will achieve everything.(9)
Aum kapilaya namah

Kapila (red) means that you are able to give color therapy. You are able to create colors around yourself and around others, bathe them in that color and heal them. As per the mantra you create, so will you create the colors. Another meaning is “wish cow,” the “cow of plenty.” It means that whatever you wish, that comes true. There is a wish-cow inside you. Whatever you wish, especially for healing others, comes true immediately.(10)
Aum gajakarnikaya namah

The ears of Ganesha, the elephant, are constant fanning, which means people may talk a lot, but you are not receiving inside anything other than that which is important. It also means that you can sit anywhere and tune this cosmic television (the body) with seven channels (chakras) and all 72,000 nadis, to any loka and be able to hear ancestors, angels, the voice of God or the voice of prophets. That kind of inner ear you will develop through this mantra.(11)
Aum lambodaraya namah

This means you feel that you are this universe. It means that all the universes are within you. Like an entire tree is in the seed, the whole universe is in the sound of creation, which is Aum, and that Aum consciousness in you makes you feel that you are the universe. Therefore, if you say, realizing the oneness with the universe, “shanti to the world” every day, then the grace of God will come and there will be world peace, universal peace.. It is the universes within Aum and Aum within you.(12)
Aum vikataya namah

This means realizing this world as a dream or a drama. When you are in that high consciousness, this whole world looks like a dream. All of us have taken a role. We have to play our role in life as wife or husband or children or citizens, all consistent with the role we have taken. When an actor bitten by a sponge cobra that is brought on the stage falls, the entire audience cries; but that boy who has fallen knows it was not a real cobra and he is not dead. Life is a drama — definitely life in this material world, this physical world of ego, is a drama. But inside, like the boy on the stage who is quite happy knowing that he didn’t die by the bite of the sponge cobra, like that, the truth never dies in us; it is immortal. So everything else you consider as drama. That consciousness comes to you by knowing this mantra.(13)
Aum vighna nashanaya namah

This mantra invokes the Lord Ganesha to remove every impediment in your life and in your works. By constant meditation on this mantra, all obstacles and blocked energy in your physical and astral bodies are released.(14)
Aum vinayakaya namah

Vinayaka is the name of Ganesha in the golden age. So by realizing this mantra, your life will have a golden age. In your office, in your work, you’ll be the boss. Vinayaka means something under control. Vinayaka means the Lord of problems.(15)
Aum ganadhyakshaya namah

This mantra is so important. Suppose you have a group, a country, neighbors, or any kind of group therapy, group healing or a whole country needing healing, then you have to bring that entire group to your mind’s arena and say this mantra. A group healing takes place by this mantra.(16)
Aum bhalachandraya namah

In Sanskrit, bhala means the forehead center. Chandra means the crescent moon. Bhalachandra means that chakra from where the nectar drips. That is the secret of all healing. It is to feel yourself as Siva, identifying yourself with the Truth and feeling constantly that you are carrying the crescent moon, the symbol of growth and nectar and peace.(17)

I bow to Gajānana, Whose lotus-feet destroy the obstacles, Who is served by the Gaṇa of Śiva, Who eats delicious rose-apple and mangoes, Who is the son of Umā (Pārvatī), and Who is the destroyer of grief and obstacles..||1||

Ganesh Puja

Ganesh PujaGanesh Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi is very much a popular Hindu festival, celebrated every year in a grand manner in almost all the states of India. Ganesh Chaturthi is otherwise known as the birthday of Lord Ganesha and the day is recognized for most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August – September) and is observed throughout India, as well as by committed Hindus in all parts of the world.Lord Ganesha is described and depicted as a God with the elephant head, in Hindu Mythology. God Ganesha is considered primary God and is worshiped first in any prayers.

Myths about Lord Ganesha

Although there are diverse mythological stories exist about God Ganesha, the following story is widely believed to be the relevant one by many Devotees.When Goddess Gauri (wife of Lord Shiva) once, while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider. When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief Shiva ordered His aids to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.Lord Shiva then made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He intended that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadnpada. Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.

Ganesh Puja

Although Ganesh Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi is famous festival for all Indians, for the Maharashtra state, the festival is a very special occasion that the Hindus in the state celebrate the festival contentedly.During the few days of Ganesh Chaturthi festival, magnificently shaped Ganesh idols are set up in the Mandaps (pandals or tents) that are richly decorated, depicting religious themes or current events. There are huge public displays of Ganesh idols with Aarti (song of devotion to God) and loud music and dancing by the devotees.
This activity is most popular in the cities Bombay and PuneThe Puja can even be a simple one carried out with family members within the household and to the accompaniment of a cassette of Shri Ganesh mantras, or an elaborate one, involving a priest who would come home and perform the puja. ‘Modak’ is the most famous and most typical food preparation of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in the state of Maharashtra. The sweet that made in the southern parts of India slightly differs and the name of the special sweet made on this special occasion here is Kozhukattai (Tamil) and this have different names in other states of South India.As long as the Ganesh idol is at home, Aarti is performed morning and evening (dusk, or at the hour when artificial lamps are lighted in the house). At the same time, all the members present throw Kumkum on the idol.After the Aarti, flowers, grass (in south India) Haldi (turmeric powder), sandal and Kumkum are offered to the women, and Prasad (made of dried desiccated coconut mixed with castor sugar) is distributed to all those present. During Ganesh Chaturthi, Aarti is performed five or more times to the Ganesh idol, followed by Vitthal, Shankar (Shiva), Devi (Parvati) and Dattatreya (Kartikeya).Ganesha as their tutelary deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namaha.In his first lesson in the alphabet a Maharashtrian child is initiated into the Mantra of Lord Ganesha, Om Sri Ganeshaya Namaha. Only then is the alphabet taught.

II Ganesh Chalisa II

Jaya ganapati sadhguna sadana, kavi vara badana kripaala.
Vighna harana mangala karana, jaya jaya girijaa laala.

Jaya jaya ganapati gan raaju, mangala bharana karana shubha kaaju .
Jaya gajabadana sadana sukhadaataa, vishva vinaayaka buddhi vidhaata.
Vakra tunda shuchi shunda suhaavana, tilaka tripunda bhaala mana bhaavana.
Raajata mani muktana ura maala, svarna mukuta shira nayana vishaala.
Pustaka paani kuthaara trishuulam, modaka bhoga sugandhita phoolam.
Sundara piitaambara tana saajita, charana paaduka muni mana raajita.
Dhani shiva suvana shadaanana bhraata, gaurii lalana vishva-vidhaata.
Riddhi siddhi tava chanvara sudhaare, mushaka vaahana sohata dvaare.
Kahaun janma shubha kathaa tumhaari, ati shuchi paavana mangala kaari.
Eka samaya giriraaj kumaari, putra hetu tapa kinha bhaari.
Bhayo yagya jaba puurna anuupa, taba pahunchyo tuma dhari dvija ruupa.
Atithi jaani kai gauri sukhaari, bahuvidhi sevaa kari tumhaari.
Ati prasanna hvai tuma vara diinha, maatu putra hita jo tapa kiinha.
Milahi putra tuhi buddhi vishaala, binaa garbha dhaarana yahi kaala.
Gananaayaka, guna gyaana nidhaana, puujita prathama ruupa bhagavana.
Asa kahi antardhyaana ruupa hvai, palana para baalaka svaruupa hvai.
Bani shishu rudana jabahi tuma thaana, lakhi mukha sukha nahin gauri samaan.
Sakala magana, sukha mangala gaavahin, nabha te surana sumana varshaavahin.
Shambhu uma, bahu dana lutavahin, sura munijana, suta dekhana aavahin.
Lakhi ati aananda mangala saaja, dekhana bhi aaye shani raaja.
Nija avaguna guni shani mana maahin, baalaka, dekhan chaahata naahin.
Giraja kachhu mana bheda badhaayo, utsava mora na shani tuhi bhaayo.
Kahana lage shani, mana sakuchaai, kaa karihau, shishu mohi dikhaai.
Nahin vishvaasa, uma ur bhayau, shani so baalaka dekhana kahyau.
Padatahin, shani driga kona prakaasha, baalaka shira udi gayo aakaasha.
Giraja giriin vikala hvai dharani, so dukha dasha gayo nahin varani.
Haahaakaara machyo kailaasha, shani kiinhyon lakhi suta ka naasha.
Turata garuda chadhi Vishnu sidhaaye, kaati chakra so gaja shira laaye.
Baalaka ke dhada upara dhaarayo, praana, mantra padha shankara darayo.
Naama ‘ganesha’ shambhu taba kiinhe, prathama puujya buddhi nidhi, vara diinhe.
Buddhi pariiksha jaba shiva kiinha, prithvii kar pradakshina liinha.
Chale shadaanana, bharami bhulaIi, rachi baitha tuma buddhi upaai.
Charana maatu-pitu ke dhara linhen, tinake saata pradakshina kinhen.
Dhani ganesha, kahi shiva hiya harashe, nabha te surana sumana bahu barase.

Tumhari mahima buddhi badaye., shesha sahasa mukha sakai na gaai.
Mein mati hina malina dukhaari, karahun kauna vidhi vinaya tumhaari.
Bhajata ‘raamasundara’ prabhudaasa, lakha prayaga, kakara, durvasa .
Aba prabhu daya dina para kijai, apani bhakti shakti kuchhu dijai.

Shri Ganesh yah chalisa, path karai dhari dhyan,
Nit nav mangal gruha bashe, lahi jagat sanman.
Sambandh apne sahstra dash, rushi panchami dinesh.
Puran chalisa bhayo, mangal murti ganesha.

Shri Ganesh Chalisa with meaning

-: Shri Ganesh Chalisa :-

Jai Ganesh Girija Suvan
Mangal Mul Sujan
Kahat Ayodhya Das Tum Dev Abhaya Varadan
Glory to Lord Ganesh, the Divine Son of Goddess Girija, the cause of all auspiciousness and intelligence. Ayodha Dass (the composer of these verses) humbly requests that every one be blessed with the boon of being fearless.
Jai Girija Pati Dinadayala
Sada Karat Santan Pratipala
Bhala Chandrama Sohat Nike Kanan Kundal Nagaphani Ke
O Glorious Lord, consort of Parvati You are most merciful. You always bless the poor and pious devotees. Your beautiful form is adorned with the moon on Your forehead and on your ears are earrings of snakes’ hood.
Anga Gaur Shira Ganga Bahaye
Mundamala Tan Chhara Lagaye
Vastra Khala Baghambar Sohain Chhavi Ko Dekha Naga Muni Mohain
The holy Ganges flows from your matted hair. The saints and sages are attracted by Your splendid appearance. Around Your neck is a garland of skulls. White ash beautifies Your Divine form and clothing of lion’s skin adorns Your body.
Maina Matu Ki Havai Dulari
Vama Anga Sohat Chhavi Nyari
Kara Trishul Sohat Chhavi Bhari Karat Sada Shatrun Chhayakari
O Lord, the beloved daughter of Maina on Your left adds to Your splendid appearance. O Wearer of the lion’s skin, the trishul in Your hand destroys all enemies.
Nandi Ganesh Sohain Tahan Kaise
Sagar Madhya Kamal Hain Jaise
Kartik Shyam Aur Ganara-U Ya Chhavi Ko Kahi Jata Na Ka-U
Nandi and Shri Ganesh along with Lord Shiva appear as beautiful as two lotuses in the middle of an ocean. Poets and philosophers cannot describe the wonderful appearance of Lord Kartikeya and the dark complexioned Ganas (attendants).
Devan Jabahi Jaya Pukara
Tabahi Dukha Prabhu Apa Nivara
Kiya Upadrav Tarak Bhari Devan Sab Mili Tumahi Juhari
O Lord, whenever the Deities humbly sought Your assistance, You kindly and graciously uprooted all their problems. You blessed the Deities with Your generous help when the demon Tarak outraged them and You destroyed him.
Turata Shadanana Apa Pathayau
Lava-Ni-Mesh Mahan Mari Girayau
Apa Jalandhara Asura Sanhara Suyash Tumhara Vidit Sansara
O Lord, You sent Shadanan without delay and thus destroyed the evil ones Lava and Nimesh. You also destroyed the demon Jalandhara. Your renown is known throughout the world.
Tripurasur Sana Yudha Macha-I
Sabhi Kripakar Lina Bacha-I
Kiya Tapahin Bhagiratha Bhari Purva Pratigya Tasu Purari
O Lord, Purari, You saved all Deities and mankind by defeating and destroying the demons Tripurasura. You blessed Your devotee Bhagirath and he was able to accomplish his vow after rigorous penance.
Danin Mahan Tum Sama Kou Nahin
Sevak Astuti Karat Sadahin
Veda Nam Mahima Tab Ga-I Akatha Anandi Bhed Nahin Pa-I
O Gracious One, devotees always sing Your glory. Even the Vedas are unable to describe Your greatness. No one is as generous as You.
Pragate Udadhi Mantan Men Jvala
Jarat Sura-Sur Bhaye Vihala
Kinha Daya Tahan Kari Sara-I Nilakantha Tab Nam Kaha-I
Lord, when the ocean was churned and the deadly poison emerged, out of Your deep compassion for all, You drank the poison and saved the world from destruction. Your throat became blue, thus You are known as Nilakantha.
Pujan Ramchandra Jab Kinha
Jiti Ke Lanka Vibhishan Dinhi
Sahas Kamal Men Ho Rahe Dhari Kinha Pariksha Tabahin Purari
When Lord Rama worshipped You, He became victorious over the king of demons, Ravan. When Lord Rama wished to worship Thee with one thousand lotus flowers, the Divine Mother, to test the devotion of Shri Ram, hid all the flowers at Your request.
Ek Kamal Prabhu Rakheu Joi
Kushal-Nain Pujan Chaha Soi
Kathin Bhakti Dekhi Prabhu Shankar Bhaye Prasanna Diye-Ichchhit Var
O Lord, You kept on looking at Shri Ram, who wished to offer His lotus-like eyes to worship Thee. When You observed such intense devotion, You were delighted and blessed Him. You granted His heart’s desire.
Jai Jai Jai Anant Avinashi
Karat Kripa Sabake Ghat Vasi
Dushta Sakal Nit Mohin Satavai
Bhramat Rahe Mohin Chain Na Avai
Glory be unto You O Gracious, Infinite, Immortal, All-pervading Lord. Evil thoughts torture me and I keep on traveling aimlessly in this world of mundane existence. No relief seems to be coming my way.
Trahi-Trahi Main Nath Pukaro
Yahi Avasar Mohi Ana Ubaro
Lai Trishul Shatrun Ko Maro
Sankat Se Mohin Ana Ubaro
O Lord! I beseech Your help and see your divine blessing at this very moment. Save and protect me. Destroy my enemies with Your Trishul. Release me from the torture of evil thoughts.
Mata Pita Bhrata Sab Hoi
Sankat Men Puchhat Nahin Koi
Svami Ek Hai Asha Tumhari
Ava Harahu Aba Sankat Bhari
O Lord, when I am in distress, neither my parents, brothers, sisters nor loved ones can relieve my suffering. I depend only on You. You are my hope. Eliminate the cause of this tremendous torture and bless me with Your compassion.
Dhan Nirdhan Ko Deta Sadahin
Jo Koi Janche So Phal Pahin
Astuti Kehi Vidhi Karai Tumhari
Kshamahu Nath Aba Chuka Hamari
O Lord, You bless the down-trodden with prosperity and grant wisdom to the ignorant. Lord, due to my limited knowledge, I omitted to worship Thee. Please forgive me and shower Your grace upon me.
Shankar Ho Sankat Ke Nishan
Vighna Vinashan Mangal Karan
Yogi Yati Muni Dhyan Lagavan
Sharad Narad Shisha Navavain
O Lord Sankar, You are the destroyer of all miseries. You remove the cause of all obstacles and grant Your devotees eternal bliss. The saints and sages meditate upon Thy most beautiful form. Even celestial beings like Sharad and Narad bow in reverence to You.
Namo Namo Jai Namah Shivaya
Sura Brahmadik Par Na Paya
Jo Yah Patha Karai Man Lai
Tapar Hota Hai Shambhu Saha-I
O Lord, prostrations to You. Even Brahma is unable to describe Thy greatness. Whosoever recites these verses with faith and devotion receives Your infinite blessings.
Riniyan Jo Koi Ho Adhikari
Patha Karai So Pavan Hari
Putra-hin Ichchha Kar Koi
Nischaya Shiva Prasad Tehin Hoi
Devotees who chant these verses with intense love become prosperous by the grace of Lord Shiva. Even the childless wishing to have children, have their desires fulfilled after partaking of Shiva-prasad with faith and devotion.
Pandit Trayodashi Ko Lavai
Dhyan-Purvak Homa Karavai
Trayodashi Vrat Kare Hamesha
Tan Nahin Take Rahe Kalesha
On Trayodashi (13th day of the dark and bright fortnights) one should invite a pandit and devotedly make offerings to Lord Shiva. Those who fast and pray to Lord Shiva on Trayodashi are always healthy and prosperous.
Dhupa Dipa Naivedya Charhavai
Anta Vasa Shivapur Men Pavai
Kahai Ayodhya Asha Tumhari
Jani Sakal Dukha Harahu Hamari
Whosoever offers incense, prasad and performs aarti to Lord Shiva, with love and devotion, enjoys material happiness and spiritual bliss in this world and hereafter ascends to the abode of Lord Shiva. The poet prays that Lord Shiva removed the suffering of all and grants them eternal bliss.
Nitya Nema kari Pratahi
Patha karau Chalis
Tum Meri Man Kamana
Purna Karahu Jagadish
O Universal Lord, every morning as a rule I recite this Chalisa with devotion.. Please bless me so that I may be able to accomplish my material and spiritual desires