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About Lord Ganesha
contributed by M P Bhattathiry
Ganesha is revered as the
son of the Universal parents Shiva and Parvati, and is always honored
first in most worship services and rituals. Ganesha is also known as
Ganapati, Vigneswara, Vinayaka, Gajamukha and Ainkaran.
The huge size of Ganapati represents the Universe (Cosmos), and his curled
trunk, the symbol OM. The elephant's head is said to represent superior
intellect while the snake around his waist cosmic energy. His broken tusk
is symbolic of knowledge, as it is believed that it is with this tusk that
he wrote down the Mahabharata, in the capacity of a scribe, when it was
recited by the sage Vyasa. The mouse - mooshikam, his mount is said to
symbolize the equal importance of the biggest and smallest of creatures,
in the eyes of the infinity of creation Bhraman.
Ganesha is believed to have been the scribe who wrote down the text of the
Indian epic Mahabharatam as it was recited by the sage Vyasa.
The Ganesa Pancharatnam of Aadi Sankaracharya in sanskrit salutes Ganapati.
The tamil works of Tirumoolar and Avvaiyaar (of the 1st millennium CE),
also bear hymns saluting Ganesha. So do the Tiruppugazh hymns of
Arunagirinathar of the 1st half of the 2nd millennium CE. Several of the
sanskrit kritis of the Karnatic Music composer Mutthuswamy Deekshitar
salute Ganapati shrines all over Tamilnadu.
Several small temples dedicated to Ganapati adorn all towns and villages
of south India. Most of these are modern temples. There are several
shrines to Ganesha in all Saivite temples all over south India. Ganesha is
taken out at the head of all processions in festivals celebrated in the
Saivite temples of Tamilnadu.
Vinayaka Chaturti is a festival celebrated in honor of Ganesha, and it is
celebrated as a community festival in the state of Maharashtra, where
Vinayak is held in great reverence, especially in the 8 Ashta Vinayak
temples in the vicinity of Pune and in the Siddhi Vinayak temple in
Perhaps the most ancient of Ganapati shrines in India, is the well known
Karpaka Vinayakar temple in the town of Pillaiarpatti near Karaikkudi in
Tamilnadu. This temple with a rock cut shrine, bearing a collossal form of
Vinayakar, is over 1600 years old.
The Ucchi Pillaiyaar temple, on top of a hill defining Tiruchirappalli's (Tamilnadu)
skyline, enshrines Ganapati, who is said to have been instrumental in
enshrining Ranganathar at Srirangam nearby.
In Maharashtra, Ganesh
Chaturthi is the most popular festival. Ganesh, the elephant faced deity
is the son of Shiva and Parvati and the lord of all auspicious beginnings.
He is the remover of all obstacles and is to be propitiated before any
other deity. Colossal images of Ganesh are built and carried all round the
city before they are finally submerged in water. The city of Mumbai
remains in a feverish pitch of excitement throughout this period.
32 forms of
As with the 64 forms of
Shiva, 32 forms of Ganapati are recognized in the Agamic scriptures.
1. Baala Ganapati - Red colored image of a four armed Ganesha
2. Dharuna Vinayakar: Red colored image of an eight armed Ganesha
3. Bhakti Vinayakar: Grey colored image of four armed Ganesha
4. Veera Vinayakar: Red colored image of 16 armed Ganapati
5. Shakti Ganapati: Red colored image of 4 armed Ganapati, seated with his
consort to his left.
6. Dwija Vinayakar: White colored image of four faced Ganesha with 4 arms.
7. Siddhi Vinayakar: Golden colored image of four armed Ganapati.
8. Ucchishta Ganapati: Blue colored image of six armed Ganapati with his
9. Vigna Vinayakar: Gold colored image of eight armed Ganapati
10. Kshipra Ganapati: Red colored image of four armed Ganesha bearing a
11. Heramba Vinayakar: Black colored image of ten armed Ganesha with five
faces, seated on a lion.
12. Lakshmi Vinayakar: White colored image of eight armed Ganesha with two
13. Makara Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with a third eye, 10
arms, bearing a ratna kumbham, with his consort.
14. Vijaya Vinayakar: Red colored image of 4 armed Ganesha on the mooshika
15. Nritta Vinayakar: Gold colored image of Ganesha in a dance posture.
16. Urdhva Vinayakar: Gold colored image of six armed Ganesha with his
17. Ekakshara Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with a third eye,
seated on a lotus.
18. Vara Vinayakar: Red colored image of 4 armed Vinayaka with a third
19. Dhryakshara Vinayaka: Gold colored image of four armed Vinayakar,
decorated with Chaamara ear rings.
20. Kshipraprasaada Vinayakar: Red colored image of six armed Ganapati.
21. Haridra Vinayakar: Yellow colored image of four armed Ganapati.
22. Ekadhanta Vinayakar: Blue colored image of four armed Ganapati.
23. Srishti Vinayakar: Red colored image of four armed Ganapati seated on
his mooshika mount.
24. Utthanda Vinayakar: Red colored image of 10 armed Ganesha with his
consort to his left.
25. Ranamochana Vinayaka: Crystal image of four armed Vinayakar.
26. Dundi Vinayakar: Four armed image of Ganesha bearing a tusk, a
garland, an axe and a gem studded vessel.
27. Dwimukha Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with two faces and
28. Trimukha Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with three faces and
six arms seated on a golden lotus.
29. Simha Vinayakar: White colored image of Ganesha with eight arms (with
an arm bearing a lions face).
30. Yoga Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha in the posture of a yogi.
31. Durga Vinayakar: Red colored image of Ganesha with eight arms.
32. Sankatahara Vinayakar: Red colored image of four armed Ganesha clothed
in blue, seated on a lotus peetham with his consort to his left.
Ganesh Chaturti is
celebrated with an extra measure of grandeur in the state of Maharashtra.
The Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai is visited by hundreds of thousands of
devotees throughout the year.
Also in Maharashtra are eight temples dedicated to Ganesha, related to
various episodes from the puranas and other legends - and these deities
are collectively known as Ashta Vinayak.
Moregaon enshrines Ganapati as Mayureshwar (Moresh) or the peacock rider,
who slew the demon Sindhu in response to pleas from the Gods.
Mahaganapati at Ranjangaon is believed to have come to the aid of Shiva in
destroying the citadels of the demon Tripurasura.
Mahad enrhsines Varadvinayak (the bestower of boons), in commemoration of
a legend related to Rukmangada.
Chintamani Vinayak relates to the legend of Kapila Muni and the Chintamani
gem that he had obtained from Shiva.
Girijaatmaja Vinayaka is enshrined on Lenyadri Parvat, and is believed to
be a manifestation of Ganapati as an infant.
Vigneshwara at Ozar is regarded as the slayer of the demon Vignaasura.
Ballal Vinayak at Pali, is associated with a legend where Ganapati is said
to have come to the aid of a young lad, who was a fervent devotee of
Siddhi Vinayak at Siddhatek is said to have come to the aid of Mahavishnu
as he was engaged in a long battle with the demons Madhu and Kaitabha.
108 names of
Akhuratha : One who
has Mouse as His Charioteer
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 (Gods)
Ganadhyakshina : Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
Ganapati : Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
Gaurisuta : The Son of Gauri (Parvati)
Gunina : One who is The Master of All Virtues
Haridra : One who is Golden Coloured
Heramba : Mother's Beloved Son
Kapila : Yellowish-Brown Coloured
Kaveesha : Master of Poets
Krti : 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-Coloured Body
Pramoda :Lord of All Abodes
Prathameshwara :First Among All
Purush : The Omnipotent Personality
Rakta : One who has Red-Coloured 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 Colour
Siddhidhata : Bestower of Success and Accomplishments
Siddhipriya : Bestower of Wishes and Boons
Siddhivinayaka : Bestower of Success
Skandapurvaja : Elder Brother of Skand (Lord Kartik)
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 (Parvati)
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
Yogadhipa : The Lord of Meditation
The Story of
lord Ganesha's birth
Ganesha the elephant
faced God is one of the most popularly worshipped forms of divinity - as a
remover of obstacles and the embodiment of good luck, in the Indian system
of beliefs and practices.
Ganesha is regarded as the son of Shiva and Parvati (Shakti), the
Universal parents, and the brother of Skanda.
Legend has it that Parvati, created a beautiful boy from the dirt of her
body, treated him as her son, and gave him the responsibility of guarding
her home. Shiva, upon returning home was affronted by this lad, hitherto
unknown to him. The lad, true to his word to his mother, refused to let
Shiva into his own home.
An enraged Shiva sent his Bhuta Gana attendants to scare the lad and to
obtain entry into his own home. The lad single handedly defeated the Bhuta
Ganas in battle. A clash of egos followed, as Shiva sent several of the
Gods, to fight against Ganesha and an equally enraged Parvati sent several
of her attendants to fight them. In the resultant fight, the valorous
lad's head was chopped off by Nandi deva, and the lad lay lifeless.
Parvati's grief knew no bounds, and Shiva sought to assuage her, by
promising to bring the boy to life. Alas, his head could not be found in
the battlefield. A quick fix was sought, and it was decided that the first
available head would be used to bring the boy to life. Accordingly, the
boy was fitted with the head of an elephant and brought back to life.
Even this did not placate Parvati, who sought that this boy (who
successfully created obstacles to his father's mission) now fitted with
the head of an elephant, should be regarded by one and all, as the remover
of obstacles, and should be offered worship first, before any form of
worship was offered to any other manifestation of divinity.
This boon granted, Ganesha, the lord of the attendants of Parvati, came to
be regarded as Vigneshwara the remover of obstacles.
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